Friday, October 12, 2007



Once upon a time in a certain country there lived a
king whose palace was surrounded by a spacious garden.
But, though the gardeners were many and the soil was
good, this garden yielded neither flowers nor fruits, not
even grass or shady trees.
The King was in despair about it, when a wise old man
said to him:
"Your gardeners do not understand their business: but
what can you expect of men whose fathers were cobblers
and carpenters? How should they have learned to cultivate
your garden?"
"You are quite right," cried the King.
"Therefore," continued the old man, "you should send
for a gardener whose father and grandfather have been
gardeners before him, and very soon your garden will be
full of green grass and gay flowers, and you will enjoy its
delicious fruit."
So the King sent messengers to every town, village, and
hamlet in his dominions, to look for a gardener whose
forefathers had been gardeners also, and after forty days
one was found.
"Come with us and be gardener to the King," they said
to him.
"How can I go to the King," said the gardener, "a poor
wretch like me?"
"That is of no consequence," they answered. "Here are
new clothes for you and your family."
"But I owe money to several people."
"We will pay your debts," they said.
So the gardener allowed himself to be persuaded, and
went away with the messengers, taking his wife and his
son with him; and the King, delighted to have found a
real gardener, entrusted him with the care of his garden.
The man found no difficulty in making the royal garden
produce flowers and fruit, and at the end of a year the
park was not like the same place, and the King showered
gifts upon his new servant.
The gardener, as you have heard already, had a son,
who was a very handsome young man, with most agreeable
manners, and every day he carried the best fruit of
the garden to the King, and all the prettiest flowers to his
daughter. Now this princess was wonderfully pretty and
was just sixteen years old, and the King was beginning
to think it was time that she should be married.
"My dear child," said he, "you are of an age to take a
husband, therefore I am thinking of marrying you to the
son of my prime minister.
"Father," replied the Princess, "I will never marry the
son of the minister."
"Why not?" asked the King.
"Because I love the gardener's son," answered the
On hearing this the King was at first very angry, and
then he wept and sighed, and declared that such a husband
was not worthy of his daughter; but the young
Princess was not to be turned from her resolution to
marry the gardener's son.
Then the King consulted his ministers. "This is what
you must do," they said. "To get rid of the gardener you
must send both suitors to a very distant country, and the
one who returns first shall marry your daughter."
The King followed this advice, and the minister's son
was presented with a splendid horse and a purse full of
gold pieces, while the gardener's son had only an old lame
horse and a purse full of copper money, and every one
thought he would never come back from his journey.
The day before they started the Princess met her lover
and said to him:
"Be brave, and remember always that I love you. Take
this purse full of jewels and make the best use you can of
them for love of me, and come back quickly and demand
my hand."
The two suitors left the town together, but the
minister's son went off at a gallop on his good horse, and very
soon was lost to sight behind the most distant hills. He
traveled on for some days, and presently reached a fountain
beside which an old woman all in rags sat upon a
"Good-day to you, young traveler," said she.
But the minister's son made no reply.
"Have pity upon me, traveler," she said again. "I am
dying of hunger, as you see, and three days have I been
here and no one has given me anything."
"Let me alone, old witch," cried the young man; "I can
do nothing for you," and so saying he went on his way.
That same evening the gardener's son rode up to the
fountain upon his lame gray horse.
"Good-day to you, young traveler," said the beggarwoman.
"Good-day, good woman," answered he.
"Young traveler, have pity upon me."
Take my purse, good woman," said he, "and mount
behind me, for your legs can't be very strong."
The old woman didn't wait to be asked twice, but
mounted behind him, and in this style they reached the
chief city of a powerful kingdom. The minister's son was
lodged in a grand inn, the gardener's son and the old
woman dismounted at the inn for beggars.
The next day the gardener's son heard a great noise in
the street, and the King's heralds passed, blowing all
kinds of instruments, and crying:
The King, our master, is old and infirm. He will give
a great reward to whoever will cure him and give him
back the strength of his youth."
Then the old beggar-woman said to her benefactor:
"This is what you must do to obtain the reward which
the King promises. Go out of the town by the south gate,
and there you will find three little dogs of different colors;
the first will be white, the second black, the third red. You
must kill them and then burn them separately, and gather
up the ashes. Put the ashes of each dog into a bag of its own
color, then go before the door of the palace and cry out,
`A celebrated physician has come from Janina in Albania.
He alone can cure the King and give him back the
strength of his youth.' The King's physicians will say,
This is an impostor, and not a learned man,' and they
will make all sorts of difficulties, but you will overcome
them all at last, and will present yourself before the sick
King. You must then demand as much wood as three
mules can carry, and a great cauldron, and must shut
yourself up in a room with the Sultan, and when the
cauldron boils you must throw him into it, and there leave
him until his flesh is completely separated from his bones.
Then arrange the bones in their proper places, and throw
over them the ashes out of the three bags. The King will
come back to life, and will be just as he was when he was
twenty years old. For your reward you must demand the
bronze ring which has the power to grant you everything
you desire. Go, my son, and do not forget any of my
The young man followed the old beggar-woman's
directions. On going out of the town he found the white,
red, and black dogs, and killed and burnt them, gathering
the ashes in three bags. Then he ran to the palace and
"A celebrated physician has just come from Janina in
Albania. He alone can cure the King and give him back
the strength of his youth."
The King's physicians at first laughed at the unknown
wayfarer, but the Sultan ordered that the stranger should
be admitted. They brought the cauldron and the loads
of wood, and very soon the King was boiling away.
Toward mid-day the gardener's son arranged the bones in
their places, and he had hardly scattered the ashes over
them before the old King revived, to find himself once
more young and hearty.
"How can I reward you, my benefactor?" he cried.
"Will you take half my treasures?"
"No," said the gardener's son.
"My daughter's hand?"
"Take half my kingdom."
"No. Give me only the bronze ring which can instantly
grant me anything I wish for."
"Alas!" said the King, "I set great store by that
marvelous ring; nevertheless, you shall have it." And he gave
it to him.
The gardener's son went back to say good-by to the old
beggar-woman; then he said to the bronze ring:
"Prepare a splendid ship in which I may continue my
journey. Let the hull be of fine gold, the masts of silver,
the sails of brocade; let the crew consist of twelve young
men of noble appearance, dressed like kings. St. Nicholas
will be at the helm. As to the cargo, let it be diamonds,
rubies, emeralds, and carbuncles."
And immediately a ship appeared upon the sea which
resembled in every particular THE DESCRIPTION GIVEN BY THE
GARDENER'S SON, and, stepping on board, he continued his
journey. Presently he arrived at a great town and established
himself in a wonderful palace. After several days
he met his rival, the minister's son, who had spent all his
money and was reduced to the disagreeable employment
of a carrier of dust and rubbish. The gardener's son said
to him:
"What is your name, what is your family, and from
what country do you come?"
"I am the son of the prime minister of a great nation,
and yet see what a degrading occupation I am reduced
"Listen to me; though I don't know anything more
about you, I am willing to help you. I will give you a ship
to take you back to your own country upon one condition."
"Whatever it may be, I accept it willingly."
"Follow me to my palace."
The minister's son followed the rich stranger, whom he
had not recognized. When they reached the palace the
gardener's son made a sign to his slaves, who completely
undressed the new-comer.
"Make this ring red-hot," commanded the master, "and
mark the man with it upon his back."
The slaves obeyed him.
"Now, young man," said the rich stranger, "I am going
to give you a vessel which will take you back to your own
And, going out, he took the bronze ring and said:
"Bronze ring, obey thy master. Prepare me a ship of
which the half-rotten timbers shall be painted black, let
the sails be in rags, and the sailors infirm and sickly. One
shall have lost a leg, another an arm, the third shall be a
hunchback, another lame or club-footed or blind, and
most of them shall be ugly and covered with scars. Go,
and let my orders be executed."
The minister's son embarked in this old vessel, and
thanks to favorable winds, at length reached his own
country. In spite of the pitiable condition in which he
returned they received him joyfully.
"I am the first to come back," said he to the King;
now fulfil your promise, and give me the princess in
So they at once began to prepare for the wedding
festivities. As to the poor princess, she was sorrowful and
angry enough about it.
The next morning, at daybreak, a wonderful ship with
every sail set came to anchor before the town. The King
happened at that moment to be at the palace window.
"What strange ship is this," he cried, "that has a
golden hull, silver masts, and silken sails, and who are the
young men like princes who man it? And do I not see St.
Nicholas at the helm? Go at once and invite the captain
of the ship to come to the palace."
His servants obeyed him, and very soon in came an
enchantingly handsome young prince, dressed in rich
silk, ornamented with pearls and diamonds.
"Young man," said the King, "you are welcome,
whoever you may be. Do me the favor to be my guest as long
as you remain in my capital."
"Many thanks, sire," replied the captain, "I accept
your offer."
"My daughter is about to be married," said the King;
"will you give her away?"
"I shall be charmed, sire."
Soon after came the Princess and her betrothed.
"Why, how is this?" cried the young captain; "would
you marry this charming princess to such a man as that?"
"But he is my prime minister's son!"
"What does that matter? I cannot give your daughter
away. The man she is betrothed to is one of my servants."
"Your servant?"
"Without doubt. I met him in a distant town reduced
to carrying away dust and rubbish from the houses. I
had pity on him and engaged him as one of my servants."
"It is impossible!" cried the King.
"Do you wish me to prove what I say? This young man
returned in a vessel which I fitted out for him, an unseaworthy
ship with a black battered hull, and the sailors
were infirm and crippled."
"It is quite true," said the King.
"It is false," cried the minister's son. "I do not know
this man!"
"Sire," said the young captain, "order your daughter's
betrothed to be stripped, and see if the mark of my ring
is not branded upon his back."
The King was about to give this order, when the
minister's son, to save himself from such an indignity,
admitted that the story was true.
"And now, sire," said the young captain, "do you not
recognize me?"
"I recognize you," said the Princess; "you are the
gardener's son whom I have always loved, and it is you
I wish to marry."
"Young man, you shall be my son-in-law," cried the
King. "The marriage festivities are already begun, so you
shall marry my daughter this very day."
And so that very day the gardener's son married the
beautiful Princess.
Several months passed. The young couple were as
happy as the day was long, and the King was more and
more pleased with himself for having secured such a sonin-
But, presently, the captain of the golden ship found it
necessary to take a long voyage, and after embracing his
wife tenderly he embarked.
Now in the outskirts of the capital there lived an old
man, who had spent his life in studying black arts--
alchemy, astrology, magic, and enchantment. This man
found out that the gardener's son had only succeeded in
marrying the Princess by the help of the genii who obeyed
the bronze ring.
"I will have that ring," said he to himself. So he went
down to the sea-shore and caught some little red fishes.
Really, they were quite wonderfully pretty. Then he came
back, and, passing before the Princess's window, he began
to cry out:
"Who wants some pretty little red fishes?"
The Princess heard him, and sent out one of her slaves,
who said to the old peddler:
"What will you take for your fish?"
"A bronze ring."
"A bronze ring, old simpleton! And where shall I find
"Under the cushion in the Princess's room."
The slave went back to her mistress.
The old madman will take neither gold nor silver,"
said she.
"What does he want then?"
"A bronze ring that is hidden under a cushion."
Find the ring and give it to him," said the Princess.
And at last the slave found the bronze ring, which the
captain of the golden ship had accidentally left behind
and carried it to the man, who made off with it instantly.
Hardly had he reached his own house when, taking the
ring, he said, "Bronze ring, obey thy master. I desire that
the golden ship shall turn to black wood, and the crew to
hideous negroes; that St. Nicholas shall leave the helm
and that the only cargo shall be black cats."
And the genii of the bronze ring obeyed him.
Finding himself upon the sea in this miserable
condition, the young captain understood that some one must
have stolen the bronze ring from him, and he lamented
his misfortune loudly; but that did him no good.
"Alas!" he said to himself, "whoever has taken my ring
has probably taken my dear wife also. What good will it
do me to go back to my own country?" And he sailed
about from island to island, and from shore to shore,
believing that wherever he went everybody was laughing at
him, and very soon his poverty was so great that he and
his crew and the poor black cats had nothing to eat but
herbs and roots. After wandering about a long time he
reached an island inhabited by mice. The captain landed
upon the shore and began to explore the country. There
were mice everywhere, and nothing but mice. Some of
the black cats had followed him, and, not having been fed
for several days, they were fearfully hungry, and made
terrible havoc among the mice.
Then the queen of the mice held a council.
"These cats will eat every one of us," she said, "if the
captain of the ship does not shut the ferocious animals up.
Let us send a deputation to him of the bravest among us."
Several mice offered themselves for this mission and set
out to find the young captain.
"Captain," said they, "go away quickly from our island,
or we shall perish, every mouse of us."
"Willingly," replied the young captain, "upon one
condition. That is that you shall first bring me back a bronze
ring which some clever magician has stolen from me. If
you do not do this I will land all my cats upon your
island, and you shall be exterminated."
The mice withdrew in great dismay. "What is to be
done?" said the Queen. "How can we find this bronze
ring?" She held a new council, calling in mice from every
quarter of the globe, but nobody knew where the bronze
ring was. Suddenly three mice arrived from a very distant
country. One was blind, the second lame, and the
third had her ears cropped.
"Ho, ho, ho!" said the new-comers. "We come from a
far distant country."
"Do you know where the bronze ring is which the genii
"Ho, ho, ho! we know; an old sorcerer has taken
possession of it, and now he keeps it in his pocket by day and in
his mouth by night."
"Go and take it from him, and come back as soon as
So the three mice made themselves a boat and set sail
for the magician's country. When they reached the capital
they landed and ran to the palace, leaving only the
blind mouse on the shore to take care of the boat. Then
they waited till it was night. The wicked old man lay
down in bed and put the bronze ring into his mouth, and
very soon he was asleep.
"Now, what shall we do?" said the two little animals to
each other.
The mouse with the cropped ears found a lamp full of
oil and a bottle full of pepper. So she dipped her tail first
in the oil and then in the pepper, and held it to the
sorcerer's nose.
"Atisha! atisha!" sneezed the old man, but he did not
wake, and the shock made the bronze ring jump out of his
mouth. Quick as thought the lame mouse snatched up the
precious talisman and carried it off to the boat.
Imagine the despair of the magician when he awoke and
the bronze ring was nowhere to be found!
But by that time our three mice had set sail with their
prize. A favoring breeze was carrying them toward the
island where the queen of the mice was awaiting them.
Naturally they began to talk about the bronze ring.
"Which of us deserves the most credit?" they cried all
at once.
"I do," said the blind mouse, "for without my
watchfulness our boat would have drifted away to the open sea."
"No, indeed," cried the mouse with the cropped ears;
"the credit is mine. Did I not cause the ring to jump out
of the man's mouth?"
"No, it is mine," cried the lame one, "for I ran off with
the ring."
And from high words they soon came to blows, and,
alas! when the quarrel was fiercest the bronze ring fell into
the sea.
"How are we to face our queen," said the three mice
"when by our folly we have lost the talisman and condemned
our people to be utterly exterminated? We cannot
go back to our country; let us land on this desert
island and there end our miserable lives." No sooner said
than done. The boat reached the island, and the mice
The blind mouse was speedily deserted by her two
sisters, who went off to hunt flies, but as she wandered
sadly along the shore she found a dead fish, and was eating
it, when she felt something very hard. At her cries the
other two mice ran up.
"It is the bronze ring! It is the talisman!" they cried
joyfully, and, getting into their boat again, they soon
reached the mouse island. It was time they did, for the
captain was just going to land his cargo of cats, when a
deputation of mice brought him the precious bronze ring.
"Bronze ring," commanded the young man, "obey thy
master. Let my ship appear as it was before."
Immediately the genii of the ring set to work, and the
old black vessel became once more the wonderful golden
ship with sails of brocade; the handsome sailors ran to the
silver masts and the silken ropes, and very soon they set
sail for the capital.
Ah! how merrily the sailors sang as they flew over the
glassy sea!
At last the port was reached.
The captain landed and ran to the palace, where he
found the wicked old man asleep. The Princess clasped
her husband in a long embrace. The magician tried to
escape, but he was seized and bound with strong cords.
The next day the sorcerer, tied to the tail of a savage
mule loaded with nuts, was broken into as many pieces as
there were nuts upon the mule's back.[1]
[1] Traditions Populaires de l'Asie Mineure. Carnoy et
Nicolaides. Paris: Maisonneuve, 1889.
Once upon a time there lived a king who was deeply in
love with a princess, but she could not marry anyone,
because she was under an enchantment. So the King set out
to seek a fairy, and asked what he could do to win the
Princess's love. The Fairy said to him:
"You know that the Princess has a great cat which she
is very fond of. Whoever is clever enough to tread on
that cat's tail is the man she is destined to marry."
The King said to himself that this would not be very
difficult, and he left the Fairy, determined to grind the
cat's tail to powder rather than not tread on it at all.
You may imagine that it was not long before he went
to see the Princess, and puss, as usual, marched in before
him, arching his back. The King took a long step, and
quite thought he had the tail under his foot, but the cat
turned round so sharply that he only trod on air. And so
it went on for eight days, till the King began to think that
this fatal tail must be full of quicksilver--it was never
still for a moment.
At last, however, he was lucky enough to come upon
puss fast asleep and with his tail conveniently spread out.
So the King, without losing a moment, set his foot upon it
With one terrific yell the cat sprang up and instantly
changed into a tall man, who, fixing his angry eyes upon
the King, said:
"You shall marry the Princess because you have been
able to break the enchantment, but I will have my
revenge. You shall have a son, who will never be happy
until he finds out that his nose is too long, and if you ever
tell anyone what I have just said to you, you shall vanish
away instantly, and no one shall ever see you or hear of
you again."
Though the King was horribly afraid of the enchanter,
he could not help laughing at this threat.
"If my son has such a long nose as that," he said to
himself, "he must always see it or feel it; at least, if he is
not blind or without hands."
But, as the enchanter had vanished, he did not waste
any more time in thinking, but went to seek the Princess,
who very soon consented to marry him. But after all,
they had not been married very long when the King died,
and the Queen had nothing left to care for but her little
son, who was called Hyacinth. The little Prince had large
blue eyes, the prettiest eyes in the world, and a sweet
little mouth, but, alas! his nose was so enormous that it
covered half his face. The Queen was inconsolable when
she saw this great nose, but her ladies assured her that it
was not really as large as it looked; that it was a Roman
nose, and you had only to open any history to see that
every hero has a large nose. The Queen, who was devoted
to her baby, was pleased with what they told her, and
when she looked at Hyacinth again, his nose certainly did
not seem to her QUITE so large.
The Prince was brought up with great care; and, as
soon as he could speak, they told him all sorts of dreadful
stories about people who had short noses. No one was
allowed to come near him whose nose did not more or less
resemble his own, and the courtiers, to get into favor with
the Queen, took to pulling their babies' noses several
times every day to make them grow long. But, do what
they would, they were nothing by comparison with the
When he grew sensible he learned history; and whenever
any great prince or beautiful princess was spoken of,
his teachers took care to tell him that they had long noses.
His room was hung with pictures, all of people with
very large noses; and the Prince grew up so convinced
that a long nose was a great beauty, that he would not on
any account have had his own a single inch shorter!
When his twentieth birthday was passed the Queen
thought it was time that he should be married, so she
commanded that the portraits of several princesses should
be brought for him to see, and among the others was a
picture of the Dear Little Princess!
Now, she was the daughter of a great king, and would
some day possess several kingdoms herself; but Prince
Hyacinth had not a thought to spare for anything of that
sort, he was so much struck with her beauty. The Princess,
whom he thought quite charming, had, however, a
little saucy nose, which, in her face, was the prettiest
thing possible, but it was a cause of great embarrassment
to the courtiers, who had got into such a habit of laughing
at little noses that they sometimes found themselves
laughing at hers before they had time to think; but this
did not do at all before the Prince, who quite failed to see
the joke, and actually banished two of his courtiers who
had dared to mention disrespectfully the Dear Little
Princess's tiny nose!
The others, taking warning from this, learned to think
twice before they spoke, and one even went so far as to
tell the Prince that, though it was quite true that no man
could be worth anything unless he had a long nose, still,
a woman's beauty was a different thing; and he knew a
learned man who understood Greek and had read in some
old manuscripts that the beautiful Cleopatra herself had
a "tip-tilted" nose!
The Prince made him a splendid present as a reward for
this good news, and at once sent ambassadors to ask the
Dear Little Princess in marriage. The King, her father,
gave his consent; and Prince Hyacinth, who, in his anxiety
to see the Princess, had gone three leagues to meet her
was just advancing to kiss her hand when, to the horror
of all who stood by, the enchanter appeared as suddenly
as a flash of lightning, and, snatching up the Dear Little
Princess, whirled her away out of their sight!
The Prince was left quite unconsolable, and declared
that nothing should induce him to go back to his kingdom
until he had found her again, and refusing to allow any of
his courtiers to follow him, he mounted his horse and rode
sadly away, letting the animal choose his own path.
So it happened that he came presently to a great plain,
across which he rode all day long without seeing a single
house, and horse and rider were terribly hungry, when, as
the night fell, the Prince caught sight of a light, which
seemed to shine from a cavern.
He rode up to it, and saw a little old woman, who
appeared to be at least a hundred years old.
She put on her spectacles to look at Prince Hyacinth,
but it was quite a long time before she could fix them
securely because her nose was so very short.
The Prince and the Fairy (for that was who she was)
had no sooner looked at one another than they went into
fits of laughter, and cried at the same moment, "Oh, what
a funny nose!"
"Not so funny as your own," said Prince Hyacinth to
the Fairy; "but, madam, I beg you to leave the consideration
of our noses--such as they are--and to be good
enough to give me something to eat, for I am starving,
and so is my poor horse."
"With all my heart," said the Fairy. "Though your nose
is so ridiculous you are, nevertheless, the son of my best
friend. I loved your father as if he had been my brother.
Now HE had a very handsome nose!"
"And pray what does mine lack?" said the Prince.
"Oh! it doesn't LACK anything," replied the Fairy. "On
the contrary quite, there is only too much of it. But
never mind, one may be a very worthy man though his
nose is too long. I was telling you that I was your father's
friend; he often came to see me in the old times, and you
must know that I was very pretty in those days; at least,
he used to say so. I should like to tell you of a conversation
we had the last time I ever saw him."
"Indeed," said the Prince, "when I have supped it will
give me the greatest pleasure to hear it; but consider,
madam, I beg of you, that I have had nothing to eat
"The poor boy is right," said the Fairy; "I was
forgetting. Come in, then, and I will give you some supper, and
while you are eating I can tell you my story in a very few
words--for I don't like endless tales myself. Too long a
tongue is worse than too long a nose, and I remember
when I was young that I was so much admired for not
being a great chatterer. They used to tell the Queen, my
mother, that it was so. For though you see what I am
now, I was the daughter of a great king. My father----"
"Your father, I dare say, got something to eat when he
was hungry!" interrupted the Prince.
"Oh! certainly," answered the Fairy, "and you also
shall have supper directly. I only just wanted to tell
"But I really cannot listen to anything until I have had
something to eat," cried the Prince, who was getting quite
angry; but then, remembering that he had better be
polite as he much needed the Fairy's help, he added:
"I know that in the pleasure of listening to you I should
quite forget my own hunger; but my horse, who cannot
hear you, must really be fed!"
The Fairy was very much flattered by this compliment,
and said, calling to her servants:
"You shall not wait another minute, you are so polite,
and in spite of the enormous size of your nose you are
really very agreeable."
"Plague take the old lady! How she does go on about
my nose!" said the Prince to himself. "One would almost
think that mine had taken all the extra length that hers
lacks! If I were not so hungry I would soon have done
with this chatterpie who thinks she talks very little! How
stupid people are not to see their own faults! That comes
of being a princess: she has been spoiled by flatterers, who
have made her believe that she is quite a moderate talker!"
Meanwhile the servants were putting the supper on the
table, and the prince was much amused to hear the Fairy
who asked them a thousand questions simply for the
pleasure of hearing herself speak; especially he noticed
one maid who, no matter what was being said, always
contrived to praise her mistress's wisdom.
"Well!" he thought, as he ate his supper, "I'm very glad
I came here. This just shows me how sensible I have been
in never listening to flatterers. People of that sort praise
us to our faces without shame, and hide our faults or
change them into virtues. For my part I never will be
taken in by them. I know my own defects, I hope."
Poor Prince Hyacinth! He really believed what he said,
and hadn't an idea that the people who had praised his
nose were laughing at him, just as the Fairy's maid was
laughing at her; for the Prince had seen her laugh slyly
when she could do so without the Fairy's noticing her.
However, he said nothing, and presently, when his
hunger began to be appeased, the Fairy said:
"My dear Prince, might I beg you to move a little more
that way, for your nose casts such a shadow that I really
cannot see what I have on my plate. Ah! thanks. Now
let us speak of your father. When I went to his Court he
was only a little boy, but that is forty years ago, and I
have been in this desolate place ever since. Tell me what
goes on nowadays; are the ladies as fond of amusement as
ever? In my time one saw them at parties, theatres, balls,
and promenades every day. Dear me! WHAT a long nose
you have! I cannot get used to it!"
"Really, madam," said the Prince, "I wish you would
leave off mentioning my nose. It cannot matter to you
what it is like. I am quite satisfied with it, and have no
wish to have it shorter. One must take what is given one."
"Now you are angry with me, my poor Hyacinth," said
the Fairy, "and I assure you that I didn't mean to vex
you; on the contrary, I wished to do you a service. However,
though I really cannot help your nose being a shock
to me, I will try not to say anything about it. I will even
try to think that you have an ordinary nose. To tell the
truth, it would make three reasonable ones."
The Prince, who was no longer hungry, grew so impatient
at the Fairy's continual remarks about his nose that
at last he threw himself upon his horse and rode hastily
away. But wherever he came in his journeyings he thought
the people were mad, for they all talked of his nose, and
yet he could not bring himself to admit that it was too
long, he had been so used all his life to hear it called handsome.
The old Fairy, who wished to make him happy, at last
hit upon a plan. She shut the Dear Little Princess up in
a palace of crystal, and put this palace down where the
Prince would not fail to find it. His joy at seeing the
Princess again was extreme, and he set to work with all
his might to try to break her prison; but in spite of all his
efforts he failed utterly. In despair he thought at least
that he would try to get near enough to speak to the Dear
Little Princess, who, on her part, stretched out her hand
that he might kiss it; but turn which way he might, he
never could raise it to his lips, for his long nose always
prevented it. For the first time he realized how long it
really was, and exclaimed:
"Well, it must be admitted that my nose IS too long!"
In an instant the crystal prison flew into a thousand
splinters, and the old Fairy, taking the Dear Little Princess
by the hand, said to the Prince:
"Now, say if you are not very much obliged to me.
Much good it was for me to talk to you about your nose!
You would never have found out how extraordinary it
was if it hadn't hindered you from doing what you wanted
to. You see how self-love keeps us from knowing our own
defects of mind and body. Our reason tries in vain to
show them to us; we refuse to see them till we find them
in the way of our interests."
Prince Hyacinth, whose nose was now just like anyone's
else, did not fail to profit by the lesson he had
received. He married the Dear Little Princess, and they
lived happily ever after.[1]
[1] Le Prince Desir et la Princesse Mignonne. Par Madame
Leprince de Beaumont.
Once upon a time there was a poor husbandman who
had many children and little to give them in the way
either of food or clothing. They were all pretty, but the
prettiest of all was the youngest daughter, who was so
beautiful that there were no bounds to her beauty.
So once--it was late on a Thursday evening in autumn,
and wild weather outside, terribly dark, and raining so
heavily and blowing so hard that the walls of the cottage
shook again--they were all sitting together by the fireside,
each of them busy with something or other, when
suddenly some one rapped three times against the windowpane.
The man went out to see what could be the matter,
and when he got out there stood a great big white bear.
"Good-evening to you," said the White Bear.
"Good-evening," said the man.
"Will you give me your youngest daughter?" said the
White Bear; "if you will, you shall be as rich as you are
now poor.
Truly the man would have had no objection to be rich,
but he thought to himself: "I must first ask my daughter
about this," so he went in and told them that there was a
great white bear outside who had faithfully promised to
make them all rich if he might but have the youngest
She said no, and would not hear of it; so the man went
out again, and settled with the White Bear that he should
come again next Thursday evening, and get her answer.
Then the man persuaded her, and talked so much to her
about the wealth that they would have, and what a good
thing it would be for herself, that at last she made up her
mind to go, and washed and mended all her rags, made
herself as smart as she could, and held herself in readiness
to set out. Little enough had she to take away with her.
Next Thursday evening the White Bear came to fetch
her. She seated herself on his back with her bundle, and
thus they departed. When they had gone a great part of
the way, the White Bear said: "Are you afraid?"
"No, that I am not," said she.
" Keep tight hold of my fur, and then there is no
danger," said he.
And thus she rode far, far away, until they came to a
great mountain. Then the White Bear knocked on it, and
a door opened, and they went into a castle where there
were many brilliantly lighted rooms which shone with
gold and silver, likewise a large hall in which there was a
well-spread table, and it was so magnificent that it would
be hard to make anyone understand how splendid it was.
The White Bear gave her a silver bell, and told her that
when she needed anything she had but to ring this bell,
and what she wanted would appear. So after she had
eaten, and night was drawing near, she grew sleepy after
her journey, and thought she would like to go to bed.
She rang the bell, and scarcely had she touched it before
she found herself in a chamber where a bed stood ready
made for her, which was as pretty as anyone could wish
to sleep in. It had pillows of silk, and curtains of silk
fringed with gold, and everything that was in the room
was of gold or silver, but when she had lain down and
put out the light a man came and lay down beside her,
and behold it was the White Bear, who cast off the form
of a beast during the night. She never saw him, however,
for he always came after she had put out her light, and
went away before daylight appeared.
So all went well and happily for a time, but then she
began to be very sad and sorrowful, for all day long she
had to go about alone; and she did so wish to go home to
her father and mother and brothers and sisters. Then the
White Bear asked what it was that she wanted, and she
told him that it was so dull there in the mountain, and
that she had to go about all alone, and that in her parents'
house at home there were all her brothers and sisters, and
it was because she could not go to them that she was so
"There might be a cure for that," said the White Bear,
"if you would but promise me never to talk with your
mother alone, but only when the others are there too; for
she will take hold of your hand," he said, "and will want
to lead you into a room to talk with you alone; but that
you must by no means do, or you will bring great misery
on both of us."
So one Sunday the White Bear came and said that they
could now set out to see her father and mother, and they
journeyed thither, she sitting on his back, and they went
a long, long way, and it took a long, long time; but at last
they came to a large white farmhouse, and her brothers
and sisters were running about outside it, playing, and it
was so pretty that it was a pleasure to look at it.
"Your parents dwell here now," said the White Bear;
"but do not forget what I said to you, or you will do much
harm both to yourself and me."
"No, indeed," said she, "I shall never forget;" and as
soon as she was at home the White Bear turned round and
went back again.
There were such rejoicings when she went in to her
parents that it seemed as if they would never come to an
end. Everyone thought that he could never be sufficiently
grateful to her for all she had done for them all. Now they
had everything that they wanted, and everything was as
good as it could be. They all asked her how she was getting
on where she was. All was well with her too, she said;
and she had everything that she could want. What other
answers she gave I cannot say, but I am pretty sure that
they did not learn much from her. But in the afternoon,
after they had dined at midday, all happened just as the
White Bear had said. Her mother wanted to talk with
her alone in her own chamber. But she remembered what
the White Bear had said, and would on no account go.
"What we have to say can be said at any time," she
answered. But somehow or other her mother at last
persuaded her, and she was forced to tell the whole story. So
she told how every night a man came and lay down beside
her when the lights were all put out, and how she never
saw him, because he always went away before it grew
light in the morning, and how she continually went about
in sadness, thinking how happy she would be if she could
but see him, and how all day long she had to go about
alone, and it was so dull and solitary. "Oh!" cried the
mother, in horror, "you are very likely sleeping with a
troll! But I will teach you a way to see him. You shall
have a bit of one of my candles, which you can take away
with you hidden in your breast. Look at him with that
when he is asleep, but take care not to let any tallow drop
upon him."
So she took the candle, and hid it in her breast, and
when evening drew near the White Bear came to fetch her
away. When they had gone some distance on their way,
the White Bear asked her if everything had not happened
just as he had foretold, and she could not but own that it
had. "Then, if you have done what your mother wished,"
said he, "you have brought great misery on both of us."
"No," she said, "I have not done anything at all." So
when she had reached home and had gone to bed it was
just the same as it had been before, and a man came and
lay down beside her, and late at night, when she could
hear that he was sleeping, she got up and kindled a light,
lit her candle, let her light shine on him, and saw him, and
he was the handsomest prince that eyes had ever beheld,
and she loved him so much that it seemed to her that she
must die if she did not kiss him that very moment. So
she did kiss him; but while she was doing it she let three
drops of hot tallow fall upon his shirt, and he awoke.
"What have you done now?" said he; "you have brought
misery on both of us. If you had but held out for the
space of one year I should have been free. I have a stepmother
who has bewitched me so that I am a white bear
by day and a man by night; but now all is at an end
between you and me, and I must leave you, and go to her.
She lives in a castle which lies east of the sun and west of
the moon, and there too is a princess with a nose which
is three ells long, and she now is the one whom I must
She wept and lamented, but all in vain, for go he must.
Then she asked him if she could not go with him. But
no, that could not be. "Can you tell me the way then,
and I will seek you--that I may surely be allowed to do!"
"Yes, you may do that," said he; "but there is no way
thither. It lies east of the sun and west of the moon, and
never would you find your way there."
When she awoke in the morning both the Prince and
the castle were gone, and she was lying on a small green
patch in the midst of a dark, thick wood. By her side lay
the self-same bundle of rags which she had brought with
her from her own home. So when she had rubbed the
sleep out of her eyes, and wept till she was weary, she
set out on her way, and thus she walked for many and
many a long day, until at last she came to a great mountain.
Outside it an aged woman was sitting, playing with
a golden apple. The girl asked her if she knew the way
to the Prince who lived with his stepmother in the castle
which lay east of the sun and west of the moon, and who
was to marry a princess with a nose which was three ells
long. "How do you happen to know about him?"
inquired the old woman; "maybe you are she who ought to
have had him." "Yes, indeed, I am," she said. "So it is
you, then?" said the old woman; "I know nothing about
him but that he dwells in a castle which is east of the sun
and west of the moon. You will be a long time in getting
to it, if ever you get to it at all; but you shall have the
loan of my horse, and then you can ride on it to an old
woman who is a neighbor of mine: perhaps she can tell
you about him. When you have got there you must just
strike the horse beneath the left ear and bid it go home
again; but you may take the golden apple with you."
So the girl seated herself on the horse, and rode for a
long, long way, and at last she came to the mountain, where
an aged woman was sitting outside with a gold cardingcomb.
The girl asked her if she knew the way to the
castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon;
but she said what the first old woman had said: "I know
nothing about it, but that it is east of the sun and west
of the moon, and that you will be a long time in getting
to it, if ever you get there at all; but you shall have the
loan of my horse to an old woman who lives the nearest
to me: perhaps she may know where the castle is, and
when you have got to her you may just strike the horse
beneath the left ear and bid it go home again." Then she
gave her the gold carding-comb, for it might, perhaps, be
of use to her, she said.
So the girl seated herself on the horse, and rode a
wearisome long way onward again, and after a very long time
she came to a great mountain, where an aged woman was
sitting, spinning at a golden spinning-wheel. Of this
woman, too, she inquired if she knew the way to the
Prince, and where to find the castle which lay east of the
sun and west of the moon. But it was only the same
thing once again. "Maybe it was you who should have
had the Prince," said the old woman. "Yes, indeed, I
should have been the one," said the girl. But this old
crone knew the way no better than the others--it was
east of the sun and west of the moon, she knew that, "and
you will be a long time in getting to it, if ever you get to
it at all," she said; "but you may have the loan of my
horse, and I think you had better ride to the East Wind,
and ask him: perhaps he may know where the castle is,
and will blow you thither. But when you have got to
him you must just strike the horse beneath the left ear,
and he will come home again." And then she gave her the
golden spinning-wheel, saying: "Perhaps you may find
that you have a use for it."
The girl had to ride for a great many days, and for a
long and wearisome time, before she got there; but at last
she did arrive, and then she asked the East Wind if he
could tell her the way to the Prince who dwelt east of the
sun and west of the moon. "Well," said the East Wind,
"I have heard tell of the Prince, and of his castle, but I
do not know the way to it, for I have never blown so far;
but, if you like, I will go with you to my brother the West
Wind: he may know that, for he is much stronger than I
am. You may sit on my back, and then I can carry you
there." So she seated herself on his back, and they did go
so swiftly! When they got there, the East Wind went in
and said that the girl whom he had brought was the one
who ought to have had the Prince up at the castle which
lay east of the sun and west of the moon, and that now she
was traveling about to find him again, so he had come
there with her, and would like to hear if the West Wind
knew whereabout the castle was. "No," said the West
Wind; "so far as that have I never blown; but if you like
I will go with you to the South Wind, for he is much
stronger than either of us, and he has roamed far and wide,
and perhaps he can tell you what you want to know. You
may seat yourself on my back, and then I will carry you
to him.".
So she did this, and journeyed to the South Wind,
neither was she very long on the way. When they had got
there, the West Wind asked him if he could tell her the
way to the castle that lay east of the sun and west of the
moon, for she was the girl who ought to marry the Prince
who lived there. "Oh, indeed!" said the South Wind, "is
that she? Well," said he, "I have wandered about a great
deal in my time, and in all kinds of places, but I have
never blown so far as that. If you like, however, I will go
with you to my brother, the North Wind; he is the oldest
and strongest of all of us, and if he does not know where
it is no one in the whole world will be able to tell you.
You may sit upon my back, and then I will carry you
there." So she seated herself on his back, and off he went
from his house in great haste, and they were not long on
the way. When they came near the North Wind's dwelling,
he was so wild and frantic that they felt cold gusts a
long while before they got there. "What do you want?"
he roared out from afar, and they froze as they heard.
Said the South Wind: "It is I, and this is she who should
have had the Prince who lives in the castle which lies east
of the sun and west of the moon. And now she wishes to
ask you if you have ever been there, and can tell her the
way, for she would gladly find him again."
"Yes," said the North Wind, "I know where it is. I
once blew an aspen leaf there, but I was so tired that for
many days afterward I was not able to blow at all. However,
if you really are anxious to go there, and are not
afraid to go with me, I will take you on my back, and try
if I can blow you there."
"Get there I must," said she; "and if there is any way
of going I will; and I have no fear, no matter how fast you
"Very well then," said the North Wind; "but you must
sleep here to-night, for if we are ever to get there we must
have the day before us."
The North Wind woke her betimes next morning, and
puffed himself up, and made himself so big and so strong
that it was frightful to see him, and away they went, high
up through the air, as if they would not stop until they
had reached the very end of the world. Down below there
was such a storm! It blew down woods and houses, and
when they were above the sea the ships were wrecked by
hundreds. And thus they tore on and on, and a long time
went by, and then yet more time passed, and still they
were above the sea, and the North Wind grew tired, and
more tired, and at last so utterly weary that he was scarcely
able to blow any longer, and he sank and sank, lower
and lower, until at last he went so low that the waves
dashed against the heels of the poor girl he was carrying.
"Art thou afraid?" said the North Wind. "I have no
fear," said she; and it was true. But they were not very,
very far from land, and there was just enough strength
left in the North Wind to enable him to throw her on to
the shore, immediately under the windows of a castle
which lay east of the sun and west of the moon; but then
he was so weary and worn out that he was forced to rest
for several days before he could go to his own home again.
Next morning she sat down beneath the walls of the
castle to play with the golden apple, and the first person
she saw was the maiden with the long nose, who was to
have the Prince. "How much do you want for that gold
apple of yours, girl?" said she, opening the window. "It
can't be bought either for gold or money," answered the
girl. "If it cannot be bought either for gold or money,
what will buy it? You may say what you please," said
the Princess.
"Well, if I may go to the Prince who is here, and be
with him to-night, you shall have it," said the girl who
had come with the North Wind. "You may do that," said
the Princess, for she had made up her mind what she
would do. So the Princess got the golden apple, but when
the girl went up to the Prince's apartment that night he
was asleep, for the Princess had so contrived it. The poor
girl called to him, and shook him, and between whiles she
wept; but she could not wake him. In the morning, as
soon as day dawned, in came the Princess with the long
nose, and drove her out again. In the daytime she sat
down once more beneath the windows of the castle, and
began to card with her golden carding-comb; and then all
happened as it had happened before. The Princess asked
her what she wanted for it, and she replied that it was not
for sale, either for gold or money, but that if she could get
leave to go to the Prince, and be with him during the
night, she should have it. But when she went up to the
Prince's room he was again asleep, and, let her call him,
or shake him, or weep as she would, he still slept on, and
she could not put any life in him. When daylight came in
the morning, the Princess with the long nose came too,
and once more drove her away. When day had quite
come, the girl seated herself under the castle windows, to
spin with her golden spinning-wheel, and the Princess
with the long nose wanted to have that also. So she
opened the window, and asked what she would take for
it. The girl said what she had said on each of the former
occasions--that it was not for sale either for gold or for
money, but if she could get leave to go to the Prince who
lived there, and be with him during the night, she should
have it.
"Yes," said the Princess, "I will gladly consent to that."
But in that place there were some Christian folk who
had been carried off, and they had been sitting in the
chamber which was next to that of the Prince, and had
heard how a woman had been in there who had wept and
called on him two nights running, and they told the
Prince of this. So that evening, when the Princess came
once more with her sleeping-drink, he pretended to drink,
but threw it away behind him, for he suspected that it
was a sleeping-drink. So, when the girl went into the
Prince's room this time he was awake, and she had to tell
him how she had come there. "You have come just in
time," said the Prince, "for I should have been married
to-morrow; but I will not have the long-nosed Princess,
and you alone can save me. I will say that I want to see
what my bride can do, and bid her wash the shirt which
has the three drops of tallow on it. This she will consent
to do, for she does not know that it is you who let them
fall on it; but no one can wash them out but one born of
Christian folk: it cannot be done by one of a pack of
trolls; and then I will say that no one shall ever be my bride
but the woman who can do this, and I know that you
can." There was great joy and gladness between them all
that night, but the next day, when the wedding was to
take place, the Prince said, "I must see what my bride
can do." "That you may do," said the stepmother.
"I have a fine shirt which I want to wear as my wedding
shirt, but three drops of tallow have got upon it which I
want to have washed off, and I have vowed to marry no
one but the woman who is able to do it. If she cannot do
that, she is not worth having."
Well, that was a very small matter, they thought, and
agreed to do it. The Princess with the long nose began
to wash as well as she could, but, the more she washed and
rubbed, the larger the spots grew. "Ah! you can't wash
at all," said the old troll-hag, who was her mother. "Give
it to me." But she too had not had the shirt very long in
her hands before it looked worse still, and, the more she
washed it and rubbed it, the larger and blacker grew the
So the other trolls had to come and wash, but, the more
they did, the blacker and uglier grew the shirt, until at
length it was as black as if it had been up the chimney.
"Oh," cried the Prince, "not one of you is good for
anything at all! There is a beggar-girl sitting outside the
window, and I'll be bound that she can wash better than
any of you! Come in, you girl there!" he cried. So she
came in. "Can you wash this shirt clean?" he cried. "Oh!
I don't know," she said; "but I will try." And no sooner
had she taken the shirt and dipped it in the water than
it was white as driven snow, and even whiter than that.
"I will marry you," said the Prince.
Then the old troll-hag flew into such a rage that she
burst, and the Princess with the long nose and all the
little trolls must have burst too, for they have never been
heard of since. The Prince and his bride set free all the
Christian folk who were imprisoned there, and took away
with them all the gold and silver that they could carry,
and moved far away from the castle which lay east of the
sun and west of the moon.[1]
[1] Asbjornsen and Moe.
Once upon a time there lived a queen who had been the
mother of a great many children, and of them all only one
daughter was left. But then SHE was worth at least a thousand.
Her mother, who, since the death of the King, her
father, had nothing in the world she cared for so much as
this little Princess, was so terribly afraid of losing her that
she quite spoiled her, and never tried to correct any of her
faults. The consequence was that this little person, who
was as pretty as possible, and was one day to wear a crown,
grew up so proud and so much in love with her own beauty
that she despised everyone else in the world.
The Queen, her mother, by her caresses and flatteries,
helped to make her believe that there was nothing too
good for her. She was dressed almost always in the prettiest
frocks, as a fairy, or as a queen going out to hunt, and
the ladies of the Court followed her dressed as forest
And to make her more vain than ever the Queen caused
her portrait to be taken by the cleverest painters and sent
it to several neighboring kings with whom she was very
When they saw this portrait they fell in love with the
Princess--every one of them, but upon each it had a
different effect. One fell ill, one went quite crazy, and a
few of the luckiest set off to see her as soon as possible,
but these poor princes became her slaves the moment they
set eyes on her.
Never has there been a gayer Court. Twenty delightful
kings did everything they could think of to make
themselves agreeable, and after having spent ever so
much money in giving a single entertainment thought
themselves very lucky if the Princess said "That's pretty."
All this admiration vastly pleased the Queen. Not a
day passed but she received seven or eight thousand
sonnets, and as many elegies, madrigals, and songs, which
were sent her by all the poets in the world. All the prose
and the poetry that was written just then was about
Bellissima--for that was the Princess's name--and all the
bonfires that they had were made of these verses, which
crackled and sparkled better than any other sort of wood.
Bellissima was already fifteen years old, and every one
of the Princes wished to marry her, but not one dared to
say so. How could they when they knew that any of
them might have cut off his head five or six times a day
just to please her, and she would have thought it a mere
trifle, so little did she care? You may imagine how hardhearted
her lovers thought her; and the Queen, who
wished to see her married, did not know how to persuade
her to think of it seriously.
"Bellissima," she said, "I do wish you would not be so
proud. What makes you despise all these nice kings? I
wish you to marry one of them, and you do not try to
please me."
"I am so happy," Bellissima answered: "do leave me in
peace, madam. I don't want to care for anyone."
"But you would be very happy with any of these
Princes," said the Queen, "and I shall be very angry if you
fall in love with anyone who is not worthy of you."
But the Princess thought so much of herself that she
did not consider any one of her lovers clever or handsome
enough for her; and her mother, who was getting really
angry at her determination not to be married, began to
wish that she had not allowed her to have her own way so
At last, not knowing what else to do, she resolved to
consult a certain witch who was called "The Fairy of the
Desert." Now this was very difficult to do, as she was
guarded by some terrible lions; but happily the Queen
had heard a long time before that whoever wanted to pass
these lions safely must throw to them a cake made of
millet flour, sugar-candy, and crocodile's eggs. This cake
she prepared with her own hands, and putting it in a
little basket, she set out to seek the Fairy. But as she
was not used to walking far, she soon felt very tired and
sat down at the foot of a tree to rest, and presently fell
fast asleep. When she awoke she was dismayed to find
her basket empty. The cake was all gone! and, to make
matters worse, at that moment she heard the roaring of
the great lions, who had found out that she was near and
were coming to look for her
"What shall I do?" she cried; "I shall be eaten up," and
being too frightened to run a single step, she began to cry,
and leaned against the tree under which she had been
Just then she heard some one say: "H'm, h'm!"
She looked all round her, and then up the tree, and
there she saw a little tiny man, who was eating oranges.
"Oh! Queen," said he, "I know you very well, and I
know how much afraid you are of the lions; and you are
quite right too, for they have eaten many other people:
and what can you expect, as you have not any cake to
give them?"
"I must make up my mind to die," said the poor Queen.
"Alas! I should not care so much if only my dear daughter
were married."
"Oh! you have a daughter," cried the Yellow Dwarf
(who was so called because he WAS a dwarf and had such
a yellow face, and lived in the orange tree). "I'm really
glad to hear that, for I've been looking for a wife all over
the world. Now, if you will promise that she shall marry
me, not one of the lions, tigers, or bears shall touch you."
The Queen looked at him and was almost as much
afraid of his ugly little face as she had been of the lions
before, so that she could not speak a word.
"What! you hesitate, madam," cried the Dwarf. "You
must be very fond of being eaten up alive."
And, as he spoke, the Queen saw the lions, which were
running down a hill toward them.
Each one had two heads, eight feet, and four rows of
teeth, and their skins were as hard as turtle shells, and
were bright red.
At this dreadful sight, the poor Queen, who was
trembling like a dove when it sees a hawk, cried out as loud as
she could, "Oh! dear Mr. Dwarf, Bellissima shall marry
"Oh, indeed!" said he disdainfully. "Bellissima is pretty
enough, but I don't particularly want to marry her--you
can keep her."
"Oh! noble sir," said the Queen in great distress, ado
not refuse her. She is the most charming Princess in the
"Oh! well," he replied, "out of charity I will take her;
but be sure and don't forget that she is mine."
As he spoke a little door opened in the trunk of the
orange tree, in rushed the Queen, only just in time, and
the door shut with a bang in the faces of the lions.
The Queen was so confused that at first she did not
notice another little door in the orange tree, but presently
it opened and she found herself in a field of thistles and
nettles. It was encircled by a muddy ditch, and a little
further on was a tiny thatched cottage, out of which came
the Yellow Dwarf with a very jaunty air. He wore wooden
shoes and a little yellow coat, and as he had no hair and
very long ears he looked altogether a shocking little
"I am delighted," said he to the Queen, "that, as you
are to be my mother-in-law, you should see the little
house in which your Bellissima will live with me. With
these thistles and nettles she can feed a donkey which she
can ride whenever she likes; under this humble roof no
weather can hurt her; she will drink the water of this
brook and eat frogs--which grow very fat about here; and
then she will have me always with her, handsome, agreeable,
and gay as you see me now. For if her shadow stays
by her more closely than I do I shall be surprised."
The unhappy Queen. seeing all at once what a miserable
life her daughter would have with this Dwarf
could not bear the idea, and fell down insensible without
saying a word.
When she revived she found to her great surprise that
she was lying in her own bed at home, and, what was
more, that she had on the loveliest lace night cap that she
had ever seen in her life. At first she thought that all her
adventures, the terrible lions, and her promise to the
Yellow Dwarf that he should marry Bellissima, must
have been a dream, but there was the new cap with its
beautiful ribbon and lace to remind her that it was all
true, which made her so unhappy that she could neither
eat, drink, nor sleep for thinking of it.
The Princess, who, in spite of her wilfulness, really loved
her mother with all her heart, was much grieved when she
saw her looking so sad, and often asked her what was the
matter; but the Queen, who didn't want her to find out
the truth, only said that she was ill, or that one of her
neighbors was threatening to make war against her.
Bellissima knew quite well that something was being
hidden from her--and that neither of these was the real
reason of the Queen's uneasiness. So she made up her
mind that she would go and consult the Fairy of the
Desert about it, especially as she had often heard how
wise she was, and she thought that at the same time she
might ask her advice as to whether it would be as well to
be married, or not.
So, with great care, she made some of the proper cake
to pacify the lions, and one night went up to her room
very early, pretending that she was going to bed; but
instead of that, she wrapped herself in a long white veil,
and went down a secret staircase, and set off all by herself
to find the Witch.
But when she got as far as the same fatal orange tree,
and saw it covered with flowers and fruit, she stopped and
began to gather some of the oranges--and then, putting
down her basket, she sat down to eat them. But when
it was time to go on again the basket had disappeared
and, though she looked everywhere, not a trace of it
could she find. The more she hunted for it, the more
frightened she got, and at last she began to cry. Then all
at once she saw before her the Yellow Dwarf.
"What's the matter with you, my pretty one?" said he.
"What are you crying about?"
"Alas!" she answered; "no wonder that I am crying,
seeing that I have lost the basket of cake that was to
help me to get safely to the cave of the Fairy of the
"And what do you want with her, pretty one?" said the
little monster, "for I am a friend of hers, and, for the
matter of that, I am quite as clever as she is."
"The Queen, my mother," replied the Princess, "has
lately fallen into such deep sadness that I fear that she
will die; and I am afraid that perhaps I am the cause of
it, for she very much wishes me to be married, and I must
tell you truly that as yet I have not found anyone I consider
worthy to be my husband. So for all these reasons
I wished to talk to the Fairy."
"Do not give yourself any further trouble, Princess,"
answered the Dwarf. "I can tell you all you want to
know better than she could. The Queen, your mother,
has promised you in marriage----"
"Has promised ME!" interrupted the Princess. "Oh! no.
I'm sure she has not. She would have told me if she had.
I am too much interested in the matter for her to promise
anything without my consent--you must be mistaken."
"Beautiful Princess," cried the Dwarf suddenly, throwing
himself on his knees before her, "I flatter myself that
you will not be displeased at her choice when I tell you
that it is to ME she has promised the happiness of marrying you."
"You!" cried Bellissima, starting back. "My mother
wishes me to marry you! How can you be so silly as to
think of such a thing?"
"Oh! it isn't that I care much to have that honor,"
cried the Dwarf angrily; "but here are the lions coming;
they'll eat you up in three mouthfuls, and there will be an
end of you and your pride."
And, indeed, at that moment the poor Princess heard
their dreadful howls coming nearer and nearer.
"What shall I do?" she cried. "Must all my happy days
come to an end like this?"
The malicious Dwarf looked at her and began to laugh
spitefully. "At least," said he, "you have the satisfaction
of dying unmarried. A lovely Princess like you must
surely prefer to die rather than be the wife of a poor little
dwarf like myself."
"Oh, don't be angry with me," cried the Princess,
clasping her hands. "I'd rather marry all the dwarfs in
the world than die in this horrible way."
"Look at me well, Princess, before you give me your
word," said he. "I don't want you to promise me in a
"Oh!" cried she, "the lions are coming. I have looked
at you enough. I am so frightened. Save me this minute,
or I shall die of terror.
Indeed, as she spoke she fell down insensible, and when
she recovered she found herself in her own little bed at
home; how she got there she could not tell, but she was
dressed in the most beautiful lace and ribbons, and on her
finger was a little ring, made of a single red hair, which
fitted so tightly that, try as she might, she could not get
it off.
When the Princess saw all these things, and remembered
what had happened, she, too, fell into the deepest
sadness, which surprised and alarmed the whole Court,
and the Queen more than anyone else. A hundred times
she asked Bellissima if anything was the matter with her;
but she always said that there was nothing
At last the chief men of the kingdom, anxious to see
their Princess married, sent to the Queen to beg her to
choose a husband for her as soon as possible. She replied
that nothing would please her better, but that her daughter
seemed so unwilling to marry, and she recommended
them to go and talk to the Princess about it themselves
so this they at once did. Now Bellissima was much less
proud since her adventure with the Yellow Dwarf, and
she could not think of a better way of getting rid of the
little monster than to marry some powerful king, therefore
she replied to their request much more favorably
than they had hoped, saying that, though she was very
happy as she was, still, to please them, she would consent
to marry the King of the Gold Mines. Now he was a very
handsome and powerful Prince, who had been in love
with the Princess for years, but had not thought that she
would ever care about him at all. You can easily imagine
how delighted he was when he heard the news, and how
angry it made all the other kings to lose for ever the hope
of marrying the Princess; but, after all, Bellissima could
not have married twenty kings--indeed, she had found
it quite difficult enough to choose one, for her vanity
made her believe that there was nobody in the world who
was worthy of her.
Preparations were begun at once for the grandest wedding
that had ever been held at the palace. The King of
the Gold Mines sent such immense sums of money that
the whole sea was covered with the ships that brought it.
Messengers were sent to all the gayest and most refined
Courts, particularly to the Court of France, to seek out
everything rare and precious to adorn the Princess,
although her beauty was so perfect that nothing she wore
could make her look prettier. At least that is what the
King of the Gold Mines thought, and he was never happy
unless he was with her.
As for the Princess, the more she saw of the King the
more she liked him; he was so generous, so handsome and
clever, that at last she was almost as much in love with
him as he was with her. How happy they were as they
wandered about in the beautiful gardens together, sometimes
listening to sweet music! And the King used to write songs
for Bellissima. This is one that she liked very much:
In the forest all is gay
When my Princess walks that way.
All the blossoms then are found
Downward fluttering to the ground,
Hoping she may tread on them.
And bright flowers on slender stem
Gaze up at her as she passes
Brushing lightly through the grasses.
Oh! my Princess, birds above
Echo back our songs of love,
As through this enchanted land
Blithe we wander, hand in hand.
They really were as happy as the day was long. All the
King's unsuccessful rivals had gone home in despair.
They said good-by to the Princess so sadly that she could
not help being sorry for them.
"Ah! madam," the King of the Gold Mines said to her
"how is this? Why do you waste your pity on these
princes, who love you so much that all their trouble would
be well repaid by a single smile from you?"
"I should be sorry," answered Bellissima, "if you had
not noticed how much I pitied these princes who were
leaving me for ever; but for you, sire, it is very different:
you have every reason to be pleased with me, but they are
going sorrowfully away, so you must not grudge them my
The King of the Gold Mines was quite overcome by the
Princess's good-natured way of taking his interference,
and, throwing himself at her feet, he kissed her hand a
thousand times and begged her to forgive him.
At last the happy day came. Everything was ready
for Bellissima's wedding. The trumpets sounded, all the
streets of the town were hung with flags and strewn with
flowers, and the people ran in crowds to the great square
before the palace. The Queen was so overjoyed that she
had hardly been able to sleep at all, and she got up before
it was light to give the necessary orders and to choose the
jewels that the Princess was to wear. These were nothing
less than diamonds, even to her shoes, which were covered
with them, and her dress of silver brocade was embroidered
with a dozen of the sun's rays. You may imagine
how much these had cost; but then nothing could have
been more brilliant, except the beauty of the Princess!
Upon her head she wore a splendid crown, her lovely hair
waved nearly to her feet, and her stately figure could
easily be distinguished among all the ladies who attended
The King of the Gold Mines was not less noble and
splendid; it was easy to see by his face how happy he was,
and everyone who went near him returned loaded with
presents, for all round the great banqueting hall had been
arranged a thousand barrels full of gold, and numberless
bags made of velvet embroidered with pearls and filled
with money, each one containing at least a hundred
thousand gold pieces, which were given away to everyone
who liked to hold out his hand, which numbers of people
hastened to do, you may be sure--indeed, some found
this by far the most amusing part of the wedding festivities.
The Queen and the Princess were just ready to set out
with the King when they saw, advancing toward them
from the end of the long gallery, two great basilisks,
dragging after them a very badly made box; behind them
came a tall old woman, whose ugliness was even more
surprising than her extreme old age. She wore a ruff of
black taffeta, a red velvet hood, and a farthingale all in
rags, and she leaned heavily upon a crutch. This strange
old woman, without saying a single word, hobbled three
times round the gallery, followed by the basilisks, then
stopping in the middle, and brandishing her crutch
threateningly, she cried:
"Ho, ho, Queen! Ho, ho, Princess! Do you think you
are going to break with impunity the promise that you
made to my friend the Yellow Dwarf? I am the Fairy of
the Desert; without the Yellow Dwarf and his orange tree
my great lions would soon have eaten you up, I can tell
you, and in Fairyland we do not suffer ourselves to be
insulted like this. Make up your minds at once what you
will do, for I vow that you shall marry the Yellow Dwarf.
If you don't, may I burn my crutch!"
"Ah! Princess," said the Queen, weeping, "what is this
that I hear? What have you promised?"
"Ah! my mother," replied Bellissima sadly, "what did
YOU promise, yourself?"
The King of the Gold Mines, indignant at being kept
from his happiness by this wicked old woman, went up to
her, and threatening her with his sword, said:
"Get away out of my country at once, and for ever,
miserable creature, lest I take your life, and so rid myself
of your malice."
He had hardly spoken these words when the lid of the
box fell back on the floor with a terrible noise, and to their
horror out sprang the Yellow Dwarf, mounted upon a
great Spanish cat. "Rash youth!" he cried, rushing between
the Fairy of the Desert and the King. "Dare to
lay a finger upon this illustrious Fairy! Your quarrel is
with me only. I am your enemy and your rival. That
faithless Princess who would have married you is promised
to me. See if she has not upon her finger a ring made of
one of my hairs. Just try to take it off, and you will soon
find out that I am more powerful than you are!"
"Wretched little monster!" said the King; "do you dare
to call yourself the Princess's lover, and to lay claim to
such a treasure? Do you know that you are a dwarf--
that you are so ugly that one cannot bear to look at you
--and that I should have killed you myself long before
this if you had been worthy of such a glorious death?"
The Yellow Dwarf, deeply enraged at these words, set
spurs to his cat, which yelled horribly, and leaped hither
and thither--terrifying everybody except the brave King,
who pursued the Dwarf closely, till he, drawing a great
knife with which he was armed, challenged the King to
meet him in single combat, and rushed down into the
courtyard of the palace with a terrible clatter. The King,
quite provoked, followed him hastily, but they had hardly
taken their places facing one another, and the whole
Court had only just had time to rush out upon the
balconies to watch what was going on, when suddenly the
sun became as red as blood, and it was so dark that they
could scarcely see at all. The thunder crashed, and the
lightning seemed as if it must burn up everything; the two
basilisks appeared, one on each side of the bad Dwarf, like
giants, mountains high, and fire flew from their mouths
and ears, until they looked like flaming furnaces. None
of these things could terrify the noble young King, and
the boldness of his looks and actions reassured those who
were looking on, and perhaps even embarrassed the Yellow
Dwarf himself; but even HIS courage gave way when he
saw what was happening to his beloved Princess. For the
Fairy of the Desert, looking more terrible than before,
mounted upon a winged griffin, and with long snakes
coiled round her neck, had given her such a blow with the
lance she carried that Bellissima fell into the Queen's
arms bleeding and senseless. Her fond mother, feeling as
much hurt by the blow as the Princess herself, uttered
such piercing cries and lamentations that the King, hearing
them, entirely lost his courage and presence of mind.
Giving up the combat, he flew toward the Princess, to
rescue or to die with her; but the Yellow Dwarf was too
quick for him. Leaping with his Spanish cat upon the
balcony, he snatched Bellissima from the Queen's arms,
and before any of the ladies of the Court could stop him
he had sprung upon the roof of the palace and disappeared
with his prize.
The King, motionless with horror, looked on despairingly
at this dreadful occurrence, which he was quite
powerless to prevent, and to make matters worse his
sight failed him, everything became dark, and he felt himself
carried along through the air by a strong hand.
This new misfortune was the work of the wicked Fairy
of the Desert, who had come with the Yellow Dwarf to
help him carry off the Princess, and had fallen in love
with the handsome young King of the Gold Mines directly
she saw him. She thought that if she carried him off to
some frightful cavern and chained him to a rock, then the
fear of death would make him forget Bellissima and become
her slave. So, as soon as they reached the place, she
gave him back his sight, but without releasing him from
his chains, and by her magic power she appeared before
him as a young and beautiful fairy, and pretended to have
come there quite by chance.
"What do I see? she cried. "Is it YOU, dear Prince?
What misfortune has brought you to this dismal place?"
The King, who was quite deceived by her altered
appearance, replied:
"Alas! beautiful Fairy, the fairy who brought me here
first took away my sight, but by her voice I recognized
her as the Fairy of the Desert, though what she should
have carried me off for I cannot tell you."
"Ah!" cried the pretended Fairy, "if you have fallen
into HER hands, you won't get away until you have married
her. She has carried off more than one Prince like this,
and she will certainly have anything she takes a fancy to."
While she was thus pretending to be sorry for the King,
he suddenly noticed her feet, which were like those of a
griffin, and knew in a moment that this must be the Fairy
of the Desert, for her feet were the one thing she could
not change, however pretty she might make her face.
Without seeming to have noticed anything, he said, in
a confidential way:
"Not that I have any dislike to the Fairy of the Desert,
but I really cannot endure the way in which she protects
the Yellow Dwarf and keeps me chained here like a
criminal. It is true that I love a charming princess, but
if the Fairy should set me free my gratitude would oblige
me to love her only."
"Do you really mean what you say, Prince?" said the
Fairy, quite deceived.
"Surely," replied the Prince; "how could I deceive you?
You see it is so much more flattering to my vanity to be
loved by a fairy than by a simple princess. But, even if
I am dying of love for her, I shall pretend to hate her until
I am set free."
The Fairy of the Desert, quite taken in by these words,
resolved at once to transport the Prince to a pleasanter
place. So, making him mount her chariot, to which she
had harnessed swans instead of the bats which generally
drew it, away she flew with him. But imagine the distress
of the Prince when, from the giddy height at which they
were rushing through the air, he saw his beloved Princess
in a castle built of polished steel, the walls of which
reflected the sun's rays so hotly that no one could approach
it without being burnt to a cinder! Bellissima was sitting
in a little thicket by a brook, leaning her head upon her
hand and weeping bitterly, but just as they passed she
looked up and saw the King and the Fairy of the Desert.
Now, the Fairy was so clever that she could not only seem
beautiful to the King, but even the poor Princess thought
her the most lovely being she had ever seen.
"What!" she cried; "was I not unhappy enough in this
lonely castle to which that frightful Yellow Dwarf
brought me? Must I also be made to know that the King
of the Gold Mines ceased to love me as soon as he lost
sight of me? But who can my rival be, whose fatal beauty
is greater than mine?"
While she was saying this, the King, who really loved
her as much as ever, was feeling terribly sad at being so
rapidly torn away from his beloved Princess, but he knew
too well how powerful the Fairy was to have any hope of
escaping from her except by great patience and cunning.
The Fairy of the Desert had also seen Bellissima, and
she tried to read in the King's eyes the effect that this
unexpected sight had had upon him.
"No one can tell you what you wish to know better than
I can," said he. "This chance meeting with an unhappy
princess for whom I once had a passing fancy, before I
was lucky enough to meet you, has affected me a little, I
admit, but you are so much more to me than she is that
I would rather die than leave you."
"Ah, Prince," she said, "can I believe that you really
love me so much?"
"Time will show, madam," replied the King; "but if you
wish to convince me that you have some regard for me, do
not, I beg of you, refuse to aid Bellissima."
"Do you know what you are asking?" said the Fairy of
the Desert, frowning, and looking at him suspiciously.
"Do you want me to employ my art against the Yellow
Dwarf, who is my best friend, and take away from him a
proud princess whom I can but look upon as my rival?"
The King sighed, but made no answer--indeed, what
was there to be said to such a clear-sighted person? At
last they reached a vast meadow, gay with all sorts of
flowers; a deep river surrounded it, and many little brooks
murmured softly under the shady trees, where it was
always cool and fresh. A little way off stood a splendid
palace, the walls of which were of transparent emeralds.
As soon as the swans which drew the Fairy's chariot had
alighted under a porch, which was paved with diamonds
and had arches of rubies, they were greeted on all sides by
thousands of beautiful beings, who came to meet them
joyfully, singing these words:
"When Love within a heart would reign,
Useless to strive against him 'tis.
The proud but feel a sharper pain,
And make a greater triumph his."
The Fairy of the Desert was delighted to hear them
sing of her triumphs; she led the King into the most
splendid room that can be imagined, and left him alone
for a little while, just that he might not feel that he was
a prisoner; but he felt sure that she had not really gone
quite away, but was watching him from some hidingplace.
So walking up to a great mirror, he said to it,
"Trusty counsellor, let me see what I can do to make
myself agreeable to the charming Fairy of the Desert; for I
can think of nothing but how to please her."
And he at once set to work to curl his hair, and, seeing
upon a table a grander coat than his own, he put it on
carefully. The Fairy came back so delighted that she
could not conceal her joy.
"I am quite aware of the trouble you have taken to
please me," said she, "and I must tell you that you have
succeeded perfectly already. You see it is not difficult to
do if you really care for me."
The King, who had his own reasons for wishing to keep
the old Fairy in a good humor, did not spare pretty
speeches, and after a time he was allowed to walk by
himself upon the sea-shore. The Fairy of the Desert had
by her enchantments raised such a terrible storm that the
boldest pilot would not venture out in it, so she was not
afraid of her prisoner's being able to escape; and he found
it some relief to think sadly over his terrible situation
without being interrupted by his cruel captor.
Presently, after walking wildly up and down, he wrote
these verses upon the sand with his stick:
"At last may I upon this shore
Lighten my sorrow with soft tears.
Alas! alas! I see no more
My Love, who yet my sadness cheers.
"And thou, O raging, stormy Sea,
Stirred by wild winds, from depth to height,
Thou hold'st my loved one far from me,
And I am captive to thy might.
"My heart is still more wild than thine,
For Fate is cruel unto me.
Why must I thus in exile pine?
Why is my Princess snatched from me?
"O! lovely Nymphs, from ocean caves,
Who know how sweet true love may be,
Come up and calm the furious waves
And set a desperate lover free!"
While he was still writing he heard a voice which
attracted his attention in spite of himself. Seeing that the
waves were rolling in higher than ever, he looked all
round, and presently saw a lovely lady floating gently
toward him upon the crest of a huge billow, her long hair
spread all about her; in one hand she held a mirror, and in
the other a comb, and instead of feet she had a beautiful
tail like a fish, with which she swam.
The King was struck dumb with astonishment at this
unexpected sight; but as soon as she came within speaking
distance, she said to him, "I know how sad you are at
losing your Princess and being kept a prisoner by the Fairy
of the Desert; if you like I will help you to escape from
this fatal place, where you may otherwise have to drag on
a weary existence for thirty years or more."
The King of the Gold Mines hardly knew what answer
to make to this proposal. Not because he did not wish
very much to escape, but he was afraid that this might
be only another device by which the Fairy of the Desert
was trying to deceive him. As he hesitated the Mermaid,
who guessed his thoughts, said to him:
"You may trust me: I am not trying to entrap you. I
am so angry with the Yellow Dwarf and the Fairy of the
Desert that I am not likely to wish to help them,
especially since I constantly see your poor Princess, whose
beauty and goodness make me pity her so much; and I
tell you that if you will have confidence in me I will help
you to escape."
"I trust you absolutely," cried the King, "and I will do
whatever you tell me; but if you have seen my Princess I
beg of you to tell me how she is and what is happening to
"We must not waste time in talking," said she. "Come
with me and I will carry you to the Castle of Steel, and
we will leave upon this shore a figure so like you that even
the Fairy herself will be deceived by it."
So saying, she quickly collected a bundle of sea-weed,
and, blowing it three times, she said:
"My friendly sea-weeds, I order you to stay here
stretched upon the sand until the Fairy of the Desert
comes to take you away." And at once the sea-weeds became
like the King, who stood looking at them in great
astonishment, for they were even dressed in a coat like
his, but they lay there pale and still as the King himself
might have lain if one of the great waves had overtaken
him and thrown him senseless upon the shore. And then
the Mermaid caught up the King, and away they swam
joyfully together.
"Now," said she, "I have time to tell you about the
Princess. In spite of the blow which the Fairy of the
Desert gave her, the Yellow Dwarf compelled her to
mount behind him upon his terrible Spanish cat; but she
soon fainted away with pain and terror, and did not recover
till they were within the walls of his frightful Castle
of Steel. Here she was received by the prettiest girls it
was possible to find, who had been carried there by the
Yellow Dwarf, who hastened to wait upon her and showed
her every possible attention. She was laid upon a couch
covered with cloth of gold, embroidered with pearls as big
as nuts."
"Ah!" interrupted the King of the Gold Mines, "if
Bellissima forgets me, and consents to marry him, I shall
break my heart."
"You need not be afraid of that," answered the
Mermaid, "the Princess thinks of no one but you, and the
frightful Dwarf cannot persuade her to look at him."
"Pray go on with your story," said the King.
"What more is there to tell you?" replied the Mermaid.
"Bellissima was sitting in the wood when you passed, and
saw you with the Fairy of the Desert, who was so cleverly
disguised that the Princess took her to be prettier than
herself; you may imagine her despair, for she thought that
you had fallen in love with her."
"She believes that I love her!" cried the King. "What
a fatal mistake! What is to be done to undeceive her?"
"You know best," answered the Mermaid, smiling
kindly at him. "When people are as much in love with
one another as you two are, they don't need advice from
anyone else."
As she spoke they reached the Castle of Steel, the side
next the sea being the only one which the Yellow Dwarf
had left unprotected by the dreadful burning walls.
"I know quite well," said the Mermaid, "that the
Princess is sitting by the brook-side, just where you saw her
as you passed, but as you will have many enemies to fight
with before you can reach her, take this sword; armed with
it you may dare any danger, and overcome the greatest
difficulties, only beware of one thing--that is, never to let
it fall from your hand. Farewell; now I will wait by that
rock, and if you need my help in carrying off your beloved
Princess I will not fail you, for the Queen, her mother, is
my best friend, and it was for her sake that I went to
rescue you."
So saying, she gave to the King a sword made from a
single diamond, which was more brilliant than the sun.
He could not find words to express his gratitude, but he
begged her to believe that he fully appreciated the
importance of her gift, and would never forget her help and
We must now go back to the Fairy of the Desert. When
she found that the King did not return, she hastened out
to look for him, and reached the shore, with a hundred of
the ladies of her train, loaded with splendid presents for
him. Some carried baskets full of diamonds, others
golden cups of wonderful workmanship, and amber, coral,
and pearls, others, again, balanced upon their heads bales
of the richest and most beautiful stuffs, while the rest
brought fruit and flowers, and even birds. But what was
the horror of the Fairy, who followed this gay troop, when
she saw, stretched upon the sands, the image of the King
which the Mermaid had made with the sea-weeds. Struck
with astonishment and sorrow, she uttered a terrible cry,
and threw herself down beside the pretended King, weeping,
and howling, and calling upon her eleven sisters, who
were also fairies, and who came to her assistance. But
they were all taken in by the image of the King, for,
clever as they were, the Mermaid was still cleverer, and
all they could do was to help the Fairy of the Desert to
make a wonderful monument over what they thought was
the grave of the King of the Gold Mines. But while they
were collecting jasper and porphyry, agate and marble,
gold and bronze, statues and devices, to immortalize the
King's memory, he was thanking the good Mermaid and
begging her still to help him, which she graciously promised
to do as she disappeared; and then he set out for the
Castle of Steel. He walked fast, looking anxiously round
him, and longing once more to see his darling Bellissima,
but he had not gone far before he was surrounded by four
terrible sphinxes who would very soon have torn him to
pieces with their sharp talons if it had not been for the
Mermaid's diamond sword. For, no sooner had he flashed
it before their eyes than down they fell at his feet quite
helpless, and he killed them with one blow. But he had
hardly turned to continue his search when he met six
dragons covered with scales that were harder than iron.
Frightful as this encounter was the King's courage was
unshaken, and by the aid of his wonderful sword he cut
them in pieces one after the other. Now he hoped his
difficulties were over, but at the next turning he was met
by one which he did not know how to overcome. Fourand-
twenty pretty and graceful nymphs advanced toward
him, holding garlands of flowers, with which they
barred the way.
"Where are you going, Prince?" they said; "it is our
duty to guard this place, and if we let you pass great
misfortunes will happen to you and to us. We beg you not
to insist upon going on. Do you want to kill four-andtwenty
girls who have never displeased you in any way?"
The King did not know what to do or to say. It went
against all his ideas as a knight to do anything a lady
begged him not to do; but, as he hesitated, a voice in his
ear said:
"Strike! strike! and do not spare, or your Princess is lost
for ever!"
So, without reply to the nymphs, he rushed forward
instantly, breaking their garlands, and scattering them in
all directions; and then went on without further hindrance
to the little wood where he had seen Bellissima. She was
seated by the brook looking pale and weary when he
reached her, and he would have thrown himself down at
her feet, but she drew herself away from him with as
much indignation as if he had been the Yellow Dwarf
"Ah! Princess," he cried, "do not be angry with me. Let
me explain everything. I am not faithless or to blame for
what has happened. I am a miserable wretch who has
displeased you without being able to help himself."
"Ah!" cried Bellissima, "did I not see you flying through
the air with the loveliest being imaginable? Was that
against your will?"
"Indeed it was, Princess," he answered; "the wicked
Fairy of the Desert, not content with chaining me to a
rock, carried me off in her chariot to the other end of the
earth, where I should even now be a captive but for the
unexpected help of a friendly mermaid, who brought me
here to rescue you, my Princess, from the unworthy hands
that hold you. Do not refuse the aid of your most faithful
lover." So saying, he threw himself at her feet and
held her by her robe. But, alas! in so doing he let fall the
magic sword, and the Yellow Dwarf, who was crouching
behind a lettuce, no sooner saw it than he sprang out and
seized it, well knowing its wonderful power.
The Princess gave a cry of terror on seeing the Dwarf,
but this only irritated the little monster; muttering a few
magical words he summoned two giants, who bound the
King with great chains of iron.
"Now," said the Dwarf, "I am master of my rival's
fate, but I will give him his life and permission to depart
unharmed if you, Princess, will consent to marry me."
"Let me die a thousand times rather," cried the
unhappy King.
"Alas!" cried the Princess, "must you die? Could
anything be more terrible?"
"That you should marry that little wretch would be far
more terrible," answered the King.
"At least," continued she, "let us die together."
"Let me have the satisfaction of dying for you, my
Princess," said he.
"Oh, no, no!" she cried, turning to the Dwarf; "rather
than that I will do as you wish."
"Cruel Princess!" said the King, "would you make my
life horrible to me by marrying another before my eyes?"
"Not so," replied the Yellow Dwarf; "you are a rival
of whom I am too much afraid; you shall not see our
marriage." So saying, in spite of Bellissima's tears and
cries, he stabbed the King to the heart with the diamond
The poor Princess, seeing her lover lying dead at her
feet, could no longer live without him; she sank down by
him and died of a broken heart.
So ended these unfortunate lovers, whom not even the
Mermaid could help, because all the magic power had
been lost with the diamond sword.
As to the wicked Dwarf, he preferred to see the
Princess dead rather than married to the King of the Gold
Mines; and the Fairy of the Desert, when she heard of the
King's adventures, pulled down the grand monument
which she had built, and was so angry at the trick that
had been played her that she hated him as much as she
had loved him before.
The kind Mermaid, grieved at the sad fate of the lovers,
caused them to be changed into two tall palm trees, which
stand always side by side, whispering together of their
faithful love and caressing one another with their
interlacing branches.[1]
[1] Madame d'Aulnoy.
ONCE upon a time there lived in a certain village a
little country girl, the prettiest creature was ever seen.
Her mother was excessively fond of her; and her grandmother
doted on her still more. This good woman had
made for her a little red riding-hood; which became the girl
so extremely well that everybody called her Little Red
One day her mother, having made some custards, said
to her:
"Go, my dear, and see how thy grandmamma does, for
I hear she has been very ill; carry her a custard, and this
little pot of butter."
Little Red Riding-Hood set out immediately to go to
her grandmother, who lived in another village.
As she was going through the wood, she met with Gaffer
Wolf, who had a very great mind to eat her up, but he
dared not, because of some faggot-makers hard by in the
forest. He asked her whither she was going. The poor
child, who did not know that it was dangerous to stay and
hear a wolf talk, said to him:
"I am going to see my grandmamma and carry her a
custard and a little pot of butter from my mamma."
"Does she live far off?" said the Wolf.
"Oh! ay," answered Little Red Riding-Hood; "it is
beyond that mill you see there, at the first house in the
"Well," said the Wolf, "and I'll go and see her too. I'll
go this way and you go that, and we shall see who will be
there soonest."
The Wolf began to run as fast as he could, taking the
nearest way, and the little girl went by that farthest about,
diverting herself in gathering nuts, running after butterflies,
and making nosegays of such little flowers as she met
with. The Wolf was not long before he got to the old
woman's house. He knocked at the door--tap, tap.
"Who's there?"
"Your grandchild, Little Red Riding-Hood," replied
the Wolf, counterfeiting her voice; "who has brought you
a custard and a little pot of butter sent you by mamma."
The good grandmother, who was in bed, because she
was somewhat ill, cried out
"Pull the bobbin, and the latch will go up."
The Wolf pulled the bobbin, and the door opened, and
then presently he fell upon the good woman and ate her
up in a moment, for it was above three days that he had
not touched a bit. He then shut the door and went into
the grandmother's bed, expecting Little Red Riding-
Hood, who came some time afterward and knocked at the
door--tap, tap.
"Who's there?"
Little Red Riding-Hood, hearing the big voice of the
Wolf, was at first afraid; but believing her grandmother
had got a cold and was hoarse, answered:
" 'Tis your grandchild, Little Red Riding-Hood, who
has brought you a custard and a little pot of butter
mamma sends you."
The Wolf cried out to her, softening his voice as much
as he could:
"Pull the bobbin, and the latch will go up."
Little Red Riding-Hood pulled the bobbin, and the
door opened.
The Wolf, seeing her come in, said to her, hiding himself
under the bed-clothes:
"Put the custard and the little pot of butter upon the
stool, and come and lie down with me."
Little Red Riding-Hood undressed herself and went
into bed, where, being greatly amazed to see how her
grandmother looked in her night-clothes, she said to her:
"Grandmamma, what great arms you have got!"
"That is the better to hug thee, my dear."
"Grandmamma, what great legs you have got!"
"That is to run the better, my child."
"Grandmamma, what great ears you have got!"
"That is to hear the better, my child."
"Grandmamma, what great eyes you have got!"
"It is to see the better, my child."
"Grandmamma, what great teeth you have got!"
"That is to eat thee up."
And, saying these words, this wicked wolf fell upon
Little Red Riding-Hood, and ate her all up.
THERE were formerly a king and a queen, who were so
sorry that they had no children; so sorry that it cannot
be expressed. They went to all the waters in the world;
vows, pilgrimages, all ways were tried, and all to no
At last, however, the Queen had a daughter. There was
a very fine christening; and the Princess had for her godmothers
all the fairies they could find in the whole kingdom
(they found seven), that every one of them might
give her a gift, as was the custom of fairies in those days.
By this means the Princess had all the perfections imaginable.
After the ceremonies of the christening were over, all
the company returned to the King's palace, where was
prepared a great feast for the fairies. There was placed
before every one of them a magnificent cover with a case
of massive gold, wherein were a spoon, knife, and fork, all
of pure gold set with diamonds and rubies. But as they
were all sitting down at table they saw come into the hall
a very old fairy, whom they had not invited, because it
was above fifty years since she had been out of a certain
tower, and she was believed to be either dead or enchanted.
The King ordered her a cover, but could not furnish her
with a case of gold as the others, because they had only
seven made for the seven fairies. The old Fairy fancied
she was slighted, and muttered some threats between her
teeth. One of the young fairies who sat by her overheard
how she grumbled; and, judging that she might give the
little Princess some unlucky gift, went, as soon as they
rose from table, and hid herself behind the hangings, that
she might speak last, and repair, as much as she could, the
evil which the old Fairy might intend.
In the meanwhile all the fairies began to give their gifts
to the Princess. The youngest gave her for gift that she
should be the most beautiful person in the world; the
next, that she should have the wit of an angel; the third,
that she should have a wonderful grace in everything she
did; the fourth, that she should dance perfectly well; the
fifth, that she should sing like a nightingale; and the
sixth, that she should play all kinds of music to the
utmost perfection.
The old Fairy's turn coming next, with a head shaking
more with spite than age, she said that the Princess
should have her hand pierced with a spindle and die of
the wound. This terrible gift made the whole company
tremble, and everybody fell a-crying.
At this very instant the young Fairy came out from
behind the hangings, and spake these words aloud:
"Assure yourselves, O King and Queen, that your
daughter shall not die of this disaster. It is true, I have
no power to undo entirely what my elder has done. The
Princess shall indeed pierce her hand with a spindle; but,
instead of dying, she shall only fall into a profound sleep,
which shall last a hundred years, at the expiration of
which a king's son shall come and awake her."
The King, to avoid the misfortune foretold by the old
Fairy, caused immediately proclamation to be made,
whereby everybody was forbidden, on pain of death, to
spin with a distaff and spindle, or to have so much as any
spindle in their houses. About fifteen or sixteen years
after, the King and Queen being gone to one of their houses
of pleasure, the young Princess happened one day to
divert herself in running up and down the palace; when
going up from one apartment to another, she came into
a little room on the top of the tower, where a good old
woman, alone, was spinning with her spindle. This good
woman had never heard of the King's proclamation
against spindles.
"What are you doing there, goody?" said the Princess.
"I am spinning, my pretty child," said the old woman,
who did not know who she was.
"Ha!" said the Princess, "this is very pretty; how do
you do it? Give it to me, that I may see if I can do so."
She had no sooner taken it into her hand than, whether
being very hasty at it, somewhat unhandy, or that the
decree of the Fairy had so ordained it, it ran into her
hand, and she fell down in a swoon.
The good old woman, not knowing very well what to do
in this affair, cried out for help. People came in from
every quarter in great numbers; they threw water upon
the Princess's face, unlaced her, struck her on the palms
of her hands, and rubbed her temples with Hungarywater;
but nothing would bring her to herself.
And now the King, who came up at the noise, bethought
himself of the prediction of the fairies, and, judging very
well that this must necessarily come to pass, since the
fairies had said it, caused the Princess to be carried into
the finest apartment in his palace, and to be laid upon a
bed all embroidered with gold and silver.
One would have taken her for a little angel, she was so
very beautiful; for her swooning away had not diminished
one bit of her complexion; her cheeks were carnation, and
her lips were coral; indeed, her eyes were shut, but she
was heard to breathe softly, which satisfied those about
her that she was not dead. The King commanded that
they should not disturb her, but let her sleep quietly till
her hour of awaking was come.
The good Fairy who had saved her life by condemning
her to sleep a hundred years was in the kingdom of
Matakin, twelve thousand leagues off, when this accident
befell the Princess; but she was instantly informed of it
by a little dwarf, who had boots of seven leagues, that is,
boots with which he could tread over seven leagues of
ground in one stride. The Fairy came away immediately,
and she arrived, about an hour after, in a fiery chariot
drawn by dragons.
The King handed her out of the chariot, and she
approved everything he had done, but as she had very great
foresight, she thought when the Princess should awake
she might not know what to do with herself, being all
alone in this old palace; and this was what she did: she
touched with her wand everything in the palace (except
the King and Queen)--governesses, maids of honor, ladies
of the bedchamber, gentlemen, officers, stewards, cooks,
undercooks, scullions, guards, with their beefeaters,
pages, footmen; she likewise touched all the horses which
were in the stables, pads as well as others, the great dogs
in the outward court and pretty little Mopsey too, the
Princess's little spaniel, which lay by her on the bed.
Immediately upon her touching them they all fell
asleep, that they might not awake before their mistress
and that they might be ready to wait upon her when she
wanted them. The very spits at the fire, as full as they
could hold of partridges and pheasants, did fall asleep
also. All this was done in a moment. Fairies are not long
in doing their business.
And now the King and the Queen, having kissed their
dear child without waking her, went out of the palace and
put forth a proclamation that nobody should dare to
come near it.
This, however, was not necessary, for in a quarter of an
hour's time there grew up all round about the park such
a vast number of trees, great and small, bushes and
brambles, twining one within another, that neither man
nor beast could pass through; so that nothing could be
seen but the very top of the towers of the palace; and
that, too, not unless it was a good way off. Nobody;
doubted but the Fairy gave herein a very extraordinary
sample of her art, that the Princess, while she continued
sleeping, might have nothing to fear from any curious
When a hundred years were gone and passed the son of
the King then reigning, and who was of another family
from that of the sleeping Princess, being gone a-hunting
on that side of the country, asked:
What those towers were which he saw in the middle of
a great thick wood?
Everyone answered according as they had heard. Some
That it was a ruinous old castle, haunted by spirits.
Others, That all the sorcerers and witches of the
country kept there their sabbath or night's meeting.
The common opinion was: That an ogre lived there, and
that he carried thither all the little children he could
catch, that he might eat them up at his leisure, without
anybody being able to follow him, as having himself only
the power to pass through the wood.
The Prince was at a stand, not knowing what to
believe, when a very good countryman spake to him thus:
"May it please your royal highness, it is now about
fifty years since I heard from my father, who heard my
grandfather say, that there was then in this castle a
princess, the most beautiful was ever seen; that she must
sleep there a hundred years, and should be waked by a
king's son, for whom she was reserved."
The young Prince was all on fire at these words,
believing, without weighing the matter, that he could put
an end to this rare adventure; and, pushed on by love and
honor, resolved that moment to look into it.
Scarce had he advanced toward the wood when all the
great trees, the bushes, and brambles gave way of themselves
to let him pass through; he walked up to the castle
which he saw at the end of a large avenue which he went
into; and what a little surprised him was that he saw
none of his people could follow him, because the trees
closed again as soon as he had passed through them.
However, he did not cease from continuing his way; a
young and amorous prince is always valiant.
He came into a spacious outward court, where everything
he saw might have frozen the most fearless person
with horror. There reigned all over a most frightful
silence; the image of death everywhere showed itself, and
there was nothing to be seen but stretched-out bodies of
men and animals, all seeming to be dead. He, however,
very well knew, by the ruby faces and pimpled noses of
the beefeaters, that they were only asleep; and their
goblets, wherein still remained some drops of wine, showed
plainly that they fell asleep in their cups.
He then crossed a court paved with marble, went up
the stairs and came into the guard chamber, where guards
were standing in their ranks, with their muskets upon
their shoulders, and snoring as loud as they could. After
that he went through several rooms full of gentlemen and
ladies, all asleep, some standing, others sitting. At last
he came into a chamber all gilded with gold, where he
saw upon a bed, the curtains of which were all open, the
finest sight was ever beheld--a princess, who appeared
to be about fifteen or sixteen years of age, and whose
bright and, in a manner, resplendent beauty, had somewhat
in it divine. He approached with trembling and
admiration, and fell down before her upon his knees.
And now, as the enchantment was at an end, the
Princess awaked, and looking on him with eyes more tender
than the first view might seem to admit of:
"Is it you, my Prince?" said she to him. "You have
waited a long while."
The Prince, charmed with these words, and much more
with the manner in which they were spoken, knew not
how to show his joy and gratitude; he assured her that he
loved her better than he did himself; their discourse was
not well connected, they did weep more than talk--little
eloquence, a great deal of love. He was more at a loss
than she, and we need not wonder at it; she had time to
think on what to say to him; for it is very probable
(though history mentions nothing of it) that the good
Fairy, during so long a sleep, had given her very agreeable
dreams. In short, they talked four hours together, and
yet they said not half what they had to say.
In the meanwhile all the palace awaked; everyone
thought upon their particular business, and as all of them
were not in love they were ready to die for hunger. The
chief lady of honor, being as sharp set as other folks,
grew very impatient, and told the Princess aloud that
supper was served up. The Prince helped the Princess to
rise; she was entirely dressed, and very magnificently, but
his royal highness took care not to tell her that she was
dressed like his great-grandmother, and had a point band
peeping over a high collar; she looked not a bit less charming
and beautiful for all that.
They went into the great hall of looking-glasses, where
they supped, and were served by the Princess's officers,
the violins and hautboys played old tunes, but very
excellent, though it was now above a hundred years since
they had played; and after supper, without losing any
time, the lord almoner married them in the chapel of the
castle, and the chief lady of honor drew the curtains.
They had but very little sleep--the Princess had no
occasion; and the Prince left her next morning to return
to the city, where his father must needs have been in pain
for him. The Prince told him:
That he lost his way in the forest as he was hunting,
and that he had lain in the cottage of a charcoal-burner,
who gave him cheese and brown bread.
The King, his father, who was a good man, believed
him; but his mother could not be persuaded it was true;
and seeing that he went almost every day a-hunting, and
that he always had some excuse ready for so doing, though
he had lain out three or four nights together, she began
to suspect that he was married, for he lived with the
Princess above two whole years, and had by her two
children, the eldest of which, who was a daughter, was named
Morning, and the youngest, who was a son, they called
Day, because he was a great deal handsomer and more
beautiful than his sister.
The Queen spoke several times to her son, to inform
herself after what manner he did pass his time, and that
in this he ought in duty to satisfy her. But he never
dared to trust her with his secret; he feared her, though
he loved her, for she was of the race of the Ogres, and the
King would never have married her had it not been for
her vast riches; it was even whispered about the Court
that she had Ogreish inclinations, and that, whenever she
saw little children passing by, she had all the difficulty in
the world to avoid falling upon them. And so the Prince
would never tell her one word.
But when the King was dead, which happened about
two years afterward, and he saw himself lord and master,
he openly declared his marriage; and he went in great
ceremony to conduct his Queen to the palace. They made
a magnificent entry into the capital city, she riding
between her two children.
Soon after the King went to make war with the Emperor
Contalabutte, his neighbor. He left the government
of the kingdom to the Queen his mother, and
earnestly recommended to her care his wife and children.
He was obliged to continue his expedition all the summer,
and as soon as he departed the Queen-mother sent her
daughter-in-law to a country house among the woods,
that she might with the more ease gratify her horrible
Some few days afterward she went thither herself, and
said to her clerk of the kitchen:
"I have a mind to eat little Morning for my dinner tomorrow."
"Ah! madam," cried the clerk of the kitchen.
"I will have it so," replied the Queen (and this she
spoke in the tone of an Ogress who had a strong desire to
eat fresh meat), "and will eat her with a sauce Robert."
The poor man, knowing very well that he must not play
tricks with Ogresses, took his great knife and went up into
little Morning's chamber. She was then four years old,
and came up to him jumping and laughing, to take him
about the neck, and ask him for some sugar-candy. Upon
which he began to weep, the great knife fell out of his
hand, and he went into the back yard, and killed a little
lamb, and dressed it with such good sauce that his
mistress assured him that she had never eaten anything so
good in her life. He had at the same time taken up little
Morning, and carried her to his wife, to conceal her in the
lodging he had at the bottom of the courtyard.
About eight days afterward the wicked Queen said to
the clerk of the kitchen, "I will sup on little Day."
He answered not a word, being resolved to cheat her as
he had done before. He went to find out little Day, and
saw him with a little foil in his hand, with which he was
fencing with a great monkey, the child being then only
three years of age. He took him up in his arms and carried
him to his wife, that she might conceal him in her chamber
along with his sister, and in the room of little Day cooked
up a young kid, very tender, which the Ogress found to be
wonderfully good.
This was hitherto all mighty well; but one evening this
wicked Queen said to her clerk of the kitchen:
"I will eat the Queen with the same sauce I had with
her children."
It was now that the poor clerk of the kitchen despaired
of being able to deceive her. The young Queen was turned
of twenty, not reckoning the hundred years she had been
asleep; and how to find in the yard a beast so firm was
what puzzled him. He took then a resolution, that he
might save his own life, to cut the Queen's throat; and
going up into her chamber, with intent to do it at once, he
put himself into as great fury as he could possibly, and
came into the young Queen's room with his dagger in his
hand. He would not, however, surprise her, but told her,
with a great deal of respect, the orders he had received
from the Queen-mother.
"Do it; do it" (said she, stretching out her neck).
"Execute your orders, and then I shall go and see my
children, my poor children, whom I so much and so
tenderly loved."
For she thought them dead ever since they had been
taken away without her knowledge.
"No, no, madam" (cried the poor clerk of the kitchen,
all in tears); "you shall not die, and yet you shall see your
children again; but then you must go home with me to
my lodgings, where I have concealed them, and I shall
deceive the Queen once more, by giving her in your stead
a young hind."
Upon this he forthwith conducted her to his chamber,
where, leaving her to embrace her children, and cry along
with them, he went and dressed a young hind, which the
Queen had for her supper, and devoured it with the same
appetite as if it had been the young Queen. Exceedingly
was she delighted with her cruelty, and she had invented
a story to tell the King, at his return, how the mad
wolves had eaten up the Queen his wife and her two
One evening, as she was, according to her custom,
rambling round about the courts and yards of the palace
to see if she could smell any fresh meat, she heard, in a
ground room, little Day crying, for his mamma was going
to whip him, because he had been naughty; and she
heard, at the same time, little Morning begging pardon
for her brother.
The Ogress presently knew the voice of the Queen and
her children, and being quite mad that she had been thus
deceived, she commanded next morning, by break of day
(with a most horrible voice, which made everybody tremble),
that they should bring into the middle of the great
court a large tub, which she caused to be filled with toads,
vipers, snakes, and all sorts of serpents, in order to have
thrown into it the Queen and her children, the clerk of the
kitchen, his wife and maid; all whom she had given orders
should be brought thither with their hands tied behind
They were brought out accordingly, and the executioners
were just going to throw them into the tub, when the
King (who was not so soon expected) entered the court on
horseback (for he came post) and asked, with the utmost
astonishment, what was the meaning of that horrible
No one dared to tell him, when the Ogress, all enraged
to see what had happened, threw herself head foremost
into the tub, and was instantly devoured by the ugly
creatures she had ordered to be thrown into it for others.
The King could not but be very sorry, for she was his
mother; but he soon comforted himself with his beautiful
wife and his pretty children.
ONCE there was a gentleman who married, for his
second wife, the proudest and most haughty woman that
was ever seen. She had, by a former husband, two
daughters of her own humor, who were, indeed, exactly
like her in all things. He had likewise, by another wife,
a young daughter, but of unparalleled goodness and
sweetness of temper, which she took from her mother, who was
the best creature in the world.
No sooner were the ceremonies of the wedding over but
the mother-in-law began to show herself in her true colors.
She could not bear the good qualities of this pretty girl,
and the less because they made her own daughters appear
the more odious. She employed her in the meanest
work of the house: she scoured the dishes, tables, etc.,
and scrubbed madam's chamber, and those of misses, her
daughters; she lay up in a sorry garret, upon a wretched
straw bed, while her sisters lay in fine rooms, with floors
all inlaid, upon beds of the very newest fashion, and
where they had looking-glasses so large that they might
see themselves at their full length from head to foot.
The poor girl bore all patiently, and dared not tell her
father, who would have rattled her off; for his wife
governed him entirely. When she had done her work, she
used to go into the chimney-corner, and sit down among
cinders and ashes, which made her commonly be called
Cinderwench; but the youngest, who was not so rude and
uncivil as the eldest, called her Cinderella. However,
Cinderella, notwithstanding her mean apparel, was a
hundred times handsomer than her sisters, though they
were always dressed very richly.
It happened that the King's son gave a ball, and invited
all persons of fashion to it. Our young misses were also
invited, for they cut a very grand figure among the quality.
They were mightily delighted at this invitation, and
wonderfully busy in choosing out such gowns, petticoats,
and head-clothes as might become them. This was a new
trouble to Cinderella; for it was she who ironed her
sisters' linen, and plaited their ruffles; they talked all day
long of nothing but how they should be dressed.
"For my part," said the eldest, "I will wear my red
velvet suit with French trimming."
"And I," said the youngest, "shall have my usual
petticoat; but then, to make amends for that, I will put on my
gold-flowered manteau, and my diamond stomacher,
which is far from being the most ordinary one in the
They sent for the best tire-woman they could get to
make up their head-dresses and adjust their double pinners,
and they had their red brushes and patches from
Mademoiselle de la Poche.
Cinderella was likewise called up to them to be
consulted in all these matters, for she had excellent notions,
and advised them always for the best, nay, and offered
her services to dress their heads, which they were very
willing she should do. As she was doing this, they said to
"Cinderella, would you not be glad to go to the ball?"
"Alas!" said she, "you only jeer me; it is not for such
as I am to go thither."
"Thou art in the right of it," replied they; "it would
make the people laugh to see a Cinderwench at a ball."
Anyone but Cinderella would have dressed their heads
awry, but she was very good, and dressed them perfectly
well They were almost two days without eating, so
much were they transported with joy. They broke above
a dozen laces in trying to be laced up close, that they
might have a fine slender shape, and they were continually
at their looking-glass. At last the happy day came; they
went to Court, and Cinderella followed them with her
eyes as long as she could, and when she had lost sight of
them, she fell a-crying.
Her godmother, who saw her all in tears, asked her
what was the matter.
"I wish I could--I wish I could--"; she was not able
to speak the rest, being interrupted by her tears and
This godmother of hers, who was a fairy, said to her,
"Thou wishest thou couldst go to the ball; is it not so?"
"Y--es," cried Cinderella, with a great sigh.
"Well," said her godmother, "be but a good girl, and
I will contrive that thou shalt go." Then she took her into
her chamber, and said to her, "Run into the garden, and
bring me a pumpkin."
Cinderella went immediately to gather the finest she
could get, and brought it to her godmother, not being able
to imagine how this pumpkin could make her go to the
ball. Her godmother scooped out all the inside of it,
having left nothing but the rind; which done, she struck it
with her wand, and the pumpkin was instantly turned
into a fine coach, gilded all over with gold.
She then went to look into her mouse-trap, where she
found six mice, all alive, and ordered Cinderella to lift
up a little the trapdoor, when, giving each mouse, as it
went out, a little tap with her wand, the mouse was that
moment turned into a fine horse, which altogether made
a very fine set of six horses of a beautiful mouse-colored
dapple-gray. Being at a loss for a coachman,
"I will go and see," says Cinderella, "if there is never
a rat in the rat-trap--we may make a coachman of him."
"Thou art in the right," replied her godmother; "go
and look."
Cinderella brought the trap to her, and in it there were
three huge rats. The fairy made choice of one of the
three which had the largest beard, and, having touched
him with her wand, he was turned into a fat, jolly coachman,
who had the smartest whiskers eyes ever beheld.
After that, she said to her:
"Go again into the garden, and you will find six lizards
behind the watering-pot, bring them to me."
She had no sooner done so but her godmother turned
them into six footmen, who skipped up immediately behind
the coach, with their liveries all bedaubed with gold
and silver, and clung as close behind each other as if they
had done nothing else their whole lives. The Fairy then
said to Cinderella:
"Well, you see here an equipage fit to go to the ball
with; are you not pleased with it?"
"Oh! yes," cried she; "but must I go thither as I am,
in these nasty rags?"
Her godmother only just touched her with her wand,
and, at the same instant, her clothes were turned into
cloth of gold and silver, all beset with jewels. This done,
she gave her a pair of glass slippers, the prettiest in the
whole world. Being thus decked out, she got up into her
coach; but her godmother, above all things, commanded
her not to stay till after midnight, telling her, at the same
time, that if she stayed one moment longer, the coach
would be a pumpkin again, her horses mice, her coachman
a rat, her footmen lizards, and her clothes become
just as they were before.
She promised her godmother she would not fail of
leaving the ball before midnight; and then away she drives,
scarce able to contain herself for joy. The King's son
who was told that a great princess, whom nobody knew,
was come, ran out to receive her; he gave her his hand as
she alighted out of the coach, and led her into the ball,
among all the company. There was immediately a profound
silence, they left off dancing, and the violins ceased
to play, so attentive was everyone to contemplate the
singular beauties of the unknown new-comer. Nothing
was then heard but a confused noise of:
"Ha! how handsome she is! Ha! how handsome she is!"
The King himself, old as he was, could not help watching
her, and telling the Queen softly that it was a long
time since he had seen so beautiful and lovely a creature.
All the ladies were busied in considering her clothes and
headdress, that they might have some made next day
after the same pattern, provided they could meet with
such fine material and as able hands to make them.
The King's son conducted her to the most honorable
seat, and afterward took her out to dance with him; she
danced so very gracefully that they all more and more
admired her. A fine collation was served up, whereof the
young prince ate not a morsel, so intently was he busied
in gazing on her.
She went and sat down by her sisters, showing them a
thousand civilities, giving them part of the oranges and
citrons which the Prince had presented her with, which
very much surprised them, for they did not know her.
While Cinderella was thus amusing her sisters, she heard
the clock strike eleven and three-quarters, whereupon she
immediately made a courtesy to the company and hasted
away as fast as she could.
When she got home she ran to seek out her godmother,
and, after having thanked her, she said she could not but
heartily wish she might go next day to the ball, because
the King's son had desired her.
As she was eagerly telling her godmother whatever had
passed at the ball, her two sisters knocked at the door,
which Cinderella ran and opened.
"How long you have stayed!" cried she, gaping, rubbing
her eyes and stretching herself as if she had been just
waked out of her sleep; she had not, however, any manner
of inclination to sleep since they went from home.
"If thou hadst been at the ball," said one of her sisters,
"thou wouldst not have been tired with it. There came
thither the finest princess, the most beautiful ever was
seen with mortal eyes; she showed us a thousand civilities,
and gave us oranges and citrons."
Cinderella seemed very indifferent in the matter;
indeed, she asked them the name of that princess; but they
told her they did not know it, and that the King's son was
very uneasy on her account and would give all the world
to know who she was. At this Cinderella, smiling,
"She must, then, be very beautiful indeed; how happy
you have been! Could not I see her? Ah! dear Miss
Charlotte, do lend me your yellow suit of clothes which
you wear every day."
"Ay, to be sure!" cried Miss Charlotte; "lend my
clothes to such a dirty Cinderwench as thou art! I
should be a fool."
Cinderella, indeed, expected well such answer, and was
very glad of the refusal; for she would have been sadly
put to it if her sister had lent her what she asked for
The next day the two sisters were at the ball, and so was
Cinderella, but dressed more magnificently than before.
The King's son was always by her, and never ceased his
compliments and kind speeches to her; to whom all this
was so far from being tiresome that she quite forgot what
her godmother had recommended to her; so that she, at
last, counted the clock striking twelve when she took it
to be no more than eleven; she then rose up and fled, as
nimble as a deer. The Prince followed, but could not
overtake her. She left behind one of her glass slippers,
which the Prince took up most carefully. She got home
but quite out of breath, and in her nasty old clothes,
having nothing left her of all her finery but one of the
little slippers, fellow to that she dropped. The guards at
the palace gate were asked:
If they had not seen a princess go out.
Who said: They had seen nobody go out but a young
girl, very meanly dressed, and who had more the air of a
poor country wench than a gentlewoman.
When the two sisters returned from the ball Cinderella
asked them: If they had been well diverted, and if the
fine lady had been there.
They told her: Yes, but that she hurried away
immediately when it struck twelve, and with so much haste
that she dropped one of her little glass slippers, the
prettiest in the world, which the King's son had taken
up; that he had done nothing but look at her all the time
at the ball, and that most certainly he was very much in
love with the beautiful person who owned the glass
What they said was very true; for a few days after the
King's son caused it to be proclaimed, by sound of trumpet,
that he would marry her whose foot the slipper would
just fit. They whom he employed began to try it upon
the princesses, then the duchesses and all the Court, but
in vain; it was brought to the two sisters, who did all they
possibly could to thrust their foot into the slipper, but
they could not effect it. Cinderella, who saw all this, and
knew her slipper, said to them, laughing:
"Let me see if it will not fit me."
Her sisters burst out a-laughing, and began to banter
her. The gentleman who was sent to try the slipper looked
earnestly at Cinderella, and, finding her very handsome,
It was but just that she should try, and that he had
orders to let everyone make trial.
He obliged Cinderella to sit down, and, putting the
slipper to her foot, he found it went on very easily, and
fitted her as if it had been made of wax. The astonishment
her two sisters were in was excessively great, but
still abundantly greater when Cinderella pulled out of her
pocket the other slipper, and put it on her foot. Thereupon,
in came her godmother, who, having touched with
her wand Cinderella's clothes, made them richer and
more magnificent than any of those she had before.
And now her two sisters found her to be that fine,
beautiful lady whom they had seen at the ball. They
threw themselves at her feet to beg pardon for all the illtreatment
they had made her undergo. Cinderella took
them up, and, as she embraced them, cried:
That she forgave them with all her heart, and desired
them always to love her.
She was conducted to the young prince, dressed as she
was; he thought her more charming than ever, and, a few
days after, married her. Cinderella, who was no less good
than beautiful, gave her two sisters lodgings in the palace,
and that very same day matched them with two great
lords of the Court.[1]
[1] Charles Perrault.
THERE once lived a poor tailor, who had a son called
Aladdin, a careless, idle boy who would do nothing but
play ball all day long in the streets with little idle boys like
himself. This so grieved the father that he died; yet, in
spite of his mother's tears and prayers, Aladdin did not
mend his ways. One day, when he was playing in the
streets as usual, a stranger asked him his age, and if he
was not the son of Mustapha the tailor. "I am, sir,"
replied Aladdin; "but he died a long while ago." On this
the stranger, who was a famous African magician, fell on
his neck and kissed him, saying, "I am your uncle, and
knew you from your likeness to my brother. Go to your
mother and tell her I am coming." Aladdin ran home and
told his mother of his newly found uncle. "Indeed, child,"
she said, "your father had a brother, but I always thought
he was dead." However, she prepared supper, and bade
Aladdin seek his uncle, who came laden with wine and
fruit. He presently fell down and kissed the place where
Mustapha used to sit, bidding Aladdin's mother not to be
surprised at not having seen him before, as he had been
forty years out of the country. He then turned to Aladdin,
and asked him his trade, at which the boy hung his
head, while his mother burst into tears. On learning that
Aladdin was idle and would learn no trade, he offered to
take a shop for him and stock it with merchandise. Next
day he bought Aladdin a fine suit of clothes and took him
all over the city, showing him the sights, and brought him
home at nightfall to his mother, who was overjoyed to see
her son so fine.
The next day the magician led Aladdin into some
beautiful gardens a long way outside the city gates. They
sat down by a fountain and the magician pulled a cake
from his girdle, which he divided between them. They
then journeyed onward till they almost reached the
mountains. Aladdin was so tired that he begged to go
back, but the magician beguiled him with pleasant
stories, and led him on in spite of himself. At last they
came to two mountains divided by a narrow valley. "We
will go no farther," said the false uncle. "I will show you
something wonderful; only do you gather up sticks while
I kindle a fire." When it was lit the magician threw on
it a powder he had about him, at the same time saying
some magical words. The earth trembled a little and
opened in front of them, disclosing a square flat stone with
a brass ring in the middle to raise it by. Aladdin tried to
run away, but the magician caught him and gave him a
blow that knocked him down. "What have I done, uncle?"
he said piteously; whereupon the magician said more
kindly: "Fear nothing, but obey me. Beneath this stone
lies a treasure which is to be yours, and no one else may
touch it, so you must do exactly as I tell you." At the
word treasure Aladdin forgot his fears, and grasped the
ring as he was told, saying the names of his father and
grandfather. The stone came up quite easily, and some
steps appeared. "Go down," said the magician; "at the
foot of those steps you will find an open door leading into
three large halls. Tuck up your gown and go through
them without touching anything, or you will die instantly.
These halls lead into a garden of fine fruit trees. Walk on
until you come to a niche in a terrace where stands a
lighted lamp. Pour out the oil it contains, and bring it to
me." He drew a ring from his finger and gave it to
Aladdin, bidding him prosper.
Aladdin found everything as the magician had said,
gathered some fruit off the trees, and, having got the
lamp, arrived at the mouth of the cave. The magician
cried out in a great hurry: "Make haste and give me the
lamp." This Aladdin refused to do until he was out of the
cave. The magician flew into a terrible passion, and
throwing some more powder on to the fire, he said something,
and the stone rolled back into its place.
The magician left Persia for ever, which plainly showed
that he was no uncle of Aladdin's, but a cunning magician,
who had read in his magic books of a wonderful lamp,
which would make him the most powerful man in the
world. Though he alone knew where to find it, he could
only receive it from the hand of another. He had picked
out the foolish Aladdin for this purpose, intending to get
the lamp and kill him afterward.
For two days Aladdin remained in the dark, crying and
lamenting. At last he clasped his hands in prayer, and
in so doing rubbed the ring, which the magician had
forgotten to take from him. Immediately an enormous and
frightful genie rose out of the earth, saying: "What
wouldst thou with me? I am the Slave of the Ring, and
will obey thee in all things." Aladdin fearlessly replied:
"Deliver me from this place!" whereupon the earth
opened, and he found himself outside. As soon as his eyes
could bear the light he went home, but fainted on the
threshold. When he came to himself he told his mother
what had passed, and showed her the lamp and the fruits
he had gathered in the garden, which were, in reality,
precious stones. He then asked for some food. "Alas!
child," she said, "I have nothing in the house, but I have
spun a little cotton and will go and sell it." Aladdin bade
her keep her cotton, for he would sell the lamp instead.
As it was very dirty she began to rub it, that it might
fetch a higher price. Instantly a hideous genie appeared,
and asked what she would have. She fainted away, but
Aladdin, snatching the lamp, said boldly: "Fetch me
something to eat!" The genie returned with a silver bowl,
twelve silver plates containing rich meats, two silver cups,
and two bottles of wine. Aladdin's mother, when she
came to herself, said: "Whence comes this splendid feast?"
"Ask not, but eat," replied Aladdin. So they sat at
breakfast till it was dinner-time, and Aladdin told his
mother about the lamp. She begged him to sell it, and
have nothing to do with devils. "No," said Aladdin,
"since chance hath made us aware of its virtues, we will
use it, and the ring likewise, which I shall always wear on
my finger." When they had eaten all the genie had
brought, Aladdin sold one of the silver plates, and so on
until none were left. He then had recourse to the genie,
who gave him another set of plates, and thus they lived
for many years.
One day Aladdin heard an order from the Sultan
proclaimed that everyone was to stay at home and close his
shutters while the Princess, his daughter, went to and
from the bath. Aladdin was seized by a desire to see her
face, which was very difficult, as she always went veiled.
He hid himself behind the door of the bath, and peeped
through a chink. The Princess lifted her veil as she went
in, and looked so beautiful that Aladdin fell in love with
her at first sight. He went home so changed that his
mother was frightened. He told her he loved the Princess
so deeply that he could not live without her, and meant
to ask her in marriage of her father. His mother, on hearing
this, burst out laughing, but Aladdin at last prevailed
upon her to go before the Sultan and carry his request.
She fetched a napkin and laid in it the magic fruits from
the enchanted garden, which sparkled and shone like the
most beautiful jewels. She took these with her to please
the Sultan, and set out, trusting in the lamp. The Grand
Vizier and the lords of council had just gone in as she
entered the hall and placed herself in front of the Sultan.
He, however, took no notice of her. She went every day
for a week, and stood in the same place. When the council
broke up on the sixth day the Sultan said to his Vizier:
"I see a certain woman in the audience-chamber every
day carrying something in a napkin. Call her next time,
that I may find out what she wants." Next day, at a sign
from the Vizier, she went up to the foot of the throne and
remained kneeling till the Sultan said to her: "Rise, good
woman, and tell me what you want." She hesitated, so
the Sultan sent away all but the Vizier, and bade her
speak frankly, promising to forgive her beforehand for
anything she might say. She then told him of her son's
violent love for the Princess. "I prayed him to forget
her," she said, "but in vain; he threatened to do some
desperate deed if I refused to go and ask your Majesty for
the hand of the Princess. Now I pray you to forgive not
me alone, but my son Aladdin." The Sultan asked her
kindly what she had in the napkin, whereupon she unfolded
the jewels and presented them. He was thunderstruck,
and turning to the Vizier said: "What sayest
thou? Ought I not to bestow the Princess on one who
values her at such a price?" The Vizier, who wanted her
for his own son, begged the Sultan to withhold her for
three months, in the course of which he hoped his son
would contrive to make him a richer present. The Sultan
granted this, and told Aladdin's mother that, though he
consented to the marriage, she must not appear before
him again for three months.
Aladdin waited patiently for nearly three months, but
after two had elapsed his mother, going into the city to
buy oil, found every one rejoicing, and asked what was
going on. "Do you not know," was the answer, "that the
son of the Grand Vizier is to marry the Sultan's daughter
to-night?" Breathless, she ran and told Aladdin, who was
overwhelmed at first, but presently bethought him of the
lamp. He rubbed it, and the genie appeared, saying,
"What is thy will?" Aladdin replied: "The Sultan, as
thou knowest, has broken his promise to me, and the
Vizier's son is to have the Princess. My command is that
to-night you bring hither the bride and bridegroom."
"Master, I obey," said the genie. Aladdin then went to
his chamber, where, sure enough, at midnight the genie
transported the bed containing the Vizier's son and the
Princess. "Take this new-married man," he said, "and
put him outside in the cold, and return at daybreak."
Whereupon the genie took the Vizier's son out of bed,
leaving Aladdin with the Princess. "Fear nothing,"
Aladdin said to her; "you are my wife, promised to me by
your unjust father, and no harm shall come to you." The
Princess was too frightened to speak, and passed the most
miserable night of her life, while Aladdin lay down beside
her and slept soundly. At the appointed hour the genie
fetched in the shivering bridegroom, laid him in his place,
and transported the bed back to the palace.
Presently the Sultan came to wish his daughter goodmorning.
The unhappy Vizier's son jumped up and hid
himself, while the Princess would not say a word, and
was very sorrowful. The Sultan sent her mother to her,
who said: "How comes it, child, that you will not speak
to your father? What has happened?" The Princess sighed
deeply, and at last told her mother how, during the night,
the bed had been carried into some strange house, and
what had passed there. Her mother did not believe her in
the least, but bade her rise and consider it an idle dream.
The following night exactly the same thing happened,
and next morning, on the Princess's refusal to speak, the
Sultan threatened to cut off her head. She then confessed
all, bidding him to ask the Vizier's son if it were not so.
The Sultan told the Vizier to ask his son, who owned the
truth, adding that, dearly as he loved the Princess, he had
rather die than go through another such fearful night, and
wished to be separated from her. His wish was granted,
and there was an end to feasting and rejoicing.
When the three months were over, Aladdin sent his
mother to remind the Sultan of his promise. She stood
in the same place as before, and the Sultan, who had
forgotten Aladdin, at once remembered him, and sent for
her. On seeing her poverty the Sultan felt less inclined
than ever to keep his word, and asked his Vizier's advice,
who counselled him to set so high a value on the Princess
that no man living could come up to it. The Sultan then
turned to Aladdin's mother, saying: "Good woman, a
Sultan must remember his promises, and I will remember
mine, but your son must first send me forty basins of gold
brimful of jewels, carried by forty black slaves, led by as
many white ones, splendidly dressed. Tell him that I
await his answer." The mother of Aladdin bowed low and
went home, thinking all was lost. She gave Aladdin the
message, adding: "He may wait long enough for your
answer!" "Not so long, mother, as you think," her son
replied. "I would do a great deal more than that for the
Princess." He summoned the genie, and in a few moments
the eighty slaves arrived, and filled up the small
house and garden. Aladdin made them set out to the
palace, two and two, followed by his mother. They were
so richly dressed, with such splendid jewels in their
girdles, that everyone crowded to see them and the basins of
gold they carried on their heads. They entered the palace,
and, after kneeling before the Sultan, stood in a half-circle
round the throne with their arms crossed, while Aladdin's
mother presented them to the Sultan. He hesitated no
longer, but said: "Good woman, return and tell your son
that I wait for him with open arms." She lost ho time in
telling Aladdin, bidding him make haste. But Aladdin
first called the genie. "I want a scented bath," he said,
"a richly embroidered habit, a horse surpassing the Sultan's,
and twenty slaves to attend me. Besides this, six
slaves, beautifully dressed, to wait on my mother; and
lastly, ten thousand pieces of gold in ten purses." No
sooner said than done. Aladdin mounted his horse and
passed through the streets, the slaves strewing gold as
they went. Those who had played with him in his
childhood knew him not, he had grown so handsome. When
the Sultan saw him he came down from his throne,
embraced him, and led him into a hall where a feast was
spread, intending to marry him to the Princess that very
day. But Aladdin refused, saying, "I must build a palace
fit for her," and took his leave. Once home, he said to the
genie: "Build me a palace of the finest marble, set with
jasper, agate, and other precious stones. In the middle
you shall build me a large hall with a dome, its four walls
of massy gold and silver, each having six windows, whose
lattices, all except one which is to be left unfinished, must
be set with diamonds and rubies. There must be stables
and horses and grooms and slaves; go and see about it!"
The palace was finished by the next day, and the genie
carried him there and showed him all his orders faithfully
carried out, even to the laying of a velvet carpet from
Aladdin's palace to the Sultan's. Aladdin's mother then
dressed herself carefully, and walked to the palace with
her slaves, while he followed her on horseback. The Sultan
sent musicians with trumpets and cymbals to meet them,
so that the air resounded with music and cheers. She was
taken to the Princess, who saluted her and treated her
with great honor. At night the Princess said good-by to
her father, and set out on the carpet for Aladdin's palace,
with his mother at her side, and followed by the hundred
slaves. She was charmed at the sight of Aladdin, who ran
to receive her. "Princess," he said, "blame your beauty
for my boldness if I have displeased you." She told him
that, having seen him, she willingly obeyed her father in
this matter. After the wedding had taken place Aladdin
led her into the hall, where a feast was spread, and she
supped with him, after which they danced till midnight.
Next day Aladdin invited the Sultan to see the palace.
On entering the hall with the four-and-twenty windows,
with their rubies, diamonds, and emeralds, he cried: "It
is a world's wonder! There is only one thing that
surprises me. Was it by accident that one window was left
unfinished?" "No, sir, by design," returned Aladdin. "I
wished your Majesty to have the glory of finishing this
palace." The Sultan was pleased, and sent for the best
jewelers in the city. He showed them the unfinished
window, and bade them fit it up like the others. "Sir,"
replied their spokesman, "we cannot find jewels enough."
The Sultan had his own fetched, which they soon used,
but to no purpose, for in a month's time the work was
not half done. Aladdin, knowing that their task was vain,
bade them undo their work and carry the jewels back, and
the genie finished the window at his command. The Sultan
was surprised to receive his jewels again, and visited
Aladdin, who showed him the window finished. The Sultan
embraced him, the envious Vizier meanwhile hinting
that it was the work of enchantment.
Aladdin had won the hearts of the people by his gentle
bearing. He was made captain of the Sultan's armies, and
won several battles for him, but remained modest and
courteous as before, and lived thus in peace and content
for several years.
But far away in Africa the magician remembered Aladdin,
and by his magic arts discovered that Aladdin, instead
of perishing miserably in the cave, had escaped, and
had married a princess, with whom he was living in great
honor and wealth. He knew that the poor tailor's son
could only have accomplished this by means of the lamp,
and traveled night and day until he reached the capital
of China, bent on Aladdin's ruin. As he passed through
the town he heard people talking everywhere about a
marvellous palace. "Forgive my ignorance," he asked,
"what is this palace you speak Of?" "Have you not heard
of Prince Aladdin's palace," was the reply, "the greatest
wonder of the world? I will direct you if you have a mind
to see it." The magician thanked him who spoke, and
having seen the palace, knew that it had been raised
by the Genie of the Lamp, and became half mad with
rage. He determined to get hold of the lamp, and again
plunge Aladdin into the deepest poverty.
Unluckily, Aladdin had gone a-hunting for eight days,
which gave the magician plenty of time. He bought a
dozen copper lamps, put them into a basket, and went to
the palace, crying: "New lamps for old!" followed by a
jeering crowd. The Princess, sitting in the hall of fourand-
twenty windows, sent a slave to find out what the
noise was about, who came back laughing, so that the
Princess scolded her. "Madam," replied the slave, "who
can help laughing to see an old fool offering to exchange
fine new lamps for old ones?" Another slave, hearing this,
said: "There is an old one on the cornice there which he
can have." Now this was the magic lamp, which Aladdin
had left there, as he could not take it out hunting with
him. The Princess, not knowing its value, laughingly
bade the slave take it and make the exchange. She went
and said to the magician: "Give me a new lamp for this."
He snatched it and bade the slave take her choice, amid
the jeers of the crowd. Little he cared, but left off crying
his lamps, and went out of the city gates to a lonely place,
where he remained till nightfall, when he pulled out the
lamp and rubbed it. The genie appeared, and at the
magician's command carried him, together with the
palace and the Princess in it, to a lonely place in Africa.
Next morning the Sultan looked out of the window
toward Aladdin's palace and rubbed his eyes, for it was
gone. He sent for the Vizier and asked what had become
of the palace. The Vizier looked out too, and was lost in
astonishment. He again put it down to enchantment, and
this time the Sultan believed him, and sent thirty men on
horseback to fetch Aladdin in chains. They met him riding
home, bound him, and forced him to go with them
on foot. The people, however, who loved him, followed,
armed, to see that he came to no harm. He was carried
before the Sultan, who ordered the executioner to cut off
his head. The executioner made Aladdin kneel down,
bandaged his eyes, and raised his scimitar to strike. At
that instant the Vizier, who saw that the crowd had forced
their way into the courtyard and were scaling the walls to
rescue Aladdin, called to the executioner to stay his hand.
The people, indeed, looked so threatening that the Sultan
gave way and ordered Aladdin to be unbound, and
pardoned him in the sight of the crowd. Aladdin now
begged to know what he had done. "False wretch!" said
the Sultan, "come thither," and showed him from the
window the place where his palace had stood. Aladdin
was so amazed that he could not say a word. "Where is
my palace and my daughter?" demanded the Sultan. "For
the first I am not so deeply concerned, but my daughter
I must have, and you must find her or lose your head."
Aladdin begged for forty days in which to find her,
promising, if he failed, to return and suffer death at the
Sultan's pleasure. His prayer was granted, and he went
forth sadly from the Sultan's presence. For three days he
wandered about like a madman, asking everyone what
had become of his palace, but they only laughed and
pitied him. He came to the banks of a river, and knelt
down to say his prayers before throwing himself in. In
so doing he rubbed the magic ring he still wore. The
genie he had seen in the cave appeared, and asked his
will. "Save my life, genie," said Aladdin, "bring my
palace back." "That is not in my power," said the genie;
"I am only the Slave of the Ring; you must ask him of the
lamp." "Even so," said Aladdin, "but thou canst take
me to the palace, and set me down under my dear wife's
window." He at once found himself in Africa, under the
window of the Princess, and fell asleep out of sheer
He was awakened by the singing of the birds, and his
heart was lighter. He saw plainly that all his misfortunes
were owing to the loss of the lamp, and vainly wondered
who had robbed him of it.
That morning the Princess rose earlier than she had
done since she had been carried into Africa by the
magician, whose company she was forced to endure once a
day. She, however, treated him so harshly that he dared
not live there altogether. As she was dressing, one of her
women looked out and saw Aladdin. The Princess ran
and opened the window, and at the noise she made Aladdin
looked up. She called to him to come to her, and
great was the joy of these lovers at seeing each other again.
After he had kissed her Aladdin said: "I beg of you,
Princess, in God's name, before we speak of anything else,
for your own sake and mine, tell me that has become of an
old lamp I left on the cornice in the hall of four-andtwenty
windows, when I went a-hunting." "Alas!" she
said, "I am the innocent cause of our sorrows," and told
him of the exchange of the lamp. "Now I know," cried
Aladdin, "that we have to thank the African magician for
this! Where is the lamp?" "He carries it about with him,"
said the Princess. "I know, for he pulled it out of his
breast to show me. He wishes me to break my faith with
you and marry him, saying that you were beheaded by
my father's command. He is for ever speaking ill of you
but I only reply by my tears. If I persist, I doubt not but
he will use violence." Aladdin comforted her, and left her
for a while. He changed clothes with the first person he
met in the town, and having bought a certain powder,
returned to the Princess, who let him in by a little side
door. "Put on your most beautiful dress," he said to her
"and receive the magician with smiles, leading him to
believe that you have forgotten me. Invite him to sup with
you, and say you wish to taste the wine of his country.
He will go for some and while he is gone I will tell you
what to do." She listened carefully to Aladdin and when
he left she arrayed herself gaily for the first time since she
left China. She put on a girdle and head-dress of
diamonds, and, seeing in a glass that she was more beautiful
than ever, received the magician, saying, to his great
amazement: "I have made up my mind that Aladdin is
dead, and that all my tears will not bring him back to me,
so I am resolved to mourn no more, and have therefore
invited you to sup with me; but I am tired of the wines
of China, and would fain taste those of Africa." The
magician flew to his cellar, and the Princess put the powder
Aladdin had given her in her cup. When he returned
she asked him to drink her health in the wine of Africa,
handing him her cup in exchange for his, as a sign she was
reconciled to him. Before drinking the magician made
her a speech in praise of her beauty, but the Princess cut
him short, saying: "Let us drink first, and you shall say
what you will afterward." She set her cup to her lips and
kept it there, while the magician drained his to the dregs
and fell back lifeless. The Princess then opened the door
to Aladdin, and flung her arms round his neck; but Aladdin
put her away, bidding her leave him, as he had more
to do. He then went to the dead magician, took the lamp
out of his vest, and bade the genie carry the palace and
all in it back to China. This was done, and the Princess
in her chamber only felt two little shocks, and little
thought she was at home again.
The Sultan, who was sitting in his closet, mourning for
his lost daughter, happened to look up, and rubbed his
eyes, for there stood the palace as before! He hastened
thither, and Aladdin received him in the hall of the fourand-
twenty windows, with the Princess at his side. Aladdin
told him what had happened, and showed him the
dead body of the magician, that he might believe. A ten
days' feast was proclaimed, and it seemed as if Aladdin
might now live the rest of his life in peace; but it was not
to be.
The African magician had a younger brother, who was,
if possible, more wicked and more cunning than himself.
He traveled to China to avenge his brother's death, and
went to visit a pious woman called Fatima, thinking she
might be of use to him. He entered her cell and clapped
a dagger to her breast, telling her to rise and do his
bidding on pain of death. He changed clothes with her,
colored his face like hers, put on her veil, and murdered
her, that she might tell no tales. Then he went toward
the palace of Aladdin, and all the people, thinking he was
the holy woman, gathered round him, kissing his hands
and begging his blessing. When he got to the palace there
was such a noise going on round him that the Princess
bade her slave look out of the window and ask what was
the matter. The slave said it was the holy woman, curing
people by her touch of their ailments, whereupon the
Princess, who had long desired to see Fatima, sent for her.
On coming to the Princess the magician offered up a
prayer for her health and prosperity. When he had done
the Princess made him sit by her, and begged him to stay
with her always. The false Fatima, who wished for nothing
better, consented, but kept his veil down for fear of
discovery. The Princess showed him the hall, and asked
him what he thought of it. "It is truly beautiful," said
the false Fatima. "In my mind it wants but one thing."
"And what is that?" said the Princess. "If only a roc's
egg," replied he, "were hung up from the middle of this
dome, it would be the wonder of the world."
After this the Princess could think of nothing but the
roc's egg, and when Aladdin returned from hunting he
found her in a very ill humor. He begged to know what
was amiss, and she told him that all her pleasure in the
hall was spoiled for the want of a roc's egg hanging from
the dome. "If that is all," replied Aladdin, "you shall
soon be happy." He left her and rubbed the lamp, and
when the genie appeared commanded him to bring a roc's
egg. The genie gave such a loud and terrible shriek that
the hall shook. "Wretch!" he cried, "is it not enough
that I have done everything for you, but you must command
me to bring my master and hang him up in the
midst of this dome? You and your wife and your palace
deserve to be burnt to ashes, but that this request does
not come from you, but from the brother of the African
magician, whom you destroyed. He is now in your palace
disguised as the holy woman--whom he murdered. He it
was who put that wish into your wife's head. Take care
of yourself, for he means to kill you." So saying, the
genie disappeared.
Aladdin went back to the Princess, saying his head
ached, and requesting that the holy Fatima should be
fetched to lay her hands on it. But when the magician
came near, Aladdin, seizing his dagger, pierced him to the
heart. "What have you done?" cried the Princess. "You
have killed the holy woman!" "Not so," replied Aladdin,
"but a wicked magician," and told her of how she had
been deceived.
After this Aladdin and his wife lived in peace. He
succeeded the Sultan when he died, and reigned for many
years, leaving behind him a long line of kings.[1]
[1] Arabian Nights.
A FATHER had two sons, of whom the eldest was clever
and bright, and always knew what he was about; but the
youngest was stupid, and couldn't learn or understand
anything. So much so that those who saw him exclaimed:
"What a burden he'll be to his father!" Now when there
was anything to be done, the eldest had always to do it;
but if something was required later or in the night-time,
and the way led through the churchyard or some such
ghostly place, he always replied: "Oh! no, father: nothing
will induce me to go there, it makes me shudder!" for he
was afraid. Or, when they sat of an evening around the
fire telling stories which made one's flesh creep, the
listeners sometimes said: "Oh! it makes one shudder," the
youngest sat in a corner, heard the exclamation, and
could not understand what it meant. "They are always
saying it makes one shudder! it makes one shudder!
Nothing makes me shudder. It's probably an art quite
beyond me."
Now it happened that his father said to him one day:
"Hearken, you there in the corner; you are growing big
and strong, and you must learn to earn your own bread.
Look at your brother, what pains he takes; but all the
money I've spent on your education is thrown away."
"My dear father," he replied, "I will gladly learn--in
fact, if it were possible I should like to learn to shudder;
I don't understand that a bit yet." The eldest laughed
when he heard this, and thought to himself: "Good
heavens! what a ninny my brother is! he'll never come to
any good; as the twig is bent, so is the tree inclined."
The father sighed, and answered him: "You'll soon learn
to shudder; but that won't help you to make a living."
Shortly after this, when the sexton came to pay them
a visit, the father broke out to him, and told him what
a bad hand his youngest son was at everything: he knew
nothing and learned nothing. "Only think! when I asked
him how he purposed gaining a livelihood, he actually
asked to be taught to shudder." "If that's all he wants,"
said the sexton, "I can teach him that; just you send
him to me, I'll soon polish him up." The father was quite
pleased with the proposal, because he thought: "It will
be a good discipline for the youth." And so the sexton
took him into his house, and his duty was to toll the bell.
After a few days he woke him at midnight, and bade him
rise and climb into the tower and toll. "Now, my friend,
I'll teach you to shudder," thought he. He stole forth
secretly in front, and when the youth was up above, and
had turned round to grasp the bell-rope, he saw, standing
opposite the hole of the belfry, a white figure. "Who's
there?" he called out, but the figure gave no answer, and
neither stirred nor moved. "Answer," cried the youth,
"or begone; you have no business here at this hour of the
night." But the sexton remained motionless, so that the
youth might think that it was a ghost. The youth called
out the second time: "What do you want here? Speak if
you are an honest fellow, or I'll knock you down the stairs."
The sexton thought: "He can't mean that in earnest," so
gave forth no sound, and stood as though he were made
of stone. Then the youth shouted out to him the third
time, and as that too had no effect, he made a dash at the
spectre and knocked it down the stairs, so that it fell
about ten steps and remained lying in a corner. Thereupon
he tolled the bell, went home to bed without saying
a word, and fell asleep. The sexton's wife waited a long
time for her husband, but he never appeared. At last
she became anxious, and woke the youth, and asked:
"Don't you know where my husband is? He went up to
the tower in front of you." "No," answered the youth;
"but someone stood on the stairs up there just opposite
the trap-door in the belfry, and because he wouldn't
answer me, or go away, I took him for a rogue and
knocked him down. You'd better go and see if it was he;
I should be much distressed if it were." The wife ran and
found her husband who was lying groaning in a corner,
with his leg broken.
She carried him down, and then hurried with loud
protestations to the youth's father. "Your son has been
the cause of a pretty misfortune," she cried; "he threw my
husband downstairs so that he broke his leg. Take the
good-for-nothing wretch out of our house." The father
was horrified, hurried to the youth, and gave him a
"What unholy pranks are these? The evil one must
have put them into your head." "Father," he replied,
"only listen to me; I am quite guiltless. He stood there
in the night, like one who meant harm. I didn't know
who it was, and warned him three times to speak or
begone." "Oh!" groaned the father, "you'll bring me
nothing but misfortune; get out of my sight, I won't have
anything more to do with you." "Yes, father, willingly; only
wait till daylight, then I'll set out and learn to shudder,
and in that way I shall be master of an art which will
gain me a living." "Learn what you will," said the father,
"it's all one to me. Here are fifty dollars for you, set
forth into the wide world with them; but see you tell no
one where you come from or who your father is, for I am
ashamed of you." "Yes, father, whatever you wish; and
if that's all you ask, I can easily keep it in mind."
When day broke the youth put the fifty dollars into his
pocket, set out on the hard high road, and kept muttering
to himself: "If I could only shudder! if I could only
shudder!" Just at this moment a man came by who
heard the youth speaking to himself, and when they had
gone on a bit and were in sight of the gallows the man
said to him: "Look! there is the tree where seven people
have been hanged, and are now learning to fly; sit down
under it and wait till nightfall, and then you'll pretty
soon learn to shudder." "If that's all I have to do,"
answered the youth, "it's easily done; but if I learn to
shudder so quickly, then you shall have my fifty dollars.
Just come back to me tomorrow morning early." Then
the youth went to the gallows-tree and sat down underneath
it, and waited for the evening; and because he felt
cold he lit himself a fire. But at midnight it got so chill
that in spite of the fire he couldn't keep warm. And as
the wind blew the corpses one against the other, tossing
them to and fro, he thought to himself: "If you are
perishing down here by the fire, how those poor things up
there must be shaking and shivering!" And because he had
a tender heart, he put up a ladder, which he climbed
unhooked one body after the other, and took down all the
seven. Then he stirred the fire, blew it up, and placed
them all round in a circle, that they might warm
themselves. But they sat there and did not move, and the
fire caught their clothes. Then he spoke: "Take care, or
I'll hang you up again." But the dead men did not hear
and let their rags go on burning. Then he got angry, and
said: "If you aren't careful yourselves, then I can't help
you, and I don't mean to burn with you"; and he hung
them up again in a row. Then he sat down at his fire and
fell asleep. On the following morning the man came to
him, and, wishing to get his fifty dollars, said: "Now you
know what it is to shudder." "No," he answered, "how
should I? Those fellows up there never opened their
mouths, and were so stupid that they let those few old
tatters they have on their bodies burn." Then the man
saw he wouldn't get his fifty dollars that day, and went
off, saying: "Well, I'm blessed if I ever met such a person
in my life before."
The youth went too on his way, and began to murmur
to himself: "Oh! if I could only shudder! if I could only
shudder!" A carrier who was walking behind him heard
these words, and asked him: "Who are you" "I don't
know," said the youth. "Where do you hail from?" "I
don't know." "Who's your father?" "I mayn't say."
"What are you constantly muttering to yourself?" "Oh!"
said the youth, "I would give worlds to shudder, but no
one can teach me." "Stuff and nonsense!" spoke the
carrier; "come along with me, and I'll soon put that
right." The youth went with the carrier, and in the evening
they reached an inn, where they were to spend the
night. Then, just as he was entering the room, he said
again, quite aloud: "Oh! if I could only shudder! if I could
only shudder!" The landlord, who heard this, laughed
and said: "If that's what you're sighing for, you shall be
given every opportunity here." "Oh! hold your tongue!"
said the landlord's wife; "so many people have paid for
their curiosity with their lives, it were a thousand pities
if those beautiful eyes were never again to behold
daylight." But the youth said: "No matter how difficult, I
insist on learning it; why, that's what I've set out to do."
He left the landlord no peace till he told him that in the
neighborhood stood a haunted castle, where one could
easily learn to shudder if one only kept watch in it for
three nights. The King had promised the man who dared
to do this thing his daughter as wife, and she was the
most beautiful maiden under the sun. There was also
much treasure hid in the castle, guarded by evil spirits,
which would then be free, and was sufficient to make a
poor man more than rich. Many had already gone in, but
so far none had ever come out again. So the youth went
to the King and spoke: "If I were allowed, I should much
like to watch for three nights in the castle." The King
looked at him, and because he pleased him, he said:
"You can ask for three things, none of them living, and
those you may take with you into the castle." Then he
answered: "Well, I shall beg for a fire, a turning lathe, and
a carving bench with the knife attached."
On the following day the King had everything put into
the castle; and when night drew on the youth took up his
position there, lit a bright fire in one of the rooms, placed
the carving bench with the knife close to it, and sat himself
down on the turning lathe. "Oh! if I could only shudder!"
he said: "but I sha'n't learn it here either." Toward
midnight he wanted to make up the fire, and as he was
blowing up a blaze he heard a shriek from a corner. "Ou,
miou! how cold we are!" "You fools!" he cried; "why do
you scream? If you are cold, come and sit at the fire and
warm yourselves." And as he spoke two huge black cats
sprang fiercely forward and sat down, one on each side of
him, and gazed wildly at him with their fiery eyes. After
a time, when they had warmed themselves, they said:
"Friend, shall we play a little game of cards?" "Why
not?" he replied; "but first let me see your paws." Then
they stretched out their claws. "Ha!" said he; "what long
nails you've got! Wait a minute: I must first cut them
off." Thereupon he seized them by the scruff of their
necks, lifted them on to the carving bench, and screwed
down their paws firmly. "After watching you narrowly,"
said he, "I no longer feel any desire to play cards with
you"; and with these words he struck them dead and
threw them out into the water. But when he had thus
sent the two of them to their final rest, and was again
about to sit down at the fire, out of every nook and
corner came forth black cats and black dogs with fiery
chains in such swarms that he couldn't possibly get away
from them. They yelled in the most ghastly manner,
jumped upon his fire, scattered it all, and tried to put it
out. He looked on quietly for a time, but when it got
beyond a joke he seized his carving-knife and called out:
"Be off, you rabble rout!" and let fly at them. Some of
them fled away, and the others he struck dead and threw
them out into the pond below. When he returned he blew
up the sparks of the fire once more, and warmed himself.
And as he sat thus his eyes refused to keep open any
longer, and a desire to sleep stole over him. Then he
looked around him and beheld in the corner a large bed.
"The very thing," he said, and laid himself down in it.
But when he wished to close his eyes the bed began to
move by itself, and ran all round the castle. "Capital,"
he said, "only a little quicker." Then the bed sped on as
if drawn by six horses, over thresholds and stairs, up this
way and down that. All of a sudden--crash, crash! with
a bound it turned over, upside down, and lay like a
mountain on the top of him. But he tossed the blankets
and pillows in the air, emerged from underneath, and
said: "Now anyone who has the fancy for it may go a
drive," lay down at his fire, and slept till daylight. In the
morning the King came, and when he beheld him lying
on the ground he imagined the ghosts had been too much
for him, and that he was dead. Then he said: "What a
pity! and such a fine fellow he was." The youth heard
this, got up, and said: "It's not come to that yet." Then
the King was astonished, but very glad, and asked how
it had fared with him. "First-rate," he answered; "and
now I've survived the one night, I shall get through the
other two also." The landlord, when he went to him,
opened his eyes wide, and said: "Well, I never thought to
see you alive again. Have you learned now what
shuddering is ?" "No," he replied, "it's quite hopeless; if
someone could only tell me how to!"
The second night he went up again to the old castle,
sat down at the fire, and began his old refrain: "If I could
only shudder!" As midnight approached, a noise and din
broke out, at first gentle, but gradually increasing; then
all was quiet for a minute, and at length, with a loud
scream, half of a man dropped down the chimney and fell
before him. "Hi, up there!" shouted he; "there's another
half wanted down here, that's not enough"; then the din
commenced once more, there was a shrieking and a yelling,
and then the other half fell down. "Wait a bit," he
said; "I'll stir up the fire for you." When he had done
this and again looked around, the two pieces had united,
and a horrible-looking man sat on his seat. "Come," said
the youth, "I didn't bargain for that, the seat is mine."
The man tried to shove him away, but the youth wouldn't
allow it for a moment, and, pushing him off by force,
sat down in his place again. Then more men dropped
down, one after the other, who fetching nine skeleton legs
and two skulls, put them up and played ninepins with
them. The youth thought he would like to play too,
and said: "Look here; do you mind my joining the game?"
"No, not if you have money." "I've money enough," he
replied, "but your balls aren't round enough." Then he
took the skulls, placed them on his lathe, and turned
them till they were round. "Now they'll roll along better,"
said he, "and houp-la! now the fun begins." He played
with them and lost some of his money, but when twelve
struck everything vanished before his eyes. He lay down
and slept peacefully. The next morning the King came,
anxious for news. "How have you got on this time?" he
asked. "I played ninepins," he answered, "and lost a few
pence." "Didn't you shudder then?" "No such luck,"
said he; "I made myself merry. Oh! if I only knew what
it was to shudder!"
On the third night he sat down again on his bench, and
said, in the most desponding way: "If I could only shudder!"
When it got late, six big men came in carrying a
coffin. Then he cried: "Ha! ha! that's most likely my
little cousin who only died a few days ago"; and beckoning
with his finger he called out: "Come, my small cousin,
come." They placed the coffin on the ground, and he
approached it and took off the cover. In it lay a dead man.
He felt his face, and it was cold as ice. "Wait," he said
"I'll heat you up a bit," went to the fire, warmed his hand,
and laid it on the man's face, but the dead remained cold.
Then he lifted him out, sat down at the fire, laid him on
his knee, and rubbed his arms that the blood should
circulate again. When that too had no effect it occurred
to him that if two people lay together in bed they warmed
each other; so he put him into the bed, covered him up,
and lay down beside him; after a time the corpse became
warm and began to move. Then the youth said: "Now,
my little cousin, what would have happened if I hadn't
warmed you?" But the dead man rose up and cried out:
"Now I will strangle you." "What!" said he, "is that all
the thanks I get? You should be put straight back into
your coffin," lifted him up, threw him in, and closed the
lid. Then the six men came and carried him out again.
"I simply can't shudder," he said, "and it's clear I sha'n't
learn it in a lifetime here."
Then a man entered, of more than ordinary size and of
a very fearful appearance; but he was old and had a white
beard. "Oh! you miserable creature, now you will soon
know what it is to shudder," he cried, "for you must die."
"Not so quickly," answered the youth. "If I am to die,
you must catch me first." "I shall soon lay hold of you,"
spoke the monster. "Gently, gently, don't boast too
much, I'm as strong as you, and stronger too." "We'll
soon see," said the old man; "if you are stronger than I
then I'll let you off; come, let's have a try." Then he led
him through some dark passages to a forge, and grasping
an axe he drove one of the anvils with a blow into the
earth. "I can do better than that," cried the youth, and
went to the other anvil. The old man drew near him in
order to watch closely, and his white beard hung right
down. The youth seized the axe, cleft the anvil open, and
jammed in the old man's beard. "Now I have you," said
the youth; "this time it's your turn to die." Then he
seized an iron rod and belabored the old man till he,
whimpering, begged him to leave off, and he would give
him great riches. The youth drew out the axe and let him
go. The old man led him back to the castle and showed
him in a cellar three chests of gold. "One of these," said
he, "belongs to the poor, one to the King, and the third
is yours." At that moment twelve struck, and the spirit
vanished, leaving the youth alone in the dark. "I'll surely
be able to find a way out," said he, and groping about he
at length found his way back to the room, and fell asleep
at his fire. The next morning the King came, and said:
"Well, now you've surely learned to shudder?" "No," he
answered; "what can it be? My dead cousin was here,
and an old bearded man came, who showed me heaps of
money down below there, but what shuddering is no one
has told me." Then the King spoke: "You have freed
the castle from its curse, and you shall marry my
daughter." "That's all charming," he said; abut I still don't
know what it is to shudder."
Then the gold was brought up, and the wedding was
celebrated, but the young King, though he loved his wife
dearly, and though he was very happy, still kept on saying:
"If I could only shudder! if I could only shudder!"
At last he reduced her to despair. Then her maid said:
"I'll help you; we'll soon make him shudder." So she
went out to the stream that flowed through the garden,
and had a pail full of little gudgeons brought to her. At
night, when the young King was asleep, his wife had to
pull the clothes off him, and pour the pail full of little
gudgeons over him, so that the little fish swam all about
him. Then he awoke and cried out: "Oh! how I shudder,
how I shudder, dear wife! Yes, now I know what
shuddering is."[1]
[1] Grimm.
THERE was once upon a time a poor miller who had a
very beautiful daughter. Now it happened one day that
he had an audience with the King, and in order to appear
a person of some importance he told him that he had a
daughter who could spin straw into gold. "Now that's
a talent worth having," said the King to the miller; "if
your daughter is as clever as you say, bring her to my
palace to-morrow, and I'll put her to the test." When the
girl was brought to him he led her into a room full of
straw, gave her a spinning-wheel and spindle, and said:
"Now set to work and spin all night till early dawn, and
if by that time you haven't spun the straw into gold you
shall die." Then he closed the door behind him and left
her alone inside.
So the poor miller's daughter sat down, and didn't
know what in the world she was to do. She hadn't the
least idea of how to spin straw into gold, and became at
last so miserable that she began to cry. Suddenly the
door opened, and in stepped a tiny little man and said:
"Good-evening, Miss Miller-maid; why are you crying so
bitterly?" "Oh!" answered the girl, "I have to spin straw
into gold, and haven't a notion how it's done." "What
will you give me if I spin it for you?" asked the manikin.
"My necklace," replied the girl. The little man took the
necklace, sat himself down at the wheel, and whir, whir,
whir, the wheel went round three times, and the bobbin
was full. Then he put on another, and whir, whir, whir,
the wheel went round three times, and the second too
was full; and so it went on till the morning, when all the
straw was spun away, and all the bobbins were full of
gold. As soon as the sun rose the King came, and when
he perceived the gold he was astonished and delighted,
but his heart only lusted more than ever after the precious
metal. He had the miller's daughter put into another
room full of straw, much bigger than the first, and bade
her, if she valued her life, spin it all into gold before the
following morning. The girl didn't know what to do, and
began to cry; then the door opened as before, and the tiny
little man appeared and said: "What'll you give me if I
spin the straw into gold for you?" "The ring from my
finger," answered the girl. The manikin took the ring,
and whir! round went the spinning-wheel again, and when
morning broke he had spun all the straw into glittering
gold. The King was pleased beyond measure at the sights
but his greed for gold was still not satisfied, and he had
the miller's daughter brought into a yet bigger room full
of straw, and said: "You must spin all this away in the
night; but if you succeed this time you shall become my
wife." "She's only a miller's daughter, it's true," he
thought; "but I couldn't find a richer wife if I were to
search the whole world over." When the girl was alone
the little man appeared for the third time, and said:
"What'll you give me if I spin the straw for you once
again?" "I've nothing more to give," answered the girl.
"Then promise me when you are Queen to give me your
first child." "Who knows what may not happen before
that?" thought the miller's daughter; and besides, she
saw no other way out of it, so she promised the manikin
what he demanded, and he set to work once more and
spun the straw into gold. When the King came in the
morning, and found everything as he had desired, he
straightway made her his wife, and the miller's daughter
became a queen.
When a year had passed a beautiful son was born to her,
and she thought no more of the little man, till all of a
sudden one day he stepped into her room and said: "Now
give me what you promised." The Queen was in a great
state, and offered the little man all the riches in her kingdom
if he would only leave her the child. But the manikin
said: "No, a living creature is dearer to me than all
the treasures in the world." Then the Queen began to cry
and sob so bitterly that the little man was sorry for her,
and said: "I'll give you three days to guess my name, and
if you find it out in that time you may keep your child."
Then the Queen pondered the whole night over all the
names she had ever heard, and sent a messenger to scour
the land, and to pick up far and near any names he could
come across. When the little man arrived on the following
day she began with Kasper, Melchior, Belshazzar, and all
the other names she knew, in a string, but at each one the
manikin called out: "That's not my name." The next day
she sent to inquire the names of all the people in the
neighborhood, and had a long list of the most uncommon
and extraordinary for the little man when he made his
appearance. "Is your name, perhaps, Sheepshanks
Cruickshanks, Spindleshanks?" but he always replied:
"That's not my name." On the third day the messenger
returned and announced: "I have not been able to find
any new names, but as I came upon a high hill round the
corner of the wood, where the foxes and hares bid each
other good-night, I saw a little house, and in front of the
house burned a fire, and round the fire sprang the most
grotesque little man, hopping on one leg and crying:
"To-morrow I brew, to-day I bake,
And then the child away I'll take;
For little deems my royal dame
That Rumpelstiltzkin is my name!"
You can imagine the Queen's delight at hearing the
name, and when the little man stepped in shortly afterward
and asked: "Now, my lady Queen, what's my name?"
she asked first: "Is your name Conrad?" "NO." "Is your
name Harry?" "No." "Is your name perhaps,
Rumpelstiltzkin?" "Some demon has told you that! some demon
has told you that!" screamed the little man, and in his
rage drove his right foot so far into the ground that it
sank in up to his waist; then in a passion he seized the
left foot with both hands and tore himself in two.[1]
[1] Grimm.
ONCE upon a time, in a very far-off country, there
lived a merchant who had been so fortunate in all his
undertakings that he was enormously rich. As he had,
however, six sons and six daughters, he found that his
money was not too much to let them all have everything
they fancied, as they were accustomed to do.
But one day a most unexpected misfortune befell them.
Their house caught fire and was speedily burnt to the
ground, with all the splendid furniture, the books, pictures,
gold, silver, and precious goods it contained; and
this was only the beginning of their troubles. Their
father, who had until this moment prospered in all ways,
suddenly lost every ship he had upon the sea, either by
dint of pirates, shipwreck, or fire. Then he heard that his
clerks in distant countries, whom he trusted entirely, had
proved unfaithful; and at last from great wealth he fell
into the direst poverty.
All that he had left was a little house in a desolate place
at least a hundred leagues from the town in which he had
lived, and to this he was forced to retreat with his
children, who were in despair at the idea of leading such a
different life. Indeed, the daughters at first hoped that
their friends, who had been so numerous while they were
rich, would insist on their staying in their houses now they
no longer possessed one. But they soon found that they
were left alone, and that their former friends even attributed
their misfortunes to their own extravagance, and
showed no intention of offering them any help. So nothing
was left for them but to take their departure to the
cottage, which stood in the midst of a dark forest, and
seemed to be the most dismal place upon the face of the
earth. As they were too poor to have any servants, the
girls had to work hard, like peasants, and the sons, for
their part, cultivated the fields to earn their living.
Roughly clothed, and living in the simplest way, the girls
regretted unceasingly the luxuries and amusements of
their former life; only the youngest tried to be brave and
cheerful. She had been as sad as anyone when misfortune
overtook her father, but, soon recovering her natural
gaiety, she set to work to make the best of things, to
amuse her father and brothers as well as she could, and
to try to persuade her sisters to join her in dancing and
singing. But they would do nothing of the sort, and,
because she was not as doleful as themselves, they declared
that this miserable life was all she was fit for. But she
was really far prettier and cleverer than they were; indeed,
she was so lovely that she was always called Beauty.
After two years, when they were all beginning to get used
to their new life, something happened to disturb their
tranquillity. Their father received the news that one of
his ships, which he had believed to be lost, had come
safely into port with a rich cargo. All the sons and daughters
at once thought that their poverty was at an end, and
wanted to set out directly for the town; but their father,
who was more prudent, begged them to wait a little, and,
though it was harvest time, and he could ill be spared,
determined to go himself first, to make inquiries. Only the
youngest daughter had any doubt but that they would
soon again be as rich as they were before, or at least rich
enough to live comfortably in some town where they
would find amusement and gay companions once more.
So they all loaded their father with commissions for
jewels and dresses which it would have taken a fortune
to buy; only Beauty, feeling sure that it was of no use, did
not ask for anything. Her father, noticing her silence,
said: "And what shall I bring for you, Beauty?"
"The only thing I wish for is to see you come home
safely," she answered.
But this only vexed her sisters, who fancied she was
blaming them for having asked for such costly things.
Her father, however, was pleased, but as he thought that
at her age she certainly ought to like pretty presents, he
told her to choose something.
"Well, dear father," she said, "as you insist upon it, I
beg that you will bring me a rose. I have not seen one
since we came here, and I love them so much."
So the merchant set out and reached the town as
quickly as possible, but only to find that his former
companions, believing him to be dead, had divided between
them the goods which the ship had brought; and after six
months of trouble and expense he found himself as poor
as when he started, having been able to recover only just
enough to pay the cost of his journey. To make matters
worse, he was obliged to leave the town in the most
terrible weather, so that by the time he was within a few
leagues of his home he was almost exhausted with cold
and fatigue. Though he knew it would take some hours
to get through the forest, he was so anxious to be at his
journey's end that he resolved to go on; but night overtook
him, and the deep snow and bitter frost made it
impossible for his horse to carry him any further. Not a
house was to be seen; the only shelter he could get was
the hollow trunk of a great tree, and there he crouched all
the night which seemed to him the longest he had ever
known. In spite of his weariness the howling of the
wolves kept him awake, and even when at last the day
broke he was not much better off, for the falling snow had
covered up every path, and he did not know which way
to turn.
At length he made out some sort of track, and though
at the beginning it was so rough and slippery that he fell
down more than once, it presently became easier, and led
him into an avenue of trees which ended in a splendid
castle. It seemed to the merchant very strange that no
snow had fallen in the avenue, which was entirely
composed of orange trees, covered with flowers and fruit.
When he reached the first court of the castle he saw before
him a flight of agate steps, and went up them, and passed
through several splendidly furnished rooms. The pleasant
warmth of the air revived him, and he felt very hungry;
but there seemed to be nobody in all this vast and splendid
palace whom he could ask to give him something to
eat. Deep silence reigned everywhere, and at last, tired
of roaming through empty rooms and galleries, he stopped
in a room smaller than the rest, where a clear fire was
burning and a couch was drawn up closely to it. Thinking
that this must be prepared for someone who was
expected, he sat down to wait till he should come, and
very soon fell into a sweet sleep.
When his extreme hunger wakened him after several
hours, he was still alone; but a little table, upon which
was a good dinner, had been drawn up close to him, and,
as he had eaten nothing for twenty-four hours, he lost no
time in beginning his meal, hoping that he might soon
have an opportunity of thanking his considerate entertainer,
whoever it might be. But no one appeared, and
even after another long sleep, from which he awoke
completely refreshed, there was no sign of anybody, though
a fresh meal of dainty cakes and fruit was prepared upon
the little table at his elbow. Being naturally timid, the
silence began to terrify him, and he resolved to search
once more through all the rooms; but it was of no use.
Not even a servant was to be seen; there was no sign of
life in the palace! He began to wonder what he should do,
and to amuse himself by pretending that all the treasures
he saw were his own, and considering how he would
divide them among his children. Then he went down into
the garden, and though it was winter everywhere else,
here the sun shone, and the birds sang, and the flowers
bloomed, and the air was soft and sweet. The merchant,
in ecstacies with all he saw and heard, said to himself:
"All this must be meant for me. I will go this minute
and bring my children to share all these delights."
In spite of being so cold and weary when he reached the
castle, he had taken his horse to the stable and fed it.
Now he thought he would saddle it for his homeward
journey, and he turned down the path which led to the
stable. This path had a hedge of roses on each side of it,
and the merchant thought he had never seen or smelt
such exquisite flowers. They reminded him of his promise
to Beauty, and he stopped and had just gathered one to
take to her when he was startled by a strange noise behind
him. Turning round, he saw a frightful Beast, which
seemed to be very angry and said, in a terrible voice:
"Who told you that you might gather my roses? Was
it not enough that I allowed you to be in my palace and
was kind to you? This is the way you show your gratitude,
by stealing my flowers! But your insolence shall
not go unpunished." The merchant, terrified by these
furious words, dropped the fatal rose, and, throwing
himself on his knees, cried: "Pardon me, noble sir. I am
truly grateful to you for your hospitality, which was so
magnificent that I could not imagine that you would be
offended by my taking such a little thing as a rose." But
the Beast's anger was not lessened by this speech.
"You are very ready with excuses and flattery," he
cried; "but that will not save you from the death you
"Alas!" thought the merchant, "if my daughter
could only know what danger her rose has brought me
And in despair he began to tell the Beast all his
misfortunes, and the reason of his journey, not forgetting to
mention Beauty s request.
"A king's ransom would hardly have procured all that
my other daughters asked." he said: "but I thought that
I might at least take Beauty her rose. I beg you to forgive
me, for you see I meant no harm."
The Beast considered for a moment, and then he said,
in a less furious tone:
"I will forgive you on one condition--that is, that you
will give me one of your daughters."
"Ah!" cried the merchant, "if I were cruel enough to
buy my own life at the expense of one of my children's,
what excuse could I invent to bring her here?"
"No excuse would be necessary," answered the Beast.
"If she comes at all she must come willingly. On no other
condition will I have her. See if any one of them is
courageous enough, and loves you well enough to come
and save your life. You seem to be an honest man, so I
will trust you to go home. I give you a month to see if
either of your daughters will come back with you and stay
here, to let you go free. If neither of them is willing, you
must come alone, after bidding them good-by for ever,
for then you will belong to me. And do not imagine that
you can hide from me, for if you fail to keep your word
I will come and fetch you!" added the Beast grimly.
The merchant accepted this proposal, though he did
not really think any of his daughters could be persuaded
to come. He promised to return at the time appointed,
and then, anxious to escape from the presence of the
Beast, he asked permission to set off at once. But the
Beast answered that he could not go until next day.
"Then you will find a horse ready for you," he said.
"Now go and eat your supper, and await my orders."
The poor merchant, more dead than alive, went back
to his room, where the most delicious supper was already
served on the little table which was drawn up before a
blazing fire. But he was too terrified to eat, and only
tasted a few of the dishes, for fear the Beast should be
angry if he did not obey his orders. When he had finished
he heard a great noise in the next room, which he knew
meant that the Beast was coming. As he could do nothing
to escape his visit, the only thing that remained was to
seem as little afraid as possible; so when the Beast
appeared and asked roughly if he had supped well, the
merchant answered humbly that he had, thanks to his
host's kindness. Then the Beast warned him to remember
their agreement, and to prepare his daughter exactly for
what she had to expect.
"Do not get up to-morrow," he added, "until you see
the sun and hear a golden bell ring. Then you will find
your breakfast waiting for you here, and the horse you
are to ride will be ready in the courtyard. He will also
bring you back again when you come with your daughter
a month hence. Farewell. Take a rose to Beauty, and
remember your promise!"
The merchant was only too glad when the Beast went
away, and though he could not sleep for sadness, he lay
down until the sun rose. Then, after a hasty breakfast,
he went to gather Beauty's rose, and mounted his horse,
which carried him off so swiftly that in an instant he had
lost sight of the palace, and he was still wrapped in
gloomy thoughts when it stopped before the door of the
His sons and daughters, who had been very uneasy at
his long absence, rushed to meet him, eager to know the
result of his journey, which, seeing him mounted upon a
splendid horse and wrapped in a rich mantle, they
supposed to be favorable. He hid the truth from them at
first, only saying sadly to Beauty as he gave her the rose:
"Here is what you asked me to bring you; you little
know what it has cost."
But this excited their curiosity so greatly that presently
he told them his adventures from beginning to end, and
then they were all very unhappy. The girls lamented
loudly over their lost hopes, and the sons declared that
their father should not return to this terrible castle, and
began to make plans for killing the Beast if it should
come to fetch him. But he reminded them that he had
promised to go back. Then the girls were very angry
with Beauty, and said it was all her fault, and that if she
had asked for something sensible this would never have
happened, and complained bitterly that they should have
to suffer for her folly.
Poor Beauty, much distressed, said to them:
"I have, indeed, caused this misfortune, but I assure
you I did it innocently. Who could have guessed that to
ask for a rose in the middle of summer would cause so
much misery? But as I did the mischief it is only just
that I should suffer for it. I will therefore go back with
my father to keep his promise."
At first nobody would hear of this arrangement, and
her father and brothers, who loved her dearly, declared
that nothing should make them let her go; but Beauty
was firm. As the time drew near she divided all her little
possessions between her sisters, and said good-by to
everything she loved, and when the fatal day came she
encouraged and cheered her father as they mounted
together the horse which had brought him back. It seemed
to fly rather than gallop, but so smoothly that Beauty was
not frightened; indeed, she would have enjoyed the journey
if she had not feared what might happen to her at the
end of it. Her father still tried to persuade her to go back,
but in vain. While they were talking the night fell, and
then, to their great surprise, wonderful colored lights
began to shine in all directions, and splendid fireworks
blazed out before them; all the forest was illuminated by
them, and even felt pleasantly warm, though it had been
bitterly cold before. This lasted until they reached the
avenue of orange trees, where were statues holding flaming
torches, and when they got nearer to the palace they
saw that it was illuminated from the roof to the ground,
and music sounded softly from the courtyard. "The
Beast must be very hungry," said Beauty, trying to
laugh, "if he makes all this rejoicing over the arrival of
his prey.
But, in spite of her anxiety, she could not help admiring
all the wonderful things she saw.
The horse stopped at the foot of the flight of steps
leading to the terrace, and when they had dismounted her
father led her to the little room he had been in before,
where they found a splendid fire burning, and the table
daintily spread with a delicious supper.
The merchant knew that this was meant for them, and
Beauty, who was rather less frightened now that she had
passed through so many rooms and seen nothing of the
Beast, was quite willing to begin, for her long ride had
made her very hungry. But they had hardly finished
their meal when the noise of the Beast's footsteps was
heard approaching, and Beauty clung to her father in
terror, which became all the greater when she saw how
frightened he was. But when the Beast really appeared,
though she trembled at the sight of him, she made a great
effort to hide her terror, and saluted him respectfully.
This evidently pleased the Beast. After looking at her
he said, in a tone that might have struck terror into the
boldest heart, though he did not seem to be angry:
"Good-evening, old man. Good-evening, Beauty."
The merchant was too terrified to reply, but Beauty
answered sweetly: "Good-evening, Beast."
"Have you come willingly?" asked the Beast. "Will
you be content to stay here when your father goes away?"
Beauty answered bravely that she was quite prepared
to stay.
"I am pleased with you," said the Beast. "As you have
come of your own accord, you may stay. As for you, old
man," he added, turning to the merchant, "at sunrise tomorrow
you will take your departure. When the bell
rings get up quickly and eat your breakfast, and you will
find the same horse waiting to take you home; but remember
that you must never expect to see my palace again."
Then turning to Beauty, he said:
"Take your father into the next room, and help him to
choose everything you think your brothers and sisters
would like to have. You will find two traveling-trunks
there; fill them as full as you can. It is only just that you
should send them something very precious as a remembrance
of yourself."
Then he went away, after saying, "Good-by, Beauty;
good-by, old man"; and though Beauty was beginning to
think with great dismay of her father's departure, she was
afraid to disobey the Beast's orders; and they went into
the next room, which had shelves and cupboards all round
it. They were greatly surprised at the riches it contained.
There were splendid dresses fit for a queen, with all the
ornaments that were to be worn with them; and when
Beauty opened the cupboards she was quite dazzled by
the gorgeous jewels that lay in heaps upon every shelf.
After choosing a vast quantity, which she divided between
her sisters--for she had made a heap of the wonderful
dresses for each of them--she opened the last chest,
which was full of gold.
"I think, father," she said, "that, as the gold will be
more useful to you, we had better take out the other
things again, and fill the trunks with it." So they did
this; but the more they put in the more room there seemed
to be, and at last they put back all the jewels and dresses
they had taken out, and Beauty even added as many
more of the jewels as she could carry at once; and then
the trunks were not too full, but they were so heavy that
an elephant could not have carried them!
"The Beast was mocking us," cried the merchant; "he
must have pretended to give us all these things, knowing
that I could not carry them away."
"Let us wait and see," answered Beauty. "I cannot
believe that he meant to deceive us. All we can do is to
fasten them up and leave them ready."
So they did this and returned to the little room, where,
to their astonishment, they found breakfast ready. The
merchant ate his with a good appetite, as the Beast's
generosity made him believe that he might perhaps venture
to come back soon and see Beauty. But she felt sure
that her father was leaving her for ever, so she was very
sad when the bell rang sharply for the second time, and
warned them that the time had come for them to part.
They went down into the courtyard, where two horses
were waiting, one loaded with the two trunks, the other
for him to ride. They were pawing the ground in their
impatience to start, and the merchant was forced to bid
Beauty a hasty farewell; and as soon as he was mounted
he went off at such a pace that she lost sight of him in an
instant. Then Beauty began to cry, and wandered sadly
back to her own room. But she soon found that she was
very sleepy, and as she had nothing better to do she lay
down and instantly fell asleep. And then she dreamed
that she was walking by a brook bordered with trees, and
lamenting her sad fate, when a young prince, handsomer
than anyone she had ever seen, and with a voice that
went straight to her heart, came and said to her, "Ah,
Beauty! you are not so unfortunate as you suppose. Here
you will be rewarded for all you have suffered elsewhere.
Your every wish shall be gratified. Only try to find me
out, no matter how I may be disguised, as I love you
dearly, and in making me happy you will find your own
happiness. Be as true-hearted as you are beautiful, and
we shall have nothing left to wish for."
"What can I do, Prince, to make you happy?" said
"Only be grateful," he answered, "and do not trust too
much to your eyes. And, above all, do not desert me
until you have saved me from my cruel misery."
After this she thought she found herself in a room with
a stately and beautiful lady, who said to her:
"Dear Beauty, try not to regret all you have left
behind you, for you are destined to a better fate. Only do
not let yourself be deceived by appearances."
Beauty found her dreams so interesting that she was in
no hurry to awake, but presently the clock roused her by
calling her name softly twelve times, and then she got up
and found her dressing-table set out with everything she
could possibly want; and when her toilet was finished she
found dinner was waiting in the room next to hers. But
dinner does not take very long when you are all by yourself,
and very soon she sat down cosily in the corner of a
sofa, and began to think about the charming Prince she
had seen in her dream.
"He said I could make him happy," said Beauty to
"It seems, then, that this horrible Beast keeps him a
prisoner. How can I set him free? I wonder why they
both told me not to trust to appearances? I don't understand
it. But, after all, it was only a dream, so why
should I trouble myself about it? I had better go and
find something to do to amuse myself."
So she got up and began to explore some of the many
rooms of the palace.
The first she entered was lined with mirrors, and Beauty
saw herself reflected on every side, and thought she had
never seen such a charming room. Then a bracelet which
was hanging from a chandelier caught her eye, and on
taking it down she was greatly surprised to find that it
held a portrait of her unknown admirer, just as she had
seen him in her dream. With great delight she slipped
the bracelet on her arm, and went on into a gallery of
pictures, where she soon found a portrait of the same
handsome Prince, as large as life, and so well painted that
as she studied it he seemed to smile kindly at her. Tearing
herself away from the portrait at last, she passed through
into a room which contained every musical instrument
under the sun, and here she amused herself for a long
while in trying some of them, and singing until she was
tired. The next room was a library, and she saw everything
she had ever wanted to read, as well as everything
she had read, and it seemed to her that a whole lifetime
would not be enough to even read the names of the books,
there were so many. By this time it was growing dusk,
and wax candles in diamond and ruby candlesticks were
beginning to light themselves in every room.
Beauty found her supper served just at the time she
preferred to have it, but she did not see anyone or hear
a sound, and, though her father had warned her that she
would be alone, she began to find it rather dull.
But presently she heard the Beast coming, and wondered
tremblingly if he meant to eat her up now.
However, as he did not seem at all ferocious, and only
said gruffly:
"Good-evening, Beauty," she answered cheerfully and
managed to conceal her terror. Then the Beast asked her
how she had been amusing herself, and she told him all
the rooms she had seen.
Then he asked if she thought she could be happy in his
palace; and Beauty answered that everything was so
beautiful that she would be very hard to please if she
could not be happy. And after about an hour's talk
Beauty began to think that the Beast was not nearly so
terrible as she had supposed at first. Then he got up to
leave her, and said in his gruff voice:
"Do you love me, Beauty? Will you marry me?"
"Oh! what shall I say?" cried Beauty, for she was
afraid to make the Beast angry by refusing.
"Say `yes' or `no' without fear," he replied.
"Oh! no, Beast," said Beauty hastily.
"Since you will not, good-night, Beauty," he said.
And she answered, "Good-night, Beast," very glad to
find that her refusal had not provoked him. And after
he was gone she was very soon in bed and asleep, and
dreaming of her unknown Prince. She thought he came
and said to her:
"Ah, Beauty! why are you so unkind to me? I fear I
am fated to be unhappy for many a long day still."
And then her dreams changed, but the charming Prince
figured in them all; and when morning came her first
thought was to look at the portrait, and see if it was really
like him, and she found that it certainly was.
This morning she decided to amuse herself in the garden,
for the sun shone, and all the fountains were playing;
but she was astonished to find that every place was
familiar to her, and presently she came to the brook where
the myrtle trees were growing where she had first met the
Prince in her dream, and that made her think more than
ever that he must be kept a prisoner by the Beast. When
she was tired she went back to the palace, and found a
new room full of materials for every kind of work--ribbons
to make into bows, and silks to work into flowers.
Then there was an aviary full of rare birds, which were so
tame that they flew to Beauty as soon as they saw her,
and perched upon her shoulders and her head.
"Pretty little creatures," she said, "how I wish that
your cage was nearer to my room, that I might often hear
you sing!
So saying she opened a door, and found, to her delight,
that it led into her own room, though she had thought it
was quite the other side of the palace.
There were more birds in a room farther on, parrots
and cockatoos that could talk, and they greeted Beauty
by name; indeed, she found them so entertaining that she
took one or two back to her room, and they talked to her
while she was at supper; after which the Beast paid her
his usual visit, and asked her the same questions as before,
and then with a gruff "good-night" he took his departure,
and Beauty went to bed to dream of her mysterious
Prince. The days passed swiftly in different
amusements, and after a while Beauty found out another
strange thing in the palace, which often pleased her when
she was tired of being alone. There was one room which
she had not noticed particularly; it was empty, except
that under each of the windows stood a very comfortable
chair; and the first time she had looked out of the window
it had seemed to her that a black curtain prevented her
from seeing anything outside. But the second time she
went into the room, happening to be tired, she sat down
in one of the chairs, when instantly the curtain was rolled
aside, and a most amusing pantomime was acted before
her; there were dances, and colored lights, and music, and
pretty dresses, and it was all so gay that Beauty was in
ecstacies. After that she tried the other seven windows
in turn, and there was some new and surprising entertainment
to be seen from each of them, so that Beauty never
could feel lonely any more. Every evening after supper
the Beast came to see her, and always before saying
good-night asked her in his terrible voice:
"Beauty, will you marry me?"
And it seemed to Beauty, now she understood him
better, that when she said, "No, Beast," he went away
quite sad. But her happy dreams of the handsome young
Prince soon made her forget the poor Beast, and the only
thing that at all disturbed her was to be constantly told
to distrust appearances, to let her heart guide her, and
not her eyes, and many other equally perplexing things,
which, consider as she would, she could not understand.
So everything went on for a long time, until at last,
happy as she was, Beauty began to long for the sight of
her father and her brothers and sisters; and one night,
seeing her look very sad, the Beast asked her what was
the matter. Beauty had quite ceased to be afraid of him.
Now she knew that he was really gentle in spite of his
ferocious looks and his dreadful voice. So she answered
that she was longing to see her home once more. Upon
hearing this the Beast seemed sadly distressed, and cried
"Ah! Beauty, have you the heart to desert an unhappy
Beast like this? What more do you want to make you
happy? Is it because you hate me that you want to
"No, dear Beast," answered Beauty softly, "I do not
hate you, and I should be very sorry never to see you any
more, but I long to see my father again. Only let me go
for two months, and I promise to come back to you and
stay for the rest of my life."
The Beast, who had been sighing dolefully while she
spoke, now replied:
"I cannot refuse you anything you ask, even though it
should cost me my life. Take the four boxes you will find
in the room next to your own, and fill them with everything
you wish to take with you. But remember your
promise and come back when the two months are over,
or you may have cause to repent it, for if you do not
come in good time you will find your faithful Beast dead.
You will not need any chariot to bring you back. Only
say good-by to all your brothers and sisters the night
before you come away, and when you have gone to bed
turn this ring round upon your finger and say firmly: `I
wish to go back to my palace and see my Beast again.'
Good-night, Beauty. Fear nothing, sleep peacefully, and
before long you shall see your father once more."
As soon as Beauty was alone she hastened to fill the
boxes with all the rare and precious things she saw about
her, and only when she was tired of heaping things into
them did they seem to be full.
Then she went to bed, but could hardly sleep for joy.
And when at last she did begin to dream of her beloved
Prince she was grieved to see him stretched upon a grassy
bank, sad and weary, and hardly like himself.
"What is the matter?" she cried.
He looked at her reproachfully, and said:
"How can you ask me, cruel one? Are you not leaving
me to my death perhaps?"
"Ah! don't be so sorrowful," cried Beauty; "I am only
going to assure my father that I am safe and happy. I
have promised the Beast faithfully that I will come back,
and he would die of grief if I did not keep my word!"
"What would that matter to you?" said the Prince
"Surely you would not care?"
"Indeed, I should be ungrateful if I did not care for
such a kind Beast," cried Beauty indignantly. "I would
die to save him from pain. I assure you it is not his fault
that he is so ugly."
Just then a strange sound woke her--someone was
speaking not very far away; and opening her eyes she
found herself in a room she had never seen before, which
was certainly not nearly so splendid as those she was
used to in the Beast's palace. Where could she be? She
got up and dressed hastily, and then saw that the boxes
she had packed the night before were all in the room.
While she was wondering by what magic the Beast had
transported them and herself to this strange place she
suddenly heard her father's voice, and rushed out and
greeted him joyfully. Her brothers and sisters were all
astonished at her appearance, as they had never expected
to see her again, and there was no end to the questions
they asked her. She had also much to hear about what
had happened to them while she was away, and of her
father's journey home. But when they heard that she had
only come to be with them for a short time, and then
must go back to the Beast's palace for ever, they lamented
loudly. Then Beauty asked her father what he thought
could be the meaning of her strange dreams, and why the
Prince constantly begged her not to trust to appearances.
After much consideration, he answered: "You tell me
yourself that the Beast, frightful as he is, loves you dearly,
and deserves your love and gratitude for his gentleness
and kindness; I think the Prince must mean you to understand
that you ought to reward him by doing as he wishes
you to, in spite of his ugliness."
Beauty could not help seeing that this seemed very
probable; still, when she thought of her dear Prince who
was so handsome, she did not feel at all inclined to marry
the Beast. At any rate, for two months she need not
decide, but could enjoy herself with her sisters. But
though they were rich now, and lived in town again, and
had plenty of acquaintances, Beauty found that nothing
amused her very much; and she often thought of the
palace, where she was so happy, especially as at home she
never once dreamed of her dear Prince, and she felt quite
sad without him.
Then her sisters seemed to have got quite used to being
without her, and even found her rather in the way, so
she would not have been sorry when the two months
were over but for her father and brothers, who begged her
to stay, and seemed so grieved at the thought of her
departure that she had not the courage to say good-by to
them. Every day when she got up she meant to say it at
night, and when night came she put it off again, until at
last she had a dismal dream which helped her to make
up her mind. She thought she was wandering in a lonely
path in the palace gardens, when she heard groans which
seemed to come from some bushes hiding the entrance of
a cave, and running quickly to see what could be the
matter, she found the Beast stretched out upon his side,
apparently dying. He reproached her faintly with being
the cause of his distress, and at the same moment a
stately lady appeared, and said very gravely:
"Ah! Beauty, you are only just in time to save his life.
See what happens when people do not keep their promises!
If you had delayed one day more, you would have
found him dead."
Beauty was so terrified by this dream that the next
morning she announced her intention of going back at
once, and that very night she said good-by to her father
and all her brothers and sisters, and as soon as she was in
bed she turned her ring round upon her finger, and said
firmly, "I wish to go back to my palace and see my Beast
again," as she had been told to do.
Then she fell asleep instantly, and only woke up to hear
the clock saying "Beauty, Beauty" twelve times in its
musical voice, which told her at once that she was really
in the palace once more. Everything was just as before,
and her birds were so glad to see her! But Beauty thought
she had never known such a long day, for she was so
anxious to see the Beast again that she felt as if suppertime
would never come.
But when it did come and no Beast appeared she was
really frightened; so, after listening and waiting for a long
time, she ran down into the garden to search for him. Up
and down the paths and avenues ran poor Beauty, calling
him in vain, for no one answered, and not a trace of him
could she find; until at last, quite tired, she stopped for a
minute's rest, and saw that she was standing opposite the
shady path she had seen in her dream. She rushed down
it, and, sure enough, there was the cave, and in it lay the
Beast--asleep, as Beauty thought. Quite glad to have
found him, she ran up and stroked his head, but, to her
horror, he did not move or open his eyes.
"Oh! he is dead; and it is all my fault," said Beauty,
crying bitterly.
But then, looking at him again, she fancied he still
breathed, and, hastily fetching some water from the nearest
fountain, she sprinkled it over his face, and, to her
great delight, he began to revive.
"Oh! Beast, how you frightened me!" she cried. "I
never knew how much I loved you until just now, when
I feared I was too late to save your life."
"Can you really love such an ugly creature as I am?"
said the Beast faintly. "Ah! Beauty, you only came just
in time. I was dying because I thought you had forgotten
your promise. But go back now and rest, I shall see you
again by and by."
Beauty, who had half expected that he would be angry
with her, was reassured by his gentle voice, and went
back to the palace, where supper was awaiting her; and
afterward the Beast came in as usual, and talked about
the time she had spent with her father, asking if she had
enjoyed herself, and if they had all been very glad to see
Beauty answered politely, and quite enjoyed telling
him all that had happened to her. And when at last the
time came for him to go, and he asked, as he had so often
asked before, "Beauty, will you marry me?"
She answered softly, "Yes, dear Beast."
As she spoke a blaze of light sprang up before the
windows of the palace; fireworks crackled and guns
banged, and across the avenue of orange trees, in letters
all made of fire-flies, was written: "Long live the Prince
and his Bride."
Turning to ask the Beast what it could all mean,
Beauty found that he had disappeared, and in his place
stood her long-loved Prince! At the same moment the
wheels of a chariot were heard upon the terrace, and two
ladies entered the room. One of them Beauty recognized
as the stately lady she had seen in her dreams; the other
was also so grand and queenly that Beauty hardly knew
which to greet first.
But the one she already knew said to her companion:
"Well, Queen, this is Beauty, who has had the courage
to rescue your son from the terrible enchantment. They
love one another, and only your consent to their marriage
is wanting to make them perfectly happy."
"I consent with all my heart," cried the Queen. "How
can I ever thank you enough, charming girl, for having
restored my dear son to his natural form?"
And then she tenderly embraced Beauty and the
Prince, who had meanwhile been greeting the Fairy and
receiving her congratulations.
"Now," said the Fairy to Beauty, "I suppose you would
like me to send for all your brothers and sisters to dance
at your wedding?"
And so she did, and the marriage was celebrated the
very next day with the utmost splendor, and Beauty and
the Prince lived happily ever after.[1]
[1] La Belle et la Bete. Par Madame de Villeneuve.
ONCE upon a time there was a king who had many sons.
I do not exactly know how many there were, but the
youngest of them could not stay quietly at home, and was
determined to go out into the world and try his luck, and
after a long time the King was forced to give him leave
to go. When he had traveled about for several days, he
came to a giant's house, and hired himself to the giant as
a servant. In the morning the giant had to go out to
pasture his goats, and as he was leaving the house he told
the King's son that he must clean out the stable. "And
after you have done that," he said, "you need not do any
more work today, for you have come to a kind master,
and that you shall find. But what I set you to do must
be done both well and thoroughly, and you must on no
account go into any of the rooms which lead out of the
room in which you slept last night. If you do, I will take
your life."
"Well to be sure, he is an easy master!" said the Prince
to himself as he walked up and down the room humming
and singing, for he thought there would be plenty of time
left to clean out the stable; "but it would be amusing to
steal a glance into his other rooms as well," thought the
Prince, "for there must be something that he is afraid of
my seeing, as I am not allowed to enter them." So he
went into the first room. A cauldron was hanging from
the walls; it was boiling, but the Prince could see no fire
under it. "I wonder what is inside it," he thought, and
dipped a lock of his hair in, and the hair became just as
if it were all made of copper. "That's a nice kind of soup.
If anyone were to taste that his throat would be gilded,"
said the youth, and then he went into the next chamber.
There, too, a cauldron was hanging from the wall, bubbling
and boiling, but there was no fire under this either.
"I will just try what this is like too," said the Prince,
thrusting another lock of his hair into it, and it came out
silvered over. "Such costly soup is not to be had in my
father's palace," said the Prince; "but everything depends
on how it tastes," and then he went into the third room.
There, too, a cauldron was hanging from the wall, boiling,
exactly the same as in the two other rooms, and the
Prince took pleasure in trying this also, so he dipped a
lock of hair in, and it came out so brightly gilded that it
shone again. "Some talk about going from bad to worse,"
said the Prince; "but this is better and better. If he boils
gold here, what can he boil in there?" He was determined
to see, and went through the door into the fourth room.
No cauldron was to be seen there, but on a bench someone
was seated who was like a king's daughter, but, whosoever
she was, she was so beautiful that never in the
Prince's life had he seen her equal.
"Oh! in heaven's name what are you doing here?" said
she who sat upon the bench.
"I took the place of servant here yesterday," said the
Prince .
"May you soon have a better place, if you have come
to serve here!" said she.
"Oh, but I think I have got a kind master," said the
Prince. "He has not given me hard work to do today.
When I have cleaned out the stable I shall be done."
"Yes, but how will you be able to do that?" she asked
again. "If you clean it out as other people do, ten pitchforksful
will come in for every one you throw out. But
I will teach you how to do it; you must turn your pitchfork
upside down, and work with the handle, and then all
will fly out of its own accord."
"Yes, I will attend to that," said the Prince, and stayed
sitting where he was the whole day, for it was soon settled
between them that they would marry each other, he and
the King's daughter; so the first day of his service with
the giant did not seem long to him. But when evening
was drawing near she said that it would now be better for
him to clean out the stable before the giant came home.
When he got there he had a fancy to try if what she had
said were true, so he began to work in the same way that
he had seen the stable-boys doing in his father's stables,
but he soon saw that he must give up that, for when he
had worked a very short time he had scarcely any room
left to stand. So he did what the Princess had taught
him, turned the pitchfork round, and worked with the
handle, and in the twinkling of an eye the stable was as
clean as if it had been scoured. When he had done that,
he went back again into the room in which the giant had
given him leave to stay, and there he walked backward
and forward on the floor, and began to hum and sing.
Then came the giant home with the goats. "Have you
cleaned the stable?" asked the giant.
"Yes, now it is clean and sweet, master," said the King's
"I shall see about that," said the giant, and went round
to the stable, but it was just as the Prince had said.
"You have certainly been talking to my Master-maid,
for you never got that out of your own head," said the
"Master-maid! What kind of a thing is that, master?"
said the Prince, making himself look as stupid as an ass;
"I should like to see that."
"Well, you will see her quite soon enough," said the
On the second morning the giant had again to go out
with his goats, so he told the Prince that on that day he
was to fetch home his horse, which was out on the
mountain-side, and when he had done that he might rest
himself for the remainder of the day, "for you have come
to a kind master, and that you shall find," said the giant
once more. "But do not go into any of the rooms that I
spoke of yesterday, or I will wring your head off," said
he, and then went away with his flock of goats.
"Yes, indeed, you are a kind master," said the Prince;
"but I will go in and talk to the Master-maid again; perhaps
before long she may like better to be mine than
So he went to her. Then she asked him what he had to
do that day.
"Oh! not very dangerous work, I fancy," said the King's
son. "I have only to go up the mountain-side after his
"Well, how do you mean to set about it?" asked the
"Oh! there is no great art in riding a horse home," said
the King's son. "I think I must have ridden friskier
horses before now."
"Yes, but it is not so easy a thing as you think to ride
the horse home," said the Master-maid; "but I will teach
you what to do. When you go near it, fire will burst out
of its nostrils like flames from a pine torch; but be very
careful, and take the bridle which is hanging by the door
there, and fling the bit straight into his jaws, and then it
will become so tame that you will be able to do what you
like with it." He said he would bear this in mind, and
then he again sat in there the whole day by the Mastermaid,
and they chatted and talked of one thing and
another, but the first thing and the last now was, how
happy and delightful it would be if they could but marry
each other, and get safely away from the giant; and the
Prince would have forgotten both the mountain-side and
the horse if the Master-maid had not reminded him of
them as evening drew near, and said that now it would be
better if he went to fetch the horse before the giant came.
So he did this, and took the bridle which was hanging on
a crook, and strode up the mountain-side, and it was not
long before he met with the horse, and fire and red flames
streamed forth out of its nostrils. But the youth carefully
watched his opportunity, and just as it was rushing
at him with open jaws he threw the bit straight into its
mouth, and the horse stood as quiet as a young lamb, and
there was no difficulty at all in getting it home to the
stable. Then the Prince went back into his room again,
and began to hum and to sing.
Toward evening the giant came home. "Have you
fetched the horse back from the mountain-side?" he
"That I have, master; it was an amusing horse to ride,
but I rode him straight home, and put him in the stable
too," said the Prince.
"I will see about that," said the giant, and went out to
the stable, but the horse was standing there just as the
Prince had said. "You have certainly been talking with
my Master-maid, for you never got that out of your own
head," said the giant again.
"Yesterday, master, you talked about this Mastermaid,
and today you are talking about her; ah, heaven
bless you, master, why will you not show me the thing?
for it would be a real pleasure to me to see it," said the
Prince, who again pretended to be silly and stupid.
"Oh! you will see her quite soon enough," said the
On the morning of the third day the giant again had to
go into the wood with the goats. "Today you must go
underground and fetch my taxes," he said to the Prince.
"When you have done this, you may rest for the remainder
of the day, for you shall see what an easy master you
have come to," and then he went away.
"Well, however easy a master you may be, you set me
very hard work to do," thought the Prince; "but I will
see if I cannot find your Master-maid; you say she is
yours, but for all that she may be able to tell me what to
do now," and he went back to her. So, when the Mastermaid
asked him what the giant had set him to do that
day, he told her that he was to go underground and get
the taxes.
"And how will you set about that?" said the Mastermaid .
"Oh! you must tell me how to do it," said the Prince,
"for I have never yet been underground, and even if I
knew the way I do not know how much I am to demand."
"Oh! yes, I will soon tell you that; you must go to the
rock there under the mountain-ridge, and take the club
that is there, and knock on the rocky wall," said the
Master-maid. "Then someone will come out who will
sparkle with fire; you shall tell him your errand, and
when he asks you how much you want to have you are to
say: `As much as I can carry.'"
"Yes, I will keep that in mind," said he, and then he
sat there with the Master-maid the whole day, until night
drew near, and he would gladly have stayed there till
now if the Master-maid had not reminded him that it was
time to be off to fetch the taxes before the giant came.
So he set out on his way, and did exactly what the
Master-maid had told him. He went to the rocky wall,
and took the club, and knocked on it. Then came one so
full of sparks that they flew both out of his eyes and his
nose. "What do you want?" said he.
"I was to come here for the giant, and demand the tax
for him," said the King's son.
"How much are you to have then?" said the other.
"I ask for no more than I am able to carry with me,"
said the Prince.
"It is well for you that you have not asked for a horseload,"
said he who had come out of the rock. "But now
come in with me."
This the Prince did, and what a quantity of gold and
silver he saw! It was lying inside the mountain like heaps
of stones in a waste place, and he got a load that was as
large as he was able to carry, and with that he went his
way. So in the evening, when the giant came home with
the goats, the Prince went into the chamber and hummed
and sang again as he had done on the other two evenings.
"Have you been for the tax?" said the giant.
"Yes, that I have, master," said the Prince.
"Where have you put it then?" said the giant again.
"The bag of gold is standing there on the bench," said
the Prince.
"I will see about that," said the giant, and went away
to the bench, but the bag was standing there, and it was
so full that gold and silver dropped out when the giant
untied the string.
"You have certainly been talking with my Mastermaid!"
said the giant, "and if you have I will wring your
"Master-maid?" said the Prince; "yesterday my master
talked about this Master-maid, and today he is talking
about her again, and the first day of all it was talk of the
same kind. I do wish I could see the thing myself,"
said he.
"Yes, yes, wait till to-morrow," said the giant, "and
then I myself will take you to her."
"Ah! master, I thank you--but you are only mocking
me," said the King's son.
Next day the giant took him to the Master-maid.
"Now you shall kill him, and boil him in the great big
cauldron you know of, and when you have got the broth
ready give me a call," said the giant; then he lay down on
the bench to sleep, and almost immediately began to
snore so that it sounded like thunder among the hills.
So the Master-maid took a knife, and cut the Prince's
little finger, and dropped three drops of blood upon a
wooden stool; then she took all the old rags, and shoesoles,
and all the rubbish she could lay hands on, and put
them in the cauldron; and then she filled a chest with gold
dust, and a lump of salt, and a water-flask which was
hanging by the door, and she also took with her a golden
apple, and two gold chickens; and then she and the Prince
went away with all the speed they could, and when they
had gone a little way they came to the sea, and then they
sailed, but where they got the ship from I have never been
able to learn.
Now, when the giant had slept a good long time, he
began to stretch himself on the bench on which he was
lying. "Will it soon boil?" said he
"It is just beginning," said the first drop of blood on the
So the giant lay down to sleep again, and slept for a
long, long time. Then he began to move about a little
again. "Will it soon be ready now?" said he, but he did
not look up this time any more than he had done the first
time, for he was still half asleep.
"Half done!" said the second drop of blood, and the
giant believed it was the Master-maid again, and turned
himself on the bench, and lay down to sleep once more.
When he had slept again for many hours, he began to
move and stretch himself. "Is it not done yet?" said he.
"It is quite ready," said the third drop of blood. Then
the giant began to sit up and rub his eyes, but he could
not see who it was who had spoken to him, so he asked
for the Master-maid, and called her. But there was no
one to give him an answer.
"Ah! well, she has just stolen out for a little," thought
the giant, and he took a spoon, and went off to the
cauldron to have a taste; but there was nothing in it but
shoe-soles, and rags, and such trumpery as that, and all
was boiled up together, so that he could not tell whether
it was porridge or milk pottage. When he saw this, he
understood what had happened, and fell into such a rage
that he hardly knew what he was doing. Away he went
after the Prince and the Master-maid so fast that the
wind whistled behind him, and it was not long before he
came to the water, but he could not get over it. "Well,
well, I will soon find a cure for that; I have only to call my
river-sucker," said the giant, and he did call him. So his
river-sucker came and lay down, and drank one, two,
three draughts, and with that the water in the sea fell so
low that the giant saw the Master-maid and the Prince
out on the sea in their ship. "Now you must throw out
the lump of salt," said the Master-maid, and the Prince
did so, and it grew up into such a great high mountain
right across the sea that the giant could not come over
it, and the river-sucker could not drink any more water.
"Well, well, I will soon find a cure for that," said the
giant, so he called to his hill-borer to come and bore
through the mountain so that the river-sucker might be
able to drink up the water again. But just as the hole
was made, and the river-sucker was beginning to drink,
the Master-maid told the Prince to throw one or two
drops out of the flask, and when he did this the sea
instantly became full of water again, and before the riversucker
could take one drink they reached the land and
were in safety. So they determined to go home to the
Prince's father, but the Prince would on no account
permit the Master-maid to walk there, for he thought that
it was unbecoming either for her or for him to go on foot.
"Wait here the least little bit of time, while I go home
for the seven horses which stand in my father's stable,"
said he; "it is not far off, and I shall not be long away,
but I will not let my betrothed bride go on foot to the
"Oh! no, do not go, for if you go home to the King's
palace you will forget me, I foresee that."
"How could I forget you? We have suffered so much
evil together, and love each other so much," said the
Prince; and he insisted on going home for the coach with
the seven horses, and she was to wait for him there, by
the sea-shore. So at last the Master-maid had to yield,
for he was so absolutely determined to do it. "But when
you get there you must not even give yourself time to
greet anyone, but go straight into the stable, and take the
horses, and put them in the coach, and drive back as
quickly as you can. For they will all come round about
you; but you must behave just as if you did not see them,
and on no account must you taste anything, for if you
do it will cause great misery both to you and to me," said
she; and this he promised.
But when he got home to the King's palace one of his
brothers was just going to be married, and the bride and
all her kith and kin had come to the palace; so they all
thronged round him, and questioned him about this and
that, and wanted him to go in with them; but he behaved
as if he did not see them, and went straight to the stable,
and got out the horses and began to harness them. When
they saw that they could not by any means prevail on
him to go in with them, they came out to him with meat
and drink, and the best of everything that they had
prepared for the wedding; but the Prince refused to touch
anything, and would do nothing but put the horses in as
quickly as he could. At last, however, the bride's sister
rolled an apple across the yard to him, and said: "As you
won't eat anything else, you may like to take a bite of
that, for you must be both hungry and thirsty after your
long journey." And he took up the apple and bit a piece
out of it. But no sooner had he got the piece of apple in
his mouth than he forgot the Master-maid and that he
was to go back in the coach to fetch her.
"I think I must be mad! what do I want with this
coach and horses?" said he; and then he put the horses
back into the stable, and went into the King's palace, and
there it was settled that he should marry the bride's
sister, who had rolled the apple to him.
The Master-maid sat by the sea-shore for a long, long
time, waiting for the Prince, but no Prince came. So she
went away, and when she had walked a short distance she
came to a little hut which stood all alone in a small wood,
hard by the King's palace. She entered it and asked if she
might be allowed to stay there. The hut belonged to an
old crone, who was also an ill-tempered and malicious
troll. At first she would not let the Master-maid remain
with her; but at last, after a long time, by means of good
words and good payment, she obtained leave. But the
hut was as dirty and black inside as a pigsty, so the
Master-maid said that she would smarten it up a little,
that it might look a little more like what other people's
houses looked inside. The old crone did not like this
either. She scowled, and was very cross, but the Mastermaid
did not trouble herself about that. She took out her
chest of gold, and flung a handful of it or so into the fire,
and the gold boiled up and poured out over the whole of
the hut, until every part of it both inside and out was
gilded. But when the gold began to bubble up the old hag
grew so terrified that she fled as if the Evil One himself
were pursuing her, and she did not remember to stoop
down as she went through the doorway, and so she split
her head and died. Next morning the sheriff came traveling
by there. He was greatly astonished when he saw the
gold hut shining and glittering there in the copse, and he
was still more astonished when he went in and caught
sight of the beautiful young maiden who was sitting there;
he fell in love with her at once, and straightway on the
spot he begged her, both prettily and kindly, to marry
"Well, but have you a great deal of money?" said the
"Oh! yes; so far as that is concerned, I am not ill off,"
said the sheriff. So now he had to go home to get the
money, and in the evening he came back, bringing with
him a bag with two bushels in it, which he set down on
the bench. Well, as he had such a fine lot of money, the
Master-maid said she would have him, so they sat down
to talk.
But scarcely had they sat down together before the
Master-maid wanted to jump up again. "I have forgotten
to see to the fire," she said.
"Why should you jump up to do that?" said the sheriff;
"I will do that!" So he jumped up, and went to the chimney
in one bound.
"Just tell me when you have got hold of the shovel,"
said the Master-maid.
"Well, I have hold of it now," said the sheriff.
"Then you may hold the shovel, and the shovel you,
and pour red-hot coals over you, till day dawns," said the
Master-maid. So the sheriff had to stand there the whole
night and pour red-hot coals over himself, and, no matter
how much he cried and begged and entreated, the red-hot
coals did not grow the colder for that. When the day
began to dawn, and he had power to throw down the
shovel, he did not stay long where he was, but ran away
as fast as he possibly could; and everyone who met him
stared and looked after him, for he was flying as if he
were mad, and he could not have looked worse if he had
been both flayed and tanned, and everyone wondered
where he had been, but for very shame he would tell
The next day the attorney came riding by the place
where the Master-maid dwelt. He saw how brightly the
hut shone and gleamed through the wood, and he too
went into it to see who lived there, and when he entered
and saw the beautiful young maiden he fell even more in
love with her than the sheriff had done, and began to woo
her at once. So the Master-maid asked him, as she had
asked the sheriff, if he had a great deal of money, and the
attorney said he was not ill off for that, and would at once
go home to get it; and at night he came with a great big
sack of money--this time it was a four-bushel sack--and
set it on the bench by the Master-maid. So she promised
to have him, and he sat down on the bench by her to
arrange about it, but suddenly she said that she had
forgotten to lock the door of the porch that night, and must
do it.
"Why should you do that?" said the attorney; "sit still,
I will do it."
So he was on his feet in a moment, and out in the porch.
"Tell me when you have got hold of the door-latch,"
said the Master-maid.
"I have hold of it now," cried the attorney.
"Then you may hold the door, and the door you, and
may you go between wall and wall till day dawns."
What a dance the attorney had that night! He had
never had such a waltz before, and he never wished to
have such a dance again. Sometimes he was in front of
the door, and sometimes the door was in front of him, and
it went from one side of the porch to the other, till the
attorney was well-nigh beaten to death. At first he began
to abuse the Master-maid, and then to beg and pray, but
the door did not care for anything but keeping him where
he was till break of day.
As soon as the door let go its hold of him, off went the
attorney. He forgot who ought to be paid off for what
he had suffered, he forgot both his sack of money and his
wooing, for he was so afraid lest the house-door should
come dancing after him. Everyone who met him stared
and looked after him, for he was flying like a madman,
and he could not have looked worse if a herd of rams had
been butting at him all night long.
On the third day the bailiff came by, and he too saw
the gold house in the little wood, and he too felt that he
must go and see who lived there; and when he caught
sight of the Master-maid he became so much in love with
her that he wooed her almost before he greeted her.
The Master-maid answered him as she had answered
the other two, that if he had a great deal of money, she
would have him. "So far as that is concerned, I am not ill
off," said the bailiff; so he was at once told to go home and
fetch it, and this he did. At night he came back, and he
had a still larger sack of money with him than the
attorney had brought; it must have been at least six
bushels, and he set it down on the bench. So it was
settled that he was to have the Master-maid. But hardly
had they sat down together before she said that she had
forgotten to bring in the calf, and must go out to put it
in the byre.
"No, indeed, you shall not do that," said the bailiff; "I
am the one to do that." And, big and fat as he was, he
went out as briskly as a boy.
"Tell me when you have got hold of the calf's tail,"
said the Master-maid.
"I have hold of it now," cried the bailiff.
"Then may you hold the calf's tail, and the calf's tail
hold you, and may you go round the world together till
day dawns!" said the Master-maid. So the bailiff had to
bestir himself, for the calf went over rough and smooth,
over hill and dale, and, the more the bailiff cried and
screamed, the faster the calf went. When daylight began
to appear, the bailiff was half dead; and so glad was he to
leave loose of the calf's tail, that he forgot the sack of
money and all else. He walked now slowly--more slowly
than the sheriff and the attorney had done, but, the
slower he went, the more time had everyone to stare and
look at him; and they used it too, and no one can imagine
how tired out and ragged he looked after his dance with
the calf.
On the following day the wedding was to take place in
the King's palace, and the elder brother was to drive to
church with his bride, and the brother who had been with
the giant with her sister. But when they had seated
themselves in the coach and were about to drive off from
the palace one of the trace-pins broke, and, though they
made one, two, and three to put in its place, that did not
help them, for each broke in turn, no matter what kind
of wood they used to make them of. This went on for a
long time, and they could not get away from the palace,
so they were all in great trouble. Then the sheriff said
(for he too had been bidden to the wedding at Court):
"Yonder away in the thicket dwells a maiden, and if you
can get her to lend you the handle of the shovel that she
uses to make up her fire I know very well that it will hold
fast." So they sent off a messenger to the thicket, and
begged so prettily that they might have the loan of her
shovel-handle of which the sheriff had spoken that they
were not refused; so now they had a trace-pin which
would not snap in two.
But all at once, just as they were starting, the bottom
of the coach fell in pieces. They made a new bottom as
fast as they could, but, no matter how they nailed it
together, or what kind of wood they used, no sooner had
they got the new bottom into the coach and were about
to drive off than it broke again, so that they were still
worse off than when they had broken the trace-pin. Then
the attorney said, for he too was at the wedding in the
palace: "Away there in the thicket dwells a maiden, and
if you could but get her to lend you one-half of her porchdoor
I am certain that it will hold together." So they
again sent a messenger to the thicket, and begged so
prettily for the loan of the gilded porch-door of which the
attorney had told them that they got it at once. They
were just setting out again, but now the horses were not
able to draw the coach. They had six horses already, and
now they put in eight, and then ten, and then twelve, but
the more they put in, and the more the coachman whipped
them, the less good it did; and the coach never stirred
from the spot. It was already beginning to be late in the
day, and to church they must and would go, so everyone
who was in the palace was in a state of distress. Then the
bailiff spoke up and said: "Out there in the gilded cottage
in the thicket dwells a girl, and if you could but get her
to lend you her calf I know it could draw the coach, even
if it were as heavy as a mountain." They all thought
that it was ridiculous to be drawn to church by a calf,
but there was nothing else for it but to send a messenger
once more, and beg as prettily as they could, on behalf of
the King, that she would let them have the loan of the
calf that the bailiff had told them about. The Mastermaid
let them have it immediately--this time also she
would not say "no."
Then they harnessed the calf to see if the coach would
move; and away it went, over rough and smooth, over
stock and stone, so that they could scarcely breathe, and
sometimes they were on the ground, and sometimes up in
the air; and when they came to the church the coach began
to go round and round like a spinning-wheel, and it
was with the utmost difficulty and danger that they were
able to get out of the coach and into the church. And
when they went back again the coach went quicker still,
so that most of them did not know how they got back to
the palace at all.
When they had seated themselves at the table the
Prince who had been in service with the giant said that
he thought they ought to have invited the maiden who
had lent them the shovel-handle, and the porch-door, and
the calf up to the palace, "for," said he, "if we had not got
these three things, we should never have got away from
the palace."
The King also thought that this was both just and
proper, so he sent five of his best men down to the gilded
hut, to greet the maiden courteously from the King, and
to beg her to be so good as to come up to the palace to
dinner at mid-day.
"Greet the King, and tell him that, if he is too good to
come to me, I am too good to come to him," replied the
So the King had to go himself, and the Master-maid
went with him immediately, and, as the King believed
that she was more than she appeared to be, he seated her
in the place of honor by the youngest bridegroom. When
they had sat at the table for a short time, the Mastermaid
took out the cock, and the hen, and the golden
apple which she had brought away with her from the
giant's house, and set them on the table in front of her,
and instantly the cock and the hen began to fight with
each other for the golden apple.
"Oh! look how those two there are fighting for the
golden apple," said the King's son.
"Yes, and so did we two fight to get out that time when
we were in the mountain," said the Master-maid.
So the Prince knew her again, and you may imagine
how delighted he was. He ordered the troll-witch who had
rolled the apple to him to be torn in pieces between fourand-
twenty horses, so that not a bit of her was left, and
then for the first time they began really to keep the
wedding, and, weary as they were, the sheriff, the attorney,
and the bailiff kept it up too.[1]
[1] Asbjornsen and Moe.
ONCE upon a time, long, long ago, there were two
brothers, the one rich and the other poor. When Christmas
Eve came, the poor one had not a bite in the house,
either of meat or bread; so he went to his brother, and
begged him, in God's name, to give him something for
Christmas Day. It was by no means the first time that
the brother had been forced to give something to him, and
he was not better pleased at being asked now than he
generally was.
"If you will do what I ask you, you shall have a whole
ham," said he. The poor one immediately thanked him,
and promised this.
"Well, here is the ham, and now you must go straight
to Dead Man's Hall," said the rich brother, throwing the
ham to him.
"Well, I will do what I have promised," said the other,
and he took the ham and set off. He went on and on for
the livelong day, and at nightfall he came to a place where
there was a bright light.
"I have no doubt this is the place," thought the man
with the ham.
An old man with a long white beard was standing in the
outhouse, chopping Yule logs.
"Good-evening," said the man with the ham.
"Good-evening to you. Where are you going at this
late hour?" said the man.
"I am going to Dead Man's Hall, if only I am on the
right track," answered the poor man.
"Oh! yes, you are right enough, for it is here," said the
old man. "When you get inside they will all want to buy
your ham, for they don't get much meat to eat there; but
you must not sell it unless you can get the hand-mill
which stands behind the door for it. When you come out
again I will teach you how to stop the hand-mill, which
is useful for almost everything."
So the man with the ham thanked the other for his
good advice, and rapped at the door.
When he got in, everything happened just as the old
man had said it would: all the people, great and small,
came round him like ants on an ant-hill, and each tried
to outbid the other for the ham.
"By rights my old woman and I ought to have it for
our Christmas dinner, but, since you have set your hearts
upon it, I must just give it up to you," said the man.
"But, if I sell it, I will have the hand-mill which is standing
there behind the door."
At first they would not hear to this, and haggled and
bargained with the man, but he stuck to what he had said,
and the people were forced to give him the hand-mill.
When the man came out again into the yard, he asked the
old wood-cutter how he was to stop the hand-mill, and
when he had learned that, he thanked him and set off
home with all the speed he could, but did not get there
until after the clock had struck twelve on Christmas Eve.
"Where in the world have you been?" said the old
woman. "Here I have sat waiting hour after hour, and have
not even two sticks to lay across each other under the
Christmas porridge-pot."
"Oh! I could not come before; I had something of
importance to see about, and a long way to go, too; but now
you shall just see!" said the man, and then he set the
hand-mill on the table, and bade it first grind light, then
a table-cloth, and then meat, and beer, and everything
else that was good for a Christmas Eve's supper; and the
mill ground all that he ordered. "Bless me!" said the old
woman as one thing after another appeared; and she
wanted to know where her husband had got the mill
from, but he would not tell her that.
"Never mind where I got it; you can see that it is a
good one, and the water that turns it will never freeze,"
said the man. So he ground meat and drink, and all kinds
of good things, to last all Christmas-tide, and on the
third day he invited all his friends to come to a feast.
Now when the rich brother saw all that there was at the
banquet and in the house, he was both vexed and angry,
for he grudged everything his brother had. "On Christmas
Eve he was so poor that he came to me and begged
for a trifle, for God's sake, and now he gives a feast as if
he were both a count and a king!" thought he. "But, for
heaven's sake, tell me where you got your riches from,"
said he to his brother.
"From behind the door," said he who owned the mill,
for he did not choose to satisfy his brother on that point;
but later in the evening, when he had taken a drop too
much, he could not refrain from telling how he had come
by the hand-mill. "There you see what has brought me
all my wealth!" said he, and brought out the mill, and
made it grind first one thing and then another. When the
brother saw that, he insisted on having the mill, and after
a great deal of persuasion got it; but he had to give three
hundred dollars for it, and the poor brother was to keep
it till the haymaking was over, for he thought: "If I keep
it as long as that, I can make it grind meat and drink that
will last many a long year." During that time you may
imagine that the mill did not grow rusty, and when hayharvest
came the rich brother got it, but the other had taken
good care not to teach him how to stop it. It was evening
when the rich man got the mill home, and in the morning
he bade the old woman go out and spread the hay after
the mowers, and he would attend to the house himself
that day, he said.
So, when dinner-time drew near, he set the mill on the
kitchen-table, and said: "Grind herrings and milk pottage,
and do it both quickly and well."
So the mill began to grind herrings and milk pottage,
and first all the dishes and tubs were filled, and then it
came out all over the kitchen-floor. The man twisted and
turned it, and did all he could to make the mill stop, but,
howsoever he turned it and screwed it, the mill went on
grinding, and in a short time the pottage rose so high that
the man was like to be drowned. So he threw open the
parlor door, but it was not long before the mill had ground
the parlor full too, and it was with difficulty and danger
that the man could go through the stream of pottage and
get hold of the door-latch. When he got the door open,
he did not stay long in the room, but ran out, and the
herrings and pottage came after him, and it streamed out
over both farm and field. Now the old woman, who was
out spreading the hay, began to think dinner was long in
coming, and said to the women and the mowers: "Though
the master does not call us home, we may as well go. It
may be that he finds he is not good at making pottage
and I should do well to help him." So they began to
straggle homeward, but when they had got a little way
up the hill they met the herrings and pottage and bread,
all pouring forth and winding about one over the other,
and the man himself in front of the flood. "Would to
heaven that each of you had a hundred stomachs! Take
care that you are not drowned in the pottage!" he cried
as he went by them as if Mischief were at his heels, down
to where his brother dwelt. Then he begged him, for
God's sake, to take the mill back again, and that in an
instant, for, said he: "If it grind one hour more the
whole district will be destroyed by herrings and pottage."
But the brother would not take it until the other paid
him three hundred dollars, and that he was obliged to do.
Now the poor brother had both the money and the mill
again. So it was not long before he had a farmhouse much
finer than that in which his brother lived, but the mill
ground him so much money that he covered it with plates
of gold; and the farmhouse lay close by the sea-shore, so
it shone and glittered far out to sea. Everyone who sailed
by there now had to be put in to visit the rich man in the
gold farmhouse, and everyone wanted to see the wonderful
mill, for the report of it spread far and wide, and there
was no one who had not heard tell of it.
After a long, long time came also a skipper who wished
to see the mill. He asked if it could make salt. "Yes, it
could make salt," said he who owned it, and when the
skipper heard that, he wished with all his might and main
to have the mill, let it cost what it might, for, he thought,
if he had it, he would get off having to sail far away over
the perilous sea for freights of salt. At first the man
would not hear of parting with it, but the skipper begged
and prayed, and at last the man sold it to him, and got
many, many thousand dollars for it. When the skipper
had got the mill on his back he did not stay there long,
for he was so afraid that the man would change his mind,
and he had no time to ask how he was to stop it grinding,
but got on board his ship as fast as he could.
When he had gone a little way out to sea he took the
mill on deck. "Grind salt, and grind both quickly and
well," said the skipper. So the mill began to grind salt,
till it spouted out like water, and when the skipper had
got the ship filled he wanted to stop the mill, but
whichsoever way he turned it, and how much soever he tried,
it went on grinding, and the heap of salt grew higher and
higher, until at last the ship sank. There lies the mill at
the bottom of the sea, and still, day by day, it grinds on;
and that is why the sea is salt.[1]
[1] Asbjornsen and Moe.
THERE was a miller who left no more estate to the three
sons he had than his mill, his ass, and his cat. The
partition was soon made. Neither scrivener nor attorney
was sent for. They would soon have eaten up all the poor
patrimony. The eldest had the mill, the second the ass,
and the youngest nothing but the cat. The poor young
fellow was quite comfortless at having so poor a lot.
"My brothers," said he, "may get their living
handsomely enough by joining their stocks together; but for
my part, when I have eaten up my cat, and made me a
muff of his skin, I must die of hunger."
The Cat, who heard all this, but made as if he did not,
said to him with a grave and serious air:
"Do not thus afflict yourself, my good master. You
have nothing else to do but to give me a bag and get a
pair of boots made for me that I may scamper through
the dirt and the brambles, and you shall see that you
have not so bad a portion in me as you imagine."
The Cat's master did not build very much upon what
he said. He had often seen him play a great many cunning
tricks to catch rats and mice, as when he used to
hang by the heels, or hide himself in the meal, and make
as if he were dead; so that he did not altogether despair
of his affording him some help in his miserable condition.
When the Cat had what he asked for he booted himself
very gallantly, and putting his bag about his neck, he held
the strings of it in his two forepaws and went into a
warren where was great abundance of rabbits. He put
bran and sow-thistle into his bag, and stretching out at
length, as if he had been dead, he waited for some young
rabbits, not yet acquainted with the deceits of the world,
to come and rummage his bag for what he had put into it.
Scarce was he lain down but he had what he wanted.
A rash and foolish young rabbit jumped into his bag, and
Monsieur Puss, immediately drawing close the strings,
took and killed him without pity. Proud of his prey, he
went with it to the palace and asked to speak with his
majesty. He was shown upstairs into the King's apartment,
and, making a low reverence, said to him:
"I have brought you, sir, a rabbit of the warren, which
my noble lord the Marquis of Carabas" (for that was the
title which puss was pleased to give his master) "has
commanded me to present to your majesty from him."
"Tell thy master," said the king, "that I thank him and
that he does me a great deal of pleasure."
Another time he went and hid himself among some
standing corn, holding still his bag open, and when a
brace of partridges ran into it he drew the strings and so
caught them both. He went and made a present of these
to the king, as he had done before of the rabbit which he
took in the warren. The king, in like manner, received
the partridges with great pleasure, and ordered him some
money for drink.
The Cat continued for two or three months thus to
carry his Majesty, from time to time, game of his master's
taking. One day in particular, when he knew for certain
that he was to take the air along the river-side, with his
daughter, the most beautiful princess in the world, he said
to his master:
"If you will follow my advice your fortune is made.
You have nothing else to do but go and wash yourself in
the river, in that part I shall show you, and leave the rest
to me."
The Marquis of Carabas did what the Cat advised him
to, without knowing why or wherefore. While he was
washing the King passed by, and the Cat began to cry out:
"Help! help! My Lord Marquis of Carabas is going to
be drowned."
At this noise the King put his head out of the coachwindow,
and, finding it was the Cat who had so often
brought him such good game, he commanded his guards
to run immediately to the assistance of his Lordship the
Marquis of Carabas. While they were drawing the poor
Marquis out of the river, the Cat came up to the coach
and told the King that, while his master was washing,
there came by some rogues, who went off with his clothes,
though he had cried out: "Thieves! thieves!" several
times, as loud as he could.
This cunning Cat had hidden them under a great stone.
The King immediately commanded the officers of his
wardrobe to run and fetch one of his best suits for the
Lord Marquis of Carabas.
The King caressed him after a very extraordinary manner,
and as the fine clothes he had given him extremely
set off his good mien (for he was well made and very
handsome in his person), the King's daughter took a secret
inclination to him, and the Marquis of Carabas had no
sooner cast two or three respectful and somewhat tender
glances but she fell in love with him to distraction. The
King would needs have him come into the coach and take
part of the airing. The Cat, quite overjoyed to see his
project begin to succeed, marched on before, and, meeting
with some countrymen, who were mowing a meadow, he
said to them:
"Good people, you who are mowing, if you do not tell
the King that the meadow you mow belongs to my Lord
Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped as small as
herbs for the pot."
The King did not fail asking of the mowers to whom the
meadow they were mowing belonged.
"To my Lord Marquis of Carabas," answered they
altogether, for the Cat's threats had made them terribly
afraid .
"You see, sir," said the Marquis, "this is a meadow
which never fails to yield a plentiful harvest every year."
The Master Cat, who went still on before, met with
some reapers, and said to them:
"Good people, you who are reaping, if you do not tell
the King that all this corn belongs to the Marquis of
Carabas, you shall be chopped as small as herbs for the
The King, who passed by a moment after, would needs
know to whom all that corn, which he then saw, did belong.
"To my Lord Marquis of Carabas," replied the reapers,
and the King was very well pleased with it, as well as the
Marquis, whom he congratulated thereupon. The Master
Cat, who went always before, said the same words to all
he met, and the King was astonished at the vast estates
of my Lord Marquis of Carabas.
Monsieur Puss came at last to a stately castle, the
master of which was an ogre, the richest had ever been
known; for all the lands which the King had then gone
over belonged to this castle. The Cat, who had taken
care to inform himself who this ogre was and what he
could do, asked to speak with him, saying he could not
pass so near his castle without having the honor of paying
his respects to him.
The ogre received him as civilly as an ogre could do,
and made him sit down.
"I have been assured," said the Cat, "that you have the
gift of being able to change yourself into all sorts of
creatures you have a mind to; you can, for example, transform
yourself into a lion, or elephant, and the like."
"That is true," answered the ogre very briskly; "and
to convince you, you shall see me now become a lion."
Puss was so sadly terrified at the sight of a lion so near
him that he immediately got into the gutter, not without
abundance of trouble and danger, because of his boots,
which were of no use at all to him in walking upon the
tiles. A little while after, when Puss saw that the ogre
had resumed his natural form, he came down, and owned
he had been very much frightened.
"I have been, moreover, informed," said the Cat, "but
I know not how to believe it, that you have also the
power to take on you the shape of the smallest animals;
for example, to change yourself into a rat or a mouse; but
I must own to you I take this to be impossible."
"Impossible!" cried the ogre; "you shall see that
presently. "
And at the same time he changed himself into a mouse,
and began to run about the floor. Puss no sooner perceived
this but he fell upon him and ate him up.
Meanwhile the King, who saw, as he passed, this fine
castle of the ogre's, had a mind to go into it. Puss, who
heard the noise of his Majesty's coach running over the
draw-bridge, ran out, and said to the King:
"Your Majesty is welcome to this castle of my Lord
Marquis of Carabas."
"What! my Lord Marquis," cried the King, "and does
this castle also belong to you? There can be nothing finer
than this court and all the stately buildings which surround
it; let us go into it, if you please."
The Marquis gave his hand to the Princess, and
followed the King, who went first. They passed into a
spacious hall, where they found a magnificent collation,
which the ogre had prepared for his friends, who were
that very day to visit him, but dared not to enter, knowing
the King was there. His Majesty was perfectly
charmed with the good qualities of my Lord Marquis of
Carabas, as was his daughter, who had fallen violently in
love with him, and, seeing the vast estate he possessed,
said to him, after having drunk five or six glasses:
"It will be owing to yourself only, my Lord Marquis,
if you are not my son-in-law."
The Marquis, making several low bows, accepted the
honor which his Majesty conferred upon him, and forthwith,
that very same day, married the Princess.
Puss became a great lord, and never ran after mice any
more but only for his diversion.[1]
[1] Charles Perrault.
ONCE upon a time there was a poor laborer who, feeling
that he had not much longer to live, wished to divide his
possessions between his son and daughter, whom he loved
So he called them to him, and said: "Your mother
brought me as her dowry two stools and a straw bed; I
have, besides, a hen, a pot of pinks, and a silver ring,
which were given me by a noble lady who once lodged in
my poor cottage. When she went away she said to me:
"`Be careful of my gifts, good man; see that you do not
lose the ring or forget to water the pinks. As for your
daughter, I promise you that she shall be more beautiful
than anyone you ever saw in your life; call her Felicia, and
when she grows up give her the ring and the pot of pinks
to console her for her poverty.' Take them both, then,
my dear child," he added, "and your brother shall have
everything else."
The two children seemed quite contented, and when
their father died they wept for him, and divided his
possessions as he had told them. Felicia believed that her
brother loved her, but when she sat down upon one of the
stools he said angrily:
"Keep your pot of pinks and your ring, but let my
things alone. I like order in my house."
Felicia, who was very gentle, said nothing, but stood
up crying quietly; while Bruno, for that was her brother's
name, sat comfortably by the fire. Presently, when supper-
time came, Bruno had a delicious egg, and he threw
the shell to Felicia, saying:
"There, that is all I can give you; if you don't like it,
go out and catch frogs; there are plenty of them in the
marsh close by." Felicia did not answer, but she cried
more bitterly than ever, and went away to her own little
room. She found it filled with the sweet scent of the
pinks, and, going up to them, she said sadly:
"Beautiful pinks, you are so sweet and so pretty, you
are the only comfort I have left. Be very sure that I will
take care of you, and water you well, and never allow
any cruel hand to tear you from your stems."
As she leaned over them she noticed that they were
very dry. So taking her pitcher, she ran off in the clear
moonlight to the fountain, which was at some distance.
When she reached it she sat down upon the brink to rest,
but she had hardly done so when she saw a stately lady
coming toward her, surrounded by numbers of attendants.
Six maids of honor carried her train, and she leaned
upon the arm of another.
When they came near the fountain a canopy was
spread for her, under which was placed a sofa of cloth-ofgold,
and presently a dainty supper was served, upon a
table covered with dishes of gold and crystal, while the
wind in the trees and the falling water of the fountain
murmured the softest music.
Felicia was hidden in the shade, too much astonished
by all she saw to venture to move; but in a few moments
the Queen said:
"I fancy I see a shepherdess near that tree; bid her
come hither."
So Felicia came forward and saluted the Queen timidly,
but with so much grace that all were surprised.
"What are you doing here, my pretty child?" asked the
Queen. "Are you not afraid of robbers?"
"Ah! madam," said Felicia, "a poor shepherdess who
has nothing to lose does not fear robbers."
"You are not very rich, then?" said the Queen, smiling.
"I am so poor," answered Felicia, "that a pot of pinks
and a silver ring are my only possessions in the world."
"But you have a heart," said the Queen. "What should
you say if anybody wanted to steal that?"
"I do not know what it is like to lose one's heart,
madam," she replied; "but I have always heard that without
a heart one cannot live, and if it is broken one must
die; and in spite of my poverty I should be sorry not to
"You are quite right to take care of your heart, pretty
one," said the Queen. "But tell me, have you supped?"
"No, madam," answered Felicia; "my brother ate all
the supper there was."
Then the Queen ordered that a place should be made
for her at the table, and herself loaded Felicia's plate with
good things; but she was too much astonished to be
"I want to know what you were doing at the fountain
so late?" said the Queen presently.
"I came to fetch a pitcher of water for my pinks,
madam," she answered, stooping to pick up the pitcher which
stood beside her; but when she showed it to the Queen she
was amazed to see that it had turned to gold, all sparkling
with great diamonds, and the water, of which it was full,
was more fragrant than the sweetest roses. She was afraid
to take it until the Queen said:
"It is yours, Felicia; go and water your pinks with it,
and let it remind you that the Queen of the Woods is
your friend."
The shepherdess threw herself at the Queen's feet, and
thanked her humbly for her gracious words.
"Ah! madam," she cried, "if I might beg you to stay
here a moment I would run and fetch my pot of pinks for
you--they could not fall into better hands."
"Go, Felicia," said the Queen, stroking her cheek
softly; "I will wait here until you come back."
So Felicia took up her pitcher and ran to her little
room, but while she had been away Bruno had gone in
and taken the pot of pinks, leaving a great cabbage in its
place. When she saw the unlucky cabbage Felicia was
much distressed, and did not know what to do; but at
last she ran back to the fountain, and, kneeling before the
Queen, said:
"Madam, Bruno has stolen my pot of pinks, so I have
nothing but my silver ring; but I beg you to accept it as a
proof of my gratitude."
"But if I take your ring, my pretty shepherdess," said
the Queen, "you will have nothing left; and what will you
do then?"
"Ah! madam," she answered simply, "if I have your
friendship I shall do very well."
So the Queen took the ring and put it on her finger, and
mounted her chariot, which was made of coral studded
with emeralds, and drawn by six milk-white horses. And
Felicia looked after her until the winding of the forest
path hid her from her sight, and then she went back to
the cottage, thinking over all the wonderful things that
had happened.
The first thing she did when she reached her room was
to throw the cabbage out of the window.
But she was very much surprised to hear an odd little
voice cry out: "Oh! I am half killed!" and could not tell
where it came from, because cabbages do not generally
As soon as it was light, Felicia, who was very unhappy
about her pot of pinks, went out to look for it, and the
first thing she found was the unfortunate cabbage. She
gave it a push with her foot, saying: "What are you doing
here, and how dared you put yourself in the place of my
pot of pinks?"
"If I hadn't been carried," replied the cabbage, "you
may be very sure that I shouldn't have thought of going
It made her shiver with fright to hear the cabbage talk,
but he went on:
"If you will be good enough to plant me by my
comrades again, I can tell you where your pinks are at this
moment--hidden in Bruno's bed!"
Felicia was in despair when she heard this, not knowing
how she was to get them back. But she replanted the
cabbage very kindly in his old place, and, as she finished
doing it, she saw Bruno's hen, and said, catching hold of it:
"Come here, horrid little creature! you shall suffer for
all the unkind things my brother has done to me."
"Ah! shepherdess," said the hen, "don't kill me; I am
rather a gossip, and I can tell you some surprising things
that you will like to hear. Don't imagine that you are
the daughter of the poor laborer who brought you up;
your mother was a queen who had six girls already, and
the King threatened that unless she had a son who could
inherit his kingdom she should have her head cut off.
"So when the Queen had another little daughter she
was quite frightened, and agreed with her sister (who was
a fairy) to exchange her for the fairy's little son. Now the
Queen had been shut up in a great tower by the King's
orders, and when a great many days went by and still she
heard nothing from the Fairy she made her escape from
the window by means of a rope ladder, taking her little
baby with her. After wandering about until she was half
dead with cold and fatigue she reached this cottage. I
was the laborer's wife, and was a good nurse, and the
Queen gave you into my charge, and told me all her
misfortunes, and then died before she had time to say what
was to become of you.
"As I never in all my life could keep a secret, I could
not help telling this strange tale to my neighbors, and one
day a beautiful lady came here, and I told it to her also.
When I had finished she touched me with a wand she
held in her hand, and instantly I became a hen, and there
was an end of my talking! I was very sad, and my husband,
who was out when it happened, never knew what
had become of me. After seeking me everywhere he
believed that I must have been drowned, or eaten up by
wild beasts in the forest. That same lady came here once
more, and commanded that you should be called Felicia,
and left the ring and the pot of pinks to be given to you;
and while she was in the house twenty-five of the King's
guards came to search for you, doubtless meaning to kill
you; but she muttered a few words, and immediately they
all turned into cabbages. It was one of them whom you
threw out of your window yesterday.
"I don't know how it was that he could speak--I have
never heard either of them say a word before, nor have
I been able to do it myself until now."
The Princess was greatly astonished at the hen's story,
and said kindly: "I am truly sorry for you, my poor nurse,
and wish it was in my power to restore you to your real
form. But we must not despair; it seems to me, after
what you have told me, that something must be going
to happen soon. Just now, however, I must go and look
for my pinks, which I love better than anything in the
Bruno had gone out into the forest, never thinking that
Felicia would search in his room for the pinks, and she
was delighted by his unexpected absence, and thought to
get them back without further trouble. But as soon as
she entered the room she saw a terrible army of rats, who
were guarding the straw bed; and when she attempted to
approach it they sprang at her, biting and scratching
furiously. Quite terrified, she drew back, crying out:
"Oh! my dear pinks, how can you stay here in such bad
Then she suddenly bethought herself of the pitcher of
water, and, hoping that it might have some magic power,
she ran to fetch it, and sprinkled a few drops over the
fierce-looking swarm of rats. In a moment not a tail or a
whisker was to be seen. Each one had made for his hole as
fast as his legs could carry him, so that the Princess could
safely take her pot of pinks. She found them nearly dying
for want of water, and hastily poured all that was left in
the pitcher upon them. As she bent over them, enjoying
their delicious scent, a soft voice, that seemed to rustle
among the leaves, said:
"Lovely Felicia, the day has come at last when I may
have the happiness of telling you how even the flowers
love you and rejoice in your beauty.
The Princess, quite overcome by the strangeness of
hearing a cabbage, a hen, and a pink speak, and by the
terrible sight of an army of rats, suddenly became very
pale, and fainted away.
At this moment in came Bruno. Working hard in the
heat had not improved his temper, and when he saw that
Felicia had succeeded in finding her pinks he was so angry
that he dragged her out into the garden and shut the door
upon her. The fresh air soon made her open her pretty
eyes, and there before her stood the Queen of the Woods,
looking as charming as ever.
"You have a bad brother,"she said; "I saw
he turned you out. Shall I punish him for it?"
"Ah! no, madam," she said; "I am not angry with
"But supposing he was not your brother, after all,
what would you say then?" asked the Queen.
"Oh! but I think he must be," said Felicia.
"What!" said the Queen, "have you not heard that you
are a Princess?"
"I was told so a little while ago, madam, but how could
I believe it without a single proof?"
"Ah! dear child," said the Queen, "the way you speak
assures me that, in spite of your humble upbringing, you
are indeed a real princess, and I can save you from being
treated in such a way again."
She was interrupted at this moment by the arrival of
a very handsome young man. He wore a coat of green
velvet fastened with emerald clasps, and had a crown of
pinks on his head. He knelt upon one knee and kissed the
Queen's hand.
"Ah!" she cried, "my pink, my dear son, what a happiness
to see you restored to your natural shape by Felicia's
aid!" And she embraced him joyfully. Then, turning to
Felicia, she said:
"Charming Princess, I know all the hen told you, but
you cannot have heard that the zephyrs, to whom was
entrusted the task of carrying my son to the tower where
the Queen, your mother, so anxiously waited for him,
left him instead in a garden of flowers, while they flew
off to tell your mother. Whereupon a fairy with whom I
had quarrelled changed him into a pink, and I could do
nothing to prevent it.
"You can imagine how angry I was, and how I tried to
find some means of undoing the mischief she had done;
but there was no help for it. I could only bring Prince
Pink to the place where you were being brought up, hoping
that when you grew up he might love you, and by
your care be restored to his natural form. And you see
everything has come right, as I hoped it would. Your
giving me the silver ring was the sign that the power of
the charm was nearly over, and my enemy's last chance
was to frighten you with her army of rats. That she did
not succeed in doing; so now, my dear Felicia, if you will
be married to my son with this silver ring your future
happiness is certain. Do you think him handsome and
amiable enough to be willing to marry him?"
"Madam," replied Felicia, blushing, "you overwhelm
me with your kindness. I know that you are my mother's
sister, and that by your art you turned the soldiers who
were sent to kill me into cabbages, and my nurse into a
hen, and that you do me only too much honor in proposing
that I shall marry your son. How can I explain to you
the cause of my hesitation? I feel, for the first time in my
life, how happy it would make me to be beloved. Can
you indeed give me the Prince's heart?"
"It is yours already, lovely Princess!" he cried, taking
her hand in his; "but for the horrible enchantment which
kept me silent I should have told you long ago how dearly
I love you.
This made the Princess very happy, and the Queen,
who could not bear to see her dressed like a poor
shepherdess, touched her with her wand, saying:
"I wish you to be attired as befits your rank and
beauty." And immediately the Princess's cotton dress
became a magnificent robe of silver brocade embroidered
with carbuncles, and her soft dark hair was encircled by
a crown of diamonds, from which floated a clear white
veil. With her bright eyes, and the charming color in her
cheeks, she was altogether such a dazzling sight that the
Prince could hardly bear it.
"How pretty you are, Felicia!" he cried. "Don't keep
me in suspense, I entreat you; say that you will marry
"Ah!" said the Queen, smiling, "I think she will not
refuse now."
Just then Bruno, who was going back to his work, came
out of the cottage, and thought he must be dreaming
when he saw Felicia; but she called him very kindly, and
begged the Queen to take pity on him.
"What!" she said, "when he was so unkind to you?"
"Ah! madam," said the Princess, "I am so happy that
I should like everybody else to be happy too."
The Queen kissed her, and said: "Well, to please you,
let me see what I can do for this cross Bruno." And with
a wave of her wand she turned the poor little cottage into
a splendid palace, full of treasures; only the two stools and
the straw bed remained just as they were, to remind him
of his former poverty. Then the Queen touched Bruno
himself, and made him gentle and polite and grateful, and
he thanked her and the Princess a thousand times. Lastly,
the Queen restored the hen and the cabbages to their
natural forms, and left them all very contented. The
Prince and Princess were married as soon as possible with
great splendor, and lived happily ever after.[1]
[1] Fortunee. Par Madame la Comtesse d'Aulnoy.
ONCE upon a time there was a king who had three sons,
who were all so clever and brave that he began to be
afraid that they would want to reign over the kingdom
before he was dead. Now the King, though he felt that
he was growing old, did not at all wish to give up the
government of his kingdom while he could still manage it
very well, so he thought the best way to live in peace
would be to divert the minds of his sons by promises
which he could always get out of when the time came for
keeping them.
So he sent for them all, and, after speaking to them
kindly, he added:
"You will quite agree with me, my dear children, that
my great age makes it impossible for me to look after my
affairs of state as carefully as I once did. I begin to fear
that this may affect the welfare of my subjects, therefore
I wish that one of you should succeed to my crown; but
in return for such a gift as this it is only right that you
should do something for me. Now, as I think of retiring
into the country, it seems to me that a pretty, lively,
faithful little dog would be very good company for me; so,
without any regard for your ages, I promise that the one
who brings me the most beautiful little dog shall succeed
me at once."
The three Princes were greatly surprised by their
father's sudden fancy for a little dog, but as it gave the
two younger ones a chance they would not otherwise have
had of being king, and as the eldest was too polite to
make any objection, they accepted the commission with
pleasure. They bade farewell to the King, who gave them
presents of silver and precious stones, and appointed to
meet them at the same hour, in the same place, after a
year had passed, to see the little dogs they had brought
for him.
Then they went together to a castle which was about
a league from the city, accompanied by all their particular
friends, to whom they gave a grand banquet, and the
three brothers promised to be friends always, to share
whatever good fortune befell them, and not to be parted
by any envy or jealousy; and so they set out, agreeing
to meet at the same castle at the appointed time, to
present themselves before the King together. Each one took
a different road, and the two eldest met with many
adventures; but it is about the youngest that you are
going to hear. He was young, and gay, and handsome,
and knew everything that a prince ought to know; and
as for his courage, there was simply no end to it.
Hardly a day passed without his buying several dogs--
big and little, greyhounds, mastiffs, spaniels, and lapdogs.
As soon as he had bought a pretty one he was sure to see
a still prettier, and then he had to get rid of all the others
and buy that one, as, being alone, he found it impossible
to take thirty or forty thousand dogs about with him. He
journeyed from day to day, not knowing where he was
going, until at last, just at nightfall, he reached a great,
gloomy forest. He did not know his way, and, to make
matters worse, it began to thunder, and the rain poured
down. He took the first path he could find, and after
walking for a long time he fancied he saw a faint light, and
began to hope that he was coming to some cottage where
he might find shelter for the night. At length, guided by
the light, he reached the door of the most splendid castle
he could have imagined. This door was of gold covered
with carbuncles, and it was the pure red light which shone
from them that had shown him the way through the
forest. The walls were of the finest porcelain in all the
most delicate colors, and the Prince saw that all the
stories he had ever read were pictured upon them; but as
he was terribly wet, and the rain still fell in torrents, he
could not stay to look about any more, but came back to
the golden door. There he saw a deer's foot hanging by a
chain of diamonds, and he began to wonder who could
live in this magnificent castle.
"They must feel very secure against robbers," he said
to himself. "What is to hinder anyone from cutting off
that chain and digging out those carbuncles, and making
himself rich for life?"
He pulled the deer's foot, and immediately a silver
bell sounded and the door flew open, but the Prince could
see nothing but numbers of hands in the air, each holding
a torch. He was so much surprised that he stood quite
still, until he felt himself pushed forward by other hands,
so that, though he was somewhat uneasy, he could not
help going on. With his hand on his sword, to be prepared
for whatever might happen, he entered a hall paved
with lapis-lazuli, while two lovely voices sang:
"The hands you see floating above
Will swiftly your bidding obey;
If your heart dreads not conquering Love,
In this place you may fearlessly stay."
The Prince could not believe that any danger threatened
him when he was welcomed in this way, so, guided
by the mysterious hands, he went toward a door of coral,
which opened of its own accord, and he found himself in
a vast hall of mother-of-pearl, out of which opened a
number of other rooms, glittering with thousands of
lights, and full of such beautiful pictures and precious
things that the Prince felt quite bewildered. After passing
through sixty rooms the hands that conducted him
stopped, and the Prince saw a most comfortable-looking
arm-chair drawn up close to the chimney-corner; at the
same moment the fire lighted itself, and the pretty, soft,
clever hands took off the Prince's wet, muddy clothes, and
presented him with fresh ones made of the richest stuffs,
all embroidered with gold and emeralds. He could not
help admiring everything he saw, and the deft way in
which the hands waited on him, though they sometimes
appeared so suddenly that they made him jump.
When he was quite ready--and I can assure you that
he looked very different from the wet and weary Prince
who had stood outside in the rain, and pulled the deer's
foot--the hands led him to a splendid room, upon the
walls of which were painted the histories of Puss in Boots
and a number of other famous cats. The table was laid
for supper with two golden plates, and golden spoons and
forks, and the sideboard was covered with dishes and
glasses of crystal set with precious stones. The Prince was
wondering who the second place could be for, when suddenly
in came about a dozen cats carrying guitars and
rolls of music, who took their places at one end of the
room, and under the direction of a cat who beat time with
a roll of paper began to mew in every imaginable key, and
to draw their claws across the strings of the guitars, making
the strangest kind of music that could be heard. The
Prince hastily stopped up his ears, but even then the
sight of these comical musicians sent him into fits of
"What funny thing shall I see next?" he said to himself,
and instantly the door opened, and in came a tiny figure
covered by a long black veil. It was conducted by two
cats wearing black mantles and carrying swords, and a
large party of cats followed, who brought in cages full of
rats and mice.
The Prince was so much astonished that he thought he
must be dreaming, but the little figure came up to him
and threw back its veil, and he saw that it was the loveliest
little white cat it is possible to imagine. She looked
very young and very sad, and in a sweet little voice that
went straight to his heart she said to the Prince:
"King's son, you are welcome; the Queen of the Cats is
glad to see you."
"Lady Cat," replied the Prince, "I thank you for
receiving me so kindly, but surely you are no ordinary
pussy-cat? Indeed, the way you speak and the magnificence
of your castle prove it plainly."
"King's son," said the White Cat, "I beg you to spare
me these compliments, for I am not used to them. But
now," she added, "let supper be served, and let the
musicians be silent, as the Prince does not understand what
they are saying."
So the mysterious hands began to bring in the supper,
and first they put on the table two dishes, one containing
stewed pigeons and the other a fricassee of fat mice. The
sight of the latter made the Prince feel as if he could not
enjoy his supper at all; but the White Cat, seeing this,
assured him that the dishes intended for him were prepared
in a separate kitchen, and he might be quite certain
that they contained neither rats nor mice; and the Prince
felt so sure that she would not deceive him that he had no
more hesitation in beginning. Presently he noticed that
on the little paw that was next him the White Cat wore a
bracelet containing a portrait, and he begged to be allowed
to look at it. To his great surprise he found it represented
an extremely handsome young man, who was so like himself
that it might have been his own portrait! The White
Cat sighed as he looked at it, and seemed sadder than
ever, and the Prince dared not ask any questions for fear
of displeasing her; so he began to talk about other things,
and found that she was interested in all the subjects he
cared for himself, and seemed to know quite well what
was going on in the world. After supper they went into
another room, which was fitted up as a theatre, and the
cats acted and danced for their amusement, and then the
White Cat said good-night to him, and the hands conducted
him into a room he had not seen before, hung with
tapestry worked with butterflies' wings of every color;
there were mirrors that reached from the ceiling to the
floor, and a little white bed with curtains of gauze tied up
with ribbons. The Prince went to bed in silence, as he did
not quite know how to begin a conversation with the
hands that waited on him, and in the morning he was
awakened by a noise and confusion outside of his window,
and the hands came and quickly dressed him in hunting
costume. When he looked out all the cats were assembled
in the courtyard, some leading greyhounds, some blowing
horns, for the White Cat was going out hunting. The
hands led a wooden horse up to the Prince, and seemed
to expect him to mount it, at which he was very indignant;
but it was no use for him to object, for he speedily
found himself upon its back, and it pranced gaily off with
The White Cat herself was riding a monkey, which
climbed even up to the eagles' nests when she had a fancy
for the young eaglets. Never was there a pleasanter hunting
party, and when they returned to the castle the Prince
and the White Cat supped together as before, but when
they had finished she offered him a crystal goblet, which
must have contained a magic draught, for, as soon as he
had swallowed its contents, he forgot everything, even the
little dog that he was seeking for the King, and only
thought how happy he was to be with the White Cat!
And so the days passed, in every kind of amusement, until
the year was nearly gone. The Prince had forgotten all
about meeting his brothers: he did not even know what
country he belonged to; but the White Cat knew when he
ought to go back, and one day she said to him:
"Do you know that you have only three days left to
look for the little dog for your father, and your brothers
have found lovely ones?"
Then the Prince suddenly recovered his memory, and
"What can have made me forget such an important
thing? My whole fortune depends upon it; and even if I
could in such a short time find a dog pretty enough to
gain me a kingdom, where should I find a horse who would
carry me all that way in three days?" And he began to
be very vexed. But the White Cat said to him: "King's
son, do not trouble yourself; I am your friend, and will
make everything easy for you. You can still stay here for
a day, as the good wooden horse can take you to your
country in twelve hours."
"I thank you, beautiful Cat," said the Prince; "but
what good will it do me to get back if I have not a dog to
take to my father?"
"See here," answered the White Cat, holding up an
acorn; "there is a prettier one in this than in the Dogstar!"
"Oh! White Cat dear," said the Prince, "how unkind
you are to laugh at me now!"
"Only listen," she said, holding the acorn to his ear.
And inside it he distinctly heard a tiny voice say:
The Prince was delighted, for a dog that can be shut up
in an acorn must be very small indeed. He wanted to
take it out and look at it, but the White Cat said it would
be better not to open the acorn till he was before the
King, in case the tiny dog should be cold on the journey.
He thanked her a thousand times, and said good-by quite
sadly when the time came for him to set out.
"The days have passed so quickly with you," he said,
"I only wish I could take you with me now."
But the White Cat shook her head and sighed deeply
in answer.
After all the Prince was the first to arrive at the castle
where he had agreed to meet his brothers, but they came
soon after, and stared in amazement when they saw the
wooden horse in the courtyard jumping like a hunter.
The Prince met them joyfully, and they began to tell
him all their adventures; but he managed to hide from
them what he had been doing, and even led them to think
that a turnspit dog which he had with him was the one he
was bringing for the King. Fond as they all were of one
another, the two eldest could not help being glad to think
that their dogs certainly had a better chance. The next
morning they started in the same chariot. The elder
brothers carried in baskets two such tiny, fragile dogs
that they hardly dared to touch them. As for the turnspit,
he ran after the chariot, and got so covered with mud
that one could hardly see what he was like at all. When
they reached the palace everyone crowded round to welcome
them as they went into the King's great hall; and
when the two brothers presented their little dogs nobody
could decide which was the prettier. They were already
arranging between themselves to share the kingdom
equally, when the youngest stepped forward, drawing
from his pocket the acorn the White Cat had given him.
He opened it quickly, and there upon a white cushion
they saw a dog so small that it could easily have been put
through a ring. The Prince laid it upon the ground, and
it got up at once and began to dance. The King did not
know what to say, for it was impossible that anything
could be prettier than this little creature. Nevertheless, as
he was in no hurry to part with his crown, he told his sons
that, as they had been so successful the first time, he
would ask them to go once again, and seek by land and sea
for a piece of muslin so fine that it could be drawn through
the eye of a needle. The brothers were not very willing to
set out again, but the two eldest consented because it gave
them another chance, and they started as before. The
youngest again mounted the wooden horse, and rode back
at full speed to his beloved White Cat. Every door of the
castle stood wide open, and every window and turret was
illuminated, so it looked more wonderful than before.
The hands hastened to meet him, and led the wooden
horse off to the stable, while he hurried in to find the
White Cat. She was asleep in a little basket on a white
satin cushion, but she very soon started up when she
heard the Prince, and was overjoyed at seeing him once
"How could I hope that you would come back to me
King's son?" she said. And then he stroked and petted
her, and told her of his successful journey, and how he had
come back to ask her help, as he believed that it was
impossible to find what the King demanded. The White
Cat looked serious, and said she must think what was to
be done, but that, luckily, there were some cats in the
castle who could spin very well, and if anybody could
manage it they could, and she would set them the task
And then the hands appeared carrying torches, and
conducted the Prince and the White Cat to a long gallery
which overlooked the river, from the windows of which
they saw a magnificent display of fireworks of all sorts;
after which they had supper, which the Prince liked even
better than the fireworks, for it was very late, and he was
hungry after his long ride. And so the days passed quickly
as before; it was impossible to feel dull with the White
Cat, and she had quite a talent for inventing new amusements--
indeed, she was cleverer than a cat has any right
to be. But when the Prince asked her how it was that she
was so wise, she only said:
"King's son, do not ask me; guess what you please. I
may not tell you anything."
The Prince was so happy that he did not trouble himself
at all about the time, but presently the White Cat
told him that the year was gone, and that he need not be
at all anxious about the piece of muslin, as they had made
it very well.
"This time," she added, "I can give you a suitable
escort"; and on looking out into the courtyard the Prince
saw a superb chariot of burnished gold, enameled in flame
color with a thousand different devices. It was drawn by
twelve snow-white horses, harnessed four abreast; their
trappings were flame-colored velvet, embroidered with
diamonds. A hundred chariots followed, each drawn by
eight horses, and filled with officers in splendid uniforms,
and a thousand guards surrounded the procession. "Go!"
said the White Cat, "and when you appear before the
King in such state he surely will not refuse you the crown
which you deserve. Take this walnut, but do not open
it until you are before him, then you will find in it the
piece of stuff you asked me for."
"Lovely Blanchette," said the Prince, "how can I
thank you properly for all your kindness to me? Only tell
me that you wish it, and I will give up for ever all thought
of being king, and will stay here with you always."
"King's son," she replied, "it shows the goodness of
your heart that you should care so much for a little white
cat, who is good for nothing but to catch mice; but you
must not stay."
So the Prince kissed her little paw and set out. You can
imagine how fast he traveled when I tell you that they
reached the King's palace in just half the time it had
taken the wooden horse to get there. This time the
Prince was so late that he did not try to meet his brothers
at their castle, so they thought he could not be coming,
and were rather glad of it, and displayed their pieces of
muslin to the King proudly, feeling sure of success. And
indeed the stuff was very fine, and would go through the
eye of a very large needle; but the King, who was only too
glad to make a difficulty, sent for a particular needle,
which was kept among the Crown jewels, and had such a
small eye that everybody saw at once that it was impossible
that the muslin should pass through it. The Princes
were angry, and were beginning to complain that it was
a trick, when suddenly the trumpets sounded and the
youngest Prince came in. His father and brothers were
quite astonished at his magnificence, and after he had
greeted them he took the walnut from his pocket and
opened it, fully expecting to find the piece of muslin, but
instead there was only a hazel-nut. He cracked it, and
there lay a cherry-stone. Everybody was looking on, and
the King was chuckling to himself at the idea of finding
the piece of muslin in a nutshell.
However, the Prince cracked the cherry-stone, but
everyone laughed when he saw it contained only its own
kernel. He opened that and found a grain of wheat, and
in that was a millet seed. Then he himself began to
wonder, and muttered softly:
"White Cat, White Cat, are you making fun of me?"
In an instant he felt a cat's claw give his hand quite a
sharp scratch, and hoping that it was meant as an
encouragement he opened the millet seed, and drew out of
it a piece of muslin four hundred ells long, woven with the
loveliest colors and most wonderful patterns; and when
the needle was brought it went through the eye six times
with the greatest ease! The King turned pale, and the
other Princes stood silent and sorrowful, for nobody could
deny that this was the most marvelous piece of muslin
that was to be found in the world
Presently the King turned to his sons, and said, with a
deep sigh:
"Nothing could console me more in my old age than to
realize your willingness to gratify my wishes. Go then
once more, and whoever at the end of a year can bring
back the loveliest princess shall be married to her, and
shall, without further delay, receive the crown, for my
successor must certainly be married." The Prince considered
that he had earned the kingdom fairly twice over
but still he was too well bred to argue about it, so he
just went back to his gorgeous chariot, and, surrounded
by his escort, returned to the White Cat faster than he
had come. This time she was expecting him, the path was
strewn with flowers, and a thousand braziers were burning
scented woods which perfumed the air. Seated in a gallery
from which she could see his arrival, the White Cat waited
for him. "Well, King's son," she said, "here you are once
more, without a crown." "Madam," said he, "thanks to
your generosity I have earned one twice over; but the
fact is that my father is so loth to part with it that it would
be no pleasure to me to take it."
"Never mind," she answered, "it's just as well to try
and deserve it. As you must take back a lovely princess
with you next time I will be on the look-out for one for
you. In the meantime let us enjoy ourselves; to-night I
have ordered a battle between my cats and the river rats
on purpose to amuse you." So this year slipped away
even more pleasantly than the preceding ones. Sometimes
the Prince could not help asking the White Cat how
it was she could talk.
"Perhaps you are a fairy," he said. "Or has some
enchanter changed you into a cat?"
But she only gave him answers that told him nothing.
Days go by so quickly when one is very happy that it is
certain the Prince would never have thought of its being
time to go back, when one evening as they sat together
the White Cat said to him that if he wanted to take a
lovely princess home with him the next day he must be
prepared to do what she told him.
"Take this sword," she said, "and cut off my head!"
"I!" cried the Prince, "I cut off your head! Blanchette
darling, how could I do it?"
"I entreat you to do as I tell you, King's son," she
The tears came into the Prince's eyes as he begged her
to ask him anything but that--to set him any task she
pleased as a proof of his devotion, but to spare him the
grief of killing his dear Pussy. But nothing he could say
altered her determination, and at last he drew his sword,
and desperately, with a trembling hand, cut off the little
white head. But imagine his astonishment and delight
when suddenly a lovely princess stood before him, and,
while he was still speechless with amazement, the door
opened and a goodly company of knights and ladies
entered, each carrying a cat's skin! They hastened with
every sign of joy to the Princess, kissing her hand and
congratulating her on being once more restored to her
natural shape. She received them graciously, but after a
few minutes begged that they would leave her alone with
the Prince, to whom she said:
"You see, Prince, that you were right in supposing me
to be no ordinary cat. My father reigned over six
kingdoms. The Queen, my mother, whom he loved dearly,
had a passion for traveling and exploring, and when I was
only a few weeks old she obtained his permission to visit
a certain mountain of which she had heard many marvelous
tales, and set out, taking with her a number of her
attendants. On the way they had to pass near an old
castle belonging to the fairies. Nobody had ever been
into it, but it was reported to be full of the most wonderful
things, and my mother remembered to have heard that
the fairies had in their garden such fruits as were to be
seen and tasted nowhere else. She began to wish to try
them for herself, and turned her steps in the direction of
the garden. On arriving at the door, which blazed with
gold and jewels, she ordered her servants to knock loudly,
but it was useless; it seemed as if all the inhabitants of the
castle must be asleep or dead. Now the more difficult it
became to obtain the fruit, the more the Queen was
determined that have it she would. So she ordered that they
should bring ladders, and get over the wall into the garden;
but though the wall did not look very high, and they tied
the ladders together to make them very long, it was quite
impossible to get to the top.
"The Queen was in despair, but as night was coming on
she ordered that they should encamp just where they
were, and went to bed herself, feeling quite ill, she was so
disappointed. In the middle of the night she was suddenly
awakened, and saw to her surprise a tiny, ugly old
woman seated by her bedside, who said to her:
"`I must say that we consider it somewhat troublesome
of your Majesty to insist upon tasting our fruit; but
to save you annoyance, my sisters and I will consent to
give you as much as you can carry away, on one condition
--that is, that you shall give us your little daughter to
bring up as our own.'
"`Ah! my dear madam,' cried the Queen, `is there nothing
else that you will take for the fruit? I will give you
my kingdoms willingly.'
"`No,' replied the old fairy, `we will have nothing but
your little daughter. She shall be as happy as the day is
long, and we will give her everything that is worth having
in fairy-land, but you must not see her again until she is
"`Though it is a hard condition,' said the Queen, `I
consent, for I shall certainly die if I do not taste the fruit,
and so I should lose my little daughter either way.'
"So the old fairy led her into the castle, and, though it
was still the middle of the night, the Queen could see
plainly that it was far more beautiful than she had been
told, which you can easily believe, Prince," said the
White Cat, "when I tell you that it was this castle that
we are now in. `Will you gather the fruit yourself,
Queen?' said the old fairy, `or shall I call it to come to
"`I beg you to let me see it come when it is called,'
cried the Queen; `that will be something quite new.' The
old fairy whistled twice, then she cried:
"`Apricots, peaches, nectarines, cherries, plums, pears,
melons, grapes, apples, oranges, lemons, gooseberries,
strawberries, raspberries, come!'
"And in an instant they came tumbling in one over
another, and yet they were neither dusty nor spoilt, and
the Queen found them quite as good as she had fancied
them. You see they grew upon fairy trees.
"The old fairy gave her golden baskets in which to take
the fruit away, and it was as much as four hundred mules
could carry. Then she reminded the Queen of her agreement,
and led her back to the camp, and next morning
she went back to her kingdom, but before she had gone
very far she began to repent of her bargain, and when the
King came out to meet her she looked so sad that he
guessed that something had happened, and asked what
was the matter. At first the Queen was afraid to tell him,
but when, as soon as they reached the palace, five frightful
little dwarfs were sent by the fairies to fetch me, she
was obliged to confess what she had promised. The
King was very angry, and had the Queen and myself shut
up in a great tower and safely guarded, and drove the
little dwarfs out of his kingdom; but the fairies sent a
great dragon who ate up all the people he met, and whose
breath burnt up everything as he passed through the
country; and at last, after trying in vain to rid himself of
this monster, the King, to save his subjects, was obliged
to consent that I should be given up to the fairies. This
time they came themselves to fetch me, in a chariot of
pearl drawn by sea-horses, followed by the dragon, who
was led with chains of diamonds. My cradle was placed
between the old fairies, who loaded me with caresses, and
away we whirled through the air to a tower which they
had built on purpose for me. There I grew up surrounded
with everything that was beautiful and rare, and learning
everything that is ever taught to a princess, but without
any companions but a parrot and a little dog, who could
both talk; and receiving every day a visit from one of the
old fairies, who came mounted upon the dragon. One
day, however, as I sat at my window I saw a handsome
young prince, who seemed to have been hunting in the
forest which surrounded my prison, and who was standing
and looking up at me. When he saw that I observed him
he saluted me with great deference. You can imagine
that I was delighted to have some one new to talk to, and
in spite of the height of my window our conversation was
prolonged till night fell, then my prince reluctantly bade
me farewell. But after that he came again many times
and at last I consented to marry him, but the question
was how was I to escape from my tower. The fairies
always supplied me with flax for my spinning, and by
great diligence I made enough cord for a ladder that would
reach to the foot of the tower; but, alas! just as my prince
was helping me to descend it, the crossest and ugliest of
the old fairies flew in. Before he had time to defend
himself my unhappy lover was swallowed up by the dragon.
As for me, the fairies, furious at having their plans
defeated, for they intended me to marry the king of the
dwarfs, and I utterly refused, changed me into a white
cat. When they brought me here I found all the lords
and ladies of my father's court awaiting me under the
same enchantment, while the people of lesser rank had
been made invisible, all but their hands.
"As they laid me under the enchantment the fairies
told me all my history, for until then I had quite believed
that I was their child, and warned me that my only
chance of regaining my natural form was to win the love
of a prince who resembled in every way my unfortunate
"And you have won it, lovely Princess," interrupted
the Prince.
"You are indeed wonderfully like him," resumed the
Princess--"in voice, in features, and everything; and if
you really love me all my troubles will be at an end."
"And mine too," cried the Prince, throwing himself at
her feet, "if you will consent to marry me."
"I love you already better than anyone in the world,"
she said; "but now it is time to go back to your father, and
we shall hear what he says about it."
So the Prince gave her his hand and led her out, and
they mounted the chariot together; it was even more
splendid than before, and so was the whole company.
Even the horses' shoes were of rubies with diamond nails,
and I suppose that is the first time such a thing was ever
As the Princess was as kind and clever as she was
beautiful, you may imagine what a delightful journey the
Prince found it, for everything the Princess said seemed
to him quite charming.
When they came near the castle where the brothers
were to meet, the Princess got into a chair carried by four
of the guards; it was hewn out of one splendid crystal, and
had silken curtains, which she drew round her that she
might not be seen.
The Prince saw his brothers walking upon the terrace,
each with a lovely princess, and they came to meet him,
asking if he had also found a wife. He said that he had
found something much rarer--a white cat! At which they
laughed very much, and asked him if he was afraid of
being eaten up by mice in the palace. And then they set
out together for the town. Each prince and princess rode
in a splendid carriage; the horses were decked with plumes
of feathers, and glittered with gold. After them came the
youngest prince, and last of all the crystal chair, at which
everybody looked with admiration and curiosity. When
the courtiers saw them coming they hastened to tell the
"Are the ladies beautiful?" he asked anxiously.
And when they answered that nobody had ever before
seen such lovely princesses he seemed quite annoyed.
However, he received them graciously, but found it
impossible to choose between them.
Then turning to his youngest son he said:
"Have you come back alone, after all?"
"Your Majesty," replied the Prince, "will find in that
crystal chair a little white cat, which has such soft paws,
and mews so prettily, that I am sure you will be charmed
with it."
The King smiled, and went to draw back the curtains
himself, but at a touch from the Princess the crystal
shivered into a thousand splinters, and there she stood in
all her beauty; her fair hair floated over her shoulders and
was crowned with flowers, and her softly falling robe was
of the purest white. She saluted the King gracefully,
while a murmur of admiration rose from all around.
"Sire," she said, "I am not come to deprive you of the
throne you fill so worthily. I have already six kingdoms,
permit me to bestow one upon you, and upon each of your
sons. I ask nothing but your friendship, and your consent
to my marriage with your youngest son; we shall still have
three kingdoms left for ourselves."
The King and all the courtiers could not conceal their
joy and astonishment, and the marriage of the three
Princes was celebrated at once. The festivities lasted
several months, and then each king and queen departed to
their own kingdom and lived happily ever after.[1]
[1] La Chatte blanche. Par Madame la Comtesse d'Aulnoy.
ONCE upon a time, in a large forest, there lived an old
woman and three maidens. They were all three beautiful,
but the youngest was the fairest. Their hut was quite
hidden by trees, and none saw their beauty but the sun
by day, and the moon by night, and the eyes of the stars.
The old woman kept the girls hard at work, from morning
till night, spinning gold flax into yarn, and when one
distaff was empty another was given them, so they had
no rest. The thread had to be fine and even, and when
done was locked up in a secret chamber by the old woman,
who twice or thrice every summer went a journey.
Before she went she gave out work for each day of her
absence, and always returned in the night, so that the
girls never saw what she brought back with her, neither
would she tell them whence the gold flax came, nor what
it was to be used for.
Now, when the time came round for the old woman to
set out on one of these journeys, she gave each maiden
work for six days, with the usual warning: "Children,
don't let your eyes wander, and on no account speak to a
man, for, if you do, your thread will lose its brightness,
and misfortunes of all kinds will follow." They laughed
at this oft-repeated caution, saying to each other: "How
can our gold thread lose its brightness, and have we any
chance of speaking to a man?"
On the third day after the old woman's departure a
young prince, hunting in the forest, got separated from
his companions, and completely lost. Weary of seeking
his way, he flung himself down under a tree, leaving his
horse to browse at will, and fell asleep.
The sun had set when he awoke and began once more
to try and find his way out of the forest. At last he
perceived a narrow foot-path, which he eagerly followed and
found that it led him to a small hut. The maidens, who
were sitting at the door of their hut for coolness, saw him
approaching, and the two elder were much alarmed, for
they remembered the old woman's warning; but the
youngest said: "Never before have I seen anyone like
him; let me have one look." They entreated her to come
in, but, seeing that she would not, left her, and the Prince,
coming up, courteously greeted the maiden, and told her
he had lost his way in the forest and was both hungry and
weary. She set food before him, and was so delighted
with his conversation that she forgot the old woman's
caution, and lingered for hours. In the meantime the
Prince's companions sought him far and wide, but to no
purpose, so they sent two messengers to tell the sad news
to the King, who immediately ordered a regiment of
cavalry and one of infantry to go and look for him.
After three days' search, they found the hut. The
Prince was still sitting by the door and had been so happy
in the maiden's company that the time had seemed like
a single hour. Before leaving he promised to return and
fetch her to his father's court, where he would make her
his bride. When he had gone, she sat down to her wheel
to make up for lost time, but was dismayed to find that
her thread had lost all its brightness. Her heart beat fast
and she wept bitterly, for she remembered the old
woman's warning and knew not what misfortune might now
befall her.
The old woman returned in the night and knew by the
tarnished thread what had happened in her absence. She
was furiously angry and told the maiden that she had
brought down misery both on herself and on the Prince.
The maiden could not rest for thinking of this. At last
she could bear it no longer, and resolved to seek help from
the Prince.
As a child she had learned to understand the speech of
birds, and this was now of great use to her, for, seeing a
raven pluming itself on a pine bough, she cried softly to
it: "Dear bird, cleverest of all birds, as well as swiftest
on wing, wilt thou help me?" "How can I help thee?"
asked the raven. She answered: "Fly away, until thou
comest to a splendid town, where stands a king's palace;
seek out the king's son and tell him that a great misfortune
has befallen me." Then she told the raven how her
thread had lost its brightness, how terribly angry the old
woman was, and how she feared some great disaster. The
raven promised faithfully to do her bidding, and, spreading
its wings, flew away. The maiden now went home and
worked hard all day at winding up the yarn her elder
sisters had spun, for the old woman would let her spin no
longer. Toward evening she heard the raven's "craa,
craa," from the pine tree and eagerly hastened thither to
hear the answer.
By great good fortune the raven had found a wind
wizard's son in the palace garden, who understood the
speech of birds, and to him he had entrusted the message.
When the Prince heard it, he was very sorrowful, and took
counsel with his friends how to free the maiden. Then he
said to the wind wizard's son: "Beg the raven to fly
quickly back to the maiden and tell her to be ready on the
ninth night, for then will I come and fetch her away."
The wind wizard's son did this, and the raven flew so
swiftly that it reached the hut that same evening. The
maiden thanked the bird heartily and went home, telling
no one what she had heard.
As the ninth night drew near she became very unhappy,
for she feared lest some terrible mischance should arise
and ruin all. On this night she crept quietly out of the
house and waited trembling at some little distance from
the hut. Presently she heard the muffled tramp of horses,
and soon the armed troop appeared, led by the Prince,
who had prudently marked all the trees beforehand, in
order to know the way. When he saw the maiden he
sprang from his horse, lifted her into the saddle, and then,
mounting behind, rode homeward. The moon shone so
brightly that they had no difficulty in seeing the marked
By and by the coming of dawn loosened the tongues of
all the birds, and, had the Prince only known what they
were saying, or the maiden been listening, they might
have been spared much sorrow, but they were thinking
only of each other, and when they came out of the forest
the sun was high in the heavens.
Next morning, when the youngest girl did not come to
her work, the old woman asked where she was. The
sisters pretended not to know, but the old woman easily
guessed what had happened, and, as she was in reality a
wicked witch, determined to punish the fugitives.
Accordingly, she collected nine different kinds of enchanters'
nightshade, added some salt, which she first bewitched,
and, doing all up in a cloth into the shape of a fluffy ball,
sent it after them on the wings of the wind, saying:
"Whirlwind!--mother of the wind!
Lend thy aid 'gainst her who sinned!
Carry with thee this magic ball.
Cast her from his arms for ever,
Bury her in the rippling river."
At midday the Prince and his men came to a deep
river, spanned by so narrow a bridge that only one rider
could cross at a time. The horse on which the Prince and
the maiden were riding had just reached the middle when
the magic ball flew by. The horse in its fright suddenly
reared, and before anyone could stop it flung the maiden
into the swift current below. The Prince tried to jump
in after her, but his men held him back, and in spite of his
struggles led him home, where for six weeks he shut himself
up in a secret chamber, and would neither eat nor
drink, so great was his grief. At last he became so ill his
life was despaired of, and in great alarm the King caused
all the wizards of his country to be summoned. But none
could cure him. At last the wind wizard's son said to the
King: "Send for the old wizard from Finland he knows
more than all the wizards of your kingdom put together."
A messenger was at once sent to Finland, and a week later
the old wizard himself arrived on the wings of the wind.
"Honored King," said the wizard, "the wind has blown
this illness upon your son, and a magic ball has snatched
away his beloved. This it is which makes him grieve so
constantly. Let the wind blow upon him that it may blow
away his sorrow." Then the King made his son go out
into the wind, and he gradually recovered and told his
father all. "Forget the maiden," said the King, "and take
another bride"; but the Prince said he could never love
A year afterward he came suddenly upon the bridge
where his beloved met her death. As he recalled the
misfortune he wept bitterly, and would have given all he
possessed to have her once more alive. In the midst of his
grief he thought he heard a voice singing, and looked
round, but could see no one. Then he heard the voice
again, and it said:
"Alas! bewitched and all forsaken,
'Tis I must lie for ever here!
My beloved no thought has taken
To free his bride, that was so dear."
He was greatly astonished, sprang from his horse, and
looked everywhere to see if no one were hidden under the
bridge; but no one was there. Then he noticed a yellow
water-lily floating on the surface of the water, half hidden
by its broad leaves; but flowers do not sing, and in great
surprise he waited, hoping to hear more. Then again the
voice sang:
"Alas! bewitched and all forsaken,
'Tis I must lie for ever here!
My beloved no thought has taken
To free his bride, that was so dear."
The Prince suddenly remembered the gold-spinners, and
said to himself: "If I ride thither, who knows but that
they could explain this to me?" He at once rode to the
hut, and found the two maidens at the fountain. He told
them what had befallen their sister the year before, and
how he had twice heard a strange song, but yet could see
no singer. They said that the yellow water-lily could be
none other than their sister, who was not dead, but
transformed by the magic ball. Before he went to bed, the
eldest made a cake of magic herbs, which she gave him to
eat. In the night he dreamed that he was living in the
forest and could understand all that the birds said to each
other. Next morning he told this to the maidens, and
they said that the charmed cake had caused it, and
advised him to listen well to the birds, and see what they
could tell him, and when he had recovered his bride they
begged him to return and deliver them from their
wretched bondage.
Having promised this, he joyfully returned home, and
as he was riding through the forest he could perfectly
understand all that the birds said. He heard a thrush say
to a magpie: "How stupid men are! they cannot understand
the simplest thing. It is now quite a year since the
maiden was transformed into a water-lily, and, though
she sings so sadly that anyone going over the bridge must
hear her, yet no one comes to her aid. Her former bridegroom
rode over it a few days ago and heard her singing,
but was no wiser than the rest."
"And he is to blame for all her misfortunes," added the
magpie. "If he heeds only the words of men she will remain
a flower for ever. She were soon delivered were the
matter only laid before the old wizard of Finland."
After hearing this, the Prince wondered how he could
get a message conveyed to Finland. He heard one swallow
say to another: "Come, let us fly to Finland; we can build
better nests there."
"Stop, kind friends!" cried the Prince. "Will you do
something for me?" The birds consented, and he said:
"Take a thousand greetings from me to the wizard of
Finland, and ask him how I may restore a maiden transformed
into a flower to her own form."
The swallows flew away, and the Prince rode on to the
bridge. There he waited, hoping to hear the song. But
he heard nothing but the rushing of the water and the
moaning of the wind, and, disappointed, rode home.
Shortly after, he was sitting in the garden, thinking
that the swallows must have forgotten his message, when
he saw an eagle flying above him. The bird gradually
descended until it perched on a tree close to the Prince
and said: "The wizard of Finland greets thee and bids me
say that thou mayest free the maiden thus: Go to the river
and smear thyself all over with mud; then say: `From a
man into a crab,' and thou wilt become a crab. Plunge
boldly into the water, swim as close as thou canst to the
water-lily's roots, and loosen them from the mud and
reeds. This done, fasten thy claws into the roots and
rise with them to the surface. Let the water flow all over
the flower, and drift with the current until thou comest to
a mountain ash tree on the left bank. There is near it a
large stone. Stop there and say: `From a crab into a man,
from a water-lily into a maiden,' and ye both will be
restored to your own forms."
Full of doubt and fear, the Prince let some time pass
before he was bold enough to attempt to rescue the
maiden. Then a crow said to him: "Why dost thou hesitate?
The old wizard has not told thee wrong, neither
have the birds deceived thee; hasten and dry the maiden's
"Nothing worse than death can befall me," thought the
Prince, "and death is better than endless sorrow." So he
mounted his horse and went to the bridge. Again he
heard the water-lily's lament, and, hesitating no longer,
smeared himself all over with mud, and, saying: "From a
man into a crab," plunged into the river. For one moment
the water hissed in his ears, and then all was silent. He
swam up to the plant and began to loosen its roots, but so
firmly were they fixed in the mud and reeds that this took
him a long time. He then grasped them and rose to the
surface, letting the water flow over the flower. The current
carried them down the stream, but nowhere could he
see the mountain ash. At last he saw it, and close by the
large stone. Here he stopped and said: "From a crab into
a man, from a water-lily into a maiden," and to his
delight found himself once more a prince, and the maiden
was by his side. She was ten times more beautiful than
before, and wore a magnificent pale yellow robe, sparkling
with jewels. She thanked him for having freed her
from the cruel witch's power, and willingly consented to
marry him.
But when they came to the bridge where he had left his
horse it was nowhere to be seen, for, though the Prince
thought he had been a crab only a few hours, he had in
reality been under the water for more than ten days.
While they were wondering how they should reach his
father's court, they saw a splendid coach driven by six
gaily caparisoned horses coming along the bank. In this
they drove to the palace. The King and Queen were at
church, weeping for their son, whom they had long
mourned for dead. Great was their delight and astonishment
when the Prince entered, leading the beautiful
maiden by the hand. The wedding was at once celebrated
and there was feasting and merry-making throughout the
kingdom for six weeks.
Some time afterward the Prince and his bride were
sitting in the garden, when a crow said to them:
"Ungrateful creatures! Have you forgotten the two poor
maidens who helped you in your distress? Must they
spin gold flax for ever? Have no pity on the old witch.
The three maidens are princesses, whom she stole away
when they were children together, with all the silver
utensils, which she turned into gold flax. Poison were her
fittest punishment."
The Prince was ashamed of having forgotten his promise
and set out at once, and by great good fortune reached
the hut when the old woman was away. The maidens had
dreamed that he was coming, and were ready to go with
him, but first they made a cake in which they put poison,
and left it on a table where the old woman was likely to
see it when she returned. She DID see it, and thought it
looked so tempting that she greedily ate it up and at once
In the secret chamber were found fifty wagon-loads of
gold flax, and as much more was discovered buried. The
hut was razed to the ground, and the Prince and his bride
and her two sisters lived happily ever after.
ONCE upon a time there was a king whose only child
was a girl. Now the King had been very anxious to have
a son, or at least a grandson, to come after him, but he
was told by a prophet whom he consulted that his own
daughter's son should kill him. This news terrified him
so much that he determined never to let his daughter be
married, for he thought it was better to have no grandson
at all than to be killed by his grandson. He therefore
called his workmen together, and bade them dig a deep
round hole in the earth, and then he had a prison of brass
built in the hole, and then, when it was finished, he locked
up his daughter. No man ever saw her, and she never
saw even the fields and the sea, but only the sky and the
sun, for there was a wide open window in the roof of the
house of brass. So the Princess would sit looking up at
the sky, and watching the clouds float across, and wondering
whether she should ever get out of her prison. Now
one day it seemed to her that the sky opened above her,
and a great shower of shining gold fell through the window
in the roof, and lay glittering in her room. Not very
long after, the Princess had a baby, a little boy, but when
the King her father heard of it he was very angry and
afraid, for now the child was born that should be his
death. Yet, cowardly as he was, he had not quite the
heart to kill the Princess and her baby outright, but he
had them put in a huge brass-bound chest and thrust
out to sea, that they might either be drowned or starved,
or perhaps come to a country where they would be out of
his way.
So the Princess and the baby floated and drifted in the
chest on the sea all day and night, but the baby was not
afraid of the waves nor of the wind, for he did not know
that they could hurt him, and he slept quite soundly.
And the Princess sang a song over him, and this was her
"Child, my child, how sound you sleep!
Though your mother's care is deep,
You can lie with heart at rest
In the narrow brass-bound chest;
In the starless night and drear
You can sleep, and never hear
Billows breaking, and the cry
Of the night-wind wandering by;
In soft purple mantle sleeping
With your little face on mine,
Hearing not your mother weeping
And the breaking of the brine."
Well, the daylight came at last, and the great chest was
driven by the waves against the shore of an island. There
the brass-bound chest lay, with the Princess and her
baby in it, till a man of that country came past, and saw
it, and dragged it on to the beach, and when he had
broken it open, behold! there was a beautiful lady and a
little boy. So he took them home, and was very kind to
them, and brought up the boy till he was a young man.
Now when the boy had come to his full strength the King
of that country fell in love with his mother, and wanted
to marry her, but he knew that she would never part
from her boy. So he thought of a plan to get rid of the
boy, and this was his plan: A great Queen of a country not
far off was going to be married, and this king said that all
his subjects must bring him wedding presents to give her.
And he made a feast to which he invited them all, and
they all brought their presents; some brought gold cups,
and some brought necklaces of gold and amber, and some
brought beautiful horses; but the boy had nothing, though
he was the son of a princess, for his mother had nothing to
give him. Then the rest of the company began to laugh
at him, and the King said: "If you have nothing else to
give, at least you might go and fetch the Terrible Head."
The boy was proud, and spoke without thinking:
"Then I swear that I WILL bring the Terrible Head, if it
may be brought by a living man. But of what head you
speak I know not."
Then they told him that somewhere, a long way off,
there dwelt three dreadful sisters, monstrous ogrish
women, with golden wings and claws of brass, and with
serpents growing on their heads instead of hair. Now these
women were so awful to look on that whoever saw them
was turned at once into stone. And two of them could
not be put to death, but the youngest, whose face was
very beautiful, could be killed, and it was HER head that
the boy had promised to bring. You may imagine it was
no easy adventure.
When he heard all this he was perhaps sorry that he had
sworn to bring the Terrible Head, but he was determined
to keep his oath. So he went out from the feast, where
they all sat drinking and making merry, and he walked
alone beside the sea in the dusk of the evening, at the
place where the great chest, with himself and his mother
in it, had been cast ashore.
There he went and sat down on a rock, looking toward
the sea, and wondering how he should begin to fulfill his
vow. Then he felt some one touch him on the shoulder;
and he turned, and saw a young man like a king's son,
having with him a tall and beautiful lady, whose blue eyes
shone like stars. They were taller than mortal men, and
the young man had a staff in his hand with golden wings
on it, and two golden serpents twisted round it, and he
had wings on his cap and on his shoes. He spoke to the
boy, and asked him why he was so unhappy; and the boy
told him how he had sworn to bring the Terrible Head,
and knew not how to begin to set about the adventure.
Then the beautiful lady also spoke, and said that "it
was a foolish oath and a hasty, but it might be kept if a
brave man had sworn it." Then the boy answered that
he was not afraid, if only he knew the way.
Then the lady said that to kill the dreadful woman with
the golden wings and the brass claws, and to cut off her
head, he needed three things: first, a Cap of Darkness,
which would make him invisible when he wore it; next,
a Sword of Sharpness, which would cleave iron at one
blow; and last, the Shoes of Swiftness, with which he
might fly in the air.
The boy answered that he knew not where such things
were to be procured, and that, wanting them, he could
only try and fail. Then the young man, taking off his
own shoes, said: "First, you shall use these shoes till you
have taken the Terrible Head, and then you must give
them back to me. And with these shoes you will fly as
fleet as a bird, or a thought, over the land or over the
waves of the sea, wherever the shoes know the way. But
there are ways which they do not know, roads beyond the
borders of the world. And these roads have you to travel.
Now first you must go to the Three Gray Sisters, who live
far off in the north, and are so very cold that they have
only one eye and one tooth among the three. You must
creep up close to them, and as one of them passes the eye
to the other you must seize it, and refuse to give it up till
they have told you the way to the Three Fairies of the
Garden, and THEY will give you the Cap of Darkness and
the Sword of Sharpness, and show you how to wing beyond
this world to the land of the Terrible Head."
Then the beautiful lady said: "Go forth at once, and do
not return to say good-by to your mother, for these things
must be done quickly, and the Shoes of Swiftness themselves
will carry you to the land of the Three Gray Sisters
--for they know the measure of that way."
So the boy thanked her, and he fastened on the Shoes
of Swiftness, and turned to say good-by to the young man
and the lady. But, behold! they had vanished, he knew
not how or where! Then he leaped in the air to try the
Shoes of Swiftness, and they carried him more swiftly
than the wind, over the warm blue sea, over the happy
lands of the south, over the northern peoples who drank
mare's milk and lived in great wagons, wandering after
their flocks. Across the wide rivers, where the wild fowl
rose and fled before him, and over the plains and the cold
North Sea he went, over the fields of snow and the hills of
ice, to a place where the world ends, and all water is frozen,
and there are no men, nor beasts, nor any green grass.
There in a blue cave of the ice he found the Three Gray
Sisters, the oldest of living things. Their hair was as white
as the snow, and their flesh of an icy blue, and they
mumbled and nodded in a kind of dream, and their frozen
breath hung round them like a cloud. Now the opening
of the cave in the ice was narrow, and it was not easy to
pass in without touching one of the Gray Sisters. But,
floating on the Shoes of Swiftness, the boy just managed
to steal in, and waited till one of the sisters said to another,
who had their one eye:
"Sister, what do you see? do you see old times coming
"No, sister."
"Then give ME the eye, for perhaps I can see farther
than you."
Then the first sister passed the eye to the second, but
as the second groped for it the boy caught it cleverly out
of her hand.
"Where is the eye, sister?" said the second gray woman.
"You have taken it yourself, sister," said the first gray woman.
"Have you lost the eye, sister? have you lost the eye?"
said the third gray woman; "shall we NEVER find it again,
and see old times coming back?"
Then the boy slipped from behind them out of the cold
cave into the air, and he laughed aloud.
When the gray women heard that laugh they began to
weep, for now they knew that a stranger had robbed
them, and that they could not help themselves, and their
tears froze as they fell from the hollows where no eyes
were, and rattled on the icy ground of the cave. Then they
began to implore the boy to give them their eye back
again, and he could not help being sorry for them, they
were so pitiful. But he said he would never give them the
eye till they told him the way to the Fairies of the Garden.
Then they wrung their hands miserably, for they
guessed why he had come, and how he was going to try
to win the Terrible Head. Now the Dreadful Women
were akin to the Three Gray Sisters, and it was hard for
them to tell the boy the way. But at last they told him
to keep always south, and with the land on his left and
the sea on his right, till he reached the Island of the Fairies
of the Garden. Then he gave them back the eye, and they
began to look out once more for the old times coming back
again. But the boy flew south between sea and land,
keeping the land always on his left hand, till he saw a
beautiful island crowned with flowering trees. There he
alighted, and there he found the Three Fairies of the
Garden. They were like three very beautiful young women,
dressed one in green, one in white, and one in red,
and they were dancing and singing round an apple tree
with apples of gold, and this was their song:
Round and round the apples of gold,
Round and round dance we;
Thus do we dance from the days of old
About the enchanted tree;
Round, and round, and round we go,
While the spring is green, or the stream shall flow,
Or the wind shall stir the sea!
There is none may taste of the golden fruit
Till the golden new time come
Many a tree shall spring from shoot,
Many a blossom be withered at root,
Many a song be dumb;
Broken and still shall be many a lute
Or ever the new times come!
Round and round the tree of gold,
Round and round dance we,
So doth the great world spin from of old,
Summer and winter, and fire and cold,
Song that is sung, and tale that is told,
Even as we dance, that fold and unfold
Round the stem of the fairy tree!
These grave dancing fairies were very unlike the Grey
Women, and they were glad to see the boy, and treated
him kindly. Then they asked him why he had come; and
he told them how he was sent to find the Sword of Sharpness
and the Cap of Darkness. And the fairies gave him
these, and a wallet, and a shield, and belted the sword,
which had a diamond blade, round his waist, and the cap
they set on his head, and told him that now even they
could not see him though they were fairies. Then he
took it off, and they each kissed him and wished him good
fortune, and then they began again their eternal dance
round the golden tree, for it is their business to guard it
till the new times come, or till the world's ending. So the
boy put the cap on his head, and hung the wallet round
his waist, and the shining shield on his shoulders, and flew
beyond the great river that lies coiled like a serpent round
the whole world. And by the banks of that river, there he
found the three Terrible Women all asleep beneath a
poplar tree, and the dead poplar leaves lay all about them.
Their golden wings were folded and their brass claws were
crossed, and two of them slept with their hideous heads
beneath their wings like birds, and the serpents in their
hair writhed out from under the feathers of gold. But the
youngest slept between her two sisters, and she lay on her
back, with her beautiful sad face turned to the sky; and
though she slept her eyes were wide open. If the boy had
seen her he would have been changed into stone by the
terror and the pity of it, she was so awful; but he had
thought of a plan for killing her without looking on her
face. As soon as he caught sight of the three from far off
he took his shining shield from his shoulders, and held it
up like a mirror, so that he saw the Dreadful Women
reflected in it, and did not see the Terrible Head itself.
Then he came nearer and nearer, till he reckoned that he
was within a sword's stroke of the youngest, and he
guessed where he should strike a back blow behind him.
Then he drew the Sword of Sharpness and struck once,
and the Terrible Head was cut from the shoulders of the
creature, and the blood leaped out and struck him like a
blow. But he thrust the Terrible Head into his wallet,
and flew away without looking behind. Then the two
Dreadful Sisters who were left wakened, and rose in the
air like great birds; and though they could not see him
because of his Cap of Darkness, they flew after him up the
wind, following by the scent through the clouds, like
hounds hunting in a wood. They came so close that he
could hear the clatter of their golden wings, and their
shrieks to each other: "HERE, HERE," "NO, THERE; THIS WAY
HE WENT," as they chased him. But the Shoes of Swiftness
flew too fast for them, and at last their cries and the rattle
of their wings died away as he crossed the great river that
runs round the world.
Now when the horrible creatures were far in the
distance, and the boy found himself on the right side of the
river, he flew straight eastward, trying to seek his own
country. But as he looked down from the air he saw a
very strange sight--a beautiful girl chained to a stake at
the high-water mark of the sea. The girl was so frightened
or so tired that she was only prevented from falling
by the iron chain about her waist, and there she hung, as
if she were dead. The boy was very sorry for her and flew
down and stood beside her. When he spoke she raised her
head and looked round, but his voice only seemed to
frighten her. Then he remembered that he was wearing
the Cap of Darkness, and that she could only hear him,
not see him. So he took it off, and there he stood before
her, the handsomest young man she had ever seen in all
her life, with short curly yellow hair, and blue eyes, and a

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