Ashputtel

There was once a wife of a rich man who fell sick and when she felt that her end drew near, she called her only daughter to her bedside, and said, “Always be a good girl, and I will look down from heaven and watch over you.” Soon afterwards she shut her eyes and died. She was buried in the garden and her little girl went every day to her grave and wept, and was always good and kind to all about her. Snow spread a beautiful white covering over the grave but by the time the sun had melted it away again, her father had married another wife. This new wife had two daughters of her own and she brought them home with her. They were fair in face but foul at heart and it was now a sorry time for the poor little girl. “What does the good-for-nothing want in the parlour?” Said they, “those who would eat bread should first earn it; away with the kitchen maid!” Then they took away her fine clothes, and gave her an old grey frock to put on, and laughed at her and turned her into the kitchen.

There she was forced to do hard work; to rise early before day-light, to bring the water, to make the fire, to cook and to wash. Besides that, the sisters plagued her in all sorts of ways and laughed at her. In the evening when she was tired she had no bed to lie down on, but was instead made to lie by the hearth among the ashes. As this made her always dusty and dirty, they called her Ashputtel.

It happened once that the father was going to the fair, and asked his wife’s daughters what he should bring them. “Fine clothes,” said the first. “Pearls and diamonds,” cried the second. “Now, child,” said he to his own daughter, “what will you have?” “The first sprig, dear father, that rubs against your hat on the way home,” said she. 

He bought for his stepdaughters the fine clothes, pearls and diamonds they had asked for. On his way home, as he rode through a green copse, a sprig of hazel brushed against him, and almost pushed off his hat, so he broke it off and brought it away. When he got home he gave it to his daughter. She took it and went to her mothers grave and planted it and cried so much that it was watered with her tears. There it grew and became a fine tree. Three times every day she went to it and wept and soon a little bird came and built its nest upon the tree, and talked to her and watched over her, and brought her whatever she wished for.

Now it happened that the king of the land was to hold a feast which was to last three days, and out of those who came to it his son was to choose a bride for himself. Ashputtel’s two sisters were asked to come. They called her up and said, “ Now, comb our hair, brush out shoes, and tie our sashes for us for we are going to dance at the king’s ball.” Then she did as she was told, but when all was done she could not help crying, for she thought to herself, she should have liked to have gone to the dance too. At last she begged her mother very hard to let her go. “You! Ashputtel?” Said she, “ you who have nothing to wear, no clothes at all, and who cannot even dance….you want to go to the ball?” And when she kept on begging, to get rid of her, she said at last, “I will throw this basin-full of peas into the ash heap, and if you have picked them all out in two hours time you shall go to the feast too.” Then she threw the peas into the ashes. But the little girl ran out at the back door into the garden and cried out:

“Hither, hither, through the sky,

Turtle-doves and linnets fly!

Blackbird, thrush, and chaffinch gay,

Hither, hither, haste away!

One and all, come help me quick,

Haste ye, haste ye, pick, pick, pick!”

Then first came two white doves flying in at the kitchen window. Next came two turtle-doves and after therm all the little birds under heaven came chirping and fluttering in and flew down into the ashes. The little doves stooped their heads down and set to work, pick pick, pick. Then the others began to pick, pick, pick and picked out all the good grain and put it in a dish and left the ashes. At the end of one hour the work was done, and all flew out again at the window. Then she brought the dish to her mother, overjoyed at the thought that now she should go to the ball. But she said, “No, no! You have no clothes and cannot dance, you shall not go.” And when Ashputtel begged very hard to go, she said, “ If you can in one hour’s time pick two of those dishes of peas out of the ashes, you shall go too.” And thus she thought she should at last get rid of her. So she shook two dishes of peas into the ashes; but the little maiden went out into the garden at the back of the house and cried out as before:

“Hither, hither, through the sky,

Turtle-doves and linnets fly!

Blackbird, thrush, and chaffinch gay,

Hither, hither, haste away!

One and all, come help me quick,

Haste ye, haste ye, pick, pick, pick!”

Then first came two white doves flying in at the kitchen window. Next came two turtle-doves and after therm all the little birds under heaven came chirping and hopping about and flew down about the ashes. The little doves stooped their heads down and set to work, pick pick, pick. Then the others began to pick, pick, pick and picked out all the good grain and put it in a dish and left the ashes. Before half an hour’s time all was done and out they flew again. And then Ashputtel took the dishes to her mother, rejoicing to think that now she should go to the feast. But her mother said, “It is all of no use, you cannot go. You have no clothes and cannot dance, and you would only put us all to shame,” and off she went with her two daughters to the feast.

Now, when all were gone, and nobody was left at home, Ashputtel went sorrowfully and sat down under the hazel-tree, and cried out:

“Shake, shake, hazel tree,

Gold and silver over me!”

Then her friend the bird flew out of the tree and brought a gold and silver dress for her, and slippers of spangled silk. She put them on and followed her sisters to the feast. They did not know her and thought she must be some strange princess, she looked so fine and beautiful in her new clothes. They never once thought of Ashputtel for they took for granted that she was safe at home in the dirt.

The king’s son soon came up to her and took her by the hand and danced with her and no one else. He never left her side and whenever anyone else came to ask her to dance he said, “ This lady is dancing with me.” Thus they danced till a late hour of the night and she wanted to go home. The king’s son said, “I shall go and take care of you to your home,” for he wanted to see where the beautiful maid lived. But she slipped away from him unawares and ran off towards home. But the prince followed her so she jumped up into the pigeon-house and shut the door. Then he waited until her father came home and told him that the unknown maiden who had been at the feast had hid herself in the pigeon-house. But when they broke open the door they found no one within and as they came back into the house, Ashputtel lay, as she always did, in her dirty frock by the ashes, and her dim little lamp burnt in the chimney: for she had run as quickly as she could through the pigeon-house and onto the hazel-tree, and had there taken off her beautiful clothes and laid them beneath the tree, that the bird might carry them away, and had seated herself amid the ashes again in her little grey frock. 

The next day when the feast was again held, and her father, mother, and sisters were gone, Ashputtel went to the hazel-tree, and said:

“Shake, shake, hazel tree,

Gold and silver over me!”

And the bird came and brought a still finer dress then the one she had worn the day before. When she came in it to the ball, everyone wondered at her beauty, but the king’s son, who was waiting for her, was the one who took her by the hand and danced with her all night. And when anyone asked her to dance, he said as before, “This lady is dancing with me.” When night came she wanted to go home and the king’s son followed her as before, that he might see into what house she went: but she sprung away from him all at once into the garden, behind her fathers house. In this garden stood a fine pear-tree full of ripe fruit and Ashputtel, not knowing where to hide herself, jumped up into it without being seen. Then the king’s son could not find out where she had gone but waited till her father came home, and said to him, “The unknown lady who danced with me has slipped away again, and I think she must have sprung into your pear-tree.” The father thought to himself, “Can it be Ashputtel?” So he ordered an axe to be brought and they cut down the tree, but found no one upon it. And when they came back into the kitchen, there lay Ashputtel in the ashes as usual; for she had slipped down on the other side of the tree, and had given her beautiful clothes back to the bird at the hazel-tree, and then put on her little grey frock.

The third day, when her father and mother and sisters were gone, she went again into the garden and said:

“Shake, shake, hazel tree,

Gold and silver over me!”

Then her kind friend the bird brought a dress still finer then the former one, and slippers which were all of gold. When she came to the feast no one knew what to say for wonder at her beauty and the king’s son danced with her alone; and whenever anyone else asked her to dance, her said, “This lady is my partner.” Now, when night came, she wanted to go home; and the king’s son would go with her and said to himself, “I will not lose her this time!” But however, she managed to slip away from him, though in such a hurry that she dropped her left golden slipper upon the stairs.

So the prince took the shoe and went the next day to the king his father, and said, “I will take for my wife the lady that this golden slipper fits.” Both the sisters were overjoyed to hear this; for they had beautiful feet, and had no doubt that they could wear the golden slipper. The eldest went first into the room where the slipper was and wanted to try it on, and the mother stood by. But her great toe could not get into it, and the shoe was all together much too small for her. Then the mother gave her a knife, and said, “Never mind, cut it off; when you are queen you will not care about toes, you will not want to go on foot.” So the silly girl cut her great toe off and squeezed the shoe on, and went to the king’s son, then he took her for his bride and set her beside him on his horse and rode away with her. 

But on their way home they had to pass by the hazel-tree that Ashputtel had planted, and there sat a little dove on the branch singing:

“Back again! Back again! Look to the shoe!

The shoe is too small, and not made for you!

Prince! Prince!  Look again for your bride,

For she’s not the true one that sits by thy side.”

Then the prince got down and looked at her foot, and saw by the blood that streamed from it, what a trick she had played on him. So her turned his horse round and brought the false bride back to her home, and said, “This is not the right bride: let the other sister try to put on the slipper.” Then she went into the room and got her foot into the shoe, all but the heel, which was too large. But her mother squeezed it in until the blood came, and took her to the king’s son; and he set her as his bride by his side on his horse, and rode away with her.

But when they came to the hazel-tree, the little dove sat there still and sang:

“Back again! Back again! Look to the shoe!

The shoe is too small, and not made for you!

Prince! Prince!  Look again for your bride,

For she’s not the true one that sits by thy side.”

The he looked down and saw the blood streamed so from the shoe that her white stockings were quite red. So her turned his horse and brought her back again. “This is not the true bride,” said he to the father, “have you no other daughters?” “No,” said he, “There is only little dirty Ashputtel, the child of my first wife; I am sure she cannot be the bride.” However, the prince told him to send for her. But the mother said, “No, no, she is much too dirty, she will not dare to show herself,” however, the prince would have her come. And she first washed her face and hands, and then went in and curtsied to him, and he passed her the golden slipper. Then she took her clumsy shoe off her left foot, and put on the golden slipper; and it fitted her as if it had been made for her. And when he drew near and looked at her face, he knew her, and said, “This is the right bride.” But the mother and both the sisters were frightened and turned pale with anger as he took Ashputtel on his horse, and rode away with her. And when they came to the hazel-tree the white dove sang:

“Home! Home! Look at the shoe!

Princess! The shoe was made for you!

Prince! Prince! Take home thy bride,

For she is the true on that sits by thy side.”

And when the dove had done its song, it came flying and perched upon her right shoulder, and so went home with her. 

The Golden Bird

A certain king had a beautiful garden, and in the garden stood a tree which bore golden apples. these apples were always counted, and about the time when they began to grow ripe it was found that every night one of them was gone. The king became very angry at this, and order the Gardiner to keep a watch all night under the tree. The Gardiner set his eldest son to watch; but about twelve o’clock he fell asleep, and in the morning another of the apples was missing. Then the second sone was ordered to watch; and at midnight he too few asleep, and in the morning another apple was gone. Then the third son offered to keep watch; but the gardener at first would not let him, for fear some harm should come to him; however, he at last consented, and the young man laid himself under the tree to watch. As the clock struck twelve he heard a rustling noise in the air, and a bird came flying that was pure gold; and as it was snapping at some of the apples with its beak, the gardener’s son jumped up and shot an arrow at it. But the arrow did the bird no harm; only it dropped a golden feather from its tail, and then flew away. The golden feather was brought to the king in the morning, and all the council was called together. Everyone agreed that it was worth more than the wealth of the kingdom: but the king said, “One feather is no use to me, I must have the whole bird.” 

     Then the gardener’s eldest son set out and thought to find the golden bird very easily; and when he had gone but a little way, he came to a wood, and by the side of the wood he saw a fox sitting; so he took his bow and made ready to shoot at it. then the fox said, “Do not shoot me, for I will give you good counsel; I know what your business is, and that you want to find the golden bird. You will reach a village in the evening; and when you get there, you will see two inns opposite to each other, one of which is very pleasant and beautiful to look at; go not there, but rest for the night in the other, though it may appear to you to be very poor and mean.” But the son thought to himself, “What can such a beast as this know about the matter?” So he shot his arrow at the fox; but he missed it, and it set up its tail above its back and ran into the wood. Then he went on his way, and in the evening came to the village where the two inns were; and in one of these were people singing, and dancing, and feasting; but the other looked very dirty and poor. “I should be very silly,” said he, “if I went to that shabby house, and left this charming place;” so he went into the smart house, and ate and drank at his ease, and forgot the bird and his country too. 

     Time passed on; and as the eldest son did not come back, and no tidings were heard of him, the second son set out, and the same thing happened to him. He met the fox, who gave him the same advice: but when he came to the two inns, his eldest brother was standing at the window where the merrymaking was, and called to him to come in; and he could not withstand the temptation, but went in, and forgot the golden bird and his country in the same manner. 

     Time passed on again, and the youngest son too wished to set out into the wide world to seek for the golden bird; but his father would not listen to it for a long while, for he was very fond of his third son, and was afraid that some ill luck might happen to him also, and prevent his coming back. However, at last it was agreed he should go, for he would not rest at home; and as he came to the wood, he met the fox, and the same good counsel. But he was thankful to the fox, and did not attempt his life as his brothers had done; so the fox said, “Sit on my tail, and you will travel faster.” So he sat down, and the fox began to run, and away they went over stock and stone so quick that their hair whistled in the wind.

     When they came to the village, the son followed the fox’s counsel, and without looking about him went to the shabby inn and rested there all night at his ease. In the morning came the fox again and met him as he was beginning his journey, and said, “Go straight forward, till you come to a castle, before which lie a whole troop of soldiers fast asleep and snoring: take no notice of them, but go into the castle and pass in and go on till you come to a room, where the golden bird sits in a wooden cage; close by it stands a beautiful golden cage; but do not try to take the bird out of the shabby cage and put it into the handsome one, otherwise you will repent it.” Then the fox stretched out his tail again, and the young man sat himself down, and away they went over stock and stone till their hair whistled in the wind.   

     Before the castle gate all was as the fox had said: so the son went in and found the chamber where the golden bird hung in a wooden cage, and below stood the golden cage, and the three golden apples that had been lost were lying close by it. Then thought he to himself, “It will be a very droll thing to bring away such a fine bird in this shabby cage,” so he opened the door and took hold of it and put it into the golden cage. But the bird set up such a loud scream that all the soldiers awoke and they took him prisoner and carried him before the king. The next morning the court sat to judge him; and when all was heard, it sentenced him to die; unless he should bring the king the golden horse which could run as swiftly as the wind; and if he did this, he was to have the golden bird given him for his own. 

     So he set out once more on his journey, sighing, and in great despair, when on a sudden his good friend the fox met him, and said, “You see now what happened on account of your not listening to my counsel. I will still, however, tell you how to find the golden horse, if you will do as I bid you. You must go straight on till you come to a castle where the horse stands in his stall: by his side will lie the groom fast asleep and snoring: take away the horse quietly, but be sure to put the old leathern saddle upon him, and not the golden one that is close by it.” Then the son sat down on the fox’s tail, and away they went over stock and stone till their hair whistled in the wind. 

     all went right, and the groom lay snoring with his hand upon the golden saddle. But when the son looked at the horse, he thought it a great pity to put the leathern saddle upon it. “I will give him the good one,” said he; “I am sure he deserves it.” As he took the golden saddle the groom awoke and cried out so loud, that all the guards ran in and took him prisoner, and in the morning he was again brought before the court to be judged, and was sentenced to die. But it was agreed that, if he could bring thither the beautiful princess, he should live, and have the bird and the horse given him for his own.  

     Then he went his way again very sorrowful; but the old fox came and said, “Why did you not listen to me? If you had you would have carried away both the bird and the horse; yet will I once more give you counsel. Go straight on, and in the evening you will arrive at the castle. At twelve o’clock at night the princess goes to the bathing-house: go up to her and give her a kiss, and she will let you lead her away: but take care and do not suffer her to go and take leave of her father and mother.” Then the fox stretched out his tail, and so away they went over stock and stone till their hair whistled again. 

     As they came to the castle, all was as the fox said, and at twelve o’clock the young man met the princess going to the bath and gave her the kiss, and she agreed to run away with him, but she begged with many tears that he would let her take leave of her father. At first he refused, but she wept still more and more, and fell at his feet, till at last he consented; but the moment she came to her father’s house, the guards awoke and he was taken prisoner again. 

     Then he was brought before the king, and the king said, “You shall never have my daughter unless in eight days you dig away the hill that stops the view from my window.” Now, this hill was so big that the whole world could not take it away: and when he had worked for seven days, and had done very little, the fox came to him and said, “Lie down and go to sleep; I will work for you.” And in the morning he awoke and the hill was gone; so he went merrily to the king and told him that now that it was removed he must give him the princess. 

     Then the king was obliged to keep his word, and away went the young man and the princess; and the fox came and said to him, “We will have all three, the princess, the horse, and the bird.” 

     “Ah!” said the young man, “that would be a great thing, but how can you contrive it?” 

     “If you will only listen,” said the fox, “it can soon be done. When you come to the king, and he asks for the beautiful princess, you must say, ‘here she is!’ Then he will be very joyful; and you will mount the golden horse that they are to give to you, and put out your hand to take the leave of them; but shake hands with the princess last. Then lift her quickly onto the horse behind you; clap your spurs to his side, and gallop away as fast as you can.” 

     All went right: then the fox said, “When you come to the castle where the bird is, I will stay with the princess at the door, and you will ride in and speak to the king; and when he sees that it is the right horse, he will bring out the bird; see whether it is the true golden bird; and when you get it into your hand, ride away.”

     This, too, happened as the fox said; they carried off the bird, the princess mounted again, and they rode on to a great wood. Then the fox came, and said, “Pray kill me, and cut off my head and feet.” But the young man refused to do it: so the fox said, “I will at any rate give you good counsel: beware two things; ransom no one from the gallows, and sit down by the side of no river.” then away he went. “Well,” thought the young man, “It is no hard matter to keep that advice. 

     He rode on with the princess, till at last he came to the village where he had left his two brothers. And there he heard a great noise and uproar; and when he asked what was the matter, the people said, “two men are going to be hanged.” As he came nearer, he saw that the two men were his brothers, who had turned to robbers; so he said, “Cannot they in any way be saved?” But the people said, “No,” unless he would bestow all his money upon the rascals and their liberty. Then he did not stay to think about the matter, but paid what was asked, and his brothers were given up. and went on with him towards their home. 

     And as they came to the wood where the fox first met them, it was so cool and pleasant that the two brothers said, “Let us sit down by the side of the river, and rest awhile, to eat and drink.” So he said, “Yes,” and forgot the fox’s counsel, and sat down on the side of the river; and while he suspected nothing, they came behind, and threw him down the bank, and took the princess, the horse, and the bird, and went home to the king their master, and said, “All this have we won by our labour.” Then there was great rejoicing made; but the horse would not eat, the bird would not sing, and the princess wept. 

     The youngest son fell to the Botton of the river’s bed: luckily it was nearly dry, but his bones were almost broken, and the bank was so steep that he could find no way to get out. Then the old fox came once more and scolded him for not following his advice; otherwise no evil would have befallen him: “Yet,” said he, “I cannot leave you here, so lay hold of my tail and hold fast.” Then he pulled him out of the river, and said to him, as he got upon the bank, “Your brothers have set a watch to kill you, if they find you in the kingdom.” So he dressed himself as a poor man, and came secretly to the king’s court, and was scarcely within the doors when the horse began to eat, and the bird to sing, and the princess left off weeping. Then he went to the king and told him all his brothers’ roguery; and they were seized and punished, and he had the princess given to him again; and after the king’s death he was heir to his kingdom. 

     A long while after, he went to walk one day in the wood and the old fox met him, and besought him with tears in his eyes to kill him, and cut off his head and feet. And at last he did so, and in a moment the fox was changed into a man, and turned out to be a brother of the princess, who have been lost a great many years.   

The Lady and the Lion

A merchant, who had three daughters, was once setting out upon a journey; and before he left he asked each daughter what he should bring back for her. The eldest wished for pearls; the second for jewels; the third only said, “Dear father, bring me a rose.” Now it was no easy task to find a rose, for it was the middle of winter; yet, as she was the kindest daughter, and very fond of flowers, her father said he would try. So he kissed all three and bid them good bye.

When the time came for his return, he had bought pearls and jewels for the eldest two, but he had sought in vain for the rose. Whenever he went into any garden and asked for such a thing, the people laughed at him and asked him whether he thought roses grew in snow. This grieved him very much; but as he rode home, thinking deeply on what he should bring her instead, he came to a fine castle. Around the castle was a garden, in half of which it appeared to be summer time, and in the other half winter. On one side the finest flowers were in full bloom, and on the other everything looked desolate and buried in snow. “A lucky hit!” cried he to his servant, and told hime to go to a beautiful bed of roses that was there and bring away one of the flowers. 

This done, they were riding away well pleased, when a fierce lion sprung up, and roared out, “Whoever dares to steal my roses shall be eaten up alive.”

Then the man said, “ I knew not that the garden belonged to you; can nothing save my life?”

“No,” said the lion, “nothing, unless you promise to give me whatever meets you first on your return home. If you agree to this, I will give you your life, and the rose too.”

But the man was unwilling to do so, and said, “ It way be my youngest daughter, who loves me most, and always runs to meet me when I go home.”

Then the servant, who was greatly frightened, said, “It may perhaps be only a dog or a cat.” And at last the man yielded with a heavy heart, and took the rose; and promised the lion whatever should meet him first on his return.

As he came near home, it was indeed his youngest daughter that met him. She came running and kissed him and welcomed him home; and when she saw that he had brought her a rose, she rejoiced still more. But her father began to be very melancholy, and to weep, saying, “ Alas! My dearest child! I have bought this flower dear, for I have promised to give you to a wild lion in return.” And he told her all that had happened; and said that she should not go, never mind what would happen.

But she comforted him and said, “ Dear father, what you have promised must be fulfilled; I will go to the lion, and soothe him, that he may let me return again safe home.”

The next morning she asked the way she was to go, and took leave of her father and sisters, and went forth with a bold heart into the wood. 

Now, in fact, the lion was a enchanted prince, and by day he and his court were lions, but in the evening they took their proper forms again. And when the lady came to the castle, that evening, he welcomed her so courteously that she consented to marry him. The wedding feast was held, and they lived happily together a long time. The prince was only to be seen as soon as evening came and then he held his court; but every morning he left his bride and went away by himself, she knew not wither, till night came again.

After some time he said to her, “ Tomorrow there will be a great feast in your fathers house for your eldest sister is to be married; if you wish to go to visit her, my lions shall lead you thither.” Then she rejoiced much at thoughts of seeing her father once more, and set out with the lions. Everyone was overjoyed to see her, for they had thought her dead long ago. But she told them how happy she was; and stayed till the feast was over, and then went back to the wood.

Her second sister was soon after married; and when she was invited to the wedding, she said to the prince, “I will not go alone this time, you must come with me.”

But he would not, and said that it would be a very hazardous thing, for if the least ray of a torch light should fall on him, his enchantment would become still worse, for he would be changed into a dove, and be obliged to wander about the world for seven long years. However, at last he agreed and they set out together. She chose a large hall with thick walls for him to sit in while the wedding torches were lighted; but unluckily no one observed that there was a crack in the door. Then the wedding was held with great pomp; and as the train left the church, passing with the torches before the hall, a very small ray of light fell upon the prince. In a moment he disappeared and when his wife came in, and sought him, she found only a white dove. The he said to her, “Seven years must I fly up and down over the face of the earth; but every now and then I will let fall a white feather, that shall show you the way I am going.”

This said, he flew out the door, and she followed; and every now and then a white feather fell, and showed her the way she was to journey. Thus she went roving through the wide world and saw many wonderful sights although took no rest for seven years. Then she begun to rejoice, and thought to herself that the time was soon coming when all her troubles would cease. Yet repose was still far off: for one day as she was travelling, she missed the white feather and when she lifted up her eyes she could not see the dove. “Now,” thought she to herself, “ no human aid can be of use to me.” So she went to the sun and said, “ Thou shinest everywhere, on the mountain’s top and the valley’s depth: hast thou seen a white dove?” 

“No,” said the sun, “I have not seen it; but I will give thee a casket. Open it when thy hour of need comes.” So she thanked the sun and went on her way until eventide; and when the moon rose, she cried out to it, “ Thou shinest through all the night, over field and grove; hast thou seen a white dove?”

“No,” said the moon, “I cannot help thee; but I will give thee an egg. Break it when need comes.”

Then she thanked the moon and went on until the night wind blew; and she raised her voice to it and said, “ Thou blowest through every tree and under every leaf: hast though not seen the white dove?”

“No,” said the night wind, “But I will ask three other winds; perhaps they have seen it.”

Then the east wind and the west wind came and they too said they had not seen it; but the south wind said, “I have seen the white dove; he has fled to the Red Sea. And is changed once more into a lion, for the seven years are passed away. But there he is fighting with a dragon, and the dragon is an enchanted princess who seeks to separate him from you.”

Then the night wind said, “ I will give thee council: go to the Red Sea; on the right side stand many rods; number them, and when though comest to the eleventh, break it off and smite the dragon with it; then both the lion and the dragon will appear to you in their human forms. Instantly set out with thy beloved prince and journey home over land and sea.”

So our poor wanderer went forth and found all as the night wind had said; and she plucked the eleventh rod, and smote the dragon, and immediately the lion became a prince and the dragon a princess again. But she forgot the rest of the council which the night wind had given; and the restored princess watched her opportunity, and took the prince by the arm, and carried him away.

Thus the unfortunate traveller was again forsaken and forlorn. But she took courage and said, “As far as the the wind blows, and so long as the cock crows, I will journey on till I find him once again.”

She went on for a long way till at length she came to a castle wither the princess had carried the prince; and there she also found a feast was prepared and the wedding about to be held. “Heaven aid me now!” She cried; and she took the casket that the sun had given her, and found within it a dress as dazzling as the sun itself. So she put it on and went into the palace. All the people gazed upon her and the dress pleased the princess so much that she asked whether it was to be sold. “Not for gold or silver,” answered she, “but for flesh and blood.” 

The princess asked what this meant; and she said, “Let me speak to the bridegroom this night in his chamber and I will give thee this dress.”

At last the princess agreed but she told her chamberlain to give the prince a sleeping-draught, that he might not hear or see her. When evening came and the prince had fallen asleep, she was led into his chamber and she set herself down at his feet and said, “I have followed thee seven years, I have been to the sun and the moon and the night wind, to seek thee; and at the last I have helped thee to overcome a dragon. Wilt thou then forget me quite?” But the prince slept so soundly that her voice only passed over him, and seemed like the murmuring of the wind among the fir trees.

Then she was led away and forced to give up the golden dress; and when she saw that there was no help for her, she went out into a meadow and sat herself down and wept. But as she sat she remembered the egg that the moon had given her; and when she broke it open, there ran out a hen and twelve chicks of pure gold. They played about and then nestled under the hen’s wings, so as to form the most beautiful sight in the world. She rose up and drove them before her till the bride saw them from her window, and was so pleased that she came forth, and asked her if she would sell the brood. “Not for gold or silver, but for flesh and blood: let me again this evening speak to the bridegroom in his chamber.”

Then the princess thought to betray her as before, and agreed to what she asked; but when the prince went to his chamber, he asked the chamberlain why the wind had murmured so in the night. The chamberlain told him all; how he had given him a sleeping-draught, and a poor maiden had come and spoken to him in his chamber, and was to come again that night. Then the prince took care to throw away the sleeping-draught; and when she came and began to again tell him all that she had undertaken for him, he knew his beloved wife’s voice and springing up, saying, “You have awaked me as from a dream; for the strange princess had thrown a spell around me, so that I had forgotten you.”

They secretly stole out of the palace that night (for they greatly feared the princess) and journeyed home; and there lived happily together to the end of their days.

Mother Holle

Once upon a time there was a widow who had two daughters; one was patient and worked hard, spoke kindly and was compassionate, the other lay idle all day, was corse in manner and selfish.

Odd as you may think it, the widow loved her idle daughter best, and the other was made to do all the work and was, in short, quite the drudge of the whole household. Every day she must sit on a bench by a well outside the house, and spin so much that soon her fingers were sore and bleeding. Now it happened that once, when her fingers had bled and the spindle was all bloody, that she dipped it into the well, meaning to wash it, but her fingers were so slippery with blood and the water was so cold that the spindle fell from her hand and dropped into the well. Then she ran crying to her mother and told her what had happened but her mother scolded her sharply, and said, “If you have been so silly as to let the spindle drop in, then you must get it out again any way you can.” So the poor little girl went back to the well, knowing not how to begin, and in her sorrow threw herself into the water and sank down to the bottom, senseless.

Time passed and soon she seemed to wake as from a trance; and when she opened her eyes and looked around she saw she was in a beautiful meadow, where the sun shone brightly, the birds sang sweetly on the boughs and thousands of flowers sprang beneath her feet.

Then she rose up, and walked along this delightful meadow, and came to a pretty cottage by the side of a wood; and when she stepped inside she saw an oven full of fresh baking bread, and the bread said, “Pull me out! Pull me out! Or I shall be burnt, for I am quite done enough!” So she ran up quickly and took it all out and left the bread to cool on a table. Then she went on further, and came to a tree that was full of fine, rosy-cheeked apples, and it said to her, “Shake me! Sake me! We are all quite ripe!” So she shook the tree and the apples fell down like a shower, until there were no more upon the boughs. Then she went on again and at length came to a small cottage where on old woman was sitting at the door: The little girl would have run away, but the old woman called out after her, “Don’t be frightened my dear child! Stay with me for a while and help me round the house. My bed must be made nicely every day, and each morning the bed quilt must be shaken out the door so that the feathers may fly, for then the good people below say it snows. I am Mother Holle.”

As the old woman spoke so kindly to her, the girl was willing to do as she said; and so she went into her employ and took care to do everything to please her, and always shook the bed well, so that she led a very quiet life with Mother Holle and was kept warm and fed.

But when she had spent some time with the old lady, she became sorrowful, and although she was much better off here then at home, still she had a longing towards it, and at length said to mer mistress, “I used to grieve at my troubles at home, but if they were all to come again, and I was sure of faring ever so well here, I should not stay any longer.” “You are right,” said Mother Holle, “You shall do as you like; and as you have worked for me so faithfully, I will myself show you the may back.” Then she took her by the hand and led her behind her cottage and opened a door, and as the girl stepped through, there fell a heavy shower of gold so that when she held her apron out she caught a great deal. The old woman put a shining golden dress over her and said, “ All this you shall have because you have helped me so well.” Then she gave her back her spindle too, which had fallen into the well, and led her out by another door. When it shut behind her, the little girl found herself not far from her mother’s house; and as she went into the courtyard, the cock that sat upon the well-head clapt his wings and cried out,

 

“Cock-a-doodle-doo,

Our golden girl’s come home to you.”

 

Then she went into the house and as she was now so rich, she was warmly welcomed home. When her mother heard how she came by such riches, she wanted the same good fortune for her other, lazy daughter, so she too was told to sit by the well and spin. That her spindle might be bloody, she pricked her fingers with it, and when that would not do she thrust her hand into a thorn bush. Then she threw her spindle into the well and sprung in after it. Like her sister she woke in a beautiful meadow and followed the same path. When she came to the oven in the cottage, the bread called out as before, “Take me out! Take me out! Or I shall burn, I am quite done enough!” But the lazy girl said, “A pretty story indeed! Just as if I should dirty myself for you!” And went on her way. She soon came to the apple tree that cried, “Shake me! Shake me! For my apples are quite ripe!” But she answered, “I shall take care how I do that, for one of you might fall upon my head,” so she went on. At length she came to Mother Holle’s house, and readily agreed to be her maid. The first day she behaved herself very well, and did what her mistress told her; for she thought of the gold she would gain. But the second day she began to be lazy, and the third still more so, for she would not get up in the morning early enough, and when she did she made the bed very badly, and did not shake the quilt so that the feathers would fly out. Mother Holle was soon tired of her and turned her out; but the lazy girl was quite pleased at that and thought to herself, “Now the golden rain will come!” Then the old woman took her to the same door; but when she stepped through, instead of gold, a great kettle full of dirty pitch came showering upon her. “That is your wages,” said Mother Holle as she shut the door upon her. So the girl went home quite black and as she came near her mother’s house, the cock who sat upon the well, clapt his wings together and cried out,

 

“Cock-a-doodle-doo,

Our dirty girl’s come home to you.”