The Project Gutenberg eBook of Europa's Fairy Book

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Title: Europa's Fairy Book

Author: Joseph Jacobs

Illustrator: John Dickson Batten

Release date: July 10, 2008 [eBook #26019]
Most recently updated: January 3, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Sankar Viswanathan, David Edwards, and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
(This file was produced from images generously made
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"Do tell us a fairy tale, ganpa."

"Well, will you be good and quiet if I do?"

"Of course we will; we are always good when you are telling us fairy tales."

"Well, here goes.—Once upon a time, though it wasn't in my time, and it wasn't in your time, and it wasn't in anybody else's time, there was a——"

"But that would be no time at all."

"That's fairy tale time."


The Marshal tells how he killed the Dragon


Title Page
















The Knickerbocker Press




Copyright, 1916




Peggy, and Madge, and Pearl, and Maggie,
and Marguerite, and Peggotty, and Meg,
and Marjory, and Daisy, and Pegg, and


(How many granddaughters does that make?)

My Dear Little Peggy:—

Many, many, many years ago I wrote a book for your Mummey—when she was my little May—telling the fairy tales which the little boys and girls of England used to hear from their mummeys, who had heard them from their mummeys years and years and years before. My friend Mr. Batten made such pretty pictures for it—but of course you know the book—it has "Tom, Tit, Tot" and "The little old woman that went to market," and all those tales you like. Now I have been making a fairy-tale book for your own self, and here it is. This time I have told, again the fairy tales that all the mummeys of Europe have been telling their little Peggys, Oh for ever so many years! They must have liked them because they have spread from Germany to Russia, from Italy to France, from Holland to Scotland, and from England to Norway, and from every country in Europe that you will read about in your geography to every other one. Mr. Batten, who made the pictures for your mummey's book, has made some more for yours—isn't it good of him when he has never seen you?

Though this book is your very, very own, you will not mind if other little girls and boys also get copies of it from their mummeys and papas and ganmas and ganpas, for when you meet some of them you will, all of you, have a number of common friends like "The Cinder-Maid," or "The Earl of Cattenborough," or "The Master-Maid," and you can talk to one another about them so that you are old friends at once. Oh, won't that be nice? And when one of these days you go over the Great Sea, in whatever land you go, you will find girls and boys, as well as grown-ups, who will know all of these tales, even if they have different names. Won't that be nice too?

And when you tell your new friends here or abroad of these stories that you and they will know so well, do not forget to tell them that you have a book, all of your very own, which was made up specially for you of these old, old stories by your old, old


P.S.—Do you hear me calling as I always do, "Peggy, Peggy"? Then you must answer as usual, "Ganpa, Ganpa."



Ever since—almost exactly a hundred years ago—the Grimms produced their Fairy Tale Book, folk-lorists have been engaged in making similar collections for all the other countries of Europe, outside Germany, till there is scarcely a nook or a corner in the whole continent that has not been ransacked for these products of the popular fancy. The Grimms themselves and most of their followers have pointed out the similarity or, one might even say, the identity of plot and incident of many of these tales throughout the European Folk-Lore field. Von Hahn, when collecting the Greek and Albanian Fairy Tales in 1864, brought together these common "formulæ" of the European Folk-Tale. These were supplemented by Mr. S. Baring-Gould in 1868, and I myself in 1892 contributed an even fuller list to the Hand Book of Folk-Lore. Most, if not all of these formulæ, have been found in all the countries of Europe where folk-tales have been collected. In 1893 Miss M. Roalfe Cox brought together, in a volume of the Folk-Lore Society, no less than 345 variants of "Cinderella" and kindred stories showing how widespread this particular formula was[vi] throughout Europe and how substantially identical the various incidents as reproduced in each particular country.

It has occurred to me that it would be of great interest and, for folk-lore purposes, of no little importance, to bring together these common Folk-Tales of Europe, retold in such a way as to bring out the original form from which all the variants were derived. I am, of course, aware of the difficulty and hazardous nature of such a proceeding; yet it is fundamentally the same as that by which scholars are accustomed to restore the Ur-text from the variants of different families of MSS. and still more similar to the process by which Higher Critics attempt to restore the original narratives of Holy Writ. Every one who has had to tell fairy tales to children will appreciate the conservative tendencies of the child mind; every time you vary an incident the children will cry out, "That was not the way you told us before." The Folk-Tale collections can therefore be assumed to retain the original readings with as much fidelity as most MSS. That there was such an original rendering eminating from a single folk artist no serious student of Miss Cox's volume can well doubt. When one finds practically the same "tags" of verse in such different dialects as Danish and Romaic, German and Italian, one cannot imagine that these sprang up independently in Denmark, Greece, Germany, and Florence. The same[vii] phenomenon is shown in another field of Folk-Lore where, as the late Mr. Newell showed, the same rhymes are used to brighten up the same children's games in Barcelona and in Boston; one cannot imagine them springing up independently in both places. So, too, when the same incidents of a fairy tale follow in the same artistic concatenation in Scotland, and in Sicily, in Brittany, and in Albania, one cannot but assume that the original form of the story was hit upon by one definite literary artist among the folk. What I have attempted to do in this book is to restore the original form, which by a sort of international selection has spread throughout all the European folks.

But while I have attempted thus to restore the original substance of the European Folk-Tales, I have ever had in mind that the particular form in which they are to appear is to attract English-speaking children. I have, therefore, utilized the experience I had some years ago in collecting and retelling the Fairy Tales of the English Folk-Lore field (English Fairy Tales, More English Fairy Tales), in order to tell these new tales in the way which English-speaking children have abundantly shown they enjoy. In other words, while the plot and incidents are "common form" throughout Europe, the manner in which I have told the stories is, so far as I have been able to imitate it, that of the English story-teller.

I have indeed been conscious throughout of my[viii] audience of little ones and of the reverence due to them. Whenever an original incident, so far as I could penetrate to it, seemed to me too crudely primitive for the children of the present day, I have had no scruples in modifying or mollifying it, drawing attention to such Bowdlerization in the somewhat elaborate notes at the end of the volume, which I trust will be found of interest and of use to the serious student of the Folk-Tale.

It must, of course, be understood that the tales I now give are only those found practically identical in all European countries. Besides these there are others which are peculiar to each of the countries or only found in areas covered by cognate languages like the Celtic or the Scandinavian. Of these I have already covered the English and the Celtic fields, and may, one of these days, extend my collections to the French and Scandinavian or the Slavonic fields. Meanwhile it may be assumed that the stories that have pleased all European children for so long a time are, by a sort of international selection, best fitted to survive, and that the Fairy Tales that follow are the choicest gems in the Fairy Tale field. I can only express the hope that I have succeeded in placing them in an appropriate setting.

It remains only to thank those of my colleagues and friends who have aided in various ways in the preparation of this volume, though of course their co-operation does not, in the slightest, imply responsibility for or approval of the method of[ix] treatment I have applied to the old, old stories. Miss Roalfe Cox was good enough to look over my reconstruction of "Cinderella" and suggest alterations in it. Prof. Crane gave me permission to utilize the version of the "Dancing Water," in his Italian Popular Tales. Sir James G. Frazer looked through my restoration of the "Language of Animals," which was suggested by him many years ago; and Mr. E. S. Hartland criticized the Swan-Maiden story. I have also to thank my old friend and publisher, Dr. G. H. Putnam, for the personal interest he has taken in the progress of the book.

J. J.

Yonkers, N. Y.

July, 1915.



Preface v
List of Illustrations xiii
  I. Cinder-Maid1
  II. All Change13
  III. The King of the Fishes19
  IV. Scissors31
  V. Beauty and the Beast34
  VI. Reynard and Bruin42
  VII. The Dancing Water, Singing Apple, and Speaking Bird51
  VIII. The Language of Animals66
  IX. The Three Soldiers72
  X. A Dozen at a Blow81
  XI. The Earl of Cattenborough90
  XII. The Swan Maidens98
  XIII. Androcles and the Lion107
  XIV. Day Dreaming110
  XV. Keep Cool115
  XVI. The Master Thief 121
  XVII. The Unseen Bridegroom 129
  XVIII. The Master-Maid 142
  XIX. A Visitor from Paradise 159
  XX. Inside Again 165
  XXI. John the True 170
  XXII. Johnnie and Grizzle 180
  XXIII. The Clever Lass 188
  XXIV. Thumbkin 194
  XV. Snowwhite 201
Notes 215
List of Incidents 263



The Marshal Tells how he Killed the Dragon
The Herald Announces the Court Ball 1
The Soldier Lays a Honey Trap 6
The Step-Sister Cuts off her Toe 10
"Will you Mind my Pea?" 13
The Seven-Headed Dragon 19
The Marshal Tells how he Killed the Dragon 25
Scissors 31
Beauty and the Beast 39
Reynard 42
Bruin Gets a Beating 45
Bruin Carries Reynard 46
The Foster Mother 55
The King Begs Pardon 64
The Girl and the Frog 66
The Pope is Elected 70
The Magic Purse 73
The Princess Finds Horns on her Head 79
The Unicorn 81
The Earl of Cattenborough will be Pleased to Partake of a Potato 90
The Cat and the Ogre 96
"Had you not better Throw me into the Millstream?" 97
The Child Finds the Feather Dress 98
The Dolphin who Came Late 102
East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon 105
Androcles and the Lion 107
Day-Dreaming 110
The Pig's Tail 120
The Dummy 121
Anima Goes down the Hole 129
The Lamp 133
The Dog 138
The Casket 140
The Master-Maid with the Glass Axe 142
The Prince Wants his Lunch 145
The Giant Tries to Drink the Stream 154
The Visitor 159
Up the Tree 163
The Snake 165
The Three Ravens 170
The Wounded Dragon 179
The Witch 180
The Duck 187
"Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who Is the Fairest of us All?" 201
Snowwhite and the Three Dwarfs 211


The Herald Announces the Court Ball


Once upon a time, though it was not in my time or in your time, or in anybody else's time, there was a great King who had an only son, the Prince and Heir who was about to come of age. So the King sent round a herald who should blow his trumpet at every four corners where two roads met. And when the people came together he would call out, "O yes, O yes, O yes, know ye that His Grace the King will give on Monday sennight"—that meant seven nights or a week after—"a Royal Ball to which all maidens of noble birth are hereby summoned; and be it furthermore known unto you that at this ball his[2] Highness the Prince will select unto himself a lady that shall be his bride and our future Queen. God save the King."

Now there was among the nobles of the King's Court one who had married twice, and by the first marriage he had but one daughter, and as she was growing up her father thought that she ought to have some one to look after her. So he married again, a lady with two daughters, and his new wife, instead of caring for his daughter, thought only of her own and favoured them in every way. She would give them beautiful dresses but none to her step-daughter who had only to wear the cast-off clothes of the other two. The noble's daughter was set to do all the drudgery of the house, to attend the kitchen fire, and had naught to sleep on but the heap of cinders raked out in the scullery; and that is why they called her Cinder-Maid. And no one took pity on her and she would go and weep at her mother's grave where she had planted a hazel tree, under which she sat.

You can imagine how excited they all were when they heard the King's proclamation called out by the herald. "What shall we wear, mother; what shall we wear?" cried out the two daughters, and they all began talking about which dress should suit the one and what dress should suit the other, but when the father suggested that Cinder-Maid should also have a dress they all cried out: "What, Cinder-Maid going to the King's Ball;[3] why, look at her, she would only disgrace us all." And so her father held his peace.

Now when the night came for the Royal Ball Cinder-Maid had to help the two sisters to dress in their fine dresses and saw them drive off in the carriage with her father and their mother. But she went to her own mother's grave and sat beneath the hazel tree and wept and cried out:

"Tree o'mine, O tree o'me,
With my tears I've watered thee;
Make me a lady fair to see,
Dress me as splendid as can be."

And with that the little bird on the tree called out to her,

"Cinder-Maid, Cinder-Maid, shake the tree,
Open the first nut that you see."

So Cinder-Maid shook the tree and the first nut that fell she took up and opened, and what do you think she saw?—a beautiful silk dress blue as the heavens, all embroidered with stars, and two little lovely shoon made of shining copper. And when she had dressed herself the hazel tree opened and from it came a coach all made of copper with four milk-white horses, with coachman and footmen all complete. And as she drove away the little bird called out to her:[4]

"Be home, be home ere mid-o'night
Or else again you'll be a fright."

When Cinder-Maid entered the ball-room she was the loveliest of all the ladies and the Prince, who had been dancing with her step-sisters, would only dance with her. But as it came towards midnight Cinder-Maid remembered what the little bird had told her and slipped away to her carriage. And when the Prince missed her he went to the guards at the Palace door and told them to follow the carriage. But Cinder-Maid when she saw this, called out:

"Mist behind and light before,
Guide me to my father's door."

And when the Prince's soldiers tried to follow her there came such a mist that they couldn't see their hands before their faces. So they couldn't find which way Cinder-Maid went.

When her father and step-mother and two sisters came home after the ball they could talk of nothing but the lovely lady: "Ah, would not you have liked to have been there?" said the sisters to Cinder-Maid as she helped them to take off their fine dresses. "There was a most lovely lady with a dress like the heavens and shoes of bright copper, and the Prince would dance with none but her; and when midnight came she disappeared and the Prince could not find her. He is going to give a[5] second ball in the hope that she will come again. Perhaps she will not, and then we will have our chance."

When the time of the second Royal Ball came round the same thing happened as before; the sisters teased Cinder-Maid saying, "Wouldn't you like to come with us?" and drove off again as before. And Cinder-Maid went again to the hazel tree over her mother's grave and cried:

"Tree o'mine, O tree o'me,
Shiver and shake, dear little tree
Make me a lady fair to see,
Dress me as splendid as can be."

And then the little bird on the tree called out:

"Cinder-Maid, Cinder-Maid, shake the tree,
Open the first nut that you see."

But this time she found a dress all golden brown like the earth embroidered with flowers, and her shoon were made of silver; and when the carriage came from the tree, lo and behold, that was made of silver too, drawn by black horses with trappings all of silver, and the lace on the coachman's and footmen's liveries was also of silver; and when Cinder-Maid went to the ball the Prince would dance with none but her; and when midnight came round she fled as before. But the Prince, hoping[6] to prevent her running away, had ordered the soldiers at the foot of the stair-case to pour out honey on the stairs so that her shoes would stick in it. But Cinder-Maid leaped from stair to stair and got away just in time, calling out as the soldiers tried to follow her:

"Mist behind and light before,
Guide me to my father's door."
The Soldier Lays a Honey Trap


And when her sisters got home they told her once more of the beautiful lady that had come in a silver coach and silver shoon and in a dress all embroidered with flowers: "Ah, wouldn't you have liked to have been there?" said they.

Once again the Prince gave a great ball in the hope that his unknown beauty would come to it. All happened as before; as soon as the sisters had gone Cinder-Maid went to the hazel tree over her mother's grave and called out:

"Tree o'mine, O tree o'me
Shiver and quiver, dear little tree;
Make me a lady fair to see,
Dress me as splendid as can be."

And then the little bird appeared and said:

"Cinder-Maid, Cinder-Maid, shake the tree
Open the first nut that you see."

And when she opened the nut in it was a dress of silk green as the sea with waves upon it, and her shoes this time were made of gold; and when the coach came out of the tree it was also made of gold, with gold trappings for the horses and for the retainers. And as she drove off the little bird from the tree called out:

"Be home, be home ere mid-o'night
Or else again you'll be a fright."

Now this time, when Cinder-Maid came to the ball, she was as desirous to dance only with the Prince as he with her, and so, when midnight came round, she had forgotten to leave till the clock began to strike, one—two—three—four—five—six,—and then she began to run away down the stairs as the clock struck, eight—nine—ten. But the Prince had told his soldiers to put tar upon the lower steps of the stairs; and as the clock struck eleven her shoes stuck in the tar, and when she jumped to the foot of the stairs one of her golden shoes was left behind, and just then the clock struck TWELVE, and the golden coach, with its horses and footmen, disappeared, and the beautiful dress of Cinder-Maid changed again into her ragged clothes and she had to run home with only one golden shoe.

You can imagine how excited the sisters were when they came home and told Cinder-Maid all about it, how that the beautiful lady had come in a golden coach in a dress like the sea, with golden shoes, and how all had disappeared at midnight except the golden shoe. "Ah, wouldn't you have liked to have been there?" said they.

Now when the Prince found out that he could not keep his lady-love nor trace where she had gone he spoke to his father and showed him the golden shoe, and told him that he would never marry any one but the maiden who could wear that shoe. So the King, his father, ordered the herald[9] to take round the golden shoe upon a velvet cushion and to go to every four corners where two streets met and sound the trumpet and call out: "O yes, O yes, O yes, be it known unto you all that whatsoever lady of noble birth can fit this shoe upon her foot shall become the bride of his Highness[10] the Prince and our future Queen. God save the King."

The Step-Sister Cuts off her Toe

And when the herald came to the house of Cinder-Maid's father the eldest of her two step-sisters tried on the golden shoe. But it was much too small for her, as it was for every other lady that had tried it up to that time; but she went up into her room and with a sharp knife cut off one of her toes and part of her heel, and then fitted her foot into the shoe, and when she came down she showed it to the herald, who sent a message to the Palace saying that the lady had been found who could wear the golden shoe. Thereupon the Prince jumped at once upon his horse and rode to the house of Cinder-Maid's father. But when he saw the step-sister with the golden shoe, "Ah," he said, "but this is not the lady." "But," she said, "you promised to marry the one that could wear the golden shoe." And the Prince could say nothing, but offered to take her on his horse to his father's Palace, for in those days ladies used to ride on a pillion at the back of the gentleman riding on horseback. Now as they were riding towards the Palace her foot began to drip with blood, and the little bird from the hazel tree that had followed them called out:

"Turn and peep, turn and peep,
There's blood within the shoe;
A bit is cut from off the heel
And a bit from off the toe."

And the Prince looked down and saw the blood streaming from her shoe and then he knew that this was not his true bride, and he rode back to the house of Cinder-Maid's father; and then the second sister tried her chance; but when she found that her foot wouldn't fit the shoe she did the same as her sister, but all happened as before. The little bird called out:

"Turn and peep, turn and peep,
There's blood within the shoe;
A bit is cut from off the heel
And a bit from off the toe."

And the Prince took her back to her mother's house, and then he asked, "Have you no other daughter?" and the sisters cried out, "No, sir." But the father said, "Yes, I have another daughter." And the sisters cried out, "Cinder-Maid, Cinder-Maid, she could not wear that shoe." But the Prince said, "As she is of noble birth she has a right to try the shoe." So the herald went down to the kitchen and found Cinder-Maid; and when she saw her golden shoe she took it from him and put it on her foot, which it fitted exactly; and then she took the other golden shoe from underneath the cinders where she had hidden it and put that on too. Then the herald knew that she was the true bride of his master; and he took her upstairs to where the Prince was; when he saw her face, he knew that she was the lady of his love. So[12] he took her behind him upon his horse; and as they rode to the Palace, the little bird from the hazel tree cried out:

"Some cut their heel, and some cut their toe,
But she sat by the fire who could wear the shoe."

And so they were married and lived happy ever afterwards.


"Will you Mind my Pea?"


There was once a man who was the laziest man in all the world. He wouldn't take off his clothes when he went to bed because he didn't want to have to put them on again. He wouldn't raise his cup to his lips but went down and sucked up his tea without carrying the cup. He wouldn't play any sports because he said they made him sweat. And he wouldn't work with his hands for the same reason. But at last he found that he couldn't get anything to eat unless he did some work for it. So he hired himself out to a farmer for the season. But all through the harvest[14] he ate as much and he worked as little as he could; and when the fall came and he went to get his wages from his master all he got was a single pea. "What do you mean by giving me this?" he said to his master. "Why, that is all that your labor is worth," was the reply. "You have eaten as much as you have earned." "None of your lip," said the man; "give me my pea; at any rate I have earned that." So when he got it he went to an inn by the roadside and said to the landlady, "Can you give me lodging for the night, me and my pea?" "Well, no," said the landlady, "I haven't got a bed free, but I can take care of your pea for you." No sooner said than done. The pea was lodged with the landlady, and the laziest man went and lay in a barn near-by.

The landlady put the pea upon a dresser and left it there, and a chicken wandering by saw it and jumped up on the dresser and ate it. So when the laziest man called the next day and asked for his pea the landlady couldn't find it. She said, "The chicken must have swallowed it." "Well, I want my pea," said the man. "You had better give me the chicken." "Why, what—when—how?" stammered the landlady. "The chicken is worth thousands of your pea." "I don't care for that; it has got my pea inside it, and the only way I can get my pea is to have that which holds the pea." "What, give you my chicken for a single pea, nonsense!" "Well, if you don't I'll summon you[15] before the justice." "Ah, well, take the chicken and my bad wishes with it."

So off went the man and sauntered along all day, till that night he came to another inn, and asked the landlord if he and his chicken could stop there. He said, "No, no, we have no room for you, but we can put your chicken in the stable if you like." So the man said, "Yes," and went off for the night. But there was a savage sow in the stable, and during the night she ate up the poor chicken. And when the man came the next morning he said to the landlord, "Please give me my chicken." "I am awfully sorry, sir," said he, "but my sow has eaten it up." The laziest man said, "Then give me your sow." "What, a sow for your chicken, nonsense; go away, my man." "Then if you don't do that I'll have you before the justice." "Ah, well, take the sow and my curses with it," said the landlord.

And the man took the sow and followed it along the road till he came to another inn, and said to the landlady, "Have you room for me and my sow?" "I have not," said the landlady, "but I can put your sow up." So the sow was put in the stable, and the man went off to lie in the barn for the night. Now the sow went roaming about the stable, and coming too near the hoofs of the mare, was hit in the forehead and killed by the mare's hoofs. So when the man came in the morning and asked for his sow the landlady said, "I'm very[16] sorry, sir, but an accident has occurred; my mare has hit your sow in the skull and she is dead." "What, the mare?" "No, your sow." "Then give me the mare." "What, my mare for your sow, nonsense." "Well, if you don't I'll take you before the justice; you'll see if it's nonsense." So after some time the landlady agreed to give the man her mare in exchange for the dead sow.

Then the man followed on in the steps of the mare till he came to another inn, and asked the landlord if he could put him up for the night, him and his mare. The landlord said, "All our beds are full, but you can put the mare up in the stable if you will." "Very well," said the man, and tied the halter of the mare into the ring of the stable. Next morning early the landlord's daughter said to her father, "That poor mare has had nothing to drink; I'll go and lead it to the river." "That is none of your business," said the landlord; "let the man do it himself." "Ah, but the poor thing has had nothing to drink. I'll bring it back soon." So the girl took the mare to the river brink and let it drink the water; but, by chance, the mare slipped into the stream, which was so strong that it carried the mare away. And the young girl ran back to her mother and said, "Oh mother, the mare fell into the stream and it was carried quite away. What shall we do? What shall we do?"

When the man came round that morning he said, "Please give me my mare." "I'm very[17] sorry indeed, sir, but my daughter—that one there—wanted to give the poor thing a drink and took it down to the river and it fell in and was carried away by the stream; I'm very sorry indeed." "Your sorrow won't pay my loss," said the man; "the least you can do is to give me your daughter." "What, my daughter to you because of the mare!" "Well, if you don't I will take you before the justice." Now the landlord didn't like going before the justice.

So after much haggling he agreed to let his daughter go with the man. And they went along, and they went along, and they went along, till at last they came to another inn which was kept by the girl's aunt, though the man didn't know it. So he went in and said, "Can you give me beds for me and my girl here?" So the landlady looked at the girl who said nothing, and said, "Well, I haven't got a bed for you but I have got a bed for her; but perhaps she'll run away." "Oh, I will manage that," said the man. And he went and got a sack and put the girl in it and tied her up; and then he went off. As soon as he was gone the girl's aunt opened the bag and said, "What has happened, my dear?" And she told the whole story. So the aunt took a big dog and put it in the sack; and when the man came the next morning he said, "Where's my girl?" "There she is, so far as I know." So he took the sack and put it on his shoulder and went on his way for a time.[18] Then as the sun grew high he sat down under the shade of a tree and thought he would speak to the girl. And when he opened the sack the big dog flew out at him, and he fell back, and that's the last I heard of him.


The Seven-Headed Dragon


Once upon a time there was a fisherman who was very poor and felt poorer still because he had no children. Now one day as he was fishing he caught in his net the finest fish he had ever seen, the scales all gold and eyes as bright as diamonds; and just as he was going to take it out of the net what do you think happened? The fish opened his jaws and said, "I am the King of the Fishes, and if you throw me back into the water you will never want a catch." The fisherman was so surprised that he let the fish slip into the water, and he flapped his big tail and dived under the waves. When he got home he told his wife[20] all about it, and she said, "Oh, what a pity, I have had such a longing to eat such a fish."

Well, next day the fisherman went again a-fishing and, sure enough, he caught the same fish again, and it said, "I am the King of the Fishes, if you let me go you shall always have your nets full." So the fisherman let him go again; and when he went back to his home he told his wife that he had done so. She began to cry and wail and said, "I told you I wanted such a fish, and yet you let him go; I am sure you do not love me." The fisherman felt quite ashamed of himself and promised that if he caught the King of the Fishes again he would bring him home to his wife for her to cook. So next day the fisherman went to the same place and caught the same fish the third time. But when the fish begged the fisherman to let him go he told the King of the Fishes what his wife had said and what he had promised her. "Well," said the King of the Fishes, "if you must kill me you must, but as you let me go twice I will do this for you. When the wife cuts me up throw some of my bones under the mare, and some of my bones under the bitch, and the rest of my bones bury beneath the rose-tree in the garden and then you will see what you will see."

So the fisherman took the King of the Fishes home to his wife, to whom he told what the fish had said; and when she cut up the fish for cooking they threw some of the bones under the mare, and[21] some under the bitch, and the rest they buried under the rose-tree in the garden.

Now after a time the fisherman's wife gave him two fine twin boys, whom they named George and Albert, each with a star on his forehead just under his hair, and at the same time the mare brought into the world two fine colts, and the bitch two puppies. And under the rose-tree grew up two rose bushes, each of which bore every year only one rose, but what a rose that was! It lasted through the summer and it lasted through the winter and, most curious of all, when George fell ill one of the roses began to wilt, and if Albert had an illness the same thing happened with the other rose.

Now when George and Albert grew up they heard that a Seven-Headed Dragon was ravaging the neighbouring kingdom, and that the king had promised his daughter's hand to anyone that would free the land from this scourge. They both wanted to go and fight the dragon, but at last the twins agreed that George go and Albert stop at home and look after their father and mother, who had now grown old. So George took his horse and his dog and rode off where the dragon had last been seen. And when he came to Middlegard, the capital of the kingdom, he rode with his horse and his dog to the chief inn of the town and asked the landlady why everything looked so gloomy and why the houses were draped in black. "Have you not heard, sir," asked the landlady, "that the Dragon[22] with the Seven Heads has been eating up a pure maiden every month? And now he demands that the princess herself shall be delivered up to him this day. That is why the town is draped in black and we are all so gloomy." Thereupon George took his horse and his dog and rode out to where the princess was exposed to the coming of the Dragon with Seven Heads. And when the princess saw George with his horse and his sword and his dog she asked him, "Why come you here, sir? Soon the Dragon with Seven Heads, whom none can withstand, will be here to claim me. Flee before it is too late." But George said, "Princess, a man can die once, and I will willingly try to save you from the dragon." Now as they were talking a horrible roar rent the air and the Dragon with the Seven Heads came towards the princess. But when it saw George it called out, "Can'st fight?" and George said, "If I can't I can learn." "I'll learn thee," said the dragon. And thereupon began a mighty combat between George and the dragon; and whenever the dragon came near to George his dog would spring at one of his paws, and when one of the heads reared back to deal with it George's horse would spring to that side, and George's sword would sweep that head away. And so at last all the seven heads of the dragon were shorn off by George's sword, and the princess was saved. And George opened the mouths of seven of the dragon's heads and cut out the tongues,[23] and the princess gave him her handkerchief, and he wrapt all the seven tongues in it and put them away next his heart. But George was so tired out by the fight that he laid down to sleep with his head in the princess's lap, and she parted his hair with her hands and saw the star on his brow.

Meanwhile the king's marshal, who was to have married the princess if he would slay the dragon, had been watching the fight from afar off; and when he saw that the dragon had been slain and that George was lying asleep after the fight, he crept up behind the princess and, drawing his dagger, said, "Put his head on the ground or else I will slay thee." And when she had done that he bade her rise and come with him after he had collected the seven heads of the dragon and strung them on the leash of his whip. The princess would have wakened George but the marshal threatened to kill her if she did. "If I cannot wed thee he shall not." And then he made her swear that she would say that the marshal had slain the Dragon with the Seven Heads. And when the princess and the marshal came near the city the king and his courtiers and all his people came out to meet them with great rejoicing, and the king said to his daughter, "Who saved thee?" and she said, "this man." "Then he shall marry thee," said the king. "No, no, father," said the princess, "I am not old enough to marry yet; give me, at any rate, a year and a day before the wedding takes place," for[24] she hoped that George would come and save her from the wicked marshal. The king himself, who loved his daughter greatly, gave way at last and promised that she should not be married for a year and a day.

When George awoke and saw the dead body and found the princess there no longer he did not know what to make of it but thought that she did not wish to marry a fisherman's son. So he mounted his horse, and with his faithful hound went on seeking further adventures through the world, and did not come that way again till a year had passed, when he rode into Middlegard again and alighted at the same inn where he had stopped before. "How now, hostess," he cried, "last time I was here the city was all in mourning but now everything is agog with glee; trumpets are blaring, lads and lasses are dancing round the trees, and every house has flags and banners flowing from its windows. What is happening?" "Know you not, sir," said the hostess, "that our princess marries to-morrow?" "Why, last time," he said, "she was going to be devoured by the Dragon with Seven Heads." "Nay, but he was slain by the king's marshal who weds the princess to-morrow as a reward for his bravery, and every one that wishes may join the wedding feast to-night in the king's castle."


The Marshal tells how he killed the Dragon


That night George went up to the king's castle and took his place at the table not far off from where sat the king with the princess on one side of him and the marshal on the other; and after the banquet the king called upon the marshal once more to tell how he had slain the Dragon with the Seven Heads. And the marshal told a long tale of how he had cut off the seven heads of the dragon, and at the finish he ordered his squire to bring in a platter on which were the seven heads. Then up rose George and spoke to the king and said, "And pray, my lord, how does it happen that the dragon's heads had no tongues?" And the king said, "That I know not; let us look and see." And the jaws of the dragon's heads were opened, and behold there were no tongues in them. Then the king asked the marshal, "Know you aught of this?" And the marshal had nothing to say. And the princess looked up and saw her champion again. Then George took out from his doublet the seven tongues of the dragon, and it was found that they fitted. "What is the meaning of this, sir," said the king. Then George told the story of how he had slain the dragon and fallen asleep in the princess's lap and had awoke and found her gone. And the princess, when asked by her father, could not but tell of the treachery of the marshal. "Away with him," cried out the king, "let his head be taken off and his tongue be taken out, and let his place be taken by this young stranger."

So George and the princess were married and[28] lived happily, till one night, looking out of the window of the castle where they lived, George saw in the distance another castle with windows all lit up and shining like fire. And he asked the princess, his wife, what that castle might be. "Go not near that, George," said the princess, "for I have always heard that none who enters that castle ever comes out again." The next morning George went with horse and hound to seek the castle; and when he got near it he found at the gate an old dame with but one eye; and he asked her to open the gate, and she said she would but that it was a custom of the castle that who ever entered had to drink a glass of wine before doing so; and she offered him a goblet full of wine; but when he had drunk it he and his horse and his dog were all turned into stone.

Just at the very moment when George was turned to stone Albert, who had heard nothing of him, saw George's rose in the garden close up and turn the colour of marble; then he knew that something had happened to his brother, and he had out his horse and his dog and rode off to find out what had been George's fate. And he rode, and he rode, till he came to Middlegard, and as soon as he reached the gate the guard of the gate said, "Your highness, the princess has been in great anxiety about you; she will be so happy to know that you have returned safe." Albert said nothing, but followed the guard until he came to the princess's[29] chamber, and she ran to him and embraced him and cried out, "Oh, George, I am so delighted that you have come back safe." "Why should I not," said Albert. "Because I feared that you had gone to that castle with flaming windows, from which nobody ever returns alive," said the princess.

Then Albert guessed what had happened to George, and he soon made an excuse and went off again to seek the castle which the princess had pointed out from the window. When Albert got there he found the same old dame sitting by the gate, and asked if he might go in and see the castle. She said again that none might enter the castle unless they had taken a glass of wine and brought out the goblet of wine once more. Albert was about to drink it up when his faithful dog jumped up and spilt the wine, which he began to lap up, and as soon as he had drunk a little of it his body turned to marble, just by the side of another stone which looked exactly the same. Then Albert guessed what had happened, and descending from his horse he took out his sword and threatened the old witch that he would kill her unless she restored his brother to his proper shape. In fear and trembling the old dame muttered something over the four stones in front of the castle, and George and his horse and his hound and Albert's dog became alive again as they were before. Then George and Albert rode back to the princess who, when she saw them both so much alike, could not[30] tell which was which; then she remembered and went up to Albert and parted his hair on his forehead and saw there the star, and said, "This is my George"; but then George parted his own hair, and she saw the same star there. At last Albert told her all that had happened, and she knew her own husband again. And soon after the king died, and George ruled in his place, and Albert married one of the neighbouring princesses.




Once upon a time, though it was not in my time nor in your time nor in anybody else's time, there lived a cobbler named Tom and his wife named Joan. And they lived fairly happily together, except that whatever Tom did Joan did the opposite, and whatever Joan thought Tom thought quite contrary-wise. When Tom wanted beef for dinner Joan liked pork, and if Joan wanted to have chicken Tom would like to have duck. And so it went on all the time.

Now it happened that one day Joan was cleaning up the kitchen and, turning suddenly, she knocked two or three pots and pans together and broke them all. So Tom, who was working in the[32] front room, came and asked Joan, "What's all this? What have you been doing?" Now Joan had got the pair of scissors in her hand, and sooner than tell him what had really happened she said, "I cut these pots and pans into pieces with my scissors."

"What," said Tom, "cut pottery with your scissors, you nonsensical woman; you can't do it!"

"I tell you I did with my scissors!"

"You couldn't."

"I did."

"You couldn't."

"I did."







At last Tom got so angry that he seized Joan by the shoulders and shoved her out of the house and said, "If you don't tell me how you broke those pots and pans I'll throw you into the river." But Joan kept on saying, "It was with the scissors"; and Tom got so enraged that at last he took her to the bank of the river and said, "Now for the last time, will you tell me the truth; how did you break those pots and pans?"

"With the scissors."

And with that he threw her into the river, and[33] she sank once, and she sank twice, and just before she was about to sink for the third time she put her hand up into the air, out of the water, and made a motion with her first and middle finger as if she were moving the scissors. So Tom saw it was no use to try to persuade her to do anything but what she wanted. So he rushed up the stream and met a neighbour who said, "Tom, Tom, what are you running for?"

"Oh, I want to find Joan; she fell into the river just in front of our house, and I am afraid she is going to be drowned."

"But," said the neighbour, "you're running up stream."

"Well," said Tom, "Joan always went contrary-wise whatever happened." And so he never found her in time to save her.

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There was once a merchant that had three daughters, and he loved them better than himself. Now it happened that he had to go a long journey to buy some goods, and when he was just starting he said to them, "What shall I bring you back, my dears?" And the eldest daughter asked to have a necklace; and the second daughter wished to have a gold chain; but the youngest daughter said, "Bring back yourself, Papa, and that is what I want the most." "Nonsense, child," said her father, "you must say something that I may remember to bring back for you." "So," she said, "then bring me back a rose, father."

Well, the merchant went on his journey and did his business and bought a pearl necklace for his eldest daughter, and a gold chain for his second daughter; but he knew it was no use getting a rose for the youngest while he was so far away because it would fade before he got home. So he made up his mind he would get a rose for her the day he got near his house.

When all his merchanting was done he rode off[35] home and forgot all about the rose till he was near his house; then he suddenly remembered what he had promised his youngest daughter, and looked about to see if he could find a rose. Near where he had stopped he saw a great garden, and getting off his horse he wandered about in it till he found a lovely rose-bush; and he plucked the most beautiful rose he could see on it. At that moment he heard a crash like thunder, and looking around he saw a huge monster—two tusks in his mouth and fiery eyes surrounded by bristles, and horns coming out of its head and spreading over its back.

"Mortal," said the Beast, "who told thee thou mightest pluck my roses?"

"Please, sir," said the merchant in fear and terror for his life, "I promised my daughter to bring her home a rose and forgot about it till the last moment, and then I saw your beautiful garden and thought you would not miss a single rose, or else I would have asked your permission."

"Thieving is thieving," said the Beast, "whether it be a rose or a diamond; thy life is forfeit."

The merchant fell on his knees and begged for his life for the sake of his three daughters who had none but him to support them.

"Well, mortal, well," said the Beast, "I grant thy life on one condition: Seven days from now thou must bring this youngest daughter of thine, for whose sake thou hast broken into my garden, and leave her here in thy stead. Otherwise swear[36] that thou wilt return and place thyself at my disposal."

So the merchant swore, and taking his rose mounted his horse and rode home.

As soon as he got into his house his daughters came rushing round him, clapping their hands and showing their joy in every way, and soon he gave the necklace to his eldest daughter, the chain to his second daughter, and then he gave the rose to his youngest, and as he gave it he sighed. "Oh, thank you, Father," they all cried. But the youngest said, "Why did you sigh so deeply when you gave me my rose?"

"Later on I will tell you," said the merchant.

So for several days they lived happily together, though the merchant wandered about gloomy and sad, and nothing his daughters could do would cheer him up till at last he took his youngest daughter aside and said to her, "Bella, do you love your father?"

"Of course I do, Father, of course I do."

"Well, now you have a chance of showing it"; and then he told her of all that had occurred with the Beast when he got the rose for her. Bella was very sad, as you can well think, and then she said, "Oh, Father, it was all on account of me that you fell into the power of this Beast; so I will go with you to him; perhaps he will do me no harm; but even if he does better harm to me than evil to my dear father."[37]

So next day the merchant took Bella behind him on his horse, as was the custom in those days, and rode off to the dwelling of the Beast. And when he got there and they alighted from his horse the doors of the house opened, and what do you think they saw there! Nothing. So they went up the steps and went through the hall, and went into the dining-room and there they saw a table spread with all manner of beautiful glasses and plates and dishes and napery, with plenty to eat upon it. So they waited and they waited, thinking that the owner of the house would appear, till at last the merchant said, "Let's sit down and see what will happen then." And when they sat down invisible hands passed them things to eat and to drink, and they ate and drank to their heart's content. And when they arose from the table it arose too and disappeared through the door as if it were being carried by invisible servants.

Suddenly there appeared before them the Beast who said to the merchant, "Is this thy youngest daughter?" And when he had said that it was, he said, "Is she willing to stop here with me?" And then he looked at Bella who said, in a trembling voice, "Yes, sir."

"Well, no harm shall befall thee." With that he led the merchant down to his horse and told him he might come that day week to visit his daughter. Then the Beast returned to Bella and said to her, "This house with all that therein is[38] thine; if thou desirest aught clap thine hands and say the word and it shall be brought unto thee." And with that he made a sort of bow and went away.

So Bella lived on in the home with the Beast and was waited on by invisible servants and had whatever she liked to eat and to drink; but she soon got tired of the solitude and, next day, when the Beast came to her, though he looked so terrible, she had been so well treated that she had lost a great deal of her terror of him. So they spoke together about the garden and about the house and about her father's business and about all manner of things, so that Bella lost altogether her fear of the Beast. Shortly afterwards her father came to see her and found her quite happy, and he felt much less dread of her fate at the hands of the Beast. So it went on for many days, Bella seeing and talking to the Beast every day, till she got quite to like him, until one day the Beast did not come at his usual time, just after the midday meal, and Bella quite missed him. So she wandered about the garden trying to find him, calling out his name, but received no reply. At last she came to the rose-bush from which her father had plucked the rose, and there, under it, what do you think she saw! There was the Beast lying huddled up without any life or motion. Then Bella was sorry indeed and remembered all the kindness that the Beast had shown her; and she threw herself down by it and said, "Oh, Beast, Beast, why did you die? I was getting to love you so much."


Beauty and the Beast


No sooner had she said this than the hide of the Beast split in two and out came the most handsome young prince who told her that he had been enchanted by a magician and that he could not recover his natural form unless a maiden should, of her own accord, declare that she loved him.

Thereupon the prince sent for the merchant and his daughters, and he was married to Bella, and they all lived happy together ever afterwards.




You must know that once upon a time Reynard the Fox and Bruin the Bear went into partnership and kept house together. Would you like to know the reason? Well, Reynard knew that Bruin had a beehive full of honeycomb, and that was what he wanted; but Bruin kept so close a guard upon his honey that Master Reynard didn't know how to get away from him and get hold of the honey. So one day he said to Bruin, "Pardner, I have to go and be gossip—that means god-father, you know—to one of my old friends." "Why, certainly," said Bruin. So off Reynard goes into the woods, and after a time he crept back and uncovered the beehive and had such a feast of honey. Then he went back to Bruin, who asked him what name had been given to the child. Reynard had forgotten all about the christening and could only say, "Just-begun." "What a funny name," said Master Bruin.

A little while after Reynard thought he would[43] like another feast of honey. So he told Bruin that he had to go to another christening; and off he went. And when he came back and Bruin asked him what was the name given to the child Reynard said, "Half-eaten." The third time the same thing occurred, and this time the name given by Reynard to the child that didn't exist was "All-gone,"—you can guess why.

A short time afterwards Master Bruin thought he would like to eat up some of his honey and asked Reynard to come and join him in the feast. When they got to the beehive Bruin was so surprised to find that there was no honey left; and he turned round to Reynard and said, "Just-begun, Half-eaten, All-gone—so that is what you meant; you have eaten my honey." "Why no," said Reynard, "how could that be? I have never stirred from your side except when I went a-gossiping, and then I was far away from here. You must have eaten the honey yourself, perhaps when you were asleep; at any rate we can easily tell; let us lie down here in the sunshine, and if either of us has eaten the honey, the sun will soon sweat it out of us." No sooner said than done, and the two lay side by side in the sunshine. Soon Master Bruin commenced to doze, and Mr. Reynard took some honey from the hive and smeared it round Bruin's snout; then he woke him up and said, "See, the honey is oozing out of your snout; you must have eaten it when you were asleep."[44]

Some time after this Reynard saw a man driving a cart full of fish, which made his mouth water. So he ran and he ran and he ran till he got far away in front of the cart and lay down in the road as still as if he were dead. When the man came up to him and saw him lying there dead, as he thought, he said to himself, "Why, that will make a beautiful red fox scarf and muff for my wife Ann." And he got down and seized hold of Reynard and threw him into the cart all along with the fish, and then he went driving on as before. Reynard began to throw the fish out till there were none left, and then he jumped out himself without the man noticing it, who drove up to his door and called out, "Ann, Ann, see what I have brought you." And when his wife came to the door she looked into the cart and said, "Why, there is nothing there."

Reynard in the meantime had brought all his fish together and began eating some when up comes Bruin and asked for a share. "No, no," said Reynard, "we only share food when we have shared work. I fished for these, you go and fish for others."

"Why, how could you fish for these? the water is all frozen over," said Bruin.

"I'll soon show you," said Reynard, and brought him down to the bank of the river, and pointed to a hole in the ice and said, "I put my tail in that, and the fish were so hungry I couldn't draw[45] them up quick enough. Why do you not do the same?"

So Bruin put his tail down and waited and waited but no fish came. "Have patience, man," said Reynard; "as soon as one fish comes the rest will follow."

"Ah, I feel a bite," said Bruin, as the water commenced to freeze round his tail and caught it in the ice.

Bruin Gets a Beating

"Better wait till two or three have been caught and then you can catch three at a time. I'll go back and finish my lunch."

And with that Master Reynard trotted up to the man's wife and said to her, "Ma'am, there's a big black bear caught by the tail in the ice; you can do what you like with him." So the woman called her husband and they took big sticks and went down to the river and commenced whacking Bruin who, by this time, was fast in the ice. He pulled and he pulled and he pulled, till at last he[46] got away leaving three quarters of his tail in the ice, and that is why bears have such short tails up to the present day.

Meanwhile Master Reynard was having a great time in the man's house, golloping everything he could find till the man and his wife came back and found him with his nose in the cream jug. As soon as he heard them come in he tried to get away, but not before the man had seized hold of the cream jug and thrown it at him, just catching him on the tail, and that is the reason why the tips of foxes' tails are cream white to this very day.

Bruin Carries Reynard

Well, Reynard crept home and found Bruin in such a state, who commenced to grumble and complain that it was all Reynard's fault that he had lost his tail. So Reynard pointed to his own tail and said, "Why, that's nothing; see my tail; they hit me so hard upon the head my brains[47] fell out upon my tail. Oh, how bad I feel; won't you carry me to my little bed." So Bruin, who was a good-hearted soul, took him upon his back and rolled with him towards the house. And as he went on Reynard kept saying, "The sick carries the sound, the sick carries the sound."

"What's that you are saying?" asked Bruin.

"Oh, I have no brains left, I do not know what I am saying," said Reynard but kept on singing, "The sick carries the sound, ha, ha, the sick carries the sound."

Then Bruin knew that he had been done and threw Reynard down upon the ground, and would have eaten him up but that the fox slunk away and rushed into a briar bush. Bruin followed him closely into the briar bush and caught Reynard's hind leg in his mouth. Then Reynard called out, "That's right, you fool, bite the briar root, bite the briar root."

Bruin thinking that he was biting the briar root, let go Reynard's foot and snapped at the nearest briar root. "That's right, now you've got me,

don't hurt me too much,"

called out Reynard, and slunk away.

"Don't hurt me too much,
don't hurt me too much."

When Bruin heard Reynard's voice dying away in the distance he knew that he had been done[48] again, and that was the end of their partnership.

Some time after this a man was plowing in the field with his two oxen, who were very lazy that day. So the man called out at them, "Get a move on or I'll give you to the Bear"; and when they didn't quicken their pace he tried to frighten them by calling out, "Bear, Bear, come and take these lazy oxen." Sure enough, Bruin heard him and came out of the woods and said, "Here I am, give me the oxen, or else it'll be worse for you." The man was in despair but said, "Yes, yes, of course they are yours, but please let me finish my morning's plowing so I may finish this acre." Bruin could not say "No" to that, and sat down licking his chops and waiting for the oxen. The man went on plowing, thinking what he should do, when just at the corner of the field Reynard came up to him and said, "If you will give me two geese, I'll help you out of this fix and deliver the Bear into your hands." The man agreed and he told him what to do and went away into the woods. Soon after, the Bear and the man heard a noise like "Bow-wow, Bow-wow"; and the Bear came to the man and said, "What's that?" "Oh, that must be the lord's hounds out hunting for bears." "Hide me, hide me," said Bruin, "and I will let you off the oxen." Then Reynard called out from the wood, "What's that black thing you've got there?" And the Bear said, "Say it's the stump of a tree." So when the man had called this out[49] to the Fox, Reynard called out, "Put it in the cart; fix it with the chain; cut off the boughs, and drive your axe into the stump." Then the Bear said to the man, "Pretend to do what he bids you; heave me into the cart; bind me with the chain; pretend to cut off the boughs, and drive the axe into the stump." So the man lifted Bruin into the cart, bound him with the chain, then cut off his limbs and buried the axe in his head.

Then Reynard came forward and asked for his reward, and the man went back to his house to get the pair of geese that he had promised.

"Wife, wife," he called out, as he neared the house, "get me a pair of geese, which I have promised the Fox for ridding me of the Bear."

"I can do better than that," said his wife Ann, and brought him out a bag with two struggling animals in it.

"Give these to Master Reynard," said she; "they will be geese enough for him." So the man took the bag and went down to the field and gave the bag to Reynard; but when he opened it out sprang two hounds, and he had great trouble in running away from them to his den.

When he got to his den the Fox asked each of his limbs, how they had helped him in his flight. His nose said, "I smelt the hounds"; his eyes said, "We looked for the shortest way"; his ears said, "We listened for the breathing of the hounds"; and his legs said, "We ran away with you."[50] Then he asked his tail what it had done, and it said, "Why, I got caught in the bushes or made your leg stumble; that is all I could do." So, as a punishment, the Fox stuck his tail out of his den, and the hounds saw it and caught hold of it, and dragged the Fox out of his den by it and ate him all up. So that was the end of Master Reynard, and well he deserved it. Don't you think so?


Decorative Image


There was once an herb-gatherer who had three daughters who earned their living by spinning. One day their father died and left them all alone in the world. Now the king had a habit of going about the streets at night, and listening at the doors to hear what the people said of him. So one night he listened at the door of the house where the three sisters lived, and heard them[52] disputing. The oldest said: "If I were the wife of the royal butler, I could give the whole court to drink out of one glass of water, and there would be some left."

The second said: "If I were the wife of the keeper of the royal wardrobe, with one piece of cloth I could clothe all the attendants, and have some left."

But the youngest daughter said: "Were I the king's wife, I would bear him two children: a son with a sun on his forehead, and a daughter with a moon on her brow."

The king went back to his palace, and the next morning sent for the sisters, and said to them: "Do not be frightened, but tell me what you said last night." The oldest told him what she had said, and the king had a glass of water brought, and commanded her to prove her words. She took the glass, and gave all the attendants some water to drink, and still there was some water left.

"Bravo!" cried the king, and summoned the butler. "This is your husband. Now it is your turn," said the king to the next sister, and commanded a piece of cloth to be brought, and the young girl at once cut out garments for all the attendants, and had some cloth left.

"Bravo!" cried the king again, and gave her the keeper of the wardrobe for her husband. "Now it is your turn," said the king to the youngest.[53]

"Please your Majesty, I said that if I were the king's wife, I would bear him two children: a son with a sun on his forehead, and a daughter with a moon on her brow."

"If that is true," replied the king, "you shall be my queen; if not, you shall die," and straightway he married her.

Very soon the two older sisters began to be envious of the youngest. "Look," said they; "she is going to be queen, and we must be servants!" and they began to hate her. A few months before the queen's children were to be born, the king declared war, and was obliged to go with his army, but he left word that if the queen had two children: a son with a sun on his forehead, and a girl with a moon on her brow, the mother was to be respected as queen; if not, he was to be informed of it, and would tell his servants what to do. Then he departed for the war.

When the queen's children were born, a son with a sun on his forehead and a daughter with a moon on her brow, as she had promised, the envious sisters bribed the nurse to put little dogs in the place of the queen's children, and sent word to the king that his wife had given birth to two puppies. He wrote back that she should be taken care of for two weeks, and then put into a tread-mill.

Meanwhile the nurse took the little babies, and carried them out of doors, saying: "I will make[54] the dogs eat them up," and she left them alone. While they were thus exposed, three fairies passed by and exclaimed: "Oh how beautiful these children are!" and one of the fairies said: "What present shall we make these children?" One answered: "I will give them a deer to nurse them." "And I a purse always full of money." "And I," said the third fairy, "will give them a ring which will change colour when any misfortune happens to one of them."

The deer nursed and took care of the children until they grew up. Then the fairy who had given them the deer came and said: "Now that you have grown up, how can you stay here any longer?" "Very well," said the brother, "I will go to the city and hire a house." "Take care," said the deer, "that you hire one opposite the royal palace." So they went to the city and hired a palace as directed, and furnished it as if they had been princes. When the aunts saw the brother and sister, imagine their terror! "They are alive!" they said. They could not be mistaken for there was the sun on the forehead of the son, and the moon on the girl's brow. They called the nurse and said to her: "Nurse, what does this mean? are our nephew and niece alive?" The nurse watched at the window until she saw the brother go out, and then she went over as if to make a visit to the new house. She entered and said: "What is the matter, my daughter; how do you do? Are you perfectly happy? You lack nothing. But do you know what is necessary to make you really happy? It is the Dancing Water. If your brother loves you, he will get it for you!" She remained a moment longer and then departed.


The Foster Mother


When the brother returned, his sister said to him; "Ah! my brother, if you love me go and get me the Dancing Water." He consented, and next morning saddled a fine horse, and departed. On his way he met a hermit, who asked him, "Where are you going, cavalier?"

"I am going for the Dancing Water." "You are going to your death, my son; but keep on until you find a hermit older than I." He continued his journey until he met another hermit, who asked him the same question, and gave him the same direction. Finally he met a third hermit, older than the other two, with a white beard that came down to his feet, who gave him the following directions: "You must climb yonder mountain. On top of it you will find a great plain and a house with a beautiful gate. Before the gate you will see four giants with swords in their hands. Take heed; do not make a mistake; for if you do, that is the end of you! When the giants have their eyes closed, do not enter; when they have their eyes open, enter. Then you will come to a door. If you find it open, do not enter; if you find it shut, push it open and enter. Then you will find four lions. When they have their eyes[58] shut, do not enter; when their eyes are open, enter, and you will see the Dancing Water." The youth took leave of the hermit, and hastened on his way.

Meanwhile the sister kept looking at the ring constantly, to see whether the stone in it changed colour; but as it did not, she remained undisturbed.

A few days after leaving the hermit the youth arrived at the top of the mountain, and saw the palace with the four giants before it. They had their eyes shut, and the door was open. "No," said the youth, "that won't do." And so he remained on the lookout a while. When the giants opened their eyes, and the door closed, he entered, waited until the lions opened their eyes, and passed in. There he found the Dancing Water, and filled his bottles with it, and escaped when the lions again opened their eyes.

The aunts, meanwhile, were delighted because their nephew did not return; but in a few days he appeared and embraced his sister. Then they had two golden basins made, and put into them the Dancing Water, which leaped from one basin to the other. When the aunts saw it they exclaimed: "Ah! how did he manage to get that water?" and called the nurse, who again waited until the sister was alone, and then visited her. "You see," said she, "how beautiful the Dancing Water is! But do you know what you want now? The Singing Apple." Then she departed. When the brother who had brought the Dancing Water[59] returned, his sister said to him: "If you love me you must get for me the Singing Apple." "Yes, my sister, I will go and get it."

Next morning he mounted his horse, and set out. After a time he met the first hermit, who sent him to an older one. He asked the youth where he was going, and said: "It is a difficult task to get the Singing Apple, but hear what you must do: Climb the mountain; beware of the giants, the door, and the lions; then you will find a little door and a pair of shears in it. If the shears are open, enter; if closed, do not risk it." The youth continued his way, found the palace, entered, and found everything favourable. When he saw the shears open, he went in a room and saw a wonderful tree, on top of which was an apple. He climbed up and tried to pick the apple, but the top of the tree swayed now this way, now that. He waited until it was still a moment, seized the branch, and picked the apple. He succeeded in getting safely out of the palace, mounted his horse, and rode home, and all the time he was carrying the apple it kept on singing.

The aunts were again delighted because their nephew was so long absent; but when they saw him return, they felt as though the house had fallen on them. Again they summoned the nurse, and again she visited the young girl, and said: "See how beautiful they are, the Dancing Water and the Singing Apple! But should you see the Speaking[60] Bird, there would be nothing left for you to see." "Very well," said the young girl; "we will see whether my brother will get it for me."

When her brother came she asked him for the Speaking Bird, and he promised to get it for her. He met, as usual on his journey, the first hermit, who sent him to the second, who sent him on to a third one, who said to him: "Climb the mountain and enter the palace. You will find many statues. Then you will come to a garden, in the midst of which is a fountain, and on the basin is the Speaking Bird. If it should say anything to you, do not answer. Pick a feather from the bird's wing, dip it into a jar you will find there, and anoint all the statues. Keep your eyes open, and all will go well."

The youth already knew well the way, and soon was in the palace. He found the garden and the bird, which, as soon as it saw him, exclaimed: "What is the matter, noble sir; have you come for me? You have missed it. Your aunts have sent you to your death, and you must remain here. Your mother has been sent to the tread-mill." "My mother in the tread-mill?" cried the youth, and scarcely were the words out of his mouth when he became a statue like all the others.

Now when her brother did not come back the third time the sister looked at her ring, and it had become black, and she knew that something had befallen him. Poor child! not having anything[61] else to do, she dressed herself like a page and set out.

Like her brother, she met the three hermits, and received their instructions. The third concluded thus: "Beware, for if you answer when the bird speaks you will lose your life, but if you speak not, it will come to you; take one of its feathers and dip it in the jar you will see there and anoint your brother's nostril with it." She continued her way, followed exactly the hermit's directions, and reached the garden in safety. When the bird saw her it exclaimed: "Ah! you here, too? Now you will meet the same fate as your brother. Do you see him lying there? Your father is at the war. Your mother is in the tread-mill. Your aunts are rejoicing."

But the sister made no reply, but let the bird sing on. When it had nothing more to say it flew down, and the young girl caught it, pulled a feather from its wing, dipped it into the jar, and anointed her brother's nostrils, and he at once came to life again. Then she did the same with all the other statues, with the lions and the giants, until all became alive again. Then she departed with her brother, and all the noblemen, princes, barons, and kings' sons rejoiced greatly. Now when they had all come to life again the palace disappeared, and the hermits disappeared, for they were the three fairies.

The day after the brother and sister reached the[62] city where they lived, they summoned a goldsmith, and had him make a gold chain, and fasten the bird with it. The next time the aunts looked out they saw in the window of the palace opposite the Dancing Water, the Singing Apple, and the Speaking Bird. "Well," said they, "the real trouble is coming now!"

The bird directed the brother and sister to procure a carriage finer than the king's, with twenty-four attendants, and to have the service of their palace, cooks, and servants, more numerous and better than the king's. All of which the brother and sister did at once. And when the aunts saw these things they were ready to die of rage.

At last the king returned from the war, and his subjects told him all the news of the kingdom, and the thing they talked about the least was his wife and children. One day the king looked out of the window and saw the palace opposite furnished in a magnificent manner. "Who lives there?" he asked, but no one could answer him. He looked again and saw the brother and sister, the former with the sun on his forehead, and the latter with the moon on her brow. "Gracious! if I did not know that my wife had given birth to puppies, I should say that those were my children," exclaimed the king. Another day he stood by the window and enjoyed the Dancing Water and the Singing Apple, but the bird was silent.

After the king had heard all the music, the bird[63] said: "What does your Majesty think of it?" The king was astonished at hearing the Speaking Bird, and answered: "What should I think? It is marvellous."

"There is something more marvellous," said the bird; "just wait."

Then the bird told his mistress to call her brother, and said: "There is the king; let us invite him to dinner on Sunday. Shall we not?"

"Yes, yes," they said. So the king was invited and accepted, and on Sunday the bird had a grand dinner prepared and the king came. When he saw the young people near, he clapped his hands and said: "They must be my children."

He went over the palace and was astonished at its richness. Then they went to dinner, and while they were eating the king said: "Bird, every one is talking; you alone are silent."

"Ah! your Majesty, I am ill; but next Sunday I shall be well and able to talk, and will come and dine at your palace with this lady and this gentleman."

The next Sunday the bird directed his mistress and her brother to put on their finest clothes; so they dressed in royal style and took the bird with them. The king showed them through his palace and treated them with the greatest ceremony; the aunts were nearly dead with fear. When they had seated themselves at the table, the king said: "Come, bird, you promised me you would speak;[64] have you nothing to say?" Then the bird began and related all that had happened from the time the king had listened at the door until his poor wife had been sent to the tread-mill; then the bird added: "These are your children, and your wife was sent to the tread-mill, and is dying."

The King Begs Pardon

When the king heard all this, he hastened to embrace his children, and then went to find his poor wife, who was reduced to skin and bones and was at the point of death. He knelt before her and begged her pardon, and then summoned her sisters and the nurse, and when they were in his presence he said to the bird: "Bird, you who have[65] told me everything, now pronounce their sentence." Then the bird sentenced the nurse to be thrown out of the window, and the sisters to be cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. This was at once done. The king was never tired of embracing his wife. Then the bird departed and the king and his wife and children lived together in peace.


The Girl and the Frog


There was once a man who had a son named Jack, who was very simple in mind and backward in his thought. So his father sent him away to school so that he might learn something; and after a year he came back from school.

"Well, Jack," said his father, "what have you learnt at school?"

And Jack said, "I know what dogs mean when they bark."[67]

"That's not much," said his father. "You must go to school again."

So he sent him to school for another year, and when he came back he asked him what he had learnt.

"Well, father," said the boy, "when frogs croak I know what they mean."

"You must learn more than that," said the father, and sent him once more to school.

And when he returned, after another year, he asked him once more what he had learnt.

"I know all the birds say when they twitter and chirp, caw and coo, gobble and cluck."

"Well I must say," said the father, "that does not seem much for three years' schooling. But let us see if you have learnt your lessons properly. What does that bird say just above our heads in the tree there?"

Jack listened for some time but did not say anything.

"Well, Jack, what is it?" asked his father.

"I don't like to say, father."

"I don't believe you know or else you would say. Whatever it is I shall not mind."

Then the boy said, "The bird kept on saying as clear as could be, 'the time is not so far away when Jack's father will offer him water on bended knees for him to wash his hands; and his mother shall offer him a towel to wipe them with.'"[68]

Thereupon the father grew very angry at Jack and his love for him changed to hatred, and one day he spoke to a robber and promised him much money if he would take Jack away into the forest and kill him there and bring back his heart to show that he had done what he had promised. But instead of doing this the robber told Jack all about it and advised him to flee away, while the robber took back to Jack's father the heart of a deer saying that it was Jack's. Then Jack travelled on and on till one night he stopped at a castle on the way; and while they were all supping together in the castle hall the dogs in the court-yard began barking and baying. And Jack went up to the lord of the castle and said, "There will be an attack upon the castle to-night."

"How do you know that?" asked the lord.

"The dogs say so," said Jack.

At that the lord and his men laughed, but never-the-less put an extra guard around the castle that night, and, sure enough, the attack was made, which was easily beaten off because the men were prepared. So the lord gave Jack a great reward for warning him, and he went on his way with a fellow traveller who had heard him warn the lord.

Soon afterwards they arrived at another castle in which the lord's daughter was lying sick unto death; and a great reward had been offered to him that should cure her. Now Jack had been listening to the frogs as they were croaking in the moat[69] which surrounded the castle. So Jack went to the lord of the castle and said, "I know what ails your daughter."

"What is it," asked the lord.

"She has dropped the holy wafer from her mouth and it has been swallowed by one of the frogs in the moat."

"How do you know that?" said the lord.

"I heard the frogs say so."

At first the lord would not believe it; but in order to save his daughter's life he got Jack to point out the frog who was boasting of what he had swallowed, and, catching it, found what Jack had said was true. The frog was caught and killed, the wafer got back, and the girl recovered. So the lord gave Jack the reward which was promised, and he went on further with his companion and with another guest of the castle who had heard what Jack had said and done.

So Jack, with his two companions, travelled on towards Rome, the city of cities where dwelt the Pope, in those days the head of all Christendom. And as they were resting by the roadside Jack said to his companions, "Who would have thought it? One of us is going to be the Pope of Rome."

And his comrades asked him how he knew.

And he said, "The birds above in the tree have said so."

And his comrades at first laughed at him, but then remembered that what he had said before of[70] the barking of dogs and of the croaking of frogs had turned out to be true.

The Pope is Elected

Now when they arrived at Rome they found that the Pope had just died and that they were about to select his successor. And it was decided that all the people should pass under an arch whereon was a bell and two doves, and he upon whose shoulders the doves should alight, and for whom the bell should ring as he passed under the arch was to be the next Pope. And when Jack and his companions came near the arch they all remembered his prophecy and wondered which of the three should receive the signs. And his first comrade passed under the arch and nothing happened, and then the second and nothing happened,[71] but when Jack went through the doves descended and alighted upon his shoulder and the bell began to toll. So Jack was made Pope of all Christendom, and he took the name of Pope Sylvester.

After a while the new Pope went upon his travels and came to the town where his father dwelt. And there was a great banquet held, to which Jack's father and mother were invited at his request. And when they came he ordered his servants to give to his father the basin of water, and to his mother the towel, wherewith the Pope would wash his hands after dinner. Now this was, in those days, a great honour, and people wondered why Jack's father and mother should be so honoured. But after Jack's father had offered him the basin of water, and his mother the towel, Jack said to them, "Do you not know me, mother? Do you not know me, father?" and made himself known to them and reminded his father of what the bird had said. So he forgave his father and took him and his mother to live with him ever afterwards.



Once upon a time three soldiers returned from the wars; one was a sergeant, one was a corporal, and the third was a simple private. One night they were caught in a forest and made a fire up to sleep by; and the sergeant had to do sentry-go. While he was walking up and down an old woman, bent double, came up to him and said:

"Please, sir, may I warm myself by your fire?"

"Why, certainly, mother, you are welcome to all the warmth you can get."

So the old woman sat by the fire for a time, and when she had got thoroughly warmed she said to the sergeant:

"Thank you, soldier; here is something for your trouble." And she handed him a purse, which seemed to have nothing in it.

"Oh, thank you, marm," said the sergeant, "but I wouldn't deprive you of it, especially as there is nothing in it."

"That may be so now," said the old woman, "but take it in your hand and turn it upside-down and, while you hold it like that gold pieces will come pouring out of it."


The Magic Purse


He took it, and, sure enough, whenever he held it up out came the gold pieces. So he thanked her very much, and off she went.

Next night the corporal had to play sentry, and the old woman came up to him and asked to sit by the side of the fire.

"Certainly, marm," said he, "and welcome you are. I have known what it is to shiver in my bones."

So the old woman sat by the fire for a time, and when she was leaving gave the corporal a tablecloth.

Said he, "Thank you, marm, kindly, but we soldiers rarely use tablecloths when we are eating our vittles."

"Yes, but this gives you vittles to eat," said the old woman. "Whenever you put this over a table or on the ground and call out 'Be covered!' the finest dinner you could eat at once comes upon it."

"If that is so," said the corporal, "I'll take it and thank you kindly." And with that the old woman departed, and the corporal woke up his comrades and called out: "Tablecloth be covered!" And, sure enough, the finest dinner you could imagine appeared upon the cloth.

Next night the private marched up and down doing sentry-go, when the old woman appeared again and asked to sit by the fire.[76]

"Surely," said the private, "you're as welcome as my own mother would be."

And after she had sat some time by the fire she got up and said:

"Thank you kindly, sir; I hope this will pay you for your trouble." And she gave him a whistle.

"And what's this for?" said the private. "I can't play on the whistle."

"But you can blow it," said she, "and whenever you blow it out will come a regiment of armed men that will do whatever you tell them."

And with that the old woman departed, and they never saw her more.

So the three soldiers travelled on till they came to a city where there was a princess, who was so proud of her card playing that she had agreed to marry any one who could beat her at cards. Now the sergeant was also very proud of his card playing, and he thought he would try his luck with the princess. So when he went up to the palace he offered to play a game with her, but she said to him:

"What are your stakes? If I lose I have to marry you. But if you lose what do you lose?"

So the sergeant said: "I'll stake my purse."

"Why, what's a purse with nothing in it!" said the princess.

"There may be nothing in it now," said the sergeant, "but see here," and he turned the purse upside-down and put his hand under it, and it[77] kept on dropping gold pieces into his hand as long as he held it upside-down.

So the princess agreed to play for the purse. But she had arranged a mirror at the back of his head in which she could see all his cards. And so she won easily, and he had to give up the purse.

But this princess was so charming that the sergeant had fallen in love with her, and when he went back to his comrades he asked the corporal to lend him his tablecloth. And he went back to the princess and said to her:

"Will you play me for this tablecloth?"

And she said: "It may be a very beautiful tablecloth but it isn't quite equal to me."

Then he laid it on a table and said, "Cloth, cover thyself." And there was a most delicious dinner spread upon it.

But, as the princess knew she would be able to beat him, she agreed to play him for the tablecloth, and, sure enough, by means of the mirror, she won the tablecloth from him.

The same thing happened when he borrowed the whistle from the private and tried his luck with the princess again. But this time he watched what she was doing, and knew that she had cheated him though he dared not say so. He lost again and went back to his comrades and asked them to forgive him, but he could not help it as the princess had cheated him. So his friends forgave him, and they all went their various ways.[78]

Now the sergeant wandered along, and wandered along, and wandered along, till he came to the bank of a stream on which there grew fig trees, white and black. And he gathered some of these figs from the different trees, and sat down by the bank to eat them. And he ate a black fig, and then, feeling thirsty, went down to the stream to drink some of the water, and as he looked in he found that he had two horns on the side of his head just like a goat, instead of two ears. He didn't know what to do; but as he was still hungry he ate one of the white figs; and when he went to drink again he found the horns had disappeared. So then he knew that the black figs brought the horns and the white figs took them away. So he gathered some more of them and went back to the palace of the princess, and sent her up some of the black figs as a present from an admirer.

And after a while there was a rumour spread around the city that the princess had horns in her head, and would give anything to any one who could remove them.

So the sergeant went up to the palace and presented himself before the princess and said to her:

"I can remove your horns, but I want my purse, and my tablecloth, and my whistle back."

Then she ordered them to be brought and promised to give them back to him as soon as the horns were removed.

So he gave her a white fig, and as soon as she[79] had eaten it the horns disappeared; and he took up the purse, the tablecloth, and the whistle. Then he said to her:

The Princess Finds Horns on her Head

"Now, will you marry me?"

"No," she replied, "why should I?"

"Because you didn't win these fairly."

"That may be, or that may not be, but I see no reason why I should marry you."

Thereupon he blew his whistle, and the palace[80] was filled with a regiment of soldiers. And the sergeant said:

"If you do not marry me these men shall seize your father and I will seize his throne."

So the princess married him, and he sent for the corporal and the private and made them rich and prosperous, and they all lived fairly happily together.


The Unicorn


A little tailor was sitting cross-legged at his bench and was stitching away as busy as could be when a woman came up the street calling out: "Home-made jam, home-made jam!"

So the tailor called out to her: "Come here, my good woman, and give me a quarter of a pound."

And when she had poured it out for him he spread it on some bread and butter and laid it aside for his lunch. But, in the summer-time, the flies commenced to collect around the bread and jam.

When the tailor noticed this, he raised his leather strap and brought it down upon the crowd[82] of flies and killed twelve of them straightway. He was mighty proud of that. So he made himself a shoulder-sash, on which he stitched the letters: A Dozen at One Blow.

When he looked down upon this he thought to himself: "A man who could do such things ought not to stay at home; he ought to go out to conquer the world."

So he put into his wallet the cream cheese that he had bought that day and a favourite blackbird that used to hop about his shop, and went out to seek his fortune.

He hadn't gone far when he met a giant, and went up to him and said: "Well, comrade, how goes it with you?"

"Comrade," sneered the giant, "a pretty comrade you would make for me."

"Look at this," said the tailor pointing to his sash.

And when the giant read, "A Dozen at a Blow," he thought to himself: "This little fellow is no fool of a fighter if what he says is true. But let's test him."

So the giant said to the tailor: "If what you've got there is true, we may well be comrades. But let's see if you can do what I can do."

And he bent down in the road and took up a large stone and pressed it with his hand till it all crushed up and water commenced to pour out from it.[83]

"Can you do that?" said the giant.

The tailor also bent down in the road, but took out from his wallet the piece of cheese and pretended to pick it up.

When he took it in his hand he pressed and pressed till the cream poured forth from it.

The giant said: "Well, you can do that fairly well. Let's see if you can throw."

He took another stone and threw it till it went right across the river by which they were standing.

So the little tailor took his blackbird in his hand and pretended to throw it, and of course when it felt itself in the air it flew away and disappeared.

The giant said: "That wasn't a bad throw. You may as well come home and stop with us giants, and we'll do great things together."

As they went along the giant said: "We want some twigs for our night fires. You may as well help me carry some home." And he pointed to a tree that had fallen by the wayside and said: "Help me carry that, will you?"

So the tailor said, "Why certainly," and went to the top of the tree, and said: "I'll carry these branches which are the heavier; you carry the trunk which has no branches."

And when the giant got the trunk on his shoulders the tailor seated himself on one of the branches and let the giant carry him along.

After a time the giant got tired and said: "Ho[84] there, wait a minute, I'm going to drop the tree and rest awhile."

So the tailor jumped down and caught the tree around the branches again and said: "Well, you are easily tired."

At last they got to the giant's castle and there the giant spoke to his brothers and told them what a brave and powerful fellow this little tailor was. They spoke together and determined to get rid of him lest he might do them some harm. But they determined to kill him in the night because he was so strong and might kill twelve of them at a blow.

But the tailor saw them whispering together, and guessing that something was wrong went out into the yard and got a big bladder which he filled with blood and put it in the bed which the giants pointed out to him.

Then he crept under it, and during the night they brought their big clubs and hit the bed over and over again till the blood spurted out onto their faces.

Then they thought the tailor was dead and went back to sleep.

But in the morning there was the tailor as large as life. And they were so surprised to see him that they asked him if he had not felt anything during the night.

"Oh, I don't know, there seemed to be plenty of fleas in that bed," said the tailor. "I do not think I would care to sleep there again." And[85] with that he took his leave of the giants and went on his way.

After a time he came to the King's court and fell asleep under a tree. And some of the courtiers passing by saw written upon his sash, "A Dozen at One Blow."

They went and told the King who said: "Why, he's just the man for us; he will be able to destroy the wild boar and the unicorn that are ravaging our kingdom. Bring him to us."

So they woke up the little tailor and brought him to the King, who said to him: "There is a wild boar ravaging our kingdom. You are so powerful that you will easily be able to capture it."

"What shall I get if I do?" asked the little tailor.

"Well, I have promised to give my daughter's hand and half the kingdom to the man who can do it, and other things."

"What other things?" said the little tailor.

"Oh, it will be time to learn that when you have caught the boar."

Then the little tailor went out to the wood where the boar was last seen, and when he came near him he ran away, and ran away, and ran away, till at last he came to a little chapel in the wood into which he ran, and the boar at his heels. He climbed up to a high window and got outside the chapel, and then rushed around to the door and closed and locked it.[86]

Then he went back to the King and said to him: "I have your wild boar for you in the chapel in the woods. Send some of your men to kill him, or do what you like with him."

"How did you manage to get him there?" said the King.

"Oh, I caught him by the bristles and threw him in there as I thought you wanted to have him safe and sound. What's the next thing I must do?"

"Well," said the King, "there's a unicorn in this country killing everyone that he meets. I do not want him slain; I want him caught and brought to me."

So the little tailor said, "Give me a rope and a hatchet and I will see what I can do."

So he went with the rope and hatchet to the wood, where the unicorn had been seen. And when he came towards it he dodged it, and he dodged it, till at last he dodged behind a big tree, till the unicorn, in trying to pierce, ran his horn into the tree where it stuck fast.

Then the little tailor came forth and tied the rope around the unicorn's neck, and dug out the horn with his hatchet, and dragged the unicorn to the King.

"What's the next thing?" said the little tailor.

"Well, there is only one thing more. There are two giants who are destroying everybody they meet. Get rid of them, and my daughter and the half of my kingdom shall be yours."[87]

Then the little tailor went to seek the giants and found them sleeping under some trees in the woods. He filled his box with stones, climbed up a tree overlooking the giants, and when he had hidden himself in the branches he threw a stone at the chest of one of the giants who woke up and said to his brother giant, "What are you doing there?"

And the other giant woke up and said, "I have done nothing."

"Well, don't do it again," said the other giant, and laid down to sleep again.

Then the tailor threw a stone at the other giant and hit him a whack on the chin. That giant rose up and said to his fellow giant, "What do you do that for?"

"Do what?"

"Hit me on the chin."

"I didn't."

"You did."

"I didn't."

"You did."

"Well, take that for not doing it."

And with that the other giant hit him a rousing blow on the head. With that they commenced fighting and tore up the trees and hit one another till at last one of them was killed, and the other one was so badly injured that the tailor had no difficulty in killing him with his hatchet.

Then he went back to the King and said: "I[88] have got rid of your giants for you; send your men and bury them in the forest. They tore up the trees and tried to kill me with them but I was too much for them. Now for the Princess."

Well, the King had nothing more to say, and gave him his daughter in marriage and half the kingdom to rule.

But shortly after they were married the Princess heard the tailor saying in his sleep: "Fix that button better; baste that side gore; don't drop your stitches like that."

And then she knew she had married a tailor. And she went to her father weeping bitterly and complained.

"Well, my dear," he said, "I promised, and he certainly showed himself a great hero. But I will try and get rid of him for you. To-night I will send into your bedroom a number of soldiers that shall slay him even if he can kill a dozen at a blow."

So that night the little tailor noticed there was something wrong and heard the soldiers moving about near the bedroom. So he pretended to fall asleep and called out in his sleep: "I have killed a dozen at a blow; I have slain two giants; I have caught a wild boar by his bristles, and captured a unicorn alive. Show me the man that I need fear."

And when the soldiers heard that they said to[89] the Princess that the job was too much for them, and went away.

And the Princess thought better of it, and was proud of her little hero, and they lived happily ever afterwards.


The Earl of Cattenborough will be Pleased to Partake of a Potato


Once upon a time there was a miller who had three sons, Charles, Sam, and John. And every night when the servant went to bed he used to call out:

"Good-night, Missus; good-night, Master; Good-night, Charles, Sam, John."

Now after a time the miller's wife died, and, soon after, the miller, leaving only the mill, the donkey, and the cat. And Charles, as the eldest, took the[91] mill, and Sam took the donkey and went off with it, and John was left with only the cat.

Now how do you think the cat used to help John to live? She used to take a bag with a string around the top and place it with some cheese in the bushes, and when a hare or a partridge would come and try to get the piece of cheese—snap! Miss Puss would draw the string and there was the hare or partridge for Master Jack to eat. One day two hares happened to rush into the bag at the same time. So the cat, after giving one to Jack, took the other and went with it to the King's palace. And when she came outside the palace gate she cried out, "Miaou."

The sentry at the gate came to see what was the matter. Miss Puss gave him the hare with a bow and said: "Give this to the King with the compliments of the Earl of Cattenborough."

The King liked jugged hare very much and was glad to get such a fine present.

Shortly after this Miss Puss found a gold coin rolling in the dirt. And she went up to the palace and asked the sentry if he would lend her a corn measure.

The sentry asked who wanted it. And Puss said: "My Master, the Earl of Cattenborough."

So the sentry gave her the corn measure. And a little while afterwards she took it back with the gold coin, which she had found, fixed in a crack in the corn measure.[92]

So the King was told that the Earl of Cattenborough measured his gold in a corn measure. When the King heard this he told the sentry that if such a thing happened again he was to deliver a message asking the Earl to come and stop at the palace.

Some time after the cat caught two partridges, and took one of them to the palace. And when she called out, "Miaou," and presented it to the sentry, in the name of the Earl of Cattenborough, the sentry told her that the King wished to see the Earl at his palace.

So Puss went back to Jack and said to him: "The King desires to see the Earl of Cattenborough at his palace."

"What is that to do with me?" said Jack.

"Oh, you can be the Earl of Cattenborough if you like. I'll help you."

"But I have no clothes, and they'll soon find out what I am when I talk."

"As for that," said Miss Puss, "I'll get you proper clothes if you do what I tell you; and when you come to the palace I will see that you do not make any mistakes."

So next day she told Jack to take off his clothes and hide them under a big stone and dip himself into the river. And while he was doing this she went up to the palace gate and said: "Miaou, miaou, miaou!"

And when the sentry came to the gate she said: "My Master, the Earl of Cattenborough, has been[93] robbed of all he possessed, even of his clothes, and he is hiding in the bramble bush by the side of the river. What is to be done? What is to be done?"

The sentry went and told the King. And the King gave orders that a suitable suit of clothes, worthy of an Earl, should be sent to Master Jack, who soon put them on and went to the King's palace accompanied by Puss. When they got there they were introduced into the chamber of the King, who thanked Jack for his kind presents.

Miss Puss stood forward and said: "My Master, the Earl of Cattenborough, desires to state to your Majesty that there is no need of any thanks for such trifles."

The King thought it was very grand of Jack not to speak directly to him, and summoned his lord chamberlain, and from that time onward only spoke through him. Thus, when they sat down to dinner with the Queen and the Princess, the King would say to his chamberlain, "Will the Earl of Cattenborough take a potato?"

Whereupon Miss Puss would bow and say: "The Earl of Cattenborough thanks his Majesty and would be glad to partake of a potato."

The King was so much struck by Jack's riches and grandeur, and the Princess was so pleased with his good looks and fine dress that it was determined that he should marry the Princess.

But the King thought he would try and see if he were really so nobly born and bred as he seemed.[94] So he told his servants to put a mean truckle bed in the room in which Jack was to sleep, knowing that no noble would put up with such a thing.

When Miss Puss saw this bed she at once guessed what was up. And when Jack began to undress to get into bed, she made him stop, and called the attendants to say that he could not sleep in such a bed.

So they took him into another bedroom, where there was a fine four-poster with a dais, and everything worthy of a noble to sleep upon. Then the King became sure that Jack was a real noble, and married him soon to his daughter the Princess.

After the wedding feast was over the King told Jack that he and the Queen and the Princess would come with him to his castle of Cattenborough, and Jack did not know what to do. But Miss Puss told him it would be all right if he only didn't speak much while on the journey. And that suited Jack very well.

So they all set out in a carriage with four horses, and with the King's life-guards riding around it. But Miss Puss ran on in front of the carriage, and when she came to a field where men were mowing down the hay she pointed to the life-guards riding along, and said: "Men, if you do not say that this field belongs to the Earl of Cattenborough those soldiers will cut you to pieces with their swords."

So when the carriage came along the King called one of the men to the side of it and said, "Whose is this field?"[95]

And the man said, "It belongs to the Earl of Cattenborough."

And the King turned to his son-in-law and said, "I did not know that you had estates so near us."

And Jack said, "I had forgotten it myself."

And this only confirmed the King in his idea about Jack's great wealth.

A little farther on there was another great field in which men were raking hay. And Miss Puss spoke to them as before. So, when the carriage came up, they also declared that this field belonged to the Earl of Cattenborough. And so it went on through the whole drive. Then the King said, "Let us now go to your castle."

Then Jack looked at Miss Puss, and she said: "If your Majesty will but wait an hour I will go on before and order the castle to be made ready for you."

With that she jumped away and went to the castle of a great ogre and asked to see him. When she came into his presence she said:

"I have come to give you warning. The King with all his army is coming to the castle and will batter its walls down and kill you if he finds you here."

"What shall I do? What shall I do?" said the ogre.

"Is there no place where you can hide yourself?"

"I am too big to hide," said the ogre, "but my mother gave me a powder, and when I take that I can make myself as small as I like."[96]

"Well, why not take it now?" said the cat.

The Cat and the Ogre

And with that he took the powder and shrunk into a little body no bigger than a mouse. And thereupon Miss Puss jumped upon him and ate him all up, and then went down into the great yard of the castle and told the guards that it now belonged to her Master the Earl of Cattenborough. Then she ordered them to open the gates and let in the King's carriage, which came along just then.

The King was delighted to find what a fine castle his son-in-law possessed, and left his daughter the Princess with him at the castle while he drove[97] back to his own palace. And Jack and the Princess lived happily in the castle.

But one day Miss Puss felt very ill and lay down as if dead, and the chamberlain of the castle went to Jack and said:

"My lord, your cat is dead."

And Jack said: "Well, throw her out on the dunghill."

But Miss Puss, when she heard it, called out: "Had you not better throw me into the mill stream?"

And Jack remembered where he had come from and was frightened that the cat would say. So he ordered the physician of the castle to attend to her, and ever after gave her whatever she wanted.

And when the King died he succeeded him, and that was the end of the Earl of Cattenborough.

"Had You not Better Throw me into the Millstream?"


The Child Finds the Feather Dress


There was once a hunter who used often to spend the whole night stalking the deer or setting traps for game. Now it happened one night that he was watching in a clump of bushes near the lake for some wild ducks that he wished to trap. Suddenly he heard, high up in the air, a whirring of wings and thought the ducks were coming; and he strung his bow and got ready his arrows. But instead of ducks there appeared seven maidens all clad in robes made of feathers, and they alighted on the banks of the lake, and taking off their robes plunged into the[99] waters and bathed and sported in the lake. They were all beautiful, but of them all the youngest and smallest pleased most the hunter's eye, and he crept forward from the bushes and seized her dress of plumage and took it back with him into the bushes.

After the swan maidens had bathed and sported to their heart's delight, they came back to the bank wishing to put on their feather robes again; and the six eldest found theirs, but the youngest could not find hers. They searched and they searched till at last the dawn began to appear, and the six sisters called out to her:

"We must away; 'tis the dawn; you meet your fate whatever it be." And with that they donned their robes and flew away, and away, and away.

When the hunter saw them fly away he came forward with the feather robe in his hand; and the swan maiden begged and begged that he would give her back her robe. He gave her his cloak but would not give her her robe, feeling that she would fly away. And he made her promise to marry him, and took her home, and hid her feather robe where she could not find it. So they were married and lived happily together and had two fine children, a boy and a girl, who grew up strong and beautiful; and their mother loved them with all her heart.

One day her little daughter was playing at hide-and-seek with her brother, and she went[100] behind the wainscoting to hide herself, and found there a robe all made of feathers, and took it to her mother. As soon as she saw it she put it on and said to her daughter:

"Tell father that if he wishes to see me again he must find me in the Land East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon;" and with that she flew away.

When the hunter came home next morning his little daughter told him what had happened and what her mother said. So he set out to find his wife in the Land East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon. And he wandered for many days till he came across an old man who had fallen on the ground, and he lifted him up and helped him to a seat and tended him till he felt better.

Then the old man asked him what he was doing and where he was going. And he told him all about the swan maidens and his wife, and he asked the old man if he had heard of the Land East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon.

And the old man said: "No, but I can ask."

Then he uttered a shrill whistle and soon all the plain in front of them was filled with all of the beasts of the world, for the old man was no less than the King of the Beasts.

And he called out to them: "Who is there here that knows where the Land is East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon?" But none of the beasts knew.

Then the old man said to the hunter: "You[101] must go seek my brother who is the King of the Birds," and told him how to find his brother.

And after a time he found the King of the Birds, and told him what he wanted. So the King of the Birds whistled loud and shrill, and soon the sky was darkened with all the birds of the air, who came around him. Then he asked:

"Which of you knows where is the Land East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon?"

And none answered, and the King of the Birds said:

"Then you must consult my brother the King of the Fishes," and he told him how to find him.

And the hunter went on, and he went on, and he went on, till he came to the King of the Fishes, and he told him what he wanted. And the King of the Fishes went to the shore of the sea and summoned all the fishes of the sea. And when they came around him he called out:

"Which of you knows where is the Land East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon?"

And none of them answered, till at last a dolphin that had come late called out:

"I have heard that at the top of the Crystal Mountain lies the Land East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon; but how to get there I know not save that it is near the Wild Forest."

So the hunter thanked the King of the Fishes and went to the Wild Forest. And as he got near there he found two men quarrelling, and as he[102] came near they came towards him and asked him to settle their dispute.

"Now what is it?" said the hunter.

The Dolphin who Came Late

"Our father has just died and he has left but two things, this cap which, whenever you wear it, nobody can see you, and these shoon, which will carry you through the air to whatever place you will. Now I being the elder claim the right of choice, which of these two I shall have; and he declares that, as the younger, he has the right to the shoon. Which do you think is right?"[103]

So the hunter thought and thought, and at last he said:

"It is difficult to decide, but the best thing I can think of is for you to race from here to that tree yonder, and whoever gets back to me first I will hand him either the shoes or the cap, whichever he wishes."

So he took the shoes in one hand and the cap in the other, and waited till they had started off running towards the tree. And as soon as they had started running towards the tree he put on the shoes of swiftness and placed the invisible cap on his head and wished himself in the Land East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon. And he flew, and he flew, and he flew, over seven Bends, and seven Glens, and seven Mountain Moors, till at last he came to the Crystal Mountain. And on the top of that, as the dolphin had said, there was the Land East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon.

Now when he got there he took off his invisible cap and shoes of swiftness and asked who ruled over the Land; and he was told that there was a King who had seven daughters who dressed in swans' feathers and flew wherever they wished.

Then the hunter knew that he had come to the Land of his wife. And he went boldly to the King and said:

"Hail O King, I have come to seek my wife."

And the King said, "Who is she?"[104]

And the hunter said, "Your youngest daughter." Then he told him how he had won her.

Then the King said: "If you can tell her from her sisters then I know that what you say is true." And he summoned his seven daughters to him, and there they all were, dressed in their robes of feathers and looking each like all the rest.

So the hunter said: "If I may take each of them by the hand I will surely know my wife"; for when she had dwelt with him she had sewn the little shifts and dresses of her children, and the forefinger of her right hand had the marks of the needle.

And when he had taken the hand of each of the swan maidens he soon found which was his wife and claimed her for his own. Then the King gave them great gifts and sent them by a sure way down the Crystal Mountain.

And after a while they reached home, and lived happily together ever afterwards.


East o' the Sun & West o' the Moon


Androcles and the Lion


It happened in the old days at Rome that a slave named Androcles escaped from his master and fled into the forest, and he wandered there for a long time till he was weary and well nigh spent with hunger and despair. Just then he heard a lion near him moaning and groaning and at times roaring terribly. Tired as he was Androcles rose up and rushed away, as he thought, from the lion; but as he made his way through the[108] bushes he stumbled over the root of a tree and fell down lamed, and when he tried to get up there he saw the lion coming towards him, limping on three feet and holding his fore-paw in front of him. Poor Androcles was in despair; he had not strength to rise and run away, and there was the lion coming upon him. But when the great beast came up to him instead of attacking him it kept on moaning and groaning and looking at Androcles, who saw that the lion was holding out his right paw, which was covered with blood and much swollen. Looking more closely at it Androcles saw a great big thorn pressed into the paw, which was the cause of all the lion's trouble. Plucking up courage he seized hold of the thorn and drew it out of the lion's paw, who roared with pain when the thorn came out, but soon after found such relief from it that he fawned upon Androcles and showed, in every way that he knew, to whom he owed the relief. Instead of eating him up he brought him a young deer that he had slain, and Androcles managed to make a meal from it. For some time the lion continued to bring the game he had killed to Androcles, who became quite fond of the huge beast.

But one day a number of soldiers came marching through the forest and found Androcles, and as he could not explain what he was doing they took him prisoner and brought him back to the town from which he had fled. Here his master[109] soon found him and brought him before the authorities, and he was condemned to death because he had fled from his master. Now it used to be the custom to throw murderers and other criminals to the lions in a huge circus, so that while the criminals were punished the public could enjoy the spectacle of a combat between them and the wild beasts. So Androcles was condemned to be thrown to the lions, and on the appointed day he was led forth into the Arena and left there alone with only a spear to protect him from the lion. The Emperor was in the royal box that day and gave the signal for the lion to come out and attack Androcles. But when it came out of its cage and got near Androcles, what do you think it did? Instead of jumping upon him it fawned upon him and stroked him with its paw and made no attempt to do him any harm. It was of course the lion which Androcles had met in the forest. The Emperor, surprised at seeing such a strange behaviour in so cruel a beast, summoned Androcles to him and asked him how it happened that this particular lion had lost all its cruelty of disposition. So Androcles told the Emperor all that had happened to him and how the lion was showing its gratitude for his having relieved it of the thorn. Thereupon the Emperor pardoned Androcles and ordered his master to set him free, while the lion was taken back into the forest and let loose to enjoy liberty once more.




Now there was once a man at Bagdad who had seven sons, and when he died he left to each of them one hundred dirhems; and his fifth son, called Alnaschar the Babbler, invested all this money in some glassware, and, putting it in a big tray, from which to show and sell it, he sat down on a raised bench, at the foot of a wall, against which he leant back, placing the tray on the ground in front of him. As he sat he began day-dreaming and said to himself: "I have laid out a hundred dirhems on this glass. Now I will surely sell it for two hundred, and with it I will buy more glass and sell that for four hundred;[111] nor will I cease to buy and sell till I become master of much wealth. With this I will buy all kinds of merchandise and jewels and perfumes and gain great profit on them till, God willing, I will make my capital a hundred thousand dinars or two million dirhems. Then I will buy a handsome house, together with slaves and horses and trappings of gold, and eat and drink, nor will there be a singing girl in the city but I will have her to sing to me." This he said looking at the tray before him with glassware worth a hundred dirhems. Then he continued: "When I have amassed a hundred thousand dinars I will send out marriage-brokers to demand for me in marriage the hand of the Vizier's daughter, for I hear that she is perfect in beauty and of surpassing grace. I will give her a dowry of a thousand dinars, and if her father consent, 'tis well; if not, I will take her by force, in spite of him. When I return home, I will buy ten little slaves and clothes for myself such as are worn by kings and sultans and get a saddle of gold, set thick with precious jewels. Then I will mount and parade the city, with slaves before and behind me, while the people will salute me and call down blessings upon me: after which I will go to the Vizier, the girl's father, with slaves behind and before me, as well as on either hand. When the Vizier sees me, he will rise and seating me in his own place, sit down below me, because I am his son-in-law. Now I will have with me two slaves[112] with purses, in each a thousand dinars, and I will give him the thousand dinars of the dowry and make him a present of another thousand dinars so that he may recognize my nobility and generosity and greatness of mind and the littleness of the world in my eyes; and for every ten words he will say to me, I will answer him only two. Then I will return to my house, and if any one come to me on the bride's part, I will make him a present of money and clothe him in a robe of honour; but if he bring me a present I will return it to him and will not accept it so that they may know how great of soul I am." After a while Alnaschar continued: "Then I will command them to bring the Vizier's daughter to me in state and will get ready my house in fine condition to receive her. When the time of the unveiling of the bride is come, I will put on my richest clothes and sit down on a couch of brocaded silk, leaning on a cushion and turning my eyes neither to the right nor to the left, to show the haughtiness of my mind and the seriousness of my character. My bride shall stand before me like the full moon, in her robes and ornaments, and I, out of my pride and my disdain, will not look at her, till all who are present shall say to me: 'O my lord, thy wife and thy handmaid stands before thee; deign to look upon her, for standing is irksome to her.' And they will kiss the earth before me many times, whereupon I will lift my eyes and give one glance at her, then bend down[113] my head again. Then they will carry her to the bride-chamber, and meanwhile I will rise and change my clothes for a richer suit. When they bring in the bride for the second time, I will not look at her till they have implored me several times, when I will glance at her and bow down my head; nor will I cease doing thus, till they have made an end of parading and displaying her. Then I will order one of my slaves to fetch a purse, and, giving it to the tire-women, command them to lead her to the bride-chamber. When they leave me alone with the bride, I will not look at her or speak to her, but will sit by her with averted face, that she may say I am high of soul. Presently her mother will come to me and kiss my head and hands and say to me: 'O my lord, look on thy handmaid, for she longs for thy favour, and heal her spirit,' But I will give her no answer; and when she sees this, she will come and kiss my feet and say, 'O my lord, verily my daughter is a beautiful girl, who has never seen man; and if thou show her this aversion, her heart will break; so do thou be gracious to her and speak to her.' Then she will rise and fetch a cup of wine, and her daughter will take it and come to me; but I will leave her standing before me, while I recline upon a cushion of cloth of gold, and will not look at her to show the haughtiness of my heart, so that she will think me to be a Sultan of exceeding dignity and will say to me: 'O my lord, for God's sake,[114] do not refuse to take the cup from thy servant's hand, for indeed I am thy handmaid.' But I will not speak to her, and she will press me, saying: 'Needs must thou drink it,' and put it to my lips. Then I will shake my fist in her face and spurn her with my foot thus." So saying, he gave a kick with his foot and knocked over the tray of glass, which fell over to the ground, and all that was in it was broken.



There was once a man and he had three sons, and when he died they all had to go out to seek a living. So the eldest went out first, leaving his two brothers at home, and went to a neighbouring farmer to try and get work from him.

"Well, well, my man," said the farmer, "I can give you work but on only one condition."

"What is that?"

"I cannot abear any high talk on my farm. You must keep cool and not lose your temper."

"Oh, never bother about that," said the youngster, "I never lose my temper, or scarcely ever."

"Ah, but if you do," said the farmer, "I make it a condition that I shall tear a strip of your skin from your nape to your waist; that will make a pretty ribbon to tie around the throat of my dog there."

"That doesn't suit me," was the reply. "So fare thee well, master, I must try another place."

"Keep cool, keep cool," said the farmer. "I am a just man; what's good for the man I consider good for the master. So if I should lose my temper[116] I am quite willing that you should take the ribbon of flesh from my back."

"Oh, if that's so," said the youngster, "I'll agree to stay. But we must have it in black and white."

So they sent for the notary and wrote it all down that if either lost his temper he should also lose a strip of skin from his back. But the eldest son had not been in the house a week when the master gave him so hard a task that he lost his temper and had to give up a strip of skin from his back. So he went home and told his brothers about it.

Well, the brothers were savage at hearing what he had suffered. And the second son went to the same man in the hope of getting revenge for his brother. But the same thing happened to him, and he had to come with a strip of skin from his back like his elder brother.

Now the third son, whose name was Jack, made up his mind he wouldn't be done like the other two. And he went to the man and he engaged himself to serve him for the same wage but on the same conditions that his two brothers had done.

The very first morning that Jack had to go out to work his master gave him a piece of dry bread and told him to mind the sheep.

"Is this all I'm to get to eat?" said Jack.

"Why, yes," said the master; "there'll be supper when you come home."[117]

Jack was going to complain when his master called out to him, "Keep cool, Jack, keep cool," and pointed to his back.

So Jack swallowed his rage and went out into the field. But on his way he met a man, to whom he sold one of the sheep for five shillings, and went and bought enough to eat and drink for a whole week.

When he got home that evening his master began to count the sheep, and when he found one was missing, he said to Jack:

"You've let one of the sheep run away."

"No, no, sir," said Jack, "I sold him to a man passing along."

"You shouldn't have done that without my telling you; but where's the money?"

"Oh, with the money," said Jack, "I went and bought me some eats." And he showed him what he had bought.

The master was going to fly in a rage, but Jack said to him: "Keep cool, master, keep cool," and pointed to his back. So he remembered and said nothing more.

The next day Jack was ordered to take the pigs to market to sell them, and after he had cut off all their tails he sold them and pocketed the money; and then he went to a marsh near the farm and planted all the tails in the marsh.

When he got home the master asked him if he had sold the pigs.[118]

He said: "No, they all rushed into the marsh at the foot of the valley."

"I don't believe you," said the master, and was going to get into a rage when Jack said to him:

"Keep cool, master, keep cool."

So he went with Jack to the marsh, and when he saw the pigs' tails all peeping out the marsh he went and plucked one of them out of the ground, and Jack said:

"There, you've torn the tail from the poor pig's back."

Then the master was going to get into a rage again but Jack said: "Keep cool, master, keep cool," and pointed to his back.

Next day the master didn't like sending Jack out with the animals or else he might sell them to get some dinner. So he said to him:

"Jack, I want you today to clean the horses and the stable within and without."

"Very well, master," said Jack, and went to the stable; and he whitewashed it within and he whitewashed it without. Then he went to the horses and killed them and took out their insides and cleaned them within; and then he washed their skins.

In the evening the master came to see how Jack had got on with his work and was delighted to find the stable looking so clean.

"But where are the horses?" he said; and Jack pointed to them lying dead on their backs.[119]

"Why, what have you done?" said the master.

"You told me to clean them within and without and how could I clean them within without killing them?" said Jack.

Then the master was just going to fly into a rage, when Jack said to him: "Keep cool, master, keep cool," and pointed to his back.

So next day the master had sent Jack out with the sheep, but so that he should not sell any of them to get money for his lunch he sent his wife with them telling her to watch Jack from behind a bush, and if he tried to sell any of the sheep to stop him. But Jack saw her and didn't say anything or try and sell any of the sheep.

But next day, when he went out with them, he took with him his gun, and when the farmer's wife got behind the bush to watch him, he called out: "Ah, wolf, I see you," and fired his gun at her and hit her in the leg. She screamed out, and the master came running up and said:

"What's this, Jack, what's this?"

Then Jack said: "Why, master, I thought that was a wolf and I shot my gun at it and it turned out to be the missus."

"How dare you, you scoundrel, shoot my wife!" cried out the master.

"Don't be in a rage, master, don't be in a rage," said Jack.

"Anybody would be in a rage if his wife was shot," said the master.[120]

"Well, then," said Jack, "I'll have that strip off your back." And as there were witnesses present the master had to let Jack take a strip of skin from his back.

And with that he went home to his brothers.

The Pig's Tail


The Dummy


There was once a farmer who had a son named Will, and he sent him out in the world to learn a trade and seek his fortune. Now he hadn't gone far when he was stopped by a band of robbers who called out to him:

"Your purse or your life!"

And he gave them his purse and said: "That is an easy way of getting money, I'd like to be a robber myself."[122]

So they agreed to take him into their band if he could show he was able to do a robber's work. And the first person who went through the wood again they sent Will to see if he could rob him. So he went up to the man and said to him:

"Your purse or your life!"

The man gave him his purse, whereupon Will took all the money out of it and gave it back to the man and took the purse back to the robbers, who said:

"Well, what luck?"

"Oh, I got his purse from him quite easily; here it is."

"Well, what about the money?" said they.

"Well, that I gave back to him. You only asked me to say, 'Your purse or your life.'"

At that the robbers roared with laughter and said: "You'll never be a thief."

Will was quite ashamed of making such a fool of himself and determined he would do better next time.

So one day he saw two farmers driving a herd of cattle to market, and told the robbers that he knew a way to take the cattle from them without fighting for them.

"If you do that," said they, "you will be a Master Thief."

Then Will went a little way ahead of the robbers with a stout cord, which he tied under his armpits and then fixed himself upon a branch of a tree over the road so that it looked as if he had been hanged.[123]

When the farmers came with their cattle they said: "There's one of the robbers hung up for an example," and drove their cattle on farther.

Then Will got down, and running across a bypath got again in front of the farmers and hung himself up as before on a tree by the side of the road.

When the farmers came up to him one of them said: "Goodness gracious me, why there's the same robber hanged up here again."

"Oh, that's not the same robber," said the other.

"Yes, it is," said the first, "for I noticed he had a white horn button on his coat, and see, there it is. It must be the same man."

"How could that be?" said the other. "We left that one hanging up dead half a mile back."

"I am sure it is."

"I am certain it isn't."

"Well, give a good look at him, and we'll go back and see if it isn't the same."

So the farmers went back to look, and Will took their cattle and drove them back to the robbers, who agreed that he was a Master Thief.

He stopped with them for several years and made much money, and then drove back in a carriage and pair to his father's farm.

When he came there his father came to the carriage and bowed to him and asked him, "What is your pleasure, sir?"[124]

"Oh, I want to make some inquiries about a young fellow named William who used to be on this farm. What has become of him?"

"Oh, I don't know; he was my son and I have not heard from him for many years; I am afraid he has come to no good."

"Look at me closely and see if you see any resemblance to him."

Then the farmer recognized Will and took him into the farmhouse and called Will's mother to come and welcome him back.

"So, Will, you've come back in a carriage and pair," said she. "How have you earnt so much money?"

So Will told his mother that he had become a Master Thief but begged her not to mention it to any one, but to tell them that he had been an explorer and had found gold.

Well, the very next day a neighbouring gossip called in upon Will's mother and asked her to tell her the news about Will and what he had been doing.

So she said: "Oh, Will has been an exploiter, I mean explorer, but he really was a Master Thief. But you mustn't tell anybody; you'll promise, won't you?"

So the gossip promised, but of course the moment she got home she told all about Will being a Master Thief.

Now the lord of the village soon heard of this,[125] and he called Will up to him and said: "I hear you are a Master Thief. You know that you deserve death for that. But if you can prove that you are really a master in your thievery I will let you go free. First let us see whether you can steal my horse out of my stable to-night."

To prevent his horse being stolen, the lord ordered it to be saddled and put a stable boy on it, telling him to stop there all night.

Will took two flasks of brandy into one of which he had poured a drug, and dressing himself as an old woman he went to the lord's stable late at night and asked to rest there as it was so cold and she was so tired.

The stable boy pointed to some straw in the corner and told the woman she might rest there for a time.

When she sat down she took one of the brandy flasks out of her pocket and drank it off, saying, "Ah, that warms one! Would you like to have a drink?"

And when the stable boy said "Yes," Will gave him the other flask, and as soon as he had drunk it he fell dead asleep.

So Will lifted him off of the horse and put him on the cross-bar of the stable as if he were riding, and then he got on the horse and rode away.

In the morning the lord went down to the stable and there he saw the stable boy riding the cross-bar and his horse gone.[126]

Then Will rode up to the stable on the lord's horse and said: "Am I not a Master Thief?"

"Oh, stealing my horse was not so hard. Let us see if you can steal the sheet from off my bed to-night. But, look out, if you come near my bedroom I shall shoot you."

That night Will took a dummy man and propped it up on a ladder, which he put up to the lord's bedroom.

And when the lord saw the dummy coming in at the window he shot his pistol at it and it fell down. He rushed downstairs and out into the open air looking to see if he had shot Will.

Meanwhile Will went up to the lord's bedroom and, speaking in the lord's voice, said to his wife: "Give me the sheet, my dear, to wrap the body of that poor Master Thief in."

So she gave him the sheet and he went away.

Next morning Will brought up the sheet to the lord, who said: "That was a good trick, I must confess. But if you want really to prove that you are a Master Thief bring to me the priest in a bag, and then I will own your mastery."

So that night Will took a number of crabs and tied candle ends upon them, and taking them to the cemetery lit the candle ends and let them loose.

When the priest of the village saw these lights moving over the cemetery he came to the door and watched them and called out:

"What is that?"[127]

Now Will had dressed himself up like an angel.

"It is the last day of judgment, and I have come for thee, Father Lawrence, to carry thee to heaven. Come within this bag, and in a short time thou wilt be in thine appointed place."

So Father Lawrence crept within the bag, and Will dragged him along, and when he bumped against the ground Father Lawrence said:

"Oh, we must be going through purgatory."

And then Will took him to the hen-coops and threw him in among the chickens and ducks and geese, and Father Lawrence said:

"We must be getting near the angels for I hear the rustling of their wings."

So Will went up to the lord's house and made him come down to the hen-coops and there showed him the priest in the bag, and the lord said:

"I do not know how you do these things. I cannot tell if you are really a Master Thief unless you take my horse from under me. If you can do that I will call you the Master of all Master Thieves."

Well, next day, Will dressed himself up as an old woman, and taking a cart with an old horse put in it a cask of beer, and then went driving along with his thumb in the bunghole.

Soon after he met the lord on horseback who asked him if he had seen a man like Will lurking about there in the forest.

"I think I have," said Will, "and could bring[128] him to you if you wanted. But I can't leave this cask before the taps come out; I have to keep my thumb in the bunghole."

"Oh, I will do that," said the lord, "if you will only go and get that man. Take my horse and run him down."

So Will got on the lord's horse and rode off, leaving the nobleman with his thumb in the bunghole. He waited and he waited and he waited till at last he drove in the cart back to his house, and there he saw no less a person than Will himself riding his horse.

Then the noble said unto Will: "You are indeed a Master Thief. Go your way in peace."


Anima Goes down the Hole


Once upon a time there was a king and queen, as many a one has been, and they had three daughters, all of them beautiful; but the most beautiful of all was the youngest whose name was Anima. Now it happened one day that all three sisters were playing in the meadows, and Anima saw a bush with lovely flowers. As she wished to carry it home to plant in her own garden[130] she plucked at the root and plucked and plucked again. At last it gave way, and she saw beneath it a stairway going down farther into the earth. Being a brave girl and very curious as to where this could lead to, without calling her sisters, she crept down the stairs for a long, long way, till at last she came out into the open air again in a country which she had never seen before, and not far away, in front of her, she saw a magnificent palace.

Anima ran towards it, and when she came to the door she knocked at the knocker and it opened without anybody being there. So she went in and found all inside richly bedecked with marble walls and rich trappings; and, as she went along, lovely music broke out and came with her wherever she went. At last she came to a room with cosy couches, and she threw herself into one because she was tired with her searching. Scarcely had she done so, when there appeared a table coming towards her on wheels, without anybody moving it, and upon the table were delightful fruits and cakes and cool drinks of all kinds. So Anima took as much as she needed and fell into slumber and did not awake till it was getting dark. And then appeared through the air two large candlesticks, each with three candles in them; and they swam through the air and settled upon the tables near her, so that she had plenty of light. But she cried out: "Oh, I must go back to my father and mother; how shall I go? How shall I go?"[131]

Then a sweet voice near her spoke out and said: "Abide with me and be my bride, and thou shalt have all thy heart desires."

But Anima cried out in fear and trembling: "But who art thou? Who art thou? Come forth and let me see thee."

But the voice replied: "Nay, nay, that is forbidden. Never must thou look upon my face or we must part, for my mother, the Queen, wishes not that I should wed."

So sweet was his voice and so lonely did Anima feel, that she consented to become his bride, and they lived happily together, though he never came near her till all was dark, so that she could not see him. But after a time Anima became weary even with all these splendours and happiness, and wished to see her own people again, and said to her husband:

"Please may I go home and see my father and my mother and my dear sisters?"

"Nay, nay, child," said the voice of her husband, "ill will come of it if thou seest them again, and thou and I must part."

But she kept on begging him to let her return to her people for a visit, or at least to let them come and see her, till at last he consented and sent a message to her father and mother and sisters, asking them to come and spend some days with her, at a time when he himself would have to be absent.

So the King and Queen and Anima's two sisters[132] came and wondered at the splendours of her new home, and, above all, was surprised to find that they were waited on by invisible hands, who did all for them that they could wish for. But Anima's sisters soon became both curious and envious; they could not guess who or what her husband was, and envied her having so wonderful a household.

So one of them said to her: "But Anima, how marry a man without ever seeing him? There must be some reason why he will not show himself; perhaps he is deformed, or maybe he is some beast transformed."

But Anima laughed and said: "He is no beast, that I am sure; and see how kind he is to me. I do not care if he is not as handsome as he does."

Still the sisters kept on insisting that there must be something wrong where there was something concealed, and at last they got their mother the Queen to say to her as she was leaving: "Now, Anima, I think it right to know who and what thy husband is. Wait till he is asleep and light a lamp, and then see what he is."

Soon after this they all departed. And the same night her husband came to Anima again, but she had already prepared a lamp of oil with a spark of fire ready to kindle it. And when she heard him sleeping by her side she lit the candle and looked at him. She was delighted to find that he was most handsome, with a strong and well-made body. But as she was looking at him her hand trembled with delight and three drops of oil fell upon his cheek from the lamp she was holding. Then he woke up and saw her, and knew that she had broken her promise, and said:

"Oh, Anima, oh, Anima, why hast thou done this? Here we part until thou canst persuade my mother the Queen to let thee see me again."


The Lamp


With that came a rumbling of thunder and her lamp went out, and Anima fell to the ground in a swoon. And when she awoke the palace had disappeared and she was on a bleak, bleak moor. She walked and she walked till she came to a house by the wayside where an old woman received her and gave her something to eat and drink, and then asked Anima how she came there. So Anima told all that had happened to her, and the old woman said:

"Thou hast married my nephew, my sister's son, and I fear she will never forgive thee. But pluck up courage, go to her and demand thy husband, and she'll have to give him up to thee if thou canst do all that she demands from thee. Take this twig; if she asks what I think she will ask, strike it on the ground thrice and help will come to thee."

Then she told Anima the way to her husband's mother, and, as it was far distant, gave her directions where she could find another sister of hers who might help her. So she came to another house along the way where she saw another old woman, to whom she told her story, and this old woman,[136] the Queen's sister, gave her a raven's feather and told her how to use it.

At last Anima came to the palace of the Queen, the mother of her invisible husband, and when she came into her presence demanded to see him.

"What, thou low-born mortal," cried the Queen; "how didst thou dare to wed my son?"

"It was his choice," said Anima, "and I am now his wife. Surely you will let me see him once more."

"Well," said the Queen, "if thou canst do what I demand of thee thou shalt see my son again. And first go into that barn where my stupid stewards have poured together all the wheat and oats and rice into one great heap. If by nightfall thou canst separate them into three heaps perhaps I may grant thy request."

So Anima was led to the great barn of the Queen and there was a huge heap of grain all mixed together, and she was left alone, and the barn was closed upon her. Then she bethought herself of the twig that the Queen's sister had given her, and she struck it thrice upon the ground, whereupon thousands of ants came out of the ground and began to work upon the heap of grain, some of them taking the wheat to one corner, some the oats to another, and the rest carrying off the grains of rice to a third. By nightfall all the grain had been separated, and when the Queen came to let out Anima she found the task had been done.[137]

"Thou hast had help," she cried; "we'll see to-morrow if thou canst do something by thyself."

Next day the Queen took her into a large loft at the top of the palace almost filled with feathers of geese, of eider ducks, and of swans, and from her cupboard she took twelve mattresses and said:

"See these mattresses; by the end of the day thou must fill four of them with swans' feathers, four of them with eider-down, and the rest with feathers of geese. Do that and then we will see."

With that she left Anima and closed and locked the door behind her. And Anima remembered what the other Queen's sister had given her, and took out the raven's feather and waved it thrice. Immediately birds, and birds, and birds came flying through the windows, and each of them picked out different kinds of feathers and placed them in the mattresses, so that long before night the twelve mattresses were filled as the Queen had ordered.

Again at nightfall the Queen came in, and as soon as she saw that the second task had been carried out, she said:

"Again thou hast had help; to-morrow thou shalt have something to do which thou alone canst carry out."

Next day the Queen summoned her and gave her a small flask and a letter and said to her:

"Take these to my sister, the Queen of the Nether-World, and bring back what she will give to thee safely, and then I may let thee see my son."[138]

"How can I find your sister?" said Anima.

"That thou must find for thyself," and left her.

Poor Anima did not know which way to go, but as she walked along the voice of some one invisible to her said softly:

"Take with thee a copper coin and a loaf of bread and go down that deep defile there till thou comest to a deep river and there thou wilt see an old man ferrying people across the river. Put the coin between your teeth and let him take it from you, and he will carry you across, but speak not to him. Then, on the other side, thou wilt come to a dark cave, and at the entrance is a savage dog; give him the loaf of bread and he will let thee pass and thou wilt soon come to the Queen of the Nether-World. Take what she gives thee, but beware lest thou eat anything or sit down while thou art within the cave."

The Dog

Anima recognized the voice of her husband and did all that he had told her, till she came to the Queen of the Nether-World, who read the letter she had handed to her. Then she offered Anima cake and wine, but she refused, shaking her head, but saying nothing. Then the Queen of the Nether-World gave her a curiously wrought box and said to her:

"Take this, I pray thee, to my sister, but beware lest thou open it on the way or ill may befall thee," and then dismissed her.

Anima went back past the great dog and crossed[139] the dark river. When she got into the forest beyond she could not resist the temptation to open the box, and when she did so out jumped a number of little dolls, which commenced dancing about in front of her and around her and amused her much by their playful antics. But soon the night was coming on, and she wanted to put them into the box, and they ran away and hid behind the trees,[140] and Anima knew that she could not get them back. So she sat down upon the ground and wept, and wept, and wept. But at last she heard the voice of her husband once more, who said:

The Casket

"See what thy curiosity has again brought upon thee; thou canst not bring back the box to my mother just as my aunt the Queen of the Nether-World has given it to you, and so we shall not see one another again."

But at this Anima burst out into weeping and wailing so piteously that he took compassion on her and said:

"See that golden bough on yonder tree; pluck[141] it and strike the ground three times with it and see what thou wilt see."

Anima did as she had been told, and soon the little dolls came running from behind the trees and jumped of their own accord into the box; and she closed it quickly and took it back to the Queen, her husband's mother.

The Queen opened the box, and when she found all the little dolls were in it laughed aloud and said:

"I know who has helped thee; I cannot help myself; I suppose thou must have my son."

And as soon as she had said this Anima's husband appeared and took her to him, and they lived happy ever afterwards.


The Master-Maid with the Glass Axe


There was once a king and a queen and they had a bonny boy whom they loved beyond anything. Now when he was grown up into a fine young prince, the King, his father, went a-hunting one day and lost his way in the forest, and when he came through it he found a raging stream between him and his palace. He did not[143] know how to get home, when suddenly a huge giant came out of the forest and said:

"What would you give if I carried you across?"

"Anything, anything," said the King.

"Will you give me the first thing that meets you as you come to the palace gate?"

The King thought for a while and then remembered that whenever he came to the gate of the palace his favourite deerhound Bevis always came to greet him. So, though he was sorry to lose him, he thought it was worth while, and agreed with the giant.

Thereupon the giant took the King upon his shoulders and wading across the raging stream landed him on the farther bank and saying to him, "Remember what you have promised," went back again to the other side.

The King soon found his way towards the palace, but as he came to the palace gate it happened that his son Prince Edgar was standing there, and before Bevis the hound could dash out to greet his master, Prince Edgar had rushed towards his father and caught him by the hand. The King was rather startled but thought to himself:

"Oh, how will the giant know who met me? After all I intended to give him Bevis, and that's what I'll do when he comes."

The next day the giant came to the castle gates and asked to see the King, and when he was admitted to his presence he said:[144]

"I come for your promise."

"Bring Bevis the hound," said the King to his attendants.

But the giant said: "I want no hound; give me your Prince."

The King was alarmed at finding that the giant knew who had met him; but he told him that the Prince was away, but he would send and summon him. Then he called his High Steward and told him to dress up the herd-boy of the palace in some of the Prince's clothes. And when this was done he gave him to the giant, who hoisted him on his shoulder and strode off with him.

When they had gone a little way along the herd-boy in the Prince's suit called out:

"Stop, stop, I am hungry; this is the time the herd rests and I have my luncheon."

Then the giant knew that he had been deceived and went back to the King's palace and said to him:

"Take your herd-boy and give me the Prince."

The King was again startled to find that the giant had found out his trick, but thought to himself:

"Well, he didn't find out at once; we'll have another try," and ordered his Steward to dress up the shepherd boy in the Prince's clothes and give him to the giant.

Again the giant strode off with the shepherd boy in Prince's clothes upon his shoulder, and they had not gone far when the boy called out:


The Prince wants his Lunch


"Stop, stop, it is time for lunch; this is when the sheep all rest."

Then again the giant knew that he had been tricked and rushed back in a rage to the King's palace and threw the shepherd boy to the ground and called out:

"Take your shepherd boy and give me the Prince you promised, or it will be worse for you."

This time the King dared not refuse and called Prince Edgar to him and gave him to the giant, who seized him as before and put him on his shoulder.

After they had gone a little way, the Prince called out:

"'Tis time to stop; this is the time I have always lunched with my father the King and my mother the Queen."

Then the giant knew that he had got the right Prince and took him home to his castle. When he got him there he gave him his supper and told him that he would have to work for him and that his first work would be next day to clean out the stable.

"That's not much," thought the Prince, and went to bed quite happy and comfortable.

Next day the giant took Edgar into the giant's stable, which was full of straw and dirt and all huddled up, and pointing to a pitchfork said:

"Clear all of this straw out of this stable by to-night," and left him to his task.

The Prince thought this was an easy thing to do,[148] and before starting went to get a drink at the well, and there he saw a most beautiful maiden sitting by the well and knitting.

"Who are you?" said she.

And so he told her all that had happened and said:

"At any rate I have an easy master; all he has given me to do is to clear out the stable."

"That is not so easy as you think," said the maid. "How are you going to do it?"

"With a pitchfork."

"You will find that not so easy; if you try to use the pitchfork in the ordinary way, the more you shove the more there will be; but turn the pitchfork upside-down and push with the handle and all the straw and stuff will run away from it."

So Prince Edgar went back to the stable, and sure enough, when he tried to push the straw with the fork it only grew more and more, but if he turned the handle towards it the straw moved away from the fork and so he soon cleared it out of the stable.

When the giant came home the first thing he did was to go to the stable; and when he saw it had all been cleared out he said to the Prince:

"Ah, you've been talking to my Master-Maid. Well, to-morrow you'll have to cut down that clump of trees."

"Very well, Master," said Prince Edgar, and thought that would not be difficult.

But next morning the giant gave him an axe[149] made of glass and told him that he must cut down every one of the trees before nightfall.

When he had gone away, the Prince went to the Master-Maid and told her what his task was.

"You cannot do that with such an axe, but never mind, I can help you. Sleep here in peace and when you wake up you will see what you will see."

So Prince Edgar trusted the Master-Maid and lay down and slept till late in the afternoon, when he woke up and looked, and there were the trees all felled and the Master-Maid was smiling by his side.

"How did you do it?" he said.

"That I may not say, but done it is, and that is all that you need care for."

When the giant came home, the first thing he did was to go to the clump of trees and found, to his surprise, that they had all been felled.

"Ah, you've spoken to my Master-Maid," he said once more.

"Who is she?" said the Prince.

"You know well enough," said the giant. "But for her you could not have cut down those trees with that glass axe."

"I do not know what you mean," said the Prince. "But at any rate, there you have your trees cut down, what more do you want?"

"Well, well," grumbled the giant, "we'll see to-morrow whether you can do what I tell you then," and would not say what his task should be next day.[150]

When the morning came, the giant pointed to the tallest tree in the forest near them, and said:

"Do you see that birds' nest in the top of that tree? In it are six eggs; you must climb up there and get all those eggs for me before nightfall, and if one is broken woe betide you!"

At that Prince Edgar did not feel so happy, for there were no branches to the tree till very near the top, and it was as smooth, as smooth as it could be, and he did not see how possibly he could reach the birds' nest. But when the giant had gone out for the day he went at once to the Master-Maid and told her of his new task.

"That is the hardest of all," said the Master-Maid. "There is only one way to do the task. You must cut me up into small pieces and take out my bones, and out of the bones you must make a ladder, and with that ladder you can reach the top."

"That I will never do," said the Prince. "You've been so good to me, shall I do you harm? Before that, I should suffer whatever punishment the giant will give me for not carrying out the task."

"But all will be well," said the Master-Maid. "As soon as you have brought down the nest, all that you will have to do is to put the bones together and sprinkle on them the water from this flask, and then I shall be whole again just as before."

After much persuasion the Prince agreed to[151] do what the Master-Maid had told him, and made a ladder out of her bones and climbed up to the top of the tree and took the birds' nest with the six eggs in it, and then he put the bones together, but forgot to put one little bone in its proper place.

So when he had sprinkled the water over the bones the Master-Maid stood up before him just as before, but the little finger of her left hand was not there. She cried and said:

"Ah, why did you not do what I told you—put all my bones together in their place? You forgot my little finger; I shall never have one all the days of my life."

When the giant came home, he asked the Prince:

"Where is the birds' nest?"

And the Prince brought it to him with the eggs all safe within it. And then the giant said:

"Ah, you have spoken to my Master-Maid."

"Whom do you mean by your Master-Maid?" said the Prince. "There are your eggs, what more do you want?"

But the giant said: "Well, as the Master-Maid has helped you so far she can help you always. You shall marry her today and sleep in my own four-poster."

The Prince was well content with that arrangement and went and sought the Master-Maid and told her what the giant had said.

The Master-Maid wept and said: "You know not what he means. His four-poster rolls up and[152] would crush us and we would be dead before the morning. Let me think, let me think."

So the Master-Maid took an apple and divided it into six parts and put two at the foot of the bed and two at the door of the room and two at the foot of the stairs.

When night came, the Master-Maid and her Prince went up into the room with the four-poster, but as soon as it was dark crept down the stairs and went out to the stable and chose two of the swiftest horses there and rode away as quickly as they could.

The giant waited for some time after they had gone upstairs and then called out:

"Are you asleep?"

And the two apple shares near the bed called out:

"Not yet, not yet!"

So after waiting some time he called out again:

"Are you asleep?"

And the apple shares at the door called out:

"Not yet, not yet!"

And still a third time the giant called out:

"Are you asleep?"

And the apple shares on the stairs replied:

"Not yet, not yet!"

Then the giant knew that the voice was outside the bedroom, and rushed up to find Edgar and his bride, but found they were gone. He rushed to the stable and chose his great horse Dapplegrim and rode after Prince Edgar and the Master-Maid.[153]

They had gone on a good way in front; but after a time they heard the trampling of the hoofs of the great horse Dapplegrim, and the Master-Maid said to Prince Edgar:

"That is the giant; he will soon overtake us if we do not do something." And she jumped off her horse and bade Prince Edgar do the same.

Then the Master-Maid took three twigs and threw them behind her with magic spells; and they grew and they grew and they grew, till they became a huge thick forest. And the Master-Maid and Edgar jumped upon their horses again and rode away as fast as they could.

But the giant, as soon as he came to the forest, had to take his axe from his side and hew his way through the thick trees, so that Edgar and the Master-Maid got far ahead. But soon they heard once more the trampling of Dapplegrim close behind them; and the Master-Maid took the glass axe that the giant had given Edgar on the second day, and threw it behind her with magic spells. And a huge glass mountain rose behind them, so that the giant had to stop and split his way through the glass mountain.

Edgar and the Master-Maid rode on at full speed, but once again they heard Dapplegrim trampling behind them, and the Master-Maid took the flask of water from her side and cast it down back of her, and out of it gushed a huge stream.

When the giant came up to the stream and tried[154] to make Dapplegrim swim through it he would not; and then he lay down on the bank of the stream and commenced to drink up as much of it as he could. And he drank and he drank and he drank, till at last he swallowed so much that he burst; and that was the end of the giant.

The Giant Tries to Drink the Stream

Meanwhile Edgar and the Master-Maid had ridden on fast and furious till they came near where the palace of the King, Edgar's father, could be seen in the far distance. And Edgar said:

"Let me go on first and tell my father and[155] mother all that you have done for me, and they will welcome you as their daughter."

The Master-Maid shook her head sadly and said:

"Do as you will, but beware lest any one kiss you before you see me again."

"I want no kisses from any one but you," said Prince Edgar, and leaving her in a hut by the roadside he went on to greet the King and Queen.

When he got to the palace gate everybody was astonished to see him, as they had all thought he had been destroyed by the giant. And when they took him to the Queen, his mother, she rushed to him and kissed him before he could say nay.

No sooner had his mother kissed him than all memory of the Master-Maid disappeared from his mind. And when he told his mother and his father what he had done in the giant's castle and how he had escaped, he said nothing of the help given him by the Master-Maid.

Soon afterwards the King and the Queen arranged for the marriage of Prince Edgar with a great Princess from a neighbouring country. And she was brought home with great pomp and ceremony to the King's palace. And one day after her marriage, when she was out, she passed by the hut in which the Master-Maid was dwelling.

Now the Master-Maid had put on that day a beautiful dress of rich silk, and when the Prince's wife saw it she went to the Master-Maid and said:[156]

"I should like that dress. Will you not sell it to me?"

"Yes," said the Master-Maid, "but at a price you are not likely to give."

"What do you want for it?" said the Princess.

"I want to spend one night in the room of your bridegroom, Prince Edgar."

At first the Princess would not think of such a thing; but after thinking the matter over she thought of a plan, and said:

"Well, you shall have your wish," and took away with her the silken dress.

But at night, when the Master-Maid came to the palace and claimed her promise, the Princess put a sleep-giving drug in Edgar's cup.

When the Master-Maid came into Edgar's room she bent over his bed and cried:

"I cleaned the byre for thee,
I swung the axe for thee,
And now thou'lt not speak to me."

But still Edgar slept on, and in the morning the Master-Maid had to leave without speaking to him.

Next day, when the Princess went out to see what the Master-Maid had been doing, she found her dressed in a rich silver dress, and said to her:

"Will you sell that dress to me?"

And the Master-Maid said, "Yes, at a price."[157]

Then the Princess said, "What price?"

"One night in Edgar's room," replied the Master-Maid.

The Princess knew what had happened the night before, so she agreed to let the Master-Maid pass still another night with her bridegroom. But all happened as before; and when the Master-Maid came into the room she bent over Edgar, lying upon the bed, and called out:

"I gave my bones for thee,
I shared the apples for thee,
And yet thou'lt not speak to me";

and had to leave him as before, without his waking up.

But this time Prince Edgar had heard something of what she said in his sleep. And when he woke up he asked his chamberlain what had happened during the night. And he told the Prince that for two nights running a maiden had been in his room and sung to him, but he had not answered.

Next day the Princess sought out the Master-Maid as before. And this time she was dressed in a dress of shining gold; and for that the Princess agreed to let her spend one more night in the Prince's room.

But this time the Prince, guessing what had happened, threw away the wine-cup, in which the Princess had placed the sleeping draught, and lay[158] awake on his bed when the Master-Maid came in. She bent over him and cried:

"I grew the forest for thee,
I made the glass mount for thee,
For thee a stream flowed from my magic flask,
And yet thou'lt not wake and speak to me."

But this time Prince Edgar rose up in bed and recognized the Master-Maid, and called in his father and his mother and told them all that had happened, which had now come back to him.

So the Princess was sent back to her home, and Edgar married the Master-Maid and lived happy ever afterwards.


The Visitor


There was once a woman, good but simple, who had been twice married. One day when her husband was in the field—of course that was her second husband, you know—a weary tramp came trudging by her door and asked for a drink of water. When she gave it to[160] him, being rather a gossip, she asked where he came from.

"From Paris," said the man.

The woman was a little bit deaf, and thought the man said from Paradise.

"From Paradise! Did you meet there my poor dear husband, Lord rest his soul?"

"What was his name?" asked the man.

"Why, John Goody, of course," said the woman. "Did you know him in Paradise?"

"What, John Goody!" said the man. "Him and me was as thick as thieves."

"Does he want for anything?" said the woman. "I suppose up in Paradise you get all you want."

"All we want! Why, look at me," said the man pointing to his rags and tatters. "They treat some of us right shabby up there."

"Dear me, that's bad. Are you likely to go back?"

"Go back to Paradise, marm; I should say! We have to be in every night at ten."

"Well, perhaps you wouldn't mind taking back some things for my poor old John," said the woman.

"In course, marm, delighted to help my old chum John."

So the woman went indoors and got a big pile of clothes and a long pipe and three bottles of beer, and a beer jug, and gave them to the man.

"But," he said, "please marm, I can't carry all[161] these by my own self. Ain't you got a horse or a donkey that I can take along with me to carry them? I'll bring them back to-morrow."

Then the woman said, "There's our old Dobbin in the stable; I can't lend you mare Juniper cos my husband's ploughing with her just now."

"Ah, well, Dobbin'll do as its only till to-morrow."

So the woman got out Dobbin and saddled him, and the man took the clothes and the beer and the pipe and rode off with them.

Shortly afterwards her husband came home and said,

"What's become of Dobbin? He's not in the stable."

So his wife told him all that had happened. And he said,

"I don't like that. How do we know that he is going to Paradise? And how do we know that he'll bring Dobbin back to-morrow? I'll saddle Juniper and get the things back. Which way did he go?"

So he saddled Juniper and rode after the man, who saw him coming afar off and guessed what had happened. So he got off from Dobbin and drove him into a clump of trees near the roadside, and then went and laid down on his back and looked up to the sky.

When the farmer came up to him he got down from Juniper and said, "What are you doing there?"[162]

"Oh, such a funny thing," said the man; "a fellow came along here on a horse with some clothes and things, and when he got to the top of the hill here he simply gave a shout and the horse went right up into the sky; and I was watching him when you came up."

"Oh, it's all right then," said the farmer. "He's gone to Paradise, sure enough," and went back to his wife.

Next day they waited, and they waited for the man to bring back Dobbin; but he didn't come that day nor the next day, nor the next. So the farmer said to his wife,

"My dear, we've been done. But I'll find that man if I have to trudge through the whole kingdom. And you must come with me, as you know him."

"But what shall we do with the house?" said the wife. "You know there have been robbers around here, and while we are away they'll come and take my best chiny."

"Oh, that's all right," said the farmer. "He who minds the door minds the house. So we'll take the door with us and then they can't get in."

So he took the door off its hinges and put it on his back and they went along to find the man from Paradise. So they went along, and they went along, and they went along till night came, and they didn't know what to do for shelter. So the man said,[163]

"That's a comfortable tree there; let us roost in the branches like the birds." So they took the door up with them and laid down to sleep on it as comfortable, as comfortable can be.

Up the Tree

Now it happened that a band of robbers had just broken into a castle near by and taken out a great lot of plunder; and they came under the very tree to divide it. And when they began to[164] settle how much each should have they began to quarrel and woke up the farmer and his wife. They were so frightened when they heard the robbers underneath them that they tried to get up farther into the tree, and in doing so let the door fall down right on the robbers' heads.

"The heavens are falling," cried the robbers, who were so frightened that they all rushed away. And the farmer and his wife came down from the tree and collected all the booty and went home and lived happy ever afterwards.

It was and it was not.


The Snake


A man was walking through the forest one day when he saw a funny black thing like a whip wriggling about under a big stone. He was curious to know what it all meant. So he lifted up the stone and found there a huge black snake.

"That's well," said the snake. "I have been trying to get out for two days, and, Oh, how hungry I am. I must have something to eat, and there is nobody around, so I must eat you."

"But that wouldn't be fair," said the man with a trembling voice. "But for me you would never have come out from under the stone."[166]

"I do not care for that," said the snake. "Self-preservation is the first law of life; you ask anybody if that isn't so."

"Any one will tell you," said the man, "that gratitude is a person's first duty, and surely you owe me thanks for saving your life."

"But you haven't saved my life, if I am to die of hunger," said the snake.

"Oh yes, I have," said the man; "all you have to do is to wait till you find something to eat."

"Meanwhile I shall die, and what's the use of being saved!"

So they disputed and they disputed whether the case was to be decided by the claims of gratitude or the rights of self-preservation, till they did not know what to do.

"I tell you what I'll do," said the snake, "I'll let the first passer-by decide which is right."

"But I can't let my life depend upon the word of the first comer."

"Well, we'll ask the first two that pass by."

"Perhaps they won't agree," said the man; "what are we to do then? We shall be as badly off as we are now."

"Ah, well," said the snake, "let it be the first three. In all law courts it takes three judges to make a session. We'll follow the majority of votes."

So they waited till at last there came along an old, old horse. And they put the case to him, whether gratitude should ward off death.[167]

"I don't see why it should," said the horse. "Here have I been slaving for my master for the last fifteen years, till I am thoroughly worn out, and only this morning I heard him say, 'Roger'—that's my name—'is no use to me any longer; I shall have to send him to the knacker's and get a few pence for his hide and his hoofs.' There's gratitude for you."

So the horse's vote was in favour of the snake. And they waited till at last an old hound passed by limping on three legs, half blind with scarcely any teeth. So they put the case to him.

"Look at me," said he; "I have slaved for my master for ten years, and this very day he has kicked me out of his house because I am no use to him any longer, and he grudged me a few bones to eat. So far as I can see nobody acts from gratitude."

"Well," said the snake, "there's two votes for me. What's the use of waiting for the third? he's sure to decide in my favour, and if he doesn't it's two to one. Come here and I'll eat you!"

"No, no," said the man, "a bargain's a bargain; perhaps the third judge will be able to convince the other two and my life will be saved."

So they waited and they waited, till at last a fox came trotting along; and they stopped him and explained to him both sides of the case. He sat up and scratched his left ear with his hind paw, and after a while he beckons the man to come near him. And when he did so the fox whispered,[168]

"What will you give me if I get you out of this?"

The man whispered back, "A pair of fat chickens."

"Well," said the fox, "if I am to decide this case I must clearly understand the situation. Let me see! If I comprehend aright, the man was lying under the stone and the snake——"

"No, no," cried out the horse and the hound and the snake. "It was the other way."

"Ah, ha, I see! The stone was rolling down and the man sat on it, and then——"

"Oh, how stupid you are," they all cried; "it wasn't that way at all."

"Dear me, you are quite right. I am very stupid, but, really, you haven't explained the case quite clearly to me."

"I'll show you," said the snake, impatient from his long hunger; and he twisted himself again under the stone and wriggled his tail till at last the stone settled down upon him and he couldn't move out. "That's the way it was."

"And that's the way it will be," said the fox, and, taking the man's arm, he walked off, followed by the horse and the hound. "And now for my chickens."

"I'll go and get them for you," said the man, and went up to his house, which was near, and told his wife all about it.

"But," she said, "why waste a pair of chickens on a foxy old fox! I know what I'll do."[169]

So she went into the back yard and unloosed the dog and put it into a meal-bag and gave it to the man, who took it down and gave it to the fox, who trotted off with it to his den.

But when he opened the bag out sprung the dog and gobbled him all up.

There's gratitude for you.


The Three Ravens


There was once a king who had long been unmarried. Now one day, going through his palace, he came to a room that he had never opened before. So he sent for the key and entered it, and opposite the door was the picture of a most beautiful princess with skin white as snow and cheeks red as blood and hair black as ebony. No sooner had he seen this picture than he fell in love with it and asked who she was.

His chamberlain said, "That is the Princess of the Golden Horde, with which your Majesty's kingdom has been at war these last twenty years.[171] Only three years ago, when your Majesty's father was alive, there was some talk of peace and of betrothing you to her, and that was when her portrait was sent here. But now the two kingdoms are at war and it does not seem that peace will ever come."

But though there was no hope of marrying her the King could not help but think of the Princess of the Golden Horde, and thought and thought till he became quite pale and sick with love for her. Now he had a faithful servant, the son of his own nurse, and thus his foster-brother, and he was so devoted to the King that everybody called him John the True.

When John the True saw his foster-brother pining away he went to him and said:

"What ails thee, Oh sire?" for he alone had the right of calling the King "thou."

Then said the King to John the True:

"Come and I will show thee, John." And he took him to the closed chamber and showed him the portrait and told him how he felt towards the Princess of the Golden Horde.

"Be of good cheer," said John the True; "I will go and fetch her for thee."

"How can that be?" said the King; "we are at war with the Golden Horde, and they would never give her to be my bride."

"Leave that to me," said John the True; "give me only a ship full of merchandise and put in it a[172] complete set of furniture made all of gold, and see if I do not bring the Princess back to thee."

So the King did all that John the True demanded. And he sailed away with the ship and its merchandise to the country of the Golden Horde. And when he came there to the chief port he did not declare from what country he was but sent up, as tribute to the King of the Golden Horde, a beautiful chair all made of gold.

Now when the King saw this he became curious about this merchant and his wares, and came down with his Queen and the Princess to view the rarities. And when he saw the set of furniture all made of gold he asked John the True what its price was.

But John said it was not for sale, but that he kept it to make gifts of tribute to the kings whose realm he was visiting.

But the Princess had set her heart upon one dressing-table all of gold, with crystal mirrors and lovely fittings, and asked John if he could not sell it to her.

But John said, "No, that is kept for a special purpose, which I am not allowed to tell."

This aroused the curiosity of the Princess, and later on towards the evening she came down with only one maid to see if she could not persuade John to let her have the dressing-table.

When she came on board John went to the captain and told him to set sail as soon as the Princess went down into the cabin. And when she came[173] there he began telling her a long story, how that his master the King had sent him to visit all the kingdoms of the earth, and that this dressing-table was intended for the most beautiful princess whom he should come across in his travels.

And then the Princess wanted to know whether he would have to finish his travels before giving the table, and what the King expected from the Princess.

John told her that everything was left to him and that, when he found a princess with skin as white as snow, and cheeks as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony, he was to present the table to her.

Then the Princess looked in the mirror and said:

"Have I not skin as white as snow, and cheeks as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony? Then give me the table."

But just then she began to feel the motion of the ship and knew that it was sailing away, and commenced to shriek and cry. But John told her all that had happened, and how that he had come only for her, and that his foster-brother the King was dying for love of her, and could not come himself because the two countries were at war. So at last the Princess became content, and they sailed on and on towards the country of John the True.

As they were nearing land John was sitting in the prow, and the Princess was reclining on a couch on deck, and three black ravens were flying about the mast of the vessel. Now John, being the[174] son of a huntsman, knew the language of birds; and he listened to what they said, and this was it:

"Caw, caw!" said the first raven. "There sits the Princess of the Golden Horde, thinking that she will marry John's master the King. But I know something which will prevent that."

"What is that?" asked the second raven.

"Why," said the first, "when the Princess lands and the King meets her they will bring out to him a bay horse richly caparisoned, with a pillion for the Princess. And if the King takes her with him on the horse he will run away with them and dash them both to pieces. Caw, caw!"

"But is there no remedy for that?" said the third raven.

"Only if some one cuts off the head of the horse, or tells the King; but woe unto him if he does that, for as soon as he has told he will become marble up to his knees. Caw, caw!"

"Even if he escapes that," said the second raven, "the King would never marry the Princess, for at the wedding feast wine will be presented to him, in a glass goblet, and at the first drop of it he drinks he will fall down dead. Caw, caw!"

"But is there nothing to remedy that?" asked the first raven.

"Only if some one dashes the glass from his hand, or tells of the danger; but if he tells he will become marble up to his waist. Caw, caw!"

"Caw, caw!" said the third raven. "There is[175] still another danger. On the wedding night a dreadful dragon will creep into the bridal chamber and kill both King and Princess. And there is no remedy against that unless some one drives off the dragon or tells of the danger. But if he tells he will become marble from head to foot. Caw, caw!"

When John the True heard all this he made up his mind he would save his brother the King without telling him of the dangers that threatened him. And when they neared the shore he caused a trumpet to be sounded three times, which was the signal agreed upon between himself and the King, that he had succeeded in bringing back the Princess of the Golden Horde.

So the King came quickly down to the ship in all his glory and received with joy the Princess, and thanked John the True for his faithful service.

When it came time for the King to lead the Princess to his palace, some one brought forth a noble bay horse richly caparisoned and with a pillion at the back of the saddle for the Princess to ride on. And just as the King gave her his hand and was about to mount the horse, John the True drew his sword and cut off the head of the bay horse.

"Treason, treason!" cried the courtiers. "John the True has drawn his sword in the King's presence."

But the King said, "What John the True does is done for me. Let a coach be brought and we will return to the palace."[176]

So the King and the Princess and John the True went to the palace, and preparations were made for a grand wedding. And on the day of the wedding there was a great banquet held, and at the beginning a glass of wine was brought forth and presented to the King, and just as he was lifting it to his lips John the True, who stood behind the King's throne, rushed forward and dashed the goblet to the ground.

"Treason, treason!" cried the courtiers. "John the True is mad."

"Nay, nay," said the King; "what John the True does is for our good. Wherefore did'st thou do that, John?"

"That I must not say," said John the True.

"Well, well," said the King; "doubtless thou hadst thy reasons; let the banquet proceed."

On the night of the wedding John the True took his place with drawn sword before the bridal chamber, and watched and watched and watched. Towards midnight he heard a rustling in the bridal chamber and, rushing in, saw a winged dragon coming through the window towards the King and Princess. He dashed towards it and wounded it with his sword, so that it flew out of the window, dropping blood on the way.

But the noise that John the True had made awakened the King and Queen, and they saw him before them with sword dripping with blood. And not recognizing him at first, the King called out for[177] his guard, who came in quickly and seized John the True.

When the King saw who it was he asked John if he had any explanation of his conduct, and John said:

"That I may not say."

"This is more than I can bear," said the King. "Perhaps love has turned thy brain."

And turning to the captain of his guard, the King said, "Let him be executed in the morning in our presence."

When the morning came everything was ready for John's execution, when he stood forth and said to the King:

"If your Majesty wills, I will explain my conduct."

"So be it," said the King; "I trust thou wilt prove that thou art indeed John the True."

And John the True told the King and the Queen and the courtiers all that had occurred and what he had heard from the ravens, and how he had saved the life of the King and the Queen by wounding the dragon on the preceding night. But as he told why he killed the horse his legs became marble up to the knees. And when he explained why he had dashed the poisoned wine-cup from the King's hand, the marble came up to his waist. And when he explained how he had turned the dragon from the bridal chamber, his whole body became marble from head to foot.[178]

Then the King knew what a faithful servant he had in John the True; and he bade his men to place the marble body on a golden stand on which was written, "This is John the True who gave his life for his King." And whenever the soldiers and the courtiers passed it they gave it a salute.

Now after a time there came to the Queen two little twin boys, whom she loved better than all the world. And they grew and they grew, till they learned to speak. And every time they passed the statue of John the True they would raise their little hands and give it a salute, for the Queen, their mother, had told them what John the True had done for their father and her.

But one night the Queen dreamed that a voice from Heaven said to her, "John the True can live again if the two Princes be slain for his sake and his body smeared with their blood."

The Queen told this dream to the King, and they were terrified at it, but thought it only a dream. But twice again the same dream came to the Queen on the following two nights; and then she said to her husband the King,

"John the True gave his life for us; I feel we ought to give our children for him."

The King at last agreed to the terrible sacrifice, and the heads of the two Princes were cut off, and the statue of John smeared with their blood, when it came to life and John the True lived again.

But when he learned how he had been brought to[179] life again, he asked to have the bodies of the Princes brought to his chamber, and, going to the bridal chamber, scraped from the floor some of the dragon's blood that had fallen there, and went back into his chamber and closed the door.

Shortly after, the King and the Queen heard the voices of their sons calling out for them; and when the door was opened there they were alive again.

So the King and the Queen and the Princes lived together in all joy, with their faithful servant John the True.

The Wounded Dragon


The Witch


There was once a poor farmer who had two children named Johnnie and Grizzle. Now things grew worse and worse for the farmer till he could scarcely earn enough to eat and drink. All his crops went to pay rent and taxes. So one night he said to his wife,

"Betty, my dear, I really do not know what to[181] do; there is scarcely anything in the house to eat, and in a few days we shall all be starving. What I think of doing is to take the poor lad and lassie into the forest and leave them there; if somebody finds them they will surely keep them alive, and if nobody finds them they might as well die there as here; I cannot see any other way; it is their lives or ours; and if we die what can become of them?"

"No, no, father," said the farmer's wife; "wait but a few days and perhaps something will turn up."

"We have waited and have waited and things are getting worse every day; if we wait much longer we shall all be dead. No, I am determined on it; to-morrow the children to the forest."

Now it happened that Johnnie was awake in the next room and heard his father and his mother talking. He said nothing but thought and thought and thought; and early next morning he went out and picked a large number of bright-coloured pebbles and put them in his pocket. After breakfast, which consisted of bread and water, the farmer said to Johnnie and Grizzle,

"Come, my dears, I am going to take you for a walk," and with that he went with them into the forest near-by.

Johnnie said nothing, but dropped one of his pebbles at every turning, which would show him the way back. When they got far into the forest the farmer said to the children,[182]

"My dears, I have to go and get something. Stay here and don't go away, and I'll soon come back. Give me a kiss, children," and with that he hurried away and went back home by another road.

After a time Grizzle began to cry and said,

"Where's father? Where's father? We can't get home. We can't get home."

But Johnnie said, "Never mind, Grizzle, I can take you home; you just follow me."

So Johnnie looked out for the pebbles he had dropped, and found them at each turn of the road, and a little after midday got home and asked their mother for their dinner.

"There's nothing in the house, children, but you can go and get some water from the well and, please God, we'll have bread in the morning."

When the farmer came home he was astonished to find that the children had found their way home, and could not imagine how they had done so. But at night he said to his wife,

"Betty, my dear, I do not know how the children came home; but that does not make any difference; I cannot bear to see them starve before my eyes, better that they should starve in the forest. I will take them there again to-morrow."

Johnnie heard all this and crept downstairs and put some more pebbles into his pocket; and though the farmer took them this time further into the forest the same thing occurred as the day before.[183] But this time Grizzle said to her mother and father,

"Johnnie did such a funny thing; whenever we turned a new road he dropped pebbles. Wasn't that funny? And when we came back he looked for the pebbles, and there they were; they had not moved."

Then the farmer knew how he had been done, and as evening came on he locked all the doors so that Johnnie could not get out to get any pebbles. In the morning he gave them a hunk of bread as before for their breakfast and told them he was going to take them into the nice forest again. Grizzle ate her bread, but Johnnie put his into his pocket, and when they got inside the forest at every turning he dropped a few crumbs of his bread. When his father left them he tried to trace his way back by means of these crumbs. But, alas, and alackaday! The little birds had seen the crumbs and eaten them all up, and when Johnnie went to search for them they had all disappeared.

So they wandered and they wandered, more and more hungry all the time, till they came to a glade in which there was a funny little house; and what do you think it was made of? The door was made of butter-scotch, the windows of sugar candy, the bricks were all chocolate creams, the pillars of lollypops, and the roof of gingerbread.

No sooner had the children seen this funny little[184] house than they rushed up to it and commenced to pick pieces off the door, and take out some of the bricks, while Johnnie climbed on Grizzle's back, and tore off some of the roof (what was that made of?). Just as they were eating all this the door opened and a little old woman, with red eyes, came out and said,

"Naughty, naughty children to break up my house like that. Why didn't you knock at the door and ask to have something, and I would gladly give it to you?"

"Please ma'am," said Johnnie, "I will ask for something; I am so, so hungry, or else I wouldn't have hurt your pretty roof."

"Come inside my house," said the old woman, and let them come into her parlour. And that was made all of candies, the chairs and table of maple-sugar, and the couch of cocoanut. But as soon as the old woman got them inside her door she seized hold of Johnnie and took him through the kitchen and put him in a dark cubby-hole, and left him there with the door locked.

Now this old woman was a witch, who looked out for little children, whom she fattened up and ate. So she went back to Grizzle, and said,

"You shall be my little servant and do my work for me, and, as for that brother of yours, he'll make a fine meal when he's fattened up."

So this witch kept Johnnie and Grizzle with her, making Grizzle do all the housework, and[185] every morning she went to the cubby-hole in which she kept Johnnie and gave him a good breakfast, and later in the day a good dinner, and at night a good supper; but after she gave him his supper she would say to him,

"Put out your forefinger," and when he put it out the old witch, who was nearly blind, felt it and muttered,

"Not fat enough yet!"

After a while Johnnie felt he was getting real fat and was afraid the witch would eat him up. So he searched about till he found a stick about the size of his finger, and when the old witch asked him to put out his finger he put out the stick, and she said,

"Goodness gracious me, the boy is as thin as a lath! I must feed him up more."

So she gave him more and more food, and every day he put out the stick till at last one day he got careless, and when she took the stick it fell out of his hand, and she felt what it was. So she flew into a terrible rage and called out,

"Grizzle, Grizzle, make the oven hot. This lad is fat enough for Christmas."

Poor Grizzle did not know what to do, but she had to obey the witch. So she piled the wood on under the oven and set it alight. And after a while the old witch said to her,

"Grizzle, Grizzle, is the oven hot?"

And Grizzle said, "I don't know, mum."[186]

And when the witch asked her again whether it was hot enough, Grizzle said,

"I do not know how hot an oven ought to be."

"Get away, get away," said the old witch; "I know, let me see." And she poked her old head into the oven. Then Grizzle pushed her right into the oven and closed the door and rushed out into the back yard and let Johnnie out of the cubby-hole.

Then Johnnie and Grizzle ran away towards the setting sun where they knew their own house was, till at last they came to a broad stream too deep for them to wade. But just at that moment they looked back, and what do you think they saw? The old witch, by some means or other, had got out of the oven and was rushing after them. What were they to do? What were they to do?

Suddenly Grizzle saw a fine big duck swimming towards them, and she called out:

"Duck, duck, come to me,
Johnnie and Grizzle depend upon thee;
Take Johnnie and Grizzle on thy back,
Or else they'll be eaten—"

And the duck said,

"Quack! Quack!"

Then the duck came up to the bank, and Johnnie and Grizzle went into the water and, by resting[187] their hands on the duck's back, swam across the stream just as the old witch came up.

At first she tried to make the duck come over and carry her, but the duck said, "Quack! Quack!" and shook its head.

Then she lay down and commenced swallowing up the stream, so that it should run dry and she could get across. She drank, and she drank, and she drank, and she drank, till she drank so much that she burst!

So Johnnie and Grizzle ran back home, and when they got there they found that their father the farmer had earned a lot of money and had been searching and searching for them over the forest, and was mighty glad to get back Johnnie and Grizzle again.

The Duck



Now there was once a farmer who had but one daughter of whom he was very proud because she was so clever. So whenever he was in any difficulty he would go to her and ask her what he should do. It happened that he had a dispute with one of his neighbours, and the matter came before the King, and he, after hearing from both of them, did not know how to decide and said:

"You both seem to be right and you both seem to be wrong, and I do not know how to decide; so I will leave it to yourselves in this way: whichever of you can answer best the three questions I am about to ask shall win this trial. What is the most beautiful thing? What is the strongest thing? and, What is the richest thing? Now go home and think over your answers and bring them to me to-morrow morning."

So the farmer went home and told his daughter what had happened, and she told him what to answer next day.

So when the matter came up for trial before the King he asked first the farmer's neighbour,[189]

"What is the most beautiful thing?"

And he answered, "My wife."

Then he asked him, "What is the strongest thing?"

"My ox."

"And what is the richest?"

And he answered, "Myself."

Then he turned to the farmer and asked him,

"What is the most beautiful thing?"

And the farmer answered, "Spring."

Then he asked him, "What is the strongest?"

"The earth."

Then he asked, "What is the richest thing?"

He answered, "The harvest."

Then the King decided that the farmer had answered best, and gave judgment in his favour. But he had noticed that the farmer had hesitated in his answers and seemed to be trying to remember things. So he called him up to him and said,

"I fancy those arrows did not come from your quiver. Who told you how to answer so cleverly?"

Then the farmer said, "Please your Majesty, it was my daughter who is the cleverest girl in all the world."

"Is that so?" said the King. "I should like to test that."

Shortly afterwards the King sent one of his servants to the farmer's daughter with a round cake and thirty small biscuits and a roast capon, and told him to ask her whether the moon was full,[190] and what day of the month it was, and whether the rooster had crowed in the night. On the way the servant ate half the cake and half of the biscuits and hid the capon away for his supper. And when he had delivered the rest to the Clever Girl and told his message she gave this reply to be brought back to the King:

"It is only half-moon and the 15th of the month and the rooster has flown away to the mill; but spare the pheasant for the sake of the partridge."

And when the servant had brought back this message to the King, he cried out,

"You have eaten half the cake and fifteen of the biscuits and didn't hand over the capon at all."

Then the servant confessed that this was all true, and the King said,

"I would have punished you severely but that this Clever Girl begs me to forgive the pheasant, by which she meant you, for the sake of the partridge, by which she meant herself. So you may go unpunished."

The King was so delighted with the cleverness of the girl that he determined to marry her. But, wishing to test her once more before doing so, he sent her a message that she should come to him clothed, yet unclothed, neither walking, nor driving, nor riding, neither in shadow nor in sun, and with a gift which is no gift.

When the farmer's daughter received this message[191] she went near the King's palace, and having undressed herself wrapped herself up in her long hair, and then had herself placed in a net which was attached to the tail of a horse. With one hand she held a sieve over her head to shield herself from the sun; and in the other she held a platter covered with another platter.

Thus she came to the King neither clothed nor unclothed, neither walking, nor riding, nor driving, neither in sun nor in shadow.

Now when she was released from the net and a mantle had been placed over her she handed the platter to the King, who took the top platter off, whereupon a little bird that had been between the two platters flew away. This was the gift that was no gift.

The King was so delighted at the way in which the farmer's daughter had solved the riddle that he immediately married her and made her his Queen. And they lived very happily together though no children came to them. The King depended upon her for advice in all his affairs and would often have her seated by him when he was giving judgment in law matters.

Now it happened that one day at the end of all the other cases there came two peasants, each of whom claimed a foal that had been born in a stable where they had both left their carts, one with a horse and the other with a mare. The King was tired with the day's pleadings, and without thinking[192] and without consulting his Queen who sat by his side, he said,

"Let the first man have it," who happened to be the peasant whose cart was drawn by the horse.

Now the Queen was vexed that her husband should have decided so unjustly, and when the court was over she went to the other peasant and told him how he could convince the King that he had made a rash judgment. So the next day he took a stool outside the King's window and commenced fishing with a fishing-rod in the road.

The King looking out of his window saw this and began to laugh and called out to the man,

"You won't find many fish on a dry road," to which the peasant answered,

"As many as foals that come from a horse."

Then the King remembered his judgment of yesterday and, calling the men before him, decided that the foal should belong to the man who had the mare and who had fished in front of his windows. But he said to him as he dismissed them,

"That arrow never came from your quiver."

Then he went to his Queen in a towering rage and said to her,

"How dare you interfere in my judgments?"

And she said, "I did not like my dear husband to do what was unjust." But the King said,

"Then you ought to have spoken to me, not shamed me before my people. That is too much. You shall go back to your father who is so proud of[193] you. And the only favour I can grant you will be that you can take with you from the palace whatever you love best."

"Your Majesty's wish shall be my law," said the Queen, "but let us at least not part in anger. Let me have my last dinner as Queen in your company."

When they dined together the Queen put a sleeping potion in the King's cup, and when he fell asleep she directed the servants to put him in the carriage that was waiting to take her home, and carried him into her bed. When he woke up next morning he asked,

"Where am I, and why are you still with me?"

Then the Queen said, "You allowed me to take with me that which I loved best in the palace, and so I took you."

Then the King recognized the love his Queen had for him, and brought her back to his palace, and they lived together there forever afterwards.



A woman was once stringing beans in her kitchen, and she thought to herself:

"Oh, why have I not got a little baby boy; if I had only one as big as one of these beans or as big as my thumb I should be content. How I would love it, and dress it, and talk to it."

As she was speaking thus to herself and finishing off the beans, suddenly she thought they all turned into little baby boys, jumping and writhing about. She was so startled and afraid that she shook out her apron, in which they all lay, into a big bowl of water with which she was going to wash the beans. And then she hid her head in her apron so as not to see what happened; and after a while she looked out from under her apron and looked at the bowl, and there were all the little boys floating and drowned, except one little boy at the top. And she took pity on him and drew him out of the bowl; then she showed him to her husband when he came home.

"We have always wanted a boy," she said to him, "even if it were not bigger than our thumbs, and here we have him."

So they took him and dressed him up in a little[195] doll's dress and made much of him; and he learnt to talk, but he never grew any bigger than their thumbs; and so they called him Thumbkin.

One day the man had to go down into the field, and he said to his wife:

"My dear, I am going to get ready the horse and cart, and then I am going down to the field to reap, and just at eleven o'clock I want you to drive the cart down for me."

"Isn't that just like a man?" said his wife. "I suppose you'll want your dinner at twelve, and how do you expect me to get it ready if I have to drive your horse and cart down to the field and then have to trudge back on my ten toes and get your dinner ready? What do you think I am made of?"

"Well, it has to be done," said the man, "even if dinner has to be late."

So they commenced quarrelling, till Thumbkin called out:

"Leave it to me, Father; leave it to me."

"Why, what can you do?" asked the man.

"Well," said Thumbkin, "if mother will only put me in Dobbin's ear, I can guide him down to the field as well as she could."

At first they laughed, but then they thought they would try. So the man went off to the field, and at eleven o'clock the woman put Thumbkin into the horse's right ear; and he immediately called out, "Gee!"[196]

And the horse began to move. And as it went on towards the field Thumbkin kept calling out:

"Right! Left! Left! Right!" and so on till they got near the field.

Now it happened that two men were coming that way, and they saw a horse and cart coming towards them, with nobody on it, and yet the horse was picking his way and turning the corners just as if somebody was guiding him. So they followed the horse and cart till they got to the field, when they saw the man take Thumbkin out of the horse's ear and stroke him and thank him. They looked at one another and said:

"That lad is a wonder; if we could exhibit him we would make our fortunes."

So the men went up to the man and said:

"Will you sell that lad?"

But the man said:

"No, not for a fortune; he's the light of our life."

But Thumbkin, who was seated on the man's shoulder, whispered to him:

"Sell me and I'll soon get back."

So the man after a time agreed to sell Thumbkin for a great deal of money, and the men took him away with them.

"How shall we carry him?" said they.

But Thumbkin called out:

"Put me on the rim of your hat and I shall be able to see the country."

And that is what they did.[197]

After a time as it got dusk the men sat down by the wayside to eat their supper. And the man took off his hat and put it on the ground, when Thumbkin jumped off and hid himself in the crevice of a tree.

When they had finished their supper the men looked about to find Thumbkin, but he was not there. And after a while they had to give up the search and go away without him.

When they had gone three robbers came and sat down near the tree where Thumbkin was and began to speak of their plans to rob the Squire's house.

"The only way," said one, "would be to break down the door of the pantry which they always lock at night."

"But," said another, "that'll make so much noise it will wake up the whole house."

"Then one of us," said the first robber, "will have to creep in through the window and unlock the door."

"But the window is too small," said the third robber; "none of us could get through it."

"But I can," called out Thumbkin.

"What is that? Who was that?" called out the robbers, who commenced thinking of running away. And then Thumbkin called out again:

"Do not be afraid, I'll not hurt you, and I can help you get into the Squire's pantry."

Then he came out of the hole in the tree, and the robbers were surprised to see how small he was.[198] So they took him up with them to the Squire's house, and when they got there they lifted him up and put him through the window and told him to look out for the silver.

"I've found it! I've found it!" he called out at the top of his shrill voice.

"Not so loud; not so loud," said they.

"What shall I hand out first, the spoons or the ladles?" he shouted out again.

But this time the butler heard him and came down with his blunderbuss, and the robbers ran off. So when the butler opened the door Thumbkin crept out and went to the stable, and laid down to sleep in a nice cozy bed of hay in the manger.

But in the morning the cows came into the stable, and one of them walked up to the manger. And what do you think she did? She swallowed the hay with little Thumbkin in it, and took him right down into her tummy.

Shortly afterwards the cows were driven out to the milking place, and the milkmaid commenced to milk the cow which had swallowed Thumbkin. And when he heard the milk rattling into the pail he called out:

"Let me out! Let me out! Let me out!"

The milkmaid was so startled to hear a voice coming from the cow that she upset the milking pail and rushed to her master, and said:

"The cow's bewitched! The cow's bewitched! She's talking through her tummy."[199]

The farmer came and looked at the cow, and when he heard Thumbkin speaking out of her tummy he thought the milkmaid was quite right, and gave orders for the cow to be slaughtered.

And when she was cut up by the butcher he didn't want the paunch—that is the stomach—so he threw it out into the yard. And a wolf coming by swallowed the paunch and Thumbkin with it.

When he found himself again in the wolf's stomach he called out as before:

"Let me out! Let me out! Let me out!"

But the wolf said to him:

"What'll you do for me if I let you out?"

"I know a place where you can get as many chickens as you like, and if you let me out I'll show you the way."

"No, no, my fine master," said the wolf; "you can tell me where it is, and if I find you are right then I'll let you out."

So Thumbkin told him a way to his father's farm, and guided him to a hole in the larder just big enough for the wolf to get through. When he got through there were two fine fat ducks and a noble goose hung up ready for the Sunday dinner. So Mr. Wolf set to work and ate the ducks and the goose while Thumbkin kept calling out:

"Don't want any duck or geese. Let me out! Let me out!"

And when the wolf would not he called out:[200]

"Father! Father! Mother! Mother!"

And his father and mother heard him, and they came rushing towards the larder. Then the wolf tried to get through the hole he had come through before, but he had eaten so much that he stuck there, and the farmer and his wife came up and killed him.

Then they began to cut the wolf open and Thumbkin called out:

"Be careful! Be careful! I'm here, and you'll cut me up." And he had to dodge the knife as it was coming through the wolf.

But at last the paunch of the wolf was slit open, and Thumbkin jumped out and went to his mother. And she cleansed him and dressed him in new clothes, and they sat down to supper as happy as could be.


"Mirror, mirror, on the wall, Who is the fairest of us all?"


There was once a queen who had no children, and it grieved her sorely. One winter's afternoon she was sitting by the window sewing when she pricked her finger, and three drops of blood fell on the snow. Then she thought to herself:

"Ah, what would I give to have a daughter with skin as white as snow and cheeks as red as blood."

After a while a little daughter came to her with[202] skin as white as snow and cheeks as red as blood. So they called her Snowwhite.

But before Snowwhite had grown up, her mother, the Queen, died and her father married again, a most beautiful princess who was very vain of her beauty and jealous of all women who might be thought as beautiful as she was. And every morning she used to stand before her mirror and say:

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of us all?"

And the mirror always used to reply:

"Queen, Queen, on thy throne,
The greatest beauty is thine own."

But Snowwhite grew fairer and fairer every year, till at last one day when the Queen in the morning spoke to her mirror and said:

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of us all?"

the mirror replied:

"Queen, Queen, on thy throne,
Snowwhite's the fairest thou must own."

Then the Queen grew terribly jealous of Snowwhite and thought and thought how she could get rid of her, till at last she went to a hunter and[203] engaged him for a large sum of money to take Snowwhite out into the forest and there kill her and bring back her heart.

But when the hunter had taken Snowwhite out into the forest and thought to kill her, she was so beautiful that his heart failed him, and he let her go, telling her she must not, for his sake and for her own, return to the King's palace. Then he killed a deer and took back the heart to the Queen, telling her that it was the heart of Snowwhite.

Snowwhite wandered on and on till she got through the forest and came to a mountain hut and knocked at the door, but she got no reply. She was so tired that she lifted up the latch and walked in, and there she saw three little beds and three little chairs and three little cupboards all ready for use. And she went up to the first bed and lay down upon it, but it was so hard that she couldn't rest; and then she went up to the second bed and lay down upon that, but that was so soft that she got too hot and couldn't go to sleep. So she tried the third bed, but that was neither too hard nor too soft, but suited her exactly; and she fell asleep there.

In the evening the owners of the hut, who were three little dwarfs who earned their living by digging coal in the hills, came back to their home. And when they came in, after they had washed themselves, they went to their beds, and the first of them said:[204]

"Somebody has been sleeping in my bed!"

And then the second one said:

"And somebody's been sleeping in my bed!"

And the third one called out in a shrill voice, for he was so excited:

"Somebody is sleeping in my bed, just look how beautiful she is!"

So they waited till she woke up, and asked her how she had come there, and she told them all that the hunter had said to her about the Queen wanting to slay her.

Then the dwarfs asked her if she would be willing to stop with them and keep house for them; and she said that she would be delighted.

Next morning the Queen went up as usual to her mirror, and called out:

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of us all?"

And the mirror answered as usual:

"Queen, Queen, on thy throne,
Snowwhite's the fairest thou must own."

And the Queen knew that Snowwhite had not been slain. So she sent for the hunter and made him confess that he had let Snowwhite go; and she made him search about beyond the forest, till at last he brought back word to her that Snowwhite[205] was dwelling in a little hut on the hill with some coal-miners.

Then the Queen dressed herself up like an old woman, and, taking a poisoned comb with her, went back the next day to the hut where Snowwhite was living. Now the dwarfs had warned her not to open the door to anybody lest evil might befall her; and she found it very lonesome keeping always within doors.

When the Queen, disguised as an old woman, came to the door of the house she knocked upon it with her stick, but Snowwhite called out from within:

"Who is there? Go away! I must not let anybody come in."

"All right," answered the Queen. "If you can come to the window we can have a little chat there, and I can show you my wares."

So when Snowwhite came to the window the Queen said:

"Oh, what beautiful black hair; you ought to have a comb to bind it up;" and she showed her the comb that she had brought with her.

But Snowwhite said:

"I have no money and cannot afford to buy so fine a comb."

Then the Queen said:

"That is no matter; perhaps you have something golden that you can give me in exchange."

And Snowwhite thought of a golden ring that[206] her father had given to her, and offered to give it for the comb. The Queen took it and gave Snowwhite the comb and bade her good-bye, and went back to the palace.

Snowwhite lost no time in going to the mirror, and binding up her hair and putting the comb into it. But it had scarcely been in her hair a few minutes when she fell down as if she were dead, and all the blood left her cheeks, and she was Snowwhite indeed.

When the dwarfs came home that evening they were surprised to find that the table was not spread for them, and looking about they soon found Snowwhite lying upon the ground as if she were dead. But one of them listened to her heart and said: "She lives! She lives!"

And they began to consider what caused Snowwhite to fall into such a swoon. They soon found the comb, and when they took it out Snowwhite soon opened her eyes and became as lively as she ever was before.

Next morning the Queen went to the mirror on the wall and said to it:

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of us all?"

Then the mirror said as before:

"Queen, Queen, on thy throne,
Snowwhite's the fairest thou must own."

Then the Queen knew that something had happened to the comb and that Snowwhite was still alive. So she dressed herself once more as an old woman and took with her a poisoned ribbon and went to the hut of the three dwarfs. And when she got there she knocked at the door, but Snowwhite called out:

"You cannot enter; I must not open the door."

Then, as before, the Queen called out in reply:

"Then come to the window, and you can see my wares."

When Snowwhite came to the window the Queen said:

"You are looking more beautiful than ever, but how unbecomingly you arrange your hair. Did you use that comb I gave you yesterday?"

"Yes, indeed," said Snowwhite, "and I fell into a swoon because of it; I am afraid there is something the matter with it."

"No, no, that cannot be," said the Queen; "there must be some mistake. But if you cannot use the comb I will let you have this pretty ribbon instead," and she held out the poisoned ribbon. Snowwhite took it, and after the old woman, as she thought she was, had gone away, Snowwhite went to the mirror and tied up her hair with the piece of ribbon. But scarcely had she done so when she fell to the ground lifeless and lay there as if she were dead.

That evening the dwarfs came home and[208] found Snowwhite lying on the ground as if dead, but soon discovered the poisoned ribbon and untied it; and almost as soon as this was done Snowwhite revived again.

Next morning the Queen went once more to the mirror on the wall, and called out:

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of us all?"

to which the mirror replied, without any change:

"Queen, Queen, on thy throne,
Snowwhite's the fairest thou must own."

And the Queen recognized that once again her plans had failed, and Snowwhite was still alive. So she dressed herself once more and took with her a poisoned apple, which was so arranged that only one half of it was poisoned and the rest of it was left as before. And when the Queen got to the hut of the dwarfs she tried to open the door, but Snowwhite called out:

"You can't come in!"

"Then I'll come to the window," said the Queen.

"Ah, you are the old lady that came twice before; you have not brought me good luck, each time something has befallen me."

But the Queen said:

"I do not know how that can be; I only brought[209] you something for your hair; perhaps you tied it too tight. To show you that I have no ill-will against you I have brought you this beautiful apple."

"But my guardians," said Snowwhite, "told me that I must take nothing more from you."

"Oh, this is nothing to wear," said the Queen, "this is something to eat. To show you that there can be no harm in it I will take half of it myself and you shall eat the other half."

So she cut the apple in two and gave the poisoned half to Snowwhite. And the moment she had swallowed the first bite of it she fell down dead. Then the Queen slunk away and went back to the palace and went at once to her chamber and addressed the mirror on the wall:

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of us all?"

And this time the mirror answered, as it used to do:

"Queen, Queen, on thy throne,
The greatest beauty is thine own."

Then the Queen knew that Snowwhite was dead at last, and that she was without a rival in beauty.

When the dwarfs came home that night they found Snowwhite lying upon the ground quite dead, and could not find out what had happened[210] or how they could cure her. But, though she seemed dead, Snowwhite kept her beautiful white skin and seemed more like a statue than a dead person. So the dwarfs had a glass coffer made, and put Snowwhite in and locked it up. And she remained there for days and days without changing the slightest, looking oh, so beautiful under the glass case.

Now a great prince of the neighbouring country happened to be hunting near the hill of the dwarfs and called at their hut to get a glass of water. And when he came in he found nobody there but Snowwhite lying in her crystal coffer. And he fell at once in love with her and sat by her side till the dwarfs came home, and he asked them who she was. Then they told him her history, and he begged that he might carry the coffer away so that he might always have her near him. At first they would not do so. But he showed how much he loved her, so that they at last yielded, and he called for his men to carry the coffer home to his palace.

And when the men commenced carrying the coffer down the mountain they jolted it so much that the piece of poisoned apple in Snowwhite's throat fell out, and she revived and opened her eyes and looked upon the Prince who was riding by her side. Then he ordered the coffer to be opened, and told her all that had happened. And he took her home to his castle and married her.[211]

After this happened the Queen once more came to her room and spoke to the mirror on the wall and said:

"Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
Who is the fairest of us all?"

And the mirror this time said again:

"Queen, Queen, on thy throne,
Snowwhite's the fairest thou must own."

And the Queen was so enraged because she had not destroyed Snowwhite that she rushed to the window and threw herself out of it and died on the spot.

Snowwhite and the Three Dwarfs




Ever since the Brothers Grimm in 1812 made for the first time a fairly complete collection of the folk-tales of a definite local or national area in Europe, the resemblance of many of these tales, not alone in isolated incidents but in continuous plots, has struck inquirers into these delightful little novels for children, as the Italians call them (Novelline). Wilhelm Grimm, in the comparative notes which he added to successive editions of the Mährchen up to 1859, drew attention to many of these parallels and especially emphasized the resemblances of different incidents to similar ones in the Teutonic myths and sagas which he and his brother were investigating. Indeed it may be said that the very considerable amount of attention that was paid to the collection of folk tales throughout Europe for the half century between 1840 and 1890 was due to the hope that they would throw some light upon the origins of mythology. The stories and incidents common to all the European field were thought likely to be original mythopœic productions of the Indo-European peoples just in the same manner as the common roots of the various Aryan languages indicated their original linguistic store.

In 1864 J. G. von Hahn, Austrian Consul for Eastern Greece, in the introduction to his collection of Greek and Albanian folk tales, made the first attempt to bring together in systematic form this common story-store of Europe and gave an analysis of forty folk-tale and saga "formulæ," which outlined the plots of the stories found scattered[216] through the German, Greek, Italian, Servian, Roumanian, Lithuanian, and Indian myth and folk-tale areas. These formulæ were translated and adapted by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould in an appendix to Henderson's Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties of England (London, 1866), and he expanded them into fifty-two formulæ. Those were the days when Max Müller's solar and lunar explanations of myths were in the ascendant and Mr. Baring-Gould applied his views to the explanation of folk tales. I have myself expanded Hahn's and Baring-Gould's formulæ into a list of seventy-two given in the English Folk-Lore Society's Hand-Book of Folk-Lore, London, 1891 (repeated in the second edition, 1912).

Meanwhile the erudition of Theodor Benfey, in his introduction to the Indian story book, Pantschatantra (Leipzig, 1859), had suggested another explanation of the similarities of European folk-tales. For many of the incidents and several of the complete tales Benfey showed Indian parallels, and suggested that the stories had originated in India and had been transferred by oral tradition to the different countries of Europe. This entirely undermined the mythological theories of the Grimms and Max Müller and considerably reduced the importance of folk tales as throwing light upon the primitive psychology of the Aryan peoples. Benfey's researches were followed up by E. Cosquin who, in the elaborate notes to his Contes de Lorraine, Paris, 1886, largely increased the evidence both for the common European popularity of many of the tales and incidents as well as for the parallels to be found in Oriental collections.

Still a third theory to account for the similarity of folk-tale incidents was started by James A. Farrer and elaborated by Andrew Lang in connection with the general movement initiated by Sir Edward Tylor to explain mythology and superstition by the similar processes of savage psychology at definite stages of primitive culture. In introductions to[217] Perrault and Grimm and elsewhere, Andrew Lang pointed out the similarity of some of the incidents of folk tales—speaking of animals, transference of human feeling to inanimate objects and the like—with the mental processes of contemporary savages. He drew the conclusion that the original composers of fairy tales were themselves in a savage state of mind and, by inference, explained the similarities found in folk tales as due to the similarity of the states of minds. In a rather elaborate controversy on the subject between Mr. Lang and myself, carried through the transactions of the Folk-Lore Congress of 1891, the introduction to Miss Roalfe Cox's "Cinderella," and in various numbers of "Folk-Lore," I urged the improbability of this explanation as applied to the plots of fairy tales. Similar states of mind might account for similar incidents arising in different areas independently, but not for whole series of incidents artistically woven together to form a definite plot which must, I contended, arise in a single artist mind. The similarities in plot would thus be simply due to borrowing from one nation to another, though incidents or series of incidents might be inserted or omitted during the process. Mr. Lang ultimately yielded this point and indeed insisted that he had never denied the possibility of the transmission of complete folk-tale formulæ from one nation and language to another.

During all this discussion as to the causes of the similarity of folk-tale plots no attempt has been made to reconstitute any of these formulæ in their original shape. Inquirers have been content to point out the parallelisms to be found in the various folk-tale collections, and of course these parallelisms have bred and mustered with the growth of the collections. In some cases the parallels have run into the hundreds. (See "Reynard and Bruin.") In only one case have practically all the parallels been brought together in a single volume by Miss Roalfe Cox on Cinderella (Folk-Lore[218] Society Publication for 1893; see notes on "Cinder-Maid"). These variants of incidents obviously resemble the variæ lectiones of MSS. and naturally suggest the possibility of getting what may be termed the original readings. In 1889 the following suggestion was made by Mr. (now Sir) James G. Frazer in an essay on the "Language of Animals," in the Archæological Review, i., p. 84:

"In the case of authors who wrote before the invention of printing, scholars are familiar with the process of comparing the various MSS. of a single work in order from such a comparison to reconstruct the archetype or original MS., from which the various existing MSS. are derived. Similarly in Folk-Lore, by comparing the different versions of a single tale, it may be possible to arrive, with tolerable certainty, at the original story, of which the different versions are more or less imperfect and incorrect representations."

Independently of Sir James Frazer's suggestion, which I have only recently come across, I have endeavoured in the present book to carry it out as applied to a considerable number of the common formulas of European folk-tales, and I hope in a succeeding volume to complete the task and thus give to the students of the folk-tale as close approach as possible to the original form of the common folk-tales of Europe as the materials at our disposal permit.

My procedure has been entirely similar to that of an editor of a text. Having collected together all the variants, I have reduced them to families of types and from these families have conjectured the original concatenation of incidents into plot. I have assumed that the original teller of the tale was animated by the same artistic logic as the contemporary writers of Contes (see notes on "Cinder-Maid," "Language of Animals"), and have thus occasionally introduced an incident which seemed vital to the plot, though it occurs only in some of the families of the variants. My procedure can only be justified by the success of my[219] versions and their internal coherence. As regards the actual form of the narrative, this does not profess to be European but follows the general style of the English fairy tale, of which I have published two collections (English Fairy Tales, 1890; More English Fairy Tales, 1894).

In the following notes I have not wasted space on proving the European character of the various tales by enumerating the different variants, being content for the most part to give references to special discussions of the story where the requisite bibliography is given. With the more serious tales I have rather concerned myself with trying to restore the original formula and to establish its artistic coherence. Though I have occasionally discussed an incident of primitive character, I have not made a point of drawing attention to savage parallels, nor again have I systematically given references to the appearance of whole tales or separate incidents in mediæval literature or in the Indian collections. For the time being I have concentrated myself on the task of getting back as near as possible to the original form of the fairy tales common to all Europe. Only when that has been done satisfactorily can we begin to argue as to the causes or origin of the separate items in these originals. It must, of course, always be remembered that, outside this common nucleus, each country or linguistic area has its own story-store, which is equally deserving of special investigation by the serious student of the folk-tale. I have myself dealt with some of these non-European or national folk-tales for the English, Celtic and Indian areas and hope in the near future to treat of other folk-tale districts, like the French, the Scandinavian, the Teutonic or the Slavonian.

I had gone through three-quarters of the tales and notes contained in the present book before I became acquainted with the modestly named Anmerkungen zu Grimm's Mährchen, 2 vols., 1913-15, by J. Bolte and E. Polivka. This is one of those works of colossal erudition of which[220] German savants alone seem to have the secret. It sums up the enormous amount of research that has been going on in Europe for the last hundred years, on the parallelism and provenance of the folk-tales of Europe, and in a measure does for all the Grimm stories what Miss Roalfe Cox did for Cinderella. Only two volumes have as yet appeared dealing with the first 120 numbers of the Grimm collection in over a thousand pages crammed with references and filled with details as to variants. The book has obviously been planned and worked out by Dr. Bolte, who had previously edited the collected works of his chief predecessor, R. Koehler. Dr. Polivka's contribution mainly consists in the collection and collation of the Slavonic variants, which are here made accessible for the first time. I therefore refer to the volume henceforth by Dr. Bolte's name. The book is indispensable for the serious students of the folk-tale, and would have saved me an immense amount of trouble if I had become acquainted with it earlier.

In thirty-eight or nearly a third of the tales Dr. Bolte gives a formula, or radicle, summing up the "common form" of the story, and I am happy to find that in those cases, which occur in the early part of the present volume, my own formulæ, agree with his, though of course for the purposes of this book I have had to go into more detail. Dr. Bolte has not as yet expounded any theory of the origin of the Folk Tale, but, with true scientific caution, judges each case on its merits. But his whole treatment assumes the organic unity of each particular formula, and one cannot conceive him regarding the similarities of the tales as due to similar mental workings of the folk mind at a particular stage of social development.

Finally, I should perhaps explain that in my selection of typical folk-tales for the present volume, I have included not only those which could possibly be traced back to real primitive times and mental conditions, like the "Cupid[221] and Psyche" formula, but others of more recent date and composition, provided they have spread throughout Europe, which is my criterion. For instance "Beauty and the Beast" in its current shape was composed in the eighteenth century, but has found its place in the story-store of European children. A couple, like "Androcles and the Lion" and "Day Dreaming," owe a similar spread to literary communication even though in the latter case it is the popular literature of the Arabian Nights. These must be regarded as specimens only of a large class of stories that are found among the folk and can be traced in the popular mediæval collections like Alfonsi's Disciplina-Clericalis or Jacques de Vitry's Exempla, not to speak of the Fables of Bidpai or The Seven Wise Masters of Rome. These form quite a class by themselves and though they have come to be in many cases Folk-Lore of European spread, they differ in quality from the ordinary folk-tale which is characterized by its tendency to variation as it passes from mouth to mouth. Still one has to recognize that they are now European and take their place among the folk and for that reason I have given a couple of specimens of them, but of course my main attention has been directed to attempting to reconstruct the original form of the true folk-tale from the innumerable variants now current among the folk.


Source.—Miss Roalfe Cox's volume on Cinderella, published by the Folk-Lore Society (London: David Nutt, 1893), contains 130 abstracts and tabulations of the pure Cinderella "formula," found in Finland, the Riviera, Scotland, Italy, Armenia, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, France, Greece, Germany, Spain, Calcutta, Ireland, Servia, Poland, Russia, Denmark, Albania, Cyprus, Galicia Lithuania, Catalonia, Portugal, Sicily, Hungary, Martinique,[222] Holland, Bohemia, Bulgaria, and the Tyrol. Besides these there are 31 intermediate stories approximating to the Cinderella type, from Russia, Asia Minor, Italy, Lorraine, The Deccan, Poland, Hungary, Catalonia, Corsica, Finland, Switzerland, and in Basque, Spain. The earliest form in which the pure type occurs is in Basile's Pentamerone, 1634, and of the indeterminate type in Bonaventure des Periers Nouvelles Récréations, 1557, though the latter seems more cognate to the Catskin formula.

In many of the variants there is an introductory series of incidents in which the heroine, after the loss of her mother, is set tasks by the envious step-mother and sisters, which she is aided to perform by means of an animal helper, mainly sheep or cow, which, in some of the versions, is clearly identified with her mother either in a transformed or a natural state. In these versions the magic dresses, for example, are taken out of the ear of the cow or sheep! These incidents however seem to me to be incongruous with the rest of the story, which involves a monogamous society with fairly fixed social grades and with the wearing of shoes at least among the upper strata of society. They belong rather to the type of story represented by the Grimm's "One eye, Two eyes, Three eyes"; and I have therefore reserved them for my retelling of this formula. In a similar way, in some of the Celtic versions, a long series of incidents is inserted, clearly taken from the Sea Maiden story (see Celtic Fairy Tales, xvii.).

The central incident of the Cinder-Maid formula is clearly the Shoe Marriage Test, up to which everything leads and upon which the mutilation incidents at the end depends. The mutilation again implies that the shoe in question must have been of a hard or metallic substance which could not be pressed out of shape. In the form endeared to most European children of the upper classes by Charles Perrault, the slipper is made of glass. It was[223] first suggested by Balzac that Perrault's pantoffles de verre was due to his misunderstanding of the pantoffles de vair, or fur (the word vair is still used to indicate this in heraldry), which he had heard from his nurse or other folk-tale informant. But the step-sisters would not have been compelled to hack their heels to get inside a fur slipper, and, from this point of view, the glass shoe would be preferable. I have had, however, to reject it because it occurs in only six of the variants obviously derived directly, or indirectly, from Perrault. The majority of the versions prefer gold (see Miss Roalfe Cox's enumeration p. 342).

The Shoe Marriage Test again involves the previous meetings of the high-born lover and the menial heroine, transformed for the nonce by her dress into a dame of equal standing. In some of the variants these meetings are in church and not at a ball, royal or otherwise. But the Shoe Marriage Test involves a highly desirable parti who can practically command any wife he desires; this points to some super-chief or king. I have, therefore, reserved the church meetings for the Catskin type of story in which the heroine is scullery-maid in the young lord's own household. The obtaining of the dresses needed for the Royal Balls involves some animal or supernatural aid (in Perrault it is, of course, a fairy god-mother, unknown to the folk mind), while the menial condition of the heroine is best explained in the usual folk-tale manner by the envious step-mother or sisters.

I have pointed out in English Fairy Tales (Note to "Childe Rowland") that in most folk-tales of a romantic type the mode of telling is by prose narrative interspersed with rhyming formulæ analogous to the cante-fable as in "Aucassin and Nicolete." The Cinderella formula shows clear traces of such rhymes, especially at the stages of the narrative where incidents are repeated—the appeal for aid at the mother's grave (Dress Rhyme), the avoidance of[224] pursuit by the guards (Pursuit Rhyme), and the calling attention of the Prince to the mutilated feet of the step-sisters (Feet Rhyme).

Now some of these rhymes are found in similar and almost identical shape in collections made in different countries and different languages; thus the Tree Rhyme is found in the Archivio (Cox, p. 139) and in Ive (p. 265), in Bechstein (p. 166), and in Grimm (p. 222), and in Hahn (p. 244), and Moe (p. 322), each pair having practically identical rhymes. Thus we have the existence of a Tree Rhyme, shown in Italy and Germany, Greece and Denmark. So, too, the Feet Rhyme is found in Scotland and Denmark, Germany and Brittany. It is scarcely possible to doubt that all these came from one original form of the story in which similar rhymes occurred at the same stage of the narrative. The possibility of such coincidences arising casually may fairly be regarded as out of the question.

The subordinate incidents growing out of these essential elements of the formula are of course more flexible, but the Shoe Marriage Test itself involves some remarkable dresses used to disguise the identity of the Cinder Maid at her meetings with the hero, and this again involves, though not so directly, a series of metal carriages. The Pursuit Rhyme might easily give rise to the expedients of the Honey and Tar Traps though these do not occur in very many of the variants. I have never-the-less inserted them for the sake of the children if not for that of Folk-Lore Science.

Thus, from what may be called the artistic logic of the Cinderella story, one is enabled to reconstitute its original formula somewhat as follows:

Noble Father—Single Daughter—Mother's Death—Tree Planted on Mother's Grave—Second Marriage—Two Ugly Step-Sisters—Menial Heroine—Cinder-Maid—Prince Coming of Age—Royal Ball—Step-Sisters Dressing—Tree Rhyme—Bird Aid—Magic Dress (blue heaven with stars)—Copper[225] Chariot from Tree—Copper Shoes—Caution Rhyme—Ball Success—Pursuit Rhyme—Step-Sisters' Envy—Second Ball—Magic Dress (golden brown earth with flowers)—Silver Chariot—Silver Shoes—Honey trap—Pursuit Rhyme—Third Ball—Magic Dress (green sea with waves)—Golden Chariot—Golden Slippers—Tar Trap (lost shoe)—Time Expired—Shoe Marriage Test—Mutilated Foot—Feet Rhyme (bis)—Happy Marriage.

It is in accordance with the above formula that the version presented in the preceding pages has been written, the rhymes being, in most cases, compounded from the various renderings given in Miss Cox's volume. I have only added the Caution Rhyme about returning at midnight, which is in prose in the versions; it would be incongruous for the little bird to change her mode of diction so suddenly. I can only hope I will not remind the reader of the guide's description of Wallenstein's horse at Prague: "The head, neck, forelegs, left hind-leg, and part of the back and tail have been restored; all the rest is the original horse."

Parallels.—Miss Cox's volume contains all the parallels of the Cinder-Maid formulæ, to which reference has been made above, and she has supplemented these by a few additional ones in Folk-Lore for 1907, pages xviii; 191-6. In addition, she gives, in her notes, parallels to the different incidents:

Note 4. (Help by dead parent.) Note 6. (Pursuit checked by mist.) Note 7. (Magic tree on buried mother's grave.) Note 8. (Substituted bride.) Note 26. (Sitting on ashes.) Note 32. (Birds' language.) Note 38. (Tree or rock treasures.) Note 48. (Lost shoe.) Note 50. (Iron shoes,) and further notes on, Helpful, animals, p. 526. Fairy god-mother, p. 527 and Talking birds, p. 527-9.

Of these the most important for our present purposes is the 48th note dealing with the Lost Shoe, which we have suggested is the central incident in the "original." In[226] Strabo xvii. and in Ælian xiii.—33, the myth of Rhodope informs us that, while she was bathing, an eagle snatched one of her sandals and dropped it in the lap of Psammetichus who, struck by its neatness, had all Egypt search for its owner, whom he then took to wife. In other Egyptian and in Indian stories a severed lock of hair of the heroine leads to the same result. Jacob Grimm drew attention to the old German custom of using a shoe at betrothals, which was placed on the bride's foot as a sign of her being subjected to the groom's authority. King Rother had two shoes forged, a silver and a golden one, which he fitted on the feet of his bride, placed on his knee for that purpose. (See Deutsche Rechts-Alterthumer, Göttingen, 1828, p. 155.) It is, of course, possible that some reminiscence of the Rhodope myth had spread among the folk to which the original teller of Cinder-Maid belonged, and if the shoe betrothal was confined to German custom this would seem to give a clue to the original home of the Cinder-Maid.

Remarks.—The hazardous character of the reconstruction process involved in the restoration of the original Cinder-Maid formula cannot, of course, be exaggerated. It is even more precarious than the similar procedure gone through by scholars to restore the original reading of MSS. or by the Higher Critics in recovering the J. narrative of Joseph or the E. narrative of Lot. But I think I have shown that the incidents selected by me are those which are necessitated by the artistic logic of the Shoe Marriage Test which forms the decisive incident in the Cinder-Maid formula. Where the majority of the incidents contained in the reconstruction occurred in the same order in far distant countries it is practically impossible to imagine that the resemblance is due to chance. Nor is it pertinent to point out that the separate incidents occur equally widespread in connection with other formulæ, since it must not be forgotten that no[227] folk teller ever indulges in a single incident; he tells a tale of many incidents. At the same time it is obvious that a series of incidents may be transferred appropriately (or inappropriately) from one tale to another; and this has occurred with the Cinderella tales, as is shown abundantly in Miss Cox's notes. It is thus quite easy for a folk teller, who is familiar with other stories, to introduce an analogous set of incidents in the Cinder-Maid formula, just as Rob Roy's son can introduce variations of an air when playing the bagpipes; but the air remains the same throughout.

If the formula I have reconstructed for the Cinder-Maid compares at all with the original, one ought to be able to take any variant and see where the teller of it has diverged from the original, inserted new incidents or adopted new ones to local conditions. When one reads over Miss Cox's variants one can often discern such additions or variations introduced by the fancy of the teller. It is even possible that in Cinderella itself the original folk artist who conceived it made use of the Catskin formula to embellish the details of the three meetings of the lovers; even in my own telling I fear there may be traces of the same process. There is still doubt whether the bird in the hazel tree was meant to represent the soul of the mother in whom, we may even say, there is a double identification involved, as in the Golden Bough. The tree rising from the mother's grave is obviously connected spiritually with her; the relation of the bird in the tree to the Cinder-Maid also implies a similar relation to the mother. In my telling of the tale I have purposely avoided emphasizing this, which might lead to inconvenient questionings from the little ones. In the scheme of the story the guardian influence of the mother-soul is prominent throughout but need not be too much emphasized for modern children.[228]


This nonsense story is found widely spread, especially in Romance tongues, French, Italian, Provencal, and Portuguese; but it is also found in Ireland (see Celtic Fairy Tales), Hanover, Transylvania, Esthonia, and Russia; so that it has claims to be included in the fairy book of all Europe. Cosquin, ii., 209-14, gives a number of Oriental stories, Annamite, Kalmuk, Kaffir, which contain the incident of the girl in the bag, and Indian and Kabyle stories, which go through the same exchanges as our story. In the latter case it is an animal story in which the jackal has a thorn picked out of his paws by an old woman, and gets an egg out of her in exchange for the thorn which he has "lost." In this form the jackal helps considerably in the disappearance of the successive exchanges. It is difficult to say whether the European or the Indian form was the earlier. The animal dramatis personæ seem less incongruous and turn the scale in favour of India.


This is practically the Perseus legend of antiquity, which has been made the subject of an elaborate study by Mr. E. Sidney Hartland, The Legend of Perseus, 3 vols., London, 1894-6. Mr. Hartland distinguishes four chains of incidents in the story:

Not all the variants, which are very numerous, running from Ireland to Cambodia, include all these four incidents. The Greek Perseus legend, for instance, has not the Life Token. Cosquin, i., 67, knows of only eighteen which have[229] the full contingent, one in Brittany, two in Greece, one in Sicily, four in Italy, one each—Basque, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Danish, and Swedish; two German; one Lithuanian; and a Russian variant. There must be many more in Bolte's notes to Grimm, 60. These are sufficient to prove that the whole concatenation of incident is European, though it is difficult to understand how the Medusa incident got tacked on to the preceding three, with which it is very loosely combined, the only point of connection being with the Life Token. Strangely enough, in the ancient form of the folk-tale, the Gorgon is an almost essential part of the story, though the Life Token has disappeared, and the Supernatural Birth only applies to the hero and not to his animal companions. In the modern European folk-tales these animal friends are rather supernumeraries and are occasionally replaced by the formula of the Grateful Animals, to whom the hero does some service during his wanderings, in reward for which they rescue him from some extremity. In some ancient variants of the Perseus legend there are traces of the Substituted Champion in the form of Pentheus, a former suitor of Andromeda, who had failed to meet the dragon.

It would be impossible here to consider the folk-lore analogies of the four chief incidents of the tale which have occupied Mr. Hartland for three fairly large volumes to develop, out of which have grown two more (Primitive Paternity, London, 1910). It is only necessary here to refer to a few points in their relation to the tale itself. The Supernatural Birth, which is also treated by M. Saintyves (?) is found attributed to heroes among all nations; it is only of significance in the story here in its bearing upon the Life Token of the hero, which is connected with it. With regard to the Life Token, Major Temple has a full analysis in the notes to Wide Awake Stories, 1884, pp. 404-5, under the title of the "Life Index," and is closely connected with[230] the idea of the External Soul, which Sir James G. Frazer has studied in his Balder, London, 1913, pp. 95-152. The Fight with the Dragon is celebrated outside folk-tales in the lives of the saints (whence St. George, the titular saint of England, gets his emblem) in the saga of Siegfried, and in the poetry of Schiller, where it is made the subject of a moral apologue. The Medusa-witch, who transforms into stone, or destroys life in other ways, is quite a familiar figure in folk tales, but is usually thwarted, as here, by some means of cure.

The chief interest, however, of the "King of the Fishes," from a folk-tale point of view, is the remarkable similarity of the later folk-tales with the Greek legend, from which they are separated by so many centuries. The absence of the Life Token in the Greek version and the comparative insignificance of Medusa in the modern tales are sufficient evidence that these latter are not directly derived from the former. Yet even Mr. Hartland, who is a strong adherent of the anthropological treatment of folk-tales, fully agrees that this particular tale must have, at one time, been composed in artistic unity, if not containing all the four chains of incidents at least containing two of them (Legend of Perseus, iii., 151). It should be added that Rassmann and the Grimms connect the folk-tales with the Siegfried saga (Bolte, i., 547, 555).


This familiar story is found as early as Pauli, "Schimpf und Ernst," No. 595. It is frequent in Italy, especially in Pitre's Selections. Koehler has references to the other European versions in Bladé, p. 155. Crane, Italian Popular Tales, No. xcvi, has rendered one of Pitre's versions.[231]


This rather artificial tale has never-the-less spread through all Europe. One finds it in Italy almost in the same form as in the original French by the Princesse de Beaumont, from whom it has got into the ordinary fairy books of England, France and Germany. See Crane II., "Zelinda and the Monster," pp. 7-11, with note 6, p. 324, which contain a reference to Miss Stokes's Indian Fairy Tales, p. 292. The Grimm story No. 108, "Hans the Hedgehog," is more primitive in character, and we get there the story how the Beast obtained his terrible form. I have, however, rejected this form of it as it is not so widespread as "Beauty and the Beast," which is one of the few stories that we can trace, spreading through Europe practically within our own time. The artificiality of the leading motive is sufficient proof of the late origin of the tale. But, after all, tradition does not distinguish between primitive or later strata. Ralston dealt with the whole formula from the sun-moon point of view in Nineteenth Century, Dec., 1878.


The main incidents of "Reynard the Fox" occur in folk-tales throughout Europe, and it has often been discussed whether the folk-tales were the foundation of the beast epic or vice versa. Since, however, it has been proven that many other incidents besides those used in the beast satire are found among the folk, it is generally allowed nowadays that, apart from a few Æsopic fables included in the satire, the main incidents were derived from the folk. On this subject see my introduction to "Reynard the Fox" in the Cranford Series.

I have selected a number of the most characteristic of these folk-tales relating to the former friendship and later enmity of the Fox and the Bear, basing my compilation on[232] the admirable monographs of Prof. K. Krohn of Helsingfors, "Mann und Fuchs," 1891, "Baer (Wolf) und Fuchs; eine nordische Tiermärchenkette," in Journal de la Société Finno-Ougrienne, vi., Helsingissa, 1889, and "Die geografische Verbreitung einer nordischen in Finnland," in Fennia, iv., 4. The latter monograph is accompanied by an interesting map of Finland, showing the distribution of the Scandinavian form of these stories, in which the Bear is the opponent of the Fox, and the Slavonic form in which the Wolf takes that position. As there is obviously a mythological tendency at the root of the stories, intending to account for the shortness of the Bear's tail and the white tip of the Fox's, it is clear that the Scandinavian form is the more original.

I have tried to collect together in a logical narrative:

In his article in Fennia, Prof. Krohn refers to no less than 708 variants of these different episodes, of which, however, 362 are from the enormous Finnish collections of folk lore in possession of the Finnish Literary Society at Helsingfors. The others include the majority of European folk-tale collections with a goodly sprinkling of Asiatic, African and American ones, the last, however, being confined to "Uncle Remus," in which four out of the ten incidents occur in isolated adventures of Brer Rabbit.[233]

Many of the incidents occur separately in early literature; (g) (h) (k) for example, which form one sequence, are found not alone in Renard but also in Alfonsi, 1115, and Waldis. (c) The iced bear's tail occurs in the Latin Ysengrimus, of the twelfth century, in the Renart of the thirteenth, and, strangely enough, in the Hebrew Fox Fables of Berachyah ha-Nakadan, whom I have identified with an Oxford Jew late in the twelfth century. See my edition of Caxton, Fables of Europe, i., p. 176. The fact that ice is referred to in the last case would seem to preclude an Indian origin for this part of the collection.

It is not quite certain however that all the above incidents were necessarily connected together originally. The fish cart (b), and the iced bear's tail (c), are so closely allied that they probably formed a unity in the original conception, though they are often found separately nowadays among the folk. Bear and Fox in partnership (a), is found elsewhere told of other animals, notably of the firm of Cat and Mouse in Grimm No. 2. It is difficult to determine at present whether stories relating to other animals, or even to associations of men, have been applied by peasant narrators to the general opposition of the sly versus the strong animal, which they have dramatized in the beast satire of Reynard and Bruin.

For a discussion of the whole subject, see A. Gerber, Great Russian Animal Tales, Baltimore, 1891, who discusses the incidents included in the above compilation in his notes on v. (a), i. (b), ii. (c), iii. (d), iv. (e), iva. (f), ix. (g), x. (h), xi. (k). It will be found that few of the other incidents contained in Gerber can be traced throughout Europe except when they are evidently derived from Æsop.


This story has the peculiarity, that it occurs in the Arabian Nights as well as in so many European folk-tales.[234] Hahn includes it under his formula No. 4, Genoveva (add Gonz. 5, Dozon 2, Denton 238, Day xix.), H. Coote, in Folk-Lore Record, vol. iii., part 2, in a paper on "Folk-Lore, the Source of some of M. Galland's Tales," contends that the "Tale of the Two Sisters who Envied their Cadette," as well as Ali Baba, Aladdin, and Ahmed and Paribanou, were derived from Arabic folk-lore rather than from any Arabic manuscript version. We know now that this is not true of Aladdin; and Zotenberg has traced all these extra tales of Galland to the oral recitation of his Christian dragoman Hanna. Coote finds the two envious sisters to be an enormous favorite in Italy and Sicily, being found in Pitre, Berti, Imbriani, Nerucci, and Comparetti. The story of the girl is sometimes told separately as a fiaba. Coote remarks that Leon Bruno is Greek (see Hahn, p. 131 and F. L. R., i., 209), and is derived from the Arabian Nights in the story of the princess of the islands of Wakwak; it also occurs in Straparola and Madame D'Aulnoy; Brueyre has something similar in Brittany, p. 93; Kohler in Melusine, pp. 213, 214, compares the Breton tale, given there, with the Arabian Nights.

The boy with the moon or the sun on his forehead is a frequent character in Indian folk-tales (see Temple, Wide Awake Stories). The possibility of Galland's version having passed into the East from Europe does not seem to have been considered till I suggested it in my Introduction to the Arabian Nights. There is little doubt that Open Sesame is European, and similarly this story occurs in Straparola early enough to prevent any possibility of doubt on the subject. The sequel of incidents appears to be as follows:

Overheard Boasting—Three Marriages—Substituted Children—Quest Tasks—Life Token—Speech Taboo—Brother's Failure—Sister's Success—Guilt Revelation—Punishment of Envious Sisters. Some of these incidents, like the Life Token, occur in other collocations but are[235] sufficiently appropriate here; Imbriani has three versions, vi., vii., viii., with notes.

I have mostly followed Crane, pp. 17-25 (see also his notes, pp. 325-6).


Source.—Sir J. G. Frazer, in Archæological Review, i., 81-91, 161-81, who made an attempt, the first of its kind, to restore the original archetype of the story of "The Boy Who Became Pope," on the same principle as classical scholars restore readings from families of MSS. He uses Grimm, xxxiii.; Crane, xliii.; Sebillot, 2d series xxv.; and Fleury, 123 seq. I have, on the whole, followed his reconstruction, but have introduced, from the version in the "Seven Wise Masters," the motive for the father's anger when learning that he would have, some day, to offer his son water to wash in; Sir James, in a private communication, concurs in the insertion. The folk versions are, in this instance, peculiarly poor, and I have therefore had largely to rewrite, preserving, however, the common incidents.

Formula.—The following formula gives the common elements of the four parallels used by Sir James Frazer, with my insertion of the bird prophecy (father-water, mother-towel):

Simple Boy—Sent to School—Learns Language of Dogs, Frogs and Birds—Bird Prophecy (Father-Water, Mother-Towel)—Hero Exposed—Intended Murderer Brings Back Deer's Heart—Three adventures on Road—Dogs Warn Burglary—Frog Restores Host to Sick Girl—Bird Prophesies Papacy (one of three companions)—Pope Election—Heavenly Sign (dove and bell)—Bird Prophecy Fulfilled—Father Repentance.

Parallels.—Besides the four sources used by Sir James Frazer, he gives two variants of the Breton from Melusine,[236] i., cols. 300, 374, and the "Seven Wise Masters" version, with six variants: Russian, Masurian, two Basques, and a Turkish one. In the Russian version the father-water, mother-towel prophecy occurs, which could not have arisen independently. In the Masurian version the prophecy is more primitive ("Your mother will wash your feet, and your father will drink the water"). In the remaining versions the prophecy is more vague, that the parents shall be the son's servants. In the Pentamerone there is a story in which a father has five simple sons whom he sends into the world to learn experience. The younger returns with a knowledge of the language of birds. But the rest of the story is not of our type.

Remarks.—In his second paper (Arch. Rev. i., 161 seq.) Sir James Frazer has many interesting remarks upon the folk conception of the means of acquiring a knowledge of the language of animals. This is generally done by a gift of magic rings, or by eating magic plants (mainly fern) or eating serpents (generally white). Sir James Frazer connects the rings with serpents by suggesting that serpents are supposed to have stones in their head which confer magic powers (As You Like It, iv., 2.) He further connects the notion of eating serpents with acquiring the language of birds by referring to the views of Democritus that serpents are generated from the mixed blood of diverse birds and are therefore in a strict sense blood relations of them; this idea, he suggests, may have arisen from the fact that serpents eat birds' eggs. It would be an easy transition in folk-thought to consider that serpents would understand the language of the birds they ate and that persons eating serpents would understand the language of both. So Sigurd understands the language of birds, after eating the blood of Fafnir the Worm. But all this throws little light upon the story itself.

Bolte gives, i., 323-4, many folk-tales in which the hero[237] becomes not a pope but a king and compares the story of Joseph in the Bible as possibly a source of the Prophetic Dream of the father and mother waiting upon the son. The transference to the pope may have been influenced by the tradition given by Vincent of Beauvais (Spec. Hist., xxiv., 98) that Sylvester II. learned at Seville the language of birds. There was also the tradition that at the election of Innocent III., 1198, three doves flew about the cathedral, one of which, a white one, at last settled down upon his shoulder. Raumer, Gesch. d. Hohenstaufen, ii., 595.


This tale is widely spread through Europe, being found from Ireland to Greece, from Esthonia to Catalonia. It is generally told of three soldiers, or often brothers, but more frequently casual comrades. In Kohler's notes on Imbriani, p. 356-7, he points out that there are three different forms, in the first of which the fairy's gifts are recovered by means of a defect produced, which only one of the soldiers can cure. In the second form the latter part is wanting, and in the third the two gifts are restored by means of the third, which is generally in the form of a stick. See English Fairy Tales, No. 32. In my reconstruction I have followed the first form. Cosquin, XI., has a fairly good variant of this, with comparative notes. Crane, XXXI., gives, from Gonzenbach, the story of the shepherd boy who makes the princess laugh, which is allied to our formula, mainly by its second part. And it is curious to find the three soldiers reproduced in Campbell's Gaelic, No. 10. In this version the magic gifts are wheedled out of the soldiers by the princess, but they get them back and go back to their "girls."

In the Chinese version of the Buddhist Tripitaka, a monk presents a man who has befriended him with a copper jug,[238] which gives him all he wishes. The king gets this from the monk, but has to return it when he gets another jar which is full of sticks and stones. Aarne in Fennia, xxvii., 1-96, 1909, after a careful study of the numerous variants of the East and West, declares that the original contained three gifts and arose in southern Europe. From the three gifts came three persons and afterwards the form in which only two gifts occur. Against this is the earliest of the Tripitaka versions, 516 a.d., which has only two magic gifts. Albertus Magnus was credited with a bag out of which used to spring lads with cudgels to assail his enemies.


This story is familiar to English-speaking children as Jack the Giant Killer, but it is equally widespread abroad as told of a little tailor or cobbler. In the former case there is almost invariably the introduction of the ingenious incident, "Seven at a Blow," the number varying from three to twenty-seven. I have adopted a fair average. The latter part of the story is found very early in M. Montanus, Wegfuehrer, Strassburg, 1557, though most of the incidents occur in folk tales scattered throughout the European area. Bolte even suggests that the source of the whole formula is to be found in Montanus and gives references to early chapbook visions in German, Dutch, Danish, Swedish and English (i., 154-6). But the very numerous versions in East Europe must in that case have been derived from oral tradition from these. Something similar has even spread to Greenland, where the story of the Giant and the boy is told by Rae, Great White Peninsula. (See Grimm, tr. Hunt, i., 364.) The Dutch version is told of Kobis the Dauntless. Cosquin, who has two versions (8 and 25), has more difficulty than usual in finding the full plot in Oriental sources, though various incidents have obviously[239] trickled through to the East, as for example the hero Nasnai Bahadur in the Caucasus, who overcomes his three narts, or giants, very much in the same manner as our tailor.


This Puss-in-Boots formula has become universally European from Perrault's version, to whom we owe the boots that occur in no other version, so that I have been reluctantly obliged to take them off. But apart from this the story in its entirety existed earlier in Straparola, xi., 1, and in the Pentamerone, and is found widely spread through Italy (Pitre, 88; Imbriani, 10; Gonzenbach, 65, etc.), as well as in Hungary (Jones and Kropf, No. 1), Germany (Grimm, 33a), and even in Finland (see Jones and Kropf, p. 305). In some of these cases the cat is a vixen (or female fox), and the incident of the false bathing and the marriage occurs before reaching the ogre's castle, as is indeed more natural. I have, therefore, so far amended Perrault. In most of the folk versions the miller's son betrays ingratitude towards his animal protector, who sometimes reduces him to his original state. This final incident, unknown to Perrault, shows the independence of these versions from that contained in his Mother Goose Stories. In Sweden the hero, if one may speak Hibernically, is a girl, who turns up her nose at everything in the palace as not being so good as in her castle of Cattenburg (Thorpe quoted by Lang, Perrault, p. lxxi.). In India it is found in Day, Folk Tales of Bengal, under the title of "The Matchmaking Jackal," which has numerous Indian touches; thus the jackal remembers the grandeur of the weaver's forefathers and rolls himself in betel leaves. Sultan Darai, in the Swahili version (Steere), has the stripping incident and the no-talking trick, as well as the ingratitude at end. Lang argues elaborately that it is impossible to determine[240] the original home of Puss-in-Boots, though he seems to own that it had one. His criterion is the absence or presence of a moral in the story, in this case the incident showing the ingratitude of the Marquis. This occurs, as we have seen, as far south as Madagascar, and as far east as India, but, after all, does not seem to be the essence of the story, though in one of the versions the cat does his tricks for the miller because he had previously saved him from the hunters. The late Mr. Ralston has an interesting article on Puss-in-Boots in the Nineteenth Century, August, 1883, though in his days there was a tendency to explain all fairy tales as variants of the Sun and Moon myths.

It is right that I should add that the servant's evening salute has nothing to do with the story but is a tradition in my own family, where my grandfather's servant used to utter this rhyme in a sort of chant when bidding the family good-night.


The Swan Maidens occur very widely spread and have been studied with great diligence by Mr. E. S. Hartland in two chapters (x., xi.) of his Science of Fairy Tales (pp. 255-347). In consonance with his general principle of interpretation, Mr. Hartland is mainly concerned with the traces of primitive thought and custom to be seen in the Swan Maidens. Originally these were, according to him, probably regarded as actual swans, the feathery robe being a later symbolic euphemism, though I would incidentally remark that the whole of the story as a story depends upon the seizure of a separate dress involving the capture of the swan bride. Mr. Hartland is inclined to believe partly with F. Liebrecht in Zur Volkskunde, pp. 54-65, that these mysterious visitors from another world are really the souls of deceased persons (probably regarded as totemistic[241] ancestresses). In some forms of the story, enumerated by Mr. Hartland, the captured wife returns to her original home, not when she recovers her robe of feathers but when the husband breaks some tabu (strikes her, chides her, refers to her sisters, sees her nude, etc.).

From the standpoint of "storyology" from which we are mainly considering the stories here purely as stories, the Swan Maidens formula is especially interesting as showing the ease with which a simple theme can be elaborated and contaminated by analogous ones. The essence of the story is the capture of a bride by a young man who seizes her garment and thus gets her in manu, as the Roman lawyers say. She bears him children, but, on recovering her garment, flies away and is no more heard of. Sometimes she superfluously imposes a tabu upon her husband, which he breaks and she disappears (Melusine variant; compare Lohengrin). This is the effective and affecting incident of which Matthew Arnold makes such good use in his Merman. It could obviously be used, as Mr. Hartland points out, in a quasi-mythological manner to account for supernatural ancestry, as in the cases of the physicians of Myddvai in Wales, or of the Counts of Lusignan. But on this simple basis folk tellers have developed elaborations derived from other formulæ. In several cases, notably in the Arabian Nights (Jamshah and Hasan of Bassora), the capture of the swan maiden is preceded by the Forbidden Chamber formula. Then when the bride flies away there is the Bride-Quest, which is often helped by Thankful Animals and aided by the Magical Weapons. When the hero reaches the home of the bride he has often to undergo a Recognition-Test, or even is made to undertake Acquisition Tasks derived from the Jason formula; and even when he obtains his wishes in many versions of the story there is the Pursuit with Obstacles also familiar from the same formula.[242]

Cosquin, ii., 16, has, with his usual analytical grasp, seen the separable character of these various series of incidents. He, however, attempts to show that all of them, including the germ of the Swan Maidens, are to be found in the East, and is successful in affiliating the Greek of Hahn, No. 15, with the two stories of the Arabian Nights mentioned above, as well as the Siberian version given by Radloff, iv., 321, the hero of which has even derived his name from the Jamshah of the Thousand and One Nights.

In my own version I have utilized a few of these incidents but reserve most of them for their proper story environment. I have introduced, from the Campbell version, the phrase "seven Bens, and seven Glens, and seven Mountain Moors," which so attracted Stevenson's Catriona, in order to point out as a remarkable coincidence that Hasan of Bassora, in the Arabian Nights, flies over "seven Waddys, seven Seas, and seven Mountains." It is difficult to understand that such a remarkable phrase should recur accidentally in Bagdad and in the West Highlands. Without some actual intermediation, oral or literary, the hypothesis of universal human tendency can scarcely explain such a coincidence.


This well-known story occurs first in the fables of Phædrus, though not in the extant form, only being preserved in the mediæval prose version known as Romulus. It is also referred to in Appian, Aulus Gellius, and Seneca (see the references in my History of Æsop, p. 243, Ro. III., i.). It is told in Caxton's Esope, p. 62, from whom I have borrowed a few touches. He calls his hero Androclus, whereas Painter, in his Palace of Pleasure, ed. Jacobs, i., 89-90, calls the slave Androdus. We moderns, including Mr. Bernard Shaw, get our "Androcles" from Day's Sanford and Merton. It also[243] occurs in Gesta Romanorum, 104, edit., Oesterley, who gives a long list of parallels in almost all the countries of Europe.

Benfey, in the introduction to his edition of Pantschatantra, i., 112, contends that the story is of Oriental origin, showing Buddhistic traits in the kindly relations between the slave and the lion; but the parallels he gives are by no means convincing, though the general evidence for Oriental provenance of many of Phædrus' fables gives a certain plausibility to this derivation. From our present standpoint this is of less importance since Androcles, though it has spread through Europe and is current among the folk, is clearly of literary origin and is one of the few examples where we can trace such literary spread.


I have given the story of the barber's fifth brother from the Arabian Nights as another example of the rare instances of tales that have become current among the folk, but which can be definitely traced to literary sources, though possibly, in the far-off past, it was a folk tale arising in the East. The various stages by which the story came into Europe have been traced by Benfey in the introduction to his edition of Pantschatantra, § 209, and after him by Max Mueller in his essay "On the Migration of Fables" (Chips from a German Workshop, iv., 145-209; it was thus a chip from another German's workshop). It came to Europe before the Arabian Nights and became popular in La Fontaine's fable of Perrette who counted her chickens before they were hatched, as the popular phrase puts it. In such a case one can only give a reproduction of the literary source, and it is a problem which of the various forms which appear in the folk books should be chosen. I have selected that from the Thousand and One Nights because I have given elsewhere the story of Perrette (Jacobs,[244] Æsop's Fables, No. 45), and did not care to repeat it in this place. I have made my version a sort of composite from those of Mr. Payne and Sir Richard Burton, and have made the few changes necessary to fit the tale to youthful minds. It is from the quasi-literary spread of stories like this that the claim for an Oriental origin of all folk tales has received its chief strength, and it was necessary, therefore, to include one or two of them in Europa's Fairy Book (Androcles is another). But the mode of transmission is quite different and definitely traceable and, for the most part, the tales remain entirely unchanged; whereas, in the true folk tale, the popular story-tellers exercised their choice, modifying incidents and giving local colour.


There is no doubt about the European character of this tale, which is found in Brittany, Picardy, Lorraine, among the Basques, in Spain, Corsica, Italy, Tyrol, Germany (though not in Grimm), among Lithuanians, Moravians, Roumanians, Greeks, Irish, Scotch, Danes, Norwegians (Cosquin, ii., 50). The central idea of the Rage-Wager is retained throughout, and in many places the punishment is the same—the loss of a strip of skin. In all but three instances the story is told of three brothers, which practically proves its identity. I have given the Irish version in More Celtic Fairy Tales.

The "sells" however change considerably, though in most of them the final dénoument comes with the death or wounding of the wife. The pigs' tails incident is also very common and is indeed found in another set of tales, more of the Master Thief type. Campbell's No. 45 had an entirely different set, some of them very amusing. Mac-A-Rusgaich has all three meals at once and lies down. He holds the plough and does nothing else; he sees after the[245] mountain; literally casts ox-eyes at the master, and makes a sheep foot-path out of sheep's feet. I have taken from Campbell the direction to wash horses and stable within and without, though it does not occur elsewhere. Yet Mac-A-Rusgaich has a bout with a giant, in which he slits an artificial stomach, like Jack the Giant Killer; and this incident occurs in four other of the European tales, again showing identity. "Keep cool" is thus an interesting example of identity of framework, with variation of incident.


The sneaking regard of the folk-mind for the clever rogue who can outwit the guardians of order (the ever-present enemy of the folk) was shown in early days by the myth of Rhampsinitus in Herodotus, ii., 121, which is found to this day among the Italians (see Crane, No. 44, and S. Prato, La Leggenda del Tesoro di Rampsinite, Como, 1882). But the more usual European form is that I have chosen for the text, the formula of which might be summed up as follows:

Apprenticeship in thievery—Purse or life—Hanging "sell"—Master Thief—Three Tests—Horse from Stable—Sheet off bed—Priest in bag—Horse from under (Thumb-Bung).

Almost the whole of this is found as early as Straparola i., 2, where Cassandrino is ordered by the provost of Perugia to steal his bed and his horse and to bring to him in a sack the rector of the village.

The purse incident occurs in Brittany, Piedmont, Tuscany, and Tyrol; in Iceland (Arnason, p. 609) occurs the man twice hanged which also occurs in Norway, Ireland, Saxony, Tuscany, and in Germany (Kuhn and Schwartz, 362); in Servia (Vuk, 46) the Master Thief steals sheep by[246] throwing two shoes successively in the road, which also occurs in Bengal (Day, xi.); the theft of the horse occurs in Brittany, Norway, Ireland, Tuscany, Scotland (Campbell, 40), Flanders, in Basque and Catalan, Russia and Servia. The third test of kidnapping the priest occurs in Brittany, Flanders, Norway, Basque, Catalan, Scotland, Ireland, Lithuania, Tuscany. In Iceland the persons carried away are a king and a queen.

The three tests of the Master Thief, the stealing of bed, horse, and priest, occur as early as Straparola, i., 2, who also has a somewhat similar story of the "Scholar in Magic," viii., 5, which contains the zigzag transformation of the Arabian Nights. Both forms occur in Grimm, 68, 192. While the three tests are fairly uniform throughout Europe, the introduction by which the lad becomes a thief and proves himself a Master Thief varies considerably; and I have had to make a selection rather than a collation.

In some forms the farmer has three sons, of whom the youngest adopts thievery as a profession, which indeed it was in the Middle Ages (as we know from the Cul-le-jatte of The Cloister and the Hearth). In Hahn, 3, the Master Thief has to bring a "Drakos" instead of a priest. Curiously enough, in Gonzenbach, 83, the Master Thief has to bring back a "dragu."

In many of the variants the Master Thief executes his tricks in order to gain the King's daughter by a sort of Bride Wager. But in most cases he does them in order to escape the natural consequences of his thievery.


The adult reader will of course recognize that this is the story of Cupid and Psyche, as told by Apuleius, and translated with such felicity by Pater in his Marius, Pt. i., ch. 5. Though the names of the gods and goddesses—Venus,[247] Mercury, Jupiter, Juno, Proserpine, etc.—are scattered through the tale, it is now acknowledged on all hands that it has nothing to do with mythology but is a fairy tale pure and simple, as indeed is acknowledged by Apuleius who calls it a "fabella anilis." From this point of view it is of extreme interest to the student of the folk-tale as practically the same tale, with the Unseen Bridegroom, the Sight Taboo, the Jealous Mother-in-law, the Tasks, and the Visit to the Nether-World, occur in contemporary folk-tales scattered throughout Europe, from Norway (Dasent, "East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon") to Italy (Gonzenbach No. 15, Pitre No. 18 given in Crane No. 1, King of Love); for the variants elsewhere see Koehler on Gonzenbach. The earliest form of the modern versions is found in Basile (1637), Pentamerone v., 4, The Golden Root.

Now there are several circumstances showing the identity of the ancient and modern forms of this story. All of them contain the punishment for curiosity motive, which is doubled both in Apuleius (with the coffer at the end) and in Basile and Crane. In several of the folk-tales the Ant-Help occurs in the performance of the tasks, and in Apuleius the successive visits to Juno and Ceres evidently represent the visits to the Queen-mother's sisters, often known as ogresses, found in Dasent, Basile, and in Grimm 88. It is possible, of course, that in some cases dim memories of Apuleius have percolated down to the folk, as is shown by the name of the hero in Pitre's version Il Re d'Amore. Kawczynski (Abh. d. Krakauer Akad. 1909, xlv. 1) declares for the derivation of the whole series of folk-tales from Apuleius but against this is the doubt whether this author was at all known during the Middle Ages.

But, to prove that the folk-tales were not derived directly or solely from the classical romance they, in almost every case, had a series of adventures not found there, including the incidents, Obstacles to Pursuit, False Bride, and Sale[248] of Bed. Now these incidents really belong to another formula, that of the Master-Maid, in which an ogre's or giant's daughter, helps the hero to perform tasks, flees away with him, is pursued by the ogre, loses her beloved through an Oblivion Kiss and has to win him again from his False Bride by purchasing the right of spending three nights with him. These incidents come in logically in the Master-Maid formula but are dragged in without real relevance into Cupid and Psyche; yet they occur as early as Basile where there is a dim reminiscence of the Oblivion Kiss. In reconstructing the formula I have therefore omitted these incidents, reserving them for their proper place (see Master-Maid).

Cupid and Psyche is of special interest to the student of the folk-tale since it is a means of testing the mythological, the anthropological, and the Indian theories of its origin. The mythological interpretation is nowadays so discredited that it is needless to discuss it, especially as we have seen that the mythological names given by Apuleius are only dragged in perforce. The anthropological explanation, given most fully by Andrew Lang in his admirable introduction to Addington's translation of Apuleius in the Bibliotheque de Carabas, gives savage parallels from all quarters of the globe to the seven chief incidents making up the tale, but leaves altogether out of account the artistic concatenation of the incidents in the tale itself and does not consider the later complications of the European folk-tales connected with it. M. Cosquin and others bring in the Vedic myth of Urvasi and Pururavas, but we have seen reason to reject the notion that the tale is, in its essence, mythological, and therefore need not consider its relation to Indian mythology. Cosquin, however, gives reference to the tale of Tulisa taken down from a washerwoman of Benares in 1833 (Asiatic Journal, new series, vol. 2), which has the invisible husband and the breaking of taboo, the jealous mother-in-law, and[249] the tasks. This is indeed a close parallelism sufficient to raise the general question of relation between the Indian and the European folk-tale. But the earlier existence of the tale in Apuleius and Basile would give the preference to European influence on India rather than vice versa.

I should add that I have followed Apuleius in giving a symbolic name to the heroine of the tale, in order to suggest its relation to the classical folk-tale of Cupid and Psyche, but not of course to indicate that it is in any sense mythological. The Descent-to-hell incident, which is found both in the classical and in the modern European forms and therefore in my reconstruction is only, after all, the application of a common form to the notion of difficult Tasks, which is of the essence of the story.


This is one of the oldest and widest spread tales of the world, and the resultant formula was, therefore, more than usually difficult to reconstruct. The essence of the tale consists in the Menial Hero—Three Tasks—Master-Maid Help—Obstacles to Pursuit—Oblivion Kiss—False Bride—Sale of Bed—Happy Marriage. In essentials this is the story of Jason and Medea, where we have the Tasks, the Pursuit, and the False Bride, though the dramatic genius of the Greeks has given a tragic ending to the tale. Lang, in his Custom and Myth, pp. 87-102, has pointed out parallels, not alone in modern folk-tales, like Grimm 92, Campbell 2, Dasent 11, and Basile 11, but even in Madagascar (Folk-Lore Journal, Aug., 1883), and Samoa (Turner 102) while the Flight and Obstacles are found in Japan and Zululand. Even in America there is the Algonquin form of the Tasks (School-craft, Algic Researches ii., 94-104), and the Flight is given in an interesting article in the Century Magazine, 1884. According to Lang's general[250] views, he seems to regard these incidents as being universally human and having no affiliation with one another, though he entitles his essay, "A Far Travelled Tale."

The modern Folk-Tales, however, make it practically impossible that these at least could have arisen independently. Many of them have an introductory set of incidents, Jephtha-Vow, Herd-Boy, Shepherd-Boy, Prince; this I have adopted in my version. But besides this the Tasks are often identical, Cleaning Stable (Dasent, Campbell), Finger-Ladder (Campbell, trace in Cosquin 32), Building Castle (Grimm 113, Hahn 54); the Oblivion Kiss occurs in Scotland, Germany, Spain, Tyrol, Tuscany, Sicily, and Rome, all in connection with similar stories.

The tale has been especially popular in Celtdom. I have enumerated no less than fourteen versions in my notes on the "Battle of the Birds" (Celtic Fairy Tales, p. 265). There we have the Obstacles to Pursuit mainly in the form of forest, mountain, and river, which the late Mr. Alfred Nutt pointed out to be the natural boundaries of the Nether-World in Teutonic Paganism. It is, therefore, possible that our story has been "contaminated" or influenced by the notion of the "Descent to Hell."

Here, as in the parallel case of Cupid and Psyche, we find a classical story, with many of the incidents clearly reproduced in modern Folk-Tales, while others have been inserted to make the tale longer or more of the folk-tale character.

At the same time the story as a whole is found spread from America to Samoa, from India to Scotland, with indubitable signs of being the same story dressed up according to local requirements. The Master-Maid is, accordingly, one of the most instructive of all folk-tales, from the point of view of the problem of diffusion.[251]


This droll, in its two parts, occurs throughout Europe as has been shown by Cosquin in his elaborate Notes to No. 22. The Visitor from Paradise, for example, occurs in Brittany, Germany, Norway, and Sweden, England, Roumania, Tyrol, and Ireland. In some of the versions the silly wife gives some household treasure to a passer-by because her husband had said that he was keeping this for Christmas, for Easter, or for "Hereafterthis" and the Visitor claims it in that name. (See More English Fairy Tales.) The idea also occurs in the literature of jests in Pauli, 1519, Hans Sachs, and in Trésor du Ridicule, Paris, 1644. Cosquin has also traced it to Ceylon, Orientalist, 1884, p. 62.

The adventure of the door and the robbers is equally widely spread in Normandy, Germany, Austria, Bosnia, Rome, Catalonia, and Sicily. (Gonz., i., 251-2.) It forms part of the tale of "Mr. Vinegar" in English Fairy Tales. The two adventures are, however, rarely combined; Cosquin knows of only two instances. I have, however, ventured to combine them here instead of making two separate tales of them.

In telling the story one has to slur over the pronunciation of "Paradise," making the last vowel short, so as to explain the misunderstanding about "Paris." I have retained the Paris motif as all through the Middle Ages, wayfarers from and to Paris (wandering scholars or clerics) would be familiar sights to the peasantry throughout Europe.

Bolte gives in full (ii., 441-6) a Latin poem by Wickram in 1509 entitled, "De Barta et marito eius per studentem Parisiensem subtiliter deceptis," which is practically identical with the early part of our story and has this misunderstanding about Paris and Paradise. It accordingly occurs in most of the German books of Drolls as those by Bebel[252] and Pauli, and it is possible that the folk versions were derived from this, though they stretch as far as Cairo and North India. See Clouston, Book of Noodles, pp. 205, 214. In some of the folk-tales, there is an introduction in which the Foolish Wife sells three cows, but keeps one of the three as a pledge. Thereupon her husband leaves her until he can find any one as silly, which he does by posing as a Visitor from Paradise. This is more suitable for an introduction for "The Three Sillies."


This story is one of the most interesting in the study of the popular diffusion of tales, and I therefore give it here though I have given an excellent version from Temple and Steel in Indian Fairy Tales, ix., "The Tiger, the Brahman, and the Jackal," and have there discussed the original form. Its interest, from the point of view of diffusion, lies in the fact that it occurs in India, both early (see Benfey, i., 117) and late (Temple, 12, Frere, 14), in Greece, both classical (Æsopic fable of the serpent in the bosom) and modern (Hahn, 87, Schmidt, p. 3), and in the earliest mediæval collection of popular tales by Petrus Alfonsi (Disciplina clericalis, vii.), as well as in the Reynard cycle. Besides these quasi-literary sources ranging over more than two thousand years, there are innumerable folk-versions collected in the last century and ranging from Burmah (Semeaton, The Karens, 128) to America (Harris, Uncle Remus, 86). These are all enumerated by Professor Krohn in an elaborate dissertation, "Mann und Fuchs" (Helsingfors, 1891). In essentials the trick by which the fisherman gets the djin inside the bottle again, in the first story within the frame of the Arabian Nights (adapted so admirably by Mr. Anstey in his Brass Bottle), is practically the same device. Richard I. is said, by Matthew Paris (ed. Luard,[253] ii., 413-16), to have told the nobles of England, after his return from captivity in the East, a similar apologue proving the innate ingratitude of man. This is derived from the Karma Jataka, which was possibly the ultimate source of the whole series of tales.

Amid all these hundred variants there is one common idea, that of the ingratitude of a rescued animal (crocodile, snake, tiger, etc.), which is thwarted by its being placed back in the situation from which it was rescued. In some cases the bystander who restores equilibrium is alone; in most instances there are three of them; the first two having suffered from man's ingratitude see no reason for interfering. This is the "common form" which I have adopted in my version. In India the sufferer from ingratitude is sometimes a tree (a mulberry tree, in Indian Fairy Tales), but the European versions prefer horses or dogs.

Now it is obvious that such an artificial apologue on man's ingratitude could not have been invented twice for that particular purpose; and thus the hundred different versions (to which Dr. Bolte could probably add another century) must all, in the last resort, have emanated from a single source. When and where that original was concocted is one of the most interesting problems of folk-tale diffusion; the moralizing tendency of the tale, the animistic note underlying it, all point to India, where we find it in the Bidpai literature before the Christian era and current among the folk at the present day. The case for Indian origin is strongest for drolls of this kind.

I may add that the ingratitude of the man towards the fox at the end is not so universal a tail piece to the story as the rest of it, and is ultimately derived from the Reynard cycle, in which I have also introduced it (see "Bruin and Reynard").

But it occurs in many of the variants and comes in so appropriately that I thought it desirable to add it also here.[254] The substitution of a dog for something else desired also occurs in the story of the Hobyahs in More English Fairy Tales, where Mr. Batten's released dog is so fierce (p. 125) that it drives one of the Hobyahs over on to the next page belonging to altogether another story.


I have followed Bolte's formula "Anmerkungen" 45, keeping however as far as possible to the alternatives nearest to Basile, iv., 9, and where that fails making use of the Grimms' "Faithful John," No. 6, one of their best told tales. The story is popular in Italy where Crane, 344, refers to six other versions. It is also found in Greece (Hahn 29), and Roumania (Schott, p. 144), and indeed throughout the east of Europe. Traces of it in British Isles are but slight.

In India, however, there are a number of very close parallels (Day, 17-52; Knowles, 421-41; Frere, 98; and Somadeva; edit. Tawney, i., 519, ii., 251, which contains the similar story of Vivara the True); Benfey, i., 417, draws attention to other Oriental traits in the story and aptly compares the half-marble figure of the King of the Black Islands in the Arabian Nights. The probabilities of an Indian origin for this formula are rendered greater by the early age of the Pantschatantra and Somadeva parallels.

On the other hand the sacrifice of the children for the faithful servant has its closest parallel in the old French romance of Amis and Amilun, where Amis smears Amilun with the blood of his child to cure him of leprosy. The analogy is so close as almost to force the assumption of derivation. Koehler accordingly in his Aufsaetze, 1894, pp. 24-35, regards the tale as a development of the Indian story influenced by the romance of Amis.[255]


I have followed Bolte's formula s. v. Hansel and Gretel, 15, i., 115, though with some misgivings. Very few of his variants have his section F, which he divides into three variants: F 1. Ducks or angels carry the children over the stream. F 2. Or they throw out obstacles to pursuit. F 3. Or the witch drinks up the stream and bursts. F 2 is obviously "contaminated" by the similar incident in the Master Maid, and the existence of such alternatives indicates, to my mind, an absence of a consistent tradition as to the ending of the story, which obviously ended with the baking of the witch in the oven. I have combined, in my ending F 1 and F 2, the former from the Grimms' "Hansel and Gretel"; I have also adapted their title, with a reminiscence of Sir James Barrie.

The predicament of the farmer must have often really occurred in the Middle Ages when famine was the rule rather than the exception; and the decision to "expose" the children recalls the general practice in ancient Greece and Rome and in Arabia. A touch of comedy, however, is given to this grim beginning of our tale by the house made of cookies and sweetmeats, probably derived from the myth of a Schlarafenland of the Germans and similar imaginations of the Celts (see More Celtic Fairy Tales).

The beginning of the tale occurs early in Basile, v., 8, "Nennillo and Nennila," in which the three kings' children find their way home twice by similar devices, but at the third time scatter peas, which the birds eat up. Perrault has the same beginning in his "Petit Poucet," which has been Englished as "Hop o' my Thumb," who shares some of the adventures of Tom Thumb, as well as of the valiant Tailor. Lang has an interesting but, as usual, inconclusive discussion of the incidents of our tale in his Perrault civ.-cxi., and finds many of the incidents among the Kaffirs,[256] Zulus, and other savage tribes, but scarcely the whole set of incidents from A to F, and that is what we want to find in studying the story. Dr. Bolte finds several instances where the full formula still exists in popular tradition. It is surely easiest to assume that they were once brought together by a folk artist whose bright little tale has spread among various folks, with the alterations suggested by the divergent fancy of the different folk minds.


The Clever Lass is of exceptional interest to the student of the Folk-Tale because of its exceptionally wide spread throughout Europe and Asia, and also because it is one of those tales which have been made the basis of the theory of the Eastern origin of all Folk-Tales. Bolte, in his elaborate monograph on the formula ("Anmerkungen," ii., 349-73), enumerates no less than eighty-six variants, twelve in Germany, six in other Teutonic lands, thirteen in Romance countries, no less than thirty-seven in Slavonic dialects, seven in Finnish, Hungarian and Tartar, six in the Semitic tongues, and also five in India, though there the parallelism is only partial. But in the European variants the parallels are so close and the riddles answered by the Clever Lass are in so many cases identical, and the order of incidents is so uniform that none can doubt the practical identity of the story throughout the Western area. There occurs some variation in the opening which, at times, takes the form of the father of the Clever Girl finding a golden mortar and giving it to the King, against the advice of his daughter who foresees that the monarch will demand the accompanying pestle. This seems however to be confined to the Teutonic lands or those in immediate cultural connection with them. The riddles about strongest, richest, most beautiful, form the opening elsewhere, and I have therefore chosen this[257] alternative. The variations, both in questions and answers, are many, as is perhaps natural considering the popularity of the riddle in the folk mind, which would make it easy for a story-teller to make changes.

The King or Prince, in some of the variants, discovers the cleverness of the farmer's daughter on a visit to the farmer, when he elaborately carves and divides a chicken on a method which the Clever Lass discerns. This however does not occur so frequently except in Italy, and I have therefore omitted it. The discovery of the theft by the King's messenger is much more widely spread. (See Crane, 382, and compare "Gobborn Seer," in More English Fairy Tales.)

The Grimms, in their notes, point to a remarkable parallel in the Saga of Aslaug, the daughter of Brunhild and Sigurd. Here the King Ragnar demands that Aslaug should come to him naked yet clothed, eating yet not eating, not alone but without companion. She uses the fish-net as in the Folk-Tale, bites into an onion, and takes her dog along with her. From the last incident some of the Folk-Tales have possibly taken the awkward attitude of limping along with one of her feet on the back of a dog. But the first incident, being dragged along in a fish-net, is so unlikely to occur to anybody's mind without prompting, that one cannot help agreeing with the Grimms that the incident was taken into the Folk-Tale from the Saga, or that both were derived from a common source. On the whole subject of the curious ride, R. Kohler has an elaborate treatment in his Gesammelte Schriften, i., 446-56.

The attraction of the riddle for the folk mind is well known, and before the spread of cards appears to have been one of the chief forms of gambling in which even life was staked, as in the case of Samson or the Sphinx. In the Folk-Tale it often occurs in the form of the Riddle-Bride-Wager, in which a princess is married to him that can guess[258] some elaborate conundrum. The first two of Child's Ballads deal with similar riddles, and his notes are a mine of erudition on the subject: on the Clever Lass herself see his elaborate treatment, English Ballads, i., 485 seq.

It is perhaps worthy of note that the questions as to the strongest, most beautiful, and richest occur in Plutarch's Symposium, 152 a, and it is a striking coincidence that, in the same treatise, 151 b, occurs another practical riddle, how to drink up the ocean, which occurs in several variants of the Clever Lass. But there is no evidence of any story connection between the two riddles in Plutarch, and one can easily imagine this sort of verbal amusement spreading from the learned to the folk.

The plan by which the Clever Lass becomes reconciled to the King, by carrying off what is dearest to her, is found in the Midrash probably as early as the eighth century. A still more remarkable parallel is that of the True Wives of Weinsberg who, when that town was invested, were allowed by the besiegers to carry off with them whatever they liked best. When the town gate was opened they tottered forth, each of them carrying her husband on her shoulders. But whether the incident ever really occurred, and if it occurred, whether the ruse was suggested by the Folk-Tale, cannot now be ascertained.

Benfey, in an elaborate dissertation, first communicated to "Ausland" in 1859, but now included in his Kleinere Schriften, ii., 156-223, argues for the Eastern origin of the whole cycle, which he traces back to the "Seventy Tales of the Parrot" (Suka Saptati) probably as early as the sixth century. Here the vizier Sakatala of the King Nanda is released from prison in order to determine which of two identical horses is mare and which is foal, and which part of a truncated log is root or branch. Benfey traces this and similar riddlesome difficulties to a good deal of Eastern literature in Tibet, Mongolia and Persia, and Arabia. But[259] he fails to find any very exact parallels in the European area which, at that time, was very little explored. He finds the nearest parallel in Wuk, No. 25, but this is by no means a full variant of the other European tales and may have even been "contaminated" from the East. Benfey notices the Saga parallel but goes so far as even to claim this as being influenced by Eastern stories. Since his time a much closer parallel has been found in Kashmir by Knowles' Folk Tales of Kashmir, pages 484-90, repeated in Indian Fairy Tales, No. xxiv., "Why the Fish Laughed." But the parallelism here extends only to the cleverness of the girl and the ingenuity of her answers to the riddles, not to the actual plot of the story which is so uniform in Europe. Altogether we must reject Benfey's contention, at any rate for this particular story.


I have followed, for the most part, Bolte's reconstruction, which practically consists of a combination of Grimm, 37 and 45. But in combining the two I have found it necessary to omit sections D and E of Bolte's formula which form the beginning of Grimm, 45, "Thumbkin as Journeyman."

The notion of a baby the size of a doll might be regarded as "universally human"; even the Greeks knew of manikins no bigger than their thumbs and weighing not more than an obolus (Athenæus, xii., 77); there is an epigram of the same subject in the Greek Anthology, ii., 350. But the particular adventures of Thumbkin are so consistently identical throughout Europe, especially with regard to the adventures in the cow's stomach, that it is impossible to consider the stories as independent. Cosquin, 53, has more difficulty than usual in finding real parallels in the Orient. In England, of course, Thumbkin is known as Tom Thumb[260] (see English Fairy Tales). In the days when mythological explanations of folk-tales were popular, Gaston Paris, in a special monograph ("Petit Poucet," Paris 1875) tried to prove that Tom Thumb was a stellar hero because his French name was given to the smallest star in the Great Bear. But it is more likely that the name came from the tale than the tale from the star.

According to Gaston Paris, the chief variants known to him were Teutonic and Slav. Those of the Roumanians, Albanians, and Greeks were derived from the Slavs. He concludes that the French form must have been borrowed from the Germans, and declares that it is not found in Italy or Spain, but Cosquin, ii., gives Basque and Catalan variants, as well as a Portuguese one, and Crane gives a Tuscan variant, 242, with other occurrences in Italy in note 3, p. 372. This only shows the danger of deciding questions of origin on an imperfect induction.

The opening is not found in Grimm; I have taken it from Andrews; for which an excellent parallel is given in Crane, lxxvii., "Little Chick-pea." A similar beginning occurs in Hahn, 56, "Pepper-corn."


Snowwhite is of special interest to the students of the folk-tale as being obviously a late product combining many motifs from different, more primitive, or at least earlier formulæ. E. Boeklen, in his Schneewitchen Studien, I, Leipzig 1910, suggests influence by Hansel and Gretel; The Seven Ravens; The Sleeping Beauty; The Maiden without Hands; One Eye, Two Eyes, Three Eyes; False Bride, etc.; and Bolte, i., 453, appears to agree with him. Certainly almost every one of the incidents can be paralleled in other sets of folk-tales. The combination "white as snow," "red as blood," "black as ebony," has already been[261] given in the present volume (see p. 173). Bringing back an animal's heart instead of the proposed victim's is common form as early as the Book of Genesis; and the trial of the three beds is familiar to English children in Southey's "Three Bears." It would seem that a story something like "Snowwhite" was known in Shakespeare's time, as there appears to be a reference to it in the main plot of "Cymbeline" (see Germania, ix., 458).

The form I have given to the formula follows very closely that of the Grimms' 53. It is one of their best stories and occurs widely spread throughout Germany. Whether that implies original composition in Central Europe cannot at present be determined, but it certainly looks that way. I have, however, omitted Bolte's F referring to the punishment of the Queen, which is wanting in the majority of the variants. No editor of a text would under similar circumstances take account of so rare a variant.



I give in the following list the chief incidents that occur in the preceding tales, using for the most part the nomenclature used in the notes or in the list of incidents attached to my paper on "The Problem of Diffusion" in the Transactions of the International Folk-Lore Congress, 1892, pp. 87-98.

N. B. Incidents in Drolls are placed in italics. In some few cases, the incidents are referred to only in the notes.

A Staircase
of Stories

Chosen by

Louey Chisholm


Amy Steedman

Thick Handsome 8o, 31 Full-page Illustrations in Color 41 in Black and White. 540 Pages. 64 Tales

The appeal is to children between the ages of four and fourteen, and the aim, to concentrate solely on what it is believed children will most enjoy. There is a gradual ascent in difficulty as the pages are turned—hence the title. This thick handsome book will make a solid and delightful foundation to a child's library.

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Old Favorites

Forty Famous Fairy Tales

Jack and the Beanstalk—The Three Dwarfs—The Six Swans—The Sleeping Beauty—Beauty and the Beast—Blue Beard—Tom Thumb—-Snowdrop—Jack the Giant-Killer—Little Red Riding Hood, and many others. 400 pages. 14 full-page illustrations. Wrapper in color.

Two and Four Footed Friends

Stories by Anna Sewell, H. Rider Haggard, Bret Harte, Ernest Ingersoll, Charles Dudley Warner, Hezekiah Butterworth, and others. 382 pages. 17 full-page illustrations. Decorative wrapper.

Stories Grandmother Knew

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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There

By Lewis Carroll

Alice's adventures, and the friends she made among the preposterous and impossible creatures, are now part of the mental furniture of every child, and of most children of an older growth as well.

The two preceding stories are also printed separately.

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Injun Babies


Maynard Dixon

These stories of little red men and women have the flavor of actuality, with all the wonder and strangeness that children demand. The background of the Western plains when Injun babies lived in tepees made of buffalo skins is a new one for children's stories; the adventures of the little Indians with animals and their simple life of every day make the collection a unique one for young readers of today. The book is charmingly illustrated with drawings by the author.

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