The Project Gutenberg eBook of Fairy Tales, Volume 1 (of 2)

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Title: Fairy Tales, Volume 1 (of 2)

Compiler: Marion Florence Lansing

Illustrator: Charles Copeland

Release date: March 24, 2022 [eBook #67776]

Language: English

Original publication: United States: Ginn and Company, 1907

Credits: Jeroen Hellingman and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at for Project Gutenberg (This file was produced from images generously made available by the Library of Congress)


Newly Designed Front Cover.



“Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before me.

Original Title Page.




Fairy Tales, of which this is the first volume, follows without break an earlier book, Rhymes and Stories, and is made up chiefly of Märchen, or nursery tales, with a few drolls, or comic anecdotes. The term “fairy tale” has been used in its popular sense as including “tales in which occurs something ‘fairy,’ something extraordinary,—giants, fairies, dwarfs, speaking animals. It must also be taken to cover tales in which what is extraordinary is the stupidity of the actors.”

The tales are usually romantic, with a definite plot, but without emphasis on the point of their being fact or fiction. They do not locate the hero in history or require a definite time or place, but begin with “Once upon a time, in a certain town or village,” or with some equally indefinite introduction. They deal with the supernatural, and always end well for the hero or heroine. They have usually been retold from their original traditional form by some skilled story-teller. Very few are distinctly English, though those from other lands have been adopted by English-speaking peoples. [vi]

Sagas, of which “Jack the Giant Killer” is an example, differ from the other classes in having definite localities and dates assigned to them. They have been reserved for Tales of Old England, which immediately follows in the series. We have been compelled to omit from these volumes many tales which are worthy favorites, but with at least as many fairy stories as are here collected every child should be familiar. The aim has been to give a proportionate representation to each of the great story-tellers, and to each kind of story, and to introduce the best examples of the leading motifs of folklore. The original sources have been sought out in every case,—in English chapbooks, in collections of 1696 and 1795, in German and Old French,—and these versions have been carefully and minutely compared with the best versions of later times and of the present. Besides the scholarly interest attaching to such research, the practical effect has been to simplify the stories by dropping off the fanciful additions made by successive editors and returning to the beautiful simplicity and the clear, forceful language of these wonderful products of the story-teller’s art.


“Good evening, Mistress Miller; why are you crying so bitterly?”




There was once a miller who was very poor, but he had a beautiful daughter. Now it happened that he had occasion to speak with the King, and in order to appear a person of some consequence he told him that he had a daughter who could spin straw into gold.

“Now that is an art worth having,” said the King to the miller; “if your daughter is as skillful as you say, bring her to-morrow to my palace and I will put her to the test.”

When the girl was brought to him he led her into a room which was full of straw, and giving her a spinning wheel and spindle he said, “Now set to work, and if by to-morrow morning early you have not spun this straw into gold, you shall die.” [2]

Then he locked the door himself, and left her alone in the room.

The poor miller’s daughter sat there, and for the life of her could not think what to do. She had not the least idea how to turn straw into gold, and she became more and more unhappy, till at last she began to cry. Then all at once the door opened, and in came a tiny little man and said to her, “Good evening, Mistress Miller; why are you crying so bitterly?”

“Alas!” answered the girl, “I have to spin straw into gold, and I do not know how to do it.”

“What will you give me,” said the little man, “if I spin it for you?”

“My necklace,” said the girl.

The little man took the necklace, seated himself before the spinning wheel, and whirr, whirr, whirr, the wheel went round three times, and the reel was full of gold. Then he put on more straw, and whirr, whirr, whirr, the wheel went round three turns, and the reel was full a second time. And so it went [3]on till morning, when all the straw was spun and the reels were full of gold.

At sunrise the King came to the room, and when he saw the gold he was astonished and delighted.

At sunrise the King came to the room, and when he saw the gold he was astonished and delighted, but his heart was only greedy for more. He had the miller’s daughter taken into a still larger room full of straw, and commanded her to spin that, too, in one night, if she valued her life. The girl did not know what to do, and began to cry; then the door opened as before, and the little man appeared and said, “What will you give me if I spin the straw into gold for you?”

“I will give you the ring from my finger,” answered the girl. [4]

The little man took the ring, began to turn the wheel round with a whirr again, and by morning had spun all the straw into glittering gold.

The King was pleased beyond measure at the sight, but still he had not gold enough. He had the miller’s daughter taken into a still larger room filled with straw, and said, “You must spin this, too, in the course of the night; but if all this straw is spun into gold by morning, you shall be my wife.”

“Even though she is only a miller’s daughter,” he thought to himself, “I could not find a richer wife anywhere in the whole world.”

When the girl was alone the little man came for the third time, and said, “What will you give me if I spin the straw for you this once more?”

“I have nothing more that I can give,” answered the girl.

“Then promise me when you are queen to give me your first child.”

“Who knows what may happen before that?” thought the miller’s daughter; and, [5]besides, she knew no way to help herself out of this difficulty. So she promised the little man what he asked, and for that he soon spun the straw into gold once more.

When the King came in the morning and found everything as he had wished, he took her in marriage, and the miller’s beautiful daughter became a queen.

A year later she had a beautiful child, and she never gave a thought to the little man; but all of a sudden one day he walked into her room and said, “Now give me what you promised.”

The Queen was terrified, and offered the little man all the treasures of the kingdom if he would only leave her her child.

But the little man said, “No, something living is dearer to me than all the treasures in the world.”

Then the Queen began to mourn and weep so bitterly that the little man was sorry for her, and said, “I will give you three days, and if in that time you can guess my name, you shall keep your child.” [6]

Then the Queen lay awake till morning, thinking over all the names she had ever heard of, and she sent a messenger over the country to inquire far and near any other names there might be. When the little man came the next day she began with Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar, and repeated all the names she knew; but at each one the little man said, “No, that’s not my name.”

The next day she sent to inquire the names of all the people in the neighborhood, and had a long list of the most uncommon and extraordinary names for the little man when he came.

“Is your name Shortribs, perhaps, or Sheepshanks, or Spindleleg?”

But he always replied, “No, that is not my name.”

The third day the messenger returned and reported: “I have not been able to find any more new names, but on my way home, as I came to a high mountain on the edge of the forest, I saw there a little house, and before the house a fire was burning, and round the [7]fire a ridiculous little man was hopping and dancing on one leg and crying:

“ ‘To-day I brew, to-morrow I bake,

Next morning I shall the Queen’s child take;

How glad I am that no one can dream

That Rumpelstiltskin is my name!’ ”

Round the fire a ridiculous little man was hopping and dancing on one leg.

You can imagine how delighted the Queen was when she heard the name. And when the little man came in a little later and [8]asked, “Now, Lady Queen, what is my name?” she asked first, “Is your name Conrad?”


“Is your name Henry?”


“Is your name, perhaps, Rumpelstiltskin?”

“The bad fairies told you that! the bad fairies told you that!” screamed the little man, and in his rage he stamped his right foot so deep into the ground that his whole leg went in; then, in a passion, he seized his left foot with both hands and tore himself in two.

He seized his left foot with both hands and tore himself in two.



Once upon a time there was a King who had twelve sons. When they were grown big he told them they must go out into the world to win themselves wives, but these wives must each be able to spin and weave and sew a shirt in one day, else he would not have them for daughters-in-law.

To each he gave a horse and a new suit of clothes, and they went out into the world to look for their brides. When they had gone a little way together they said they would not have Boots, their youngest brother, with them, for he was stupid.

So Boots had to stay behind, and he did not know what to do or where to turn. He became very downcast, and got off his horse and sat down in the tall grass to weep. But when he had sat a while, one of the tufts in the grass began to stir and move, and out of it came a little white thing. When it [11]came nearer, Boots saw it was a charming little lassie, “such a tiny bit of a thing.” The lassie went up to him and asked if he would come down below and see “Doll-in-the-Grass.”

When he had sat a while, one of the tufts in the grass began to stir and move, and out of it came a little white thing.

“Yes, I’d be very happy,” he said, and went.

When he got down, there sat Doll-in-the-Grass on a chair. She was the tiniest little lassie you can imagine, and very, very lovely. She asked Boots where he was going, and what was his business. So he told her how there were twelve brothers of them, and how the King had told them each one must go out into the world and find himself a wife who could spin and weave and sew a shirt in one day.

“But if you will only say at once that you will be my wife,” said Boots to Doll-in-the-Grass, “I’ll not go a step farther.”

She was willing, and so she made haste and spun and wove and sewed the shirt, but it was very, very tiny. It wasn’t more than two inches long. [12]

Boots went off home with it, but when he brought it out he was almost ashamed of it, it was so small. But the King was pleased with it, and said he should have her. So Boots set off, glad and happy, to fetch his little sweetheart.

She would sit and drive along in a silver spoon, and she had two small white horses to draw her.

When he came to Doll-in-the-Grass he wished to take her up before him on his horse. But she would not have that, for she said she would sit and drive along in a silver spoon, and that she had two small white horses to draw her. So off they set, he on his horse and she in her silver spoon, and the two horses that drew her were two tiny white mice; but Boots always kept the other [13]side of the road, for he was afraid lest he should ride over her, she was so little.

When they had gone a little way they came to a great piece of water. Here Boots’s horse got frightened, and shied across the road and upset the spoon, and Doll-in-the-Grass tumbled into the water. Then Boots was in great distress, for he did not know how to get her out again; but in a little while up came a merman with her, and now she was as tall and well grown as other men and women, and far lovelier than she had been before. So he took her up before him on his horse, and rode home.

All Boots’s brothers had come back with their sweethearts, but none had woven so dainty a little shirt as Doll-in-the-Grass, and none were half so lovely. When the brothers saw her they were as jealous as jealous could be of their brother; but the King was so delighted with her that he gave them a fine wedding feast, and had them live with him in his palace, and he gave out word that they should follow him on the throne. [14]


There was once a prince who wanted to marry a princess. But she must be a real princess, mind you. So he traveled all around the world to find one, but everywhere there was always something in the way. Not that there was any lack of princesses, but whether they were real princesses he could not seem to make out; there was always something that did not seem quite right. So home he came, quite out of spirits, for he did wish so much to have a real princess.

One evening a terrible storm came on. It thundered and lightened, and the rain poured down in torrents; indeed, it was a fearful night. In the midst of it there came a knocking at the palace gate, and the old king went out to open it.

It was a princess who stood outside. But, oh, dear! what a state she was in from the rain and storm! The water was streaming [15]from her hair and clothes; it ran in at the tips of her shoes and out at the heels; yet she insisted she was a real princess.

It was a princess who stood outside.

“Very well,” thought the old queen; “that we shall presently see.” She said nothing, but she went into the bedroom and took [16]off all the bedding, and then laid a pea on the framework of the bedstead. Having done this, she took twenty mattresses and laid them upon the pea, and twenty eider-down quilts on top of the mattresses.

The princess lay upon this bed all night. In the morning she was asked how she had slept.

“Oh, miserably!” said the princess. “I scarcely closed my eyes the whole night through. I’m sure I don’t know what was in the bed. I lay upon something so hard that I am black and blue all over from it. It is dreadful!”

Now they knew at once that she was a real princess, since through twenty mattresses and through twenty eider-down quilts she had felt the pea. None but a real princess could be so sensitive.

So the prince took her for his wife, for he knew that at last in her he had found a real princess. And the pea was put in the Royal Museum, where it is still to be seen unless some one has stolen it.

And this, mind you, is a true story. [17]


In olden times there lived a King whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so lovely that the sun himself wondered at her beauty every time he looked into her face.

Near to the King’s castle lay a dark, gloomy forest; and in the forest, under an old linden tree, was a fountain. When the day was very hot the King’s daughter used to go into the wood and sit down by the side of the cool fountain. Her favorite amusement, as she sat there, was to toss a golden ball up into the air and catch it again. Once she threw it so high that, instead of falling into the hand that she stretched out for it, it dropped upon the ground and rolled straight into the water.

The King’s daughter followed it with her eyes as long as she could, but it disappeared, for the well was so deep that she could not [18]see the bottom. Then she began to cry bitterly for her ball.

As she sat weeping she heard a voice calling: “What is the matter, King’s daughter? Your tears would touch the heart of a stone.”

She looked round towards the spot whence the voice came and saw a frog stretching his thick, ugly head out of the water.

“Oh, it is you, is it, old water-paddler!” she said. “Well, then, I am crying for the loss of my golden ball which has fallen into the fountain.”

“Then do not cry any more,” answered the frog; “I can get it for you. But what will you give me if I bring back your plaything to you?”

“Oh, anything you like, dear frog!” she said. “My dresses, my pearls and jewels, even the golden crown I wear.”

“No,” answered the frog, “your clothes, your pearls and jewels, or even your golden crown are nothing to me; but if you will love me and let me be your companion and playfellow, sit by you at table, eat from your [19]little golden plate, drink out of your cup, and sleep in your little bed,—if you will promise me all this, then I will bring you back your golden ball from the bottom of the fountain.”

She looked round towards the spot whence the voice came.

“Oh, yes,” she replied, “I promise you anything if you will only bring me back my ball!”

She was thinking to herself all this while: “What nonsense the silly frog does talk! He lives in the water with other frogs, [20]and croaks, and cannot be anybody’s playfellow.”

But the frog, as soon as he had received the promise, ducked his head under the water and sank down to the bottom. In a little while he came up again with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the grass. The King’s daughter was full of joy when she saw her pretty plaything again, and, catching it up, ran off with it.

“Wait! wait!” cried the frog. “Take me with you; I cannot run as fast as you.”

But the young Princess would not listen to the frog’s croaking, but ran home and soon forgot the poor frog, who had to go back to his fountain again.

The next day, when the Princess was sitting at table with the King and his courtiers and eating out of her little golden plate, there came a sound of something creeping up the marble staircase, splish, splash, splish, splash, and presently there came a knock at the door, and a voice crying, “Youngest King’s daughter, open to me.” [21]

She ran to see who was outside; but when she opened the door and saw the frog she shut it again in great haste and sat down at the table looking very much frightened. The King, seeing that his daughter was alarmed, said to her: “My child, what is the matter? Is there a giant outside at the door, wanting to carry you off?”

“Wait! wait!” cried the frog. “Take me with you; I cannot run as fast as you.”

“Oh, no!” she replied; “it is no giant,—only a great ugly frog.”

“A frog! What can he want with you, my daughter?”

“Yesterday when I was playing with my golden ball by the fountain in the forest it fell into the water, and because I cried the frog [22]brought it out for me, and he made me promise that he should come here and be my companion; but I never thought he could get out of the water to come. And now he is outside there, and wants to come in to me.”

Just then he knocked at the door a second time, and called:

“Youngest King’s daughter,

Open to me.

Do you not know

What you promised me,


Under the linden tree?

Youngest King’s daughter,

Open to me.”

Then the King said: “My daughter, what you have promised, you must do. Go and open the door for him.”

She went and opened the door, and the frog hopped after her, close to her feet, and quite up to her chair. There he sat and cried, “Lift me up beside you.”

She hesitated, till the King commanded her to do it. [23]

When the frog was on the table he said, “Now push your little plate nearer to me, and we will eat together.”

“Now push your little plate nearer to me, and we will eat together.”

She did it, but it was easy to see that she did not do it willingly. The frog seemed to enjoy his dinner very much, but every mouthful she ate choked her. At last he said, “I have eaten enough, and am tired; now carry me to your little room, and make your silken bed ready, that we may sleep together.”

The King’s daughter began to cry, for she was afraid of the cold frog. She did not like to touch him, and now he wanted to sleep in her beautiful, neat little bed. [24]

But the King was displeased at her tears, and said, “He who helped you when you were in trouble must not be despised now.”

So she took up the frog with two fingers, carried him upstairs, and put him in a corner of her room.

When she got into bed he crept up to her and said: “I am tired, and I want to go to sleep too. Lift me up, or I will tell your father.”

Then she was very angry, and picked him up and threw him with all her strength against the wall, saying, “Now will you be quiet, you ugly frog?”

But as he fell, how surprised she was to see the frog change into a handsome young Prince with beautiful, friendly eyes! He told her how he had been bewitched by a wicked fairy, and how no one could have released him from the spell but herself. He now became, by her father’s will, her dear companion and her husband.

The young Prince wanted to take her to his own kingdom. So on the wedding day [25]a splendid carriage drawn by eight white horses with white plumes on their heads and golden harness drove up to the door. Behind it stood the servant of the young Prince, the faithful Henry. This faithful Henry had been so unhappy when his master was changed into a frog that he had bound three iron bands round his heart to keep it from breaking with grief and sorrow.

The carriage with the Prince and his bride soon drove away, with Henry behind. They had only gone a little way when the Prince heard a loud crack behind him, as if something had broken. He turned round, and cried, “Henry, the carriage is breaking!”

“No, sir,” he replied, “it is not the carriage, but only the iron bands which I bound round my heart for fear it should break with sorrow while you were a frog confined in the fountain. They are breaking now because of my happiness.”

The Prince and Princess never forgot faithful Henry, who had loved his master so well while he was in trouble. [26]


There was once a gentleman who took for his second wife the proudest and most haughty lady that was ever seen. She had two daughters who were exactly like her in character, as in everything else. The gentleman had likewise a young daughter, but of uncommon sweetness and gentleness of disposition, which she took from her mother, who was the best person in the world.

The wedding was hardly over when the stepmother began to give full vent to her bad temper. She could not bear this young girl, whose good qualities made her own daughters appear even more hateful in contrast. She gave her the meanest work in the house to do: it was she who washed the dishes and tables, and scrubbed the stairs, and cleaned the chambers of madam and her young lady daughters. She slept at the [27]top of the house in a garret, on a miserable straw bed, while her sisters were in rooms with inlaid floors, where they had beds of the newest fashion, and mirrors in which they could see themselves from head to foot.

When she had done her work she used to go into the chimney corner and sit among the cinders.

All this the poor girl bore patiently. She dared not complain to her father, who would only have reproved her, for his wife governed him entirely. When she had done her work she used to go into the chimney corner and sit among the cinders; so they commonly called her “Cinder-wench.” The younger sister, who was not so rude and uncivil as the elder, called her “Cinderella.” But Cinderella, for all her mean dress, was [28]still a hundred times more beautiful than her sisters, although they were always dressed magnificently.

It happened that the King’s son gave a ball, to which he invited all persons of fashion. Our two young ladies were invited, for they were people of distinction in the country. They were much delighted and were absorbed in selecting the gowns and headdresses which would best become them. Here was fresh trial for Cinderella, for it was she who ironed her sisters’ linen and starched their ruffles. All day long they talked of nothing but how they should be dressed.

“For my part,” said the elder, “I will wear my red velvet dress with French trimmings.”

“And I,” said the younger, “shall have only my ordinary skirt; but to make amends for that I shall wear my gold-flowered mantle and my diamond necklace, which are very far from being ordinary.”

They sent for the best hairdresser to arrange their hair in the most stylish way, and bought patches for their cheeks from [29]the most fashionable maker. They called in Cinderella to consult with them, for she had good taste. She gave them the best advice she could, and even offered to arrange their headdresses, a proposal which they were very ready to accept.

While she was doing this they said to her, “Cinderella, should you not like to go to the ball?”

“Ah!” replied Cinderella, “you mock me! It is not for me to go to balls.”

“You are right,” said they; “people might well laugh to see a cinder-wench at a ball.” Any one but Cinderella might have left their hair awry, but she was good-humored and did it to perfection.

For almost two days they scarcely ate anything, so transported were they with joy. They broke a dozen or more laces by drawing them too tight in their efforts to make themselves look as slender as possible, and they spent all their time before the mirror.

At last the happy day came; they departed, and Cinderella followed them with [30]her eyes as long as she could. When she could see them no longer she began to cry.

Her godmother, seeing her in tears, asked her what was the matter.

“I wish—I w-i-s-h”—but she could not finish for weeping.

Her godmother, who was a fairy, said to her, “You wish you could go to the ball, do you not?”

“Alas, yes!” said Cinderella, sighing.

“Well,” said her godmother, “be a good girl, and I will see to it that you go.”

Cinderella went at once to pick the finest she could find.

She led her into her chamber, and said to her, “Run into the garden, my child, and fetch me a pumpkin.”

Cinderella went at once to pick the finest she could find, although she could not imagine how this pumpkin could help her to go to the ball. [31]

Her godmother scooped out the inside, leaving nothing but the rind; then she struck it with her wand, and the pumpkin immediately became a beautiful gilded coach.

She then went to look into the mouse trap, where she found six mice, all alive. She told Cinderella to lift the door of the trap, and as each mouse passed out the godmother gave it a little tap with her wand and it was turned into a fine horse. The six made a splendid team of six horses of a fine dapple-gray mouse color.

While she was wondering what she should do for a coachman, Cinderella said, “I will run and see if there is not a rat in the rat trap; we will turn him into a coachman.”

“You are right,” said her godmother; “go and look.”

Cinderella brought the trap to her, and in it there were three huge rats. The fairy chose the one which had the largest beard, and, touching him with her wand, turned him into an imposing coachman with the finest mustache and whiskers ever seen. [32]

Then she said to Cinderella, “Go into the garden and you will find six lizards behind the watering pot; bring them to me.”

She had no sooner done this than her godmother changed them into six footmen, who jumped up at once behind the coach in their laced liveries, and held on as if they had done nothing else all their lives.

The fairy then said to Cinderella, “Well, here is something in which to go to the ball; are you not pleased with it?”

“Yes; but am I to go like this,—in these miserable rags?”

Her godmother simply touched her with her wand, and in the same instant her clothes were changed into apparel of cloth of gold and silver, all decked with jewels. Then she gave her a pair of the prettiest glass slippers in the world. Thus attired, she got into the carriage. Her godmother charged her on no account to stay beyond midnight, and warned her that, if she stayed one moment longer, her coach would become a pumpkin again, her horses mice, her [34]footmen lizards, and her clothes just as they were before. She promised her godmother that she would not fail to leave the ball before midnight, and set off, almost beside herself with joy.

He gave her his hand as she alighted from the coach.

The King’s son, when he was told that a great Princess, whom nobody knew, had arrived, ran out to receive her; he gave her his hand as she alighted from the coach and conducted her to the hall where the company was assembled. A deep silence at once fell upon every one; they stopped dancing and the violins ceased to play, so taken up was every one with gazing at the marvelous beauty of this unknown arrival. Nothing was heard but the confused murmur of voices saying, “Ah! how beautiful she is!”

The King himself, old as he was, could not keep his eyes off her, and whispered to the Queen that it was a long time since he had seen so beautiful and so lovely a creature.

All the ladies were taken up with studying her headdress and her costume, in order to [35]have some made for themselves after the same pattern the next day,—provided they could find materials which would be fine enough and work-people clever enough to make them.

The King’s son conducted her to the seat of honor, and soon took her out to dance with him. She danced with such grace that every one admired her still more. A fine collation was served, but the young Prince was so absorbed in gazing at her that he did not touch a morsel.

She seated herself beside her sisters and showed them a thousand courtesies, sharing with them, among other things, the oranges and citrons which the Prince had presented to her. This astonished them very much, for they did not know her.

While they were conversing together Cinderella heard the clock strike a quarter to twelve. She rose at once, courtesied to the company, and hastened away as fast as she could.

As soon as she got home she ran to find her godmother, and, after having thanked [36]her, told her how much she wished to go to the ball the next day, because the King’s son had begged her to come. While she was telling her godmother all that had happened at the ball her two sisters knocked at the door.

Cinderella opened it. “How long you have stayed!” she said, yawning, rubbing her eyes, and stretching herself as if she had just been awakened. (She had not, however, had any great desire for sleep since they left her.)

“If you had been at the ball,” said one of her sisters, “you would not have been sleepy or bored. There came thither the most beautiful Princess, the very loveliest ever seen; she paid us a thousand attentions, and gave us oranges and citrons.”

Cinderella asked the name of this Princess, but they replied that no one knew it; that the King’s son was very much disturbed by this, and would give anything in the world to know who she was.

Cinderella smiled and said: “How very beautiful she must be! How fortunate you [37]are! Could I not see her? Ah, dear Miss Charlotte, do lend me the yellow gown that you wear every day!”

“Indeed!” said Charlotte, “I should think so! Lend my dress to a dirty cinder-wench like you! I must be out of my mind indeed if I would do that.”

Cinderella expected this refusal and was very glad of it, for she would have been greatly embarrassed if her sister had been willing to lend her the gown.

The next day the two sisters went to the ball, and so did Cinderella, but dressed much more magnificently than before. The King’s son was always by her side, and made all manner of pretty speeches to her. The young lady was far from being wearied by them, and completely forgot her godmother’s commands, so that she heard the clock begin to strike twelve when she had no idea that it was even eleven o’clock yet. She rose at once, and fled as nimbly as a deer. The Prince followed, but could not overtake her; but she dropped one of her [38]glass slippers, which he picked up very carefully.

The Prince had picked it up.

Cinderella reached home quite out of breath, without either coach or footmen, and in her old clothes, having nothing left of all her finery but one of her little glass slippers, the mate of the one which she had dropped. The guards at the palace gates were questioned as to whether they had not seen a princess go out, and they replied that they had seen no one go out but a little ragged [39]girl who looked more like a peasant than a princess.

When her two sisters returned from the ball Cinderella asked them if they had had a good time, and if the beautiful lady was there. They told her Yes, but that she had hurried away as the clock struck twelve, and in such great haste that she had dropped one of her little glass slippers, the prettiest in the world. They told, too, how the Prince had picked it up, and how he had done nothing but look at it all the rest of the evening, and agreed that he was undoubtedly very much in love with the beautiful owner of the little slipper.

They spoke truly, for a few days after, the Prince had it proclaimed, at the sound of the trumpet, that he would marry her whose foot this slipper fitted exactly. They began to try it on the princesses, then on the duchesses, and then on all the ladies of the court, but to no purpose. They brought it to the two sisters, and each one did all she possibly could to squeeze a foot into the [40]slipper; but neither could manage to do it. Cinderella, who was watching them and recognized her slipper, said laughingly, “Let me see if it will not fit me!”

Her sisters burst out laughing, and made fun of her. The gentleman who was trying on the slipper looked at her earnestly, and finding her very beautiful, said that it was but fair she should try, and that he had orders to let every young lady try it on. He made Cinderella sit down, and putting the slipper to her little foot, he saw that it slipped on easily and fitted like wax.

The astonishment of the two sisters was great, but it was even greater when Cinderella pulled from her pocket the other little slipper and put it on her foot. Thereupon in came her godmother, who, touching Cinderella’s clothes with her wand, made them become more magnificent than those which she had worn before.

Now her sisters recognized her as the beautiful stranger whom they had seen at the ball. They threw themselves at her feet [41]and asked her forgiveness for all the ill treatment she had received from them. Cinderella raised them up and, embracing them, said that she forgave them with all her heart, and begged them to love her always.

She was conducted to the young Prince, dressed as she was. He found her more beautiful than ever, and a few days later married her. Cinderella, who was as good as she was beautiful, gave her two sisters apartments in the palace, and married them that same day to two great lords of the court.

The little glass slipper.



Hans had served his master seven years, and at the end of that time he said to him, “Master, my time is up; now I should like to go home to my mother, so give me my wages, if you please.”

His master answered, “You have served me faithfully and well, and as the service has been, so shall the wages be”; and he gave him a lump of gold as big as his head.

Hans pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket, wrapped the lump in it, slung it over his shoulder, and set out on the way home.

As he was trudging painstakingly and laboriously along the road a horseman came in sight, trotting gayly and briskly along on a spirited horse.

“Ah,” said Hans aloud, “what a fine thing riding is! There you sit as comfortable as in a chair; you stumble over no [43]stones, you save your shoes, and you get over the ground you hardly know how.”

The horseman, overhearing him, stopped and said, “Halloo, Hans! Why do you go on foot then?”

The horseman, overhearing him, stopped and said, “Halloo, Hans! Why do you go on foot then?”

“I can’t help it,” answered Hans, “for I have this bundle to carry home. It is gold, to be sure, but I cannot hold my head straight for it, and it hurts my shoulder, too.”

“I will tell you what,” said the horseman, “we will exchange. I will give you my horse, and you shall give me your lump.” [44]

“With all my heart,” said Hans; “but I tell you beforehand that you are taking a good heavy load on yourself.”

The horseman got down, took the gold, and helped Hans up, putting the bridle into his hands, and said, “Now, when you want to go at a really good pace, you must click your tongue and cry, ‘Gee up! gee up!’ ”

Hans was delighted when he found himself sitting on a horse and riding along so freely and easily. After a while it occurred to him that he might go still faster, and he began to click with his tongue and cry, “Gee up! gee up!” The horse broke into a gallop, and before Hans knew what he was about he was thrown off and was lying in a ditch which separated the fields from the highroad. The horse would have run away if it had not been stopped by a peasant who was coming along the road and driving a cow before him. Hans felt himself all over, and picked himself up; but he was vexed, and said to the peasant: “This riding on [45]horseback is no joke, I can tell you, especially when a man gets on a mare like mine, that kicks and throws one off, so that it is a wonder one’s neck is not broken. Never again will I ride that animal! Now I like your cow; you can walk quietly along behind her, and you have her milk, butter, and cheese, every day, into the bargain. What would I not give for such a cow!”

“Well, now,” said the peasant, “if it would give you as much pleasure as all that, I don’t mind exchanging the cow for the horse.”

Hans agreed to this with the greatest delight, and the peasant, swinging himself upon the horse, rode off in a hurry.

Hans drove his cow peacefully before him, and thought over his lucky bargain. “If I only have a bit of bread—and I ought never to be without that—I can have butter and cheese with it as often as I like; if I am thirsty, I have only to milk the cow and I have milk to drink. What more could heart desire?” [46]

When he came to an inn he made a halt, and ate with great satisfaction all the bread he had brought with him for dinner and supper, and spent his last two farthings for a glass of beer to drink with it. Then he drove his cow along in the direction of his mother’s village. The heat grew more and more oppressive as the middle of the day drew near, and Hans found himself on a wide heath which it would take about an hour to cross. He was very hot and thirsty.

“This is easily remedied,” thought Hans; “I will milk the cow and refresh myself with the milk.”

He tied her to a tree, and as he had no pail he put his leather cap underneath her; but try as hard as he could, not a drop of milk came. He had put himself in a very awkward position, too, and at last the impatient beast gave him such a kick on the head that he tumbled over on the ground and was so dazed that for a long time he could not think where he was. [47]

Fortunately a butcher came along soon, trundling a wheelbarrow in which lay a young pig.

“What’s the matter here?” he cried, as he helped Hans up.

At last the impatient beast gave him such a kick on the head that he tumbled over on the ground.

Hans told him what had happened. The butcher handed him his flask and said: “There, take a drink; it will do you good. That cow might well give no milk; she is an old beast, and only fit at best for the plow or for the butcher.”

“Dear, dear!” said Hans, running his fingers through his hair, “who would have [48]thought it! It is an idea to kill the beast and have the meat. But I do not care much for beef,—it is not juicy enough. Now a young pig like yours,—that is what would taste good; and then there are the sausages!”

“Take heed, Hans,” said the butcher; “out of love for you I will exchange and let you have the pig for the cow.”

“May Heaven reward you for your kindness!” cried Hans, handing over the cow as the butcher untied the pig from the barrow and put into his hand the string with which it was tied.

Hans went on again, thinking how everything was turning out just as he wished; if he did meet with any mishap, it was immediately set right. Presently a lad overtook him who was carrying a fine white goose under his arm. They said “Good morning” to each other, and then Hans began at once to tell of his good luck and how he always made such good bargains. The lad told him that he was taking the goose to a christening feast. [49]

“Take my pig and let me have your goose.”


“Just lift it,” said he to Hans, holding it up by the wings, “and feel how heavy it is; it has been fattened up for the last eight weeks. Whoever gets a taste of it when it is roasted will get a rare bit.”

“Yes,” said Hans, weighing it in one hand, “it is a good weight, but my pig is no trifle either.”

Meanwhile the lad kept looking suspiciously from one side to the other and shook his head.

“Look here,” he began, “I’m not so sure it’s all right with your pig. In the village through which I passed, the mayor himself had just had one stolen from his sty. I fear—I fear you have got hold of it there in your hand. They have sent out people to look for it, and it would be a bad business for you if you were found with it; at the very least, you would be shut up in the dark hole.”

Honest Hans was very much frightened.

“Alas!” he said, “help me out of this trouble! You are more at home in these [51]parts than I; take my pig and let me have your goose.”

“I shall run some risk if I do,” answered the lad, “but I will not be the cause of your getting into trouble.”

So he took the cord in his hand and drove the pig quickly away by a side path.

Honest Hans, relieved of his anxiety, plodded along towards home with the goose under his arm. “When I really come to think it over,” he said to himself, “I have even gained by this exchange: first, there is the good roast; then the quantity of fat that will drip out of it in roasting and will keep us in goose fat to eat on our bread for a quarter of a year; and last of all there are the fine white feathers, with which I will stuff my pillow, and then I warrant I shall sleep like a top. How delighted my mother will be!”

As he was going through the last village he came to a knife grinder with his cart, singing, as his wheel whirred busily around,

“Scissors and knives I quickly grind,

While my coat flies out in the wind behind.”


Hans stopped to watch him; at last he spoke to him and said, “You appear to have a good business, if I may judge by your merry song.”

“Yes,” answered the knife grinder, “this business has a golden bottom. A good grinder finds money in his pocket whenever he puts his hand in it. But where did you buy that fine goose?”

“I did not buy it, but took it in exchange for my pig.”

“And the pig?”

“That I got for a cow.”

“And the cow?”

“I took that for a horse.”

“And the horse?”

“For that I gave a lump of gold as big as my head.”

“And the gold?”

“Oh, that was my wages for seven years’ service!”

“You have certainly known how to look after yourself each time,” said the grinder. “If you can only get on so far as to hear [53]the money jingle in your pockets whenever you stand up, you will indeed have made your fortune.”

“How shall I manage that?” said Hans.

“You must become a grinder, like me; nothing in particular is needed for it but a grindstone.”

“You must become a grinder, like me; nothing in particular is needed for it but a grindstone,—everything else will come of itself. I have one of those here; to be sure it is a little worn, but you need not give me anything for it but your goose. Will you do it?”

“How can you ask?” said Hans. “Why, I shall be the luckiest man in the world. [54]If I have money every time I put my hand into my pocket, what more can I have to trouble about?”

So he handed him the goose and took the grindstone in exchange.

“Now,” said the grinder, picking up an ordinary big stone that lay by the road, “here is another good stone into the bargain. You can hammer out all your old nails on it and straighten them. Take it with you and keep it carefully.”

Hans shouldered the stones and walked on with a light heart, his eyes shining with joy. “I must have been born under a lucky star,” he exclaimed; “everything happens to me just as I want it.”

Meanwhile, as he had been on his legs since daybreak, he began to feel tired. He was hungry, too, for in his joy at the bargain by which he got his cow he had eaten up all his store of food at once, and had had none since. At last he felt quite unable to go farther, and was forced to rest every minute or two. Besides, the stones weighed him [55]down dreadfully. He could not help thinking how nice it would be if he did not have to carry them any farther.

He dragged himself slowly over to a well in the field, meaning to rest and refresh himself with a draft of cool water. To keep the stones from hurting him while he knelt to drink, he laid them carefully on the edge of the well. Then he sat down, and was about to stoop and drink, but made a slip which gave the stones a little push, and both of them rolled off into the water. When Hans saw them sinking to the bottom he jumped for joy, and knelt down and thanked God, with tears in his eyes, for having shown him this further favor, and relieved him of the heavy stones (which were the only things that troubled him) without his having anything to reproach himself with.

“There is no man under the sun so lucky as I,” he cried out. Then with a light heart, and free from every burden, he ran on until he reached his mother’s home. [56]


Once upon a time there was a widow who had two daughters. The elder was so much like her, both in looks and in character, that whoever saw the daughter saw the mother. They were both so disagreeable and so proud that there was no living with them. The younger, who was the image of her father in courtesy and sweetness of temper, was one of the most beautiful girls ever seen. As people naturally love those who are like them, this mother doted upon her elder daughter, and at the same time conceived a great aversion to the younger. She made her eat in the kitchen and work continually.

Among other things, the poor child had to go twice a day to draw water more than a mile and a half from the house, and bring home a large pitcherful of it. One day when she was at the fountain a poor [57]woman came to her and asked her to let her drink.

“Oh, yes! with all my heart, Goody,” said the pretty little girl. Rinsing the pitcher at once, she filled it at the clearest part of the fountain and gave it to her, holding up the pitcher all the while, that she might drink the more easily.

She filled it at the clearest part of the fountain and gave it to her.

Then the good woman said to her, “You are so pretty, so good, and so courteous, that I cannot help giving you a gift.”

For this was a fairy, who had taken the form of a poor countrywoman to see how far the civility and good manners of this young girl would go. [58]

“I will give you for a gift,” continued the fairy, “that at every word you speak there shall come out of your mouth either a flower or a jewel.”

When this pretty girl got home, her mother scolded her for staying so long at the fountain.

“I ask your pardon, mamma,” said the poor girl, “for not making more haste”; and as she spoke these words there fell from her lips three roses, three pearls, and four diamonds.

“What do I see here?” said the mother, quite astonished. “I think I see pearls and diamonds come out of the girl’s mouth. How happens this, my child?”

This was the first time she had ever called her “my child.”

The girl told her frankly all that had happened to her, dropping from her mouth great numbers of diamonds as she spoke.

“Really,” cried the mother, “I must send my own dear daughter thither. Fanny! Fanny! look! see what comes out of your sister’s mouth when she speaks! Would you [59]not like, my dear, to have the same gift? You have only to go and draw water at the fountain, and when a poor woman asks you to let her drink, to give it to her very civilly.”

“I should like to see myself going to the fountain to draw water,” said this ill-bred minx.

“I insist that you go,” said the mother, “and that at once.”

So away she went, taking with her the best silver tankard in the house, but grumbling all the way.

She no sooner reached the fountain than she saw coming out of the wood a lady, magnificently dressed, who came up to her and asked for a drink.

This was the same fairy who had appeared to her sister, but she had now taken the air and the dress of a princess, to see how far this girl’s rudeness would go.

“Am I come here,” said the ill-bred, saucy girl, “to serve you with water, pray? I suppose this silver tankard was brought wholly on purpose for your ladyship, was [60]it? I should think so! You must drink out of the fountain, if you want any.”

“You are hardly polite,” answered the fairy, without putting herself in a passion. “Well, then, since you are so disobliging, I give you for a gift, that at every word you speak there shall come out of your mouth a snake or a toad.”

As soon as her mother saw her coming, she cried out, “Well, daughter?”

“Well, mother,” answered the rude girl, throwing out of her mouth a viper and a toad.

“Oh, mercy!” cried the mother, “what is this I see? It is her sister who is the cause of all this, but she shall pay for it”; and immediately she ran to beat her.

The poor child fled away from her and went to hide herself in the forest near by. The King’s son, as he was returning from hunting, met her, and seeing how beautiful she was, asked her what she was doing there all alone, and why she was crying.

“Alas, sir, my mother has turned me out of doors!” [61]

The King’s son, seeing five or six pearls and as many diamonds fall from her mouth, desired her to tell him how that happened. Then she told him the whole story.

The King’s son fell in love with her, and, considering that such a gift was worth more than any marriage portion any one else could bring, conducted her to the palace of the King, his father, and there married her.

The King’s son asked her what she was doing there all alone

As for her sister, she made herself so much hated that her own mother turned her out of doors. The miserable girl, after wandering about without finding any one who would take her in, went away to a corner of the wood and there died. [62]

He had nothing to leave to his three sons but his mill, his ass, and his cat.


Once upon a time there was a miller who, when he died, had nothing to leave to his three sons but his mill, his ass, and his cat. The division was soon made. Neither the notary nor the attorney were sent for; they would soon have eaten up all the poor patrimony. The eldest had the mill, the second the ass, and the youngest nothing but the cat.

The youngest was quite downcast at having so poor a share. [63]

“My brothers,” said he, “may get their living handsomely enough by joining their portions together; but as for me, when I have eaten my cat and made me a muff of his skin, I must die of hunger.”

The cat, who heard all this without appearing to do so, came up to him and said with a grave and serious air, “Do not thus afflict yourself, my good master; you have only to give me a bag, and get a pair of boots made for me,—that I may scamper through the dirt and the brambles,—and you shall see that you have not so poor a portion in me as you imagine.”

Though the cat’s master did not build great hopes on what he said, yet he had seen him play such cunning tricks to catch rats and mice,—such as hanging himself by his heels, or hiding himself in the meal to make believe he was dead,—that he did not altogether despair of his helping him in his misery. When the cat had what he asked for, he booted himself very gallantly, and putting his bag about his neck, he took hold [64]of the two strings with his fore paws, and went into a warren where there were a great many rabbits. He put bran and parsley into his bag, and stretching himself out at full length as if he were dead, he waited for some young rabbits, not yet acquainted with the snares and tricks of this world, to come and rummage his bag for what he had put into it.

Scarcely had he lain down before his wish was fulfilled. A rash and foolish young rabbit jumped headlong into his bag, and Master Puss immediately drew close the strings, and killed him without mercy. Proud of his prey, he went with it to the palace and asked to speak with the King. He was shown upstairs into the King’s apartment, and making a low bow, said to him: “I have brought you, sire, a rabbit from the warren of my Lord the Marquis of Carabas [for that was the title which he was pleased to give his master], which he has commanded me to present to your Majesty with the assurance of his respect.” [65]

“Tell your master,” said the King, “that I thank him, and that he has given me great pleasure.”

He presented these to the King.

Another time he went and hid himself among some standing corn, holding his bag open as before, and when a brace of partridges ran into it, he drew the strings, and so caught them both. He then went and presented these to the King, as he had previously done with the rabbit which he took in the warren. The King in like manner received the partridges with great pleasure, and ordered his servants to reward him. [66]

In this way the cat continued for two or three months to carry to his Majesty from time to time game of his master’s taking. One day when he knew that the King was intending to take the air along the riverside with his daughter, who was the most beautiful Princess in the world, he went to his master and said: “If you will follow my advice, your fortune is made. You have only to go and bathe in the river, just in the place I shall show you, and leave the rest to me.”

The Marquis of Carabas did what the cat advised, without knowing what would be the good of doing so. While he was bathing, the King passed by, and the cat began to cry out with all his might: “Help! help! my Lord Marquis of Carabas is drowning!”

At this noise the King put his head out of the coach window, and, seeing it was the cat who had so often brought him presents of game, commanded his guards to run immediately to the assistance of his lordship the Marquis of Carabas. [67]

At this noise the King put his head out of the coach window.


While they were drawing the poor marquis out of the river the cat came up to the coach and told the King that while his master was bathing there had come by some rogues who ran off with his clothes, though he had cried out “Thieves! thieves!” several times as loud as he could.

The cunning cat had hidden them under a great stone.

The King immediately commanded the officers of his wardrobe to run and fetch one of his best suits for the Lord Marquis of Carabas.

The King loaded the marquis with a thousand attentions, and as the fine clothes he had given him set off his good looks (for he was well made and comely), the King’s daughter found him very much to her liking, and the Marquis of Carabas had no sooner cast two or three respectful and somewhat tender glances in her direction than she fell in love with him to distraction. The King insisted on his getting into the coach and taking the ride with them. The cat, overjoyed at seeing [69]how well his plan was beginning to succeed, ran on before, and coming upon some countrymen who were mowing a meadow, he said to them, “Good people, if you do not tell the King, who will presently pass this way, that the meadow which you are mowing belongs to my Lord Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped as small as herbs for the pot.”

The King did not fail to ask the mowers to whom the meadow they were mowing belonged.

“To my Lord Marquis of Carabas,” they answered all together, for the cat’s threat had frightened them.

“You have here a very fine piece of land, my Lord Marquis,” said the King.

“Yes, sire,” replied the marquis, “this is a meadow which never fails to yield a plentiful harvest every year.”

The cat, who still went on before, met some reapers, and said to them, “Good people, if you do not say to the King, who will presently pass this way, that all this corn [70]belongs to the Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped as small as herbs for the pot.”

The King, who passed by a moment after, wished to know to whom all that corn before him belonged.

“To my Lord Marquis of Carabas,” replied the reapers; and the King was again very well pleased with the marquis.

The cat continued to go before the carriage and say the same words to every one he met, and the King was astonished at the vast estates of my Lord Marquis of Carabas.

The cat came at last to a stately castle, the master of which was an ogre, the richest ever known; for all the lands the King had been passing through belonged to this castle. The cat, who had taken care to inform himself who this ogre was, and what he could do, asked to speak with him, saying he could not pass so near his castle without having the honor of paying his respects to him.

The ogre received him as civilly as an ogre could, and made him sit down. [71]

“I have been assured,” said the cat, “that you have the gift of being able to change yourself into all sorts of animals, if you have a mind to; that you can, for example, transform yourself into a lion or an elephant.”

The ogre received him as civilly as an ogre could, and made him sit down.

“That is true,” answered the ogre roughly; “and to convince you, you shall see me now become a lion.” [72]

The cat was so terrified at the sight of a lion so near him that he sprang away, and climbed up on the roof, but not without much difficulty and danger, as his boots were of no use at all for walking upon tiles. A little while after, when he saw that the ogre had quitted the form of a lion, he came down, and owned that he had been a good deal frightened.

“I have been further informed (but I know not how to believe it),” said the cat, “that you have also the power of taking the form of the smallest animals,—for example, that you can change yourself into a rat or a mouse; but I must own that I hold this to be impossible.”

“Impossible!” cried the ogre; “you shall see.” And at the same instant he changed himself into a mouse and began to run about the floor.

The moment the cat saw the ogre in this form he sprang upon him and ate him up.

Meanwhile the King, who saw, as he passed, this fine castle of the ogre’s, had a [73]mind to go into it. Master Puss, hearing the noise of his Majesty’s coach crossing the drawbridge, ran out, and said to the King, “Your Majesty is welcome to the castle of my Lord Marquis of Carabas.”

“What! my Lord Marquis,” cried the King, “and is this castle yours also? There can be nothing finer than this court, and all the stately buildings that surround it; let us see the interior, if you please.”

The marquis gave his hand to the young Princess, and followed the King who went before. They entered a spacious hall, where they found a splendid collation which the ogre had prepared for some friends who were to visit him that very day, but who dared not enter, hearing that the King was there. The King was so charmed with the good qualities of my Lord the Marquis of Carabas, and his daughter had fallen so violently in love with him, that, seeing the vast estate he possessed, he said to him at the end of the collation, “It depends only on you, my Lord Marquis, if you are not my son-in-law.” [74]

The marquis, with low bows, accepted the honor which his Majesty conferred upon him, and forthwith that very same day married the Princess.

Puss in Boots became a great lord, and never ran after mice any more except for his amusement.

Puss in Boots became a great lord.



Once upon a time there lived a man and his wife who were very sad because they had no children. These people had a little window at the back of their house which overlooked a beautiful garden full of fine flowers and herbs. There was a high wall around this garden, and no one dared to go into it, because it belonged to a witch of great power, who was feared by everybody.

One day the woman stood at this window, looking into the garden, and saw a bed full of the finest rampion. It looked so fresh and green that she longed to eat some of it. This desire grew every day, and as she knew that she could not possibly have any of it, she pined away and looked pale and miserable. Then her husband was alarmed, and said, “What ails you, dear wife?” [76]

“Ah,” she replied sadly, “if I cannot get some of that nice rampion to eat out of the garden behind our house, I know that I shall die!”

Her husband, who loved her dearly, thought to himself, “Rather than let my wife die, I must bring her some rampion, let the cost be what it may.” So at dusk he climbed over the wall into the witch’s garden, hastily picked a handful of rampion leaves, and took them back to his wife.

She made them into a salad, which she ate with great relish. Indeed, she liked it so very much that the next day she longed for it three times as much as before. She could have no peace until her husband descended into the garden and fetched her some more. So as soon as it was dusk he let himself down again into the garden; but when he had clambered down and was on the other side of the wall, he was terribly frightened, for there, standing before him, was the old witch with a frightful scowl on her face. [77]

“How dare you climb into my garden like a thief and steal my rampion?” she said, with angry looks. “You shall suffer for it.”

“How dare you climb into my garden like a thief and steal my rampion?”

“Ah,” he replied, “be merciful to me this time, I pray you! I am only here from necessity. My wife saw your rampion from her window, and had such a desire for it that she would have died if she had not had some of it to eat.”

Then the witch’s anger cooled a little, and she answered: “If that is the case, I [78]will let you take away as much rampion as you like, but on one condition,—that you give me the child that your wife will shortly bring into the world. All shall go well with it, and I will care for it like a mother.”

In his anxiety to get away the man agreed to what she asked, and as soon as the child was born the witch appeared, and having given it the name of Rapunzel,—which is another name for rampion,—she took it away with her.

Rapunzel was the most beautiful child under the sun. When she was twelve years old the witch shut her up in a tower which lay in the middle of a great forest. This tower had neither stairs nor door,—only a little window high up at the very top of the wall. When the witch wanted to enter the tower she stood beneath this window and called:

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,

That I may climb without a stair.”

Rapunzel had wonderful hair, long, and as fine as spun gold. When she heard the [79]voice of the witch she unfastened her braided tresses, wound them round one of the hooks of the little window, and let them hang loose. They fell down about twenty yards, so that the witch could easily climb up by them.

After things had gone on in this way for a year or two, it happened one day that the King’s son was riding through that part of the forest and passed by the tower. He heard some one singing so beautifully that he stood spellbound, listening. It was Rapunzel, who in her solitude and loneliness was trying to while away the long hours by singing. The Prince longed to see the sweet singer and climb up to her, but he searched in vain for a door into the tower. None was to be found. He rode home, but the song had made such a deep impression on him that he went every day to the wood and listened. One day, when he was standing thus behind a tree, he saw the old witch approach and heard her call:

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,

That I may climb without a stair.”


Then Rapunzel let down her braids, and the witch climbed up to her.

“So that is the ladder by which one mounts, is it?” said the Prince. “Then I, too, will climb it and try my luck.”

One day, when he was standing thus behind a tree, he saw the old witch approach.

The next night, when it began to grow dark, he went to the foot of the tower and cried:

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,

That I may climb without a stair.”


The hair fell down at once, and the Prince climbed up by it.

At first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man came in, for she had never seen one before; but the Prince spoke to her very kindly, and told her that his heart had been so touched by her singing that he could have no peace until he had seen her. So Rapunzel lost her fear, and when he asked her to marry him she thought, “He is young and handsome, and he will certainly love me far more than old Dame Gothel does”; so she said “Yes,” and put her hand in his.

“I will gladly go with you,” she continued, “but I do not see how I am to get down out of this tower. When you come, bring with you a skein of silk each time, and I will weave a ladder out of them; when it is finished, I will climb down by it, and you shall take me away on your horse.”

They arranged that until the ladder was ready he should come and see her every [82]evening, bringing skeins of silk, for the witch came in the daytime.

The witch knew nothing of all this till one day Rapunzel, not thinking what she was saying, made this remark: “Tell me, Dame Gothel, how is it that you are so much harder to pull up than the young Prince? He is always with me in a moment.”

“Oh, you wicked, wicked child!” cried the witch. “What is this I hear? I thought I had separated you from the whole world, and yet you have deceived me.”

In her rage she seized Rapunzel’s beautiful hair, twisted it round and round her left hand, snatched up a pair of scissors with her right, and snip, snap, she cut it all off; and the beautiful tresses lay on the ground. Then she was so hard-hearted that she took poor Rapunzel to a lonely desert place and there left her to live in utter loneliness and misery.

She seized Rapunzel’s beautiful hair and cut it all off.

But on the evening of the day on which she had carried Rapunzel away she fastened the braids which she had cut off to a hook [84]by the window, and when the Prince came and called:

“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair,

That I may climb without a stair,”

she let the hair down. The Prince climbed up, but instead of his beloved Rapunzel he found the old witch, who looked at him with angry, wicked eyes, and cried mockingly, “Aha! you thought to fetch your ladylove, but the pretty bird has flown, and the song is still; the cat caught it, and will scratch out your eyes too. Rapunzel is lost to you—you will never see her again.”

The Prince was beside himself with grief, and in his despair he jumped right down from the tower. He escaped with his life, but the thorns into which he fell pierced his eyes out. Then he wandered, blind, about the forest, eating nothing but roots and berries, and constantly lamenting and weeping for the loss of his lovely bride. For some years he wandered about in great misery, and at last he came to the desert place [85]where Rapunzel was living. Suddenly he heard a voice which seemed familiar to him. He walked eagerly toward it, and as he came near, Rapunzel recognized him and fell on his neck and wept. Two of her tears fell upon his eyes, and they became clear again, so that he could see as well as ever.

Then he led her to his kingdom, where they were welcomed with great joy, and they lived happily ever after.

Then he led her to his kingdom.



There was once a very rich merchant who had three sons and three daughters. These children had everything money could buy them. The daughters were all pretty, but the youngest was so very beautiful that from her childhood she was always called “Beauty.” This made her sisters very jealous; but they were proud of their wealth and of their position in society, and took pains to be haughty with any people who were not as rich as they.

One day the merchant suddenly lost all his fortune. All that he had left of his vast property was a little house in the country, a long distance from the town. He told his children that they must go there now and work for a living. The two eldest replied that they need not leave town, for they had several lovers who would be glad to marry them. In this they found they were [87]mistaken; their lovers would not look at them now. Because of their pride they had not made real friends, and nobody was very sorry to see them humbled. But every one pitied Beauty, who had always been kind and friendly to every one. Indeed, several gentlemen offered to marry her, though they knew she had not a penny; but she told them she could not think of leaving her father in his trouble.

When they were settled in the country the merchant and his three sons set to work to till the fields. Beauty took care of the house. She rose at four o’clock in the morning, lighted the fires, swept and dusted the house, and got breakfast for the family. At first she found all this very hard, for she was not used to it; but she soon grew stronger and healthier, and prettier than ever. When her work was over she would read, or play on the harpsichord, or sing as she sat at her spinning wheel.

Her two sisters did not know what to do with themselves. They would get up at ten, [88]and idle away the whole day, fretting for the loss of their fine clothes and gay parties. “Do but see that girl!” they would say to one another. “What stupid, low tastes she has to be contented with this kind of life!” But their father thought differently, and loved his youngest daughter more than ever.

When her work was over she would sing as she sat at her spinning wheel.

After two years, when they were all beginning to get accustomed to this new life, something happened to disturb them again. The merchant received the news that one of his ships, which he had believed to be lost, had come safely into port with a rich cargo. [89]All the sons and daughters were much excited at this news, and believed that their poverty was at an end. The two eldest daughters were wild with joy, and wanted to set out for town at once. When their father was ready to start, they begged him to bring them jewels and rings and rich dresses. Beauty was the only one of the children who had any doubt that this one ship would bring back their fortune; so, not wishing to trouble her father, she asked for nothing. But her father noticed her silence, and inquired, “What shall I bring you, Beauty?”

“Well, dear father,” she said, “since you ask me, I should like to have you bring me a rose. They do not grow about here, and I am very fond of them.”

Beauty did not particularly desire a rose, but she did not wish to seem to blame her sisters by saying she did not want anything.

The merchant set off on his journey, but when he reached the port he was obliged to go to law about the cargo, and it ended in his returning home as poor as he came. He [90]was within thirty miles of home when, in the middle of a large forest, he was overtaken by a heavy snowstorm. He lost his way, and was beginning to fear he should die of hunger and cold, when all of a sudden he saw a light at the end of a long avenue of trees. As he came nearer he found it came from a splendid palace, the windows of which were blazing with light. He entered the courtyard, but, to his surprise, did not meet any one. His horse followed him, and seeing a stable door open, he walked in. The manger was filled with hay and oats, and the poor beast, who was almost famished, fell to eating heartily. His master walked toward the palace, and passed through several splendidly furnished rooms, but still saw nobody. He came to the dining room, where he found a good fire, and a table plentifully spread, and set for one person. As he was wet to the skin, he drew near the fire to dry his clothes, saying to himself, “I hope the master of the house or his servants will excuse the liberty I am taking; [91]I suppose it will not be long before some of them appear.”

He waited for some time, and still no one came; at last the clock struck eleven, and as he was so hungry he could not wait any longer, he helped himself to some chicken, and drank a little wine. Then he opened a door at the end of the hall, and found himself in a room with a very good bed in it. As he was very tired, he closed the door and went to bed.

It was ten o’clock in the morning before the merchant awoke. As he was getting up, he was surprised to find a new suit of clothes in place of his own which were torn and spoiled.

“This palace,” said he to himself, “certainly belongs to some good fairy who has seen and pitied my misfortunes.”

He looked out of the window, but instead of snowy woods he saw the most delightful arbors, filled with beautiful blooming flowers.

He returned to the great hall where he had had supper the night before, and found [92]breakfast ready on a little table. He drank his chocolate, and then went out to look for his horse. As he was passing under an arbor of roses, he remembered Beauty’s request to him, and gathered a branch on which were several roses. Immediately he heard a loud roar, and saw stalking towards him so frightful a beast that he was ready to faint with fear.

“You are most ungrateful,” said the beast in a terrible voice. “I saved your life by admitting you to my palace, and in return you steal my roses, which I value more than anything in the world. But your insolence shall not go unpunished; you shall die for it.”

The poor merchant threw himself on his knees before the beast, and cried: “Pardon me, my lord. I had no intention of offending you by gathering a rose for one of my daughters, who desired me to bring her one.”

“I am not a lord, but a beast,” replied the monster. “I hate flattery and compliments; so do not fancy you can move me by your fine speeches. You say you have daughters; [93]now I will spare you if you will give me one of your daughters. If not, promise that you will yourself return in three months.”

As he was passing under an arbor of roses he gathered a branch on which were several roses.

The merchant had no intention of sacrificing one of his daughters, but he knew that if he agreed to come back he should see his children once more. So he promised to return, and the beast told him he might set out when he pleased; “but,” he added, “you need not go empty-handed. Go back to the room in which you slept, and you will see a great empty chest; fill it with whatever you [94]like best, and I will have it taken to your house for you.” Then the beast left him.

“Well,” said the good man to himself, “if I must die, I shall at least have the comfort of leaving my children provided for.”

He returned to the room, and found there heaps of gold pieces. With these he filled the chest. Then he went to the stable, took his horse, and left the palace in a far sadder mood than that in which he had entered it.

In a few hours he reached home, and his children came running out to meet him. Instead of embracing them with joy, he gazed at them sadly and, holding out the branch of roses he had in his hand, said, “Here, Beauty, take them; you little know how much they have cost your poor father.”

Then he told them all that had happened to him. The two eldest sisters began to lament loudly, and to reproach Beauty, saying that it was all her fault.

“See,” they said, “what comes from her pride. She would not ask for such things [95]as we did, but wanted to seem wiser than we; so now she will be the death of our poor father, and yet she does not so much as shed a tear.”

“Why should I?” said Beauty. “It would be useless, for my father shall not suffer on my account. As the beast will accept one of the daughters, I will gladly give myself up in his stead.”

“No, indeed!” said her three brothers; “that shall not be. We will go and find the monster, and either kill him or perish in the attempt.”

“Do not imagine you can do any such thing,” said the merchant. “I have seen him and know that his power is too great. But I will not consent to Beauty’s offer. I am old, and have not long to live, so I can lose only a few years. I am only sorry for you, my children.”

But Beauty insisted, saying, “Indeed, father, you shall not go to the palace without me; you cannot hinder me from following you.” [96]

The merchant was so distressed at the thought of losing his daughter that he quite forgot the chest filled with gold; but at night, when he retired to his room, he found, to his great surprise, the chest standing by his bedside. He decided to say nothing of his riches to his eldest daughters, for he knew they would want to return to town at once; but he told Beauty his secret, and she then told him that while he was away two gentlemen came and courted her sisters. She begged her father to consent to their marriage, and give them their portions, for she was so sweet-tempered that she wished them to be happy.

“Good evening, Beauty,” said the beast. “Have you come here willingly?”

When the day came Beauty got ready to set out with her father for the home of the beast. The horse took the direct road to the palace, and they arrived there all too soon. As they approached they found the windows brilliantly lighted as before. The horse went at once to the stable of his own accord, and the merchant and his daughter went into the great hall, where they found [98]a table loaded with every dainty and set with two plates. The merchant had no heart to eat, but Beauty, trying to appear cheerful, sat down and served both him and herself. After supper they heard a great noise, and the merchant began to bid his child a sad farewell. In a moment the beast entered. Beauty was terrified at the frightful form, but she tried not to show her fear.

“Good evening, Beauty,” said the beast. “Have you come here willingly?”

“Yes,” she faltered.

“You are very good, and I am greatly obliged to you,” he growled; and turning to the father, he added: “As for you, old man, you are to go your way to-morrow morning, and never to return here again. Good night, merchant. Good night, Beauty.”

“Good night, Beast,” she answered, and the monster withdrew.

Again the merchant tried to persuade Beauty to go back without him, but she would not hear to it. They went to bed, thinking they should not close their eyes all [99]night; but as soon as they lay down they fell fast asleep. Beauty dreamed that a stately and beautiful lady came to her, and said: “I am very much pleased, dear Beauty, with the goodness you have shown in giving yourself to save your father. Do not be afraid; you shall be rewarded. Only do not trust to appearances.”

Beauty told this dream to her father in the morning; but though it comforted him a little, he wept bitterly when he took leave of his dear child, for he feared he might never see her again.

When her father was out of sight poor Beauty could not help crying, but she had made up her mind to be brave, and she proceeded to explore the various rooms of the palace. What was her surprise when she came to a door over which was written, “BEAUTY’S ROOM.” She opened it in haste, and found a magnificently furnished room; but what delighted her most was a large library, a harpsichord, and several music books. She concluded that all this would [100]not be provided for her if she had only a day to live, and she took courage. Her surprise increased when she opened one of the books and found on the first page, in letters of gold, these words:

“Welcome, Beauty! banish fear!

You are queen and mistress here;

Speak your wishes, speak your will,—

You will find them granted still.”

“Alas!” said she, sighing, “there is nothing I wish so much as to see my father and know what he is doing.”

She happened to turn towards a large mirror that was hanging near her, and there she saw her father arriving sadly at home. Her sisters came out to meet him, and in spite of their efforts to look sorrowful, it was plain that in their hearts they were very glad to see him return alone. The picture disappeared, and Beauty felt very grateful to the beast for thus giving her her wish.

At noon she found dinner ready, and was entertained at table with music, though she [101]could see no player. After dinner she found she was very sleepy, and went to lie down in her room. She fell asleep instantly, and dreamed that a handsome young Prince came to her, and said: “Beauty, you need not be so unhappy here as you expect. All your wishes will be granted. Only try to find me out, and love me as I love you, and above all do not trust to appearances.”

In the evening, as she was going to sit down to supper, the beast came and asked leave to sit with her at table. She was frightened, but tried not to show it, saying, “That is as you please.”

“No,” replied the beast, “you alone are mistress here. You need only tell me to go, if my presence troubles you, and I will withdraw at once. Everything here is yours, and I should be much distressed if you were not happy.”

Presently he inquired if she did not think him very ugly.

“Yes,” said Beauty, “but I think you are very kind, too.” [102]

They talked for some time, and Beauty found her fear of him almost gone, when suddenly, just as they were leaving the table, the beast said, “Beauty, will you marry me?”

Beauty was so startled that she could hardly speak, but she faltered out, “Oh, no! Beast.”

“Then good night, Beauty,” said the beast, very sadly, and left the room.

Beauty felt very sorry for him, but she soon went to bed and dreamed of the unknown prince who had been in her mind all day. This time she thought he came and said to her: “Ah, Beauty! why are you so unkind to me? Must I be unhappy always?”

She could not understand it, but when she woke she thought that he must be in some way in the power of the beast, and began to wonder how she could help him.

The days passed quickly enough in the lovely palace. Every evening the beast came to her, and they had entertaining talks together. Beauty began to look forward to his visits, for she had become accustomed [103]to his ugliness, and found him very kind and interesting. But one thing gave her great concern: every night, before he left her, the beast asked her to become his wife. One night she said to him: “Beast, you make me unhappy, for I can only offer you friendship. I cannot love you.”

He begged her at least to promise never to leave him; but Beauty had seen in the glass that day that her father was sick with grief at the loss of her. Her sisters were married and her brothers had gone into the army, so he was all alone. She had so great a longing to see him that she told the beast that she should die if he refused her leave.

“Indeed, I had rather die of grief for your absence,” replied the beast, “than that you should be unhappy. You shall be there to-morrow morning.”

Beauty promised to return in a week, and the beast told her that she had only to lay her ring on the table before she went to bed, when she wanted to come back, and she would find herself in the palace. [104]

When she woke the next morning she found herself in her father’s cottage, and his delight at seeing her soon made him well again. He sent for her sisters, who came with their husbands. They were both unhappily married, one to a man who was so vain of his good looks that he cared nothing for his wife, the other to a man who was so sarcastic that he tired everybody out with his speeches, and teased his poor wife most of all. The sisters were so jealous at seeing Beauty so magnificently dressed, and hearing how kind the beast was to her, that they laid a plan to detain her longer than the week she had intended to stay, in hopes that this might make the beast angry, so that he would devour her. Accordingly, when the week was over, they affected such grief at her departure that Beauty was touched by their affection and agreed to stay longer. She could not help reproaching herself for staying, but she could not make up her mind to wish herself back when they urged her so strongly. [105]

But on the night of the tenth day she dreamed that she saw the beast lying half-dead on the grass in the palace garden. Waking in tears, she reproached herself bitterly for her ingratitude, and rose, put her ring on the table, and then went back to bed, where she fell asleep again. When she woke the next morning she was overjoyed to find herself back at the palace. She put on one of her richest dresses to please him, and waited impatiently till evening; but nine o’clock struck, and still no beast appeared. Then Beauty remembered her dream and ran to the garden to search for him. At last she found the path she had seen in her dream, and there lay the poor beast senseless on the grass. Forgetting his ugliness, she threw herself on him in despair, and felt that his heart was still beating. Then she ran to fetch some water from the spring, and weeping, poured it on his head. The beast opened his eyes, and said faintly: “You forgot your promise, and I did not care to live without you, so I determined [106]to starve myself; but since you are come, I shall die happy.”

“No, you shall not die, dear Beast!” cried Beauty; “for I love you, and want you to be my husband.”

“No, you shall not die, dear Beast!” cried Beauty; “for I love you, and want you to be my husband.”

She had scarcely spoken these words when a blaze of light streamed from the palace [107]windows, fireworks were displayed, and triumphant strains of music sounded. Beauty turned to the beast to inquire what had happened, but he had disappeared, and in his place stood the Prince of her dreams, whom she had loved so long. He thanked her for having broken his enchantment.

“But where is my poor beast?” asked Beauty, anxiously.

“I am he,” replied the Prince. “A wicked fairy condemned me to remain in that form till some beautiful maiden should love me and consent to marry me in spite of my ugliness.”

The Prince conducted Beauty to the palace, where they were welcomed by the stately lady of her dream, who was the mother of the Prince, and who thanked her for restoring her son to his proper form. She found her father there, too. The young couple were married the very next day, and the Prince and his beautiful bride were heartily welcomed by his subjects, who had long mourned his absence. Beauty and the Prince reigned happily for many, many, long years. [108]


There were once five and twenty tin soldiers. They were brothers, for they had all been made out of the same old tin spoon. They all shouldered their muskets and looked straight before them. Their uniforms were very smart—red and blue—and very splendid. The first thing they heard in the world, when the lid was taken off the box in which they lay, was the words, “Tin soldiers!” These words were spoken by a little boy, who clapped his hands for joy. The soldiers had been given him because it was his birthday, and now he was setting them out on the table.

Each was exactly like the rest, except one, who had but one leg. He had been cast last of all, and there had not been quite enough tin to finish him; but he stood as firmly on his one leg as the others on their two, and it was he whose fortunes became so remarkable. [109]

On the table on which the tin soldiers were being set out were many other toys, but the nicest of all was a pretty little castle made of cardboard. Through its tiny windows one could see right into the rooms. In front of the castle stood little trees, clustering round a small mirror which was meant to represent a transparent lake. Waxen swans swam on its surface, and it reflected their images.

All this was very pretty, but prettiest of all was a little lady who stood at the open door of the castle. She, too, was cut out of cardboard; but she had on a dress of the finest gauze, with a narrow blue ribbon over her shoulders like a scarf, fastened in the middle with a shining tinsel rose. The little lady was stretching out both her arms (for she was a dancer), and was lifting one leg so high that the soldier could see nothing of it. He thought that, like himself, she had but one leg.

“That would be just the wife for me,” thought he, “if she were not so grand; but she lives in a castle, while I have only a box, [110]and there are five and twenty of us in that. It would be no place for her. Still, I must try to make her acquaintance.”

And so he lay down at full length behind a snuffbox on the table, where he could easily watch the dainty little lady, who continued to stand on one leg without losing her balance.

When the evening came, all the other tin soldiers were put away in their box, and the people of the house went to bed. Now the playthings began to play in their turn. They visited, fought battles, and gave balls. The tin soldiers rattled in their box, for they wanted to join the rest; but they could not lift the lid. The nutcrackers turned somersaults, and the slate-pencil ran about on the slate. There was such a din that the canary woke and began to speak, and in verse, too. The only ones who did not stir from their places were the Tin Soldier and the Lady Dancer. She still stood on tiptoe with outstretched arms, and he was just as persevering on his one leg; he never once turned his eyes away from her. [111]

Twelve o’clock struck—crash! up sprang the lid of the snuffbox. There was no snuff in it, but a little black goblin. You see it was not a real snuffbox but a Jack-in-the-box.

“Tin soldier,” said the Goblin, “keep thine eyes to thyself. Don’t stare at what does not concern thee!”

But the Tin Soldier pretended not to hear.

“Very well, you just wait till to-morrow,” said the Goblin.

Next morning, when the children got up, the Tin Soldier was placed on the window-ledge. Whether it was the Goblin or the wind that did it, all at once the window flew open, and the Tin Soldier fell head foremost from the third story to the street below. It was a tremendous fall. Over and over he turned in the air, till he landed at last on his head, with his bayonet sticking fast between two paving-stones, while his one leg stood upright in the air.

The maidservant and the little boy ran down to look for him; but though they nearly trod on him, they could not find him. [112]If the Soldier had only called out “Here I am!” they might easily enough have found him; but he did not think it becoming to cry out for help, because he was in uniform.

Now it began to rain. Faster and faster came the drops, till it became a regular downpour. When it was over, two street boys came by.

“Look here!” said one, “here lies a tin soldier. He shall have a sail in a boat.”

So they made a boat out of an old newspaper, and put the Tin Soldier in the middle of it, and away he sailed down the gutter, while the two boys ran along by his side, clapping their hands.

Goodness! how the waves rocked that paper boat, and how swift the current was! The Tin Soldier became quite giddy, the boat veered round so quickly; still he moved not a muscle, but looked straight before him, and held his bayonet firmly.

All at once the boat passed into a drain, and it became as dark as his own old home in the box. [113]

“Where am I going now?” thought he. “Yes, to be sure, it must be all that Goblin’s doing. Ah, if the little lady were but sailing with me in the boat, I would not care if it were twice as dark!”

Just then a great water-rat, that lived under the drain, came out.

“Have you a passport?” asked the rat.

“Have you a passport?” asked the rat. “Where is your passport?”

But the Tin Soldier kept silence, and only held his bayonet tighter than ever. The boat sailed on, but the rat followed. Whew! how he gnashed his teeth, and shouted to the sticks and straws, “Stop him! stop him! He hasn’t paid toll! he hasn’t shown his passport!”

But the current became swifter and swifter. [114]Already the Tin Soldier could see the daylight at the point where the tunnel ended; but at the same time he heard a rushing, roaring noise, at which a bolder man might well have trembled. Think! where the tunnel ended, the drain widened into a great canal. It was as dangerous for the Soldier as sailing down a mighty waterfall would be for us.

He was now so near it that he could not stop. The boat dashed on, and the Tin Soldier held himself so stiff and straight that no one might say of him that he so much as winked an eye. Three or four times the boat whirled round and round; it was full of water to the brim, and must certainly sink.

The Tin Soldier stood up to his neck in water. Deeper and deeper sank the boat, and softer and softer grew the paper; and now the water closed over the Soldier’s head. He thought of the pretty little dancer whom he should never see again, and in his ears rang the words of the song,

Fare thee well, thou valiant stranger;

Thou goest into mortal danger.


The paper boat parted in the middle, and the Tin Soldier fell down, down—but at that moment he was swallowed by a great fish.

Oh, how dark it was inside the fish! darker even than it had been in the drain, and so narrow! But the Tin Soldier retained his courage; he lay at full length, shouldering his bayonet as before.

At that moment he was swallowed by a great fish.

To and fro swam the fish; then he made the strangest movements and became quite still.

Something like a flash of lightning passed through him, and a voice said, “Tin Soldier!”

The fish had been caught, taken to market, sold, and bought, and taken to the [116]kitchen, where the cook had cut it open with a large knife. She seized the Tin Soldier between her finger and thumb and carried him into the room where the family sat, and where all were eager to see the wonderful man who had traveled about in the stomach of a fish; but the Tin Soldier remained unmoved. He was not at all proud.

They set him upon a table there. But how could so curious a thing happen,—the Soldier was in the very same room in which he had been before? He saw the same children; the same toys stood upon the table, and among them was the castle with the pretty little dancing maiden. She was still balancing herself on one leg. She, too, was steadfast. That touched the Tin Soldier’s heart. He could have wept tin tears, but that would not have been proper. He looked at her, and she looked at him, but neither spoke a word.

And now one of the little boys took the Tin Soldier and threw him into the stove. He gave no reason for doing so, but no [117]doubt the Goblin in the snuffbox had something to do with it.

The Tin Soldier stood now in a blaze of red light. The heat he felt was terrible: but whether it proceeded from the fire, or from the love in his heart, he did not know. He saw that the colors were quite gone from his uniform; but whether that happened on his journey, or had been caused by grief, no one could say. He looked at the little Lady, she looked at him, and he felt himself melting; still he stood firm, with his bayonet on his shoulder. Then suddenly a door flew open, the draft caught the Dancer, and she flew straight into the stove to the Tin Soldier, flashed up in a flame, and was gone! Then the Tin Soldier melted down into a little lump, and in the ashes the maid found him next day, in the shape of a little tin heart; while of the Dancer nothing remained save the tinsel rose, and that was burned as black as a coal. [118]


Once upon a time there was a fagot-maker and his wife who had seven children, all boys. The eldest was but ten years old, the youngest only seven.

They were very poor, and their seven children were a great burden to them, because not one of them was able to earn his own living. What worried them still more was that the youngest was a delicate little fellow, who hardly ever spoke a word. They took for stupidity this silence, which was really a sign of good sense. He was tiny, too; when he was born he was no bigger than a man’s thumb, so they called him Hop-o’-my-Thumb.

The poor child was the drudge of the whole household, and always bore the blame for everything that went wrong. However, he was really the cleverest and brightest of all the brothers, and if he spoke little, he heard and thought the more. [119]

There came now a very bad year, and the famine was so great that these poor people felt obliged to get rid of their children. One evening, when the children had gone to bed and the fagot-maker was sitting with his wife at the fire, he said to her, with his heart ready to burst with grief: “You see plainly that we can no longer give our children food, and I cannot bear to see them die of hunger before my eyes. I am resolved to lose them in the forest to-morrow. This may very easily be done, for while they are amusing themselves in tying up fagots we have only to slip away and leave them without their taking any notice.”

“Ah!” cried out his wife; “do you think you could really take out your children and lose them?”

In vain did her husband remind her of their extreme poverty, she would not consent to it; she was poor, but she was their mother. At last, when she reflected what a grief it would be to her to see them die of hunger, she consented, and went weeping to bed. [120]

Hop-o’-my-Thumb heard all they had said; for when he heard, as he lay in bed, that they were talking of their affairs, he got up softly and slipped under his father’s stool, to hear without being seen. He went to bed again, but did not sleep a wink all the rest of the night, thinking of what he should do. He got up early in the morning, and went to the bank of a brook, where he filled his pockets full of small white pebbles, and then went back home.

He got up softly and slipped under his father’s stool.

They all set out, but Hop-o’-my-Thumb did not say a word to any of his brothers about what he had heard. [121]

They went into a very thick forest, where they could not see one another ten paces apart. The fagot-maker began to cut wood, and the children to gather up the sticks to make fagots. When their father and mother saw them busy at their work, they slipped away from them little by little, and then made their escape all at once by a winding bypath.

When the children found that they were alone they began to cry bitterly. Hop-o’-my-Thumb let them cry on, knowing very well how he could get home again; for, as he came, he had dropped the little white pebbles he had in his pockets all along the way. Then he said to them, “Do not be afraid, my brothers; father and mother have left us here, but I will lead you home again,—only follow me.”

They followed him, and he brought them home through the forest by the very same way by which they had come. At first they dared not go in, but stood outside the door to listen to what their father and mother were saying. [122]

Just as the fagot-maker and his wife reached home, the lord of the manor sent them ten crowns, which he had owed them for a long time, and which they had never expected to get. This gave them new life, for the poor people were almost famished with hunger. As it was a long while since they had eaten, the woman bought as much meat as would satisfy six or eight persons. When they had satisfied their hunger she said: “Alas! where are our poor children now? they would make a good feast of what we have left here. It was you, William, who wished to lose them; I told you we should repent of it. What are they doing now in the forest? Alas! perhaps the wolves have already eaten them up! You are very cruel to have lost your children in this way.”

The fagot-maker grew very impatient at last, for she repeated more than twenty times that they should repent of it, and that she had told him so. He threatened to beat her if she did not hold her tongue. The fagot-maker was, perhaps, even more sorry than [123]his wife, but she teased him, and he could not endure her telling him that she was in the right all the time. She wept bitterly, saying, “Alas! where are my children now,—my poor children?”

She said this once so very loud that the children, who were at the door, heard her and cried out all together, “Here we are! here we are!”

She ran quickly to let them in, and said, as she embraced them: “How happy I am to see you again, my dear children! You must be very tired and very hungry. And you, little Peter, you are dirt all over! Come in and let me get you clean again.”

Peter was her eldest boy, whom she loved more than all the rest, because he had red hair like her own.

They sat down to table, and ate with an appetite which pleased both father and mother, to whom they told—speaking all at once—how frightened they had been in the forest. The good people were delighted to see their children once more, and this joy [124]continued while the ten crowns lasted; but when the money was all gone they fell back again into their former anxiety, and resolved to lose their children again,—and that they might be the surer of doing it, they decided to take them much farther off than before.

They could not talk of this so secretly but that they were overheard by Hop-o’-my-Thumb, who counted on getting out of the difficulty as he had done before; but though he got up very early the next morning to go and pick up some little pebbles, he could not carry out his plan, for he found the house-door double-locked. He did not know what to do; but a little later, when his father had given each of them a piece of bread for their breakfast, it came into his head that he could make his bread do instead of pebbles, by dropping crumbs all along the way as they went, so he put it into his pocket.

Their father and mother led them into the thickest and gloomiest part of the forest, and then, stealing away into a bypath, left them there. Hop-o’-my-Thumb did not worry [125]himself very much at this, for he thought he could easily find the way back by means of his bread that he had scattered all along as he came; but he was very much surprised when he could not find a single crumb,—the birds had come and eaten them all.

They were now in great trouble, for the farther they went the more they went wrong and the deeper they got into the forest. Night came on, and with it a high wind which frightened them desperately. They fancied they heard on every side the howling of wolves coming to eat them up. They hardly dared to speak or turn their heads. Then there came a heavy rain, which wetted them to the very skin. Their feet slipped at every step, and they fell into the mud, getting themselves so covered with dirt that they could not even get it off their hands.

Hop-o’-my-Thumb climbed to the top of a tree to see if he could discover anything. Searching on every side, he saw at last a glimmering light, like that of a candle, but a long way off, and beyond the forest. He [126]came down, but when he was upon the ground he could not see it. This discouraged him very much; but finally, when he had been walking for some time with his brothers towards that side on which he had seen the light, he caught sight of it again as he came out of the wood.

They came at last to the house where this candle was, although not without many frights, for they lost sight of it every time they came into a hollow—which was very often. They knocked at the door and a kind woman came to open it. She asked them what they wanted, and Hop-o’-my-Thumb told her they had lost their way in the forest, and begged to stay and sleep there for charity’s sake. When the woman saw how pretty they were she began to weep, and said to them: “Alas, poor children, you do not know what kind of a place you have come to! Do you know that this house belongs to a cruel ogre who eats up little children?”

“Alas! dear madam,” answered Hop-o’-my-Thumb, who was trembling in every limb, as [127]were his brothers, too, “what shall we do? The wolves of the forest will surely devour us if you refuse us shelter here, and so we would rather the gentleman should eat us. Perhaps he will have pity on us if you are so kind as to entreat him for us.”

The ogre’s wife, who believed that she could hide them from her husband till morning, let them come in, and had them warm themselves at a very good fire, before which a whole sheep was being roasted for the ogre’s supper.

As they were beginning to get warm, they heard three or four great raps at the door: this was the ogre, who was coming home. His wife hurried the children under the bed to hide them, and then went to open the door. The ogre at once asked if supper was ready and the wine drawn, and sat down at the table. The sheep was raw still, but he liked it all the better for that. But in a minute or two he sniffed about to the right and to the left, saying, “I smell fresh meat, I smell fresh meat.” [128]

“What you smell,” said his wife, “must be the calf which I have just killed and dressed.”

“I smell fresh meat, I tell you once more,” said the ogre, looking crossly at his wife, “and there is something here which I do not understand.”

As he spoke these words, he got up from the table, and went straight to the bed.

“Ah,” said he, “that is how you thought to cheat me! Wretch! I do not know why I do not eat you up too; it is well for you that you are old and tough. Here is game which comes just in season to entertain three ogres, friends of mine, who are to pay me a visit in a day or two.”

With that he dragged them out from under the bed one by one. The poor children fell upon their knees and begged for pardon; but they had to deal with the most cruel of ogres, who, far from having any pity for them, had already devoured them with his eyes, and now told his wife they would be dainty morsels when she served them up with a good sauce. [129]

He then fetched a great knife and began to sharpen it on a great whetstone which he held in his left hand; and all the while he came nearer and nearer to the poor children. He had already taken hold of one of them when his wife said to him: “Why do you need to do it at this time of night? Is not to-morrow time enough?”

He dragged them out from under the bed one by one.

“Hold your prating!” said the ogre; “they will grow more tender if they are kept a little while after they are killed.” [130]

“But you have so much meat already,” replied his wife; “here are a calf, two sheep, and half a pig.”

“You are right,” said the ogre. “Give them all a good supper, that they may not get thin, and put them to bed.”

The good woman was overjoyed at this, and gave them a good supper; but they were so afraid that they could not eat a bit. As for the ogre, he sat down again to drink, well pleased that he had such a feast with which to treat his friends. He drank a dozen glasses more than usual, which went to his head and soon obliged him to go to bed.

The ogre had seven daughters, who were still little children. These young ogresses had all of them very fine complexions, because they ate raw meat like their father; but they had small gray eyes, quite round, hooked noses, wide mouths, and very long, sharp teeth, set very far apart from each other. They were not very wicked yet, but they gave promise of becoming so, for they had already bitten little children. [131]

They had been put to bed early, all seven in one great bed, each with a crown of gold upon her head. There was another bed of the same size in the room, and in this the ogre’s wife put the seven little boys, and then went to bed herself along with her husband.

Hop-o’-my-Thumb took notice that the ogre’s daughters all had crowns of gold on their heads, and he was so afraid lest the ogre should repent his not killing them, that he got up about midnight, and, taking his brothers’ caps and his own, went very softly and put them on the heads of the seven little ogresses. But he first took off their crowns of gold, and put them on his own head and his brothers’, so that the ogre might take them for his daughters, and his daughters for the little boys whom he wanted to kill.

Everything turned out just as he had thought; for the ogre, waking about midnight, began to feel sorry that he had put off killing the boys till morning, when he might have done it overnight, so he jumped up quickly out of bed, taking his great knife. [132]

“Let us see,” said he, “how our little rogues are getting on, and do the job up at once!”

He groped his way up to his daughters’ room, and went to the bed where the little boys lay, all fast asleep except Hop-o’-my-Thumb, who was terribly afraid when he found the ogre fumbling about his head, as he had done about his brothers’. When he felt the golden crowns, he said, “Truly, I should have done a pretty piece of work last night; it is perfectly evident that I drank too much wine then.”

Next he went to the bed where the girls lay, and when he felt the boys’ caps, he said, “Ah, my merry lads, here you are! let us get to work.”

And saying these words, without more ado he cut the throats of all his seven daughters. Well pleased with what he had done, he went back to bed again.

As soon as Hop-o’-my-Thumb heard the ogre snore, he waked his brothers and told them to put on their clothes quickly and follow him. They stole down softly into the [133]garden and got over the wall. They ran almost all night, trembling all the while, and without knowing where they were going.

The ogre, when he woke, said to his wife, “Go up and dress those young rascals who came here last night.”

The ogress was very much surprised at this goodness of her husband, not dreaming of the manner in which she was to dress them; but, thinking he had ordered her to go up and put on their clothes, she went up, and was horrified when she saw her daughters all dead. She fell in a faint.

The ogre, fearing that his wife would be too long in doing what he had ordered, went up himself to help her. He was no less amazed than his wife at this frightful spectacle.

“Ah! what have I done?” he cried. “But the wretches shall pay for it, and that instantly.”

He threw a pitcher of water upon his wife’s face, and as soon as she came to herself he said, “Bring me quickly my seven-league boots, that I may go and catch them.” [134]

As he was completely worn out, he fell asleep, and began to snore frightfully.


He went out into the country, and after running in all directions he turned at last into the very road where the poor children were, not more than a hundred paces from their father’s house, to which they were running. They espied the ogre, who went at one step from mountain to mountain, and over rivers as easily as the narrowest brooks. Hop-o’-my-Thumb, seeing a hollow rock near the place where they were, made his brothers hide in it, and crowded into it himself, watching always to see what would become of the ogre.

The ogre, who found himself very tired with his long and fruitless journey (for seven-league boots are very tiring to wear), had a great mind to rest himself, and happened to sit down upon the very rock where the little boys had hidden themselves. As he was completely worn out, he fell asleep, and began to snore so frightfully that the poor children were no less afraid of him than when he held up his great knife and was going to cut their throats. Hop-o’-my-Thumb was not so much [136]frightened as his brothers. He told them to run quickly home, while the ogre was sleeping, and not to worry about him. They took his advice and soon got home safely.

Hop-o’-my-Thumb then went up to the ogre, pulled off his boots gently, and put them on his own legs. They were very long and large, but as they were fairy boots they had the gift of becoming big or little according to the legs of those who wore them; so they fitted his feet and legs as well as if they had been made on purpose for him.

As soon as Hop-o’-my-Thumb had made sure of the ogre’s seven-league boots, he went to the palace and offered his services to carry orders from the King to his army,—which was a great way off,—and to bring back the quickest accounts of the battle they were just at that time fighting with the enemy. He thought he could be of more use to the King than all his mail coaches, and so might make his fortune in this manner. He succeeded so well that in a short time he had made money enough to keep himself, [137]his father and mother, and his six brothers (without their having to tire themselves out with working), for all the rest of their lives. He then went home to his father’s house, where he was welcomed with great joy. As the great fame of his boots had been talked of at court by this time, the King sent for him, and employed him on the greatest affairs of state; so that he became one of the richest men in the kingdom.

And now let us see what became of the ogre. He slept so soundly that he never knew that his boots were gone; but he fell from the corner of the rock where Hop-o’-my-Thumb and his brothers had left him, and bruised himself so badly from head to foot that he could not stir. So he was forced to stretch himself out at full length and wait for some one to come and help him.

Now a good many fagot-makers passed near the place where the ogre lay, and when they heard him groan they went up to ask him what was the matter. But the ogre had eaten so many children in his lifetime that [138]he had grown so very big and fat, that these men could not have carried even one of his legs; so they were forced to leave him there. At last night came on, and then a large serpent came out of a wood near by and stung him, so that he died in great pain.

As soon as Hop-o’-my-Thumb heard of the ogre’s death, he told the King—whose great favorite he had become—all that the good-natured ogress had done to save the lives of himself and his brothers. The King was so much pleased at what he heard that he asked Hop-o’-my-Thumb what favor he could bestow on her. Hop-o’-my-Thumb thanked his Majesty, and desired that the ogress might have the noble title of Duchess of Draggletail given to her, which was no sooner asked than granted. The ogress then came to court, and lived happily for many years, enjoying the vast fortune she found in the ogre’s chests. As for Hop-o’-my-Thumb, he grew more witty and brave every day till at last the King made him the greatest lord in the kingdom, and set him over all his affairs. [139]


Mistress Lindsay, a widow, and her son Alan, who was a little boy then, lived in a cottage near Rothley. One winter’s night Alan refused to go to bed with his mother, saying, “I wish to sit up for a little while longer, for I am not a bit sleepy.”

His mother told him that if he sat up by himself the old fairy wife would most certainly come and take him away. But the boy laughed at this, and his mother went to bed, leaving him sitting by the fire.

He had not been there long, watching the fire and enjoying its cheerful warmth, when a bonny little figure, about the size of a child’s doll, hopped down the chimney and alighted on the hearth. The little fellow was somewhat startled at first, but the fairy’s smile as it danced to and fro before him soon overcame his fears. At last he inquired, “What do they call thee?” [140]

“Ainsel,”1 replied the little thing, tossing its wee head.

After a bit it turned to Alan with the same question, “And what do they call thee?”

My Ainsel,” answered Alan.

So they began playing together like any two children. Their gambols went on till the fire began to grow dim. But when Alan took up the poker to stir it, a hot cinder fell accidentally upon the foot of his playmate. Her tiny voice was instantly raised to a most terrific yell, and Alan had scarcely time to crouch into the box bed behind his mother before the voice of the old fairy wife was heard shouting: “Who’s done it? Who’s done it?”

“Hoots! it was ‘my Ainsel’!” answered the tiny fairy.

“Why, then,” said her mother, as she kicked her up the chimney, “what’s all this noise for? There’s no one to blame but thine Ainsel.” [141]

1 That is, ownself. 


Once upon a time there was a Queen so old and ugly, so bent down under the weight of years and infirmities, that she grew weary of life, unless her youth could be renewed to her. A fairy who had been present at her birth now paid the Queen a visit, and told her that if she could find a young girl willing to change places with her Majesty,—to give her bloom and youth in exchange for the Queen’s old age and scepter,—then the fairy by one wave of her wand would fulfill their desire.

The Queen was delighted, for she would much rather be poor, young, and healthy, than a rich queen who was too old and infirm to enjoy life. She therefore ordered the strictest search to be made throughout her dominions for a young girl who would be willing to give her youth in exchange for age, infirmities, and riches. It was not long before [142]several discontented and ambitious girls came to accept the offer; but when they saw how feeble and helpless the old Queen was, how she could eat nothing but gruels and soups, how wrinkled and withered she was, how many times she said over the same thing, and how she tottered about bent double over her cane, they said they preferred their own conditions, poor and humble as they were, to the riches and the hundred years of her Majesty.

Afterwards there came some persons of a still more ambitious nature; to these the Queen promised grand titles and high honors. At first they were very willing; but when they had stayed a short time with her Majesty, they left the room, shaking their heads and saying, “Of what use would all the Queen possesses be to us, since we should then be so disfigured and so ugly that we should be ashamed to show ourselves to any one?”

At length a young maiden from a country village presented herself. She was exceedingly beautiful, and declared herself willing [143]to accept the crown in exchange for her youth. Her name was Peronella. At first the Queen was very angry at her presumption, for the girl was very poor; but, after all, what did that matter when the Queen’s purpose was to grow young again? She proposed to Peronella to divide the kingdom with her.

At length a young maiden from a country village presented herself.

“You shall have one half, and I the other,” said she. “Surely that is enough for you, who are but a poor country girl.”

“No,” replied Peronella, “that will not satisfy me at all; I will have the whole, [144]or I will remain a country girl, strong and beautiful and active, while you keep your wrinkles and your hundred years.”

“But,” said the Queen, “what shall I do if I give away my whole kingdom?”

“Do?” said Peronella. “Your Majesty will laugh and dance and sing as I do”; and she laughed and danced and sung before her.

The Queen, who could do nothing like this, asked Peronella how she would amuse herself if she were Queen, for she knew nothing of all the infirmities of age.

“I really cannot be quite sure what I would do,” answered Peronella, “but I have a great mind to try the experiment, for every one says it is such a fine thing to be a queen.”

While the Queen and Peronella were coming to an agreement, the fairy entered the room, and said to the country girl, “Are you willing to make the trial, and see what it is like to be a queen, extremely rich, and a hundred years old?”

“I have no objection,” said Peronella. [145]

In a single instant her skin became wrinkled, her hair turned gray, her teeth dropped out, her back was bent double, and she felt herself become helpless, and crippled, and ill-natured; she was already a hundred years old. The fairy touched a bell, and a crowd of officers and courtiers trooped in, all richly dressed, to do homage to the Queen and fulfill her will. A sumptuous repast was set before her, but she had not the least appetite, and, besides, she could eat nothing but soups and gruels; she did not know what to say, or how to behave, and was ashamed of the figure she must be making, especially as she sat where she could see herself in a looking-glass, and know all the time how very ugly she was.

In the meanwhile the real Queen stood in a corner, smiling all the time to see how fresh and comely she had become. Her hair was beautiful, her skin was soft and rosy, her teeth were white and firm, and her figure was strong and tall. She could skip about as nimbly as a deer; but she was dressed [146]in a coarse, rough, short petticoat, and her cap and apron were poor and torn. She scarcely dared move in such clothes as these, and the guards, who never allowed such countrified, ragged-looking people within the palace gates, pushed her about with the greatest rudeness. Peronella, who was watching her, now said: “I see it is quite dreadful to you not to be queen, and it is still more so to me to be one. Pray, take your crown again, and give me my ragged petticoat.”

The change was immediately made: the Queen grew old again, and Peronella was as young and blooming as she had been before. Hardly had this taken place when each began to repent of her haste and to wish she had tried a little longer. But it was now too late; the fairy required them to remain forever in their own conditions. The Queen cried all day long over her aches and pains, saying: “Alas, if I were but Peronella! I should, it is true, sleep in a poor cottage and live on potatoes, but I should dance with the shepherds under a shady elm to the music [147]of a flute. Of what use is a bed of down to me, since it gains me neither sleep nor ease; or so many attendants, since they cannot make me comfortable?”

So the Queen’s fretfulness increased her pain; nor could the twelve physicians, who constantly attended her, be of the least service. She died about two months later.

Peronella was dancing with her companions on the fresh grass by the side of a flowing stream when the news of the Queen’s death reached her. She said to them, “How fortunate I was in preferring my own humble lot to that of the Queen!”

Shortly after, Peronella was wooed by three suitors, who wanted to marry her. One was an old man, peevish and cross, a man of high distinction but so jealous that he would never let her out of his sight. The second was handsome and of good family, but improvident and wasteful; he would be careless of his wife’s comfort. The third was a young shepherd of her own rank, who loved her dearly and could give her a good, simple [148]home in her own pretty village. Peronella was tempted by the riches of the first and the good looks and promises of the second, but she remembered how miserable she had been as queen. She married the shepherd, and they lived a simple, happy life for many, many long years.

Peronella was dancing with her companions on the fresh grass.


She was called Princess Goldilocks.


There was once a King’s daughter who was so beautiful that nothing in the world could be compared with her. And because she was so beautiful, and because her hair was finer than spun gold and fell in waves to her feet, she was called Princess Goldilocks. She always wore a crown of flowers; her dresses were embroidered with diamonds and pearls; and every one who saw her loved her. [150]

In a neighboring country there lived a young King who was not married, and who was very handsome and very rich. When he heard all that was said about fair Goldilocks, before he had ever seen her, he fell so deeply in love with her that he could neither eat nor drink for thinking of her. He determined to send an ambassador to ask for her hand in marriage. He had a splendid coach made for his ambassador, and giving him more than a hundred horses and a hundred servants, he charged him well to bring the Princess back with him.

After the ambassador had departed nothing else was talked of at the court but his mission. The King felt so sure of Goldilocks’s consent that he set his people to making beautiful dresses for her, and splendid furniture for her suite of rooms. Meanwhile the ambassador reached her court and delivered his message. But either the Princess did not happen to be in a good humor that day, or the offer did not suit her fancy, for she told the ambassador that she thanked [151]the King, but she had no desire to marry. The ambassador left the Princess’s court feeling very much cast down at his failure. He was bringing back all the gifts that the King had sent her, for the Princess was too well brought up to accept the pearls and diamonds when she was refusing the King; but, in order not to give offense, she kept a little package of English pins.

When the ambassador reached the King’s capital, where the King was waiting impatiently, every one was in great distress because he had not brought fair Goldilocks back with him. The King wept like a child, and no one could console him.

Now there was at the court a young man who was handsomer and more gifted than any one else in the kingdom. Because of his grace and his ready wit he was called Charming. Every one liked him except a few people who were jealous of him because the King showed him favor and made him his confidant. One day Charming was with some people who were talking about the [152]ambassador’s return and were saying that his visit did not seem to have done much good. Without thinking very much what he was saying, Charming remarked, “If the King had sent me to Princess Goldilocks I am sure she would have come back with me.”

Then these telltales ran straight to the King and said: “Your Majesty, what do you think Charming has been saying? That if he had been sent to Princess Goldilocks he would have brought her back with him. Did you ever hear of such impudence? He thinks he is handsomer than you, and that she would have fallen so deeply in love with him that she would have followed him anywhere.”

The King was beside himself with anger.

“Ha, ha!” said he; “so this spoiled youngster laughs at my misfortune, does he, and thinks himself better than his King? Go and put him in my great tower, and let him die of hunger.”

The King’s guards went to fetch Charming, who had quite forgotten his idle speech, and dragged him off to prison with all kinds [153]of violence. The poor boy had only a little straw for his bed, and he would have died had it not been for a little stream which flowed through the tower, at which he could get water to cool his parched tongue. One day when he was in despair he cried aloud: “What can I have done to offend the King? He has not a more faithful subject than I. I have never done a thing to harm him.”

The King happened to be passing near the tower and heard the voice of his former favorite. He stopped to listen, in spite of the efforts of Charming’s enemies, who tried to persuade him to have nothing to do with the traitor. But the King said: “Let me alone. I want to hear what he is saying.”

At the sound of Charming’s laments, tears filled the King’s eyes, and he opened the tower door and called to him. Charming came forward in a pitiable state, and, throwing himself at the King’s feet, said, “What have I done, sire, to deserve this cruel treatment?”

“You mocked me and my ambassador,” said the King. “You said that if you had [154]been sent for Princess Goldilocks you would have brought her back.”

“It is true, your Majesty,” replied Charming. “I should have told her so much about you and your good qualities that she would not have been able to refuse you. But I cannot see what there is in that to displease you.”

When the King considered it from this point of view he could not see anything in it to make him angry, and began to frown fiercely on those who had made him believe ill of his favorite. He took the boy away with him, repenting deeply the wrong he had done him. When he had seen to it that Charming had a good supper, he called him to his private room and said: “Charming, I am as much in love as ever with fair Goldilocks; her refusal has made no difference in my feelings. But I do not know how to gain her consent. I should like to send you to see if you could succeed.”

Charming replied that he was ready to fulfill his King’s least wish, and would set out the next morning. [155]

“But wait,” said the King; “I want to provide you with a fine escort.”

“There is no need of that,” answered Charming. “I want only a good horse, and letters from you.”

The King was delighted at his willingness to start so soon, and provided him with what he needed. It was on a Monday morning that he started out alone, thinking always, as he went, how he should persuade Princess Goldilocks to marry the King. In his pocket he carried a writing tablet, and whenever a happy thought occurred to him he dismounted from his horse and sat down under the trees to write it, so that he might be sure not to forget anything which might be of use in his speech to the Princess.

One morning, when he had started early, as he was crossing a great meadow he had a capital idea. So he sprang from his horse and sat down under a willow tree by a little stream. When he had written it down he began to look about him and admire the pretty place where he had stopped. Then [156]he saw a great golden carp panting and gasping on the grass. In leaping after little flies, it had jumped too far, and was lying on the bank, almost dead. Charming was sorry for it, and though he might have carried it away for his dinner, he picked it up gently and put it back into the stream. It sank to the bottom, drinking in the cool, refreshing water, and then, swimming gayly up to the bank, it said: “Charming, I thank you for the kindness you have shown me. But for you I should have died. By this act you have saved my life; one day I will repay you.”

With these words it plunged into the water again, leaving Charming greatly surprised at its politeness.

Another day, as he was going on his way, he saw a raven in great distress. The poor bird was being pursued by a great eagle. It would soon have been caught and eaten up, had not Charming quickly taken his bow and arrow and shot the eagle dead. The raven perched joyfully on a tree. [157]

“Charming,” said he, “it was very generous of you to come to the aid of a poor raven. I shall not be ungrateful. Some day I will repay you.”

Charming thought this was very kind of the raven, and went on his way.

Charming quickly took his bow and arrow and shot the eagle dead.

Before sunrise one morning, when it was so dark that he could hardly see his way, he heard an owl crying out as though it were in distress.

“Hark!” he said; “that owl seems to be in great trouble. It must be caught in a snare.”

So he began to hunt about, and soon found a great net spread by some fowlers. [158]

“What a pity it is that men do nothing but torment and persecute poor creatures that never do them any harm!” he said; and taking out his knife he cut the cords. The owl flitted away, but came back quickly and said: “Charming, I need not tell you what a great service you have done me. At daybreak the fowlers would have come and caught me. Without your help I should have been killed. I am grateful, and one day I will repay you.”

These were the three chief adventures that happened to Charming on his journey. He made all possible speed to reach the palace of fair Goldilocks. When he arrived there he dressed himself with the greatest care in a suit of rich brocade, and put on a hat with scarlet and white plumes. Over his shoulder he threw an embroidered scarf. He carried on his arm a little basket in which was a pretty little dog that he had bought on the way. He looked so handsome and gay when he presented himself at the palace gate that the guards paid him great respect, [159]and sent in haste to announce to Princess Goldilocks that Charming, ambassador of her neighbor the King, desired to see her.

“Charming,” repeated the Princess; “the name promises well. I am sure that he is handsome, and that every one likes him.”

“Indeed, that is true,” said all her maids of honor at once; “we saw him from the window of the garret where we were spinning flax, and we could do nothing but look at him as long as he was in sight.”

“So that’s the way you spend your time, is it,” replied the Princess,—“gazing out of the window at handsome strangers? Go quickly, and get me my blue satin embroidered dress. Let one of you comb my hair, and another make me fresh garlands of flowers. Get me my high-heeled shoes and my fan, and tell them to sweep my hall and my throne. I want him to find me in truth ‘Fair Goldilocks.’ ”

All the maidens rushed this way and that to make the Princess ready. They were in such a hurry that they ran into and hindered [160]one another. However, at last the Princess passed into her gallery of mirrors to make sure that everything was as it should be. Then she mounted her throne of gold and ebony and ivory, and told her ladies to take their guitars, and to play and sing softly.

Charming was led into the audience room, and stood so dazzled with admiration that at first he could not speak. Presently he took courage, and delivered his speech, eloquently pleading with the Princess to spare him the unhappiness of returning without her.

“Sir Charming,” answered she, “all the reasons which you have given me are very good, and I assure you I should take more pleasure in obliging you than in obliging any one else; but you must know that a month ago, as I was walking by the river with my ladies, I took off my glove, and as I did so a ring slipped from my finger and rolled into the river. This ring was more precious to me than my kingdom, and you may imagine how distressed I was to lose it. I vowed then never to listen to any [161]proposal of marriage unless the ambassador first brought me back my ring. So now you see what you have before you; for if you talked to me for fifteen days and fifteen nights you could not make me change my mind.”

Charming was very much surprised by this answer, but he bowed low to the Princess and begged her to accept the embroidered scarf and the little dog he had brought with him. But she said she did not wish any presents, and bade him think of what she had just told him.

When he got back to his room he went to bed without eating any supper, and his little dog, who was called Frolic, would not eat any either, but came and lay down beside him. All night long Charming tossed back and forth sighing.

“How am I to find a ring that fell into the river a month ago?” he said. “It is useless to try. She has chosen to set me a task which she knows will be impossible.” And he sighed again. [162]

Frolic heard him and said: “My dear master, do not despair; you are always lucky, you know, and, besides, you are too good not to be happy. Let us go down to the river as soon as it is day.”

Charming only petted the dog a little and said nothing, but after a while he fell asleep.

At dawn Frolic began to jump about, and awoke his master. They went down to the river together, and wandered up and down. Charming was thinking sadly of starting for home when he heard some one calling, “Charming! Charming!”

He looked all about, and thought he must be dreaming, for he could not see anybody. He walked on, and again the voice called, “Charming! Charming!”

“Who is calling me?” he said.

Frolic, who was running along close to the water’s edge, cried out, “All that I can see is a golden carp.”

And there, to be sure, was the great carp, and it spoke to Charming, saying: “You saved my life in the meadow by the willow [163]tree, and I promised to repay you. See, dear Charming, here is Princess Goldilocks’s ring.”

Charming stooped down and took the ring from the carp’s mouth, thanking it over and over again. Then he and little Frolic went straight to the palace. Some one told the Princess that he was asking to see her.

“Ah, poor boy!” she said; “he has come to say good-by. He has doubtless decided that it is impossible to do what I asked.”

But in came Charming, and presented the ring to her, saying: “Princess, I have done your bidding. Will it please you to accept the King, my master, as your husband?”

When the Princess saw her ring brought back to her unhurt, she was so astonished that she thought she must be dreaming.

“Surely, Sir Charming,” she said, “you must be the favorite of some fairy, or you could never have found it.”

“Madam,” he replied, “I know no fairy, but I had a great desire to obey your wishes.”

“Then, since you are so willing,” said she, “you must do me another service; otherwise [164]I will never marry. Not far from here there is a Prince called Galifron, who is determined to marry me. When I refused he uttered most terrible threats that he would lay waste my kingdom. But how could I accept him? He is a giant, taller than a tower, and thinks no more of eating a man than a monkey does of eating chestnuts. He talks so loud that those who are near him become deaf. I told him I did not wish to marry, but he has never ceased to persecute me and to kill my subjects. So, before I listen to your proposal, you must kill him and bring me his head.”

Charming was somewhat startled by this proposal, but he answered: “Very well, Princess Goldilocks, I will fight this Galifron. I believe I shall be beaten, but I will die a brave man.”

The Princess was frightened at this. She told Charming everything she could think of to prevent him from undertaking the adventure, but it was all in vain. He withdrew to arm himself properly, and then, taking little [165]Frolic with him, he mounted his horse and set out for Galifron’s country. Every one he met told him what a terrible giant Galifron was, and how nobody dared to go near him. The more he heard about him the more frightened he became. Frolic tried to encourage him by saying: “Dear master, while you are fighting the giant, I will go at him and bite his legs. Then when he stoops down to drive me off, you can kill him.”

Charming admired the little dog’s spirit, but knew his help would not amount to much.

At last he drew near to the giant’s castle. All roads leading to it were covered with bones of men the giant had killed. Before long he saw Galifron coming through the wood. His head was higher than the tallest trees, and he was striding along, singing in a terrible voice:

“Bring out children for me to eat;

They are the nicest kind of meat.

The more you bring, the better ’twill be,

For all in the world would not satisfy me.”


Then Charming began to sing to the same tune:

“Come and look upon bold Charming;

He does not think you very alarming.

Although he is not as big as you,

He’s come a giant to subdue.”

When Galifron heard these words he looked all around and soon caught sight of Charming, standing sword in hand. He flew into a terrible rage, and aimed a blow at Charming with his heavy iron club, which would certainly have killed him if it had hit him; but at that moment a raven perched on the giant’s head and pecked out both his eyes. The giant struck out blindly in every direction, but Charming easily avoided his blows, and wounded him so severely with his sword that he fell to the ground. Then he cut off the giant’s head, while the raven, who was perched on a tree near by, said: “You see I have not forgotten the service you did me in killing the eagle. To-day I think I have fulfilled my promise to repay you.” [167]

He flew into a terrible rage, and aimed a blow at Charming with his heavy iron club.


“It is I who am the debtor to you for your timely help,” replied Charming, “and I am very grateful to you.”

Then he mounted his horse and rode off with the head of Galifron.

When he came to the town every one ran after him, crying: “Here comes brave Charming! He has killed the giant!”

The Princess heard the shouts, but she did not dare to ask what had happened for fear she should be told that Charming had been killed. But soon Charming came in with the giant’s head, the very sight of which frightened her, although she knew that Galifron would never trouble her again.

“Princess,” said Charming, “I have killed your enemy. I hope you will no longer refuse the King my master.”

“I must,” said fair Goldilocks, “unless you can bring me some water from the Grotto of Darkness. This is a very deep cavern, about six leagues long. The entrance is guarded by two dragons with fire coming out of their eyes and mouths. When you get inside the [169]gate you go down into an immense hole, full of toads and adders and snakes. At the bottom of this hole is a little cave, in which rises the Fountain of Beauty and Health. It is some of this water that I must have; it has wonderful power for those who bathe in it. If you are beautiful, you will always remain so; if you are ugly, you become fair. If you are young, you never grow old, and if you are old, you become young. You see, Charming, that I really could not leave my kingdom without carrying some of this water with me.”

“Princess,” he said, “you are so beautiful that you can never have any need of this water; but I am an unhappy ambassador whose death you desire. I will go in search of what you wish, though I know I shall never return.”

The Princess showed no sign of taking back her request, so Charming set out with his little dog, Frolic, for the Grotto of Darkness. Every one he met on the way said: “What a pity to see so handsome a youth [170]throwing away his life so recklessly! He is going to the grotto alone; but if he had a hundred men with him he could never succeed. Why does the Princess demand such impossible things?”

He seemed to pay no attention to them, and went right along, but he was very sad at heart. At last he came to the top of a mountain from which he had been told one could see the Grotto of Darkness, and he looked about to find it. He saw a hideous rock, black as ink, out of which a thick smoke was coming. In a moment one of the fiery dragons appeared. Its body was yellow and green; it had great claws, and a long tail that lay in a hundred coils. Fire was shooting out from its mouth and eyes. When Frolic saw the dragon he was so frightened that he did not know where to hide. Charming, who was resolved to die in the attempt if need be, drew his sword, and took out the flask which Princess Goldilocks had given him to fill with the water of beauty. As he started for the cavern he said to Frolic: [171]“I feel sure that I shall die in the attempt to get this water. When I do not come back to you, go and tell the Princess that I have died in the effort to fulfill her wishes. Then go to the King my master and tell him of my adventures.”

As he was speaking he heard a voice calling, “Charming! Charming!”

“Who calls me?” he said.

Then he noticed an owl sitting in a hollow tree, who said to him: “You saved my life when I was in the net, and I promised to repay you. Now I can do it. Give me your flask. I know all the paths through the Grotto of Darkness, and I will fetch the water of beauty for you.”

Charming was delighted to give him the flask, and the owl flew into the cavern without any difficulty, and in less than a quarter of an hour returned with the flask full to the brim. Charming thanked him with all his heart, and joyfully set out for the town.

He went straight to the palace and presented the flask to Princess Goldilocks, who [172]had nothing more to say. She thanked Charming, and ordered that preparations should be made for her departure, and they soon set out together. The Princess found Charming so delightful a companion that she sometimes said to him: “Why did we ever leave my kingdom? I could have made you King, and we should have been happy together.”

But Charming answered: “I could not have done anything so displeasing to my master for all the kingdoms of the earth, though I think you lovelier than the sun.”

At last they reached the King’s chief city, and he came out to meet Princess Goldilocks, bringing magnificent presents. The marriage was celebrated with great rejoicings. But Goldilocks was so fond of Charming that she could not be happy unless he was near her, and his praises were always on her lips.

“If it had not been for Charming,” she would say to the King, “I should never have been here. You ought to be very [173]grateful to him, for he did most impossible things to win me. Besides, he got me water from the Fountain of Beauty, so that I can never grow old, but shall be beautiful always.”

Then Charming’s enemies, who envied him his good fortune, said to the King: “You don’t seem to be jealous, but you have good reason to be. The Queen seems to talk and think of no one but Charming, and how much he did to gain her. As if anybody you had sent could not have done just as much!”

“Now I come to think of it, I believe you are right,” said the King. “Let him be chained hand and foot and thrown into the tower.”

So they took Charming, and as a reward for having served the King so well he was shut up in the tower, where he saw no one but the jailer who brought him black bread and water once a day. But little Frolic stayed to comfort him, and brought him all the news.

When Goldilocks heard of Charming’s disgrace she threw herself at the King’s feet [174]and begged him to set Charming free; but the more she wept and pleaded the more angry the King became, thinking that she loved Charming. At last she saw that it was of no use to plead any more; but she was very sad.

When Goldilocks heard of Charming’s disgrace she threw herself at the King’s feet.

The King took it into his head that perhaps she did not think him handsome enough. [175]So he thought he would bathe his face with the water from the Fountain of Beauty, which was in a flask on a shelf in the Queen’s room. She had put it there so that she might look at it often. Now it happened that one of the housemaids in chasing a spider had knocked the flask off the shelf. It had broken and all the water had been spilled. She swept up the pieces in great haste, and was at her wits’ end what to do, when she remembered that she had seen in the King’s room a flask just like this, filled with clear water. Without saying a word to any one, she fetched that and placed it on the Queen’s shelf.

Now the liquid in the King’s flask was what was used in the kingdom for getting rid of unruly nobles. Instead of having their heads cut off, these nobles had their faces bathed with this water, and they fell asleep and never woke up. So one evening the King, thinking to make himself handsome, took the flask and bathed his face in the water. Then he fell asleep and never woke up again. [176]

Little Frolic was the first to find out what had happened, and he ran to tell Charming, who told him to go to Princess Goldilocks and beg her not to forget the poor prisoner. All the court was in great confusion because of the King’s death, but Frolic made his way through the crowd and said to the Queen, “Madam, do not forget poor Charming.”

She remembered all he had done and suffered for her, and without saying a word to any one she went straight to the tower, and with her own hands took off Charming’s chains. Then, placing a crown upon his head and the royal mantle on his shoulders, she said, “Come, dear Charming, I make you King, and take you for my husband.”

Charming threw himself at her feet and thanked her.

Every one was delighted that he should be King. The wedding, which took place at once, was the prettiest ever seen, and Prince Charming and Princess Goldilocks lived happily ever after. [177]


In his critical edition of “Perrault’s Popular Tales,” Andrew Lang has said that “all the incidents of popular tales, like the bits of glass in a kaleidoscope, may be shaken into a practically limitless number of combinations.” All that can be done in a book of this size is to choose the best of these combinations. The notes below indicate parallels where the resemblance between tales is close and where a version originally foreign has practically superseded the early English rendering.

Page 1. Rumpelstiltskin. Source: “Kinder- und Hausmärchen,” by Jacob Grimm (1785–1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786–1859). These German brothers made a large and valuable collection of fairy tales, gathering them from oral tradition and retelling them. English Parallel: “Tom Tit Tot.” This is the best of a group of stories involving the task of guessing a name, with which is here combined the demand by a supernatural being for a human child.

Page 9. Doll-in-the-Grass. Source: “Popular Tales from the Norse,” by George W. Dasent (Edinburgh, 1859), who translated it from the Norse collection of Peter Christen Asbjörnsen and Jörgen Moe. Parallels: Grimm’s “The Three Feathers,” and Madame D’Aulnoy’s “The White Cat” (Fairy Tales, Vol. II). In each of these stories sons are sent out to seek their fortune and return at last with wives.

Page 14. How to tell a Real Princess. Source: “Stories and Tales,” by Hans Christian Andersen (1805–1875), a collection of tales by one of the greatest story-tellers in the world. He originated many plots, and retold even familiar tales in a style that made them distinctly his own. [178]

Page 17. The Frog Prince. Source: Grimm. English Parallel: “The Well at the World’s End.” One of the oldest stories in Germany. Sometimes called “Iron Henry.”

Page 26. Cinderella. Source: “Contes de Ma Mère l’Oye,” by Charles Perrault (1628–1703), published in France in 1697. The best English translation was printed in 1795 under the title, “Tales of Passed Times, by Mother Goose.… Written in French by M. Perrault, and Englished by R. S. Gent.” Our versions follow as closely as is consistent with modern English the quaint language of this book. Appearing as they did at a time when French society was reacting against its own extravagances, these simple, fresh stories became instantly popular. They were published under the name of Perrault’s little boy, and many critics think that “the naïveté and popular traditional manner of telling” are due to him, while they recognize the polish of style and skill of selection of his literary father. Parallels: Many; but, as Mr. Lang says, “here we can distinctly see how the taste and judgment of Perrault altered an old and barbarous detail,” by substituting the fairy godmother for the friendly beast of earlier tales, and also by beautifying the stepmother incident.

Page 42. Hans in Luck. Source: Grimm.

Page 56. Diamonds and Toads. Source: Perrault, under the title of “Les Fées.” Parallel: A universal tale with many variants, both in the motif of politeness rewarded, and in the incident of the adventures of the good and bad sisters or brothers.

Page 62. Puss in Boots. Source: Perrault. Mr. Lang sums up the plot as that of “a young man brought from poverty to the throne by the aid of a matchmaking and ingenious beast,” and remarks that “Puss is a perfectly unscrupulous adventurer for no reason but the fun of the thing.”

Page 75. Rapunzel. Source: Grimm. [179]

Page 86. Beauty and the Beast. Source: The original tale, as told by Madame Villeneuve (died in 1755), occupies two hundred pages of the “Cabinet des Fées,” Vol. 26 (1787). The framework and much of the text of our abridged version are taken from a chapbook, published in Glasgow by Francis Orr & Sons, which is in the Harvard Library.

Page 108. The Steadfast Tin Soldier. Source: Hans Andersen’s “Wonder Stories Told for Children.”

Page 118. Hop-o’-my-Thumb. Source: Perrault. “A tale which has signs of great antiquity.”

Page 139. “Ainsel.” Source: T. Keightley’s “Fairy Mythology.” Parallels: A tale widely current in England with many slight variations. Cf. the outwitting of Polyphemus by Ulysses in the Odyssey.

Page 141. Peronella. Source: “A Fairy-Book,” Harper & Brothers, 1836. Parallels: Many tales of wishes fulfilled. A traditional tale of long standing in England.

Page 149. Fair Goldilocks. Source: Madame D’Aulnoy, a Frenchwoman who wrote many fairy tales. French text in “Cabinet des Fées,” Vol. 2 (1787); English translation consulted under the title “The Fair One with Golden Locks” in “Queen Mab … written by the Countess D’Aulnoy, London, 1770.” [181]



“The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.”



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