Category Archives: GRIMMS

RUMPELSTILTSKIN

RUMPELSTILTSKIN

Brothers Grimm

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There was once a miller who was poor, but he had one beautiful daughter. It happened one day that he came to speak with the king, and, to give himself consequence, he told him that he had a daughter who could spin gold out of straw. The king said to the miller,

“That is an art that pleases me well; if thy daughter is as clever as you say, bring her to my castle to-morrow, that I may put her to the proof.”

When the girl was brought to him, he led her into a room that was quite full of straw, and gave her a wheel and spindle, and said,

“Now set to work, and if by the early morning thou hast not spun this straw to gold thou shalt die.” And he shut the door himself, and left her there alone.

And so the poor miller’s daughter was left there sitting, and could not think what to do for her life; she had no notion how to set to work to spin gold from straw, and her distress grew so great that she began to weep. Then all at once the door opened, and in came a little man, who said,

“Good evening, miller’s daughter; why are you crying?”

“Oh!” answered the girl, “I have got to spin gold out of straw, and I don’t understand the business.”

Then the little man said,

“What will you give me if I spin it for you?”

“My necklace,” said the girl.

The little man took the necklace, seated himself before the wheel, and whirr, whirr, whirr! three times round and the bobbin was full; then he took up another, and whirr, whirr, whirr! three times round, and that was full; and so he went on till the morning, when all the straw had been spun, and all the bobbins were full of gold. At sunrise came the king, and when he saw the gold he was astonished and very much rejoiced, for he was very avaricious. He had the miller’s daughter taken into another room filled with straw, much bigger than the last, and told her that as she valued her life she must spin it all in one night. The girl did not know what to do, so she began to cry, and then the door opened, and the little man appeared and said,

“What will you give me if I spin all this straw into gold?”

“The ring from my finger,” answered the girl.

So the little man took the ring, and began again to send the wheel whirring round, and by the next morning all the straw was spun into glistening gold. The king was rejoiced beyond measure at the sight, but as he could never have enough of gold, he had the miller’s daughter taken into a still larger room full of straw, and said,

“This, too, must be spun in one night, and if you accomplish it you shall be my wife.” For he thought, “Although she is but a miller’s daughter, I am not likely to find any one richer in the whole world.”

As soon as the girl was left alone, the little man appeared for the third time and said,

“What will you give me if I spin the straw for you this time?”

“I have nothing left to give,” answered the girl.

“Then you must promise me the first child you have after you are queen,” said the little man.

“But who knows whether that will happen?” thought the girl; but as she did not know what else to do in her necessity, she promised the little man what he desired, upon which he began to spin, until all the straw was gold. And when in the morning the king came and found all done according to his wish, he caused the wedding to be held at once, and the miller’s pretty daughter became a queen.

In a year’s time she brought a fine child into the world, and thought no more of the little man; but one day he came suddenly into her room, and said,

“Now give me what you promised me.”

The queen was terrified greatly, and offered the little man all the riches of the kingdom if he would only leave the child; but the little man said,

“No, I would rather have something living than all the treasures of the world.”

Then the queen began to lament and to weep, so that the little man had pity upon her.

“I will give you three days,” said he, “and if at the end of that time you cannot tell my name, you must give up the child to me.”

Then the queen spent the whole night in thinking over all the names that she had ever heard, and sent a messenger through the land to ask far and wide for all the names that could be found. And when the little man came next day, (beginning with Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar) she repeated all she knew, and went through the whole list, but after each the little man said,

“That is not my name.”

The second day the queen sent to inquire of all the neighbours what the servants were called, and told the little man all the most unusual and singular names, saying,

“Perhaps you are called Roast-ribs, or Sheepshanks, or Spindleshanks?” But he answered nothing but

“That is not my name.”

The third day the messenger came back again, and said,

“I have not been able to find one single new name; but as I passed through the woods I came to a high hill, and near it was a little house, and before the house burned a fire, and round the fire danced a comical little man, and he hopped on one leg and cried,
“To-day do I bake, to-morrow I brew, The day after that the queen’s child comes in; And oh! I am glad that nobody knew That the name I am called is Rumpelstiltskin!”

You cannot think how pleased the queen was to hear that name, and soon afterwards, when the little man walked in and said, “Now, Mrs. Queen, what is my name?” she said at first,

“Are you called Jack?”

“No,” answered he.

“Are you called Harry?” she asked again.

“No,” answered he. And then she said,

“Then perhaps your name is Rumpelstiltskin!”

“The devil told you that! the devil told you that!” cried the little man, and in his anger he stamped with his right foot so hard that it went into the ground above his knee; then he seized his left foot with both his hands in such a fury that he split in two, and there was an end of him.

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SNOW-WHITE

SNOW-WHITE

Brothers Grimm

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It was the middle of winter, and the snow-flakes were falling like feathers from the sky, and a queen sat at her window working, and her embroidery-frame was of ebony. And as she worked, gazing at times out on the snow, she pricked her finger, and there fell from it three drops of blood on the snow. And when she saw how bright and red it looked, she said to herself, “Oh that I had a child as white as snow, as red as blood, and as black as the wood of the embroidery frame!”

Not very long after she had a daughter, with a skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony, and she was named Snow-white. And when she was born the queen died.

After a year had gone by the king took another wife, a beautiful woman, but proud and overbearing, and she could not bear to be surpassed in beauty by any one. She had a magic looking-glass, and she used to stand before it, and look in it, and say,

“Looking-glass upon the wall,
Who is fairest of us all?”

And the looking-glass would answer,

“You are fairest of them all.”

And she was contented, for she knew that the looking-glass spoke the truth.

Now, Snow-white was growing prettier and prettier, and when she was seven years old she was as beautiful as day, far more so than the queen herself. So one day when the queen went to her mirror and said,

“Looking-glass upon the wall,
Who is fairest of us all?”

It answered,

“Queen, you are full fair, ’tis true,
But Snow-white fairer is than you.”

This gave the queen a great shock, and she became yellow and green with envy, and from that hour her heart turned against Snow-white, and she hated her. And envy and pride like ill weeds grew in her heart higher every day, until she had no peace day or night. At last she sent for a huntsman, and said,

“Take the child out into the woods, so that I may set eyes on her no more. You must put her to death, and bring me her heart for a token.”

The huntsman consented, and led her away; but when he drew his cutlass to pierce Snow-white’s innocent heart, she began to weep, and to say,

“Oh, dear huntsman, do not take my life; I will go away into the wild wood, and never come home again.”

And as she was so lovely the huntsman had pity on her, and said,

“Away with you then, poor child;” for he thought the wild animals would be sure to devour her, and it was as if a stone had been rolled away from his heart when he spared to put her to death. Just at that moment a young wild boar came running by, so he caught and killed it, and taking out its heart, he brought it to the queen for a token. And it was salted and cooked, and the wicked woman ate it up, thinking that there was an end of Snow-white.

Now, when the poor child found herself quite alone in the wild woods, she felt full of terror, even of the very leaves on the trees, and she did not know what to do for fright. Then she began to run over the sharp stones and through the thorn bushes, and the wild beasts after her, but they did her no harm. She ran as long as her feet would carry her; and when the evening drew near she came to a little house, and she went inside to rest. Everything there was very small, but as pretty and clean as possible. There stood the little table ready laid, and covered with a white cloth, and seven little plates, and seven knives and forks, and drinking-cups. By the wall stood seven little beds, side by side, covered with clean white quilts. Snow-white, being very hungry and thirsty, ate from each plate a little porridge and bread, and drank out of each little cup a drop of wine, so as not to finish up one portion alone. After that she felt so tired that she lay down on one of the beds, but it did not seem to suit her; one was too long, another too short, but at last the seventh was quite right; and so she lay down upon it, committed herself to heaven, and fell asleep.

When it was quite dark, the masters of the house came home. They were seven dwarfs, whose occupation was to dig underground among the mountains. When they had lighted their seven candles, and it was quite light in the little house, they saw that some one must have been in, as everything was not in the same order in which they left it. The first said,

“Who has been sitting in my little chair?”

The second said,

“Who has been eating from my little plate?”

The third said,

“Who has been taking my little loaf?”

The fourth said,

“Who has been tasting my porridge?”

The fifth said,

“Who has been using my little fork?”

The sixth said,

“Who has been cutting with my little knife?”

The seventh said,

“Who has been drinking from my little cup?”

Then the first one, looking round, saw a hollow in his bed, and cried,

“Who has been lying on my bed?”

And the others came running, and cried,

“Some one has been on our beds too!”

But when the seventh looked at his bed, he saw little Snow-white lying there asleep. Then he told the others, who came running up, crying out in their astonishment, and holding up their seven little candles to throw a light upon Snow-white.

“O goodness! O gracious!” cried they, “what beautiful child is this?” and were so full of joy to see her that they did not wake her, but let her sleep on. And the seventh dwarf slept with his comrades, an hour at a time with each, until the night had passed.

When it was morning, and Snow-white awoke and saw the seven dwarfs, she was very frightened; but they seemed quite friendly, and asked her what her name was, and she told them; and then they asked how she came to be in their house. And she related to them how her step-mother had wished her to be put to death, and how the huntsman had spared her life, and how she had run the whole day long, until at last she had found their little house. Then the dwarfs said,

“If you will keep our house for us, and cook, and wash, and make the beds, and sew and knit, and keep everything tidy and clean, you may stay with us, and you shall lack nothing.”

“With all my heart,” said Snow-white; and so she stayed, and kept the house in good order. In the morning the dwarfs went to the mountain to dig for gold; in the evening they came home, and their supper had to be ready for them. All the day long the maiden was left alone, and the good little dwarfs warned her, saying,

“Beware of your step-mother, she will soon know you are here. Let no one into the house.”

Now the queen, having eaten Snow-white’s heart, as she supposed, felt quite sure that now she was the first and fairest, and so she came to her mirror, and said,

“Looking-glass upon the wall,
Who is fairest of us all?”

And the glass answered,

“Queen, thou art of beauty rare,
But Snow-white living in the glen
With the seven little men
Is a thousand times more fair.”

Then she was very angry, for the glass always spoke the truth, and she knew that the huntsman must have deceived her, and that Snow-white must still be living. And she thought and thought how she could manage to make an end of her, for as long as she was not the fairest in the land, envy left her no rest. At last she thought of a plan; she painted her face and dressed herself like an old pedlar woman, so that no one would have known her. In this disguise she went across the seven mountains, until she came to the house of the seven little dwarfs, and she knocked at the door and cried,
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“Fine wares to sell! fine wares to sell!”

Snow-white peeped out of the window and cried,

“Good-day, good woman, what have you to sell?”

“Good wares, fine wares,” answered she, “laces of all colours;” and she held up a piece that was woven of variegated silk.

“I need not be afraid of letting in this good woman,” thought Snow-white, and she unbarred the door and bought the pretty lace.

“What a figure you are, child!” said the old woman, “come and let me lace you properly for once.”

Snow-white, suspecting nothing, stood up before her, and let her lace her with the new lace; but the old woman laced so quick and tight that it took Snow-white’s breath away, and she fell down as dead.

“Now you have done with being the fairest,” said the old woman as she hastened away.

Not long after that, towards evening, the seven dwarfs came home, and were terrified to see their dear Snow-white lying on the ground, without life or motion; they raised her up, and when they saw how tightly she was laced they cut the lace in two; then she began to draw breath, and little by little she returned to life. When the dwarfs heard what had happened they said,

“The old pedlar woman was no other than the wicked queen; you must beware of letting any one in when we are not here!”

And when the wicked woman got home she went to her glass and said,

“Looking-glass against the wall,
Who is fairest of us all?”

And it answered as before,

“Queen, thou art of beauty rare,
But Snow-white living in the glen
With the seven little men
Is a thousand times more fair.”

When she heard that she was so struck with surprise that all the blood left her heart, for she knew that Snow-white must still be living.

“But now,” said she, “I will think of something that will be her ruin.” And by witchcraft she made a poisoned comb. Then she dressed herself up to look like another different sort of old woman. So she went across the seven mountains and came to the house of the seven dwarfs, and knocked at the door and cried,

“Good wares to sell! good wares to sell!”

Snow-white looked out and said,

“Go away, I must not let anybody in.”

“But you are not forbidden to look,” said the old woman, taking out the poisoned comb and holding it up. It pleased the poor child so much that she was tempted to open the door; and when the bargain was made the old woman said,

“Now, for once your hair shall be properly combed.”

Poor Snow-white, thinking no harm, let the old woman do as she would, but no sooner was the comb put in her hair than the poison began to work, and the poor girl fell down senseless.

“Now, you paragon of beauty,” said the wicked woman, “this is the end of you,” and went off. By good luck it was now near evening, and the seven little dwarfs came home. When they saw Snow-white lying on the ground as dead, they thought directly that it was the step-mother’s doing, and looked about, found the poisoned comb, and no sooner had they drawn it out of her hair than Snow-white came to herself, and related all that had passed. Then they warned her once more to be on her guard, and never again to let any one in at the door.

And the queen went home and stood before the looking-glass and said,

“Looking-glass against the wall,
Who is fairest of us all?”

And the looking-glass answered as before,

“Queen, thou art of beauty rare,
But Snow-white living in the glen
With the seven little men
Is a thousand times more fair.”

When she heard the looking-glass speak thus she trembled and shook with anger.

“Snow-white shall die,” cried she, “though it should cost me my own life!” And then she went to a secret lonely chamber, where no one was likely to come, and there she made a poisonous apple. It was beautiful to look upon, being white with red cheeks, so that any one who should see it must long for it, but whoever ate even a little bit of it must die. When the apple was ready she painted her face and clothed herself like a peasant woman, and went across the seven mountains to where the seven dwarfs lived. And when she knocked at the door Snow-white put her head out of the window and said,

“I dare not let anybody in; the seven dwarfs told me not.”

“All right,” answered the woman; “I can easily get rid of my apples elsewhere. There, I will give you one.”

“No,” answered Snow-white, “I dare not take anything.”

“Are you afraid of poison?” said the woman, “look here, I will cut the apple in two pieces; you shall have the red side, I will have the white one.”

For the apple was so cunningly made, that all the poison was in the rosy half of it. Snow-white longed for the beautiful apple, and as she saw the peasant woman eating a piece of it she could no longer refrain, but stretched out her hand and took the poisoned half. But no sooner had she taken a morsel of it into her mouth than she fell to the earth as dead. And the queen, casting on her a terrible glance, laughed aloud and cried,

“As white as snow, as red as blood, as black as ebony! this time the dwarfs will not be able to bring you to life again.”

And when she went home and asked the looking-glass,

“Looking-glass against the wall,
Who is fairest of us all?”

at last it answered,

“You are the fairest now of all.”

Then her envious heart had peace, as much as an envious heart can have.

The dwarfs, when they came home in the evening, found Snow-white lying on the ground, and there came no breath out of her mouth, and she was dead. They lifted her up, sought if anything poisonous was to be found, cut her laces, combed her hair, washed her with water and wine, but all was of no avail, the poor child was dead, and remained dead. Then they laid her on a bier, and sat all seven of them round it, and wept and lamented three whole days. And then they would have buried her, but that she looked still as if she were living, with her beautiful blooming cheeks. So they said,

“We cannot hide her away in the black ground.” And they had made a coffin of clear glass, so as to be looked into from all sides, and they laid her in it, and wrote in golden letters upon it her name, and that she was a king’s daughter. Then they set the coffin out upon the mountain, and one of them always remained by it to watch. And the birds came too, and mourned for Snow-white, first an owl, then a raven, and lastly, a dove.

Now, for a long while Snow-white lay in the coffin and never changed, but looked as if she were asleep, for she was still as white as snow, as red as blood, and her hair was as black as ebony. It happened, however, that one day a king’s son rode through the wood and up to the dwarfs’ house, which was near it. He saw on the mountain the coffin, and beautiful Snow-white within it, and he read what was written in golden letters upon it. Then he said to the dwarfs,

“Let me have the coffin, and I will give you whatever you like to ask for it.”

But the dwarfs told him that they could not part with it for all the gold in the world. But he said,

“I beseech you to give it me, for I cannot live without looking upon Snow-white; if you consent I will bring you to great honour, and care for you as if you were my brethren.”

When he so spoke the good little dwarfs had pity upon him and gave him the coffin, and the king’s son called his servants and bid them carry it away on their shoulders. Now it happened that as they were going along they stumbled over a bush, and with the shaking the bit of poisoned apple flew out of her throat. It was not long before she opened her eyes, threw up the cover of the coffin, and sat up, alive and well.

“Oh dear! where am I?” cried she. The king’s son answered, full of joy, “You are near me,” and, relating all that had happened, he said,

“I would rather have you than anything in the world; come with me to my father’s castle and you shall be my bride.”

And Snow-white was kind, and went with him, and their wedding was held with pomp and great splendour.

But Snow-white’s wicked step-mother was also bidden to the feast, and when she had dressed herself in beautiful clothes she went to her looking-glass and said,

“Looking-glass against the wall,
Who is fairest of us all?”

The looking-glass answered,

“O Queen, although you are of beauty rare,
The young bride is a thousand times more fair.”

Then she railed and cursed, and was beside herself with disappointment and anger. First she thought she would not go to the wedding; but then she felt she should have no peace until she went and saw the bride. And when she saw her she knew her for Snow-white, and could not stir from the place for anger and terror. For they had ready red-hot iron shoes, in which she had to dance until she fell down dead.

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MR KORBES

MR KORBES

Brothers Grimm

illus-200A cock and a hen once wanted to go a journey together. So the cock built a beautiful carriage with four red wheels, and he harnessed four little mice to it. And the cock and the hen got into it, and were driven off. Very soon they met a cat, who asked where they were going. The cock answered,

“On Mr. Korbes a call to pay,
And that is where we go to-day!”

“Take me with you,” said the cat.

The cock answered,

“Very well, only you must sit well back, and then you will not fall forward.”

“And pray take care
Of my red wheels there;
And wheels be steady,
And mice be ready
On Mr. Korbes a call to pay,
For that is where we go to-day!”

Then there came up a millstone, then an egg, then a duck, then a pin, and lastly a needle, who all got up on the carriage, and were driven along. But when they came to Mr. Korbes’s house he was not at home. So the mice drew the carriage into the barn, the cock and the hen flew up and perched on a beam, the cat sat by the fireside, the duck settled on the water; but the egg wrapped itself in the towel, the pin stuck itself in the chair cushion, the needle jumped into the bed among the pillows, and the millstone laid itself by the door. Then Mr. Korbes came home, and went to the hearth to make a fire, but the cat threw ashes in his eyes. Then he ran quickly into the kitchen to wash himself, but the duck splashed water in his face. Then he was going to wipe it with the towel, but the egg broke in it, and stuck his eyelids together. In order to get a little peace he sat down in his chair, but the pin ran into him, and, starting up, in his vexation he threw himself on the bed, but as his head fell on the pillow, in went the needle, so that he called out with the pain, and madly rushed out. But when he reached the housedoor the mill-stone jumped up and struck him dead.

What a bad man Mr. Korbes must have been!

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LITTLE RED CAP

LITTLE RED CAP

Brothers Grimm

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There was once a sweet little maid, much beloved by everybody, but most of all by her grandmother, who never knew how to make enough of her. Once she sent her a little cap of red velvet, and as it was very becoming to her, and she never wore anything else, people called her Little Red-cap. One day her mother said to her,

“Come, Little Red-cap, here are some cakes and a flask of wine for you to take to grandmother; she is weak and ill, and they will do her good. Make haste and start before it grows hot, and walk properly and nicely, and don’t run, or you might fall and break the flask of wine, and there would be none left for grandmother. And when you go into her room, don’t forget to say, Good morning, instead of staring about you.”

“I will be sure to take care,” said Little Red-cap to her mother, and gave her hand upon it. Now the grandmother lived away in the wood, half-an-hour’s walk from the village; and when Little Red-cap had reached the wood, she met the wolf; but as she did not know what a bad sort of animal he was, she did not feel frightened.

“Good day, Little Red-cap,” said he.

“Thank you kindly, Wolf,” answered she.

“Where are you going so early, Little Red-cap?”

“To my grandmother’s.”

“What are you carrying under your apron?”

“Cakes and wine; we baked yesterday; and my grandmother is very weak and ill, so they will do her good, and strengthen her.”

“Where does your grandmother live, Little Red-cap?”

“A quarter of an hour’s walk from here; her house stands beneath the three oak trees, and you may know it by the hazel bushes,” said Little Red-cap. The wolf thought to himself,

“That tender young thing would be a delicious morsel, and would taste better than the old one; I must manage somehow to get both of them.”

Then he walked by Little Red-cap a little while, and said,

“Little Red-cap, just look at the pretty flowers that are growing all round you, and I don’t think you are listening to the song of the birds; you are posting along just as if you were going to school, and it is so delightful out here in the wood.”

Little Red-cap glanced round her, and when she saw the sunbeams darting here and there through the trees, and lovely flowers everywhere, she thought to herself,

“If I were to take a fresh nosegay to my grandmother she would be very pleased, and it is so early in the day that I shall reach her in plenty of time;” and so she ran about in the wood, looking for flowers. And as she picked one she saw a still prettier one a little farther off, and so she went farther and farther into the wood. But the wolf went straight to the grandmother’s house and knocked at the door.

“Who is there?” cried the grandmother.

“Little Red-cap,” he answered, “and I have brought you some cake and wine. Please open the door.”

“Lift the latch,” cried the grandmother; “I am too feeble to get up.”

So the wolf lifted the latch, and the door flew open, and he fell on the grandmother and ate her up without saying one word. Then he drew on her clothes, put on her cap, lay down in her bed, and drew the curtains.

Little Red-cap was all this time running about among the flowers, and when she had gathered as many as she could hold, she remembered her grandmother, and set off to go to her. She was surprised to find the door standing open, and when she came inside she felt very strange, and thought to herself,

“Oh dear, how uncomfortable I feel, and I was so glad this morning to go to my grandmother!”

And when she said, “Good morning,” there was no answer. Then she went up to the bed and drew back the curtains; there lay the grandmother with her cap pulled over her eyes, so that she looked very odd.

“O grandmother, what large ears you have got!”

“The better to hear with.”

“O grandmother, what great eyes you have got!”

“The better to see with.”

“O grandmother, what large hands you have got!”

“The better to take hold of you with.”

“But, grandmother, what a terrible large mouth you have got!”

“The better to devour you!” And no sooner had the wolf said it than he made one bound from the bed, and swallowed up poor Little Red-cap.

Then the wolf, having satisfied his hunger, lay down again in the bed, went to sleep, and began to snore loudly. The huntsman heard him as he was passing by the house, and thought,

“How the old woman snores—I had better see if there is anything the matter with her.”

Then he went into the room, and walked up to the bed, and saw the wolf lying there.

“At last I find you, you old sinner!” said he; “I have been looking for you a long time.” And he made up his mind that the wolf had swallowed the grandmother whole, and that she might yet be saved. So he did not fire, but took a pair of shears and began to slit up the wolf’s body. When he made a few snips Little Red-cap appeared, and after a few more snips she jumped out and cried, “Oh dear, how frightened I have been! it is so dark inside the wolf.” And then out came the old grandmother, still living and breathing. But Little Red-cap went and quickly fetched some large stones, with which she filled the wolf’s body, so that when he waked up, and was going to rush away, the stones were so heavy that he sank down and fell dead.

They were all three very pleased. The huntsman took off the wolf’s skin, and carried it home. The grandmother ate the cakes, and drank the wine, and held up her head again, and Little Red-cap said to herself that she would never more stray about in the wood alone, but would mind what her mother told her.

It must also be related how a few days afterwards, when Little Red-cap was again taking cakes to her grandmother, another wolf spoke to her, and wanted to tempt her to leave the path; but she was on her guard, and went straight on her way, and told her grandmother how that the wolf had met her, and wished her good-day, but had looked so wicked about the eyes that she thought if it had not been on the high road he would have devoured her.

“Come,” said the grandmother, “we will shut the door, so that he may not get in.”

Soon after came the wolf knocking at the door, and calling out, “Open the door, grandmother, I am Little Red-cap, bringing you cakes.” But they remained still, and did not open the door. After that the wolf slunk by the house, and got at last upon thereof to wait until Little Red-cap should return home in the evening; then he meant to spring down upon her, and devour her in the darkness. But the grandmother discovered his plot. Now there stood before the house a great stone trough, and the grandmother said to the child, “Little Red-cap, I was boiling sausages yesterday, so take the bucket, and carry away the water they were boiled in, and pour it into the trough.”

And Little Red-cap did so until the great trough was quite full. When the smell of the sausages reached the nose of the wolf he snuffed it up, and looked round, and stretched out his neck so far that he lost his balance and began to slip, and he slipped down off the roof straight into the great trough, and was drowned. Then Little Red-cap went cheerfully home, and came to no harm.

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KING THRUSHBEARD

KING THRUSHBEARD

Brothers Grimm

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A king had a daughter who was beautiful beyond measure, but so proud and overbearing that none of her suitors were good enough for her; she not only refused one after the other, but made a laughing-stock of them. Once the king appointed a great feast, and bade all the marriageable men to it from far and near. And they were all put in rows, according to their rank and station; first came the kings, then the princes, the dukes, the earls, the barons, and lastly the noblemen. The princess was led in front of the rows, but she had a mocking epithet for each. One was too fat, “What a tub!” said she. Another too tall, “Long and lean is ill to be seen,” said she. A third too short, “Fat and short, not fit to court,” said she. A fourth was too pale, “A regular death’s-head;” a fifth too red-faced, “A game-cock,” she called him. The sixth was not well-made enough, “Green wood ill dried!” cried she. So every one had something against him, and she made especially merry over a good king who was very tall, and whose chin had grown a little peaked.

“Only look,” cried she, laughing, “he has a chin like a thrush’s beak.”

And from that time they called him King Thrushbeard. But the old king, when he saw that his daughter mocked every one, and scorned all the assembled suitors, swore in his anger that she should have the first beggar that came to the door for a husband.

A few days afterwards came a travelling ballad-singer, and sang under the window in hopes of a small alms. When the king heard of it, he said that he must come in. And so the ballad-singer entered in his dirty tattered garments, and sang before the king and his daughter; when he had done, he asked for a small reward. But the king said,

“Thy song has so well pleased me, that I will give thee my daughter to wife.”

The princess was horrified; but the king said,

“I took an oath to give you to the first beggar that came, and so it must be done.”

There was no remedy. The priest was fetched, and she had to be married to the ballad-singer out of hand. When all was done, the king said,

“Now, as you are a beggar-wife, you can stay no longer in my castle, so off with you and your husband.”

The beggar-man led her away, and she was obliged to go forth with him on foot. On the way they came to a great wood, and she asked,
“Oh, whose is this forest, so thick and so fine?”

He answered,
“It is King Thrushbeard’s, and might have been thine.”

And she cried,
“Oh, I was a silly young thing, I’m afeared, Would I had taken that good King Thrushbeard!”

Then they passed through a meadow, and she asked,
“Oh, whose is this meadow, so green and so fine?”

He answered,
“It is King Thrushbeard’s, and might have been thine.”

And she cried,
“I was a silly young thing, I’m afeared, Would I had taken that good King Thrushbeard!”

Then they passed through a great town, and she asked,
“Whose is this city, so great and so fine?”

He answered,
“Oh, it is King Thrushbeard’s, and might have been thine.”

And she cried,
“I was a silly young thing, I’m afeared, Would I had taken that good King Thrushbeard!”

Then said the beggar-man,

“It does not please me to hear you always wishing for another husband; am I not good enough for you?”

At last they came to a very small house, and she said,
“Oh dear me! what poor little house do I see? And whose, I would know, may the wretched hole be?”

The man answered,

“That is my house and thine, where we must live together.”

She had to stoop before she could go in at the door.

“Where are the servants?” asked the king’s daughter.

“What servants?” answered the beggar-man, “what you want to have done you must do yourself. Make a fire quick, and put on water, and cook me some food; I am very tired.”

But the king’s daughter understood nothing about fire-making and cooking, and the beggar-man had to lend a hand himself in order to manage it at all. And when they had eaten their poor fare, they went to bed; but the man called up his wife very early in the morning, in order to clean the house. For a few days they lived in this indifferent manner, until they came to the end of their store.

“Wife,” said the man, “this will not do, stopping here and earning nothing; you must make baskets.”

So he went out and cut willows, and brought them home; and she began to weave them, but the hard twigs wounded her tender hands.

“I see this will not do,” said the man, “you had better try spinning.”

So she sat her down and tried to spin, but the harsh thread cut her soft fingers, so that the blood flowed.

“Look now!” said the man, “you are no good at any sort of work; I made a bad bargain when I took you. I must see what I can do to make a trade of pots and earthen vessels; you can sit in the market and offer them for sale.”

“Oh dear!” thought she, “suppose while I am selling in the market people belonging to my father’s kingdom should see me, how they would mock at me!”

But there was no help for it; she had to submit, or else die of hunger.

The first day all went well; the people bought her wares eagerly, because she was so beautiful, and gave her whatever she asked, and some of them gave her the money and left the pots after all behind them. And they lived on these earnings as long as they lasted; and then the man bought a number of new pots. So she seated herself in a corner of the market, and stood the wares before her for sale. All at once a drunken horse-soldier came plunging by, and rode straight into the midst of her pots, breaking them into a thousand pieces. She could do nothing for weeping.

“Oh dear, what will become of me,” cried she; “what will my husband say?” and she hastened home and told him her misfortune.

“Who ever heard of such a thing as sitting in the corner of the market with earthenware pots!” said the man; “now leave off crying; I see you are not fit for any regular work. I have been asking at your father’s castle if they want a kitchen-maid, and they say they don’t mind taking you; at any rate you will get your victuals free.”

And the king’s daughter became a kitchen-maid, to be at the cook’s beck and call, and to do the hardest work. In each of her pockets she fastened a little pot, and brought home in them whatever was left, and upon that she and her husband were fed. It happened one day, when the wedding of the eldest prince was celebrated, the poor woman went upstairs, and stood by the parlour door to see what was going on. And when the place was lighted up, and the company arrived, each person handsomer than the one before, and all was brilliancy and splendour, she thought on her own fate with a sad heart, and bewailed her former pride and haughtiness which had brought her so low, and plunged her in so great poverty. And as the rich and delicate dishes smelling so good were carried to and fro every now and then, the servants would throw her a few fragments, which she put in her pockets, intending to take home. And then the prince himself passed in clothed in silk and velvet, with a gold chain round his neck. And when he saw the beautiful woman standing in the doorway, he seized her hand and urged her to dance with him, but she refused, all trembling, for she saw it was King Thrushbeard, who had come to court her, whom she had turned away with mocking. It was of no use her resisting, he drew her into the room; and all at once the band to which her pockets were fastened broke, and the pots fell out, and the soup ran about, and the fragments were scattered all round. And when the people saw that, there was great laughter and mocking, and she felt so ashamed, that she wished herself a thousand fathoms underground. She rushed to the door to fly from the place, when a man caught her just on the steps, and when she looked at him, it was King Thrushbeard again. He said to her in a kind tone,

“Do not be afraid, I and the beggar-man with whom you lived in the wretched little hut are one. For love of you I disguised myself, and it was I who broke your pots in the guise of a horse-soldier. I did all that to bring down your proud heart, and to punish your haughtiness, which caused you to mock at me.” Then she wept bitterly, and said,

“I have done great wrong, and am not worthy to be your wife.”

But he said,

“Take courage, the evil days are gone over; now let us keep our wedding-day.”

Then came the ladies-in-waiting and put on her splendid clothing; and her father came, and the whole court, and wished her joy on her marriage with King Thrushbeard; and then the merry-making began in good earnest. I cannot help wishing that you and I could have been there too.

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HOW MRS FOX MARRIED AGAIN

HOW MRS FOX MARRIED AGAIN

Brothers Grimm

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There was once an old fox with nine tails, who wished to put his wife’s affection to proof, pretended to be dead, and stretched himself under the bench quite stiff, and never moved a joint, on which Mrs. Fox retired to her room and locked herself in, while her maid, the cat, stayed by the kitchen fire and attended to the cooking.

When it became known that the old fox was dead, some suitors prepared to come forward, and presently the maid heard some one knocking at the house door; she went and opened it, and there was a young fox, who said,
“What is she doing, Miss Cat? Is she sleeping, or waking, or what is she at?”

And the cat answered,
“I am not asleep, I am quite wide awake, Perhaps you would know what I’m going to make; I’m melting some butter, and warming some beer, Will it please you sit down, and partake of my cheer?”

“Thank you, miss,” said the fox. “What is Mrs. Fox doing?”

The maid answered,
“She is sitting upstairs in her grief, And her eyes with her weeping are sore; From her sorrow she gets no relief, Now poor old Mr. Fox is no more!”

“But just tell her, miss, that a young fox has come to woo her.”

“Very well, young master,” answered the cat.

Up went the cat pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat.

She knocks at the door, rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat!
“Mrs. Fox, are you there?” “Yes, yes, pussy dear!” “There’s a suitor below, Shall I tell him to go?”

“But what is he like?” asked Mrs. Fox. “Has he nine beautiful tails, like dear Mr. Fox?”

“Oh no,” answered the cat; “he has only one.”

“Then I won’t have him,” said Mrs. Fox.

So the cat went down-stairs, and sent the suitor away. Soon there was another knock at the door. It was another fox come to woo. He had two tails, but he met with no better success than the first. Then there arrived more foxes, one after another, each with one more tail than the last, but they were all dismissed, until there came one with nine tails like old Mr. Fox. When the widow heard that she cried, full of joy, to the cat,
“Now, open door and window wide, And turn old Mr. Fox outside.”

But before they could do so, up jumped old Mr. Fox from under the bench, and cudgelled the whole pack, driving them, with Mrs. Fox, out of the house.
SECOND VERSION.
W

When old Mr. Fox died there came a wolf to woo, and he knocked at the door, and the cat opened to him; and he made her a bow, and said,
“Good day, Miss Cat, so brisk and gay, How is it that alone you stay? And what is it you cook to-day?”

The cat answered,
“Bread so white, and milk so sweet, Will it please you sit and eat?”

“Thank you very much, Miss Cat,” answered the wolf; “but is Mrs. Fox at home?”

Then the cat said,
“She is sitting upstairs in her grief, And her eyes with her weeping are sore, From her sorrow she gets no relief, Now poor old Mr. Fox is no more!”

The wolf answered,
“Won’t she take another spouse, To protect her and her house?”

Up went the cat, pit-a-pat, pit-a-pat.

She knocks at the door, rat-a-tat, rat-a-tat!
“Mrs. Fox, are you there?” “Yes, yes, pussy dear!” “There’s a suitor below, Shall I tell him to go?”

But Mrs. Fox asked, “Has the gentleman red breeches and a sharp nose?”

“No,” answered the cat.

“Then I won’t have him,” said Mrs. Fox.

After the wolf was sent away, there came a dog, a stag, a hare, a bear, a lion, and several other wild animals. But they all of them lacked the good endowments possessed by the late Mr. Fox, so that the cat had to send them all away. At last came a young fox. And Mrs. Fox inquired whether he had red breeches and a sharp nose.

“Yes, he has,” said the cat.

“Then I will have him,” said Mrs. Fox, and bade the cat make ready the wedding-feast.
“Now, cat, sweep the parlours and bustle about, And open the window, turn Mr. Fox out; Then, if you’ve a fancy for anything nice, Just manage to catch for yourself a few mice, You may eat them alone, I do not want one.”

So she was married to young Master Fox with much dancing and rejoicing, and for anything I have heard to the contrary, they may be dancing still.

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PRUDENT HANS

PRUDENT HANS

Brothers Grimm

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One day, Hans’s mother said,

“Where are you going, Hans?”

Hans answered,

“To Grethel’s, mother.”

“Manage well, Hans.”

“All right! Good-bye, mother.”

“Good-bye, Hans.”

Then Hans came to Grethel’s.

“Good morning, Grethel.”

“Good morning, Hans. What have you brought me to-day?”

“I have brought nothing, but I want something.”

So Grethel gave Hans a needle; and then he said,

“Good-bye, Grethel,” and she said, “Good-bye, Hans.”

Hans carried the needle away with him, and stuck it in a hay-cart that was going along, and he followed it home.

“Good evening, mother.”

“Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?”

“To Grethel’s, mother.”

“What did you take her?”

“I took nothing, but I brought away something.”

“What did Grethel give you?”

“A needle, mother.”

“What did you do with it, Hans?”

“Stuck it in the hay-cart.”

“That was very stupid of you, Hans. You should have stuck it in your sleeve.”

“All right, mother! I’ll do better next time.”

When next time came, Hans’s mother said,

“Where are you going, Hans?”

“To Grethel’s, mother.”

“Manage well, Hans.”

“All right! Good-bye, mother.”

“Good-bye, Hans.”

Then Hans came to Grethel.

“Good morning, Grethel.”

“Good morning, Hans. What have you brought me to-day?”

“I’ve brought nothing, but I want something.”

So Grethel gave Hans a knife, and then he said, “Good-bye, Grethel,” and she said, “Good-bye, Hans.”

Hans took the knife away with him, and stuck it in his sleeve, and went home.

“Good evening, mother.”

“Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?”

“To Grethel’s.”

“What did you take her?”

“I took nothing, but I brought away something.”

“What did Grethel give you, Hans?”

“A knife, mother.”

“What did you do with it, Hans?”

“Stuck it in my sleeve, mother.”

“That was very stupid of you, Hans. You should have put it in your pocket.”

“All right, mother! I’ll do better next time.”

When next time came, Hans’s mother said,

“Where to, Hans?”

“To Grethel’s, mother.”

“Manage well, Hans.”

“All right! Good-bye, mother.”

“Good-bye, Hans.”

So Hans came to Grethel’s. “Good morning, Grethel.”

“Good morning, Hans. What have you brought me to-day?”

“I’ve brought nothing, but I want to take away something.”

So Grethel gave Hans a young goat; then he said,

“Good-bye, Grethel,” and she said, “Good-bye, Hans.”

So Hans carried off the goat, and tied its legs together, and put it in his pocket, and by the time he got home it was suffocated.

“Good evening, mother.”

“Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?”

“To Grethel’s, mother.”

“What did you take her, Hans?”

“I took nothing, but I brought away something.”

“What did Grethel give you, Hans?”

“A goat, mother.”

“What did you do with it, Hans?”

“Put it in my pocket, mother.”

“That was very stupid of you, Hans. You should have tied a cord round its neck, and led it home.”

“All right, mother! I’ll do better next time.”

Then when next time came,

“Where to, Hans?”

“To Grethel’s, mother.”

“Manage well, Hans.”

“All right! Good-bye, mother.”

“Good-bye, Hans.”

Then Hans came to Grethel’s.

“Good morning, Grethel.”

“Good morning, Hans. What have you brought me to-day?”

“I’ve brought nothing, but I want to take away something.”

So Grethel gave Hans a piece of bacon. Then he said, “Good-bye, Grethel.”

She said, “Good-bye, Hans.”

Hans took the bacon, and tied a string round it, and dragged it after him on his way home, and the dogs came and ate it up, so that when he got home he had the string in his hand, and nothing at the other end of it.

“Good evening, mother.”

“Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?”

“To Grethel’s, mother.”

“What did you take her, Hans?”

“I took her nothing, but I brought away something.”

“What did Grethel give you, Hans?”

“A piece of bacon, mother.”

“What did you do with it, Hans?”

“I tied a piece of string to it, and led it home, but the dogs ate it, mother.”

“That was very stupid of you, Hans. You ought to have carried it on your head.”

“All right! I’ll do better next time, mother.”

When next time came,

“Where to, Hans?”

“To Grethel’s, mother.”

“Manage well, Hans.”

“All right! Good-bye, mother.”

“Good-bye, Hans.”

Then Hans came to Grethel’s.

“Good morning, Grethel.”

“Good morning, Hans. What have you brought me?”

“I have brought nothing, but I want to take away something.”

So Grethel gave Hans a calf.

“Good-bye, Grethel.”

“Good-bye, Hans.”

Hans took the calf, and set it on his head, and carried it home, and the calf scratched his face.

“Good evening, mother.”

“Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?”

“To Grethel’s, mother.”

“What did you take her?”

“I took nothing, but I brought away something.”

“What did Grethel give you, Hans?”

“A calf, mother.”

“What did you do with the calf, Hans?”

“I carried it home on my head, but it scratched my face.”

“That was very stupid of you, Hans. You ought to have led home the calf, and tied it to the manger.”

“All right! I’ll do better next time, mother.”

When next time came,

“Where to, Hans?”

“To Grethel’s, mother.”

“Manage well, Hans.”

“All right, mother! Good-bye.”

“Good-bye, Hans.”

Then Hans came to Grethel’s.

“Good morning, Grethel.”

“Good morning, Hans. What have you brought me to-day?”

“I have brought nothing, but I want to take away something.”

Then Grethel said to Hans,

“You shall take away me.”

Then Hans took Grethel, and tied a rope round her neck, and led her home, and fastened her up to the manger, and went to his mother.

“Good evening, mother.”

“Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?”

“To Grethel’s, mother.”

“What did you take her, Hans?”

“Nothing, mother.”

“What did Grethel give you, Hans?”

“Nothing but herself, mother.”

“Where have you left Grethel, Hans?”

“I led her home with a rope, and tied her up to the manger to eat hay, mother.”

“That was very stupid of you, Hans. You should have cast sheep’s eyes at her.”

“All right, mother! I’ll do better next time.”

Then Hans went into the stable, and taking all the eyes out of the sheep, he threw them in Grethel’s face. Then Grethel was angry, and getting loose, she ran away and became the bride of another.

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