When People told themselves their past with stories,
explained their present with stories,
foretold the future with stories,
the best place by the fire was kept for ...

~Chinese Nightingale

In China, you know, the emperor is a Chinese, and all those about him are Chinamen also. The story I am going to tell you happened a great many years ago, so it is well to hear it now before it is forgotten. The emperor’s palace was the most beautiful in the world. It was built entirely of porcelain, and very costly, but so delicate and brittle that whoever touched it was obliged to be careful. In the garden could be seen the most singular flowers, with pretty silver bells tied to them, which tinkled so that every one who passed could not help noticing the flowers. Indeed, everything in the emperor’s garden was remarkable, and it extended so far that the gardener himself did not know where it ended. Those who travelled beyond its limits knew that there was a noble forest, with lofty trees, sloping down to the deep blue sea, and the great ships sailed under the shadow of its branches. In one of these trees lived a nightingale, who sang so beautifully that even the poor fishermen, who had so many other things to do, would stop and listen. Sometimes, when they went at night to spread their nets, they would hear her sing, and say, “Oh, is not that beautiful?” But when they returned to their fishing, they forgot the bird until the next night. Then they would hear it again, and exclaim “Oh, how beautiful is the nightingale’s song!”


Travellers from every country in the world came to the city of the emperor, which they admired very much, as well as the palace and gardens; but when they heard the nightingale, they all declared it to be the best of all. And the travellers, on their return home, related what they had seen; and learned men wrote books, containing descriptions of the town, the palace, and the gardens; but they did not forget the nightingale, which was really the greatest wonder. And those who could write poetry composed beautiful verses about the nightingale, who lived in a forest near the deep sea. The books travelled all over the world, and some of them came into the hands of the emperor; and he sat in his golden chair, and, as he read, he nodded his approval every moment, for it pleased him to find such a beautiful description of his city, his palace, and his gardens. But when he came to the words, “the nightingale is the most beautiful of all,” he exclaimed, “What is this? I know nothing of any nightingale. Is there such a bird in my empire? and even in my garden? I have never heard of it. Something, it appears, may be learnt from books.”

Then he called one of his lords-in-waiting, who was so high-bred, that when any in an inferior rank to himself spoke to him, or asked him a question, he would answer, “Pooh,” which means nothing.

“There is a very wonderful bird mentioned here, called a nightingale,” said the emperor; “they say it is the best thing in my large kingdom. Why have I not been told of it?”

“I have never heard the name,” replied the cavalier; “she has not been presented at court.”

“It is my pleasure that she shall appear this evening.” said the emperor; “the whole world knows what I possess better than I do myself.”

“I have never heard of her,” said the cavalier; “yet I will endeavor to find her.”

But where was the nightingale to be found? The nobleman went up stairs and down, through halls and passages; yet none of those whom he met had heard of the bird. So he returned to the emperor, and said that it must be a fable, invented by those who had written the book. “Your imperial majesty,” said he, “cannot believe everything contained in books; sometimes they are only fiction, or what is called the black art.”

“But the book in which I have read this account,” said the emperor, “was sent to me by the great and mighty emperor of Japan, and therefore it cannot contain a falsehood. I will hear the nightingale, she must be here this evening; she has my highest favor; and if she does not come, the whole court shall be trampled upon after supper is ended.”

“Tsing-pe!” cried the lord-in-waiting, and again he ran up and down stairs, through all the halls and corridors; and half the court ran with him, for they did not like the idea of being trampled upon. There was a great inquiry about this wonderful nightingale, whom all the world knew, but who was unknown to the court.

At last they met with a poor little girl in the kitchen, who said, “Oh, yes, I know the nightingale quite well; indeed, she can sing. Every evening I have permission to take home to my poor sick mother the scraps from the table; she lives down by the sea-shore, and as I come back I feel tired, and I sit down in the wood to rest, and listen to the nightingale’s song. Then the tears come into my eyes, and it is just as if my mother kissed me.”

“Little maiden,” said the lord-in-waiting, “I will obtain for you constant employment in the kitchen, and you shall have permission to see the emperor dine, if you will lead us to the nightingale; for she is invited for this evening to the palace.” So she went into the wood where the nightingale sang, and half the court followed her. As they went along, a cow began lowing.

“Oh,” said a young courtier, “now we have found her; what wonderful power for such a small creature; I have certainly heard it before.”

“No, that is only a cow lowing,” said the little girl; “we are a long way from the place yet.”

Then some frogs began to croak in the marsh.

“Beautiful,” said the young courtier again. “Now I hear it, tinkling like little church bells.”

“No, those are frogs,” said the little maiden; “but I think we shall soon hear her now:” and presently the nightingale began to sing.

“Hark, hark! there she is,” said the girl, “and there she sits,” she added, pointing to a little gray bird who was perched on a bough.

“Is it possible?” said the lord-in-waiting, “I never imagined it would be a little, plain, simple thing like that. She has certainly changed color at seeing so many grand people around her.”

“Little nightingale,” cried the girl, raising her voice, “our most gracious emperor wishes you to sing before him.”

“With the greatest pleasure,” said the nightingale, and began to sing most delightfully.

“It sounds like tiny glass bells,” said the lord-in-waiting, “and see how her little throat works. It is surprising that we have never heard this before; she will be a great success at court.”

“Shall I sing once more before the emperor?” asked the nightingale, who thought he was present.

“My excellent little nightingale,” said the courtier, “I have the great pleasure of inviting you to a court festival this evening, where you will gain imperial favor by your charming song.”

“My song sounds best in the green wood,” said the bird; but still she came willingly when she heard the emperor’s wish.

The palace was elegantly decorated for the occasion. The walls and floors of porcelain glittered in the light of a thousand lamps. Beautiful flowers, round which little bells were tied, stood in the corridors: what with the running to and fro and the draught, these bells tinkled so loudly that no one could speak to be heard. In the centre of the great hall, a golden perch had been fixed for the nightingale to sit on. The whole court was present, and the little kitchen-maid had received permission to stand by the door. She was not installed as a real court cook. All were in full dress, and every eye was turned to the little gray bird when the emperor nodded to her to begin. The nightingale sang so sweetly that the tears came into the emperor’s eyes, and then rolled down his cheeks, as her song became still more touching and went to every one’s heart. The emperor was so delighted that he declared the nightingale should have his gold slipper to wear round her neck, but she declined the honor with thanks: she had been sufficiently rewarded already. “I have seen tears in an emperor’s eyes,” she said, “that is my richest reward. An emperor’s tears have wonderful power, and are quite sufficient honor for me;” and then she sang again more enchantingly than ever.

“That singing is a lovely gift;” said the ladies of the court to each other; and then they took water in their mouths to make them utter the gurgling sounds of the nightingale when they spoke to any one, so thay they might fancy themselves nightingales. And the footmen and chambermaids also expressed their satisfaction, which is saying a great deal, for they are very difficult to please. In fact the nightingale’s visit was most successful. She was now to remain at court, to have her own cage, with liberty to go out twice a day, and once during the night. Twelve servants were appointed to attend her on these occasions, who each held her by a silken string fastened to her leg. There was certainly not much pleasure in this kind of flying.

The whole city spoke of the wonderful bird, and when two people met, one said “nightin,” and the other said “gale,” and they understood what was meant, for nothing else was talked of. Eleven peddlers’ children were named after her, but not of them could sing a note.

One day the emperor received a large packet on which was written “The Nightingale.” “Here is no doubt a new book about our celebrated bird,” said the emperor. But instead of a book, it was a work of art contained in a casket, an artificial nightingale made to look like a living one, and covered all over with diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. As soon as the artificial bird was wound up, it could sing like the real one, and could move its tail up and down, which sparkled with silver and gold. Round its neck hung a piece of ribbon, on which was written “The Emperor of Japan’s nightingale is poor compared with that of the Emperor of China’s.”1

“This is very beautiful,” exclaimed all who saw it, and he who had brought the artificial bird received the title of “Imperial nightingale-bringer-in-chief.”

“Now they must sing together,” said the court, “and what a duet it will be.” But they did not get on well, for the real nightingale sang in its own natural way, but the artificial bird sang only waltzes.

“That is not a fault,” said the music-master, “it is quite perfect to my taste,” so then it had to sing alone, and was as successful as the real bird; besides, it was so much prettier to look at, for it sparkled like bracelets and breast-pins. Three and thirty times did it sing the same tunes without being tired; the people would gladly have heard it again, but the emperor said the living nightingale ought to sing something. But where was she? No one had noticed her when she flew out at the open window, back to her own green woods.

“What strange conduct,” said the emperor, when her flight had been discovered; and all the courtiers blamed her, and said she was a very ungrateful creature.

“But we have the best bird after all,” said one, and then they would have the bird sing again, although it was the thirty-fourth time they had listened to the same piece, and even then they had not learnt it, for it was rather difficult. But the music-master praised the bird in the highest degree, and even asserted that it was better than a real nightingale, not only in its dress and the beautiful diamonds, but also in its musical power. “For you must perceive, my chief lord and emperor, that with a real nightingale we can never tell what is going to be sung, but with this bird everything is settled. It can be opened and explained, so that people may understand how the waltzes are formed, and why one note follows upon another.”

“This is exactly what we think,” they all replied, and then the music-master received permission to exhibit the bird to the people on the following Sunday, and the emperor commanded that they should be present to hear it sing. When they heard it they were like people intoxicated; however it must have been with drinking tea, which is quite a Chinese custom. They all said “Oh!” and held up their forefingers and nodded, but a poor fisherman, who had heard the real nightingale, said, “it sounds prettily enough, and the melodies are all alike; yet there seems something wanting, I cannot exactly tell what.”

And after this the real nightingale was banished from the empire, and the artificial bird placed on a silk cushion close to the emperor’s bed. The presents of gold and precious stones which had been received with it were round the bird, and it was now advanced to the title of “Little Imperial Toilet Singer,” and to the rank of No. 1 on the left hand; for the emperor considered the left side, on which the heart lies, as the most noble, and the heart of an emperor is in the same place as that of other people.

The music-master wrote a work, in twenty-five volumes, about the artificial bird, which was very learned and very long, and full of the most difficult Chinese words; yet all the people said they had read it, and understood it, for fear of being thought stupid and having their bodies trampled upon.

So a year passed, and the emperor, the court, and all the other Chinese knew every little turn in the artificial bird’s song; and for that same reason it pleased them better. They could sing with the bird, which they often did. The street-boys sang, “Zi-zi-zi, cluck, cluck, cluck,” and the emperor himself could sing it also. It was really most amusing.

One evening, when the artificial bird was singing its best, and the emperor lay in bed listening to it, something inside the bird sounded “whizz.” Then a spring cracked. “Whir-r-r-r” went all the wheels, running round, and then the music stopped. The emperor immediately sprang out of bed, and called for his physician; but what could he do? Then they sent for a watchmaker; and, after a great deal of talking and examination, the bird was put into something like order; but he said that it must be used very carefully, as the barrels were worn, and it would be impossible to put in new ones without injuring the music. Now there was great sorrow, as the bird could only be allowed to play once a year; and even that was dangerous for the works inside it. Then the music-master made a little speech, full of hard words, and declared that the bird was as good as ever; and, of course no one contradicted him.

Five years passed, and then a real grief came upon the land. The Chinese really were fond of their emperor, and he now lay so ill that he was not expected to live. Already a new emperor had been chosen and the people who stood in the street asked the lord-in-waiting how the old emperor was; but he only said, “Pooh!” and shook his head.

Cold and pale lay the emperor in his royal bed; the whole court thought he was dead, and every one ran away to pay homage to his successor. The chamberlains went out to have a talk on the matter, and the ladies’-maids invited company to take coffee. Cloth had been laid down on the halls and passages, so that not a footstep should be heard, and all was silent and still. But the emperor was not yet dead, although he lay white and stiff on his gorgeous bed, with the long velvet curtains and heavy gold tassels. A window stood open, and the moon shone in upon the emperor and the artificial bird. The poor emperor, finding he could scarcely breathe with a strange weight on his chest, opened his eyes, and saw Death sitting there. He had put on the emperor’s golden crown, and held in one hand his sword of state, and in the other his beautiful banner. All around the bed and peeping through the long velvet curtains, were a number of strange heads, some very ugly, and others lovely and gentle-looking. These were the emperor’s good and bad deeds, which stared him in the face now Death sat at his heart.

“Do you remember this?” “Do you recollect that?” they asked one after another, thus bringing to his remembrance circumstances that made the perspiration stand on his brow.

“I know nothing about it,” said the emperor. “Music! music!” he cried; “the large Chinese drum! that I may not hear what they say.” But they still went on, and Death nodded like a Chinaman to all they said. “Music! music!” shouted the emperor. “You little precious golden bird, sing, pray sing! I have given you gold and costly presents; I have even hung my golden slipper round your neck. Sing! sing!” But the bird remained silent. There was no one to wind it up, and therefore it could not sing a note.

Death continued to stare at the emperor with his cold, hollow eyes, and the room was fearfully still. Suddenly there came through the open window the sound of sweet music. Outside, on the bough of a tree, sat the living nightingale. She had heard of the emperor’s illness, and was therefore come to sing to him of hope and trust. And as she sung, the shadows grew paler and paler; the blood in the emperor’s veins flowed more rapidly, and gave life to his weak limbs; and even Death himself listened, and said, “Go on, little nightingale, go on.”

“Then will you give me the beautiful golden sword and that rich banner? and will you give me the emperor’s crown?” said the bird.

So Death gave up each of these treasures for a song; and the nightingale continued her singing. She sung of the quiet churchyard, where the white roses grow, where the elder-tree wafts its perfume on the breeze, and the fresh, sweet grass is moistened by the mourners’ tears. Then Death longed to go and see his garden, and floated out through the window in the form of a cold, white mist.

“Thanks, thanks, you heavenly little bird. I know you well. I banished you from my kingdom once, and yet you have charmed away the evil faces from my bed, and banished Death from my heart, with your sweet song. How can I reward you?”

“You have already rewarded me,” said the nightingale. “I shall never forget that I drew tears from your eyes the first time I sang to you. These are the jewels that rejoice a singer’s heart. But now sleep, and grow strong and well again. I will sing to you again.”

And as she sung, the emperor fell into a sweet sleep; and how mild and refreshing that slumber was! When he awoke, strengthened and restored, the sun shone brightly through the window; but not one of his servants had returned—they all believed he was dead; only the nightingale still sat beside him, and sang.

“You must always remain with me,” said the emperor. “You shall sing only when it pleases you; and I will break the artificial bird into a thousand pieces.”

“No; do not do that,” replied the nightingale; “the bird did very well as long as it could. Keep it here still. I cannot live in the palace, and build my nest; but let me come when I like. I will sit on a bough outside your window, in the evening, and sing to you, so that you may be happy, and have thoughts full of joy. I will sing to you of those who are happy, and those who suffer; of the good and the evil, who are hidden around you. The little singing bird flies far from you and your court to the home of the fisherman and the peasant’s cot. I love your heart better than your crown; and yet something holy lingers round that also. I will come, I will sing to you; but you must promise me one thing.”

“Everything,” said the emperor, who, having dressed himself in his imperial robes, stood with the hand that held the heavy golden sword pressed to his heart.

“I only ask one thing,” she replied; “let no one know that you have a little bird who tells you everything. It will be best to conceal it.” So saying, the nightingale flew away.

The servants now came in to look after the dead emperor; when, lo! there he stood, and, to their astonishment, said, “Good morning.”

by Hans Christian Andersen

~The Emperor’s New Clothes

Many years ago there was an Emperor, who was so excessively fond of new clothes that he spent all his money on them.
He cared nothing about his soldiers, nor for the theatre, nor for driving in the woods except for the sake of showing off his new clothes. He had a costume for every hour in the day, and instead of saying, as one does about any other king or emperor,
‘He is in his council chamber,’ here one always said, ‘The Emperor is in his dressing-room.’

Life was very gay in the great town where he lived; hosts of strangers came to visit it every day, and among them one day two swindlers. They gave themselves out as weavers, and said that they knew how to weave the most beautiful stuffs imaginable.
Not only were the colours and patterns unusually fine, but the clothes that were made of the stuffs had the peculiar quality of becoming invisible to every person who was not fit for the office he held, or if he was impossibly dull.

‘Those must be splendid clothes,’ thought the Emperor.
‘By wearing them I should be able to discover which men in my kingdom are unfitted for their posts. I shall distinguish the wise men from the fools. Yes, I certainly must order some of that stuff to be woven for me.’

He paid the two swindlers a lot of money in advance so that they might begin their work at once.

They did put up two looms and pretended to weave, but they had nothing whatever upon their shuttles. At the outset they asked for a quantity of the finest silk and the purest gold thread, all of which they put into their own bags, while they worked away at the empty looms far into the night.

‘I should like to know how those weavers are getting on with the stuff,’ thought the Emperor; but he felt a little queer when he reflected that any one who was stupid or unfit for his post would not be able to see it. He certainly thought that he need have no fears for himself, but still he thought he would send somebody else first to see how it was getting on. Everybody in the town knew what wonderful power the stuff possessed, and every one was anxious to see how stupid his neighbour was.

‘I will send my faithful old minister to the weavers,’ thought the Emperor. ‘He will be best able to see how the stuff looks, for he is a clever man, and no one fulfils his duties better than he does!’

So the good old minister went into the room where the two swindlers sat working at the empty loom.

‘Heaven preserve us!’ thought the old minister, opening his eyes very wide. ‘Why, I can’t see a thing!’ But he took care not to say so.

Both the swindlers begged him to be good enough to step a little nearer, and asked if he did not think it a good pattern and beautiful colouring. They pointed to the empty loom, and the poor old minister stared as hard as he could, but he could not see anything, for of course there was nothing to see.

‘Good heavens!’ thought he, ‘is it possible that I am a fool. I have never thought so, and nobody must know it. Am I not fit for my post? It will never do to say that I cannot see the stuffs.’

‘Well, sir, you don’t say anything about the stuff,’ said the one who was pretending to weave.

‘Oh, it is beautiful! quite charming!’ said the old minister,
looking through his spectacles; ‘this pattern and these colours!
I will certainly tell the Emperor that the stuff pleases me very much.’

‘We are delighted to hear you say so,’ said the swindlers, and then they named all the colours and described the peculiar pattern. The old minister paid great attention to what they said, so as to be able to repeat it when he got home to the Emperor.

They pointed to the empty loom, and the poor old minister stared as hard as he could, but he could not see anything, for of course there was nothing to see.

Then the swindlers went on to demand more money, more silk, and more gold, to be able to proceed with the weaving; but they put it all into their own pockets—not a single strand was ever put into the loom, but they went on as before weaving at the empty loom.

The Emperor soon sent another faithful official to see how the stuff was getting on, and if it would soon be ready.
The same thing happened to him as to the minister;
he looked and looked, but as there was only the empty loom,
he could see nothing at all.

‘Is not this a beautiful piece of stuff?’ said both the swindlers, showing and explaining the beautiful pattern and colours which were not there to be seen.

‘I know I am not a fool!’ thought the man, ‘so it must be that I am unfit for my good post! It is very strange, though! However,
one must not let it appear!’ So he praised the stuff he did not see, and assured them of his delight in the beautiful colours and the originality of the design. ‘It is absolutely charming!’ he said to the Emperor. Everybody in the town was talking about this splendid stuff.

Now the Emperor thought he would like to see it while it was still on the loom. So, accompanied by a number of selected courtiers, among whom were the two faithful officials who had already seen the imaginary stuff, he went to visit the crafty impostors,
who were working away as hard as ever they could at the empty loom.

‘It is magnificent!’ said both the honest officials. ‘Only see, your Majesty, what a design! What colours!’ And they pointed to the empty loom, for they thought no doubt the others could see the stuff.

‘What!’ thought the Emperor; ‘I see nothing at all!
This is terrible! Am I a fool? Am I not fit to be Emperor?
Why, nothing worse could happen to me!’

‘Oh, it is beautiful!’ said the Emperor. ‘It has my highest approval!’ and he nodded his satisfaction as he gazed at the empty loom. Nothing would induce him to say that he could not see anything.

The whole suite gazed and gazed, but saw nothing more than all the others. However, they all exclaimed with his Majesty, ‘It is very beautiful!’ and they advised him to wear a suit made of this wonderful cloth on the occasion of a great procession which was just about to take place. ‘It is magnificent! gorgeous! excellent!’ went from mouth to mouth; they were all equally delighted with it. The Emperor gave each of the rogues an order of knighthood to be worn in their buttonholes and the title of ‘Gentlemen weavers.’

Then the emperor walked along in the procession under the gorgeous canopy, and everybody in the streets and at the windows exclaimed, ‘How beautiful the Emperor’s new clothes are!’

The swindlers sat up the whole night, before the day on which the procession was to take place, burning sixteen candles; so that people might see how anxious they were to get the Emperor’s new clothes ready. They pretended to take the stuff off the loom.
They cut it out in the air with a huge pair of scissors, and they stitched away with needles without any thread in them.
At last they said: ‘Now the Emperor’s new clothes are ready!’

The Emperor, with his grandest courtiers, went to them himself, and both the swindlers raised one arm in the air, as if they were holding something, and said: ‘See, these are the trousers,
this is the coat, here is the mantle!’ and so on. ‘It is as light as a spider’s web. One might think one had nothing on, but that is the very beauty of it!’

‘Yes!’ said all the courtiers, but they could not see anything, for there was nothing to see.

‘Will your imperial majesty be graciously pleased to take off your clothes,’ said, the impostors, ‘so that we may put on the new ones, along here before the great mirror?’

The Emperor took off all his clothes, and the impostors pretended to give him one article of dress after the other of the new ones which they had pretended to make. They pretended to fasten something round his waist and to tie on something; this was the train, and the Emperor turned round and round in front of the mirror.

‘How well his majesty looks in the new clothes! How becoming they are!’ cried all the people round. ‘What a design, and what colours! They are most gorgeous robes!’

‘The canopy is waiting outside which is to be carried over your majesty in the procession,’ said the master of the ceremonies.

‘Well, I am quite ready,’ said the Emperor. ‘Don’t the clothes fit well?’ and then he turned round again in front of the mirror,
so that he should seem to be looking at his grand things.

The chamberlains who were to carry the train stooped and pretended to lift it from the ground with both hands, and they walked along with their hands in the air. They dared not let it appear that they could not see anything.

Then the Emperor walked along in the procession under the gorgeous canopy, and everybody in the streets and at the windows exclaimed, ‘How beautiful the Emperor’s new clothes are! What a splendid train! And they fit to perfection!’
Nobody would let it appear that he could see nothing, for then he would not be fit for his post, or else he was a fool.

None of the Emperor’s clothes had been so successful before.
‘But he has got nothing on,’ said a little child.

‘Oh, listen to the innocent,’ said its father; and one person whispered to the other what the child had said. ‘He has nothing on; a child says he has nothing on!’

‘But he has nothing on!’ at last cried all the people.

The Emperor writhed, for he knew it was true, but he thought
‘the procession must go on now,’ so held himself stiffer than ever, and the chamberlains held up the invisible train.

by Hans Christian Andersen

~The Real Princess

There was once a prince, and he wanted a princess, but then she must be a real Princess. He travelled right round the world to find one, but there was always something wrong.
There were plenty of princesses, but whether they were real princesses he had great difficulty in discovering; there was always something which was not quite right about them.
So at last he had to come home again, and he was very sad because he wanted a real princess so badly.

One evening there was a terrible storm; it thundered and lightened and the rain poured down in torrents; indeed it was a fearful night.

Edmund Dulac

In the middle of the storm somebody knocked at the town gate, and the old King himself went to open it.

It was a princess who stood outside, but she was in a terrible state from the rain and the storm. The water streamed out of her hair and her clothes; it ran in at the top of her shoes and out at the heel, but she said that she was a real princess.

‘Well we shall soon see if that is true,’ thought the old Queen,
but she said nothing. She went into the bedroom, took all the bedclothes off and laid a pea on the bedstead: then she took twenty mattresses and piled them on the top of the pea, and then twenty feather beds on the top of the mattresses.
This was where the princess was to sleep that night. In the morning they asked her how she had slept.

‘Oh terribly badly!’ said the princess. ‘I have hardly closed my eyes the whole night! Heaven knows what was in the bed.
I seemed to be lying upon some hard thing, and my whole body is black and blue this morning. It is terrible!’

They saw at once that she must be a real princess when she had felt the pea through twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds. Nobody but a real princess could have such a delicate skin.

So the prince took her to be his wife, for now he was sure that he had found a real princess, and the pea was put into the Museum, where it may still be seen if no one has stolen it.

Now this is a true story.

by Hans Christian Andersen

~The Tortoise and The Hare

by omar ryyan Art by Omar Ryyan

There once was a speedy hare who bragged about
how fast he could run. Tired of hearing him boast,
Slow and Steady, the tortoise, challenged him to a race.
All the animals in the forest gathered to watch.

Hare ran down the road for a while and then and paused to rest. He looked back at Slow and Steady and cried out,
"How do you expect to win this race when you are walking
along at your slow, slow pace?"

Hare stretched himself out alongside the road and fell asleep, thinking, "There is plenty of time to relax."

Slow and Steady walked and walked. He never,
ever stopped until he came to the finish line.

The animals who were watching cheered so loudly for Tortoise, they woke up Hare.

Hare stretched and yawned and began to run again,
but it was too late. Tortoise was over the line.

After that, Hare always reminded himself,
"Don't brag about your lightning pace,
for Slow and Steady won the race!"

One of Aesop’s Fables!


There were once a man and a woman who had long, in vain, wished for a child. At length it appeared that God was about to grant their desire.

     These people had a little window at the back of their
house from which a splendid garden could be seen,
which was full of the most beautiful flowers and herbs.
It was, however, surrounded by a high wall, and no one dared to go into it because it belonged to an enchantress, who had great power and was dreaded by all the world.

     One day the woman was standing by this window and looking down into the garden, when she saw a bed which was planted
with the most beautiful rampion, and it looked so fresh and green that she longed for it. She quite pined away, and began to look pale and miserable.

     Her husband was alarmed, and asked: 'What ails you, dear wife?'

     'Ah,' she replied, 'if I can't eat some of the rampion, which is in the garden behind our house, I shall die.'

     The man, who loved her, thought: 'Sooner than let your wife die, bring her some of the rampion yourself, let it cost what it will.'

     At twilight, he clambered down over the wall into the garden of the enchantress, hastily clutched a handful of rampion, and took it to his wife. She at once made herself a salad of it, and ate it greedily. It tasted so good to her - so very good, that the next day she longed for it three times as much as before.

     If he was to have any rest, her husband knew he must once more descend into the garden. Therefore, in the gloom of evening, he let himself down again; but when he had clambered down the wall he was terribly afraid, for he saw the enchantress standing before him.

     'How can you dare,' said she with angry look, 'descend into my garden and steal my rampion like a thief? You shall suffer for it!'

     'Ah,' answered he, 'let mercy take the place of justice, I only made up my mind to do it out of necessity. My wife saw your rampion from the window, and felt such a longing for it that she would have died if she had not got some to eat.'

     The enchantress allowed her anger to be softened, and said to him: 'If the case be as you say, I will allow you to take away with you as much rampion as you will, only I make one condition, you must give me the child which your wife will bring into the world; it shall be well treated, and I will care for it like a mother.'

     The man in his terror consented to everything.

     When the woman was brought to bed, the enchantress appeared at once, gave the child the name of Rapunzel,
and took it away with her.

     Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful child under the sun. When she was twelve years old, the enchantress shut her into a tower in the middle of a forest. The tower had neither stairs nor door, but near the top was a little window. When the enchantress wanted to go in, she placed herself beneath it and cried:

'Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair to me.'

     Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when she heard the voice of the enchantress, she unfastened her braided tresses, wound them round one of the hooks of the window above, and then the hair fell twenty ells down,
and the enchantress climbed up by it.

     After a year or two, it came to pass that the king's son rode through the forest and passed by the tower. Then he heard a song, which was so charming that he stood still and listened.
It was Rapunzel, who in her solitude passed her time in letting her sweet voice resound. The king's son wanted to climb up to her, and looked for the door of the tower, but none was to be found. He rode home, but the singing had so deeply touched his heart, that every day he went out into the forest and listened to it.

     Once when he was thus standing behind a tree, he saw that an enchantress came there, and he heard how she cried:

'Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair to me.'

     Then Rapunzel let down the braids of her hair, and the enchantress climbed up to her.

     'If that is the ladder by which one mounts, I too will try my fortune,' said he, and the next day when it began to grow dark,
he went to the tower and cried:

'Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair to me.'

     Immediately the hair fell down and the king's son climbed up.

     At first Rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man, such as her eyes had never yet beheld, came to her; but the king's son began to talk to her quite like a friend, and told her that his heart had been so stirred that it had let him have no rest, and he had been forced to see her. Then Rapunzel lost her fear, and when he asked her if she would take him for her husband, and she saw that he was young and handsome, she thought: 'He will love me more than old Dame Gothel does'; and she said yes, and laid her hand in his.

     She said: 'I will willingly go away with you, but I do not know how to get down. Bring with you a skein of silk every time that you come, and I will weave a ladder with it, and when that is ready I will descend, and you will take me on your horse.'

     They agreed that until that time he should come to her every evening, for the old woman came by day. The enchantress remarked nothing of this, until once Rapunzel said to her:
'Tell me, Dame Gothel, how it happens that you are so much heavier for me to draw up than the young king's son - he is with me in a moment.'

     'Ah! you wicked child,' cried the enchantress.
'What do I hear you say! I thought I had separated you from all the world, and yet you have deceived me!'

     In her anger she clutched Rapunzel's beautiful tresses, wrapped them twice round her left hand, seized a pair of scissors with the right, and snip, snap, they were cut off, and the lovely braids lay on the ground. And she was so pitiless that she took poor Rapunzel into a desert where she had to live in great grief and misery.

     On the same day that she cast out Rapunzel, however, the enchantress fastened the braids of hair, which she had cut off,
to the hook of the window, and when the king's son came and cried:

'Rapunzel, Rapunzel,
Let down your hair to me.'

     she let the hair down. The king's son ascended, but instead of finding his dearest Rapunzel, he found the enchantress,
who gazed at him with wicked and venomous looks.

     'Aha!' she cried mockingly, 'you would fetch your dearest,
but the beautiful bird sits no longer singing in the nest; the cat has got it, and will scratch out your eyes as well. Rapunzel is lost to you; you will never see her again.'

     The king's son was beside himself with pain, and in his despair he leapt down from the tower. He escaped with his life, but the thorns into which he fell pierced his eyes.

     He wandered quite blind about the forest, ate nothing but roots and berries, and did naught but lament and weep over the loss of his dearest wife. Thus he roamed about in misery for some years, and at length came to the desert where Rapunzel, with the twins to which she had given birth, a boy and a girl, lived in wretchedness. He heard a voice, and it seemed so familiar to him that he went towards it, and when he approached, Rapunzel knew him and fell on his neck and wept. Two of her tears wetted his eyes and they grew clear again, and he could see with them as before. He led her to his kingdom where he was joyfully received, and they lived for a long time afterwards, happy and contented.

by the Brothers Grimm

~The Little Pine Tree

In the woods there grew a little pine tree, and its leaves were long, slender, green needles. It was very little, indeed, and although there were many other trees around it, it felt quite alone as there were no other pine trees near by.

The little pine tree was proud of its fine, green needles when the other trees in the forest were bare, and the snow was white on the ground. But in summer time, when the other trees had beautiful, large, green leaves, the pine tree thought that it would be nice if it could have large leaves also.

"I wish that I could have beautiful large leaves, but leaves which are more beautiful than those of any of the other trees," it thought. "If I could have my wish, I would have leaves of shining gold."

The little pine tree slept. through the night, and in the morning when it awoke it had leaves of shining gold.

pine Tree

"How very beautiful I am," it thought. "How my leaves glisten in the sun: Now I shall always be happy."

In the afternoon a man came through the woods along a path which passed by the little pine tree.
When he came to the little tree and saw the beautiful golden leaves, he stopped and picked them all and put them into the bag which he was carrying and took them home with him.
Then the poor little tree had no leaves.

"What shall I do?" it cried. "I will not wish for gold leaves again.
If I could have another wish, I would have leaves of glass.
They would sparkle in the sun, and no one would take them away."

Again the little pine tree slept through the night, and when it awoke the next morning it had leaves of sparkling glass.

"How beautiful I am now." it thought, "my leaves are of clear crystal and they tinkle as the wind passes through them."

All through the morning, the little tree was very happy.
But, in the afternoon, black clouds hid the sun, and the rain came down, and the wind turned cold and harsh.
The little tree shivered. It shook and shook, and when the storm was over, all of the glass leaves had been broken and had fallen to the ground. Again the poor little tree had no leaves.

"What can I do now?" it cried. "A man took my leaves of gold, and the storm broke my leaves of glass. If I could have still another wish, I would have large green leaves like the other trees in the forest."

Once more the little pine tree slept through the night and when it awoke the next morning it had beautiful, large, green leaves.

"Now I am like the other trees and as beautiful as they are," it thought.

The little tree was happy once more. But soon a goat came along the path looking for something to eat.
The little tree was so small that the goat could easily reach the leaves, and they looked so good and juicy that he nibbled at each of the branches and ate up all the leaves.

"Alas!" cried the little tree, "a man took my leaves of gold; the storm broke my leaves of glass; a goat ate my large green leaves! If I could have just one more wish, I would have my long green needles again."

Toward evening, the little tree fell asleep and again slept through the night. And when it awoke in the morning it had its long slender green needles again. The birds flew to the little pine tree, and they were as happy as it was that it was covered again with long green pine needles.

"Gold leaves, glass leaves, and large, green leaves are very fine;" thought the little tree, "but there is nothing so good for a little pine tree as its own long needles."

An Old German Legend

~The House in the Woods

A poor woodcutter lived with his wife and three young daughters in a small hut at the edge of a desolate wood.
One morning. when he was setting off to return to work, he said to his wife “Let the oldest daughter bring the noon-day bread to me in the woods. Otherwise, I shan’t finish.
And so that she does not lose her way,” he added "I will take a sack with millet and scatter the grains across the path.”

When the sun stood in the middle of the sky high above the woods, the maiden began her walk carrying a pot of soup.
But the field and forest sparrows, the larks and finches, the blackbirds and siskins had already pecked the path clean of any millet and the maid could not find her way.
Trusting luck, she continued on her way until the sun sank and night fell. The trees rustled in the darkness, the owls hooted and the girl became frightened. In the distance, she saw a light blinking between the trees. “People must live there,”
she thought “and they will keep me over night.”
She continued to walk toward the light. It was not long before she came to a house whose windows were brightly illuminated.
She knocked and a rough voice called out from inside “Come in.”
The girl entered a dark hallway and knocked on the parlor door. “Enter,” the voice called and when she opened the door, there sat an old, icy gray man at a table. Supporting his head in both hands, his white beard flowed over the table and almost reached the floor. But on the hearth three animals rested: a chicken, a rooster and a brindle cow. The maid told the old man about her fate and requested lodgings for the night.
The man spoke:

“Lovely hen,
Pretty cock,
And beautiful brindle cow, too,
How do you moo?"

The House in the Woods by Maurice Sendak  Image by Maurice Sendak

The animals replied “Duks!”. (Which translated probably meant: “We are satisfied, healthy and happy!”) The old man continued, “We live in abundance here, go to the stove and cook us dinner!”

The maid found the kitchen. Everything was stocked to excess and the girl was able to cook a hearty meal.
But the animals thought differently. When the girl entered the room carrying the bowl, she placed it on the table, sat down beside the old gray man and stilled her hunger.
Soon she had eaten her fill and said “But now, I am tired.
Where is a bed so that I can lie down and sleep?” The animals replied

“You ate with him,
You drank with him,
About us you have not thought,
You shall stay the night where you ought.”

The old man spoke “Just climb the stairs, you will find a chamber with two beds. Shake out the bed and cover it with white linen.
I will also come up and lie down.” The girl went up and when she had shaken out the feather bed and covered it with fresh linen, she laid down in one of the beds without waiting for the old man. After some time the old gray man came, illuminated the girl with his candlelight and shook his head. When he saw that she was almost fast asleep, he opened a trap door and let her drop into the cellar.

The woodcutter came home late that evening and accused his wife of letting him starve the entire day long. “I’m not to blame,” she replied “The girl went out at midday.
She must have lost her way. Tomorrow she will return again.”
But the woodcutter rose before daylight, wanted to go into the woods and asked for his second daughter to bring lunch this time. “I will take a little sack with lentils” he said.
The grains are larger than millet, the girl will see them better and then cannot miss the path.” At lunchtime the girl also carried out the meal, but the lentils were gone: the birds of the forest had eaten them like the day before and none were left.
The girl wandered around in the woods until night fell. She also arrived at the house of the old man, heard the voice call out inviting her in and requested food and lodgings for the night.
The man with the white beard once again asked the animals:

"Lovely hen,
Pretty cock,
And you beautiful brindled cow, too,
How do you moo?"

Once again the animals responded “Duks,” and everything repeated itself like the day before. The maid cooked a good meal, ate and drank with the old man and did not take care of the animals. When she asked about her accommodations for the night, they responded:

“You ate with him,
You drank with him,
About us you have not thought,
You shall stay the night where you ought.”

When the girl had fallen asleep, the old man came, looked upon her and shook his head. Then he opened the trap door and let her fall into the cellar.

On the third morning the woodcutter spoke to his wife “Today send me the youngest child with the food. She has always been good and obedient. She will find the right way and not like her sisters, swarm around like wild bumble bees.”

The mother did not want to heed his request and replied
“Must I also lose my dearest child?”

“Do not worry,” he replied, “the girl shall not go astray.
She is too smart and understanding. I will take peas in abundance with me and scatter them on the path.
They are even larger than lentils and will show her the way.”
But when the girl went out with her basket on her arm, the forest doves already had the kernels in their gullet.
She did not know where to turn. Full of dismay, she only thought about how her poor father would hunger and how her good mother would wail if she did not return. Finally, when night fell, she saw the little light flickering in the woods and came to the forest house. In a friendly voice, she asked if she could stay the night and the man with the white beard asked his animals once more

“Lovely hen,
Pretty cock,
And brindle cow too,
What do you moo?"

“Duks,” they replied. The girl went to the hearth where the animals lay and caressed the chicken and rooster and ran her little hand over their smooth feathers. She rubbed the brindle cow between its horns. And when at the request of the old man she prepared a good soup and the bowl was on the table, she asked “Am I to eat my fill and the good animals still have nothing?” There is abundance here. Let me care for them first.” She went and fetched barley and scattered it before the hen and cock. She brought the cow fragrant hay, an entire arm full.
“I hope you enjoy it, dear animals,” the girl said. “And when you are thirsty you should also have a fresh drink.” She carried a pail full of water inside. The chicken and rooster jumped onto its rim and stuck their beaks inside. Then they held their heads in the air, like birds do when they drink and the brindle cow also took a hearty gulp. When the animals had been fed, the girl sat down next to the old man and ate what he had left over for her.
It was not long before hen and cock began to place their heads under their wings. The spotted cow blinked its eyes.
The girl spoke “Shall we not go to bed?”

“Lovely hen,
Pretty cock,
And you beautiful brindle cow, too,
What do you moo?

The animals replied “Duks,”

"You ate with us,
You drank with us,
You always remembered us,
Now we wish you a good night."

The girl climbed the stairs, shook out the feather pillow and covered it in fresh linen. And when she was finished, the old man came and laid down in bed so that his white beard extended to his feet. The girl lay down in the other bed and said her prayer.
Then she fell asleep.

She slept calmly until midnight. Then it became so noisy in the house that the girl awoke. Crackling and rustling sounds began to come from the corners, the door fell open and hit the wall,
the beams groaned as if they would be torn from their joints
and it seemed as if the stairs were about to collapse entirely. Finally there was a loud crashing sound as if the roof had fallen in. But then it became quiet again and because nothing had happened to the girl, she fell asleep once more. But in the morning
when she awoke and the sun was shining brightly, what did she see? She awoke in a large hall and all around her everything glistened in royal splendor. On the walls, golden blossoms sprang up on a green silk background. The bed was made of ivory and the coverlet was red satin. Nearby on the stool lay a pair of slippers with pearl stitching. The girl thought it was all a dream but when three richly clothed servants appeared and asked her what her desires were, the girl replied “Just go, I will get up soon and cook a soup for the old man and then feed the lovely hen, pretty cock and brindle cow.”

She thought the old man had already risen and looked over to his bed. But he did not lay there, instead there lay a strange man.
And when she gazed upon him and saw he was young and handsome, he awoke. He sat up and said “I am a king’s son and was enchanted by an evil witch. I had to live in the woods as an old, icy gray man. No one was allowed to serve me except my three servants, a hen, a cock and a brindle cow.
And the enchantment would not end until a maiden came to us, of such good heart, that she not only showed kindness to people but also animals. And you are that maiden and tonight at midnight we have been redeemed by you and the old house in the woods has been once more transformed into a royal palace.”

And when they got up, the king’s son said the three servants should go out and fetch the father and mother of the maid and bring them to the wedding celebration.

“And where are my two sisters?” the girl asked. “I have locked them in the cellar. Tomorrow they will be led into the forest and shall work for the man who burns charcoal until they have improved themselves and do not let poor animals starve.”

by the Brothers Grimm

~Three Daughters

There was once upon a time a man who was about to set out on a long journey, and on parting he asked his three daughters what he should bring back with him for them.
Whereupon the eldest wished for pearls, the second wished for diamonds, but the third said, dear father, I should like a singing, soaring lark. The father said, yes, if I can get it, you shall have it, kissed all three, and set out.

Now when the time had come for him to be on his way home again, he had brought pearls and diamonds for the two eldest,
but he had sought everywhere in vain for a singing, soaring lark for the youngest, and he was very unhappy about it, for she was his favorite child. Then his road lay through a forest, and in the midst of it was a splendid castle, and near the castle stood a tree, but quite on the top of the
tree, he saw a singing, soaring lark. Aha, you come just at the right moment, he said, quite delighted, and called to his servant to climb up and catch the little creature.

But as he approached the tree, a lion leapt from beneath it, shook himself, and roared till the leaves on the trees trembled.
He who tries to steal my singing, soaring lark, he cried, will I devour. Then the man said, I did not know that the bird belonged to you. I will make amends for the wrong I have done and ransom myself with a large sum of money, only spare my life.
The lion said, nothing can
save you, unless you will promise to give me for my own what first meets you on your return home, and if you will do that,
I will grant you your life, and you shall have the bird for your daughter, into the bargain. But the man hesitated and said, that might be my youngest daughter, she loves me best, and always runs to meet me on my return home.

The servant, however, was terrified and said, why should your daughter be the very one to meet you, it might as easily be a cat, or dog. Then the man allowed himself to be persuaded, took the singing, soaring lark, and promised to give the lion whatsoever should first meet him on his return home.

When he reached home and entered his house, the first who met him was no other than his youngest and dearest daughter, who came running up, kissed and embraced him, and when she saw that he had brought with him a singing, soaring lark, she was beside herself with joy. The father, however, could not rejoice, but began to weep, and said, my dearest child,
I have bought the little bird dear. In return for it, I have been obliged to promise you to a savage lion, and when he has
you he will tear you in pieces and devour you, and he told her all, just as it had happened, and begged her not to go there, come what might.

But she consoled him and said, dearest father, indeed your promise must be fulfilled. I will go thither and soften the lion,
so that I may return to you safely. Next morning she had the road pointed out to her, took leave, and went fearlessly out into the forest. The lion, however, was an enchanted prince and was by day a lion, and all his people were lions with him, but in the night they resumed their
natural human shapes.

On her arrival she was kindly received and led into the castle. When night came, the lion turned into a handsome man, and their wedding was celebrated with great magnificence.
They lived happily together, remained awake at night, and slept in the daytime. One day he came and said, to-morrow there is a feast in your father's house, because your eldest sister is to be married, and if you are inclined to go
there, my lions shall conduct you. She said, yes, I should very much like to see my father again, and went thither, accompanied by the lions.

There was great joy when she arrived, for they had all believed that she had been torn in pieces by the lion, and had long ceased to live. But she told them what a handsome husband she had,
and how well off she was, remained with them while the wedding-feast lasted, and then went back again to the forest.

When the second daughter was about to be married, and she was again invited to the wedding, she said to the lion, this time
I will not be alone, you must come with me.
The lion, however, said that it was too dangerous for him, for if when there a ray from a burning candle fell on him, he would be changed into a dove, and for seven years long would have to fly about with the doves. She said, ah, but do
come with me, I will take great care of you, and guard you from all light. So they went away together, and took with them their little child as well.

She had a room built there, so strong and thick that no ray could pierce through it, in this he was to shut himself up when the candles were lit for the wedding-feast. But the door was made of green wood which warped and left a little crack which no one noticed. The wedding was celebrated with magnificence,
but when the procession with all its candles and torches came back from church, and passed by
this apartment, a ray touched him, he was transformed in an instant, and when she came in and looked for him, she did not see him, but a white dove was sitting there.
The dove said to her, for seven years must I fly about the world, but at every seventh step that you take I will let fall a drop of red blood and a white feather, and these will show you the way,
and if you follow the trace you can release me.
Thereupon the dove flew out at the door, and she followed him, and at every seventh step a red drop of blood and a little white feather fell down and showed her the way.

So she went continually further and further in the wide world, never looking about her or resting, and the seven years were almost past, then she rejoiced and thought that they would soon be saved, and yet they were so far from it.
Once when they were thus moving onwards, no little feather and no drop of red blood fell, and when she raised her eyes the dove had disappeared.
And as she thought to herself, in this no man can help you, she climbed up to the sun, and said to him,
you shine into every crevice, and over every peak, have you not seen a white dove flying.

No, said the sun, I have seen none, but I present you with a casket, open it when you are in sorest need.
Then she thanked the sun, and went on until evening came and the moon appeared, she then asked her, you shine the whole night through, and on every field and forest, have you not seen a white dove flying.

No, said the moon, I have seen no dove, but here I give you an egg, break it when you are in great need.
She thanked the moon, and went on until the night wind came up and blew on her, then she said to it, you blow over every tree and under every leaf, have you not seen a white dove flying.
No, said the night wind, I have seen none, but I will ask the three other winds, perhaps they have seen it.

The east wind and the west wind came, and had seen nothing, but the south wind said, I have seen the white dove, it has flown to the red sea, where it has become a lion again, for the seven years are over, and the lion is there fighting with a dragon, the dragon, however, is an enchanted princess.
The night wind then said to her, I will advise you, go to the red sea, on the right bank are some tall reeds,
count them, break off the eleventh, and strike the dragon with it, then the lion will be able to subdue it, and both then will regain their human form. After that, look round and you will see the griffin which is by the red sea, swing yourself, with your beloved, on to his back, and the bird will carry you over the sea to your own home. Here is a nut for you, when you are above the center of the sea, let the nut fall, it will immediately shoot up, and a tall nut-tree will grow out of the water on which the griffin may rest, for if he cannot rest, he will not be strong enough to carry you
across, and if you forget to throw down the nut, he will let you fall into the sea.

Then she went thither, and found everything as the night wind had said. She counted the reeds by the sea, and cut off the eleventh, struck the dragon therewith, whereupon the lion conquered it, and immediately both of them regained their human shapes. But when the princess, who hitherto had been the dragon, was released from enchantment, she took the youth by the arm, seated herself on the
griffin, and carried him off with her.

There stood the poor maiden who had wandered so far and was again forsaken. She sat down and cried, but at last she took courage and said, still I will go as far as the wind blows and as long as the cock crows, until I find him, and she went forth by long, long roads, until at last she came to the castle where both of them were living together, there she heard that soon a feast was to be held, in which they would celebrate their wedding, but she said, God still helps me, and opened the casket that the sun had given her. A dress lay therein as brilliant as the sun itself.
So she took it out and put it on, and went up into the castle, and everyone, even the bride herself, looked at her with astonishment.

The dress pleased the bride so well that she thought it might do for her wedding- dress, and asked if it was for sale. Not for money or land, answered she, but for flesh and blood. The bride asked her what she meant by that, so she said, let me sleep a night in the chamber where the bridegroom sleeps. The bride would not, yet wanted very much to have the dress, at last she consented, but the page was
to give the prince a sleeping-draught.

When it was night, therefore, and the youth was already asleep, she was led into the chamber, she seated herself on the bed and said, I have followed after you for seven years.
I have been to the sun and the moon, and the four winds, and have enquired for you, and have helped you against the dragon, will you, then quite forget me. But the prince slept so soundly that it only seemed to him as if the wind
were whistling outside in the fir-trees.

When therefore day broke, she was led out again, and had to give up the golden dress. And as that even had been of no avail, she was sad, went out into a meadow, sat down there, and wept.
While she was sitting there, she thought of the egg which the moon had given her, she opened it, and there came out a clucking hen with twelve chickens all of gold, and they ran about chirping, and crept again under the
old hen's wings, nothing more beautiful was ever seen in the world. Then she arose, and drove them through the meadow before her, until the bride looked out of the window.

The little chickens pleased her so much that she immediately came down and asked if they were for sale.
Not for money or land, but for flesh and blood, let me sleep another night in the chamber where the bridegroom sleeps.
The bride said, yes, intending to cheat her as on the former evening. But when the prince went to bed he asked the page what the murmuring and rustling in the night had been.
On this the page told all, that he had been forced to give him a sleeping-draught, because a poor girl had slept secretly in the chamber, and that he was to give him another that night.
The prince said, pour out the draught by the bed-side.

At night, she was again led in, and when she began to relate how ill all had fared with her, he immediately recognized his beloved wife by her voice, sprang up and cried, now I really am released.
I have been as it were in a dream, for the strange princess has bewitched me so that I have been compelled to forget you, but God has delivered me from the spell at the right time.

Then they both left the castle secretly in the night, for they feared the father of the princess, who was a sorcerer, and they seated themselves on the griffin which bore them across the red sea, and when they were in the midst of it, she let fall the nut.
Immediately a tall nut-tree grew up, whereon the bird rested,
and then carried
them home, where they found their child, who had grown tall and beautiful, and they lived thenceforth happily until their death.

by the Brothers Grimm

~The Sparrow and His Four Children

A sparrow had four young ones in a swallow's nest. When they were fledged, some naughty boys pulled out the nest, but fortunately all the birds got safely away in the high wind. Then the old bird was grieved that as his sons had all gone out into the world, he had not first warned them of every kind of danger, and given them good instruction how to deal with each.

In the autumn a great many sparrows assembled together in a wheatfield, and there the old bird met his four children again, and full of joy took them home with him. Ah, my dear sons, how I have been worrying about you all through the summer, because you got away in the wind without my teaching. Listen to my words, obey your father, and be well on your guard. Little birds have to encounter great dangers. And then he asked the eldest where he had spent the summer, and how he had supported himself. 

sparrow Found here

I stayed in the gardens, and looked for caterpillars and small worms, until the cherries were ripe.

Ah, my son, said the father, tit-bits are not bad, but there is great risk about them. On that account take great care of yourself henceforth, and particularly when people are going about the gardens who carry long green poles which are hollow inside and have a little hole at the top.

Yes, father, but what if a little green leaf is stuck over the hole with wax, said the son.

Where have you seen that.

In a merchant's garden, said the youngster.

Oh, my son, merchant folks are smart folks, said the father. If you have been among the children of the world, you have learned worldly craftiness enough, only see that you use it well, and do not be too confident.

Then he asked the next, where have you passed your time.

At court, said the son.

Sparrows and silly little birds are of no use in that place. There one finds much gold, velvet, silk, armor, harnesses, sparrow-hawks, screech-owls and lanners. Keep to the horses, stable where they winnow oats, or thresh, and then fortune may give you your daily grain of corn in peace.

Yes, father, said the son, but when the stable-boys make traps and fix their gins and snares in the straw, many a one is caught.

Where have you seen that, said the old bird.

At court, among the stable-boys.

Oh, my son, court boys are bad boys. If you have been to court and among the lords, and have left no feathers there, you have learnt a fair amount, and will know very well how to go about the world, but look around you and above you, for the wolves often devour the wisest dogs.

The father examined the third also, where did you seek your fortune.

I have cast my tub and rope on the cart-roads and highways, and sometimes met with a grain of corn or barley.

That is indeed dainty fare, said the father, but take care what you are about and look carefully around, especially when you see anyone stooping and about to pick up a stone, for then you have not much time to waste.

That is true, said the son, but what if anyone should carry a bit of rock, or ore, ready beforehand in his breast or pocket.

Where have you seen that.

Among the miners, dear father. When they get out of the pit, they generally take little bits of ore with them. Mining folks are working folks, and clever folks.

If you have been among mining lads, you have seen and learnt something, but when you go thither beware, for many a sparrow has been brought to a bad end by a mining boy throwing a piece of cobalt.

At length the father came to the youngest son, you, my dear chirping nestling, were always the silliest and weakest. Stay with me, the world has many rough, wicked birds which have crooked beaks and long claws, and lie in wait for poor little birds and swallow them. Keep with those of your own kind, and pick up little spiders and caterpillars from the trees, or the houses, and then you will live long in peace.

My dear father, he who feeds himself without injury to other people fares well, and no sparrow-hawk, eagle, or kite will hurt him if he commits himself and his lawful food, evening and morning, faithfully to God, who is the creator and preserver of all forest and village birds, who likewise heareth the cry and prayer of the young ravens, for no sparrow or wren ever falls to the ground except by his will.

Where have you learnt this.

The son answered, when the great blast of wind tore me away from you I came to a church, and there during the summer I have picked up the flies and spiders from the windows, and heard this discourse preached. The father of all sparrows fed me all the summer through, and kept me from all misfortune and from ferocious birds.

Indeed, my dear son, if you take refuge in the churches and help to clear away spiders and buzzing flies, and chirp unto God like the young ravens, and commend yourself to the eternal creator, all will be well with you, and that even if the whole world were full of wild malicious birds. He who to God commits his ways, in silence suffers, waits, and prays, preserves his faith and conscience pure, he is of God's protection sure.

By the Brothers Grimm

~The Hare and the Hedgehog

This story, my dear young folks, seems to be false, but it really is true, for my grandfather, from whom I have it, used always,
when relating it, to say, it must be true, my son, or else no one could tell it to you. The story is as follows.

One sunday morning about harvest time, just as the buckwheat was in bloom, the sun was shining brightly in heaven, the east wind was blowing warmly over the stubble-fields, the larks were singing in the air, the bees buzzing among the buckwheat,
the people in their sunday clothes were all going to church, and all creatures were happy, and the hedgehog was happy too.
The hedgehog, however, was standing by his door with his arms akimbo, enjoying the morning breezes, and slowly trilling a little song to himself, which was neither better nor worse than the songs which hedgehogs are in the habit of singing on a blessed sunday morning.

The Hare and the Hedgehog










Whilst he was thus singing half aloud to himself, it suddenly occurred to him that, while his wife was washing and drying the children, he might very well take a walk into the field, and see how his turnips were getting on. The turnips, in fact, were close beside his house, and he and his family were accustomed to eat them,
for which reason he looked upon them as his own.

No sooner said than done. The hedgehog shut the house-door behind him, and took the path to the field. He had not gone very far from home, and was just turning round the sloe-bush which stands there outside the field, to go up into the turnip-field,
when he observed the hare who had gone out on business of the same kind, namely, to visit his cabbages.
When the hedgehog caught sight of the hare, he bade him a friendly good morning.
But the hare, who was in his own way a distinguished gentleman, and frightfully haughty, did not return the hedgehog's greeting, but said to him, assuming at the same time a very contemptuous manner, how do you happen to be running about here in the field so early in the morning.

I am taking a walk, said the hedgehog.

A walk, said the hare, with a smile. It seems to me that you might use your legs for a better purpose.

This answer made the hedgehog furiously angry, for he can bear anything but a reference too his legs, just because they are crooked by nature. So now the hedgehog said to the hare, you seem to imagine that you can do more with your legs than I with mine.

That is just what I do think, said the hare.

That can be put to the test, said the hedgehog.
I wager that if we run a race, I will outstrip you.

That is ridiculous. You with your short legs, said the hare, but for my part I am willing, if you have such a monstrous fancy for it.

What shall we wager. A golden louis-d'or and a bottle of brandy, said the hedgehog.

Done, said the hare. Shake hands on it, and then we may as well begin at once.

Nay, said the hedgehog, there is no such great hurry. I am still fasting, I will go home first, and have a little breakfast. In half-an-hour I will be back again at this place. Hereupon the hedgehog departed, for the hare was quite satisfied with this.

On his way the hedgehog thought to himself, the hare relies on his long legs, but I will contrive to get the better of him. He may be a great man, but he is a very silly fellow, and he shall pay for what he has said. So when the hedgehog reached home, he said to his wife, wife, dress yourself quickly, you must go out to the field with me.

What is going on, then, said his wife.

I have made a wager with the hare, for a gold louis-d'or and a bottle of brandy. I am to run a race with him, and you must be present.

Good heavens, husband, the wife now cried, are you not right in your mind, have you completely lost your wits.
What can make you want to run a race with the hare.

Hold your tongue, woman, said the hedgehog, that is my affair. Don't begin to discuss things which are matters for men.
Be off, dress yourself, and come with me.

What could the hedgehog's wife do. She was forced to obey him, whether she liked it or not. So when they had set out on their way together, the hedgehog said to his wife, now pay attention to what I am going to say. Look you, I will make the long field our race-course. The hare shall run in one furrow, and when the hare arrives at the end of the furrow on the other side of you,
you must cry out to him, I am here already.
Then they reached the field, and the hedgehog showed his wife her place, and then walked up the field. When he reached the top, the hare was already there.

Shall we start, said the hare.

Certainly, said the hedgehog.

Then both at once. So saying, each placed himself in his own furrow. The hare counted, once, twice, thrice, and away, and went off like a whirlwind down the field. The hedgehog, however, only ran about three paces, and then he crouched down in the furrow, and stayed quietly where he was. When the hare therefore arrived at full speed at the lower end of the field, the hedgehog's wife met him with the cry, I am here already.
The hare was shocked and wondered not a little, he thought no other than that it was the hedgehog himself who was calling to him, for the hedgehog's wife looked just like her husband.
The hare, however, thought to himself, that has not been done fairly, and cried, it must be run again, let us have it again.
And once more he went off like the wind in a storm, so that he seemed to fly. But the hedgehog's wife stayed quietly in her place. So when the hare reached the top of the field, the hedgehog himself cried out to him, I am here already.
The hare, however, quite beside himself with anger, cried, it must be run again, we must have it again.

All right, answered the hedgehog, for my part we'll run as often as you choose.

So the hare ran seventy-three times more, and the hedgehog always held out against him, and every time the hare reached either the top or the bottom, either the hedgehog or his wife said, I am here already. At the seventy-fourth time, however, the hare could no longer reach the end. In the middle of the field he fell to the ground, blood streamed out of his mouth, and he lay dead on the spot. But the hedgehog took the louis-d'or which he had won and the bottle of brandy, called his wife out of the furrow, and both went home together in great delight, and if they are not dead, they are living there still.

This is how it happened that the hedgehog made the hare run races with him on the heath of buxtehude - buxtehude is a village near hamburg - till he died, and since that time no hare has ever had any fancy for running races with a buxtehude hedgehog.

The moral of this story is, firstly, that no one, however great he may be, should permit himself to jest at any one beneath him, even if he be only a hedgehog. And, secondly, it teaches, that when a man marries, he should take a wife in his own position, who looks just as he himself looks. So whosoever is a hedgehog let him see to it that his wife is a hedgehog also, and so forth.

by the Brothers Grimm

~The Shoes

There was once upon a time a king who had twelve daughters, each one more beautiful than the other.
They all slept together in one chamber, in which their beds stood side by side, and every night when they were in them the king locked the door, and bolted it. But in the morning when he unlocked the door, he saw that their shoes were worn out with dancing, and no one could find out how that had come to pass. Then the king caused it to be proclaimed that whosoever could discover where they danced at night, should choose one of them for his wife and be king after his death, but that whosoever came forward and had not discovered it within three days and nights, should have forfeited his life.

It was not long before a king's son presented himself, and offered to undertake the enterprise. He was well received, and in the evening was led into a room adjoining the princesses, sleeping-chamber. His bed was placed there, and he was to observe where they went and danced, and in order that they might do nothing secretly or go away to some other place, the door of their room was left open. But the eyelids of the prince grew heavy as lead, and he fell asleep, and when he awoke in the morning, all twelve had been to the dance, for their shoes were standing there with holes in the soles. On the second and third nights there was no difference, and then his head was struck off without mercy.

Many others came after this and undertook the enterprise,
but all forfeited their lives. Now it came to pass that a poor soldier, who had a wound, and could serve no longer, found himself on the road to the town where the king lived.
There he met an old woman, who asked him where he was going. "I hardly know myself," answered he, and added in jest,
"I had half a mind to discover where the princesses danced their shoes into holes, and thus become king."
"That is not so difficult," said the old woman, "you must not drink the wine which will be brought to you at night, and must pretend to be sound asleep." With that she gave him a little cloak, and said, "If you wear this, you will be invisible, and then you can steal after the twelve." When the soldier had received this good advice, he fell to in earnest, took heart, went to the king, and announced himself as a suitor. He was as well received as the others, and royal garments were put upon him.
He was conducted that evening at bed-time into the antechamber, and as he was about to go to bed, the eldest came and brought him a cup of wine, but he had tied a sponge under his chin,
and let the wine run down into it, without drinking a drop.

Then he lay down and when he had lain a while, he began to snore, as if in the deepest sleep. The twelve princesses heard that, and laughed, and the eldest said, "He, too, might as well have saved his life." With that they got up, opened wardrobes, presses, cupboards, and brought out pretty dresses, dressed themselves before the mirrors, sprang about, and rejoiced at the prospect of the dance. Only the youngest said, "I know not how it is, you are very happy, but I feel very strange, some misfortune is certainly about to befall us." "You are a goose, who are always frightened," said the eldest. "Have you forgotten how many kings' sons have already come here in vain. I had hardly any need to give the soldier a sleeping-draught, the booby would not have awakened anyway."

When they were all ready they looked carefully at the soldier,
but he had closed his eyes and did not move or stir, so they felt themselves safe enough. The eldest then went to her bed and tapped it, whereupon it immediately sank into the earth, and one after the other they descended through the opening, the eldest going first. The soldier, who had watched everything, tarried no longer, put on his little cloak, and went down last with the youngest. Half-way down the steps, he just trod a little on her dress, she was terrified at that, and cried out,
"What is that? Who is pulling my dress?" "Don't be so silly,"
said the eldest, "you have caught it on a nail."

Then they went all the way down, and when they were at the bottom, they were standing in a wonderfully pretty avenue of trees, all the leaves of which were of silver, and shone and glistened. The soldier thought, "I must carry a token away with me," and broke off a twig from one of them, on which the tree cracked with a loud report. The youngest cried out again. "Something is wrong, did you hear the crack?"
But the eldest said, "It is a gun fired for joy, because we have got rid of our prince so quickly." After that they came into an avenue where all the leaves were of gold, and lastly into a third where they were of bright diamonds, he broke off a twig from each, which made such a crack each time that the youngest started back in terror, but the eldest still maintained that they were salutes.

They went on and came to a great lake whereon stood twelve little boats, and in every boat sat a handsome prince, all of whom were waiting for the twelve, and each took one of them with him, but the soldier seated himself by the youngest. Then her prince said, "I wonder why the boat is so much heavier to-day.
I shall have to row with all my strength, if I am to get it across."
"What should cause that," said the youngest, "but the warm weather?"
"I feel very warm too." On the opposite side of the lake stood a splendid, brightly-lit castle, from whence resounded the joyous music of trumpets and kettle-drums. They rowed there, entered, and each prince danced with the girl he loved, but the soldier danced with them unseen, and when one of them had a cup of wine in her hand he drank it up, so that the cup was empty when she carried it to her mouth, the youngest was alarmed at this,
but the eldest always silenced her. They danced there till three o'clock in the morning when all the shoes were danced into holes, and they were forced to leave off, the princes rowed them back again over the lake, and this time the soldier seated himself by the eldest.

On the shore they took leave of their princes, and promised to return the following night. When they reached the stairs the soldier ran on in front and lay down in his bed, and when the twelve had come up slowly and wearily, he was already snoring so loudly that they could all hear him, and they said,
"So far as he is concerned, we are safe." They took off their beautiful dresses, laid them away, put the worn-out shoes under the bed, and lay down. Next morning the soldier was resolved not to speak, but to watch the wonderful goings-on, and again went with them a second and a third night.

Then everything was just as it had been the first time, and each time they danced until their shoes were worn to pieces.
But the third time he took a cup away with him as a token.
When the hour had arrived for him to give his answer, he took the three twigs and the cup, and went to the king, but the twelve stood behind the door, and listened for what he was going to say. When the king put the question, "Where have my twelve daughters danced their shoes to pieces in the night?"
He answered, "In an underground castle with twelve princes,"
and related how it had come to pass, and brought out the tokens. The king then summoned his daughters, and asked them if the soldier had told the truth, and when they saw that they were betrayed, and that falsehood would be of no avail, they were obliged to confess all. Thereupon the king asked which of them he would have to wife. He answered, "I am no longer young, so give me the eldest." Then the wedding was celebrated on the self-same day, and the kingdom was promised him after the king's death.
But the princes were bewitched for as many days as they had danced nights with the twelve.

by the Brothers Grimm

~Little Claus and Big Claus

In a village there once lived two men who had the same name. They were both called Claus. One of them had four horses,
but the other had only one; so to distinguish them, people called the owner of the four horses, "Great Claus," and he who had only one, "Little Claus." Now we shall hear what happened to them,
for this is a true story.

Through the whole week, Little Claus was obliged to plough for Great Claus, and lend him his one horse; and once a week, on a Sunday, Great Claus lent him all his four horses.
Then how Little Claus would smack his whip over all five horses, they were as good as his own on that one day.
The sun shone brightly, and the church bells were ringing merrily as the people passed by, dressed in their best clothes, with their prayer-books under their arms.
They were going to hear the clergyman preach.
They looked at Little Claus ploughing with his five horses, and he was so proud that he smacked his whip, and said,
"Gee-up, my five horses."

"You must not say that," said Big Claus; "for only one of them belongs to you." But Little Claus soon forgot what he ought to say, and when any one passed he would call out, "Gee-up, my five horses!"

Little Claus and Big Claus by Ritva Voutila

"Now I must beg you not to say that again," said Big Claus;
"for if you do, I shall hit your horse on the head, so that he will drop dead on the spot, and there will be an end of him."

"I promise you I will not say it any more," said the other; but as soon as people came by, nodding to him, and wishing him
"Good day," he became so pleased, and thought how grand it looked to have five horses ploughing in his field, that he cried out again, "Gee-up, all my horses!"

"I'll gee-up your horses for you," said Big Claus; and seizing a hammer, he struck the one horse of Little Claus on the head,
and he fell dead instantly.

"Oh, now I have no horse at all," said Little Claus, weeping. But after a while he took off the dead horse's skin, and hung the hide to dry in the wind. Then he put the dry skin into a bag, and,
placing it over his shoulder, went out into the next town to sell the horse's skin. He had a very long way to go, and had to pass through a dark, gloomy forest. Presently a storm arose, and he lost his way, and before he discovered the right path, evening came on, and it was still a long way to the town, and too far to return home before night. Near the road stood a large farmhouse. The shutters outside the windows were closed, but lights shone through the crevices at the top.
"I might get permission to stay here for the night," thought Little Claus; so he went up to the door and knocked. The farmer's wife opened the door; but when she heard what he wanted, she told him to go away, as her husband would not allow her to admit strangers. "Then I shall be obliged to lie out here," said Little Claus to himself, as the farmer's wife shut the door in his face.
Near to the farmhouse stood a large haystack, and between it and the house was a small shed, with a thatched roof.
"I can lie up there," said Little Claus, as he saw the roof; "it will make a famous bed, but I hope the stork will not fly down and bite my legs;" for on it stood a living stork, whose nest was in the roof.
So Little Claus climbed to the roof of the shed, and while he turned himself to get comfortable, he discovered that the wooden shutters, which were closed, did not reach to the tops of the windows of the farmhouse, so that he could see into a room, in which a large table was laid out with wine, roast meat, and a splendid fish. The farmer's wife and the sexton were sitting at the table together; and she filled his glass, and helped him plenteously to fish, which appeared to be his favorite dish.
"If I could only get some, too," thought Little Claus; and then, as he stretched his neck towards the window he spied a large, beautiful pie,—indeed they had a glorious feast before them.

At this moment he heard some one riding down the road, towards the farmhouse. It was the farmer returning home.
He was a good man, but still he had a very strange prejudice,
—he could not bear the sight of a sexton. If one appeared before him, he would put himself in a terrible rage. In consequence of this dislike, the sexton had gone to visit the farmer's wife during her husband's absence from home, and the good woman had placed before him the best she had in the house to eat.
When she heard the farmer coming she was frightened, and begged the sexton to hide himself in a large empty chest that stood in the room. He did so, for he knew her husband could not endure the sight of a sexton. The woman then quickly put away the wine, and hid all the rest of the nice things in the oven;
for if her husband had seen them he would have asked what they were brought out for.

"Oh, dear," sighed Little Claus from the top of the shed, as he saw all the good things disappear.

"Is any one up there?" asked the farmer, looking up and discovering Little Claus. "Why are you lying up there?
Come down, and come into the house with me."
So Little Claus came down and told the farmer how he had lost his way and begged for a night's lodging.

"All right," said the farmer; "but we must have something to eat first."

The woman received them both very kindly, laid the cloth on a large table, and placed before them a dish of porridge. The farmer was very hungry, and ate his porridge with a good appetite, but Little Claus could not help thinking of the nice roast meat, fish and pies, which he knew were in the oven. Under the table, at his feet, lay the sack containing the horse's skin, which he intended to sell at the next town. Now Little Claus did not relish the porridge at all, so he trod with his foot on the sack under the table, and the dry skin squeaked quite loud. "Hush!" said Little Claus to his sack, at the same time treading upon it again, till it squeaked louder than before.

"Hallo! what have you got in your sack!" asked the farmer.

"Oh, it is a conjuror," said Little Claus; "and he says we need not eat porridge, for he has conjured the oven full of roast meat, fish, and pie."

"Wonderful!" cried the farmer, starting up and opening the oven door; and there lay all the nice things hidden by the farmer's wife, but which he supposed had been conjured there by the wizard under the table. The woman dared not say anything;
so she placed the things before them, and they both ate of the fish, the meat, and the pastry.

Then Little Claus trod again upon his sack, and it squeaked as before. "What does he say now?" asked the farmer.

"He says," replied Little Claus, "that there are three bottles of wine for us, standing in the corner, by the oven."

So the woman was obliged to bring out the wine also, which she had hidden, and the farmer drank it till he became quite merry. He would have liked such a conjuror as Little Claus carried in his sack. "Could he conjure up the evil one?" asked the farmer.
"I should like to see him now, while I am so merry."

"Oh, yes!" replied Little Claus, "my conjuror can do anything I ask him,—can you not?" he asked, treading at the same time on the sack till it squeaked. "Do you hear? he answers 'Yes,' but he fears that we shall not like to look at him."

"Oh, I am not afraid. What will he be like?"

"Well, he is very much like a sexton."

"Ha!" said the farmer, "then he must be ugly. Do you know I cannot endure the sight of a sexton. However, that doesn't matter,
I shall know who it is; so I shall not mind. Now then, I have got up my courage, but don't let him come too near me."

"Stop, I must ask the conjuror," said Little Claus; so he trod on the bag, and stooped his ear down to listen.

"What does he say?"

"He says that you must go and open that large chest which stands in the corner, and you will see the evil one crouching down inside; but you must hold the lid firmly, that he may not slip out."

"Will you come and help me hold it?" said the farmer, going towards the chest in which his wife had hidden the sexton,
who now lay inside, very much frightened. The farmer opened the lid a very little way, and peeped in.

"Oh," cried he, springing backwards, "I saw him, and he is exactly like our sexton. How dreadful it is!" So after that he was obliged to drink again, and they sat and drank till far into the night.

"You must sell your conjuror to me," said the farmer; "ask as much as you like, I will pay it; indeed I would give you directly a whole bushel of gold."

"No, indeed, I cannot," said Little Claus; "only think how much profit I could make out of this conjuror."

"But I should like to have him," said the fanner, still continuing his entreaties.

"Well," said Little Claus at length, "you have been so good as to give me a night's lodging, I will not refuse you; you shall have the conjuror for a bushel of money, but I will have quite full measure."

"So you shall," said the farmer; "but you must take away the chest as well. I would not have it in the house another hour;
there is no knowing if he may not be still there."

So Little Claus gave the farmer the sack containing the dried horse's skin, and received in exchange a bushel of money
—full measure. The farmer also gave him a wheelbarrow on
which to carry away the chest and the gold.

"Farewell," said Little Claus, as he went off with his money and the great chest, in which the sexton lay still concealed.
On one side of the forest was a broad, deep river, the water flowed so rapidly that very few were able to swim against the stream.
A new bridge had lately been built across it, and in the middle of this bridge Little Claus stopped, and said, loud enough to be heard by the sexton, "Now what shall I do with this stupid chest;
it is as heavy as if it were full of stones: I shall be tired if I roll it any farther, so I may as well throw it in the river; if it swims after me to my house, well and good, and if not, it will not much matter."

So he seized the chest in his hand and lifted it up a little, as if he were going to throw it into the water.

"No, leave it alone," cried the sexton from within the chest;
"let me out first."

"Oh," exclaimed Little Claus, pretending to be frightened,
"he is in there still, is he? I must throw him into the river, that he may be drowned."

"Oh, no; oh, no," cried the sexton; "I will give you a whole bushel full of money if you will let me go.

"Why, that is another matter," said Little Claus, opening the chest. The sexton crept out, pushed the empty chest into the water,
and went to his house, then he measured out a whole bushel full of gold for Little Claus, who had already received one from the farmer, so that now he had a barrow full.

"I have been well paid for my horse," said he to himself when he reached home, entered his own room, and emptied all his money into a heap on the floor. "How vexed Great Claus will be when he finds out how rich I have become all through my one horse;
but I shall not tell him exactly how it all happened."
Then he sent a boy to Great Claus to borrow a bushel measure.

"What can he want it for?" thought Great Claus; so he smeared the bottom of the measure with tar, that some of whatever was put into it might stick there and remain. And so it happened;
for when the measure returned, three new silver florins were sticking to it.

"What does this mean?" said Great Claus; so he ran off directly to Little Claus, and asked, "Where did you get so much money?"

"Oh, for my horse's skin, I sold it yesterday."

"It was certainly well paid for then," said Great Claus; and he ran home to his house, seized a hatchet, and knocked all his four horses on the head, flayed off their skins, and took them to the town to sell. "Skins, skins, who'll buy skins?" he cried, as he went through the streets. All the shoemakers and tanners came running, and asked how much he wanted for them.

"A bushel of money, for each," replied Great Claus.

"Are you mad?" they all cried; "do you think we have money to spend by the bushel?"

"Skins, skins," he cried again, "who'll buy skins?" but to all who inquired the price, his answer was, "a bushel of money."

"He is making fools of us," said they all; then the shoemakers took their straps, and the tanners their leather aprons, and began to beat Great Claus.

"Skins, skins!" they cried, mocking him; "yes, we'll mark your skin for you, till it is black and blue."

"Out of the town with him," said they. And Great Claus was obliged to run as fast as he could, he had never before been so thoroughly beaten.

"Ah," said he, as he came to his house; "Little Claus shall pay me for this; I will beat him to death."

Meanwhile the old grandmother of Little Claus died.
She had been cross, unkind, and really spiteful to him;
but he was very sorry, and took the dead woman and laid her in his warm bed to see if he could bring her to life again.
There he determined that she should lie the whole night, while he seated himself in a chair in a corner of the room as he had often done before. During the night, as he sat there, the door opened, and in came Great Claus with a hatchet. He knew well where Little Claus's bed stood; so he went right up to it, and struck the old grandmother on the head, thinking it must be Little Claus.

"There," cried he, "now you cannot make a fool of me again;"
and then he went home.

"That is a very wicked man," thought Little Claus; "he meant to kill me. It is a good thing for my old grandmother that she was already dead, or he would have taken her life."
Then he dressed his old grandmother in her best clothes, borrowed a horse of his neighbor, and harnessed it to a cart.
Then he placed the old woman on the back seat, so that she might not fall out as he drove, and rode away through the wood. By sunrise they reached a large inn, where Little Claus stopped and went to get something to eat. The landlord was a rich man,
and a good man too; but as passionate as if he had been made of pepper and snuff.

"Good morning," said he to Little Claus; "you are come betimes to-day."

"Yes," said Little Claus; "I am going to the town with my old grandmother; she is sitting at the back of the wagon,
but I cannot bring her into the room. Will you take her a glass of mead? but you must speak very loud, for she cannot hear well."

"Yes, certainly I will," replied the landlord; and, pouring out a glass of mead, he carried it out to the dead grandmother,
who sat upright in the cart. "Here is a glass of mead from your grandson," said the landlord. The dead woman did not answer a word, but sat quite still. "Do you not hear?" cried the landlord as loud as he could; "here is a glass of mead from your grandson."

Again and again he bawled it out, but as she did not stir he flew into a passion, and threw the glass of mead in her face; it struck her on the nose, and she fell backwards out of the cart, for she was only seated there, not tied in.

"Hallo!" cried Little Claus, rushing out of the door, and seizing hold of the landlord by the throat; "you have killed my grandmother; see, here is a great hole in her forehead."

"Oh, how unfortunate," said the landlord, wringing his hands.
"This all comes of my fiery temper. Dear Little Claus,
I will give you a bushel of money; I will bury your grandmother as if she were my own; only keep silent, or else they will cut off my head, and that would be disagreeable."

So it happened that Little Claus received another bushel of money, and the landlord buried his old grandmother as if she had been his own. When Little Claus reached home again, he immediately sent a boy to Great Claus, requesting him to lend him a bushel measure. "How is this?" thought Great Claus;
"did I not kill him? I must go and see for myself." So he went to Little Claus, and took the bushel measure with him.
"How did you get all this money?" asked Great Claus, staring with wide open eyes at his neighbor's treasures.

"You killed my grandmother instead of me," said Little Claus;
"so I have sold her for a bushel of money."

"That is a good price at all events," said Great Claus.
So he went home, took a hatchet, and killed his old grandmother with one blow. Then he placed her on a cart, and drove into the town to the apothecary, and asked him if he would buy a dead body.

"Whose is it, and where did you get it?" asked the apothecary.

"It is my grandmother," he replied; "I killed her with a blow,
that I might get a bushel of money for her."

"Heaven preserve us!" cried the apothecary, "you are out of your mind. Don't say such things, or you will lose your head."
And then he talked to him seriously about the wicked deed he had done, and told him that such a wicked man would surely be punished. Great Claus got so frightened that he rushed out of the surgery, jumped into the cart, whipped up his horses, and drove home quickly. The apothecary and all the people thought him mad, and let him drive where he liked.

"You shall pay for this," said Great Claus, as soon as he got into the highroad, "that you shall, Little Claus." So as soon as he reached home he took the largest sack he could find and went over to Little Claus. "You have played me another trick," said he.
"First, I killed all my horses, and then my old grandmother,
and it is all your fault; but you shall not make a fool of me any more." So he laid hold of Little Claus round the body, and pushed him into the sack, which he took on his shoulders, saying,
"Now I'm going to drown you in the river."

He had a long way to go before he reached the river, and Little Claus was not a very light weight to carry. The road led by the church, and as they passed he could hear the organ playing and the people singing beautifully. Great Claus put down the sack close to the church-door, and thought he might as well go in and hear a psalm before he went any farther. Little Claus could not possibly get out of the sack, and all the people were in church;
so in he went.

"Oh dear, oh dear," sighed Little Claus in the sack, as he turned
and twisted about; but he found he could not loosen the string with which it was tied. Presently an old cattle driver, with snowy hair, passed by, carrying a large staff in his hand, with which he drove a large herd of cows and oxen before him.
They stumbled against the sack in which lay Little Claus, and turned it over. "Oh dear," sighed Little Claus, "I am very young, yet I am soon going to heaven."

"And I, poor fellow," said the drover, "I who am so old already, cannot get there."

"Open the sack," cried Little Claus; "creep into it instead of me,
and you will soon be there."

"With all my heart," replied the drover, opening the sack, from which sprung Little Claus as quickly as possible. "Will you take care of my cattle?" said the old man, as he crept into the bag.

"Yes," said Little Claus, and he tied up the sack, and then walked off with all the cows and oxen.

When Great Claus came out of church, he took up the sack, and placed it on his shoulders. It appeared to have become lighter,
for the old drover was not half so heavy as Little Claus.

"How light he seems now," said he. "Ah, it is because I have been to a church." So he walked on to the river, which was deep and broad, and threw the sack containing the old drover into the water, believing it to be Little Claus.
"There you may lie!" he exclaimed; "you will play me no more tricks now." Then he turned to go home, but when he came to a place where two roads crossed, there was Little Claus driving the cattle. "How is this?" said Great Claus. "Did I not drown you just now?"

"Yes," said Little Claus; "you threw me into the river about half an hour ago."

"But wherever did you get all these fine beasts?" asked Great Claus.

"These beasts are sea-cattle," replied Little Claus.
"I'll tell you the whole story, and thank you for drowning me;
I am above you now, I am really very rich. I was frightened, to be sure, while I lay tied up in the sack, and the wind whistled in my ears when you threw me into the river from the bridge, and I sank to the bottom immediately; but I did not hurt myself,
for I fell upon beautifully soft grass which grows down there;
and in a moment, the sack opened, and the sweetest little maiden came towards me. She had snow-white robes, and a wreath of green leaves on her wet hair. She took me by the hand, and said, 'So you are come, Little Claus, and here are some cattle for you to begin with. About a mile farther on the road, there is another herd for you.' Then I saw that the river formed a great highway for the people who live in the sea.
They were walking and driving here and there from the sea to the land at the, spot where the river terminates. The bed of the river was covered with the loveliest flowers and sweet fresh grass.
The fish swam past me as rapidly as the birds do here in the air. How handsome all the people were, and what fine cattle were grazing on the hills and in the valleys!"

"But why did you come up again," said Great Claus, "if it was all so beautiful down there? I should not have done so?"

"Well," said Little Claus, "it was good policy on my part;
you heard me say just now that I was told by the sea-maiden to go a mile farther on the road, and I should find a whole herd of cattle. By the road she meant the river, for she could not travel any other way; but I knew the winding of the river, and how it bends, sometimes to the right and sometimes to the left, and it seemed a long way, so I chose a shorter one; and, by coming up to the land, and then driving across the fields back again to the river, I shall save half a mile, and get all my cattle more quickly."

"What a lucky fellow you are!" exclaimed Great Claus.
"Do you think I should get any sea-cattle if I went down to the bottom of the river?"

"Yes, I think so," said Little Claus; "but I cannot carry you there in a sack, you are too heavy. However if you will go there first,
and then creep into a sack, I will throw you in with the greatest pleasure."

"Thank you," said Great Claus; "but remember, if I do not get any sea-cattle down there I shall come up again and give you a good thrashing."

"No, now, don't be too fierce about it!" said Little Claus, as they walked on towards the river. When they approached it, the cattle, who were very thirsty, saw the stream, and ran down to drink.

"See what a hurry they are in," said Little Claus, "they are longing to get down again."

"Come, help me, make haste," said Great Claus; "or you'll get beaten." So he crept into a large sack, which had been lying across the back of one of the oxen.

"Put in a stone," said Great Claus, "or I may not sink."

"Oh, there's not much fear of that," he replied; still he put a large stone into the bag, and then tied it tightly, and gave it a push.

"Plump!" In went Great Claus, and immediately sank to the bottom of the river.

"I'm afraid he will not find any cattle," said Little Claus,
and then he drove his own beasts homewards.

by Hans Christian Andersen