Popular Tales from the Norse
Sir George Webbe Dasent
Part 3 out of 10
'Oh! what we have to talk about, will keep', she said, and put her
mother off. But some how or other, her mother got round her at last,
and she had to tell her the whole story. So she said, how every
night, when she had gone to bed, a man came and lay down beside her
as soon as she had put out the light, and how she never saw him,
because he was always up and away before the morning dawned; and how
she went about woeful and sorrowing, for she thought she should so
like to see him, and how all day long she walked about there alone,
and how dull, and dreary, and lonesome it was.
'My!' said her mother; 'it may well be a Troll you slept with! But
now I'll teach you a lesson how to set eyes on him. I'll give you a
bit of candle, which you can carry home in your bosom; just light
that while he is asleep, but take care not to drop the tallow on
Yes! she took the candle, and hid it in her bosom, and as night drew
on, the White Bear came and fetched her away.
But when they had gone a bit of the way, the White Bear asked if all
hadn't happened as he had said?
'Well, she couldn't say it hadn't.'
'Now, mind', said he, 'if you have listened to your mother's advice,
you have brought bad luck on us both, and then, all that has passed
between us will be as nothing.'
'No', she said, 'she hadn't listened to her mother's advice.'
So when she reached home, and had gone to bed, it was the old story
over again. There came a man and lay down beside her; but at dead of
night, when she heard he slept, she got up and struck a light, lit
the candle, and let the light shine on him, and so she saw that he
was the loveliest Prince one ever set eyes on, and she fell so deep
in love with him on the spot, that she thought she couldn't live if
she didn't give him a kiss there and then. And so she did, but as she
kissed him, she dropped three hot drops of tallow on his shirt, and
he woke up.
'What have you done?' he cried; 'now you have made us both unlucky,
for had you held out only this one year, I had been freed. For I have
a stepmother who has bewitched me, so that I am a White Bear by day,
and a Man by night. But now all ties are snapt between us; now I must
set off from you to her. She lives in a Castle which stands EAST O'
THE SUN AND WEST O' THE MOON, and there, too, is a Princess, with a
nose three ells long, and she's the wife I must have now.'
She wept and took it ill, but there was no help for it; go he must.
Then she asked if she mightn't go with him?
No, she mightn't.
'Tell me the way, then', she said, 'and I'll search you out;
_that_ surely I may get leave to do.'
'Yes, she might do that', he said; 'but there was no way to that
place. It lay EAST O' THE SUN AND WEST O' THE MOON, and thither she'd
never find her way.'
So next morning, when she woke up, both Prince and castle were gone,
and then she lay on a little green patch, in the midst of the gloomy
thick wood, and by her side lay the same bundle of rags she had
brought with her from her old home.
So when she had rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, and wept till she
was tired, she set out on her way, and walked many, many days, till
she came to a lofty crag. Under it sat an old hag, and played with a
gold apple which she tossed about. Her the lassie asked if she knew
the way to the Prince, who lived with his step-mother in the Castle,
that lay EAST O' THE SUN AND WEST O' THE MOON, and who was to marry
the Princess with a nose three ells long.
'How did you come to know about him?' asked the old hag; 'but maybe
you are the lassie who ought to have had him?'
Yes, she was.
'So, so; it's you, is it?' said the old hag. 'Well, all I know about
him is, that he lives in the castle that lies EAST O' THE SUN AND
WEST O' THE MOON, and thither you'll come, late or never; but still
you may have the loan of my horse, and on him you can ride to my next
neighbour. Maybe she'll be able to tell you; and when you get there,
just give the horse a switch under the left ear, and beg him to be off
home; and, stay, this gold apple you may take with you.'
So she got upon the horse, and rode a long long time, till she came
to another crag, under which sat another old hag, with a gold
carding-comb. Her the lassie asked if she knew the way to the castle
that lay EAST O' THE SUN AND WEST O' THE MOON, and she answered, like
the first old hag, that she knew nothing about it, except it was east
o' the sun and west o' the moon.
'And thither you'll come, late or never, but you shall have the loan
of my horse to my next neighbour; maybe she'll tell you all about it;
and when you get there, just switch the horse under the left ear, and
beg him to be off home.'
And this old hag gave her the golden carding-comb; it might be she'd
find some use for it, she said. So the lassie got up on the horse,
and rode a far far way, and a weary time; and so at last she came to
another great crag, under which sat another old hag, spinning with a
golden spinning-wheel. Her, too, she asked if she knew the way to the
Prince, and where the castle was that lay EAST O' THE SUN AND WEST O'
THE MOON. So it was the same thing over again.
'Maybe it's you who ought to have had the Prince?' said the old hag.
Yes, it was.
But she, too, didn't know the way a bit better than the other two.
'East o' the sun and west o' the moon it was', she knew--that was
'And thither you'll come, late or never; but I'll lend you my horse,
and then I think you'd best ride to the East Wind and ask him; maybe,
he knows those parts, and can blow you thither. But when you get to
him, you need only give the horse a switch under the left ear, and
he'll trot home of himself.'
And so, too, she gave her the gold spinning-wheel. 'Maybe you'll find
a use for it', said the old hag.
Then on she rode many many days, a weary time, before she got to the
East Wind's house, but at last she did reach it, and then she asked
the East Wind if he could tell her the way to the Prince who dwelt
east o' the sun and west o' the moon. Yes, the East Wind had often
heard tell of it, the Prince and the castle, but he couldn't tell the
way, for he had never blown so far.
'But, if you will, I'll go with you to my brother the West Wind,
maybe he knows, for he's much stronger. So, if you will just get on
my back, I'll carry you thither.'
Yes, she got on his back, and I should just think they went briskly
So when they got there, they went into the West Wind's house, and the
East Wind said the lassie he had brought was the one who ought to
have had the Prince who lived in the castle EAST O' THE SUN AND WEST
O' THE MOON; and so she had set out to seek him, and how he had come
with her, and would be glad to know if the West Wind knew how to get
to the castle.
'Nay', said the West Wind, 'so far I've never blown; but if you will,
I'll go with you to our brother the South Wind, for he's much
stronger than either of us, and he has flapped his wings far and
wide. Maybe he'll tell you. You can get on my back, and I'll carry
you to him.'
Yes! she got on his back, and so they travelled to the South Wind,
and weren't so very long on the way, I should think.
When they got there, the West Wind asked him if he could tell her the
way to the castle that lay EAST O' THE SUN AND WEST O' THE MOON, for
it was she who ought to have had the prince who lived there.
'You don't say so! That's she, is it?' said the South Wind.
'Well, I have blustered about in most places in my time, but so far
have I never blown; but if you will, I'll take you to my brother the
North Wind; he is the oldest and strongest of the whole lot of us,
and if he don't know where it is, you'll never find any one in the
world to tell you. You can get on my back, and I'll carry you
Yes! she got on his back, and away he went from his house at a fine
rate. And this time, too, she wasn't long on her way.
So when they got to the North Wind's house, he was so wild and cross,
cold puffs came from him a long way off.
'BLAST YOU BOTH, WHAT DO YOU WANT?' he roared out to them ever so far
off, so that it struck them with an icy shiver.
'Well', said the South Wind, 'you needn't be so foul-mouthed, for
here I am, your brother, the South Wind, and here is the lassie who
ought to have had the Prince who dwells in the castle that lies EAST
O' THE SUN AND WEST O' THE MOON, and now she wants to ask you if you
ever were there, and can tell her the way, for she would be so glad
to find him again.'
'YES, I KNOW WELL ENOUGH WHERE IT IS', said the North Wind; 'once in
my life I blew an aspen-leaf thither, but I was so tired I couldn't
blow a puff for ever so many days after. But if you really wish to go
thither, and aren't afraid to come along with me, I'll take you on my
back and see if I can blow you thither.'
Yes! with all her heart; she must and would get thither if it were
possible in any way; and as for fear, however madly he went, she
wouldn't be at all afraid.
'Very well, then', said the North Wind, 'but you must sleep here to-
night, for we must have the whole day before us, if we're to get
thither at all.'
Early next morning the North Wind woke her, and puffed himself up,
and blew himself out, and made himself so stout and big, 'twas
gruesome to look at him; and so off they went high up through the
air, as if they would never stop till they got to the world's end.
Down here below there was such a storm; it threw down long tracts of
wood and many houses, and when it swept over the great sea, ships
foundered by hundreds.
So they tore on and on--no one can believe how far they went--and all
the while they still went over the sea, and the North Wind got more
and more weary, and so out of breath he could scarce bring out a
puff, and his wings drooped and drooped, till at last he sunk so low
that the crests of the waves dashed over his heels.
'Are you afraid?' said the North Wind.
'No!' she wasn't.
But they weren't very far from land; and the North Wind had still so
much strength left in him that he managed to throw her up on the
shore under the windows of the castle which lay EAST O' THE SUN AND
WEST O' THE MOON; but then he was so weak and worn out, he had to
stay there and rest many days before he could get home again.
Next morning the lassie sat down under the castle window, and began
to play with the gold apple; and the first person she saw was the
Long-nose who was to have the Prince.
'What do you want for your gold apple, you lassie?' said the Long-
nose, and threw up the window.
'It's not for sale, for gold or money', said the lassie.
'If it's not for sale for gold or money, what is it that you will
sell it for? You may name your own price', said the Princess.
'Well! if I may get to the Prince, who lives here, and be with him
to-night, you shall have it', said the lassie whom the North Wind had
Yes! she might; that could be done. So the Princess got the gold
apple; but when the lassie came up to the Prince's bed-room at night
he was fast asleep; she called him and shook him, and between whiles
she wept sore; but all she could do she couldn't wake him up. Next
morning as soon as day broke, came the Princess with the long nose,
and drove her out again.
So in the daytime she sat down under the castle windows and began to
card with her carding-comb, and the same thing happened. The Princess
asked what she wanted for it; and she said it wasn't for sale for
gold or money, but if she might get leave to go up to the Prince and
be with him that night, the Princess should have it. But when she
went up she found him fast asleep again, and all she called, and all
she shook, and wept, and prayed, she couldn't get life into him; and
as soon as the first gray peep of day came, then came the Princess
with the long nose, and chased her out again.
So, in the day time, the lassie sat down outside under the castle
window, and began to spin with her golden spinning-wheel, and that,
too, the Princess with the long nose wanted to have. So she threw up
the window and asked what she wanted for it. The lassie said, as she
had said twice before, it wasn't for sale for gold or money; but if
she might go up to the Prince who was there, and be with him alone
that night, she might have it.
Yes! she might do that and welcome. But now you must know there were
some Christian folk who had been carried off thither, and as they sat
in their room, which was next the Prince, they had heard how a woman
had been in there, and wept and prayed, and called to him two nights
running, and they told that to the Prince.
That evening, when the Princess came with her sleepy drink, the
Prince made as if he drank, but threw it over his shoulder, for he
could guess it was a sleepy drink. So, when the lassie came in, she
found the Prince wide awake; and then she told him the whole story
how she had come thither.
'Ah', said the Prince, 'you've just come in the very nick of time,
for to-morrow is to be our wedding-day; but now I won't have the
Long-nose, and you are the only woman in the world who can set me
free. I'll say I want to see what my wife is fit for, and beg her to
wash the shirt which has the three spots of tallow on it; she'll say
yes, for she doesn't know 'tis you who put them there; but that's a
work only for Christian folk, and not for such a pack of Trolls, and
so I'll say that I won't have any other for my bride than the woman
who can wash them out, and ask you to do it.'
So there was great joy and love between them all that night. But next
day, when the wedding was to be, the Prince said:
'First of all, I'd like to see what my bride is fit for.'
'Yes!' said the step-mother, with all her heart.
'Well', said the Prince, 'I've got a fine shirt which I'd like for my
wedding shirt, but some how or other it has got three spots of tallow
on it, which I must have washed out; and I have sworn never to take
any other bride than the woman who's able to do that. If she can't,
she's not worth having.'
Well, that was no great thing they said, so they agreed, and she with
the long-nose began to wash away as hard as she could, but the more
she rubbed and scrubbed, the bigger the spots grew.
'Ah!' said the old hag, her mother, 'you can't wash; let me try.'
But she hadn't long taken the shirt in hand, before it got far worse
than ever, and with all her rubbing, and wringing, and scrubbing, the
spots grew bigger and blacker, and the darker and uglier was the
Then all the other Trolls began to wash, but the longer it lasted,
the blacker and uglier the shirt grew, till at last it was as black
all over as if it had been up the chimney.
'Ah!' said the Prince, 'you're none of you worth a straw you can't
wash. Why there, outside, sits a beggar lassie, I'll be bound she
knows how to wash better than the whole lot of you. COME IN LASSIE!'
Well, in she came.
'Can you wash this shirt clean, lassie, you?' said he.
'I don't know', she said, 'but I think I can.'
And almost before she had taken it and dipped it in the water, it was
as white as driven snow, and whiter still.
'Yes; you are the lassie for me', said the Prince.
At that the old hag flew into such a rage, she burst on the spot, and
the Princess with the long nose after her, and the whole pack of
Trolls after her--at least I've never heard a word about them since.
As for the Prince and Princess, they set free all the poor Christian
folk who had been carried off and shut up there; and they took with
them all the silver and gold, and flitted away as far as they could
from the Castle that lay EAST O' THE SUN AND WEST O' THE MOON.
BOOTS WHO ATE A MATCH WITH THE TROLL
Once on a time there was a farmer who had three sons; his means were
small, and he was old and weak, and his sons would take to nothing. A
fine large wood belonged to the farm, and one day the father told his
sons to go and hew wood, and try to pay off some of his debts.
Well, after a long talk he got them to set off, and the eldest was to
go first. But when he had got well into the wood, and began to hew at
a mossy old fir, what should he see coming up to him but a great
'If you hew in this wood of mine', said the Troll, 'I'll kill you!'
When the lad heard that, he threw the axe down, and ran off home as
fast as he could lay legs to the ground; so he came in quite out of
breath, and told them what had happened, but his father called him
'hare-heart'--no Troll would ever have scared him from hewing when he
was young, he said.
Next day the second son's turn came, and he fared just the same. He
had scarce hewn three strokes at the fir, before the Troll came to
him too, and said:
'If you hew in this wood of mine, I'll kill you.'
The lad dared not so much as look at him, but threw down the axe,
took to his heels, and came scampering home just like his brother. So
when he got home, his father was angry again, and said no Troll had
ever scared him when he was young.
The third day Boots wanted to set off.
'You, indeed!' said the two elder brothers; 'you'll do it bravely, no
doubt! you, who have scarce ever set your foot out of the door.'
Boots said nothing to this, but only begged them to give him a good
store of food. His mother had no cheese, so she set the pot on the
fire to make him a little, and he put it into a scrip and set off. So
when he had hewn a bit, the Troll came to him too, and said:
'If you hew in this wood of mine, I'll kill you.'
But the lad was not slow; he pulled his cheese out of the scrip in a
trice, and squeezed it till the whey spurted out.
'Hold your tongue!' he cried to the Troll, 'or I'll squeeze you as I
squeeze the water out of this white stone.'
'Nay, dear friend!' said the Troll, 'only spare me, and I'll help you
Well, on those terms the lad was willing to spare him, and the Troll
hewed so bravely, that they felled and cut up many, many fathoms in
But when even drew near, the Troll said:
'Now you'd better come home with me, for my house is nearer than
So the lad was willing enough; and when they reached the Troll's
house, the Troll was to make up the fire, while the lad went to fetch
water for their porridge, and there stood two iron pails so big and
heavy, that he couldn't so much as lift them from the ground.
'Pooh!' said the lad, 'it isn't worth while to touch these finer-
basins: I'll just go and fetch the spring itself.'
'Nay, nay, dear friend!' said the Troll; 'I can't afford to lose my
spring; just you make up the fire, and I'll go and fetch the water.'
So when he came back with the water, they set to and boiled up a
great pot of porridge.
'It's all the same to me', said the lad; 'but if you're of my mind,
we'll eat a match!'
'With all my heart', said the Troll, for he thought he could surely
hold his own in eating. So they sat down; but the lad took his scrip
unawares to the Troll, and hung it before him, and so he spooned more
into the scrip than he ate himself; and when the scrip was full, he
took up his knife and made a slit in the scrip. The Troll looked on
all the while, but said never a word. So when they had eaten a good
bit longer, the Troll laid down his spoon, saying, 'Nay! but I can't
eat a morsel more.'
'But you shall eat', said the youth; 'I'm only half done; why don't
you do as I did, and cut a hole in your paunch? You'll be able to eat
then as much as you please.'
'But doesn't it hurt one cruelly?' asked the Troll.
'Oh', said the youth, 'nothing to speak of.'
So the Troll did as the lad said, and then you must know very well
that he lost his life; but the lad took all the silver and gold that
he found in the hill-side, and went home with it, and you may fancy
it went a great way to pay off the debt.
Once on a time there was a princess who was so proud and pert that no
suitor was good enough for her. She made game of them all, and sent
them about their business, one after the other; but though she was so
proud, still new suitors kept on coming to the palace, for she was
a beauty, the wicked hussey!
So one day there came a prince to woo her, and his name was Hacon
Grizzlebeard; but the first night he was there, the Princess bade the
king's fool cut off the ears of one of the prince's horses, and slit
the jaws of the other up to the ears. When the prince went out to
drive next day, the Princess stood in the porch and looked at him.
'Well!' she cried, 'I never saw the like of this in all my life; the
keen north wind that blows here has taken the ears off one of your
horses, and the other has stood by and gaped at what was going on
till his jaws have split right up to his ears.'
And with that she burst out into a roar of laughter, ran in, slammed
to the door, and let him drive off.
So he drove home; but as he went, he thought to himself that he would
pay her off one day. After a bit, he put on a great beard of moss,
threw a great fur cloak over his clothes, and dressed himself up just
like any beggar. He went to a goldsmith and bought a golden spinning
wheel, and sat down with it under the Princess' window, and began to
file away at his spinning wheel, and to turn it this way and that,
for it wasn't quite in order, and, besides, it wanted a stand.
So when the Princess rose up in the morning, she came to the window
and threw it up, and called out to the beggar if he would sell his
'No; it isn't for sale', said Hacon Grizzlebeard; 'but if I may have
leave to sleep outside your bedroom door to-night, I'll give it you.'
Well, the Princess thought it a good bargain; there could be no
danger in letting him sleep outside her door.
So she got the wheel, and at night Hacon Grizzlebeard lay down
outside her bedroom. But as the night wore on he began to freeze.
'Hutetutetutetu! it is _so_ cold; do let me in', he cried.
'You've lost your wits outright, I think', said the Princess.
'Oh, hutetutetutetu! it is so bitter cold, pray do let me in', said
Hacon Grizzlebeard again.
'Hush! hush! hold your tongue!' said the Princess; 'if my father were
to know that there was a man in the house, I should be in a fine
'Oh, hutetutetutetu! I'm almost frozen to death; only let me come
inside and lie on the floor', said Hacon Grizzlebeard.
Yes! there was no help for it. She had to let him in, and when he
was, he lay on the ground and slept like a top.
Some time after, Hacon came again with the stand to the spinning-
wheel, and sat down under the Princess' window, and began to file at
it, for it was not quite fit for use. When she heard him filing, she
threw up the window and began to talk to him, and to ask what he had
'Oh! only the stand to that spinning-wheel which your royal highness
bought; for I thought, as you had the wheel, you might like to have
the stand too.'
'What do you want for it?' asked the Princess; but it was not for
sale any more than the wheel, but she might have them if she would
give him leave to sleep on the floor of her bedroom next night.
Well! she gave him leave, only he was to be sure to lie still, and
not to shiver and call out 'hutetu', or any such stuff. Hacon
Grizzlebeard promised fair enough, but as the night wore on he began
to shiver and shake, and to ask whether he might not come nearer, and
lie on the floor alongside the Princess' bed.
There was no help for it; she had to give him leave, lest the king
should hear the noise he made. So Hacon Grizzlebeard lay alongside
the Princess' bed, and slept like a top.
It was a long while before Hacon Grizzlebeard came again; but when he
came he had with him a golden wool-winder, and he sat down and began
to file away at it under the Princess' window. Then came the old
story over again. When the Princess heard what was going on, she came
to the window, and asked him how he did, and whether he would sell
the golden wool-winder?
'It is not to be had for money; but if you'll give me leave to sleep
to-night in your bedroom, with my head on your bedstead, you shall
have it for nothing', said Hacon Grizzlebeard.
Well! she would give him leave, if he only gave his word to be quiet,
and make no noise. So he said he would do his best to be still; but
as the night wore on, he began to shiver and shake so, that his teeth
'Hutetutetutetu! it is so bitter cold! Oh, do let me get into bed and
warm myself a little', said Hacon Grizzlebeard.
'Get into bed!' said the Princess; 'why, you must have lost your
'Hutetutetutetu!' said Hacon; 'do let me get into bed.
'Hush! hush! be still for God's sake', said the Princess; 'if father
knows there is a man in here, I shall be in a sad plight. I'm sure
he'll kill me on the spot.'
'Hutetutetutetu! let me get into bed', said Hacon Grizzlebeard, who
kept on shivering so that the whole room shook.
Well! there was no help for it; she had to let him get into bed,
where he slept both sound and soft; but a little while after the
Princess had a child, at which the king grew so wild with rage, that
he was near making an end of both mother and babe. Just after this
happened, came Hacon Grizzlebeard tramping that way once more, as if
by chance, and took his seat down in the kitchen, like any other
So when the Princess came out and saw him, she cried, 'Ah, God have
mercy on me, for the ill-luck you have brought on me; father is ready
to burst with rage; do let me follow you to your home.'
'Oh! I'll be bound you're too well bred to follow me', said Hacon,
'for I have nothing but a log but to live in; and how I shall ever
get food for you I can't tell, for it's just as much as I can do to
get food for myself.'
'Oh yes! it's all the same to me how you get it, or whether you get
it at all', she said; 'only let me be with you, for if I stay here
any longer, my father will be sure to take my life.'
So she got leave to be with the beggar, as she called him, and they
walked a long, long way, though she was but a poor hand at tramping.
When she passed out of her father's land into another, she asked
whose it was?
'Oh! this is Hacon Grizzlebeard's, if you must know', said he.
'Indeed!' said the Princess; 'I might have married him if I chose,
and then I should not have had to walk about like a beggar's wife.'
So, whenever they came to grand castles, and woods, and parks, and
she asked whose they were? the beggar's answer was still the same:
'Oh: they are Hacon Grizzlebeard's.' And the Princess was in a sad
way that she had not chosen the man who had such broad lands. Last of
all, they came to a palace, where he said he was known, and where he
thought he could get her work, so that they might have something to
live on; so he built up a cabin by the woodside for them to dwell in;
and every day he went to the king's palace, as he said, to hew wood
and draw water for the cook, and when he came back he brought a few
scraps of meat; but they did not go very far. One day, when he came
home from the palace, he said: 'To-morrow I will stay at home and
look after the baby, but you must get ready to go to the palace, do
you hear! for the Prince said you were to come and try your hand at
'I bake!' said the Princess; 'I can't bake, for I never did such a
thing in my life.'
'Well, you must go', said Hacon, 'since the Prince has said it. If
you can't bake, you can learn; you have only got to look how the rest
bake; and mind, when you leave, you must steal me some bread.'
'I can't steal', said the Princess.
'You can learn that too', said Hacon; 'you know we live on short
commons. But take care that the Prince doesn't see you, for he has
eyes at the back of his head.'
So when she was well on her way, Hacon ran by a short cut and reached
the palace long before her, and threw off his rags and beard, and put
on his princely robes.
The Princess took her turn in the bakehouse, and did as Hacon bade
her, for she stole bread till her pockets were crammed full. So when
she was about to go home at even, the Prince said:
'We don't know much of this old wife of Hacon Grizzlebeard's, I think
we'd best see if she has taken anything away with her.'
So he thrust his hand into all her pockets, and felt her all over,
and when he found the bread, he was in a great rage, and led them all
a sad life. She began to weep and bewail, and said:
'The beggar made me do it, and I couldn't help it.' 'Well', said the
Prince at last, 'it ought to have gone hard with you; but all the
same, for the sake of the beggar you shall be forgiven this once.'
When she was well on her way, he threw off his robes, put on his skin
cloak, and his false beard, and reached the cabin before her. When
she came home, he was busy nursing the baby.
'Well, you have made me do what it went against my heart to do. This
is the first time I ever stole, and this shall be the last'; and with
that she told him how it had gone with her, and what the Prince had
A few days after Hacon Grizzlebeard came home at even and said:
'To-morrow I must stay at home and mind the babe, for they are going
to kill a pig at the palace, and you must help to make the sausages.'
'I make sausages!' said the Princess; 'I can't do any such thing. I
have eaten sausages often enough; but as to making them, I never made
one in my life.'
Well, there was no help for it; the Prince had said it, and go she
must. As for not knowing how, she was only to do what the others did,
and at the same time Hacon bade her steal some sausages for him.
'Nay, but I can't steal them', she said; 'you know how it went last
'Well, you can learn to steal; who knows but you may have better luck
next time', said Hacon Grizzlebeard.
When she was well on her way, Hacon ran by a short cut, reached the
palace long before her, threw off his skin cloak and false beard, and
stood in the kitchen with his royal robes before she came in. So the
Princess stood by when the pig was killed, and made sausages with the
rest, and did as Hacon bade her, and stuffed her pockets full of
sausages. But when she was about to go home at even, the Prince said:
'This beggar's wife was long-fingered last time; we may as well just
see if she hasn't carried anything off.'
So he began to thrust his hands into her pockets, and when he found
the sausages he was in a great rage again, and made a great to do,
threatening to send for the constable and put her into the cage.
'Oh, God bless your royal highness; do let me off! The beggar made me
do it', she said, and wept bitterly.
'Well', said Hacon, 'you ought to smart for it; but for the beggar's
sake you shall be forgiven.'
When she was gone, he changed his clothes again, ran by the short
cut, and when she reached the cabin, there he was before her. Then
she told him the whole story, and swore, through thick and thin, it
should be the last time he got her to do such a thing.
Now, it fell out a little time after, when the man came back from the
palace, he said:
'Our Prince is going to be married, but the bride is sick, so the
tailor can't measure her for her wedding gown. And the Prince's will
is, that you should go up to the palace and be measured instead of
the bride; for he says you are just the same height and shape. But
after you have been measured, mind you don't go away; you can stand
about, you know, and when the tailor cuts out the gown, you can snap
up the largest pieces, and bring them home for a waistcoat for me.'
'Nay, but I can't steal', she said; 'besides, you know how it went
'You can learn then', said Hacon, 'and you may have better luck,
She thought it bad, but still she went and did as she was told. She
stood by while the tailor was cutting out the gown, and she swept
down all the biggest scraps, and stuffed them into her pockets; and
when she was going away, the Prince said:
'We may as well see if this old girl has not been long-fingered this
So he began to feel and search her pockets, and when he found the
pieces he was in a rage, and began to stamp and scold at a great
rate, while she wept and said:
'Ah, pray forgive me; the beggar bade me do it, and I couldn't help
'Well, you ought to smart for it', said Hacon; 'but for the beggar's
sake it shall be forgiven you.'
So it went now just as it had gone before, and when she got back to
the cabin, the beggar was there before her.
'Oh, Heaven help me', she said; 'you will be the death of me at last,
by making me nothing but what is wicked. The Prince was in such a
towering rage that he threatened me both with the constable and
Sometime after, Hacon came home to the cabin at even and said:
'Now, the Prince's will is, that you should go up to the palace and
stand for the bride, old lass! for the bride is still sick, and keeps
her bed; but he won't put off the wedding; and he says, you are so
like her, that no one could tell one from the other; so to-morrow you
must get ready to go to the palace.'
'I think you've lost your wits, both the Prince and you', said she.
'Do you think I look fit to stand in the bride's place? look at me!
Can any beggar's trull look worse than I?'
'Well, the Prince said you were to go, and so go you must', said
There was no help for it, go she must; and when she reached the
palace, they dressed her out so finely that no princess ever looked
The bridal train went to church, where she stood for the bride, and
when they came back, there was dancing and merriment in the palace.
But just as she was in the midst of dancing with the Prince, she saw
a gleam of light through the window, and lo! the cabin by the wood-
side was all one bright flame.
'Oh! the beggar, and the babe, and the cabin', she screamed out, and
was just going to swoon away.
'Here is the beggar, and there is the babe, and so let the cabin burn
away', said Hacon Grizzlebeard.
Then she knew him again, and after that the mirth and merriment began
in right earnest; but since that I have never heard tell anything
more about them.
BOOTS, WHO MADE THE PRINCESS SAY, 'THAT'S A STORY'
Once on a time there was a king who had a daughter, and she was such
a dreadful story-teller that the like of her was not to be found far
or near. So the king gave out, that if any one could tell such a
string of lies, as would get her to say, 'That's a story', he should
have her to wife, and half the kingdom besides. Well, many came, as
you may fancy, to try their luck, for every one would have been very
glad to have the Princess, to say nothing of the kingdom; but they
all cut a sorry figure, for the Princess was so given to story-
telling, that all their lies went in at one ear and out of the other.
Among the rest came three brothers to try their luck, and the two
elder went first, but they fared no better than those who had gone
before them. Last of all the third, Boots, set off and found the
Princess in the farm-yard.
'Good-morning', he said, 'and thank you for nothing.'
'Good-morning', said she, 'and the same to you.'
Then she went on:
'You haven't such a fine farm-yard as ours, I'll be bound; for when
two shepherds stand, one at each end of it, and blow their ram's
horns, the one can't hear the other.'
'Haven't we though!' answered Boots; 'ours is far bigger; for when a
cow begins to go with calf at one end of it, she doesn't get to the
other end before the time to drop her calf is come.'
'I dare say!' said the Princess. 'Well, but you haven't such a big
ox, after all, as ours yonder; for when two men sit one on each horn,
they can't touch each other with a twenty-foot rule.'
'Stuff!' said Boots; 'is that all? why, we have an ox who is so big,
that when two men sit, one on each horn, and each blows his great
mountain-trumpet, they can't hear one another.'
'I dare say!' said the Princess; 'but you haven't so much milk as we,
I'll be bound; for we milk our kine into great pails, and carry them
in-doors, and empty them into great tubs, and so we make great, great
'Oh! you do, do you?' said Boots. 'Well, we milk ours into great
tubs, and then we put them in carts and drive them in-doors, and then
we turn them out into great brewing vats, and so we make cheeses as
big as a great house. We had, too a dun mare to tread the cheese well
together when it was making; but once she tumbled down into the
cheese, and we lost her; and after we had eaten at this cheese seven
years, we came upon a great dun mare, alive and kicking. Well, once
after that I was going to drive this mare to the mill, and her back-
bone snapped in two; but I wasn't put out, not I, for I took a spruce
sapling, and put it into her for a back-bone, and she had no other
back-bone all the while we had her. But the sapling grew up into such
a tall tree, that I climbed right up to heaven by it, and when I got
there, I saw the Virgin Mary sitting and spinning the foam of the sea
into pig's-bristle ropes; but just then the spruce-fir broke short
off, and I couldn't get down again; so the Virgin Mary let me down by
one of the ropes, and down I slipped straight into a fox's hole, and
who should sit there but my mother and your father cobbling shoes;
and just as I stepped in, my mother gave your father such a box on
the ear, that it made his whiskers curl.'
'That's a story!' said the Princess; 'my father never did any such
thing in all his born days!'
So Boots got the Princess to wife, and half the kingdom besides.
THE TWELVE WILD DUCKS
Once on a time there was a Queen who was out driving, when there had
been a new fall of snow in the winter; but when she had gone a little
way, she began to bleed at the nose, and had to get out of her
sledge. And so, as she stood there, leaning against the fence, and
saw the red blood on the white snow, she fell a-thinking how she had
twelve sons and no daughter, and she said to herself:
'If I only had a daughter as white as snow and as red as blood, I
shouldn't care what became of all my sons.'
But the words were scarce out of her mouth before an old witch of the
Trolls came up to her.
'A daughter you shall have', she said, 'and she shall be as white as
snow, and as red as blood; and your sons shall be mine, but you may
keep them till the babe is christened.'
So when the time came the Queen had a daughter, and she was as white
as snow, and as red as blood, just as the Troll had promised, and so
they called her 'Snow-white and Rosy-red.' Well, there was great joy
at the King's court, and the Queen was as glad as glad could be; but
when what she had promised to the old witch came into her mind, she
sent for a silversmith, and bade him make twelve silver spoons, one
for each prince, and after that she bade him make one more, and that
she gave to Snow-white and Rosy-red. But as soon as ever the Princess
was christened, the Princes were turned into twelve wild ducks, and
flew away. They never saw them again--away they went, and away they
So the Princess grew up, and she was both tall and fair, but she was
often so strange and sorrowful, and no one could understand what it
was that failed her. But one evening the Queen was also sorrowful,
for she had many strange thoughts when she thought of her sons. She
said to Snow-white and Rosy-red,
'Why are you so sorrowful, my daughter? Is there anything you want?
if so, only say the word, and you shall have it.'
'Oh, it seems so dull and lonely here', said Snow-white and Rosy-red;
'every one else has brothers and sisters, but I am all alone; I have
none; and that's why I'm so sorrowful.'
'But you _had_ brothers, my daughter', said the Queen; 'I had
twelve sons who were your brothers, but I gave them all away to get
you'; and so she told her the whole story.
So when the Princess heard that, she had no rest; for, in spite of
all the Queen could say or do, and all she wept and prayed, the
lassie would set off to seek her brothers, for she thought it was all
her fault; and at last she got leave to go away from the palace. On
and on she walked into the wide world, so far, you would never have
thought a young lady could have strength to walk so far.
So, once, when she was walking through a great, great wood, one day
she felt tired, and sat down on a mossy tuft and fell asleep. Then
she dreamt that she went deeper and deeper into the wood, till she
came to a little wooden hut, and there she found her brothers; just
then she woke, and straight before her she saw a worn path in the
green moss, and this path went deeper into the wood; so she followed
it, and after a long time she came to just such a little wooden house
as that she had seen in her dream.
Now, when she went into the room there was no one at home, but there
stood twelve beds, and twelve chairs, and twelve spoons--a dozen of
everything, in short. So when she saw that she was so glad, she
hadn't been so glad for many a long year, for she could guess at once
that her brothers lived here, and that they owned the beds, and
chairs, and spoons. So she began to make up the fire, and sweep the
room, and make the beds, and cook the dinner, and to make the house
as tidy as she could; and when she had done all the cooking and work,
she ate her own dinner, and crept under her youngest brother's bed,
and lay down there, but she forgot her spoon upon the table.
So she had scarcely laid herself down before she heard something
flapping and whirring in the air, and so all the twelve wild ducks
came sweeping in; but as soon as ever they crossed the threshold they
'Oh, how nice and warm it is in here', they said. 'Heaven bless him
who made up the fire, and cooked such a good dinner for us.'
And so each took up his silver spoon and was going to eat. But when
each had taken his own, there was one still left lying on the table,
and it was so like the rest that they couldn't tell it from them.
'This is our sister's spoon', they said; 'and if her spoon be here,
she can't be very far off herself.'
'If this be our sister's spoon, and she be here', said the eldest,
'she shall be killed, for she is to blame for all the ill we suffer.'
And this she lay under the bed and listened to.
'No', said the youngest, ''twere a shame to kill her for that. She
has nothing to do with our suffering ill; for if any one's to blame,
it's our own mother.'
So they set to work hunting for her both high and low, and at last
they looked under all the beds, and so when they came to the youngest
Prince's bed, they found her, and dragged her out. Then the eldest
Prince wished again to have her killed, but she begged and prayed so
prettily for herself.
'Oh! gracious goodness! don't kill me, for I've gone about seeking
you these three years, and if I could only set you free, I'd
willingly lose my life.'
'Well!' said they, 'if you will set us free, you may keep your life;
for you can if you choose.'
'Yes; only tell me', said the Princess, 'how it can be done, and I'll
do it, whatever it be.'
'You must pick thistle-down', said the Princes, 'and you must card
it, and spin it, and weave it; and after you have done that, you must
cut out and make twelve coats, and twelve shirts, and twelve
neckerchiefs, one for each of us, and while you do that, you must
neither talk, nor laugh, nor weep. If you can do that, we are free.'
'But where shall I ever get thistle-down enough for so many
neckerchiefs, and shirts, and coats?' asked Snow-white and Rosy-red.
'We'll soon show you', said the Princes; and so they took her with
them to a great wide moor, where there stood such a crop of thistles,
all nodding and nodding in the breeze, and the down all floating and
glistening like gossamers through the air in the sunbeams. The
Princess had never seen such a quantity of thistledown in her life,
and she began to pluck and gather it as fast and as well as she
could; and when she got home at night she set to work carding and
spinning yarn from the down. So she went on a long long time,
picking, and carding, and spinning, and all the while keeping the
Princes' house, cooking, and making their beds. At evening home they
came, flapping and whirring like wild ducks, and all night they were
Princes, but in the morning off they flew again, and were wild ducks
the whole day.
But now it happened once, when she was out on the moor to pick
thistle-down--and if I don't mistake, it was the very last time she
was to go thither--it happened that the young King who ruled that
land was out hunting, and came riding across the moor, and saw her.
So he stopped there and wondered who the lovely lady could be that
walked along the moor picking thistle-down, and he asked her her
name, and when he could get no answer, he was still more astonished;
and at last he liked her so much, that nothing would do but he must
take her home to his castle and marry her. So he ordered his servants
to take her and put her up on his horse. Snow-white and Rosy-red, she
wrung her hands, and made signs to them, and pointed to the bags in
which her work was, and when the King saw she wished to have them
with her, he told his men to take up the bags behind them. When they
had done that the Princess came to herself, little by little, for the
King was both a wise man and a handsome man too, and he was as soft
and kind to her as a doctor. But when they got home to the palace,
and the old Queen, who was his stepmother, set eyes on Snow-white and
Rosy-red, she got so cross and jealous of her because she was so
lovely, that she said to the king:
'Can't you see now, that this thing whom you have picked up, and whom
you are going to marry, is a witch. Why? she can't either talk, or
laugh, or weep!'
But the King didn't care a pin for what she said, but held on with
the wedding, and married Snow-white and Rosy-red and they lived in
great joy and glory; but she didn't forget to go on sewing at her
So when the year was almost out, Snow-white and Rosy-red brought a
Prince into the world; and then the old Queen was more spiteful and
jealous than ever, and at dead of night, she stole in to Snow-white
and Rosy-red, while she slept, and took away her babe, and threw it
into a pitful of snakes. After that she cut Snow-white and Rosy-red
in her finger, and smeared the blood over her mouth, and went
straight to the King.
'Now come and see', she said, 'what sort of a thing you have taken
for your Queen; here she has eaten up her own babe.'
Then the King was so downcast, he almost burst into tears, and said:
'Yes, it must be true, since I see it with my own eyes; but she'll
not do it again, I'm sure, and so this time I'll spare her life.'
So before the next year was out she had another son, and the same
thing happened. The King's stepmother got more and more jealous and
spiteful. She stole into the young Queen at night while she slept,
took away the babe, and threw it into a pit full of snakes, cut the
young Queen's finger, and smeared the blood over her mouth, and then
went and told the King she had eaten up her own child. Then the King
was so sorrowful, you can't think how sorry he was, and he said:
'Yes, it must be true, since I see it with my own eyes; but she'll
not do it again, I'm sure, and so this time too I'll spare her life.'
Well, before the next year was out, Snow-white and Rosy-red brought a
daughter into the world, and her, too, the old Queen took and threw
into the pit full of snakes, while the young Queen slept. Then she
cut her finger, smeared the blood over her mouth, and went again to
the King and said,
'Now you may come and see if it isn't as I say; she's a wicked,
wicked witch, for here she has gone and eaten up her third babe,
Then the King was so sad, there was no end to it, for now he couldn't
spare her any longer, but had to order her to be burnt alive on a
pile of wood. But just when the pile was all a-blaze, and they were
going to put her on it, she made signs to them to take twelve boards
and lay them round the pile, and on these she laid the neckerchiefs,
and the shirts, and the coats for her brothers, but the youngest
brother's shirt wanted its left arm, for she hadn't had time to
finish it. And as soon as ever she had done that, they heard such a
flapping and whirring in the air, and down came twelve wild ducks
flying over the forest, and each of them snapped up his clothes in
his bill and flew off with them.
'See now!' said the old Queen to the King, 'wasn't I right when I
told you she was a witch, but make haste and burn her before the pile
'Oh!' said the King, 'we've wood enough and to spare, and so I'll
wait a bit, for I have a mind to see what the end of all this will
As he spoke, up came the twelve princes riding along, as handsome
well-grown lads as you'd wish to see; but the youngest prince had a
wild duck's wing instead of his left arm.
'What's all this about?' asked the Princes.
'My Queen is to be burnt,' said the King, 'because she's a witch, and
because she has eaten up her own babes.'
'She hasn't eaten them at all', said the Princes. 'Speak now, sister;
you have set us free and saved us, now save yourself.'
Then Snow-white and Rosy-red spoke, and told the whole story; how
every time she was brought to bed, the old Queen, the King's
stepmother, had stolen into her at night, had taken her babes away,
and cut her little finger, and smeared the blood over her mouth; and
then the Princes took the King, and shewed him the snake-pit where
three babes lay playing with adders and toads, and lovelier children
you never saw.
So the King had them taken out at once, and went to his stepmother,
and asked her what punishment she thought that woman deserved who
could find it in her heart to betray a guiltless Queen and three such
blessed little babes.
'She deserves to be fast bound between twelve unbroken steeds, so
that each may take his share of her', said the old Queen.
'You have spoken your own doom', said the King, 'and you shall suffer
it at once.'
So the wicked old Queen was fast bound between twelve unbroken
steeds, and each got his share of her. But the King took Snow-white
and Rosy-red, and their three children, and the twelve Princes; and
so they all went home to their father and mother, and told all that
had befallen them, and there was joy and gladness over the whole
kingdom, because the Princess was saved and set free, and because she
had set free her twelve brothers.
THE GIANT WHO HAD NO HEART IN HIS BODY
Once on a time there was a king who had seven sons, and he loved them
so much that he could never bear to be without them all at once, but
one must always be with him. Now, when they were grown up, six were
to set off to woo, but as for the youngest, his father kept him at
home, and the others were to bring back a princess for him to the
palace. So the king gave the six the finest clothes you ever set eyes
on, so fine that the light gleamed from them a long way off, and each
had his horse, which cost many, many hundred dollars, and so they set
off. Now, when they had been to many palaces, and seen many
princesses, at last they came to a king who had six daughters; such
lovely king's daughters they had never seen, and so they fell to
wooing them, each one, and when they had got them for sweethearts,
they set off home again, but they quite forgot that they were to
bring back with them a sweetheart for Boots, their brother, who
stayed at home, for they were over head and ears in love with their
But when they had gone a good bit on their way, they passed close by
a steep hill-side, like a wall, where the giant's house was, and
there the giant came out, and set his eyes upon them, and turned them
all into stone, princes and princesses and all. Now the king waited
and waited for his six sons, but the more he waited, the longer they
stayed away; so he fell into great trouble, and said he should never
know what it was to be glad again.
'And if I had not you left', he said to Boots, 'I would live no
longer, so full of sorrow am I for the loss of your brothers.'
'Well, but now I've been thinking to ask your leave to set out and
find them again; that's what I'm thinking of', said Boots.
'Nay, nay!' said his father; 'that leave you shall never get, for
then you would stay away too.'
But Boots had set his heart upon it; go he would; and he begged and
prayed so long that the king was forced to let him go. Now, you must
know the king had no other horse to give Boots but an old broken-down
jade, for his six other sons and their train had carried off all his
horses; but Boots did not care a pin for that, he sprang up on his
'Farewell, father', said he; 'I'll come back, never fear, and like
enough I shall bring my six brothers back with me'; and with that he
So, when he had ridden a while, he came to a Raven, which lay in the
road and flapped its wings, and was not able to get out of the way,
it was so starved.
'Oh, dear friend', said the Raven, 'give me a little food, and I'll
help you again at your utmost need.'
'I haven't much food', said the Prince, 'and I don't see how you'll
ever be able to help me much; but still I can spare you a little. I
see you want it.'
So he gave the raven some of the food he had brought with him.
Now, when he had gone a bit further, he came to a brook, and in the
brook lay a great Salmon, which had got upon a dry place and dashed
itself about, and could not get into the water again.
'Oh, dear friend', said the Salmon to the Prince; 'shove me out into
the water again, and I'll help you again at your utmost need.'
'Well!' said the Prince, 'the help you'll give me will not be great,
I daresay, but it's a pity you should lie there and choke'; and with
that he shot the fish out into the stream again.
After that he went a long, long way, and there met him a Wolf, which
was so famished that it lay and crawled along the road on its belly.
'Dear friend, do let me have your horse', said the Wolf; 'I'm so
hungry the wind whistles through my ribs; I've had nothing to eat
these two years.'
'No', said Boots, 'this will never do; 'first I came to a raven, and
I was forced to give him my food; next I came to a salmon, and him I
had to help into the water again; and now you will have my horse. It
can't be done, that it can't, for then I should have nothing to ride
'Nay, dear friend, but you can help me', said Graylegs the wolf; 'you
can ride upon my back, and I'll help you again in your utmost need.'
'Well! the help I shall get from you will not be great, I'll be
bound', said the Prince; 'but you may take my horse, since you are in
So when the wolf had eaten the horse, Boots took the bit and put it
into the wolf's jaw, and laid the saddle on his back; and now the
wolf was so strong, after what he had got inside, that he set off
with the Prince like nothing. So fast he had never ridden before.
'When we have gone a bit farther', said Graylegs; 'I'll show you the
So after a while they came to it.
'See, here is the Giant's house', said the Wolf; 'and see, here are
your six brothers, whom the Giant has turned into stone; and see here
are their six brides, and away yonder is the door, and in at that
door you must go.'
'Nay, but I daren't go in', said the Prince; 'he'll take my life.'
'No! no!' said the Wolf; 'when you get in you'll find a Princess, and
she'll tell you what to do to make an end of the Giant. Only mind and
do as she bids you.'
Well! Boots went in, but, truth to say, he was very much afraid. When
he came in the Giant was away, but in one of the rooms sat the
Princess, just as the wolf had said, and so lovely a princess Boots
had never yet set eyes on.
'Oh! heaven help you! whence have you come?' said the Princess, as
she saw him; 'it will surely be your death. No one can make an end of
the Giant who lives here, for he has no heart in his body.'
'Well! well!' said Boots; 'but now that I am here, I may as well try
what I can do with him; and I will see if I can't free my brothers,
who are standing turned to stone out of doors; and you, too, I will
try to save, that I will.'
'Well, if you must, you must', said the Princess; 'and so let us see
if we can't hit on a plan. Just creep under the bed yonder, and mind
and listen to what he and I talk about. But, pray, do lie as still as
So he crept under the bed, and he had scarce got well underneath it,
before the Giant came.
'Ha!' roared the Giant, 'what a smell of Christian blood there is in
'Yes, I know there is', said the Princess, 'for there came a magpie
flying with a man's bone, and let it fall down the chimney. I made
all the haste I could to get it out, but all one can do, the smell
doesn't go off so soon.'
So the Giant said no more about it, and when night came, they went to
bed. After they had lain awhile, the Princess said:
'There is one thing I'd be so glad to ask you about, if I only
'What thing is that?' asked the Giant.
'Only where it is you keep your heart, since you don't carry it about
you', said the Princess.
'Ah! that's a thing you've no business to ask about; but if you must
know, it lies under the door-sill', said the Giant.
'Ho! ho!' said Boots to himself under the bed, 'then we'll soon see
if we can't find it.'
Next morning the Giant got up cruelly early, and strode off to the
wood; but he was hardly out of the house before Boots and the
Princess set to work to look under the door-sill for his heart; but
the more they dug, and the more they hunted, the more they couldn't
'He has baulked us this time', said the Princess, 'but we'll try him
So she picked all the prettiest flowers she could find, and strewed
them over the door-sill, which they had laid in its right place
again; and when the time came for the Giant to come home again, Boots
crept under the bed. Just as he was well under, back came the Giant.
Snuff--snuff, went the Giant's nose. 'My eyes and limbs, what a smell
of Christian blood there is in here', said he.
'I know there is', said the Princess, 'for there came a magpie flying
with a man's bone in his bill, and let it fall down the chimney. I
made as much haste as I could to get it out, but I daresay it's that
So the Giant held his peace, and said no more about it. A little
while after, he asked who it was that had strewed flowers about the
'Oh, I, of course', said the Princess.
'And, pray, what's the meaning of all this?' said the Giant.
'Ah!' said the Princess, 'I'm so fond of you that I couldn't help
strewing them, when I knew that your heart lay under there.'
'You don't say so', said the Giant; 'but after all it doesn't lie
there at all.'
So when they went to bed again in the evening, the Princess asked the
Giant again where his heart was, for she said she would so like to
'Well', said the Giant, 'if you must know, it lies away yonder in the
cupboard against the wall.'
'So, so!' thought Boots and the Princess; 'then we'll soon try to
Next morning the Giant was away early, and strode off to the wood,
and so soon as he was gone Boots and the Princess were in the
cupboard hunting for his heart, but the more they sought for it, the
less they found it.
'Well', said the Princess, 'we'll just try him once more.'
So she decked out the cupboard with flowers and garlands, and when
the time came for the Giant to come home, Boots crept under the bed
Then back came the Giant.
Snuff-snuff! 'My eyes and limbs, what a smell of Christian blood
there is in here!'
'I know there is', said the Princess; 'for a little while since there
came a magpie flying with a man's bone in his bill, and let it fall
down the chimney. I made all the haste I could to get it out of the
house again; but after all my pains, I daresay it's that you smell.'
When the Giant heard that, he said no more about it; but a little
while after, he saw how the cupboard was all decked about with
flowers and garlands; so he asked who it was that had done that? Who
could it be but the Princess.
'And, pray, what's the meaning of all this tom-foolery?' asked the
'Oh, I'm so fond of you, I couldn't help doing it when I knew that
your heart lay there', said the Princess.
'How can you be so silly as to believe any such thing?' said the
'Oh yes; how can I help believing it, when you say it', said the
'You're a goose', said the Giant; 'where my heart is, you will never
'Well', said the Princess;' but for all that, 'twould be such a
pleasure to know where it really lies.'
Then the poor Giant could hold out no longer, but was forced to say:
'Far, far away in a lake lies an island; on that island stands a
church; in that church is a well; in that well swims a duck; in that
duck there is an egg, and in that egg there lies my heart,--you
In the morning early, while it was still grey dawn, the Giant strode
off to the wood.
'Yes! now I must set off too', said Boots; 'if I only knew how to
find the way.' He took a long, long farewell of the Princess, and
when he got out of the Giant's door, there stood the Wolf waiting for
him. So Boots told him all that had happened inside the house, and
said now he wished to ride to the well in the church, if he only knew
the way. So the Wolf bade him jump on his back, he'd soon find the
way; and away they went, till the wind whistled after them, over
hedge and field, over hill and dale. After they had travelled many,
many days, they came at last to the lake. Then the Prince did not
know how to get over it, but the Wolf bade him only not be afraid,
but stick on, and so he jumped into the lake with the Prince on his
back, and swam over to the island. So they came to the church; but
the church keys hung high, high up on the top of the tower, and at
first the Prince did not know how to get them down.
'You must call on the raven', said the Wolf.
So the Prince called on the raven, and in a trice the raven came, and
flew up and fetched the keys, and so the Prince got into the church.
But when he came to the well, there lay the duck, and swam about
backwards and forwards, just as the Giant had said. So the Prince
stood and coaxed it and coaxed it, till it came to him, and he
grasped it in his hand; but just as he lifted it up from the water
the duck dropped the egg into the well, and then Boots was beside
himself to know how to get it out again.
'Well, now you must call on the salmon to be sure', said the Wolf;
and the king's son called on the salmon, and the salmon came and
fetched up the egg from the bottom of the well.
Then the Wolf told him to squeeze the egg, and as soon as ever he
squeezed it the Giant screamed out.
'Squeeze it again', said the Wolf; and when the Prince did so, the
Giant screamed still more piteously, and begged and prayed so
prettily to be spared, saying he would do all that the Prince wished
if he would only not squeeze his heart in two.
'Tell him, if he will restore to life again your six brothers and
their brides, whom he has turned to stone, you will spare his life',
said the Wolf. Yes, the Giant was ready to do that, and he turned the
six brothers into king's sons again, and their brides into king's
'Now, squeeze the egg in two', said the Wolf. So Boots squeezed the
egg to pieces, and the Giant burst at once.
Now, when he had made an end of the Giant, Boots rode back again on
the wolf to the Giant's house, and there stood all his six brothers
alive and merry, with their brides. Then Boots went into the hill-
side after his bride, and so they all set off home again to their
father's house. And you may fancy how glad the old king was when he
saw all his seven sons come back, each with his bride--'But the
loveliest bride of all is the bride of Boots, after all', said the
king, 'and he shall sit uppermost at the table, with her by his
So he sent out, and called a great wedding-feast, and the mirth was
both loud and long, and if they have not done feasting, why, they are
still at it.
THE FOX AS HERDSMAN
Once on a time there was a woman who went out to hire a herdsman, and
she met a bear.
'Whither away, Goody?' said Bruin.
'Oh, I'm going out to hire a herdsman', answered the woman.
'Why not have me for a herdsman?' said Bruin.
'Well, why not?' said the woman. 'If you only knew how to call the
flock; just let me hear?'
'OW, OW!' growled the bear.
'No, no! I won't have you', said the woman, as soon as she heard him
say that, and off she went on her way.
So, when she had gone a bit further, she met a wolf.
'Whither away, Goody?' asked the Wolf.
'Oh!' said she, 'I'm going out to hire a herdsman.'
'Why not have me for a herdsman?' said the Wolf.
'Well, why not? if you can only call the flock; let me hear?' said
'UH, UH!' said the Wolf.
'No, no!' said the woman; 'you'll never do for me.'
Well, after she had gone a while longer, she met a fox.
'Whither away, Goody?' asked the Fox.
'Oh, I'm just going out to hire a herdsman', said the woman.
'Why not have me for your herdsman?' asked the Fox.
'Well, why not?' said she; 'if you only knew how to call the flock;
let me hear?'
'DIL-DAL-HOLOM', sung out the Fox, in such a fine clear voice.
'Yes; I'll have you for my herdsman', said the woman; and so she set
the Fox to herd her flock.
The first day the Fox was herdsman he ate up all the woman's goats;
the next day he made an end of all her sheep; and the third day he
ate up all her kine. So, when he came home at even, the woman asked
what he had done with all her flocks?
'Oh!' said the Fox, 'their skulls are in the stream, and their bodies
in the holt.'
Now, the Goody stood and churned when the fox said this, but she
thought she might as well step out and see after her flock; and while
she was away the Fox crept into the churn and ate up the cream. So
when the Goody came back and saw that, she fell into such a rage,
that she snatched up the little morsel of the cream that was left,
and threw it at the fox as he ran off, so that he got a dab of it on
the end of his tail, and that's the reason why the fox has a white
tip to his brush.
Once on a time there was a king who had several sons--I don't know
how many there were--but the youngest had no rest at home, for
nothing else would please him but to go out into the world and try
his luck, and after a long time the king was forced to give him leave
to go. Now, after he had travelled some days, he came one night to a
Giant's house, and there he got a place in the Giant's service. In
the morning the Giant went off to herd his goats, and as he left the
yard, he told the Prince to clean out the stable; 'and after you have
done that, you needn't do anything else to-day; for you must know it
is an easy master you have come to. But what is set you to do you
must do well, and you mustn't think of going into any of the rooms
which are beyond that in which you slept, for if you do, I'll take
'Sure enough, it is an easy master I have got', said the Prince to
himself, as he walked up and down the room, and carolled and sang,
for he thought there was plenty of time to clean out the stable.
'But still it would be good fun just to peep into his other rooms,
for there must be something in them which he is afraid lest I should
see, since he won't give me leave to go in.'
So he went into the first room, and there was a pot boiling on a hook
by the wall, but the Prince saw no fire underneath it. I wonder what
is inside it, he thought; and then he dipped a lock of his hair into
it, and the hair seemed as if it were all turned to copper.
'What a dainty broth,' he said; 'if one tasted it, he'd look grand
inside his gullet'; and with that he went into the next room. There,
too, was a pot hanging by a hook, which bubbled and boiled; but there
was no fire under that either.
'I may as well try this too', said the Prince, as he put another lock
into the pot, and it came out all silvered.
'They haven't such rich broth in my father's house', said the Prince;
'but it all depends on how it tastes', and with that he went on into
the third room. There, too, hung a pot, and boiled just as he had
seen in the two other rooms, and the Prince had a mind to try this
too, so he dipped a lock of hair into it, and it came out gilded, so
that the light gleamed from it.
'"Worse and worse", said the old wife; but I say better and better',
said the Prince; 'but if he boils gold here, I wonder what he boils
He thought he might as well see; so he went through the door into the
fourth room. Well, there was no pot in there, but there was a
Princess, seated on a bench, so lovely, that the Prince had never
seen anything like her in his born days.
'Oh! in Heaven's name', she said, 'what do you want here?'
'I got a place here yesterday', said the Prince.
'A place, indeed! Heaven help you out of it.'
'Well, after all, I think I've got an easy master; he hasn't set me
much to do to-day, for after I have cleaned out the stable, my day's
work is over.'
'Yes, but how will you do it', she said; 'for if you set to work to
clean it like other folk, ten pitchforks full will come in for every
one you toss out. But I will teach you how to set to work; you must
turn the fork upside down, and toss with the handle, and then all the
dung will fly out of itself.'
'Yes, he would be sure to do that', said the Prince; and so he sat
there the whole day, for he and the Princess were soon great friends,
and had made up their minds to have one another, and so the first day
of his service with the Giant was not long, you may fancy. But when
the evening drew on, she said 'twould be as well if he got the stable
cleaned out before the Giant came home; and when he went to the
stable, he thought he would just see if what she had said were true,
and so he began to work like the grooms in his father's stable; but
he soon had enough of that, for he hadn't worked a minute before the
stable was so full of dung that he hadn't room to stand. Then he did
as the Princess bade him, and turned up the fork and worked with the
handle, and lo! in a trice the stable was as clean as if it had been
scoured. And when he had done his work, he went back into the room
where the Giant had given him leave to be, and began to walk up and
down, and to carol and sing. So after a bit, home came the Giant with
'Have you cleaned the stable?' asked the Giant.
'Yes, now it's all right and tight, master', answered the Prince.
'I'll soon see if it is', growled the Giant, and strode off to the
stable, where he found it just as the Prince had said.
'You've been talking to my Mastermaid, I can see', said the Giant;
'for you've not sucked this knowledge out of your own breast.'
'Mastermaid!' said the Prince, who looked as stupid as an owl, 'what
sort of thing is that, master? I'd be very glad to see it.'
'Well, well!' said the Giant; 'you'll see her soon enough'.
Next day the Giant set off with his goats again, and before he went
he told the Prince to fetch home his horse, which was out at grass on
the hill-side, and when he had done that he might rest all the day.
'For you must know, it is an easy master you have come to', said the
Giant; 'but if you go into any of the rooms I spoke of yesterday,
I'll wring your head off.'
So off he went with his flock of goats.
'An easy master you are indeed', said the Prince; 'but for all that,
I'll just go in and have a chat with your Mastermaid; may be she'll
be as soon mine as yours.' So he went in to her, and she asked him
what he had to do that day.
'Oh! nothing to be afraid of', said he; 'I've only to go up to the
hill-side to fetch his horse.'
'Very well, and how will you set about it?'
'Well, for that matter, there's no great art in riding a horse home.
I fancy I've ridden fresher horses before now', said the Prince.
'Ah, but this isn't so easy a task as you think; but I'll teach you
how to do it. When you get near it, fire and flame will come out of
its nostrils, as out of a tar barrel; but look out, and take the bit
which hangs behind the door yonder, and throw it right into his jaws,
and he will grow so tame that you may do what you like with him.'
Yes! the Prince would mind and do that; and so he sat in there the
whole day, talking and chattering with the Mastermaid about one thing
and another, but they always came back to how happy they would be if
they could only have one another, and get well away from the Giant;
and, to tell the truth, the Prince would have clean forgotten both
the horse and the hill-side, if the Mastermaid hadn't put him in mind
of them when evening drew on, telling him he had better set out to
fetch the horse before the Giant came home. So he set off, and took
the bit which hung in the corner, ran up the hill, and it wasn't long
before he met the horse, with fire and flame streaming out of its
nostrils. But he watched his time, and, as the horse came open-jawed
up to him, he threw the bit into its mouth, and it stood as quiet as
a lamb. After that, it was no great matter to ride it home and put it
up, you may fancy; and then the Prince went into his room again, and
began to carol and sing.
So the Giant came home again at even with his goats; and the first
words he said were:
'Have you brought my horse down from the hill?'
'Yes, master, that I have', said the Prince; 'and a better horse I
never bestrode; but for all that I rode him straight home, and put
him up safe and sound.'
'I'll soon see to that', said the Giant, and ran out to the stable,
and there stood the horse just as the Prince had said.
'You've talked to my Mastermaid, I'll be bound, for you haven't
sucked this out of your own breast', said the Giant again.
'Yesterday master talked of this Mastermaid, and to-day it's the same
story', said the Prince, who pretended to be silly and stupid. 'Bless
you, master! why don't you show me the thing at once? I should so
like to see it only once in my life.'
'Oh, if that's all', said the Giant, 'you'll see her soon enough.'
The third day, at dawn, the Giant went off to the wood again with his
goats; but before he went he said to the Prince:
'To-day you must go to Hell and fetch my fire-tax. When you have done
that you can rest yourself all day, for you must know it is an easy
master you have come to'; and with that off he went.
'Easy master, indeed!' said the Prince. 'You may be easy, but you set
me hard tasks all the same. But I may as well see if I can find your
Mastermaid, as you call her. I daresay she'll tell me what to do';
and so in he went to her again.
So when the Mastermaid asked what the Giant had set him to do that
day, he told her how he was to go to Hell and fetch the fire-tax.
'And how will you set about it?' asked the Mastermaid.
'Oh, that you must tell me', said the Prince. 'I have never been to
Hell in my life; and even if I knew the way, I don't know how much I
am to ask for.'
'Well, I'll soon tell you', said the Mastermaid; 'you must go to the
steep rock away yonder, under the hill-side, and take the club that
lies there, and knock on the face of the rock. Then there will come
out one all glistening with fire; to him you must tell your errand;
and when he asks you how much you will have, mind you say, "As much
as I can carry."'
Yes; he would be sure to say that; so he sat in there with the
Mastermaid all that day too; and though evening drew on, he would
have sat there till now, had not the Mastermaid put him in mind that
it was high time to be off to Hell to fetch the Giant's fire-tax
before he came home. So he went on his way, and did just as the
Mastermaid had told him; and when he reached the rock, he took up the
club and gave a great thump. Then the rock opened, and out came one
whose face glistened, and out of whose eyes and nostrils flew sparks
'What is your will?' said he.
'Oh! I'm only come from the Giant to fetch his fire-tax', said the
'How much will you have then?' said the other.
'I never wish for more than I am able to carry', said the Prince.
'Lucky for you that you did not ask for a whole horse-load', said he
who came out of the rock; 'but come now into the rock with me, and
you shall have it.'
So the Prince went in with him, and you may fancy what heaps and
heaps of gold and silver he saw lying in there, just like stones in a
gravel pit; and he got a load just as big as he was able to carry,
and set off home with it. Now, when the Giant came home with his
goats at even, the Prince went into his room, and began to carol and
sing as he had done the evenings before.
'Have you been to Hell after my fire-tax?' roared the Giant.
'Oh yes; that I have, master', answered the Prince.
'Where have you put it?' said the Giant.
'There stands the sack on the bench yonder', said the Prince.
'I'll soon see to that', said the Giant, who strode off to the bench,
and there he saw the sack so full that the gold and silver dropped
out on the floor as soon as ever he untied the string.
'You've been talking to my Mastermaid, that I can see', said the
Giant; 'but if you have, I'll wring your head off.'
'Mastermaid!' said the Prince; 'yesterday master talked of this
Mastermaid, and to-day he talks of her again, and the day before
yesterday it was the same story. I only wish I could see what sort of
thing she is! that I do.'
'Well, well, wait till to-morrow', said the Giant, 'and then I'll
take you in to her myself.'
'Thank you kindly, master', said the Prince; 'but it's only a joke of
master's, I'll be bound.'
So next day the Giant took him in to the Mastermaid, and said to her:
'Now, you must cut his throat, and boil him in the great big pot you
wot of; and when the broth is ready, just give me a call.'
After that, he laid him down on the bench to sleep, and began to
snore so, that it sounded like thunder on the hills.
So the Mastermaid took a knife and cut the Prince in his little
finger, and let three drops of blood fall on a three-legged stool;
and after that she took all the old rags, and soles of shoes, and all
the rubbish she could lay hands on, and put them into the pot; and
then she filled a chest full of ground gold, and took a lump of salt,
and a flask of water that hung behind the door, and she took,
besides, a golden apple, and two golden chickens, and off she set
with the Prince from the Giant's house as fast as they could; and
when they had gone a little way, they came to the sea, and after that
they sailed over the sea; but where they got the ship from, I have
never heard tell.
So when the Giant had slumbered a good bit, he began to stretch
himself as he lay on the bench and called out, 'Will it be soon
'Only just begun', answered the first drop of blood on the stool.
So the Giant lay down to sleep again, and slumbered a long, long
time. At last he began to toss about a little, and cried out:
'Do you hear what I say; will it be soon done?' but he did not look
up this time, any more than the first, for he was still half asleep.
'Half done', said the second drop of blood.
Then the Giant thought again it was the Mastermaid, so he turned over
on his other side, and fell asleep again; and when he had gone on
sleeping for many hours, he began to stir and stretch his old bones,
and to call out,--
'Isn't it done yet?'
'Done to a turn', said the third drop of blood.
Then the Giant rose up and began to rub his eyes, but he couldn't see
who it was that was talking to him, so he searched and called for the
Mastermaid, but no one answered.
'Ah, well! I dare say she's just run out of doors for a bit', he
thought, and took up a spoon and went up to the pot to taste the
broth; but he found nothing but shoe-soles, and rags, and such stuff;
and it was all boiled up together, so that he couldn't tell which was
thick and which was thin. As soon as he saw this, he could tell how
things had gone, and he got so angry he scarce knew which leg to
stand upon. Away he went after the Prince and the Mastermaid, till
the wind whistled behind him; but before long, he came to the water
and couldn't cross it.
'Never mind', he said; 'I know a cure for this. I've only got to call
on my stream-sucker.'
So he called on his stream-sucker, and he came and stooped down, and
took one, two, three gulps; and then the water fell so much in the
sea, that the Giant could see the Mastermaid and the Prince sailing
in their ship.
'Now, you must cast out the lump of salt', said the Mastermaid.
So the Prince threw it overboard, and it grew up into a mountain so
high, right across the sea, that the Giant couldn't pass it, and the
stream-sucker couldn't help him by swilling any more water.
'Never mind!' cried the Giant; 'there's a cure for this too.' So he
called on his hill-borer to come and bore through the mountain, that
the stream-sucker might creep through and take another swill; but
just as they had made a hole through the hill, and the stream-sucker
was about to drink, the Mastermaid told the Prince to throw overboard
a drop or two out of the flask, and then the sea was just as full as
ever, and before the stream-sucker could take another gulp, they
reached the land and were saved from the Giant.
So they made up their minds to go home to the Prince's father, but
the Prince would not hear of the Mastermaid's walking, for he thought
it seemly neither for her nor for him.
'Just wait here ten minutes', he said, 'while I go home after the
seven horses which stand in my father's stall. It's no great way off,
and I shan't be long about it; but I will not hear of my sweetheart
walking to my father's palace.'
'Ah!' said the Mastermaid, 'pray don't leave me, for if you once get
home to the palace, you'll forget me outright; I know you will.'
'Oh!' said he, 'how can I forget you; you with whom I have gone
through so much, and whom I love so dearly?'
There was no help for it, he must and would go home to fetch the
coach and seven horses, and she was to wait for him by the seaside.
So at last the Mastermaid was forced to let him have his way; she
'Now, when you get home, don't stop so much as to say good day to any
one, but go straight to the stable and put to the horses, and drive
back as quick as you can; for they will all come about you; but do as
though you did not see them; and above all things, mind you do not
taste a morsel of food, for if you do, we shall both come to grief.'
All this the Prince promised; but he thought all the time there was
little fear of his forgetting her.
Now, just as he came home to the palace, one of his brothers was
thinking of holding his bridal feast, and the bride, and all her kith
and kin, were just come to the palace. So they all thronged round
him, and asked about this thing and that, and wanted him to go in
with them; but he made as though he did not see them, and went
straight to the stall and got out the horses, and began to put them
to. And when they saw they could not get him to go in, they came out
to him with meat and drink, and the best of everything they had got
ready for the feast; but the Prince would not taste so much as a
crumb, and put to as fast as he could. At last the bride's sister
rolled an apple across the yard to him, saying:
'Well, if you won't eat anything else, you may as well take a bite of
this, for you must be both hungry and thirsty after so long a
So he took up the apple and bit a piece out of it; but he had scarce
done so, before he forgot the Mastermaid, and how he was to drive
back for her.
'Well, I think I must be mad', he said; 'what am I to do with this
coach and horses?' So he put the horses up again, and went along with
the others into the palace, and it was soon settled that he should
have the bride's sister, who had rolled the apple over to him.
There sat the Mastermaid by the seashore, and waited and waited for
the Prince, but no Prince came; so at last she went up from the
shore, and after she had gone a bit she came to a little hut which
lay by itself in a copse close by the king's palace. She went in and
asked if she might lodge there. It was an old dame that owned the
hut, and a cross-grained scolding hag she was as ever you saw. At
first she would not hear of the Mastermaid's lodging in her house,
but at last, for fair words and high rent, the Mastermaid got leave
to be there. Now the but was as dark and dirty as a pigsty, so the
Mastermaid said she would smarten it up a little, that their house
might look inside like other people's. The old hag did not like this
either, and showed her teeth, and was cross; but the Mastermaid did
not mind her. She took her chest of gold, and threw a handful or so
into the fire, and lo! the gold melted, and bubbled and boiled over
out of the grate, and spread itself over the whole hut, till it was
gilded both outside and in. But as soon as the gold began to bubble
and boil, the old hag got so afraid that she tried to run out as if
the Evil One were at her heels; and as she ran out at the door, she
forgot to stoop, and gave her head such a knock against the lintel,
that she broke her neck, and that was the end of her.
Next morning the Constable passed that way, and you may fancy he
could scarce believe his eyes when he saw the golden hut shining and
glistening away in the copse; but he was still more astonished when
he went in and saw the lovely maiden who sat there. To make a long
story short, he fell over head and ears in love with her, and begged
and prayed her to become his wife.
'Well, but have you much money?' asked the Mastermaid.
Yes, for that matter, he said, he was not so badly off, and off he
went home to fetch the money, and when he came back at even he
brought a half-bushel sack, and set it down on the bench. So the
Mastermaid said she would have him, since he was so rich; but they
were scarce in bed before she said she must get up again:
'For I have forgotten to make up the fire.'
'Pray, don't stir out of bed', said the Constable; 'I'll see to it.'
So he jumped out of bed, and stood on the hearth in a trice.
'As soon as you have got hold of the shovel, just tell me', said the
'Well, I am holding it now', said the Constable.
Then the Mastermaid said:
'God grant that you may hold the shovel, and the shovel you, and may
you heap hot burning coals over yourself till morning breaks.'
So there stood the Constable all night long, shovelling hot burning
coals over himself; and though he begged, and prayed, and wept, the
coals were not a bit colder for that; but as soon as day broke, and
he had power to cast away the shovel, he did not stay long, as you
may fancy, but set off as if the Evil One or the bailiff were at his
heels; and all who met him stared their eyes out at him, for he cut
capers as though he were mad, and he could not have looked in worse
plight if he had been flayed and tanned, and every one wondered what
had befallen him, but he told no one where he had been, for shame's
Next day the Attorney passed by the place where the Mastermaid lived,
and he too saw how it shone and glistened in the copse; so he turned
aside to find out who owned the hut; and when he came in and saw the
lovely maiden, he fell more in love with her than the Constable, and
began to woo her in hot haste.
Well, the Mastermaid asked him, as she had asked the Constable, if he
had a good lot of money? and the Attorney said he wasn't so badly
off; and as a proof he went home to fetch his money. So at even he
came back with a great fat sack of money--I think it was a whole
bushel sack--and set it down on the bench; and the long and the short
of the matter was, that he was to have her, and they went to bed. But
all at once the Mastermaid had forgotten to shut the door of the
porch, and she must get up and make it fast for the night.
'What, you do that!' said the Attorney, 'while I lie here; that can
never be; lie still, while I go and do it.'
So up he jumped, like a pea on a drum-head, and ran out into the
'Tell me', said the Mastermaid, 'when you have hold of the door-
'I've got hold of it now', said the Attorney.
'God grant, then', said the Mastermaid, 'that you may hold the door,
and the door you, and that you may go from wall to wall till day
So you may fancy what a dance the Attorney had all night long; such a
waltz he never had before, and I don't think he would much care if he
never had such a waltz again. Now he pulled the door forward, and
then the door pulled him back, and so he went on, now dashed into one
corner of the porch, and now into the other, till he was almost
battered to death. At first he began to curse and swear, and then to
beg and pray, but the door cared for nothing but holding its own till
break of day. As soon as it let go its hold, off set the Attorney,
leaving behind him his money to pay for his night's lodging, and
forgetting his courtship altogether, for to tell the truth, he was
afraid lest the house-door should come dancing after him. All who met
him stared and gaped at him, for he too cut capers like a madman, and
he could not have looked in worse plight if he had spent the whole
night in butting against a flock of rams.
The third day the Sheriff passed that way, and he too saw the golden
hut, and turned aside to find out who lived there; and he had scarce
set eyes on the Mastermaid, before he began to woo her. So she
answered him as she had answered the other two. If he had lots of
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