Popular Tales from the Norse
Sir George Webbe Dasent
Part 5 out of 10
sat and sewed, but when she saw Shortshanks, she clasped her hands
together and cried out:
'Now, God be thanked! you are the first Christian man I've set eyes
on since I came here.'
'Very good', said Shortshanks; 'but do you know I've come to fetch
'Oh!' she cried, 'you'll never fetch me; you'll never have that luck,
for if the Ogre sees you, he'll kill you on the spot.'
'I'm glad you spoke of the Ogre', said Shortshanks; ''twould be fine
fun to see him; whereabouts is he?'
Then the Princess told him the Ogre was out looking for some one who
could brew a hundred lasts of malt at one strike, for he was going to
give a great feast, and less drink wouldn't do.
'Well! I can do that', said Shortshanks.
'Ah!' said the Princess, 'if only the Ogre wasn't so hasty, I might
tell him about you; but he's so cross; I'm afraid he'll tear you to
pieces as soon as he comes in, without waiting to hear my story. Let
me see what is to be done. Oh! I have it; just hide yourself in the
side-room yonder, and let us take our chance.'
Well! Shortshanks did as she told him, and he had scarce crept into
the side-room before the Ogre came in.
'HUF!' said the Ogre; 'what a horrid smell of Christian man's blood!'
'Yes!' said the Princess, 'I know there is, for a bird flew over the
house with a Christian man's bone in his bill, and let it fall down
the chimney. I made all the haste I could to get it out again, but I
dare say it's that you smell.'
'Ah!' said the Ogre, 'like enough.'
Then the Princess asked the Ogre if he had laid hold of any one who
could brew a hundred lasts of malt at one strike?
'No', said the Ogre, 'I can't hear of any one who can do it.'
'Well', she said, 'a while ago, there was a chap in here who said he
could do it.'
'Just like you, with your wisdom!' said the Ogre; 'why did you let
him go away then, when you knew he was the very man I wanted?'
'Well then, I didn't let him go', said the Princess; 'but father's
temper is a little hot, so I hid him away in the side-room yonder;
but if father hasn't hit upon any one, here he is.'
'Well', said the Ogre, 'let him come in then.'
So Shortshanks came in, and the Ogre asked him if it were true that
he could brew a hundred lasts of malt at a strike?
'Yes it is', said Shortshanks.
'Twas good luck then to lay hands on you', said the Ogre, 'and now
fall to work this minute; but heaven help you if you don't brew the
ale strong enough.'
'Oh', said Shortshanks, 'never fear, it shall be stinging stuff'; and
with that he began to brew without more fuss, but all at once he
'I must have more of you Ogres to help in the brewing, for these I
have got a'nt half strong enough.'
Well, he got more--so many, that there was a whole swarm of them, and
then the brewing went on bravely. Now when the sweet-wort was ready,
they were all eager to taste it, you may guess; first of all the
Ogre, and then all his kith and kin. But Shortshanks had brewed the
wort so strong that they all fell down dead, one after another, like
so many flies, as soon as they had tasted it. At last there wasn't
one of them left alive but one vile old hag, who lay bed-ridden in
'Oh you poor old wretch', said Shortshanks, 'you may just as well
taste the wort along with the rest.'
So, he went and scooped up a little from the bottom of the copper in
a scoop, and gave her a drink, and so he was rid of the whole pack of
As he stood there and looked about him, he cast his eye on a great
chest, so he took it and filled it with gold and silver; then he tied
the cable round himself and the Princess and the chest, and gave it a
good tug, and his men pulled them all up, safe and sound. As soon as
ever Shortshanks was well up, he said to the ship,
'Off and away, over fresh water and salt water, high hill and deep
dale, and don't stop till you come to the king's palace'; and
straightway the ship held on her course, so that the yellow billows
foamed round her. When the people in the palace saw the ship sailing
up, they were not slow in meeting them with songs and music,
welcoming Shortshanks with great joy; but the gladdest of all was the
king, who had now got his other daughter back again.
But now Shortshanks was rather down-hearted, for you must know that
both the princesses wanted to have him, and he would have no other
than the one he had first saved, and she was the youngest. So he
walked up and down, and thought and thought what he should do to get
her, and yet do something to please her sister. Well, one day as he
was turning the thing over in his mind, it struck him if he only had
his brother King Sturdy, who was so like him that no one could tell
the one from the other, he would give up to him the other princess
and half the kingdom, for he thought one-half was quite enough.
Well, as soon as ever this came into his mind, he went outside the
palace and called on King Sturdy, but no one came. So he called a
second time a little louder, but still no one came. Then he called
out the third time 'King Sturdy' with all his might, and there stood
his brother before him. 'Didn't I say!' he said to Shortshanks,
'didn't I say you were not to call me except in your utmost need? and
here there is not so much as a gnat to do you any harm', and with
that he gave him such a box on the ear that Shortshanks tumbled head
over heels on the grass.
'Now shame on you to 'hit so hard!' said Shortshanks. 'First of all I
won a princess and half the kingdom, and then I won another princess
and the other half of the kingdom; and now I'm thinking to give you
one of the princesses and half the kingdom. Is there any rhyme or
reason in giving me such a box on the ear?'
When King Sturdy heard that, he begged his brother to forgive him,
and they were soon as good friends as ever again.
'Now', said Shortshanks, 'you know, we are so much alike, that no one
can tell the one from the other; so just change clothes with me and
go into the palace; then the princesses will think it is I that am
coming in, and the one that kisses you first you shall have for your
wife, and I will have the other for mine.'
And he said this because he knew well enough that the elder king's
daughter was the stronger, and so he could very well guess how things
would go. As for King Sturdy, he was willing enough, so he changed
clothes with his brother and went into the palace. But when he came
into the Princesses' bower they thought it was Shortshanks, and both
ran up to him to kiss him; but the elder, who was stronger and
bigger, pushed her sister on one side, and threw her arms round King
Sturdy's neck, and gave him a kiss; and so he got her for his wife,
and Shortshanks got the younger Princess. Then they made ready for
the wedding, and you may fancy what a grand one it was, when I tell
you, that the fame of it was noised abroad over seven kingdoms.
GUDBRAND ON THE HILL-SIDE
Once on a time there was a man whose name was Gudbrand; he had a farm
which lay far, far away upon a hill-side, and so they called him
Gudbrand on the Hill-side.
Now, you must know this man and his goodwife lived so happily
together, and understood one another so well, that all the husband
did the wife thought so well done there was nothing like it in the
world, and she was always glad whatever he turned his hand to. The
farm was their own land, and they had a hundred dollars lying at the
bottom of their chest, and two cows tethered up in a stall in their
So one day his wife said to Gudbrand:
'Do you know, dear, I think we ought to take one of our cows into
town, and sell it; that's what I think; for then we shall have some
money in hand, and such well-to-do people as we ought to have ready
money like the rest of the world. As for the hundred dollars at the
bottom of the chest yonder, we can't make a hole in them, and I'm
sure I don't know what we want with more than one cow. Besides, we
shall gain a little in another way, for then I shall get off with
only looking after one cow, instead of having, as now, to feed and
litter and water two.'
Well, Gudbrand thought his wife talked right good sense, so he set
off at once with the cow on his way to town to sell her; but when he
got to the town, there was no one who would buy his cow.
'Well! well! never mind', said Gudbrand, 'at the worst, I can only go
back home again with my cow. I've both stable and tether for her, I
should think, and the road is no farther out than in'; and with that
he began to toddle home with his cow.
But when he had gone a bit of the way, a man met him who had a horse
to sell, so Gudbrand thought 'twas better to have a horse than a cow,
so he swopped with the man. A little farther on he met a man walking
along and driving a fat pig before him, and he thought it better to
have a fat pig than a horse, so he swopped with the man. After that
he went a little farther, and a man met him with a goat; so he
thought it better to have a goat than a pig, and he swopped with the
man that owned the goat. Then he went on a good bit till he met a man
who had a sheep, and he swopped with him too, for he thought it
always better to have a sheep than a goat. After a while he met a man
with a goose, and he swopped away the sheep for the goose; and when
he had walked a long, long time, he met a man with a cock, and he
swopped with him, for he thought in this wise, ''Tis surely better to
have a cock than a goose.' Then he went on till the day was far
spent, and he began to get very hungry, so he sold the cock for a
shilling, and bought food with the money, for, thought Gudbrand on
the Hill-side, ''Tis always better to save one's life than to have a
After that he went on home till he reached his nearest neighbour's
house, where he turned in.
'Well', said the owner of the house, 'how did things go with you in
'Rather so so', said Gudbrand, 'I can't praise my luck, nor do I
blame it either', and with that he told the whole story from first to
'Ah!' said his friend, 'you'll get nicely called over the coals, that
one can see, when you get home to your wife. Heaven help you, I
wouldn't stand in your shoes for something.'
'Well!' said Gudbrand on the Hill-side, 'I think things might have
gone much worse with me; but now, whether I have done wrong or not, I
have so kind a goodwife, she never has a word to say against anything
that I do.'
'Oh!' answered his neighbour, 'I hear what you say, but I don't
believe it for all that.'
'Shall we lay a bet upon it?' asked Gudbrand on the Hill-side. 'I
have a hundred dollars at the bottom of my chest at home; will you
lay as many against them?'
Yes! the friend was ready to bet; so Gudbrand stayed there till
evening, when it began to get dark, and then they went together to
his house, and the neighbour was to stand outside the door and
listen, while the man went in to see his wife.
'Good evening!' said Gudbrand on the Hill-side.
'Good evening!' said the goodwife. 'Oh! is that you? now God be
Yes! it was he. So the wife asked how things had gone with him in
'Oh! only so so', answered Gudbrand; 'not much to brag of. When I got
to the town there was no one who would buy the cow, so you must know
I swopped it away for a horse.'
'For a horse', said his wife; 'well that is good of you; thanks with
all my heart. We are so well to do that we may drive to church, just
as well as other people; and if we choose to keep a horse we have a
right to get one, I should think. So run out, child, and put up the
'Ah!' said Gudbrand, 'but you see I've not got the horse after all;
for when I got a bit farther on the road, I swopped it away for a
'Think of that, now!' said the wife; 'you did just as I should have
done myself; a thousand thanks! Now I can have a bit of bacon in the
house to set before people when they come to see me, that I can. What
do we want with a horse? People would only say we had got so proud
that we couldn't walk to church. Go out, child, and put up the pig in
'But I've not got the pig either', said Gudbrand; 'for when I got a
little farther on, I swopped it away for a milch goat.'
'Bless us!' cried his wife, 'how well you manage everything! Now I
think it over, what should I do with a pig? People would only point
at us and say, "Yonder they eat up all they have got." No! now I have
got a goat, and I shall have milk and cheese, and keep the goat too.
Run out, child, and put up the goat.'
'Nay, but I haven't got the goat either', said Gudbrand, 'for a
little farther on I swopped it away, and got a fine sheep instead.'
'You don't say so!' cried his wife; 'why, you do everything to please
me, just as if I had been with you; what do we want with a goat? If I
had it I should lose half my time in climbing up the hills to get it
down. No! if I have a sheep, I shall have both wool and clothing, and
fresh meat in the house. Run out, child, and put up the sheep.'
'But I haven't got the sheep any more than the rest', said Gudbrand;
'for when I had gone a bit farther, I swopped it away for a goose.'
'Thank you! thank you! with all my heart', cried his wife; 'what
should I do with a sheep? I have no spinning-wheel, nor carding-comb,
nor should I care to worry myself with cutting, and shaping, and
sewing clothes. We can buy clothes now, as we have always done; and
now I shall have roast goose, which I have longed for so often; and,
besides, down to stuff my little pillow with. Run out, child, and put
up the goose.'
'Ah!' said Gudbrand, 'but I haven't the goose either; for when I had
gone a bit farther I swopped it away for a cock.'
'Dear me!' cried his wife, 'how you think of everything! just as I
should have done myself. A cock! think of that! why it's as good as
an eight-day clock, for every morning the cock crows at four o'clock,
and we shall be able to stir our stumps in good time. What should we
do with a goose? I don't know how to cook it; and as for my pillow, I
can stuff it with cotton-grass. Run out, child, and put up the cock.'
'But, after all, I haven't got the cock', said Gudbrand; 'for when I
had gone a bit farther, I got as hungry as a hunter, so I was forced
to sell the cock for a shilling, for fear I should starve.'
'Now, God be praised that you did so!' cried his wife; 'whatever you
do, you do it always just after my own heart. What should we do with
the cock? We are our own masters, I should think, and can lie a-bed
in the morning as long as we like. Heaven be thanked that I have got
you safe back again; you who do everything so well that I want
neither cock nor goose; neither pigs nor kine.'
Then Gudbrand opened the door and said; 'Well, what do you say now?
Have I won the hundred dollars?' and his neighbour was forced to
allow that he had.
THE BLUE BELT
Once on a time there was an old beggar-woman, who had gone out to
beg. She had a little lad with her, and when she had got her bag
full, she struck across the hills towards her own home. So when they
had gone a bit up the hill-side, they came upon a little blue belt,
which lay where two paths met, and the lad asked his mother's leave
to pick it up.
'No', said she, 'maybe there's witchcraft in it'; and so with threats
she forced him to follow her. But when they had gone a bit further,
the lad said he must turn aside a moment out of the road, and
meanwhile his mother sat down on a tree-stump. But the lad was a long
time gone, for as soon as he got so far into the wood, that the old
dame could not see him, he ran off to where the belt lay, took it up,
tied it round his waist, and lo! he felt as strong as if he could
lift the whole hill. When he got back, the old dame was in a great
rage, and wanted to know what he had been doing all that while. You
don't care how much time you waste, and yet you know the night is
drawing on, and we must cross the hill before it is dark!' So on they
tramped; but when they had got about half-way, the old dame grew
weary, and said she must rest under a bush.
'Dear mother', said the lad, 'mayn't I just go up to the top of this
high crag while you rest, and try if I can't see some sign of folk
Yes! he might do that; so when he had got to the top, he saw a light
shining from the north. So he ran down and told his mother.
'We must get on, mother; we are near a house, for I see a bright
light shining quite close to us in the north.' Then she rose and
shouldered her bag, and set off to see; but they hadn't gone far,
before there stood a steep spur of the hill, right across their path.
'Just as I thought!' said the old dame; 'now we can't go a step
farther; a pretty bed we shall have here!'
But the lad took the bag under one arm, and his mother under the
other, and ran straight up the steep crag with them.
'Now, don't you see! don't you see that we are close to a house!
don't you see the bright light?'
But the old dame said those were no Christian folk, but Trolls, for
she was at home in all that forest far and near, and knew there was
not a living soul in it, until you were well over the ridge, and had
come down on the other side. But they went on, and in a little while
they came to a great house which was all painted red.
'What's the good?' said the old dame, 'we daren't go in, for here the
'Don't say so; we must go in. There must be men where the lights
shine so', said the lad. So in he went, and his mother after him, but
he had scarce opened the door before she swooned away, for there she
saw a great stout man, at least twenty feet high, sitting on the
'Good evening, grandfather!' said the lad.
'Well, here I've sat three hundred years', said the man who sat on
the bench, 'and no one has ever come and called me grandfather
before.' Then the lad sat down by the man's side, and began to talk
to him as if they had been old friends.
'But what's come over your mother?' said the man, after they had
chattered a while. 'I think she swooned away; you had better look
So the lad went and took hold of the old dame; and dragged her up the
hall along the floor. That brought her to herself, and she kicked,
and scratched, and flung herself about, and at last sat down upon a
heap of firewood in the corner; but she was so frightened that she
scarce dared to look one in the face.
After a while, the lad asked if they could spend the night there.
'Yes, to be sure', said the man.
So they went on talking again, but the lad soon got hungry, and
wanted to know if they could get food as well as lodging.
'Of course', said the man, 'that might be got too.' And after he had
sat a while longer, he rose up and threw six loads of dry pitch-pine
on the fire. This made the old hag still more afraid.
'Oh! now he's going to roast us alive', she said, in the corner where
And when the wood had burned down to glowing embers, up got the man
and strode out of his house.
'Heaven bless and help us! what a stout heart you have got', said the
old dame; 'don't you see we have got amongst Trolls?'
'Stuff and nonsense!' said the lad; 'no harm if we have.'
In a little while back came the man with an ox so fat and big, the
lad had never seen its like, and he gave it one blow with his fist
under the ear, and down it fell dead on the floor. When that was
done, he took it up by all the four legs, and laid it on the glowing
embers, and turned it and twisted it about till it was burnt brown
outside. After that, he went to a cupboard and took out a great
silver dish, and laid the ox on it; and the dish was so big that none
of the ox hung over on any side. This he put on the table, and then
he went down into the cellar, and fetched a cask of wine, knocked out
the head, and put the cask on the table, together with two knives,
which were each six feet long. When this was done, he bade them go
and sit down to supper and eat. So they went, the lad first and the
old dame after, but she began to whimper and wail, and to wonder how
she should ever use such knives. But her son seized one, and began to
cut slices out of the thigh of the ox, which he placed before his
mother. And when they had eaten a bit, he took up the cask with both
hands, and lifted it down to the floor; then he told his mother to
come and drink, but it was still so high she couldn't reach up to it;
so he caught her up, and held her up to the edge of the cask while
she drank; as for himself, he clambered up and hung down like a cat
inside the cask while he drank. So when he had quenched his thirst,
he took up the cask and put it back on the table, and thanked the man
for the good meal, and told his mother to come and thank him too, and
a-feared though she was, she dared do nothing else but thank the man.
Then the lad sat down again alongside the man and began to gossip,
and after they had sat a while, the man said,
'Well! I must just go and get a bit of supper too'; and so he went to
the table and ate up the whole ox--hoofs, and horns, and all--and
drained the cask to the last drop, and then went back and sat on the
As for beds', he said, 'I don't know what's to be done. I've only got
one bed and a cradle; but we could get on pretty well if you would
sleep in the cradle, and then your mother might lie in the bed
'Thank you kindly, that'll do nicely', said the lad; and with that he
pulled off his clothes and lay down in the cradle; but, to tell you
the truth; it was quite as big as a four-poster. As for the old dame,
she had to follow the man who showed her to bed, though she was out
of her wits for fear.
'Well!' thought the lad to himself, ''twill never do to go to sleep
yet. I'd best lie awake and listen how things go as the night wears
So after a while the man began to talk to the old dame, and at last
'We two might live here so happily together, could we only be rid of
this son of yours.'
'But do you know how to settle him? Is that what you're thinking
of?' said she.
'Nothing easier', said he; at any rate he would try. He would just
say he wished the old dame would stay and keep house for him a day or
two, and then he would take the lad out with him up the hill to
quarry corner-stones, and roll down a great rock on him. All this the
lad lay and listened to.
Next day the Troll--for it was a Troll as clear as day--asked if the
old dame would stay and keep house for him a few days; and as the day
went on he took a great iron crowbar, and asked the lad if he had a
mind to go with him up the hill and quarry a few corner-stones. With
all his heart, he said, and went with him; and so, after they had
split a few stones, the Troll wanted him to go down below and look
after cracks in the rock; and while he was doing this, the Troll
worked away, and wearied himself with his crowbar till he moved a
whole crag out of its bed, which came rolling right down on the place
where the lad was; but he held it up till he could get on one side,
and then let it roll on.
'Oh!' said the lad to the Troll, 'now I see what you mean to do with
me. You want to crush me to death; so just go down yourself and look
after the cracks and refts in the rock, and I'll stand up above.'
The Troll did not dare to do otherwise than the lad bade him, and the
end of it was that the lad rolled down a great rock, which fell upon
the Troll, and broke one of his thighs.
'Well! you are in a sad plight', said the lad, as he strode down,
lifted up the rock, and set the man free. After that he had to put
him on his back and carry him home; so he ran with him as fast as a
horse, and shook him so that the Troll screamed and screeched as if a
knife were run into him. And when he got home, they had to put the
Troll to bed, and there he lay in a sad pickle.
When the night wore on the Troll began to talk to the old dame again,
and to wonder how ever they could be rid of the lad.
'Well', said the old dame, 'if you can't hit on a plan to get rid of
him, I'm sure I can't.'
'Let me see', said the Troll; 'I've got twelve lions in a garden; if
they could only get hold of the lad they'd soon tear him to pieces.'
So the old dame said it would be easy enough to get him there. She
would sham sick, and say she felt so poorly, nothing would do her any
good but lion's milk. All that the lad lay and listened to; and when
he got up in the morning his mother said she was worse than she
looked, and she thought she should never be right again unless she
could get some lion's milk.
'Then I'm afraid you'll be poorly a long time, mother', said the lad,
'for I'm sure I don't know where any is to be got.'
'Oh! if that be all', said the Troll, 'there's no lack of lion's
milk, if we only had the man to fetch it'; and then he went on to say
how his brother had a garden with twelve lions in it, and how the lad
might have the key if he had a mind to milk the lions. So the lad
took the key and a milking pail, and strode off; and when he unlocked
the gate and got into the garden, there stood all the twelve lions on
their hind-paws, rampant and roaring at him. But the lad laid hold of
the biggest, and led him about by the fore-paws, and dashed him
against stocks and stones, till there wasn't a bit of him left but
the two paws. So when the rest saw that, they were so afraid that
they crept up and lay at his feet like so many curs. After that they
followed him about wherever he went, and when he got home, they lay
down outside the house, with their fore-paws on the door sill.
'Now, mother, you'll soon be well', said the lad, when he went in,
'for here is the lion's milk.'
He had just milked a drop in the pail.
But the Troll, as he lay in bed, swore it was all a lie. He was sure
the lad was not the man to milk lions.
When the lad heard that, he forced the Troll to get out of bed, threw
open the door, and all the lions rose up and seized the Troll, and at
last the lad had to make them leave their hold.
That night the Troll began to talk to the old dame again.
'I'm sure I can't tell how to put this lad out of the way--he is so
awfully strong; can't you think of some way?
'No,' said the old dame, 'if you can't tell, I'm sure I can't.'
'Well!' said the Troll, 'I have two brothers in a castle; they are
twelve times as strong as I am, and that's why I was turned out and
had to put up with this farm. They hold that castle, and round it
there is an orchard with apples in it, and whoever eats those apples
sleeps for three days and three nights. If we could only get the lad
to go for the fruit, he wouldn't be able to keep from tasting the
apples, and as soon as ever he fell asleep my brothers would tear him
The old dame said she would sham sick, and say she could never be
herself again unless she tasted those apples; for she had set her
heart on them.
All this the lad lay and listened to.
When the morning came the old dame was so poorly that she couldn't
utter a word but groans and sighs. She was sure she should never be
well again, unless she had some of those apples that grew in the
orchard near the castle where the man's brothers lived; only she had
no one to send for them.
Oh! the lad was ready to go that instant; but the eleven lions went
with him. So when he came to the orchard, he climbed up into the
apple tree and ate as many apples as he could, and he had scarce got
down before he fell into a deep sleep; but the lions all lay round
him in a ring. The third day came the Troll's brothers, but they did
not come in man's shape. They came snorting like man-eating steeds,
and wondered who it was that dared to be there, and said they would
tear him to pieces, so small that there should not be a bit of him
left. But up rose the lions and tore the Trolls into small pieces, so
that the place looked as if a dung heap had been tossed about it; and
when they had finished the Trolls they lay down again. The lad did
not wake till late in the afternoon, and when he got on his knees and
rubbed the sleep out of his eyes, he began to wonder what had been
going on, when he saw the marks of hoofs. But when he went towards
the castle, a maiden looked out of a window who had seen all that had
happened, and she said:
'You may thank your stars you weren't in that tussle, else you must
have lost your life.'
'What! I lose my life! No fear of that, I think,' said the lad.
So she begged him to come in, that she might talk with him, for she
hadn't seen a Christian soul ever since she came there. But when she
opened the door the lions wanted to go in too, but she got so
frightened that she began to scream, and so the lad let them lie
outside. Then the two talked and talked, and the lad asked how it
came that she, who was so lovely, could put up with those ugly
Trolls. She never wished it, she said; 'twas quite against her will.
They had seized her by force, and she was the King of Arabia's
daughter. So they talked on, and at last she asked him what he would
do; whether she should go back home, or whether he would have her to
wife. Of course he would have her, and she shouldn't go home.
After that they went round the castle, and at last they came to a
great hall, where the Trolls' two great swords hung high up on the
'I wonder if you are man enough to wield one of these,' said the
'Who?--I?' said the lad. ''Twould be a pretty thing if I couldn't
wield one of these.'
With that he put two or three chairs one a-top of the other, jumped
up, and touched the biggest sword with his finger tips, tossed it up
in the air, and caught it again by the hilt; leapt down, and at the
same time dealt such a blow with it on the floor that the whole hall
shook. After he had thus got down, he thrust the sword under his arm
and carried it about with him.
So, when they had lived a little while in the castle, the Princess
thought she ought to go home to her parents, and let them know what
had become of her; so they loaded a ship, and she set sail from the
After she had gone, and the lad had wandered about a little, he
called to mind that he had been sent on an errand thither, and had
come to fetch something for his mother's health; and though he said
to himself, 'After all, the old dame was not so bad but she's all
right by this time'--still he thought he ought to go and just see how
she was. So he went and found both the man and his mother quite fresh
'What wretches you are to live in this beggarly hut', said the lad.
'Come with me up to my castle, and you shall see what a fine fellow I
Well! they were both ready to go, and on the way his mother talked to
him, and asked, 'How it was he had got so strong?'
'If you must know, it came of that blue belt which lay on the hill-
side that time when you and I were out begging', said the lad.
'Have you got it still?' asked she.
'Yes'--he had. It was tied round his waist.
'Might she see it?'
'Yes, she might'; and with that he pulled open his waistcoat and
shirt to show it her.
Then she seized it with both hands, tore it off, and twisted it round
'Now', she cried, 'what shall I do with such a wretch as you? I'll
just give you one blow, and dash your brains out!'
'Far too good a death for such a scamp', said the Troll. 'No! let's
first burn out his eyes, and then turn him adrift in a little boat.'
So they burned out his eyes and turned him adrift, in spite of his
prayers and tears; but, as the boat drifted, the lions swam after,
and at last they laid hold of it and dragged it ashore on an island,
and placed the lad under a fir tree. They caught game for him, and
they plucked the birds and made him a bed of down; but he was forced
to eat his meat raw, and he was blind. At last, one day the biggest
lion was chasing a hare which was blind, for it ran straight over
stock and stone, and the end was, it ran right up against a fir-stump
and tumbled head over heels across the field right into a spring; but
lo! when it came out of the spring it saw its way quite plain, and so
saved its life.
'So, so!' thought the lion, and went and dragged the lad to the
spring, and dipped him over head and ears in it. So, when he had got
his sight again, he went down to the shore and made signs to the
lions that they should all lie close together like a raft; then he
stood upon their backs while they swam with him to the mainland. When
he had reached the shore he went up into a birchen copse, and made
the lions lie quiet. Then he stole up to the castle, like a thief, to
see if he couldn't lay hands on his belt; and when he got to the
door, he peeped through the keyhole, and there he saw his belt
hanging up over a door in the kitchen. So he crept softly in across
the floor, for there was no one there; but as soon as he had got hold
of the belt, he began to kick and stamp about as though he were mad.
Just then his mother came rushing out.
'Dear heart, my darling little boy! do give me the belt again', she
'Thank you kindly', said he. 'Now you shall have the doom you passed
on me', and he fulfilled it on the spot. When the old Troll heard
that, he came in and begged and prayed so prettily that he might not
be smitten to death.
'Well, you may live', said the lad, 'but you shall undergo the same
punishment you gave me'; and so he burned out the Troll's eyes, and
turned him adrift on the sea in a little boat, but he had no lions to
Now the lad was all alone, and he went about longing and longing for
the Princess; at last he could bear it no longer; he must set out to
seek her, his heart was so bent on having her. So he loaded
four ships and set sail for Arabia. For some time they had fair wind
and fine weather, but after that they lay wind-bound under a rocky
island. So the sailors went ashore and strolled about to spend the
time, and there they found a huge egg, almost as big as a little
house. So they began to knock it about with large stones, but, after
all, they couldn't crack the shell. Then the lad came up with his
sword to see what all the noise was about, and when he saw the egg,
he thought it a trifle to crack it; so he gave it one blow and the egg
split, and out came a chicken as big as an elephant.
'Now we have done wrong', said the lad; 'this can cost us all our
lives'; and then he asked his sailors if they were men enough to sail
to Arabia in four-and-twenty hours if they got a fine breeze. Yes!
they were good to do that, they said, so they set sail with a fine
breeze, and got to Arabia in three-and-twenty hours. As soon as they
landed, the lad ordered all the sailors to go and bury themselves up
to the eyes in a sandhill, so that they could barely see the ships.
The lad and the captains climbed a high crag and sate down under a
In a little while came a great bird flying with an island in its
claws, and let it fall down on the fleet, and sunk every ship. After
it had done that, it flew up to the sandhill and flapped its wings,
so that the wind nearly took off the heads of the sailors, and it
flew past the fir with such force that it turned the lad right about,
but he was ready with his sword, and gave the bird one blow and
brought it down dead.
After that he went to the town, where every one was glad because the
king had got his daughter back; but now the king had hidden her away
somewhere himself, and promised her hand as a reward to any one who
could find her, and this though she was betrothed before. Now as the
lad went along he met a man who had white bear-skins for sale, so he
bought one of the hides and put it on; and one of the captains was to
take an iron chain and lead him about, and so he went into the town
and began to play pranks. At last the news came to the king's ears,
that there never had been such fun in the town before, for here was a
white bear that danced and cut capers just as it was bid. So a
messenger came to say the bear must come to the castle at once, for
the king wanted to see its tricks. So when it got to the castle every
one was afraid, for such a beast they had never seen before; but the
captain said there was no danger unless they laughed at it. They
mustn't do that, else it would tear them to pieces. When the king
heard that, he warned all the court not to laugh. But while the fun
was going on, in came one of the king's maids, and began to laugh and
make game of the bear, and the bear flew at her and tore her, so that
there was scarce a rag of her left. Then all the court began to
bewail, and the captain most of all.
'Stuff and nonsense', said the king; 'she's only a maid, besides it's
more my affair than yours.'
When the show was over, it was late at night. 'It's no good your
going away, when it's so late', said the king. 'The bear had best
'Perhaps it might sleep in the ingle by the kitchen fire', said the
'Nay', said the king, 'it shall sleep up here, and it shall have
pillows and cushions to sleep on.' So a whole heap of pillows and
cushions was brought, and the captain had a bed in a side-room.
But at midnight the king came with a lamp in his hand and a big bunch
of keys, and carried off the white bear. He passed along gallery
after gallery, through doors and rooms, up-stairs and down-stairs,
till at last he came to a pier which ran out into the sea. Then the
king began to pull and haul at posts and pins, this one up and that
one down, till at last a little house floated up to the water's edge.
There he kept his daughter, for she was so dear to him that he had
hid her, so that no one could find her out. He left the white bear
outside while he went in and told her how it had danced and played
its pranks. She said she was afraid, and dared not look at it; but he
talked her over, saying there was no danger, if she only wouldn't
laugh. So they brought the bear in, and locked the door, and it
danced and played its tricks; but just when the fun was at its
height, the Princess's maid began to laugh. Then the lad flew at her
and tore her to bits, and the Princess began to cry and sob.
'Stuff and nonsense', cried the king; 'all this fuss about a maid!
I'll get you just as good a one again. But now I think the bear had
best stay here till morning, for I don't care to have to go and lead
it along all those galleries and stairs at this time of night.'
'Well!' said the Princess, 'if it sleeps here, I'm sure I won't.'
But just then the bear curled himself up and lay down by the stove;
and it was settled at last that the Princess should sleep there too,
with a light burning. But as soon as the king was well gone, the
white bear came and begged her to undo his collar. The Princess was
so scared she almost swooned away; but she felt about till she found
the collar, and she had scarce undone it before the bear pulled his
head off. Then she knew him again, and was so glad there was no end
to her joy, and she wanted to tell her father at once that her
deliverer was come. But the lad would not hear of it; he would earn
her once more, he said. So in the morning when they heard the king
rattling at the posts outside, the lad drew on the hide, and lay down
by the stove.
'Well, has it lain still?' the king asked.
'I should think so', said the Princess; 'it hasn't so much as turned
or stretched itself once.'
When they got up to the castle again, the captain took the bear and
led it away, and then the lad threw off the hide, and went to a
tailor and ordered clothes fit for a prince; and when they were
fitted on he went to the king, and said he wanted to find the
'You're not the first who has wished the same thing', said the king,
'but they have all lost their lives; for if any one who tries can't
find her in four-and-twenty hours his life is forfeited.'
Yes; the lad knew all that. Still he wished to try, and if he
couldn't find her, 'twas his look-out. Now in the castle there was a
band that played sweet tunes, and there were fair maids to dance
with, and so the lad danced away. When twelve hours were gone, the
'I pity you with all my heart. You're so poor a hand at seeking; you
will surely lose your life.'
'Stuff!' said the lad; 'while there's life there's hope! So long as
there's breath in the body there's no fear; we have lots of time';
and so he went on dancing till there was only one hour left.
Then he said he would begin to search.
'It's no use now', said the king; 'time's up.'
'Light your lamp; out with your big bunch of keys', said the lad,
'and follow me whither I wish to go. There is still a whole hour
So the lad went the same way which the king had led him the night
before, and he bade the king unlock door after door till they came
down to the pier which ran out into the sea.
'It's all no use, I tell you', said the king; 'time's up, and this
will only lead you right out into the sea.'
'Still five minutes more', said the lad, as he pulled and pushed at
the posts and pins, and the house floated up.
'Now the time is up', bawled the king; 'come hither, headsman, and
take off his head.'
'Nay, nay!' said the lad; 'stop a bit, there are still three minutes!
Out with the key, and let me get into this house.'
But there stood the king and fumbled with his keys, to draw out the
time. At last he said he hadn't any key.
'Well, if you haven't, I _have_', said the lad, as he gave the
door such a kick that it flew to splinters inwards on the floor.
At the door the Princess met him, and told her father this was her
deliverer, on whom her heart was set. So she had him; and this was
how the beggar boy came to marry the king's daughter of Arabia.
WHY THE BEAR IS STUMPY-TAILED
One day the Bear met the Fox, who came slinking along with a string
of fish he had stolen.
'Whence did you get those from?' asked the Bear.
'Oh! my Lord Bruin, I've been out fishing and caught them', said the
So the Bear had a mind to learn to fish too, and bade the Fox tell
him how he was to set about it.
'Oh! it's an easy craft for you', answered the Fox, 'and soon learnt.
You've only got to go upon the ice, and cut a hole and stick your
tail down into it; and so you must go on holding it there as long as
you can. You're not to mind if your tail smarts a little; that's when
the fish bite. The longer you hold it there the more fish you'll get;
and then all at once out with it, with a cross pull sideways, and
with a strong pull too.'
Yes; the Bear did as the Fox had said, and held his tail a long, long
time down in the hole, till it was fast frozen in. Then he pulled it
out with a cross pull, and it snapped short off. That's why Bruin
goes about with a stumpy tail this very day.
NOT A PIN TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THEM
Once on a time there was a man, and he had a wife. Now this couple
wanted to sow their fields, but they had neither seed-corn nor money
to buy it with. But they had a cow, and the man was to drive it into
town and sell it, to get money to buy corn for seed. But when it came
to the pinch, the wife dared not let her husband start for fear he
should spend the money in drink, so she set off herself with the cow,
and took besides a hen with her.
Close by the town she met a butcher, who asked:
'Will you sell that cow, Goody?'
'Yes, that I will', she answered.
'Well, what do you want for her?'
'Oh! I must have five shillings for the cow, but you shall have the
hen for ten pounds.'
'Very good!' said the man; 'I don't want the hen, and you'll soon get
it off your hands in the town, but I'll give you five shillings for
Well, she sold her cow for five shillings, but there was no one in
the town who would give ten pounds for a lean tough old hen, so she
went back to the butcher, and said:
'Do all I can, I can't get rid of this hen, master! you must take it
too, as you took the cow.'
'Well', said the butcher, 'come along and we'll see about it.' Then
he treated her both with meat and drink, and gave her so much brandy
that she lost her head, and didn't know what she was about, and fell
fast asleep. But while she slept, the butcher took and dipped her
into a tar-barrel, and then laid her down on a heap of feathers; and
when she woke up, she was feathered all over, and began to wonder
what had befallen her.
'Is it me, or is it not me? No, it can never be me; it must be some
great strange bird. But what shall I do to find out whether it is me
or not. Oh! I know how I shall be able to tell whether it is me; if
the calves come and lick me, and our dog Tray doesn't bark at me when
I get home, then it must be me, and no one else.'
Now, Tray, her dog, had scarce set his eyes on the strange monster
which came through the gate, than he set up such a barking, one would
have thought all the rogues and robbers in the world were in the
'Ah, deary me', said she, 'I thought so; it can't be me surely.' So
she went to the straw-yard, and the calves wouldn't lick her, when
they snuffed in the strong smell of tar. 'No, no!' she said, 'it
can't be me; it must be some strange outlandish bird.'
So she crept up on the roof of the safe and began to flap her arms,
as if they had been wings, and was just going to fly off.
When her husband saw all this, out he came with his rifle, and began
to take aim at her.
'Oh!' cried his wife, 'don't shoot, don't shoot! it is only me.'
'If it's you', said her husband, 'don't stand up there like a goat on
a house-top, but come down and let me hear what you have to say for
So she crawled down again, but she hadn't a shilling to shew, for the
crown she had got from the butcher she had thrown away in her
drunkenness. When her husband heard her story, he said, 'You're only
twice as silly as you were before', and he got so angry that he made
up his mind to go away from her altogether, and never to come back
till he had found three other Goodies as silly as his own.
So he toddled off, and when he had walked a little way he saw a
Goody, who was running in and out of a newly-built wooden cottage
with an empty sieve, and every time she ran in, she threw her apron
over the sieve just as if she had something in it, and when she got
in she turned it upside down on the floor.
'Why, Goody!' he asked, 'what are you doing?'
'Oh', she answered, 'I'm only carrying in a little sun; but I don't
know how it is, when I'm outside, I have the sun in my sieve, but
when I get inside, somehow or other I've thrown it away. But in my
old cottage I had plenty of sun, though I never carried in the least
bit. I only wish I knew some one who would bring the sun inside; I'd
give him three hundred dollars and welcome.'
'Have you got an axe?' asked the man. 'If you have, I'll soon bring
the sun inside.'
So he got an axe and cut windows in the cottage, for the carpenters
had forgotten them; then the sun shone in, and he got his three
'That was one of them', said the man to himself, as he went on his
After a while he passed by a house, out of which came an awful
screaming and bellowing; so he turned in and saw a Goody, who was
hard at work banging her husband across the head with a beetle, and
over his head she had drawn a shirt without any slit for the neck.
'Why, Goody!' he asked, 'will you beat your husband to death?'
'No', she said, 'I only must have a hole in this shirt for his neck
to come through.'
All the while the husband kept on screaming and calling out:
'Heaven help and comfort all who try on new shirts. If anyone would
teach my Goody another way of making a slit for the neck in my new
shirts, I'd give him three hundred dollars down and welcome.'
'I'll do it in the twinkling of an eye', said the man, 'if you'll
only give me a pair of scissors.'
So he got a pair of scissors, and snipped a hole in the neck, and
went off with his three hundred dollars.
'That was another of them', he said to himself, as he walked along.
Last of all, he came to a farm, where he made up his mind to rest a
bit. So when he went in, the mistress asked him:
'Whence do you come, master?'
'Oh!' said he, 'I come from Paradise Place', for that was the name of
'From Paradise Place!' she cried, 'you don't say so! Why, then, you
must know my second husband Peter, who is dead and gone, God rest his
For you must know this Goody had been married three times, and as her
first and last husbands had been bad, she had made up her mind that
the second only was gone to heaven.
'Oh yes', said the man; 'I know him very well.'
'Well', asked the Goody, 'how do things go with him, poor dear soul?'
'Only middling', was the answer; 'he goes about begging from house to
house, and has neither food nor a rag to his back. As for money, he
hasn't a sixpence to bless himself with.'
'Mercy on me', cried out the Goody; 'he never ought to go about such
a figure when he left so much behind him. Why, there's a whole
cupboard full of old clothes up-stairs which belonged to him, besides
a great chest full of money yonder. Now, if you will take them with
you, you shall have a horse and cart to carry them. As for the horse,
he can keep it, and sit on the cart, and drive about from house to
house, and then he needn't trudge on foot.'
So the man got a whole cart-load of clothes, and a chest full of
shining dollars, and as much meat and drink as he would; and when he
had got all he wanted, he jumped into the cart and drove off.
'That was the third', he said to himself, as he went along. Now this
Goody's third husband was a little way off in a field ploughing, and
when he saw a strange man driving off from the farm with his horse
and cart, he went home and asked his wife who that was that had just
started with the black horse.
'Oh, do you mean him?' said the Goody; 'why, that was a man from
Paradise, who said that Peter, my dear second husband, who is dead
and gone, is in a sad plight, and that he goes from house to house
begging, and has neither clothes nor money; so I just sent him all
those old clothes he left behind him, and the old money box with the
dollars in it.' The man saw how the land lay in a trice, so he
saddled his horse and rode off from the farm at full gallop. It
wasn't long before he was close behind the man who sat and drove the
cart; but when the latter saw this he drove the cart into a thicket
by the side of the road, pulled out a handful of hair from the
horse's tail, jumped up on a little rise in the wood, where he tied
the hair fast to a birch, and then lay down under it, and began to
peer and stare up at the sky.
'Well, well, if I ever!' he said, as Peter the third came riding up.
'No! I never saw the like of this in all my born days!'
Then Peter stood and looked at him for some time, wondering what had
come over him; but at last he asked:
'What do you lie there staring at?'
'No', kept on the man, 'I never did see anything like it!--here is a
man going straight up to heaven on a black horse, and here you see
his horse's tail still hanging in this birch; and yonder up in the
sky you see the black horse.'
Peter looked first at the man, and then at the sky, and said:
'I see nothing but the horse hair in the birch; that's all I see!'
'Of course you can't where you stand', said the man; 'but just come
and lie down here, and stare straight up, and mind you don't take
your eyes off the sky; and then you shall see what you shall see.'
But while Peter the third lay and stared up at the sky till his eyes
filled with tears, the man from Paradise Place took his horse and
jumped on its back and rode off both with it and the cart and horse.
When the hoofs thundered along the road, Peter the third jumped up;
but he was so taken aback when he found the man had gone off with his
horse that he hadn't the sense to run after him till it was too late.
He was rather down in the mouth when he got home to his Goody; but
when she asked him what he had done with the horse, he said,
'I gave it to the man too for Peter the second, for I thought it
wasn't right he should sit in a cart, and scramble about from house
to house; so now he can sell the cart and buy himself a coach to
drive about in.'
'Thank you heartily!' said his wife; 'I never thought you could be so
Well, when the man reached home, who had got the six hundred dollars
and the cart-load of clothes and money, he saw that all his fields
were ploughed and sown, and the first thing he asked his wife was,
where she had got the seed-corn from.
'Oh', she said, 'I have always heard that what a man sows he shall
reap, so I sowed the salt which our friends the north-country men
laid up here with us, and if we only have rain I fancy it will come
'Silly you are', said her husband, 'and silly you will be so long as
you live; but that is all one now, for the rest are not a bit wiser
than you. There is not a pin to choose between you.'
ONE'S OWN CHILDREN ARE ALWAYS PRETTIEST
A sportsman went out once into a wood to shoot, and he met a Snipe.
'Dear friend', said the Snipe, 'don't shoot my children!'
'How shall I know your children?' asked the Sportsman; 'what are they
'Oh!' said the Snipe, 'mine are the prettiest children in all the
'Very well', said the Sportsman, 'I'll not shoot them; don't be
But for all that, when he came back, there he had a whole string of
young snipes in his hand which he had shot.
'Oh, oh!' said the Snipe, 'why did you shoot my children after all?'
'What! these your children!' said the Sportsman; 'why, I shot the
ugliest I could find, that I did!'
'Woe is me!' said the Snipe; 'don't you know that each one thinks his
own children the prettiest in the world?'
THE THREE PRINCESSES OF WHITELAND
Once on a time there was a fisherman who lived close by a palace, and
fished for the king's table. One day when he was out fishing he just
caught nothing. Do what he would--however he tried with bait and
angle--there was never a sprat on his hook. But when the day was far
spent a head bobbed up out of the water, and said:
'If I may have what your wife bears under her girdle, you shall catch
So the man answered boldly, 'Yes'; for he did not know that his wife
was going to have a child. After that, as was like enough, he caught
plenty of fish of all kinds. But when he got home at night and told
his story, how he had got all that fish, his wife fell a-weeping and
moaning, and was beside herself for the promise which her husband had
made, for she said, 'I bear a babe under my girdle.'
Well, the story soon spread, and came up to the castle; and when the
king heard the woman's grief and its cause, he sent down to say he
would take care of the child, and see if he couldn't save it.
So the months went on and on, and when her time came the fisher's
wife had a boy; so the king took it at once, and brought it up as his
own son, until the lad grew up. Then he begged leave one day to go
out fishing with his father; he had such a mind to go, he said. At
first the king wouldn't hear of it, but at last the lad had his way,
and went. So he and his father were out the whole day, and all went
right and well till they landed at night. Then the lad remembered he
had left his handkerchief, and went to look for it; but as soon as
ever he got into the boat, it began to move off with him at such
speed that the water roared under the bow, and all the lad could do
in rowing against it with the oars was no use; so he went and went
the whole night, and at last he came to a white strand, far far away.
There he went ashore, and when he had walked about a bit, an old, old
man met him, with a long white beard.
'What's the name of this land?' asked the lad.
'Whiteland', said the man, who went on to ask the lad whence he came,
and what he was going to do. So the lad told him all.
'Aye, aye!' said the man; 'now when you have walked a little farther
along the strand here, you'll come to three Princesses, whom you will
see standing in the earth up to their necks, with only their heads
out. Then the first--she is the eldest--will call out and beg you so
prettily to come and help her; and the second will do the same; to
neither of these shall you go; make haste past them, as if you
neither saw nor heard anything. But the third you shall go to, and do
what she asks. If you do this, you'll have good luck--that's all.'
When the lad came to the first Princess, she called out to him, and
begged him so prettily to come to her, but he passed on as though he
saw her not. In the same way he passed by the second; but to the
third he went straight up.
'If you'll do what I bid you', she said, 'you may have which of us
'Yes'; he was willing enough; so she told him how three Trolls had
set them down in the earth there; but before they had lived in the
castle up among the trees.
'Now', she said, 'you must go into that castle, and let the Trolls
whip you each one night for each of us. If you can bear that, you'll
set us free.'
Well, the lad said he was ready to try.
'When you go in', the Princess went on to say, 'you'll see two lions
standing at the gate; but if you'll only go right in the middle
between them they'll do you no harm. Then go straight on into a
little dark room, and make your bed. Then the Troll will come to whip
you; but if you take the flask which hangs on the wall, and rub
yourself with the ointment that's in it, wherever his lash falls,
you'll be as sound as ever. Then grasp the sword that hangs by the
side of the flask and strike the Troll dead.'
Yes, he did as the Princess told him; he passed in the midst between
the lions, as if he hadn't seen them, and went straight into the
little room, and there he lay down to sleep. The first night there
came a Troll with three heads and three rods, and whipped the lad
soundly; but he stood it till the Troll was done; then he took the
flask and rubbed himself, and grasped the sword and slew the Troll.
So, when he went out next morning, the Princesses stood out of the
earth up to their waists.
The next night 'twas the same story over again, only this time the
Troll had six heads and six rods, and he whipped him far worse than
the first; but when he went out next morning, the Princesses stood
out of the earth as far as the knee. The third night there came a
Troll that had nine heads and nine rods, and he whipped and flogged
the lad so long that he fainted away; then the Troll took him up and
dashed him against the wall; but the shock brought down the flask,
which fell on the lad, burst, and spilled the ointment all over him,
and so he became as strong and sound as ever again. Then he wasn't
slow; he grasped the sword and slew the Troll; and next morning when
he went out of the castle the Princesses stood before him with all
their bodies out of the earth. So he took the youngest for his Queen,
and lived well and happily with her for some time.
At last he began to long to go home for a little to see his parents.
His Queen did not like this; but at last his heart was so set on it,
and he longed and longed so much, there was no holding him back, so
'One thing you must promise me. This--Only to do what your father
begs you to do, and not what your mother wishes'; and that he
Then she gave him a ring, which was of that kind that any one who
wore it might wish two wishes. So he wished himself home, and when he
got home his parents could not wonder enough what a grand man their
son had become.
Now, when he had been at home some days, his mother wished him to go
up to the palace and show the king what a fine fellow he had come to
be. But his father said:
'No! don't let him do that; if he does, we shan't have any more joy
of him this time.'
But it was no good, the mother begged and prayed so long, that at
last he went. So when he got up to the palace, he was far braver,
both in clothes and array, than the other king, who didn't quite like
this, and at last he said:
'All very fine; but here you can see my queen, what like she is, but
I can't see yours, that I can't. Do you know, I scarce think she's so
good-looking as mine.'
'Would to Heaven', said the young king, 'she were standing here, then
you'd see what she was like.' And that instant there she stood before
But she was very woeful, and said to him:
'Why did you not mind what I told you; and why did you not listen to
what your father said? Now, I must away home, and as for you, you
have had both your wishes.'
With that she knitted a ring among his hair with her name on it, and
wished herself home, and was off.
Then the young king was cut to the heart, and went, day out day in,
thinking and thinking how he should get back to his queen. 'I'll just
try', he thought, 'if I can't learn where Whiteland lies'; and so he
went out into the world to ask. So when he had gone a good way, he
came to a high hill, and there he met one who was lord over all the
beasts of the wood, for they all came home to him when he blew his
horn; so the king asked if he knew where Whiteland was?
'No, I don't', said he, 'but I'll ask my beasts.' Then he blew his
horn and called them, and asked if any of them knew where Whiteland
lay? but there was no beast that knew.
So the man gave him a pair of snow-shoes.
'When you get on these', he said, 'you'll come to my brother, who
lives hundreds of miles off; he is lord over all the birds of the
air. Ask him. When you reach his house, just turn the shoes, so that
the toes point this way, and they'll come home of themselves.' So
when the king reached the house, he turned the shoes as the lord of
the beasts had said, and away they went home of themselves.
So he asked again after Whiteland, and the man called all the birds
with a blast of his horn, and asked if any of them knew where
Whiteland lay; but none of the birds knew. Now, long, long after the
rest of the birds, came an old eagle, which had been away ten round
years, but he couldn't tell any more than the rest.
'Well! well!' said the man, 'I'll lend you a pair of snow-shoes, and
when you get them on, they'll carry you to my brother, who lives
hundreds of miles off; he's lord of all the fish in the sea; you'd
better ask him. But don't forget to turn the toes of the shoes this
The king was full of thanks, got on the shoes, and when he came to
the man who was lord over the fish of the sea, he turned the toes
round, and so off they went home like the other pair. After that, he
asked again after Whiteland.
So the man called the fish with a blast, but no fish could tell where
it lay. At last came an old pike, which they had great work to call
home, he was such a way off. So when they asked him he said:
'Know it! I should think I did. I've been cook there ten years, and
to-morrow I'm going there again; for now, the queen of Whiteland,
whose king is away, is going to wed another husband.'
'Well!' said the man, 'as this is so, I'll give you a bit of advice.
Hereabouts, on a moor, stand three brothers, and here they have stood
these hundred years, fighting about a hat, a cloak, and a pair of
boots. If any one has these three things he can make himself
invisible, and wish himself any where he pleases. You can tell them
you wish to try the things, and after that, you'll pass judgment
between them, whose they shall be.'
Yes! the king thanked the man, and went and did as he told him.
'What's all this?' he said to the brothers. 'Why do you stand here
fighting for ever and a day? Just let me try these things, and I'll
give judgment whose they shall be.'
They were very willing to do this; but as soon as he had got the hat,
cloak, and boots, he said:
'When we meet next time, I'll tell you my judgment', and with these
words he wished himself away.
So as he went along up in the air, he came up with the North Wind.
'Whither away?' roared the North Wind.
'To Whiteland', said the king; and then he told him all that had
'Ah', said the North Wind, 'you go faster than I--you do; for you can
go straight, while I have to puff and blow round every turn and
corner. But when you get there, just place yourself on the stairs by
the side of the door, and then I'll come storming in, as though I
were going to blow down the whole castle. And then when the prince,
who is to have your queen, comes out to see what's the matter, just
you take him by the collar and pitch him out of doors; then I'll look
after him, and see if I can't carry him off.'
Well--the king did as the North Wind said. He took his stand on the
stairs, and when the North Wind came, storming and roaring, and took
hold of the castle wall, so that it shook again, the prince came out
to see what was the matter. But as soon as ever he came, the king
caught him by the collar and pitched him out of doors, and then the
North Wind caught him up and carried him off. So when there was an
end of him, the king went into the castle, and at first his queen
didn't know him, he was so wan and thin, through wandering so far and
being so woeful; but when he shewed her the ring, she was as glad as
glad could be; and so the rightful wedding was held, and the fame of
it spread far and wide.
THE LASSIE AND HER GODMOTHER
Once on a time a poor couple lived far, far away in a great wood. The
wife was brought to bed, and had a pretty girl, but they were so poor
they did not know how to get the babe christened, for they had no
money to pay the parson's fees. So one day the father went out to see
if he could find any one who was willing to stand for the child and
pay the fees; but though he walked about the whole day from one house
to another, and though all said they were willing enough to stand, no
one thought himself bound to pay the fees. Now, when he was going
home again, a lovely lady met him, dressed so fine, and who looked so
thoroughly good and kind; she offered to get the babe christened, but
after that, she said, she must keep it for her own. The husband
answered, he must first ask his wife what she wished to do; but when
he got home and told his story, the wife said, right out, 'No!'
Next day the man went out again, but no one would stand if they had
to pay the fees; and though he begged and prayed, he could get no
help. And again as he went home, towards evening the same lovely lady
met him, who looked so sweet and good, and she made him the same
offer. So he told his wife again how he had fared, and this time she
said, if he couldn't get any one to stand for his babe next day, they
must just let the lady have her way, since she seemed so kind and
The third day, the man went about, but he couldn't get any one to
stand; and so when, towards evening, he met the kind lady again, he
gave his word she should have the babe if she would only get it
christened at the font. So next morning she came to the place where
the man lived, followed by two men to stand godfathers, took the babe
and carried it to church, and there it was christened. After that she
took it to her own house, and there the little girl lived with her
several years, and her foster-mother was always kind and friendly to
Now, when the lassie had grown to be big enough to know right and
wrong, her foster-mother got ready to go on a journey. 'You have my
leave', she said, 'to go all over the house, except those rooms which
I shew you'; and when she had said that, away she went.
But the lassie could not forbear just to open one of the doors a
little bit, when--POP! out flew a Star.
When her foster-mother came back, she was very vexed to find that the
star had flown out, and she got very angry with her foster-daughter,
and threatened to send her away; but the child cried and begged so
hard that she got leave to stay.
Now, after a while, the foster-mother had to go on another journey;
and, before she went, she forbade the lassie to go into those two
rooms into which she had never been. She promised to beware; but when
she was left alone, she began to think and to wonder what there could
be in the second room, and at last she could not help setting the
door a little ajar, just to peep in, when--POP! out flew the Moon.
When her foster-mother came home and found the Moon let out, she was
very downcast, and said to the lassie she must go away, she could not
stay with her any longer. But the lassie wept so bitterly, and prayed
so heartily for forgiveness, that this time, too, she got leave to
Some time after, the foster-mother had to go away again, and she
charged the lassie, who by this time was half grown up, most
earnestly that she mustn't try to go into, or to peep into, the third
room. But when her foster-mother had been gone some time, and the
lassie was weary of walking about alone, all at once she thought,
'Dear me, what fun it would be just to peep a little into that third
room.' Then she thought she mustn't do it for her foster-mother's
sake; but when the bad thought came the second time she could hold
out no longer; come what might, she must and would look into the
room; so she just opened the door a tiny bit, when--POP! out flew the
But when her foster-mother came back and saw that the sun had flown
away, she was cut to the heart, and said, 'Now, there was no help for
it, the lassie must and should go away; she couldn't hear of her
staying any longer.' Now the lassie cried her eyes out, and begged
and prayed so prettily; but it was all no good.
'Nay! but I must punish you!' said her foster-mother; 'but you may
have your choice, either to be the loveliest woman in the world, and
not to be able to speak, or to keep your speech, and be the ugliest
of all women; but away from me you must go.'
And the lassie said, 'I would sooner be lovely.' So she became all at
once wondrous fair; but from that day forth she was dumb.
So, when she went away from her foster-mother, she walked and
wandered through a great, great wood; but the farther she went, the
farther off the end seemed to be. So, when the evening came on, she
clomb up into a tall tree, which grew over a spring, and there she
made herself up to sleep that night. Close by lay a castle, and from
that castle came early every morning a maid to draw water to make the
Prince's tea, from the spring over which the lassie was sitting. So
the maid looked down into the spring, saw the lovely face in the
water, and thought it was her own; then she flung away the pitcher,
and ran home; and, when she got there, she tossed up her head and
said, 'If I'm so pretty, I'm far too good to go and fetch water.'
So another maid had to go for the water, but the same thing happened
to her; she went back and said she was far too pretty and too good to
fetch water from the spring for the Prince. Then the Prince went
himself, for he had a mind to see what all this could mean. So, when
he reached the spring, he too saw the image in the water; but he
looked up at once, and became aware of the lovely lassie who sate
there up in the tree. Then he coaxed her down and took her home; and
at last made up his mind to have her for his queen, because she was
so lovely; but his mother, who was still alive, was against it.
'She can't speak', she said, 'and maybe she's a wicked witch.'
But the Prince could not be content till he got her. So after they
had lived together a while, the lassie was to have a child, and when
the child came to be born, the Prince set a strong watch round her;
but at the birth one and all fell into a deep sleep, and her foster-
mother came, cut the babe on its little finger, and smeared the
queen's mouth with the blood; and said:
'Now you shall be as grieved as I was when you let out the star'; and
with these words she carried off the babe.
But when those who were on the watch woke, they thought the queen had
eaten her own child, and the old queen was all for burning her alive,
but the Prince was so fond of her that at last he begged her off, but
he had hard work to set her free.
So the next time the young queen was to have a child, twice as strong
a watch was set as the first time, but the same thing happened over
again, only this time her foster-mother said:
'Now you shall be as grieved as I was when you let the moon out.'
And the queen begged and prayed, and wept; for when her foster-mother
was there, she could speak--but it was all no good.
And now the old queen said she must be burnt, but the Prince found
means to beg her off. But when the third child was to be born, a
watch was set three times as strong as the first, but just the same
thing happened. Her foster-mother came while the watch slept, took
the babe, and cut its little finger, and smeared the queen's mouth
with the blood, telling her now she should be as grieved as she had
been when the lassie let out the sun.
And now the Prince could not save her any longer. She must and should
be burnt. But just as they were leading her to the stake, all at once
they saw her foster-mother, who came with all three children--two she
led by the hand, and the third she had on her arm; and so she went up
to the young queen and said:
'Here are your children; now you shall have them again. I am the
Virgin Mary, and so grieved as you have been, so grieved was I when
you let out sun, and moon, and star. Now you have been punished for
what you did, and henceforth you shall have your speech.'
How glad the Queen and Prince now were, all may easily think, but no
one can tell. After that they were always happy; and from that day
even the Prince's mother was very fond of the young queen.
THE THREE AUNTS
Once on a time there was a poor man who lived in a hut far away in
the wood, and got his living by shooting. He had an only daughter who
was very pretty, and as she had lost her mother when she was a child,
and was now half grown up, she said she would go out into the world
and earn her bread.
'Well, lassie!' said the father, 'true enough you have learnt nothing
here but how to pluck birds and roast them, but still you may as well
try to earn your bread.'
So the girl went off to seek a place, and when she had gone a little
while, she came to a palace. There she stayed and got a place, and
the queen liked her so well, that all the other maids got envious of
her. So they made up their minds to tell the queen how the lassie
said she was good to spin a pound of flax in four and twenty hours,
for you must know the queen was a great housewife, and thought much
of good work.
'Have you said this? then you shall do it', said the queen; 'but you
may have a little longer time if you choose.'
Now, the poor lassie dared not say she had never spun in all her
life, but she only begged for a room to herself. That she got, and
the wheel and the flax were brought up to her. There she sat sad and
weeping, and knew not how to help herself. She pulled the wheel this
way and that, and twisted and turned it about, but she made a poor
hand of it, for she had never even seen a spinning-wheel in her life.
But all at once, as she sat there, in came an old woman to her.
'What ails you, child?' she said.
'Ah!' said the lassie, with a deep sigh, 'it's no good to tell you,
for you'll never be able to help me.'
'Who knows?' said the old wife. 'May be I know how to help you after
Well, thought the lassie to herself, I may as well tell her, and so
she told her how her fellow-servants had given out that she was good
to spin a pound of flax in four and twenty hours.
'And here am I, wretch that I am, shut up to spin all that heap in a
day and a night, when I have never even seen a spinning-wheel in all
my born days.'
'Well, never mind, child', said the old woman. 'If you'll call me
Aunt on the happiest day of your life, I'll spin this flax for you,
and so you may just go away and lie down to sleep.'
Yes, the lassie was willing enough, and off she went and lay down to
Next morning when she awoke, there lay all the flax spun on the
table, and that so clean and fine, no one had ever seen such even and
pretty yarn. The queen was very glad to get such nice yarn, and she
set greater store by the lassie than ever. But the rest were still
more envious, and agreed to tell the queen how the lassie had said
she was good to weave the yarn she had spun in four and twenty hours.
So the queen said again, as she had said it she must do it; but if
she couldn't quite finish it in four and twenty hours, she wouldn't
be too hard upon her, she might have a little more time. This time,
too, the lassie dared not say No, but begged for a room to herself,
and then she would try. There she sat again, sobbing and crying, and
not knowing which way to turn, when another old woman came in and
'What ails you, child?'
At first the lassie wouldn't say, but at last she told her the whole
story of her grief.
'Well, well!' said the old wife, 'never mind. If you'll call me Aunt
on the happiest day of your life, I'll weave this yarn for you, and
so you may just be off, and lie down to sleep.'
Yes, the lassie was willing enough; so she went away and lay down to
sleep. When she awoke, there lay the piece of linen on the table,
woven so neat and close, no woof could be better. So the lassie took
the piece and ran down to the queen, who was very glad to get such
beautiful linen, and set greater store than ever by the lassie. But
as for the others, they grew still more bitter against her, and
thought of nothing but how to find out something to tell about her.
At last they told the queen the lassie had said she was good to make
up the piece of linen into shirts in four and twenty hours. Well, all
happened as before; the lassie dared not say she couldn't sew; so she
was shut up again in a room by herself, and there she sat in tears
and grief. But then another old wife came, who said she would sew the
shirts for her if she would call her Aunt on the happiest day of her
life. The lassie was only too glad to do this, and then she did as
the old wife told her, and went and lay down to sleep.
Next morning when she woke she found the piece of linen made up into
shirts, which lay on the table--and such beautiful work no one had
ever set eyes on; and more than that, the shirts were all marked and
ready for wear. So, when the queen saw the work, she was so glad at
the way in which it was sewn, that she clapped her hands, and said:
'Such sewing I never had, nor even saw in all my born days'; and
after that she was as fond of the lassie as of her own children; and
she said to her:
'Now, if you like to have the Prince for your husband, you shall have
him; for you will never need to hire work-women. You can sew, and
spin, and weave all yourself.'
So as the lassie was pretty, and the Prince was glad to have her, the
wedding soon came on. But just as the Prince was going to sit down
with the bride to the bridal feast, in came an ugly old hag with a
long nose--I'm sure it was three ells long.
So up got the bride and made a curtsey, and said: 'Good-day, Auntie.'
'_That_ Auntie to my bride?' said the Prince.
'Yes, she was!'
'Well, then, she'd better sit down with us to the feast', said the
Prince; but, to tell you the truth, both he and the rest thought she
was a loathsome woman to have next you.
But just then in came another ugly old hag. She had a back so humped
and broad, she had hard work to get through the door. Up jumped
the bride in a trice, and greeted her with 'Good-day, Auntie!'
And the Prince asked again if that were his bride's aunt. They both
said Yes; so the Prince said, if that were so, she too had better sit
down with them to the feast.
But they had scarce taken their seats before another ugly old hag
came in, with eyes as large as saucers, and so red and bleared, 'twas
gruesome to look at her. But up jumped the bride again, with her
'Good-day, Auntie', and her, too, the Prince asked to sit down; but I
can't say he was very glad, for he thought to himself: 'Heaven shield
me from such Aunties as my bride has!' So when he had sat awhile,
he could not keep his thoughts to himself any longer, but asked,
'But how, in all the world, can my bride, who is such a lovely
lassie, have such loathsome, misshapen Aunts?'
'I'll soon tell you how it is', said the first. 'I was just as good-
looking when I was her age; but the reason why I've got this long
nose is, because I was always kept sitting, and poking, and nodding
over my spinning, and so my nose got stretched and stretched, until
it got as long as you now see it.'
'And I', said the second, 'ever since I was young, I have sat and
scuttled backwards and forwards over my loom, and that's how my back
has got so broad and humped as you now see it.'
'And I', said the third, 'ever since I was little, I have sat, and
stared, and sewn, and sewn and stared, night and day; and that's why
my eyes have got so ugly and red, and now there's no help for them.'
'So! so! 'said the Prince, ''twas lucky I came to know this; for if
folk can get so ugly and loathsome by all this, then my bride shall
neither spin, nor weave, nor sew all her life long.'
THE COCK, THE CUCKOO, AND THE BLACK-COCK
[This is another of those tales in which the birds' notes must be
Once on a time the Cock, the Cuckoo, and the Black-cock bought a cow
between them. But when they came to share it, and couldn't agree
which should buy the others out, they settled that he who woke first
in the morning should have the cow.
So the Cock woke first.
Now the cow's mine!
Now the cow's mine!
he crew, and as he crew, up awoke the Cuckoo.
sang the Cuckoo, and woke up the Black-cock.
A like share, a like share;
Dear friends, that's only fair!
Saw see! See saw!
That's what the Black-cock said.
And now, can you tell me which of them ought to have the cow?
RICH PETER THE PEDLAR
Once on a time there was a man whom they called Rich Peter the
Pedlar, because he used to travel about with a pack, and got so much
money, that he became quite rich. This Rich Peter had a daughter,
whom he held so dear that all who came to woo her, were sent about
their business, for no one was good enough for her, he thought. Well,
this went on and on, and at last no one came to woo her, and as years
rolled on, Peter began to be afraid that she would die an old maid.
'I wonder now', he said to his wife, 'why suitors no longer come to
woo our lass, who is so rich. 'Twould be odd if no body cared to have
her, for money she has, and more she shall have. I think I'd better
just go off to the Stargazers, and ask them whom she shall have, for
not a soul comes to us now.'
'But how', asked the wife, 'can the Stargazers answer that?'
'Can't they?' said Peter; 'why! they read all things in the stars.'
So he took with him a great bag of money, and set off to the
Stargazers, and asked them to be so good as to look at the stars, and
tell him the husband his daughter was to have. Well! the Stargazers
looked and looked, but they said they could see nothing about it. But
Peter begged them to look better, and to tell him the truth; he would
pay them well for it. So the Stargazers looked better, and at last
they said that his daughter's husband was to be the miller's son, who
was only just born, down at the mill below Rich Peter's house. Then
Peter gave the Stargazers a hundred dollars, and went home with the
answer he had got. Now, he thought it too good a joke that his
daughter should wed one so newly born, and of such poor estate. He
said this to his wife, and added:
'I wonder now if they would sell me the boy; then I'd soon put him
out of the way?'
'I daresay they would', said his wife; 'you know they're very poor.'
So Peter went down to the mill, and asked the miller's wife whether
she would sell him her son; she should get a heap of money for him?
'No!' that she wouldn't.
'Well!' said Peter, 'I'm sure I can't see why you shouldn't; you've
hard work enough as it is to keep hunger out of the house, and the
boy won't make it easier, I think.'
But the mother was so proud of the boy, she couldn't part with him.
So when the miller came home, Peter said the same thing to him, and
gave his word to pay six hundred dollars for the boy, so that they
might buy themselves a farm of their own, and not have to grind other
folks' corn, and to starve when they ran short of water. The miller
thought it was a good bargain, and he talked over his wife; and the
end was, that Rich Peter got the boy. The mother cried and sobbed,
but Peter comforted her by saying the boy should be well cared for;
only they had to promise never to ask after him, for he said he meant
to send him far away to other lands, so that he might learn foreign
So when Peter the Pedlar got home with the boy, he sent for a
carpenter, and had a little chest made, which was so tidy and neat,
'twas a joy to see. This he made water-tight with pitch, put the
miller's boy into it, locked it up, and threw it into the river,
where the stream carried it away.
'Now, I'm rid of him', thought Peter the Pedlar.
But when the chest had floated ever so far down the stream, it came
into the mill-head of another mill, and ran down and hampered the
shaft of the wheel, and stopped it. Out came the miller to see what
stopped the mill, found the chest and took it up. So when he came
home to dinner to his wife, he said:
'I wonder now whatever there can be inside this chest which came
floating down the mill-head, and stopped our mill to-day?'
'That we'll soon know', said his wife; 'see, there's the key in the
lock, just turn it.'
So they turned the key and opened the chest, and lo! there lay the
prettiest child you ever set eyes on. So they were both glad, and
were ready to keep the child, for they had no children of their own,
and were so old, they could now hope for none.
Now, after a little while, Peter the Pedlar began to wonder how it
was no one came to woo his daughter, who was so rich in land, and had
so much ready money. At last, when no one came, off he went again to
the Stargazers, and offered them a heap of money if they could tell
him whom his daughter was to have for a husband.
'Why! we have told you already, that she is to have the miller's son
down yonder', said the Stargazers.
'All very true, I daresay', said Peter the Pedlar; 'but it so happens
he's dead; but if you can tell me whom she's to have, I'll give you
two hundred dollars, and welcome.' So the Stargazers looked at the
stars again, but they got quite cross, and said,
'We told you before, and we tell you now, she is to have the miller's
son, whom you threw into the river, and wished to make an end of; for
he is alive, safe and sound, in such and such a mill, far down the
So Peter the Pedlar gave them two hundred dollars for this news, and
thought how he could best be rid of the miller's son. The first thing
Peter did when he got home, was to set off for the mill. By that time
the boy was so big that he had been confirmed, and went about the
mill and helped the miller. Such a pretty boy you never saw.
'Can't you spare me that lad yonder?' said Peter the Pedlar to the
'No! that I can't', he answered; 'I've brought him up as my own son,
and he has turned out so well, that now he's a great help and aid to
me in the mill, for I'm getting old and past work.'
'It's just the same with me', said Peter the Pedlar; 'that's why I'd
like to have some one to learn my trade. Now, if you'll give him up
to me, I'll give you six hundred dollars, and then you can buy
yourself a farm, and live in peace and quiet the rest of your days.'
Yes! when the miller heard that, he let Peter the Pedlar have the
Then the two travelled about far and wide, with their packs and
wares, till they came to an inn, which lay by the edge of a great
wood. From this Peter the Pedlar sent the lad home with a letter to
his wife, for the way was not so long if you took the short cut
across the wood, and told him to tell her she was to be sure and do
what was written in the letter as quickly as she could. But it was
written in the letter, that she was to have a great pile made there
and then, fire it, and cast the miller's son into it. If she didn't
do that, he'd burn her alive himself when he came back. So the lad
set off with the letter across the wood, and when evening came on he
reached a house far, far away in the wood, into which he went; but
inside he found no one. In one of the rooms was a bed ready made, so
he threw himself across it and fell asleep. The letter he had stuck
into his hat-band, and the hat he pulled over his face. So when the
robbers came back--for in that house twelve robbers had their abode--
and saw the lad lying on the bed, they began to wonder who he could
be, and one of them took the letter and broke it open, and read it.
'Ho! ho!' said he; 'this comes from Peter the Pedlar, does it? Now
we'll play him a trick. It would be a pity if the old niggard made an
end of such a pretty lad.'
So the robbers wrote another letter to Peter the Pedlar's wife, and
fastened it under his hat-band while he slept; and in that they
wrote, that as soon as ever she got it she was to make a wedding for
her daughter and the miller's boy, and give them horses and cattle,
and household stuff, and set them up for themselves in the farm which
he had under the hill; and if he didn't find all this done by the
time he came back, she'd smart for it--that was all.
Next day the robbers let the lad go, and when he came home and
delivered the letter, he said he was to greet her kindly from Peter
the Pedlar, and to say that she was to carry out what was written in
the letter as soon as ever she could.
'You must have behaved very well then', said Peter, the Pedlar's wife
to the miller's boy, 'if he can write so about you now, for when you
set off, he was so mad against you, he didn't know how to put you out
of the way.' So she married them on the spot, and set them up for
themselves, with horses, and cattle, and household stuff, in the farm
up under the hill.
No long time after Peter the Pedlar came home, and the first thing he
asked was, if she had done what he had written in his letter.
'Aye! aye!' she said; 'I thought it rather odd, but I dared not do
anything else'; and so Peter asked where his daughter was.
'Why, you know well enough where she is', said his wife. 'Where
should she be but up at the farm under the hill, as you wrote in the
So when Peter the Pedlar came to hear the whole story, and came to
see the letter, he got so angry he was ready to burst with rage, and
off he ran up to the farm to the young couple.
'It's all very well, my son, to say you have got my daughter', he
said to the miller's lad; 'but if you wish to keep her, you must go
to the Dragon of Deepferry, and get me three feathers out of his
tail; for he who has them may get anything he chooses.'
'But where shall I find him?' said his son-in-law.
'I'm sure I can't tell', said Peter the Pedlar; 'that's your look-
out, not mine.'
So the lad set off with a stout heart, and after he had walked some
way, he came to a king's palace.
'Here I'll just step in and ask', he said to himself; 'for such great
folk know more about the world than others, and perhaps I may here
learn the way to the Dragon.'
Then the King asked him whence he came, and whither he was going?
'Oh!' said the lad, 'I'm going to the Dragon of Deepferry to pluck
three feathers out of his tail, if I only knew where to find him.'
'You must take luck with you, then', said the King, 'for I never
heard of any one who came back from that search. But if you find him,
just ask him from me why I can't get clear water in my well; for I've
dug it out time after time, and still I can't get a drop of clear
'Yes, I'll be sure to ask him', said the lad. So he lived on the fat
of the land at the palace, and got money and food when he left it.
At even he came to another king's palace; and when he went into the
kitchen, the King came out of the parlour, and asked whence he came,
and on what errand he was bound?
'Oh!' said the lad, 'I'm going to the Dragon of Deepferry to pluck
three feathers out of his tail.'
'Then you must take luck with you', said the King, 'for I never yet
heard that any one came back who went to look for him. But if you
find him, be so good as to ask him from me where my daughter is, who
has been lost so many years. I have hunted for her, and had her name
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