LITTLE BUD, by Louisa May Alcott

IN a great forest, high up among the green boughs, lived Bird Brown-Breast, and his bright-eyed little mate. They were now very happy; their home was done, the four blue eggs lay in the soft nest, and the little wife sat still and patient on them, while the husband sang, and told her charming tales, and brought her sweet berries and little worms.

Things went smoothly on, till one day she found in the nest a little white egg, with a golden band about it.

“My friend,” cried she, “come and see! Where can this fine egg have come from? My four are here, and this also; what think you of it?”

The husband shook his head gravely, and said, “Be not alarmed, my love; it is doubtless some good Fairy who has given us this, and we shall find some gift within; do not let us touch it, but do you sit carefully upon it, and we shall see in time what has been sent us.”

So they said nothing about it, and soon their home had four little chirping children; and then the white egg opened, and, behold, a little maiden lay singing within. Then how amazed were they, and how they welcomed her, as she lay warm beneath the mother’s wing, and how the young birds did love her.

Great joy was in the forest, and proud were the parents of their family, and still more of the little one who had come to them; while all the neighbors flocked in, to see Dame Brown-Breast’s little child. And the tiny maiden talked to them, and sang so merrily, that they could have listened for ever. Soon she was the joy of the whole forest, dancing from tree to tree, making every nest her home, and none were ever so welcome as little Bud; and so they lived right merrily in the green old forest.

The father now had much to do to supply his family with food, and choice morsels did he bring little Bud. The wild fruits were her food, the fresh dew in the flower-cups her drink, while the green leaves served her for little robes; and thus she found garments in the flowers of the field, and a happy home with Mother Brown-Breast; and all in the wood, from the stately trees to the little mosses in the turf, were friends to the merry child.

And each day she taught the young birds sweet songs, and as their gay music rang through the old forest, the stern, dark pines ceased their solemn waving, that they might hear the soft sounds stealing through the dim wood-paths, and mortal children came to listen, saying softly, “Hear the flowers sing, and touch them not, for the Fairies are here.”

Then came a band of sad little Elves to Bud, praying that they might hear the sweet music; and when she took them by the hand, and spoke gently to them, they wept and said sadly, when she asked them whence they came,—

“We dwelt once in Fairy-Land, and O how happy were we then! But alas! we were not worthy of so fair a home, and were sent forth into the cold world. Look at our robes, they are like the withered leaves; our wings are dim, our crowns are gone, and we lead sad, lonely lives in this dark forest. Let us stay with you; your gay music sounds like Fairy songs, and you have such a friendly way with you, and speak so gently to us. It is good to be near one so lovely and so kind; and you can tell us how we may again become fair and innocent. Say we may stay with you, kind little maiden.”

And Bud said, “Yes,” and they stayed; but her kind little heart was grieved that they wept so sadly, and all she could say could not make them happy; till at last she said,—

“Do not weep, and I will go to Queen Dew-Drop, and beseech her to let you come back. I will tell her that you are repentant, and will do anything to gain her love again; that you are sad, and long to be forgiven. This will I say, and more, and trust she will grant my prayer.”

“She will not say no to you, dear Bud,” said the poor little Fairies; “she will love you as we do, and if we can but come again to our lost home, we cannot give you thanks enough. Go, Bud, and if there be power in Fairy gifts, you shall be as happy as our hearts’ best love can make you.”

The tidings of Bud’s departure flew through the forest, and all her friends came to say farewell, as with the morning sun she would go; and each brought some little gift, for the land of Fairies was far away, and she must journey long.

“Nay, you shall not go on your feet, my child,” said Mother Brown-Breast; “your friend Golden-Wing shall carry you. Call him hither, that I may seat you rightly, for if you should fall off my heart would break.”

Then up came Golden-Wing, and Bud was safely seated on the cushion of violet-leaves; and it was really charming to see her merry little face, peeping from under the broad brim of her cow-slip hat, as her butterfly steed stood waving his bright wings in the sunlight. Then came the bee with his yellow honey-bags, which he begged she would take, and the little brown spider that lived under the great leaves brought a veil for her hat, and besought her to wear it, lest the sun should shine too brightly; while the ant came bringing a tiny strawberry, lest she should miss her favorite fruit. The mother gave her good advice, and the papa stood with his head on one side, and his round eyes twinkling with delight, to think that his little Bud was going to Fairy-Land.

Then they all sang gayly together, till she passed out of sight over the hills, and they saw her no more.

And now Bud left the old forest far behind her. Golden-Wing bore her swiftly along, and she looked down on the green mountains, and the peasant’s cottages, that stood among overshadowing trees; and the earth looked bright, with its broad, blue rivers winding through soft meadows, the singing birds, and flowers, who kept their bright eyes ever on the sky.

And she sang gayly as they floated in the clear air, while her friend kept time with his waving wings, and ever as they went along all grew fairer; and thus they came to Fairy-Land.

As Bud passed through the gates, she no longer wondered that the exiled Fairies wept and sorrowed for the lovely home they had lost. Bright clouds floated in the sunny sky, casting a rainbow light on the Fairy palaces below, where the Elves were dancing; while the low, sweet voices of the singing flowers sounded softly through the fragrant air, and mingled with the music of the rippling waves, as they flowed on beneath the blossoming vines that drooped above them.

All was bright and beautiful; but kind little Bud would not linger, for the forms of the weeping Fairies were before her; and though the blossoms nodded gayly on their stems to welcome her, and the soft winds kissed her cheek, she would not stay, but on to the Flower Palace she went, into a pleasant hall whose walls were formed of crimson roses, amid whose leaves sat little Elves, making sweet music on their harps. When they saw Bud, they gathered round her, and led her through the flower-wreathed arches to a group of the most beautiful Fairies, who were gathered about a stately lily, in whose fragrant cup sat one whose purple robe and glittering crown told she was their Queen.

Bud knelt before her, and, while tears streamed down her little face, she told her errand, and pleaded earnestly that the exiled Fairies might be forgiven, and not be left to pine far from their friends and kindred. And as she prayed, many wept with her; and when she ceased, and waited for her answer, many knelt beside her, praying forgiveness for the unhappy Elves.

With tearful eyes, Queen Dew-Drop replied,—

“Little maiden, your prayer has softened my heart. They shall not be left sorrowing and alone, nor shall you go back without a kindly word to cheer and comfort them. We will pardon their fault, and when they can bring hither a perfect Fairy crown, robe, and wand, they shall be again received as children of their loving Queen. The task is hard, for none but the best and purest can form the Fairy garments; yet with patience they may yet restore their robes to their former brightness. Farewell, good little maiden; come with them, for but for you they would have dwelt for ever without the walls of Fairy-Land.”

“Good speed to you, and farewell,” cried they all, as, with loving messages to their poor friends, they bore her to the gates.

Day after day toiled little Bud, cheering the Fairies, who, angry and disappointed, would not listen to her gentle words, but turned away and sat alone weeping. They grieved her kind heart with many cruel words; but patiently she bore with them, and when they told her they could never perform so hard a task, and must dwell for ever in the dark forest, she answered gently, that the snow-white lily must be planted, and watered with repentant tears, before the robe of innocence could be won; that the sun of love must shine in their hearts, before the light could return to their dim crowns, and deeds of kindness must be performed, ere the power would come again to their now useless wands.

Then they planted the lilies; but they soon drooped and died, and no light came to their crowns. They did no gentle deeds, but cared only for themselves; and when they found their labor was in vain, they tried no longer, but sat weeping. Bud, with ceaseless toil and patient care, tended the lilies, which bloomed brightly, the crowns grew bright, and in her hands the wands had power over birds and blossoms, for she was striving to give happiness to others, forgetful of herself. And the idle Fairies, with thankful words, took the garments from her, and then with Bud went forth to Fairy-Land, and stood with beating hearts before the gates; where crowds of Fairy friends came forth to welcome them.

But when Queen Dew-Drop touched them with her wand, as they passed in, the light faded from their crowns, their robes became like withered leaves, and their wands were powerless.

Amid the tears of all the Fairies, the Queen led them to the gates, and said,—

“Farewell! It is not in my power to aid you; innocence and love are not within your hearts, and were it not for this untiring little maiden, who has toiled while you have wept, you never would have entered your lost home. Go and strive again, for till all is once more fair and pure, I cannot call you mine.”

“Farewell!” sang the weeping Fairies, as the gates closed on their outcast friends; who, humbled and broken-hearted, gathered around Bud; and she, with cheering words, guided them back to the forest.

Time passed on, and the Fairies had done nothing to gain their lovely home again. They wept no longer, but watched little Bud, as she daily tended the flowers, restoring their strength and beauty, or with gentle words flew from nest to nest, teaching the little birds to live happily together; and wherever she went blessings fell, and loving hearts were filled with gratitude.

Then, one by one, the Elves secretly did some little work of kindness, and found a quiet joy come back to repay them. Flowers looked lovingly up as they passed, birds sang to cheer them when sad thoughts made them weep. And soon little Bud found out their gentle deeds, and her friendly words gave them new strength. So day after day they followed her, and like a band of guardian spirits they flew far and wide, carrying with them joy and peace.

And not only birds and flowers blessed them, but human beings also; for with tender hands they guided little children from danger, and kept their young hearts free from evil thoughts; they whispered soothing words to the sick, and brought sweet odors and fair flowers to their lonely rooms. They sent lovely visions to the old and blind, to make their hearts young and bright with happy thoughts.

But most tenderly did they watch over the poor and sorrowing, and many a poor mother blessed the unseen hands that laid food before her hungry little ones, and folded warm garments round their naked limbs. Many a poor man wondered at the fair flowers that sprang up in his little garden-plot, cheering him with their bright forms, and making his dreary home fair with their loveliness, and looked at his once barren field, where now waved the golden corn, turning its broad leaves to the warm sun, and promising a store of golden ears to give him food; while the care-worn face grew bright, and the troubled heart filled with gratitude towards the invisible spirits who had brought him such joy.

Thus time passed on, and though the exiled Fairies longed often for their home, still, knowing they did not deserve it, they toiled on, hoping one day to see the friends they had lost; while the joy of their own hearts made their life full of happiness.

One day came little Bud to them, saying,—

“Listen, dear friends. I have a hard task to offer you. It is a great sacrifice for you light loving Fairies to dwell through the long winter in the dark, cold earth, watching over the flower roots, to keep them free from the little grubs and worms that seek to harm them. But in the sunny Spring when they bloom again, their love and gratitude will give you happy homes among their bright leaves.

“It is a wearisome task, and I can give you no reward for all your tender care, but the blessings of the gentle flowers you will have saved from death. Gladly would I aid you; but my winged friends are preparing for their journey to warmer lands, and I must help them teach their little ones to fly, and see them safely on their way. Then, through the winter, must I seek the dwellings of the poor and suffering, comfort the sick and lonely, and give hope and courage to those who in their poverty are led astray. These things must I do; but when the flowers bloom again I will be with you, to welcome back our friends from over the sea.”

Then, with tears, the Fairies answered, “Ah, good little Bud, you have taken the hardest task yourself, and who will repay you for all your deeds of tenderness and mercy in the great world? Should evil befall you, our hearts would break. We will labor trustingly in the earth, and thoughts of you shall cheer us on; for without you we had been worthless beings, and never known the joy that kindly actions bring. Yes, dear Bud, we will gladly toil among the roots, that the fair flowers may wear their gayest robes to welcome you.”

Then deep in the earth the Fairies dwelt, and no frost or snow could harm the blossoms they tended. Every little seed was laid in the soft earth, watered, and watched. Tender roots were folded in withered leaves, that no chilling drops might reach them; and safely dreamed the flowers, till summer winds should call them forth; while lighter grew each Fairy heart, as every gentle deed was tenderly performed.

At length the snow was gone, and they heard little voices calling them to come up; but patiently they worked, till seed and root were green and strong. Then, with eager feet, they hastened to the earth above, where, over hill and valley, bright flowers and budding trees smiled in the warm sunlight, blossoms bent lovingly before them, and rang their colored bells, till the fragrant air was full of music; while the stately trees waved their great arms above them, and scattered soft leaves at their feet.

Then came the merry birds, making the wood alive with their gay voices, calling to one another, as they flew among the vines, building their little homes. Long waited the Elves, and at last she came with Father Brown-Breast. Happy days passed; and summer flowers were in their fullest beauty, when Bud bade the Fairies come with her.

Mounted on bright-winged butterflies, they flew over forest and meadow, till with joyful eyes they saw the flower-crowned walls of Fairy-Land.

Before the gates they stood, and soon troops of loving Elves came forth to meet them. And on through the sunny gardens they went, into the Lily Hall, where, among the golden stamens of a graceful flower, sat the Queen; while on the broad, green leaves around it stood the brighteyed little maids of honor.

Then, amid the deep silence, little Bud, leading the Fairies to the throne, said,—

“Dear Queen, I here bring back your subjects, wiser for their sorrow, better for their hard trial; and now might any Queen be proud of them, and bow to learn from them that giving joy and peace to others brings it fourfold to us, bearing a double happiness in the blessings to those we help. Through the dreary months, when they might have dwelt among fair Southern flowers, beneath a smiling sky, they toiled in the dark and silent earth, filling the hearts of the gentle Flower Spirits with grateful love, seeking no reward but the knowledge of their own good deeds, and the joy they always bring. This they have done unmurmuringly and alone; and now, far and wide, flower blessings fall upon them, and the summer winds bear the glad tidings unto those who droop in sorrow, and new joy and strength it brings, as they look longingly for the friends whose gentle care hath brought such happiness to their fair kindred.

“Are they not worthy of your love, dear Queen? Have they not won their lovely home? Say they are pardoned, and you have gained the love of hearts pure as the snow-white robes now folded over them.”

As Bud ceased, she touched the wondering Fairies with her wand, and the dark faded garments fell away; and beneath, the robes of lily-leaves glittered pure and spotless in the sun-light. Then, while happy tears fell, Queen Dew-Drop placed the bright crowns on the bowed heads of the kneeling Fairies, and laid before them the wands their own good deeds had rendered powerful.

They turned to thank little Bud for all her patient love, but she was gone; and high above, in the clear air, they saw the little form journeying back to the quiet forest.

She needed no reward but the joy she had given. The Fairy hearts were pure again, and her work was done; yet all Fairy-Land had learned a lesson from gentle little Bud.

“Now, little Sunbeam, what have you to tell us?” said the Queen, looking down on a bright-eyed Elf, who sat half hidden in the deep moss at her feet.

“I too, like Star-Twinkle, have nothing but a song to offer,” replied the Fairy; and then, while the nightingale’s sweet voice mingled with her own, she sang,—

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illustration: corbis.com

Holiday Adventures, by Margaret Arndt

PART I

O it was so hot, so hot; the earth was well-nigh parched up, and moreover the use of water was restricted in the town where the children lived. The flowers in the little garden were drooping for want of moisture, and the trees began to shed their leaves as if it were already autumn instead of July. The schools were obliged to close early; the children came home at eleven o’clock instead of at one, and announced that they had heat holidays. For there is a regulation in Germany, if the thermometer is over a certain degree in the shade, the school is closed for the rest of the day. The high schools do not have classes in the afternoon; the children have six hours lessons in the morning, with intervals of course for recreation and drilling. Some headmasters douche the walls of the school-building with cold water, and then examine the thermometer; but children as well as teachers think this a very mean thing to do.

The school holidays commence at the beginning of July, not in August, as is the case in England. This year the two little girls, Trudel and Lottchen, and their mother were going to stay at a farm, which was situated high up in the midst of the most lovely woods. Trudel, I must tell you, was ten years old, and Lottchen eight; they both went to the same school. This farm was an inn at the same time; but very few people visited it during the week, and by nine o’clock the house was empty of guests; for the woodways were hardly safe at night. It was easy to get lost in those vast forests where one path so closely resembles the other.

It was a long climb up from the station; the children began to flag, and mother was tired. Father had come with them to settle them in; but he could not stay longer than the first day or two; for his holidays did not begin till August. He invented all sorts of games for getting along quicker; he deposited chocolate on stones or tree-stumps by the wayside, which was discovered by the children with a shout of joy. Then just as Lottchen’s legs were beginning to ache badly, and she was nearly crying, he helped them on by telling the story of the assassination of Julius Cæsar. Trudel had read about it in her history-book at school; but it was written in such dreadfully historical language that she had not understood the story; she found it thrillingly interesting as father told it. Lottchen said that she could never have treated her little friend Hansi so cruelly, and that she hated that man Brutus.

At last they reached the end of the woodpath, and there lay Waldheim—for so the farm was called—before them. A big dog sprang out to meet them. Mother and Lottchen shrank back from his rough welcome; but Trudel was soon ordering him about, and did not seem in the least surprised when he obeyed her. His name was Bruno. The farm consisted of a group of buildings; two houses, one for the farm labourers and the maids, the other for guests. There were also large barns which had been newly erected, and a pond.

Round the houses were fields belonging to the farm, and then everywhere woods, woods, woods. Blue mountain-crests were visible above and beyond the woods.

The children partly unpacked the boxes themselves; for mother was still so tired. They even took off her boots and put on her shoes for her, like kind little daughters, and Trudel put away their clothes neatly in the cupboard. Then they all went downstairs joyfully to a cosy tea, which, I need hardly say, they enjoyed very much after their long walk and journey.

After tea all fatigue vanished, and the children flew out to inspect the premises for themselves. The farmer had two boys of about the same age as Trudel and Lottchen. Their names were Hermann and Fritz. Hermann was very shy; he hid himself at first and peeped out at the strange girls from corners of the yard or barns, rushing away when they caught sight of him. However Trudel soon coaxed him out, and they all played ball together.

Then Hermann and Fritz took the girls round the farm. They went first into the cow-shed; there were fourteen cows, seven calves and a bull. The cow-herd was a strange, uncanny-looking fellow with a great shock of red hair, and a very red face. He shouted at the children in a dreadful hoarse voice; they felt frightened of him at first, and thought he was mad; but they soon found out that the poor fellow was only deaf and dumb. The cows were his intimate friends. He had christened each one of them when they were born: Sophie, Emma, and so on. After they had gone home again, the children learnt to their pride that he had named two new calves after them, Trudel and Lotty.

There were four horses that were used for driving and ploughing. Lottchen was especially fond of horses. She liked to see them come home from the field by themselves and walk straight into the stable with a noble air, like a lord returning to his castle. Her favourite horse was called Hector. Lotty noticed one day that he was left alone in the stable, whilst the other horses were ploughing in the field. The stable-door was open, and after a while to her surprise he walked out. “What is he going to do? I hope he will not run away and get lost,” thought Lotty anxiously. But no, he just walked leisurely up to the field where the other horses were hard at work and looked on! It was evidently dull in the stable and he wanted a little distraction. When he was tired of watching his friends, he returned to the stable, where he was found innocently munching hay as if nothing had happened.

Pigs of course were there too in plenty; they ran about everywhere, grunting and snorting; also geese and chickens. Trudel liked to drive the geese into the water; she was fond of commanding, as her little sister sometimes knew to her cost.

The maids were two peasant girls who wore very short full skirts and a great many petticoats. Their dress was a modification of the wonderful Hessen peasant costume. These girls were ready to do anything for the children. Gustel, who was chief waitress and chambermaid at the same time, said that she had never seen such pretty “kindersche” (little children) in all her life before!

The only other guest in the house at this time was a Herr Baron; he told wonderful stories of his adventures in South America.

“Drought,” he said, “yes, that’s very bad, but floods may be worse. I have known years of labour destroyed in one night by a flood. All the beautiful fields of grain, our sole wealth. I lived at that time with my married sister and her family, and we had only just time to rescue ourselves and the children. I was the last to leave the house which we were never to see again. I could not decide which of my possessions to take with me, so I seized up the skin of a puma that I had shot on another memorable occasion, and bore it off on my shoulder, like Jason carrying the golden fleece, and that was all that was left of my personal property. Ah! it needs patience to conquer the elements,” he said.

Altogether the Herr Baron was a wonderful character; he seemed as if he were not real, but had stepped out of a book of romance. He delighted in reading English stories; he was especially fond of “She” and “King Solomon’s Mines.” The children believed that he smoked day and night; for they had never seen him without a cigarette, except at meal-times.

He told father and mother the story of how he had had a bullet extracted from his side that he had carried about with him for years. It had struck him during one of the revolutions that so frequently go on in South America. The bullet had recently set up inflammation, and a dangerous operation was necessary to remove it. “Chloroform! not if I know it,” he said to the doctors. “Just you let me smoke my cigar, and I shall be all right. I won’t say ‘Oh!’”

The doctors were naturally very astonished and demurred at this new method of treatment; but he persisted in his determination, and the cigar never left his mouth till the painful business was successfully over!

The Herr Baron was a mysterious person; why he lived for months together in that lonely spot, no one knew. True, he was fond of hunting, and went out at nights with the landlord to hunt the stag.

There were hunting-boxes made of logs of wood, with steps that led up into them, placed in different positions in the woods near the inn.

The children loved to climb up into them. A hunting-box made such a nice airy room, they said; but mother was glad when they were down again without broken limbs.

Mother was surprised when she entered the inn-parlour to find the Herr Baron engaged in a game of quartette with Trudel and Lottchen and Fritz. Indeed he was so sociable and kind and fond of children that she thought it was a pity that he had none of his own.

On the pond near the house were two most remarkable-looking boats. These Hermann and Fritz had made themselves with the aid, I believe, of the Herr Baron. They had a long stick and punted about in them on the water, and they managed them quite cleverly. To Trudel and Lottchen they seemed to suggest Robinson Crusoe and all sorts of fine adventures.

One day when mother was reading a book which absorbed her attention, and so was safe not to interfere with them, they thought, the children stole down to the pond. Hermann and Fritz were waiting for them. It was a pre-conceived plan. “Come along and get in,” they shouted to the girls.

“I daren’t,” said Lottchen. “Mother would be so cross; she has forbidden us to go near the water.”

“You are surely not going to spoil the fun,” said Trudel. “Come along; I’m going to get in first. I can swim, you know!”

“But not in mud and water-weeds,” said Lottchen wisely.

The boys began to laugh at them.

“Why, you’re funky, I do believe; the pond isn’t really deep anywhere,” they said.

So with beating hearts the children got into the boats, Trudel with Fritz, and Hermann, who was the eldest of the party, with Lottchen. It was splendid, quite a real adventure.

“Sit still in the middle of the boat,” said Fritz; “I think we had better keep near the bank.”

“It’s going down on my side; O dear, what shall I do?” said Trudel. “I don’t like it! I want to get out.”

“You’re a bit too heavy and upset the balance,” said Fritz. “Very well, then, get out!”

Trudel tried to do so; but the boat was very wobbly. It was not so easy; her foot slipped, and in she stepped with one foot into the deep mud. She grasped convulsively hold of a willow bush that grew on the bank.

Meanwhile Hermann, seeing the predicament they were in, jumped out of his boat, leaving poor Lottchen quite alone. She began to scream with all her might and main, and she could make a fine noise when she chose.

Mother heard the cries though she was some way off and flew to the pond.

The maids who were bleaching the linen in the meadow, came running to the rescue as well, as fast as their legs could carry them.

Lotty was soon helped out of the boat. Trudel had rescued herself with Hermann’s assistance, and she looked very red and ashamed of herself. She said she did not wish for any more Robinson Crusoe adventures of that sort. Mother naturally gave the children a good talking to; but she thought they had been punished enough this time for their disobedience, by the fright they had had.

PART II
The Tree Man

There was a tree in the garden that was ideal to climb, and mother allowed the children to do so, for she had been very fond of climbing herself when she was a child.

They wore old serge skirts and jerseys that they could not spoil.

This tree made a splendid arbour, or house with a suite of rooms. Lottchen sat up in the branches like a little bird, and like a little bird she sang all the songs she knew. From this tree you could see the mountain called the Stellerskuppe and the blue sky through the tree-stems on the summit. At sunset time, the sky behind the trees turned a golden colour, till it looked like a picture of fairyland.

It was a fine view, but still you could not see from here the famous oak-tree, where the little green tree man lived. This was ten minutes’ walk from the farm.

Trudel and Lottchen saw him first on a wet day when they had set out for a walk in spite of the rain, with their green waterproof cloaks on with hoods over their heads, looking for all the world like wood-goblins themselves. They were walking down a narrow green path, and mother was some distance behind.

“Do just look, Trudel,” said Lottchen. “I believe there is a little man in that hollow tree!”

“So there is, he is smiling and bowing to us, let’s go and visit him,” said Trudel, always enterprising.

Lottchen hung back, feeling a little afraid; she was always on the look-out for the unexpected, and yet was surprised when something really happened.

“Come along, darling,” said Trudel, grasping her smaller sister by the hand.

They both distinctly saw the little man; they said they could have drawn him afterwards, and indeed they attempted to do so as well as they could. But as they approached the venerable oak, the little man vanished, and all they saw was a strange green stain on the inside of the tree, resembling a dwarf with a peaked hood on.

“Just look at this Gothic window,” said Lottchen, proud of her knowledge of the word “Gothic.” “How nicely this tree-room is carved. I am sure he lives here; where are his little chairs and tables? I should love to see them.”

They peeped through a window or hole in the old tree and saw their mother approaching.

“Mother, mother, here lives a real tree man; we saw him—didn’t you?”

Mother smiled—what the children called her mysterious smile.

“You look like two little wood-men yourselves,” she said. “Lottchen, stand up straight in the hole and look at me.”

Lottchen stood up just fitting into the green mark on the tree behind her. She made a pretty picture, her laughing brown eyes with the long eyelashes, her rosy cheeks, and the wind-blown hair straying from under her hood.

“O look, Lottchen, here is a little basin of holy water, just like we saw in the cathedral,” said Trudel.
“Wood water,
Nice and brown,
In a little cup.
Wood water,
Wood wine,
Won’t you drink it up?”

said a tiny voice that sounded like that of a wood-bird.

“Mother! did you hear anything, mother?”

“Yes, darlings, the birds are singing so sweetly now the rain is over. I have brought my camp-stool. I shall sit here and sketch the tree,” said mother.

“Do draw him,” said Trudel, whose blue eyes were open wider than usual.

“Him! Whom do you mean?” said mother.

“Why, the tree man, of course.”

“Hum,” said mother mysteriously, “we’ll see,” and she settled herself down to sketch.

The children collected huge acorns, and laid them on a leaf in the hollow tree. Then they stirred up the brackish “holy” water and put their fingers in it.

“It smells like lavender and roses,” said Lottchen.

“Well, you’ve got a funny nose; it smells to me like blackberry and apple-tart,” said Trudel.

“Ha—ha—he!” said a little voice again. Somebody was laughing. Where could he be? Glancing round quickly the children saw a little man about three feet high, dressed in green, wearing a long peaked cap with a wreath of tiny oak-leaves around it. He looked very strong, although he was small, and he stuck his arms out akimbo in a curious angular way like the branches of an oak-tree.

“How did you know that trees were alive?” he asked the children.

They were embarrassed by the question.

“Why, of course we know they are not dead, unless they are cut down,” they said.

The little man shuddered; then he began to wave his arms about wildly.

“Let them try to cut me down, I’ll knock them down. I’ll fall on them and crush their bones. I’ll smash them like this stone!” Here he gave a stone that stood near by, such a tremendous whack that sparks flew out of it.

“Don’t smash us, please, Mr Tree Man,” said Lottchen trembling.

“No fear, little Miss Lottchen, no fear, you’re a nice little thing, you are; one can see that to look at you. You would never cut me down, would you?”

“Why, of course not,” said Lotty.

“I should not dream of such a thing either,” said Trudel. “But may we ask who you are?” Trudel continued, “You are surely not a tree?”

“Well, it’s like this,” said the little man; “I’m a tree, and the tree’s me!”

“I,” said Trudel, correcting him, “would be more correct.”

“Rubbish,” said the little man, “Pedantic rot!—the tree’s me, I repeat. Every tree has its gnome or elf; they used to call us dryads in old times; but nowadays people are getting so cock-sure of knowing everything, that they can’t see what is going on right under their noses. Trees are never still,” he continued; “they are always moving.
“‘Where there is movement, there is life,
Where there is life, there is thought,
Where there is thought, there is individuality.’

“Do you follow me? That is logically expressed.”

“You forget we are only children, Mr Tree Man; you are talking too grown-upy for us. Father talks like that sometimes; but then we don’t listen,” they replied.

“Well,” continued the gnome, “in every tree there either lives a jolly fellow like me or a lovely lady fairy. Yes,” he said in a sentimental tone, “I, too, old and tough though I am, I, too, have known love.”

“Who is she?” asked Trudel eagerly.

“Alas! I can never reach her; my old bones are too stiff and unbendable. She is a graceful larch-tree in all the glory of her youth. You may see her yonder!” He sat down and sighed deeply.

The children looked in the direction that the gnome had indicated, and there they saw a larch-tree on which the sunlight had just fallen. It was exquisitely dressed in a robe of delicate green and—was it only fancy?—for one moment the children thought that they saw a lovely lady with flowing tresses that gleamed golden in the sunlight, and large starry eyes. As they gazed, she melted into the blue mist which shimmers always between the forest trees.

“Now we must go home, children,” mother called out, “before it begins to rain again.”

The children glanced round; their little friend had vanished, and no trace was to be seen of the lady of the larch-tree. So they turned reluctantly from the tree-house fully determined to come again very soon to this enchanted spot.

“Mother, may we see your sketch?”

“Not now,” said mother, “it’s going to be a surprise.”

“Did mother see him too?”

“Do you think so?” said Lottchen. “Mother’s a fairy herself.”

“I think,” said Trudel, “she sees all sorts of queer things; but she won’t tell us everything she sees.”

“It spoils some things to tell about them,” said Lottchen. “I shan’t tell Hermann and Fritz about the tree man.”

However, when she got home again, she could not contain herself. “Do you believe in fairies and tree men?” she said to the boys.

“Of course not, that’s all rot,” said Hermann. “Like Santa Claus and such things, just invented to stuff us up!”

“Santa Claus will never come to you any more if you talk like that; he is quite true, I know. Trudel saw him come in last year when she was in bed, and she heard him filling our stockings. Of course she did not dare to turn round and look at him,” said Lottchen.

“I don’t say it isn’t nice to believe such things,” said Hermann conscientiously, “but it isn’t true; it’s superstitious. You know quite well, Trudel, who Santa Claus really is.”

Trudel was silent; she was ten years old, and she had her doubts.

“But I’ve seen a tree man to-day,” said Lotty.

The boys laughed.

“Don’t try to stuff us up with such nonsense; we’re not so green as your tree man,” they said.

Gustel, the maid, came in, and joined in the conversation. She supported the boys’ view.

“I don’t care,” said Lottchen, now in a high state of excitement. “My mother knows a man—a very clever Irishman—a poet and a painter as well, and he has often seen the fairies.”

“Yes,” said Trudel, “it’s true he draws them just as he sees them with rainbow-coloured wings.”

“Well I never, you don’t expect me to believe such things, do you?” said Gustel. “Why, that’s all lies, and it is very wicked to tell a lie!”

Lotty flew into a perfect tantrum. “How dare you say we tell lies; I will tell my mother of you,” she screamed, and threw herself on the floor crying violently.

Mother rushed in, not knowing what had happened. “Lotty, get up at once; tell me what’s the matter, darling!”

“Booh!—booh—booh!—Gustel won’t believe—booh, booh, booh—that you know a man who has seen the fairies!”

Mother could not help laughing. “Don’t be so absurd, Lotty. Of course Gustel does not understand what you mean. Gustel,” she said, “you are a Catholic and believe in the saints; they saw very queer things too, sometimes, didn’t they?”

“O yes, you’re right; of course, ma’am,” said Gustel, feeling embarrassed; for she had no arguments to support her disbelief in fairies.

“Some people can see more than others,” continued mother. “Now if I were to tell you that I could see the old poacher or wild huntsman who used to live in this house, riding through the yard on a moonlight night, what would you say?”

“Lor, ma’am, if I saw him, I should die of fright,” said Gustel, turning pale.

“But you know that there are no such things as ghosts and fairies!”

“Yes, ma’am, very true, ma’am, it’s rather confusing what you say,” said poor Gustel, feeling her head in a whirl.
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It was a wonderful moonlight night. As father was still away, mother sat by herself in the big bedroom, whilst the children slept in the little room adjoining. There was a very high wind; the window-panes rattled; the wooden shutters blew to and fro; the branches of the trees made weird patterns on the ground. The moonlight was so white that the fields and paths looked almost as if they were covered with snow. The Stellerskuppe stood out black against the sky. As mother gazed, it seemed to her as if strange creatures were abroad that night, driven to and fro by that tireless hunter, the wind. Wild forms passed by and gazed at her with deathless eyes; for a while she remained there motionless, as under a spell. Then suddenly she remembered her joke about the old huntsman of evil repute, who had formerly lived in this farmhouse. Did his ghost haunt it still? Mother shivered; the nights were cold up in the mountains, though it was such a hot summer. She opened the door of the children’s room and peeped in. To tell the truth, she felt a little creepy, and longed for human companionship. There were her darlings, sleeping soundly; but as she entered the room Trudel turned round and flung herself on the other side of the bed, saying: “Go away, go away, do not come near me!”

“Whom do you mean, darling?” said mother anxiously.

Then Trudel groaned and spoke again in her sleep. She uttered the following deep and mystic words: “Gustel, bring in the shark, please; mother can’t eat the thimble.”

Now, wasn’t that a funny thing for a little girl to say in her sleep. Mother was so amused that she wrote the words down on the spot, so as not to forget them, and she troubled her head no more with thoughts of the wild huntsman; indeed the spectres of the night vanished as they always do vanish at a joke!

Some days passed, before the children visited the oak-tree again. When they did so, they found that an enormous branch had been broken off, and lay across the green pathway.

“O dear me,” said Lottchen, “our poor little man. I hope it hasn’t hurt him!”

“It must have happened on that windy night,” said Trudel.

“It was my own fault, it was entirely my own fault,” said a queer little voice, and there was the oak-tree man sitting in his house smoking a reed pipe. His arm was bound up with green fern leaves. “Yes, it was my own fault; the wind excited me, and stirred my sap (that’s my blood you know)—I stretched out my arms towards her—one embrace—one blessed moment in which to call her mine—and here you see me a cripple for ever!”

“O poor thing, we are so sorry for you,” said the children.

“Never mind, it heals easily,” said the oak man, “but, alas, my beauty and my symmetry are gone for ever!”

“Your leaves are so nice and fresh; and your house is so pretty; why, you have got furniture in it,” said the children in astonishment.

“Such a pretty oak table and beautifully carved chairs; where did you get them from?” asked Lottchen.

“I made them myself out of my own wood; it cheered me up a bit,” said the little man. “One must do something, you know; looks snug, doesn’t it? Ah, well—I have known love, that is something to be proud of; I have experienced the most pleasing of human emotions. Have you ever been in love?” he said inquisitively, looking at Trudel, who looked big enough in his eyes.

“Why no, not exactly, we’re only kiddies; but still we do love lots of people, of course,” said she.

“Your day will come, your day will come. Do not desire the unattainable, but content yourself with the reachable,” he said; “and yet ”Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,’ as the dear old poem says.”

“He’s getting grand in his language again; he is a funny little man,” said Trudel in a whisper to Lottchen.

“Stay,” said the tree man, “I have a good idea; I will give you a card of introduction to her, my beloved Lady Larch-tree.”

He gave them an oak leaf with the words: “Edle Eiche,” printed on it, which is in English Noble Oak.

“You need not say anything; she will know it comes from me,” he said, sighing sentimentally.

Full of curiosity, the children turned to go to the larch-tree, which was only a few steps further down the green pathway. The ardent lover watched the children from the window of his little house. They knocked three times on the bark of the larch-tree; and they were very pleased when a door opened in the tree, and a lovely lady was revealed to them. Her dress was of green, looped up with tiny pink flowers such as grow on the larches in early spring; her hair streamed down like a soft veil about her. She hardly seemed to see the children at first, when they presented their cards. She took the oak-leaf cards and pressed them to her heart.

“Heart of oak! King of the forest! for ever mine,” she murmured, and her words were like the sound that a little brook makes when it trickles beneath dark forest trees.

“He sends you his love,” said the children politely.

“You dear little things,” said Lady Larch; “it was so kind of you to come and call on me. So you understand trees and their language, dear, dear, so young and so clever! Would you like some wood wine?”

“Not if it is dirty water with caterpillars in it,” said Trudel.

“O dear no, it is purified and refined; it is most delicious.” So saying, she handed each of them a large acorn cup full; and they drank the contents.

“It does taste nice, dear fairy,” said the children, “like what we make ourselves at a doll’s feast. May we ask you for some more?”

“No, no, it is very strong, and would get into your heads, and you would find out all about…. No, I’m sorry … but——”

“Children,” said mother’s voice, “where are you? I have been looking for you.”

“We have only been to call on Lady Larch, mother; she has shut her door tight again or we would have introduced you to her,” said Lotty.

PART III

They came home rather late that evening and found the farm in a great state of commotion. The red-haired cow-herd was shouting and crying in an unintelligible way; the house seemed to be deserted. They met the Herr Baron also preparing to set out in a hurry.

“What’s the matter? Where is everybody?” said mother.

“The silly old cow-herd has lost one of the best cows; it has strayed off among the bushes, and may die if it is exposed all night. Who knows where the poor creature may have got to in these vast woods?”

The search went on till late at night; the men, including the Herr Baron, walked miles with their lanterns, but in vain. The deaf mute was in a dreadful state of mind and kept crying out in his harsh, disagreeable voice: “Not my fault—Schimmel’s fault.” (Schimmel was the cow.)

It was difficult enough to sleep that night; but when mother had at last dropped into a light doze, it must have been about four o’clock in the morning, she and the children were aroused by a great shouting and disturbance in the house. They looked out of the window and—what do you think?—there was the lost cow, who had returned after all of her own accord. And with her a dear little black and white calf, who frisked and bounded along as if it thought it was fine fun to be in the world on this lovely morning. Now wasn’t that a queer thing, children, queerer than all the fairy stories you have read? for this story is quite true, you must know!
___________________________________________

It was an exceptionally fine Sunday, and as father had come down to spend the week-end, mother and the children were in the seventh heaven of joy. It was not possible to go to church; for the nearest town was two hours’ walk away, and would be partly over fields that were exposed to the heat of the midday sun. So father and mother and their two little daughters went to the great woodland cathedral.

The service was on the Stellerskuppe; surely no one could wish for a more beautiful place of worship. Mountain after mountain ranged in the distance, some with rounded or knolled heads, others rising to a peak. Lottchen called the most pointed one Mesuvius, because she always forgot the “V.”

As the children sat there and sang hymns, with their white Sunday frocks on, mother fancied that eyes were peering at them from out the forest depths. If they were merely those of the gentle deer, or if stranger creatures still were watching them as if fascinated, she did not know: she felt there were lookers-on. There is the old story of the God Pan who played so divinely that all living things came to listen to him. Perhaps there may be a stirring at times in the souls of the mysterious dwellers in the forest that makes them yearn for immortality and gives them a fuller sense of existence. So that all the woodland sang too at that Sunday service.

On Sunday afternoon, father and mother wanted to go for a longer walk than usual; but the lazy children petitioned to be left behind.

“You will promise not to go near the pond,” said mother. “Remember it is Sunday, and you have your best frocks on; you must not romp or climb trees.”

“O no, mother, of course not,” said Trudel. “We’ll stay in the garden and promise to be very good.”

When father and mother returned from their walk, the first thing they saw was Lottchen staggering along with a stand of empty beer-bottles.

“Whatever are you doing, Lottchen?”

“Oh, mother, there are such heaps of people here this afternoon, and there are not enough waitresses to serve them; so Trudel and I are helping. Trudel has got such a lot of tips already; she has bought chocolate with the money. Do tell her to divide it fairly with me!”

Mother looked round. The whole place was covered with tables and benches; a number of gaily dressed people from the neighbouring town were drinking coffee and eating cake or waffeln, a kind of pancake for which the inn was celebrated.

“Mother, don’t speak to me, I’m too busy,” said Trudel. “I’ve been waiting on those gentlemen; the maids were shy of them, so I said I would go and ask what they wanted.” She pointed out some young men in officers’ uniform, who had come from a military school. “I’ve got 6d. in tips, and I spent it on chocolate.”

“Well I never!” said mother, astonished at her daughter’s prowess—”you have turned into a waitress, and on Sunday afternoon too. Whatever would your aunts say?”

“I think I had better tell you what the young men said to me,” said Trudel seriously. “They said I was a sweet little thing, and that if I were older, they would fall in love with me. I laughed of course; I could see they were only silly old stupid heads. I told them they had not much taste; for their military school was the ugliest building in all the town. They quite agreed with me about this, however, and then they asked me who my father was, and when I said he was a professor, they laughed till I thought they would burst. But now you must excuse me, really, mother darling. I have promised to go into the kitchen and wash up cups and saucers!”

The landlady could not praise Trudel enough. Such a useful little girl, she does everything in a most orderly way and wipes down the table when she has finished! “If ever you want her to learn housekeeping, pray send her to me, I should be delighted to teach her,” she said.

“Yes,” thought mother, “and make a nice little slavey of her into the bargain. No, no, our Trudel is not going to turn into a housemaid!”

If Trudel had been some years older, father and mother might have objected to these experiences; but, as it was, they only laughed.

PART IV

As the world is full of fact and fancy, so is this story. Whether it is based mostly on fact or on fancy we will leave to the German philosophers to decide, but I have heard that they are doubtful on this point, with regard to the world, I mean.

It was a magical evening. Trudel was so engrossed in a game of cards with the boys that she could not be induced to come out; moreover she had a slight cold and the evenings were chilly. A glorious sunset glow illumined the sky as mother and Lottchen set out for their never-to-be-forgotten walk.

“We will go up and see the fire on the heath; I love the smell of dry pine wood burning,” said mother.

“I love to see the fire dancing and crackling,” said Lottchen. “How still everything is.”

“It is the calm of twilight. The wind usually drops in the evening,” said mother.

“Look, look, over there by those dark woods there is something moving,” said Lotty. “I think it is a white cat.”

“A white cat! How queer that she should have strayed so far; she does not belong to the farm, I know.”

“Hush! perhaps she is not a cat at all—then she will vanish.” And lo and behold when they looked again, there was no cat there, though they had distinctly seen it a minute before on the field at the wood’s edge.

“She is really a witch, I believe,” said mother, with the curious expression on her face that Lotty knew so well.

Going further up the hill, they saw a wonderful sight. Twenty or more peasant girls were busy working, hacking the ground, their faces illuminated by the wonderful sunset glow. They wore short full peasant skirts edged with bright-coloured ribbons, and each had a gaily coloured scarf pinned round the neck and bodice.

We learned afterwards that they were preparing the ground to plant young fir-trees on a clearing. Germans are so careful of their woods, they replant what has been cut down, so that they have a great wealth in wood that we cannot boast of in England. I believe that they would like to cut off all the dead branches in order to make the woods quite tidy! But this would be rather too big a job even for the German nation to accomplish!

A man dressed in green with a feather in his cap, and a gun over his shoulder stood by watching the girls at their work.

He was a forester and seemed to act as overseer. He gave the signal to stop work as the strangers (mother and Lotty) approached. The women hid their tools under the dry heather until the next day, and then strapped on the big baskets they carried on their backs, without which they hardly felt properly dressed. They then marched along together, singing a melodious song in unison. As they came to the cross-roads they parted company; some went this way, some that; all kept up the tune, which echoed farther and farther, fainter and fainter in the distance.

Before long Lottchen and her mother were alone; but they felt that the ground they stood on, was enchanted. Mother said it was like a scene from the opera. They watched the fire; how the flames leaped and crackled; yet they were dying down. The fire made a bright contrast to the dark fir-woods which formed the background to the picture. The glory died from the sky; but yet it was strangely light; darker and darker grew the woods near the fire. Suddenly Lotty espied bright sparks among the trees.

“I do believe they have set the wood on fire,” said mother.

“O no, mother, don’t you see; let us crouch down and hide; it is the fairies: they are coming to the fire.”

The air was suddenly full of bright beings.
“There is a wood fire on the hill;
High on the heath it glimmers still.
Who are these beings in the air
With gauzy robes and flowing hair?
Is it the wreathing smoke I see
That forms itself so curiously?

Nay, they alight: they form a ring,
Around the flickering fire spring,
And from those embers burning low
They light their wands, they gleam, they glow,
Like firework stars of rainbow hue,
Green, yellow, orange, lilac, blue!

Ah what a scene, how wild, how strange!
The stars each moment break and change
In thousand colours; look on high:
Each slender wand points to the sky,
Then waves and trembles: lo afar
On lonely woods falls many a star!”

And all this Trudel had missed. It seemed too great a pity, with that silly old card playing.

Spellbound mother and Lotty watched the fairies at their revels, till Lottchen began to shiver.

“We really must go home,” whispered mother. “Trudel will be anxious.”

“Oh, but mother I want to dance round the fire with the fairies, and I want a fairy wand with shooting stars,” said Lotty almost aloud.

Suddenly it seemed as if the fairies became aware that they were observed. They vanished away, and all became dark. Lottchen said she could hear the sound of little feet stamping out the fire.

“Fairies, dear fairies, come again, do,” said Lotty.

No answer, perfect stillness, not even a leaf stirred.

“Well, you are not so polite as our tree man, not half,” said Lotty, “though you are so pretty. Good night,” she shouted.

There was a sound of suppressed laughter; then from hill and dale the word “good night” was echoed all around. Spellbound, as if in a trance, they moved toward the farm. Trudel was wild with herself when she heard what she had missed.

“To-morrow,” she said, but to-morrow is sometimes a long, long way off, and the fairies did not show themselves again during these holidays.

One of Lottchen’s favourite walks was the echo walk, but she usually came home quite hoarse after having been this way. The path wound below the fairy heath on the incline of the hill; further down still were the fir-woods through which the light shone.

“Angel-pet!” “Cherry-ripe!” “Cheeky fellow!” “You’re another!” So Lotty shouted the whole time, and the echoes came back so surprisingly distinct that Lotty was sure it must be really the fairies answering her. When you turned the corner of the hill, the echoes ceased. It was too queer.

The next day Trudel distinguished herself again. Two great cart-loads of swedes arrived that were to be stored up as fodder for the cattle in the winter. Now the joy was to throw these through a hole in the wall into the cellar. Hermann stood in the cart and Trudel threw the swedes to him as the bricklayers throw the bricks to one another. Fritz and Lottchen helped too; they had to take their turn and be very quick, as the hole was small. Hour after hour this went on, till the children were as black as chimney sweeps, and yet Trudel’s energy did not fail. At last the carts were empty, and only then did the little workers leave off, dead tired.

Hermann could make curious heads out of the swedes, with eyes and nose and mouth. If you put an old candle-end inside, they looked ghastly, like some Chinese god. Lotty declared that they rolled about in the yard at night and grinned at her, and that she did not like “heads without people.”

“But they are so funny, Lottchen,” said mother, and then she laughed at them and was not frightened any more.

In the fields grew nice little buttony mushrooms. No one knew better than the Herr Baron where they were to be found and how to prepare them. Apparently he had lived on mushrooms in the wilds of South America. He was very kind in helping the children to fill their baskets to take home with them; for, alas, even the pleasantest of holidays must come to an end; and there was only one day left. He discovered a treasure in the field, a little mother-of-pearl knife, very old and rusty, and presented it to Trudel. He told her to soak it in petroleum to clean it. That knife was more trouble than all the rest of the luggage on the way back, for Trudel made such a fuss about it, and dissolved in tears several times when she thought that she had lost it.

To leave the beautiful cool woods, the fairies, the tree man and his sweetheart, the cows and the geese and all the marvels of the country, yes, it was hard; but home is home, and always turns a smiling face to us after a long absence. How nice to rediscover one’s playthings and dolls. Trudel’s first thought was always for her doll babies, and she would rush upstairs, and embrace each one tenderly.

As the children drove to the station from the farm, they passed the famous oak-tree, but no little man was to be seen.

“He’s shy of the coachman, of course,” said the children.

Looking back, they caught a glimpse of him in the distance, and shouted and waved their handkerchiefs.

Hermann and Fritz were very sorry to say “good-bye” to their little friends; but school began the next day, and they would not have so much time for play then.

The landlady told the children a great secret before they left. “The Herr Baron is going to be married next week,” she said.

“Well, I am glad,” said mother. “I hope she is very nice,” and the children echoed the wish warmly.

“She has lots of money, and is a countess, I believe,” continued the landlady.

“Well, I do hope she does not object to smoking,” said Trudel, and they all laughed.
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“Mother, you have never shown us your sketch,” said Trudel during the unpacking.

Mother laughed. “Where’s Lottchen? I suppose she wants to see it too?”

“Here I am,” said Lotty. “Oh, do be quick and show it to us!”

Mother held up the sketch. There was the hollow oak-tree, and standing in it the little tree man himself just as the children had first seen him, with his green peaked hood on.

“So mother really did see him too!” said the children.

Now this story disproves the common fallacy that only children can see the fairies and forest folk; for how could mother have painted the tree gnome unless she had seen him?

East of the Sun and West of the Moon

Once upon a time there was a poor husbandman who had many children and little to give them in the way either of food or clothing. They were all pretty, but the prettiest of all was the youngest daughter, who was so beautiful that there were no bounds to her beauty.

So once—it was late on a Thursday evening in autumn, and wild weather outside, terribly dark, and raining so heavily and blowing so hard that the walls of the cottage shook again—they were all sitting together by the fireside, each of them busy with something or other, when suddenly some one rapped three times against the window-pane. The man went out to see what could be the matter, and when he got out there stood a great big white bear.

“Good-evening to you,” said the White Bear.

“Good-evening,” said the man.

“Will you give me your youngest daughter?” said the White Bear; “if you will, you shall be as rich as you are now poor.”

Truly the man would have had no objection to be rich, but he thought to himself: “I must first ask my daughter about this,” so he went in and told them that there was a great white bear outside who had faithfully promised to make them all rich if he might but have the youngest daughter.

She said no, and would not hear of it; so the man went out again, and settled with the White Bear that he should come again next Thursday evening, and get her answer. Then the man persuaded her, and talked so much to her about the wealth that they would have, and what a good thing it would be for herself, that at last she made up her mind to go, and washed and mended all her rags, made herself as smart as she could, and held herself in readiness to set out. Little enough had she to take away with her.

Next Thursday evening the White Bear came to fetch her. She seated herself on his back with her bundle, and thus they departed. When they had gone a great part of the way, the White Bear said: “Are you afraid?”

“No, that I am not,” said she.

“Keep tight hold of my fur, and then there is no danger,” said he.

And thus she rode far, far away, until they came to a great mountain. Then the White Bear knocked on it, and a door opened, and they went into a castle where there were many brilliantly lighted rooms which shone with gold and silver, likewise a large hall in which there was a well-spread table, and it was so magnificent that it would be hard to make anyone understand how splendid it was. The White Bear gave her a silver bell, and told her that when she needed anything she had but to ring this bell, and what she wanted would appear. So after she had eaten, and night was drawing near, she grew sleepy after her journey, and thought she would like to go to bed. She rang the bell, and scarcely had she touched it before she found herself in a chamber where a bed stood ready made for her, which was as pretty as anyone could wish to sleep in. It had pillows of silk, and curtains of silk fringed with gold, and everything that was in the room was of gold or silver, but when she had lain down and put out the light a man came and lay down beside her, and behold it was the White Bear, who cast off the form of a beast during the night. She never saw him, however, for he always came after she had put out her light, and went away before daylight appeared.

So all went well and happily for a time, but then she began to be very sad and sorrowful, for all day long she had to go about alone; and she did so wish to go home to her father and mother and brothers and sisters. Then the White Bear asked what it was that she wanted, and she told him that it was so dull there in the mountain, and that she had to go about all alone, and that in her parents’ house at home there were all her brothers and sisters, and it was because she could not go to them that she was so sorrowful.

“There might be a cure for that,” said the White Bear, “if you would but promise me never to talk with your mother alone, but only when the others are there too; for she will take hold of your hand,” he said, “and will want to lead you into a room to talk with you alone; but that you must by no means do, or you will bring great misery on both of us.”

So one Sunday the White Bear came and said that they could now set out to see her father and mother, and they journeyed thither, she sitting on his back, and they went a long, long way, and it took a long, long time; but at last they came to a large white farmhouse, and her brothers and sisters were running about outside it, playing, and it was so pretty that it was a pleasure to look at it.

“Your parents dwell here now,” said the White Bear; “but do not forget what I said to you, or you will do much harm both to yourself and me.”

“No, indeed,” said she, “I shall never forget;” and as soon as she was at home the White Bear turned round and went back again.

There were such rejoicings when she went in to her parents that it seemed as if they would never come to an end. Everyone thought that he could never be sufficiently grateful to her for all she had done for them all. Now they had everything that they wanted, and everything was as good as it could be. They all asked her how she was getting on where she was. All was well with her too, she said; and she had everything that she could want. What other answers she gave I cannot say, but I am pretty sure that they did not learn much from her. But in the afternoon, after they had dined at midday, all happened just as the White Bear had said. Her mother wanted to talk with her alone in her own chamber. But she remembered what the White Bear had said, and would on no account go. “What we have to say can be said at any time,” she answered. But somehow or other her mother at last persuaded her, and she was forced to tell the whole story. So she told how every night a man came and lay down beside her when the lights were all put out, and how she never saw him, because he always went away before it grew light in the morning, and how she continually went about in sadness, thinking how happy she would be if she could but see him, and how all day long she had to go about alone, and it was so dull and solitary. “Oh!” cried the mother, in horror, “you are very likely sleeping with a troll! But I will teach you a way to see him. You shall have a bit of one of my candles, which you can take away with you hidden in your breast. Look at him with that when he is asleep, but take care not to let any tallow drop upon him.”

So she took the candle, and hid it in her breast, and when evening drew near the White Bear came to fetch her away. When they had gone some distance on their way, the White Bear asked her if everything had not happened just as he had foretold, and she could not but own that it had. “Then, if you have done what your mother wished,” said he, “you have brought great misery on both of us.” “No,” she said, “I have not done anything at all.” So when she had reached home and had gone to bed it was just the same as it had been before, and a man came and lay down beside her, and late at night, when she could hear that he was sleeping, she got up and kindled a light, lit her candle, let her light shine on him, and saw him, and he was the handsomest prince that eyes had ever beheld, and she loved him so much that it seemed to her that she must die if she did not kiss him that very moment. So she did kiss him; but while she was doing it she let three drops of hot tallow fall upon his shirt, and he awoke. “What have you done now?” said he; “you have brought misery on both of us. If you had but held out for the space of one year I should have been free. I have a step-mother who has bewitched me so that I am a white bear by day and a man by night; but now all is at an end between you and me, and I must leave you, and go to her. She lives in a castle which lies east of the sun and west of the moon, and there too is a princess with a nose which is three ells long, and she now is the one whom I must marry.”

She wept and lamented, but all in vain, for go he must. Then she asked him if she could not go with him. But no, that could not be. “Can you tell me the way then, and I will seek you—that I may surely be allowed to do!”

“Yes, you may do that,” said he; “but there is no way thither. It lies east of the sun and west of the moon, and never would you find your way there.”

When she awoke in the morning both the Prince and the castle were gone, and she was lying on a small green patch in the midst of a dark, thick wood. By her side lay the self-same bundle of rags which she had brought with her from her own home. So when she had rubbed the sleep out of her eyes, and wept till she was weary, she set out on her way, and thus she walked for many and many a long day, until at last she came to a great mountain. Outside it an aged woman was sitting, playing with a golden apple. The girl asked her if she knew the way to the Prince who lived with his stepmother in the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon, and who was to marry a princess with a nose which was three ells long. “How do you happen to know about him?” inquired the old woman; “maybe you are she who ought to have had him.” “Yes, indeed, I am,” she said. “So it is you, then?” said the old woman; “I know nothing about him but that he dwells in a castle which is east of the sun and west of the moon. You will be a long time in getting to it, if ever you get to it at all; but you shall have the loan of my horse, and then you can ride on it to an old woman who is a neighbor of mine: perhaps she can tell you about him. When you have got there you must just strike the horse beneath the left ear and bid it go home again; but you may take the golden apple with you.”

So the girl seated herself on the horse, and rode for a long, long way, and at last she came to the mountain, where an aged woman was sitting outside with a gold carding-comb. The girl asked her if she knew the way to the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon; but she said what the first old woman had said: “I know nothing about it, but that it is east of the sun and west of the moon, and that you will be a long time in getting to it, if ever you get there at all; but you shall have the loan of my horse to an old woman who lives the nearest to me: perhaps she may know where the castle is, and when you have got to her you may just strike the horse beneath the left ear and bid it go home again.” Then she gave her the gold carding-comb, for it might, perhaps, be of use to her, she said.

So the girl seated herself on the horse, and rode a wearisome long way onward again, and after a very long time she came to a great mountain, where an aged woman was sitting, spinning at a golden spinning-wheel. Of this woman, too, she inquired if she knew the way to the Prince, and where to find the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon. But it was only the same thing once again. “Maybe it was you who should have had the Prince,” said the old woman. “Yes, indeed, I should have been the one,” said the girl. But this old crone knew the way no better than the others—it was east of the sun and west of the moon, she knew that, “and you will be a long time in getting to it, if ever you get to it at all,” she said; “but you may have the loan of my horse, and I think you had better ride to the East Wind, and ask him: perhaps he may know where the castle is, and will blow you thither. But when you have got to him you must just strike the horse beneath the left ear, and he will come home again.” And then she gave her the golden spinning-wheel, saying: “Perhaps you may find that you have a use for it.”

The girl had to ride for a great many days, and for a long and wearisome time, before she got there; but at last she did arrive, and then she asked the East Wind if he could tell her the way to the Prince who dwelt east of the sun and west of the moon. “Well,” said the East Wind, “I have heard tell of the Prince, and of his castle, but I do not know the way to it, for I have never blown so far; but, if you like, I will go with you to my brother the West Wind: he may know that, for he is much stronger than I am. You may sit on my back, and then I can carry you there.” So she seated herself on his back, and they did go so swiftly! When they got there, the East Wind went in and said that the girl whom he had brought was the one who ought to have had the Prince up at the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon, and that now she was traveling about to find him again, so he had come there with her, and would like to hear if the West Wind knew whereabout the castle was. “No,” said the West Wind; “so far as that have I never blown; but if you like I will go with you to the South Wind, for he is much stronger than either of us, and he has roamed far and wide, and perhaps he can tell you what you want to know. You may seat yourself on my back, and then I will carry you to him.”.

So she did this, and journeyed to the South Wind, neither was she very long on the way. When they had got there, the West Wind asked him if he could tell her the way to the castle that lay east of the sun and west of the moon, for she was the girl who ought to marry the Prince who lived there. “Oh, indeed!” said the South Wind, “is that she? Well,” said he, “I have wandered about a great deal in my time, and in all kinds of places, but I have never blown so far as that. If you like, however, I will go with you to my brother, the North Wind; he is the oldest and strongest of all of us, and if he does not know where it is no one in the whole world will be able to tell you. You may sit upon my back, and then I will carry you there.” So she seated herself on his back, and off he went from his house in great haste, and they were not long on the way. When they came near the North Wind’s dwelling, he was so wild and frantic that they felt cold gusts a long while before they got there. “What do you want?” he roared out from afar, and they froze as they heard. Said the South Wind: “It is I, and this is she who should have had the Prince who lives in the castle which lies east of the sun and west of the moon. And now she wishes to ask you if you have ever been there, and can tell her the way, for she would gladly find him again.”

“Yes,” said the North Wind, “I know where it is. I once blew an aspen leaf there, but I was so tired that for many days afterward I was not able to blow at all. However, if you really are anxious to go there, and are not afraid to go with me, I will take you on my back, and try if I can blow you there.”

“Get there I must,” said she; “and if there is any way of going I will; and I have no fear, no matter how fast you go.”

“Very well then,” said the North Wind; “but you must sleep here to-night, for if we are ever to get there we must have the day before us.”

The North Wind woke her betimes next morning, and puffed himself up, and made himself so big and so strong that it was frightful to see him, and away they went, high up through the air, as if they would not stop until they had reached the very end of the world. Down below there was such a storm! It blew down woods and houses, and when they were above the sea the ships were wrecked by hundreds. And thus they tore on and on, and a long time went by, and then yet more time passed, and still they were above the sea, and the North Wind grew tired, and more tired, and at last so utterly weary that he was scarcely able to blow any longer, and he sank and sank, lower and lower, until at last he went so low that the waves dashed against the heels of the poor girl he was carrying. “Art thou afraid?” said the North Wind. “I have no fear,” said she; and it was true. But they were not very, very far from land, and there was just enough strength left in the North Wind to enable him to throw her on to the shore, immediately under the windows of a castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon; but then he was so weary and worn out that he was forced to rest for several days before he could go to his own home again.

Next morning she sat down beneath the walls of the castle to play with the golden apple, and the first person she saw was the maiden with the long nose, who was to have the Prince. “How much do you want for that gold apple of yours, girl?” said she, opening the window. “It can’t be bought either for gold or money,” answered the girl. “If it cannot be bought either for gold or money, what will buy it? You may say what you please,” said the Princess.

“Well, if I may go to the Prince who is here, and be with him to-night, you shall have it,” said the girl who had come with the North Wind. “You may do that,” said the Princess, for she had made up her mind what she would do. So the Princess got the golden apple, but when the girl went up to the Prince’s apartment that night he was asleep, for the Princess had so contrived it. The poor girl called to him, and shook him, and between whiles she wept; but she could not wake him. In the morning, as soon as day dawned, in came the Princess with the long nose, and drove her out again. In the daytime she sat down once more beneath the windows of the castle, and began to card with her golden carding-comb; and then all happened as it had happened before. The Princess asked her what she wanted for it, and she replied that it was not for sale, either for gold or money, but that if she could get leave to go to the Prince, and be with him during the night, she should have it. But when she went up to the Prince’s room he was again asleep, and, let her call him, or shake him, or weep as she would, he still slept on, and she could not put any life in him. When daylight came in the morning, the Princess with the long nose came too, and once more drove her away. When day had quite come, the girl seated herself under the castle windows, to spin with her golden spinning-wheel, and the Princess with the long nose wanted to have that also. So she opened the window, and asked what she would take for it. The girl said what she had said on each of the former occasions—that it was not for sale either for gold or for money, but if she could get leave to go to the Prince who lived there, and be with him during the night, she should have it.

“Yes,” said the Princess, “I will gladly consent to that.”

But in that place there were some Christian folk who had been carried off, and they had been sitting in the chamber which was next to that of the Prince, and had heard how a woman had been in there who had wept and called on him two nights running, and they told the Prince of this. So that evening, when the Princess came once more with her sleeping-drink, he pretended to drink, but threw it away behind him, for he suspected that it was a sleeping-drink. So, when the girl went into the Prince’s room this time he was awake, and she had to tell him how she had come there. “You have come just in time,” said the Prince, “for I should have been married to-morrow; but I will not have the long-nosed Princess, and you alone can save me. I will say that I want to see what my bride can do, and bid her wash the shirt which has the three drops of tallow on it. This she will consent to do, for she does not know that it is you who let them fall on it; but no one can wash them out but one born of Christian folk: it cannot be done by one of a pack of trolls; and then I will say that no one shall ever be my bride but the woman who can do this, and I know that you can.” There was great joy and gladness between them all that night, but the next day, when the wedding was to take place, the Prince said, “I must see what my bride can do.” “That you may do,” said the stepmother.

“I have a fine shirt which I want to wear as my wedding shirt, but three drops of tallow have got upon it which I want to have washed off, and I have vowed to marry no one but the woman who is able to do it. If she cannot do that, she is not worth having.”

Well, that was a very small matter, they thought, and agreed to do it. The Princess with the long nose began to wash as well as she could, but, the more she washed and rubbed, the larger the spots grew. “Ah! you can’t wash at all,” said the old troll-hag, who was her mother. “Give it to me.” But she too had not had the shirt very long in her hands before it looked worse still, and, the more she washed it and rubbed it, the larger and blacker grew the spots.

So the other trolls had to come and wash, but, the more they did, the blacker and uglier grew the shirt, until at length it was as black as if it had been up the chimney. “Oh,” cried the Prince, “not one of you is good for anything at all! There is a beggar-girl sitting outside the window, and I’ll be bound that she can wash better than any of you! Come in, you girl there!” he cried. So she came in. “Can you wash this shirt clean?” he cried. “Oh! I don’t know,” she said; “but I will try.” And no sooner had she taken the shirt and dipped it in the water than it was white as driven snow, and even whiter than that. “I will marry you,” said the Prince.

Then the old troll-hag flew into such a rage that she burst, and the Princess with the long nose and all the little trolls must have burst too, for they have never been heard of since. The Prince and his bride set free all the Christian folk who were imprisoned there, and took away with them all the gold and silver that they could carry, and moved far away from the castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon.(1)

(1) Asbjornsen and Moe.

The Fairy Ring, by Johnny Gruelle

A little old man with a violin tucked under his arm shuffled down the attic steps and the many flights of stairs until finally he reached the streets.

As he shuffled down the street, he clutched his coat tightly about his throat, for the air was chill and he felt the cold.

At the first street corner he stopped and placed his violin to his shoulder to play, but catching a glance from the policeman across the street he hastily tucked his violin under his arm and shuffled on.

He walked a great distance before he again stopped.

It was a busy corner where hundreds of people passed every few minutes, but when he played no one stopped to listen to his music, much less to drop anything in the tiny tin cup he had placed on the sidewalk before him.

Tears came to the poor little old man’s eyes; everyone was too busy to stop to hear his music.

So in the evening when he slowly retraced his steps towards his attic home, his feet were very tired and he shuffled more than he had in the morning. His back humped and his head drooped more, and the tears nearly blinded him. He had to stop and rest at each flight of stairs and he fell to his knees just as he reached the attic door.

He sat there and rested awhile, then caught hold of the doorknob and raised himself to his feet.

A quaint little white-haired woman greeted him with a cheery smile as he entered, then, seeing his sad face, she turned her head and tears came to her eyes.

“Honey!” the little old man sobbed, as he stumbled towards her chair and fell to his knees before her, burying his face in her lap.

Neither could say a word for a long time, then the little old man told her he had been unable to make a single penny by playing.

“No one cares to hear an old man play the violin!” he said. “No one cares that we go hungry and cold! And I can still play,” he added fiercely, “just as well as ever I could! Listen to this!” and the little old man stood up and drew his bow across the violin strings in a sure, fiery manner, so that the lamp chimney rattled and sang with the vibrations of the strings.

And in his fierceness he improvised a melody so wild and beautiful his sister sat entranced.

As the little old man finished the melody he stood still more upright. Then straightening his old shoulders and pulling his hat firmly on his head, he stooped and kissed the old lady and walked with a firm tread to the door.

“I shall make them take notice tonight!” he cried. “I shall return with success!”

So again he went down the long flights of stairs and down the street until he came to a good corner where traffic was heavy.

There, with the mood upon him which had fired him in the attic, he played again the wild melody.

A few people hesitated as they passed, but only one stopped. This was an old woman, bent and wrinkled, who helped herself along with a cane. She stopped and looked him squarely in the eye and the little old man felt he should recognize her, but he could not remember where he had seen her before, nor was he sure that he had ever looked upon her until now.

At any rate, the faint memory inspired him and, raising his violin, he played a beautiful lullaby.

Before he had finished the old woman leaned over and dropped something into his little tin cup.

It sounded as loud as a silver dollar would have sounded.

“The dear old generous soul!” the old man thought as he continued playing.

He played for hours, but the old woman was the only one who stopped. “I will at least have enough to get Cynthia some warm food!” he said, thinking of what the old lady had dropped into his tin cup.

But when he looked, what was his dismay to see only a large iron ring!

Again he climbed the stairs to the attic but he felt too weary to say a thing and his sister knew that he had met with disappointment. He tossed the iron ring to her lap and went over to the bed and threw himself upon it.

“This is the end!” he said, and told her about the iron ring.

“The old woman seemed interested in my playing!” he said, “And perhaps she gave all she could give!”

“Let us not be downhearted, Brother!” said the sister. “Surely tomorrow you will find someone who will reward your talent!”

The little old man was quiet for a long time and then he arose and again drew his bow across the violin strings. The old lady sat very still and dreamed, for her brother was playing one of their childhood songs.

As she lost herself in reverie, she turned the iron ring around her finger and saw upon its surface, as she turned it, the faces of her playmates of long ago.

Johnny-Gruelle-the-fairy-ring

And as the brother swept from one melody to another, she saw the iron ring change color and grow larger and larger.

And, as she turned it, she saw the figures of her childhood playmates turn before her upon her lap, and they joined their voices with the silvery notes of the violin’s long ago songs until the attic was filled with the melody and the figures danced from her lap and, taking her by the hand, circled in the center of the attic room laughing and singing.

The little old man had been playing with his eyes closed, but as the songs grew louder he opened them and beheld the ring of little figures, with his sister holding hands with two of them. And, rising from the bed, still playing the childhood songs of long ago, he walked to the center of the room. As he did so, the figures rose in the air and seemed to grow lighter and larger. And suddenly the scene changed! He was out in the woods, with lofty trees towering above him, while all about, laughing and talking, were hundreds of little fairies, gnomes and sprites, and there, too, were the playmates of long ago, just as he had seen them when he had closed his eyes and played in the attic.

And there, too, was his sister as she had been when a child. He looked at himself, and lo! he was no longer wrinkled and old. He was young again!

In his gladness he danced with joy, and catching his sister to his breast he kissed her again and again.

And, looking about him with shining eyes, he again drew his bow across the strings and played a tune so lively and full of sweet happiness the childhood friends caught hands and danced in a circle, and the little sprites, elves, gnomes and fairies caught hands and danced around the children, and as they passed before the brother he caught a mischievous glance from the eyes of one of the little fairies, and he knew in a moment she was the one who had played the old woman, and who had given him the iron ring…

The people who lived in the room below the attic room missed the little old man’s shuffling step, and, not hearing it for two days, they told the landlady, a kindly soul who had let the brother and sister have the attic room free of charge, and all went up to investigate…

They rapped upon the attic door. All was quiet within. Timidly they opened the door and looked in. There upon the floor lay an old rusty iron ring. It was the Fairy Ring.

The Tales of Mother Goose by Charles Perrault (1696)

tales-of-mother-goose-charles-perrault

THE TALES OF MOTHER GOOSE
AS FIRST COLLECTED BY CHARLES PERRAULT IN 1696

A NEW TRANSLATION BY CHARLES WELSH
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY
M.V. O’SHEA
Professor of Education at the University of Wisconsin

ILLUSTRATED BY D.J. MUNRO
After Drawings By Gustave Dore

D.C. HEATH & CO., PUBLISHERS
BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO
Copyright, 1901,
By D.C. Heath & Co.
Printed in U.S.A.

CONTENTS
Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper
The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood
Little Thumb
The Master Cat, or Puss in Boots
Riquet of the Tuft
Blue Beard
The Fairy
Little Red Riding-hood

Little Red-Ridding Hood by Charles Perrault

Once upon a time there lived in a certain village a little country girl, the prettiest creature that ever was seen. Her mother was very fond of her, and her grandmother loved her still more. This good woman made for her a little red riding-hood, which became the girl so well that everybody called her Little Red Riding-hood.

One day her mother, having made some custards, said to her:—

“Go, my dear, and see how your grandmother does, for I hear she has been very ill; carry her a custard and this little pot of butter.”

Little Red Riding-hood set out immediately to go to her grandmother’s, who lived in another village.

little-red-ridding-hood-charles-perrault-2As she was going through the wood, she met Gaffer Wolf, who had a very great mind to eat her up; but he dared not, because of some fagot-makers hard by in the forest. He asked her whither she was going. The poor child, who did not know that it was dangerous to stay and hear a wolf talk, said to him:—

“I am going to see my grandmother, and carry her a custard and a little pot of butter from my mamma.”

“Does she live far off?” said the Wolf.

“Oh, yes,” answered Little Red Riding-hood; “it is beyond that mill you see there, the first house you come to in the village.”

“Well,” said the Wolf, “and I’ll go and see her, too. I’ll go this way, and you go that, and we shall see who will be there first.”

The Wolf began to run as fast as he could, taking the shortest way, and the little girl went by the longest way, amusing herself by gathering nuts, running after butterflies, and making nosegays of such little flowers as she met with. The Wolf was not long before he reached the old woman’s house. He knocked at the door—tap, tap, tap.

“Who’s there?” called the grandmother.

“Your grandchild, Little Red Riding-hood,” replied the Wolf, imitating her voice, “who has brought a custard and a little pot of butter sent to you by mamma.”

The good grandmother, who was in bed, because she was somewhat ill, cried out:—

“Pull the bobbin, and the latch will go up.”

little-red-ridding-hood-charles-perrault

The Wolf pulled the bobbin, and the door opened. He fell upon the good woman and ate her up in no time, for he had not eaten anything for more than three days. He then shut the door, went into the grandmother’s bed, and waited for Little Red Riding-hood, who came sometime afterward and knocked at the door—tap, tap, tap.

“Who’s there?” called the Wolf.

Little Red Riding-hood, hearing the big voice of the Wolf, was at first afraid; but thinking her grandmother had a cold, answered:—

“‘Tis your grandchild, Little Red Riding-hood, who has brought you a custard and a little pot of butter sent to you by mamma.”

The Wolf cried out to her, softening his voice a little:—

“Pull the bobbin, and the latch will go up.”

Little Red Riding-hood pulled the bobbin, and the door opened.

The Wolf, seeing her come in, said to her, hiding himself under the bedclothes:—

“Put the custard and the little pot of butter upon the stool, and come and lie down with me.”

Little Red Riding-hood undressed herself and went into bed, where she was much surprised to see how her grandmother looked in her night-clothes.

She said to her:—

“Grandmamma, what great arms you have got!”

“That is the better to hug thee, my dear.”

“Grandmamma, what great legs you have got!”

“That is to run the better, my child.”

“Grandmamma, what great ears you have got!”

“That is to hear the better, my child.”

“Grandmamma, what great eyes you have got!”

“It is to see the better, my child.”

“Grandmamma, what great teeth you have got!”

“That is to eat thee up.”

And, saying these words, this wicked Wolf fell upon Little Red Riding-hood, and ate her all up.

The Fairy by Charles Perrault

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

Among other things, this unfortunate child had to go twice a day to draw water more than a mile and a half from the house, and bring home a pitcherful of it. One day, as she was at this fountain, there came to her a poor woman, who begged of her to let her drink.

the-fairy-charles-perrault

“Oh, yes, with all my heart, Goody,” said this pretty little girl. Rinsing the pitcher at once, she took some of the clearest water from the fountain, and gave it to her, holding up the pitcher all the while, that she might drink the easier.

The good woman having drunk, said to her:—

“You are so pretty, so good and courteous, that I cannot help giving you a gift.” For this was a fairy, who had taken the form of a poor country-woman, to see how far the civility and good manners of this pretty girl would go. “I will give you for gift,” continued the Fairy, “that, at every word you speak, there shall come out of your mouth either a flower or a jewel.”

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

“I beg your pardon, mamma,” said the poor girl, “for not making more haste.”

And in speaking these words there came out of her mouth two roses, two pearls, and two large diamonds.

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

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

The girl told her frankly all the matter, not without dropping out great numbers of diamonds.

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

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

“I insist you shall go,” said the mother, “and that instantly.”

She went, but grumbled all the way, taking with her the best silver tankard in the house.

She no sooner reached the fountain than she saw coming out of the wood, a magnificently dressed lady, who came up to her, and asked to drink. This was the same fairy who had appeared to her sister, but she had now taken the air and dress of a princess, to see how far this girl’s rudeness would go.

“Am I come hither,” said the proud, ill-bred girl, “to serve you with water, pray? I suppose this silver tankard was brought purely for your ladyship, was it? However, you may drink out of it, if you have a fancy.”

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

So soon as her mother saw her coming, she cried out:—

“Well, daughter?”

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

“Oh, mercy!” cried the mother, “what is it I see? It is her sister who has caused all this, but she shall pay for it,” and immediately she ran to beat her. The poor child fled away from her, and went to hide herself in the forest nearby.

The King’s son, who was returning from the chase, met her, and seeing her so beautiful, asked her what she did there alone and why she cried.

“Alas! sir, my mother has turned me out of doors.”

The King’s son, who saw five or six pearls and as many diamonds come out of her mouth, desired her to tell him how that happened. She told him the whole story. The King’s son fell in love with her, and, considering that such a gift was worth more than any marriage portion another bride could bring, conducted her to the palace of the King, his father, and there married her.

As for her sister, she made herself so much hated that her own mother turned her out of doors. The miserable girl, after wandering about and finding no one to take her in, went to a corner of the wood, and there died.

Blue Beard by Charles Perrault

Once upon a time there was a man who had fine houses, both in town and country, a deal of silver and gold plate, carved furniture, and coaches gilded all over. But unhappily this man had a blue beard, which made him so ugly and so terrible that all the women and girls ran away from him.

One of his neighbors, a lady of quality, had two daughters who were perfect beauties. He asked for one of them in marriage, leaving to her the choice of which she would bestow on him. They would neither of them have him, and they sent him backward and forward from one to the other, neither being able to make up her mind to marry a man who had a blue beard. Another thing which made them averse to him was that he had already married several wives, and nobody knew what had become of them.

Blue Beard, to become better acquainted, took them, with their mother and three or four of their best friends, with some young people of the neighborhood to one of his country seats, where they stayed a whole week.

There was nothing going on but pleasure parties, hunting, fishing, dancing, mirth, and feasting. Nobody went to bed, but all passed the night in playing pranks on each other. In short, everything succeeded so well that the youngest daughter began to think that the beard of the master of the house was not so very blue, and that he was a very civil gentleman. So as soon as they returned home, the marriage was concluded.

About a month afterward Blue Beard told his wife that he was obliged to take a country journey for six weeks at least, upon business of great importance. He desired her to amuse herself well in his absence, to send for her friends, to take them into the country, if she pleased, and to live well wherever she was.

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“Here,” said he, “are the keys of the two great warehouses wherein I have my best furniture: these are of the room where I keep my silver and gold plate, which is not in everyday use; these open my safes, which hold my money, both gold and silver; these my caskets of jewels; and this is the master-key to all my apartments. But as for this little key, it is the key of the closet at the end of the great gallery on the ground floor. Open them all; go everywhere; but as for that little closet, I forbid you to enter it, and I promise you surely that, if you open it, there’s nothing that you may not expect from my anger.”

She promised to obey exactly all his orders; and he, after having embraced her, got into his coach and proceeded on his journey.

Her neighbors and good friends did not stay to be sent for by the new-married lady, so great was their impatience to see all the riches of her house, not daring to come while her husband was there, because of his blue beard, which frightened them. They at once ran through all the rooms, closets, and wardrobes, which were so fine and rich, and each seemed to surpass all others. They went up into the warehouses, where was the best and richest furniture; and they could not sufficiently admire the number and beauty of the tapestry, beds, couches, cabinets, stands, tables, and looking-glasses, in which you might see yourself from head to foot. Some of them were framed with glass, others with silver, plain and gilded, the most beautiful and the most magnificent ever seen.

They ceased not to praise and envy the happiness of their friend, who, in the meantime, was not at all amused by looking upon all these rich things, because of her impatience to go and open the closet on the ground floor. Her curiosity was so great that, without considering how uncivil it was to leave her guests, she went down a little back staircase, with such excessive haste that twice or thrice she came near breaking her neck. Having reached the closet-door, she stood still for some time, thinking of her husband’s orders, and considering that unhappiness might attend her if she was disobedient; but the temptation was so strong she could not overcome it. She then took the little key, and opened the door, trembling. At first she could not see anything plainly, because the windows were shut. After some moments she began to perceive that several dead women were scattered about the floor. (These were all the wives whom Blue Beard had married and murdered, one after the other, because they did not obey his orders about the closet on the ground floor.) She thought she surely would die for fear, and the key, which she pulled out of the lock, fell out of her hand.

After having somewhat recovered from the shock, she picked up the key, locked the door, and went upstairs into her chamber to compose herself; but she could not rest, so much was she frightened.

Having observed that the key of the closet was stained, she tried two or three times to wipe off the stain, but the stain would not come out. In vain did she wash it, and even rub it with soap and sand. The stain still remained, for the key was a magic key, and she could never make it quite clean; when the stain was gone off from one side, it came again on the other.

Blue Beard returned from his journey that same evening, and said he had received letters upon the road, informing him that the business which called him away was ended to his advantage. His wife did all she could to convince him she was delighted at his speedy return.

Next morning he asked her for the keys, which she gave him, but with such a trembling hand that he easily guessed what had happened.

“How is it,” said he, “that the key of my closet is not among the rest?”

“I must certainly,” said she, “have left it upstairs upon the table.”

“Do not fail,” said Blue Beard, “to bring it to me presently.”

After having put off doing it several times, she was forced to bring him the key. Blue Beard, having examined it, said to his wife:—

“How comes this stain upon the key?”

“I do not know,” cried the poor woman, paler than death.

“You do not know!” replied Blue Beard. “I very well know. You wished to go into the cabinet? Very well, madam; you shall go in, and take your place among the ladies you saw there.”

She threw herself weeping at her husband’s feet, and begged his pardon with all the signs of a true repentance for her disobedience. She would have melted a rock, so beautiful and sorrowful was she; but Blue Beard had a heart harder than any stone.

“You must die, madam,” said he, “and that at once.”

“Since I must die,” answered she, looking upon him with her eyes all bathed in tears, “give me some little time to say my prayers.”

“I give you,” replied Blue Beard, “half a quarter of an hour, but not one moment more.”

When she was alone she called out to her sister, and said to her:—

“Sister Anne,”—for that was her name,—”go up, I beg you, to the top of the tower, and look if my brothers are not coming; they promised me they would come to-day, and if you see them, give them a sign to make haste.”

Her sister Anne went up to the top of the tower, and the poor afflicted wife cried out from time to time:—

“Anne, sister Anne, do you see any one coming?”

And sister Anne said:—

“I see nothing but the sun, which makes a dust, and the grass, which looks green.”

In the meanwhile Blue Beard, holding a great sabre in his hand, cried to his wife as loud as he could:—

“Come down instantly, or I shall come up to you.”

“One moment longer, if you please,” said his wife; and then she cried out very softly, “Anne, sister Anne, dost thou see anybody coming?”

And sister Anne answered:—

“I see nothing but the sun, which makes a dust, and the grass, which is green.”

“Come down quickly,” cried Blue Beard, “or I will come up to you.”

“I am coming,” answered his wife; and then she cried, “Anne, sister Anne, dost thou not see any one coming?”

“I see,” replied sister Anne, “a great dust, which comes from this side.”

“Are they my brothers?”

“Alas! no, my sister, I see a flock of sheep.”

“Will you not come down?” cried Blue Beard.

“One moment longer,” said his wife, and then she cried out, “Anne, sister Anne, dost thou see nobody coming?”

“I see,” said she, “two horsemen, but they are yet a great way off.”

“God be praised,” replied the poor wife, joyfully; “they are my brothers; I will make them a sign, as well as I can, for them to make haste.”

Then Blue Beard bawled out so loud that he made the whole house tremble. The distressed wife came down and threw herself at his feet, all in tears, with her hair about her shoulders.

“All this is of no help to you,” says Blue Beard: “you must die”; then, taking hold of her hair with one hand, and lifting up his sword in the air with the other, he was about to take off her head. The poor lady, turning about to him, and looking at him with dying eyes, desired him to afford her one little moment to her thoughts.

“No, no,” said he, “commend thyself to God,” and again lifting his arm—

At this moment there was such a loud knocking at the gate that Blue Beard stopped suddenly. The gate was opened, and presently entered two horsemen, who, with sword in hand, ran directly to Blue Beard. He knew them to be his wife’s brothers, one a dragoon, the other a musketeer. He ran away immediately, but the two brothers pursued him so closely that they overtook him before he could get to the steps of the porch. There they ran their swords through his body, and left him dead. The poor wife was almost as dead as her husband, and had not strength enough to arise and welcome her brothers.

Blue Beard had no heirs, and so his wife became mistress of all his estate. She made use of one portion of it to marry her sister Anne to a young gentleman who had loved her a long while; another portion to buy captains’ commissions for her brothers; and the rest to marry herself to a very worthy gentleman, who made her forget the sorry time she had passed with Blue Beard.

Riquet With The Tuft by Charles Perrault

Once upon a time there was a Queen who had a son so ugly and so misshapen that it was long disputed whether he had human form. A fairy who was at his birth said, however, that he would be very amiable for all that, since he would have uncommon good sense. She even added that it would be in his power, by virtue of a gift she had just then given him, to bestow as much sense as he pleased on the person he loved the best. All this somewhat comforted the poor Queen. It is true that this child no sooner began to talk than he said a thousand pretty things, and in all his actions there was an intelligence that was quite charming. I forgot to tell you that he was born with a little tuft of hair upon his head, which made them call him Riquet with the Tuft, for Riquet was the family name.

Seven or eight years later the Queen of a neighboring kingdom had two daughters who were twins. The first born of these was more beautiful than the day; whereat the Queen was so very glad that those present were afraid that her excess of joy would do her harm. The same fairy who was present at the birth of little Riquet with the Tuft was here also, and, to moderate the Queen’s gladness, she declared that this little Princess should have no sense at all, but should be as stupid as she was pretty. This mortified the Queen extremely; but afterward she had a far greater sorrow, for the second daughter proved to be very ugly.

“Do not afflict yourself so much, madam,” said the fairy. “Your daughter shall have her recompense; she shall have so great a portion of sense that the want of beauty will hardly be perceived.”

“God grant it,” replied the Queen; “but is there no way to make the eldest, who is so pretty, have any sense?”

“I can do nothing for her, madam, as to sense,” answered the fairy, “but everything as to beauty; and as there is nothing I would not do for your satisfaction, I give her for gift that she shall have power to make handsome the person who shall best please her.”

As these princesses grew up, their perfections grew with them. All the public talk was of the beauty of the elder and the rare good sense of the younger. It is true also that their defects increased considerably with their age. The younger visibly grew uglier and uglier, and the elder be came every day more and more stupid: she either made no answer at all to what was asked her, or said something very silly. She was with all this so unhandy that she could not place four pieces of china upon the mantelpiece without breaking one of them, nor drink a glass of water without spilling half of it upon her clothes.

Although beauty is a very great advantage in young people, the younger sister was always the more preferred in society. People would indeed go first to the Beauty to look upon and admire her, but turn aside soon after to the Wit to hear a thousand most entertaining and agreeable things; and it was amazing to see, in less than a quarter of an hour’s time, the elder with not a soul near her, and the whole company crowding about the younger. The elder, dull as she was, could not fail to notice this; and without the slightest regret would have given all her beauty to have half her sister’s wit. The Queen, prudent as she was, could not help reproaching her several times for her stupidity, which almost made the poor Princess die of grief.

One day, as she had hidden herself in a wood to bewail her misfortune, she saw coming to her a very disagreeable little man, but most magnificently dressed. This was the young Prince Riquet with the Tuft, who having fallen in love with her upon seeing her picture,—many of which were distributed all the world over,—had left his father’s kingdom to have the pleasure of seeing and talking with her. Overjoyed to find her thus alone, he addressed himself to her with all imaginable politeness and respect. Having observed, after he had paid her the ordinary compliments, that she was extremely melancholy, he said to her:—

“I cannot comprehend, madam, how a person so beautiful as you are can be so sorrowful as you seem to be; for though I can boast of having seen a great number of exquisitely charming ladies, I can say that I never beheld any one whose beauty approaches yours.”

“You are pleased to say so,” answered the Princess, and here she stopped.

“Beauty,” replied Riquet with the Tuft, “is such a great advantage, that it ought to take place of all things besides; and since you possess this treasure, I can see nothing that can possibly very much afflict you.”

“I had far rather,” cried the Princess, “be as ugly as you are, and have sense, than have the beauty I possess, and be as stupid as I am.”

“There is nothing, madam,” returned he, “shows more that we have good sense than to believe we have none; and it is the nature of that excellent quality that the more people have of it, the more they believe they want it.”

“I do not know that,” said the Princess; “but I know very well that I am very senseless, and that vexes me mightily.”

“If that be all which troubles you, madam, I can very easily put an end to your affliction.”

“And how will you do that?” cried the Princess.

“I have the power, madam,” replied Riquet with the Tuft, “to give to that person whom I love best as much good sense as can be had; and as you, madam, are that very person, it will be your fault only if you have not as great a share of it as any one living, provided you will be pleased to marry me.”

The Princess was quite confused, and answered not a word.

“I see,” replied Riquet with the Tuft, “that this proposal does not please you, and I do not wonder at it; but I will give you a whole year to consider it.”

The Princess had so little sense and, at the same time, so great a longing to have some, that she imagined the end of that year would never come, so she accepted the proposal which was made her.

She had no sooner promised Riquet with the Tuft that she would marry him on that day twelvemonth than she found herself quite otherwise than she was before: she had an incredible faculty of speaking whatever she had in her mind in a polite, easy, and natural manner.

She began that moment a very gallant conversation with Riquet with the Tuft, which she kept up at such a rate that Riquet with the Tuft believed he had given her more sense than he had reserved for himself.

When she returned to the palace, the whole court knew not what to think of such a sudden and extraordinary change; for they heard from her now as much sensible discourse and as many infinitely witty phrases as they had heard stupid and silly impertinences before. The whole court was overjoyed beyond imagination at it. It pleased all but her younger sister, because, having no longer the advantage of her in respect of wit, she appeared in comparison with her a very disagreeable, homely girl.

The King governed himself by her advice, and would even sometimes hold a council in her apartment. The news of this change in the Princess spread everywhere; the young princes of the neighboring kingdoms strove all they could to gain her favor, and almost all of them asked her in marriage; but she found not one of them had sense enough for her. She gave them all a hearing, but would not engage herself to any.

However, there came one so powerful, so rich, so witty, and so handsome that she could not help feeling a strong inclination toward him. Her father perceived it, and told her that she was her own mistress as to the choice of a husband, and that she might declare her intentions. She thanked her father, and desired him to give her time to consider it.

She went by chance to walk in the same wood where she met Riquet with the Tuft, the more conveniently to think what she ought to do. While she was walking in a profound meditation, she heard a confused noise under her feet, as it were of a great many people busily running backward and forward. Listening more attentively, she heard one say:—

“Bring me that pot,” another, “Give me that kettle,” and a third, “Put some wood upon the fire.”

The ground at the same time opened, and she saw under her feet a great kitchen full of cooks, kitchen helps, and all sorts of officers necessary for a magnificent entertainment. There came out of it a company of cooks, to the number of twenty or thirty, who went to plant themselves about a very long table set up in the forest, with their larding pins in their hands and fox tails in their caps, and began to work, keeping time to a very harmonious tune.

The Princess, all astonished at this sight, asked them for whom they worked.

“For Prince Riquet with the Tuft,” said the chief of them, “who is to be married to-morrow.”

The Princess, more surprised than ever, and recollecting all at once that it was now that day twelvemonth on which she had promised to marry the Prince Riquet with the Tuft, was ready to sink into the ground.

What made her forget this was that when she made this promise, she was very silly; and having obtained that vast stock of sense which the prince had bestowed upon her, she had entirely forgotten the things she had done in the days of her stupidity. She continued her walk, but had not taken thirty steps before Riquet with the Tuft presented himself to her, gallant and most magnificently dressed, like a prince who was going to be married.

“You see, madam,” said he, “I am exact in keeping my word, and doubt not in the least but you are come hither to perform your promise.”

“I frankly confess,” answered the Princess, “that I have not yet come to a decision in this matter, and I believe I never shall be able to arrive at such a one as you desire.”

“You astonish me, madam,” said Riquet with the Tuft.

“I can well believe it,” said the Princess; “and surely if I had to do with a clown, or a man of no sense, I should find myself very much at a loss. ‘A princess always keeps her word,’ he would say to me, ‘and you must marry me, since you promised to do so.’ But as he to whom I talk is the one man in the world who is master of the greatest sense and judgment, I am sure he will hear reason. You know that when I was but a fool I could scarcely make up my mind to marry you; why will you have me, now I have so much judgment as you gave me, come to such a decision which I could not then make up my mind to agree to? If you sincerely thought to make me your wife, you have been greatly in the wrong to deprive me of my dull simplicity, and make me see things much more clearly than I did.”

“If a man of no wit and sense,” replied Riquet with the Tuft, “would be well received, as you say, in reproaching you for breach of your word, why will you not let me, madam, have the same usage in a matter wherein all the happiness of my life is concerned? Is it reasonable that persons of wit and sense should be in a worse condition than those who have none? Can you pretend this, you who have so great a share, and desired so earnestly to have it? But let us come to the fact, if you please. Putting aside my ugliness and deformity, is there anything in me which displeased you? Are you dissatisfied with my birth, my wit, my humor, or my manners?”

“Not at all,” answered the Princess; “I love you and respect you in all that you mention.”

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“If it be so,” said Riquet with the Tuft, “I am happy, since it is in your power to make me the most amiable of men.”

“How can that be?” said the Princess.

“It is done,” said Riquet with the Tuft, “if you love me enough to wish it was so; and that you may no ways doubt, madam, of what I say, know that the same fairy who on my birthday gave me for gift the power of making the person who should please me witty and judicious, has in like manner given you for gift the power of making him whom you love and to whom you would grant the favor, to be extremely handsome.”

“If it be so,” said the Princess, “I wish with all my heart that you may be the most lovable prince in the world, and I bestow my gift on you as much as I am able.”

The Princess had no sooner pronounced these words than Riquet with the Tuft appeared to her the finest prince upon earth, the handsomest and most amiable man she ever saw. Some affirm that it was not the fairy’s charms, but love alone, which worked the change.

They say that the Princess, having made due reflection on the perseverance of her lover, his discretion, and all the good qualities of his mind, his wit and judgment, saw no longer the deformity of his body, nor the ugliness of his face; that his hump seemed to her no more than the grand air of one having a broad back, and that whereas till then she saw him limp horribly, she now found it nothing more than a certain sidling air, which charmed her.

They say further that his eyes, which were squinted very much, seemed to her most bright and sparkling, that their irregularity passed in her judgment for a mark of the warmth of his affection, and, in short, that his great red nose was, in her opinion, somewhat martial and heroic in character.

However it was, the Princess promised immediately to marry him, on condition that he obtained the King’s consent. The King, knowing that his daughter highly esteemed Riquet with the Tuft, whom he knew also for a most sage and judicious prince, received him for his son-in-law with pleasure, and the next morning their nuptials were celebrated, as Riquet with the Tuft had foreseen, and according to the orders he had given a long time before.

The Master Cat or Puss in Boots by Charles Perrault


Once upon a time there was a miller, who, at his death, had nothing to leave to his three sons except his mill, his ass, and his cat. The eldest son took the mill, the second took the ass—and as for the youngest, all that remained for him was the cat.

The youngest son grumbled at this. “My brothers,” said he, “will be able to earn an honest living; but when I have eaten my cat and sold his skin I shall die of hunger.”

The Cat, who was sitting beside him, overheard this.

“Nay, Master,” he said, “don’t take such a gloomy view of things. If you will get me a pair of boots made so that I can walk through the brambles without hurting my feet, and give me a bag, you shall soon see what I am worth.”

The Cat’s master was so surprised to hear his Cat talking, that he at once got him what he wanted. The Cat drew on the boots and slung the bag round his neck and set off for a rabbit warren. When he got there he filled his bag with bran and lettuces, and stretching himself out beside it as if dead, waited until some young rabbit should be tempted into the bag. This happened very soon. A fat, thoughtless rabbit went in headlong, and the Cat at once jumped up, pulled the strings and killed him.

Puss was very proud of his success, and, going to the King’s palace, he asked to speak to the King. When he was shown into the King’s pres[75]ence he bowed respectfully, and, laying the rabbit down before the throne, he said—

“Sire, here is a rabbit, which my master, the Marquis of Carabas, desires me to present to your Majesty.”

“Tell your master,” said the King, “that I accept his present, and am very much obliged to him.”

A few days later, the Cat went and hid himself in a cornfield and laid his bag open as before. This time two splendid partridges were lured into the trap, and these also he took to the Palace and presented to the King from the Marquis of Carabas. The King was very pleased with this gift, and ordered the messenger of the Marquis of Carabas to be handsomely rewarded.

For two or three months the Cat went on in this way, carrying game every day to the Palace, and saying it was sent by the Marquis of Carabas.

At last the Cat happened to hear that the King was going to take a drive on the banks of the river, with his daughter, the most beautiful Princess in the world. He at once went to his master.

“Master,” said he, “if you follow my advice, your fortune will be made. Go and bathe in the river at a place I shall show you, and I will do the rest.”

“Very well,” said the Miller’s son, and he did as the Cat told him. When he was in the water, the Cat took away his clothes and hid them, and then ran to the road, just as the King’s coach went by, calling out as loudly as he could—

“Help, help! The Marquis of Carabas will be drowned.”

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The King looked out of the carriage window, and when he saw the Cat who had brought him so many fine rabbits and partridges, he ordered his bodyguards to fly at once to the rescue of the Marquis of Carabas.

Then the Cat came up to the carriage and told the King that while his master was bathing some robbers had stolen all his clothes. The King immediately ordered one of his own magnificent suits of clothes to be taken to the Marquis; so when the Miller’s son appeared before the monarch and his daughter, he looked so handsome, and was so splendidly attired, that the Princess fell in love with him on the spot.

The King was so struck with his appearance that he insisted upon his getting into the carriage to take a drive with them.

The Cat, delighted with the way his plans were turning out, ran on before. He reached a meadow where some peasants were making hay.

“Good people,” said he, “if you do not tell the King, when he comes this way, that the meadow you are mowing belongs to the Marquis of Carabas, you shall all be chopped up into little pieces.”

When the King came by, he stopped to ask the haymakers to whom the meadow belonged.

“To the Marquis of Carabas, if it please Your Majesty,” answered they, trembling, for the Cat’s threat had frightened them terribly.

The Cat, who continued to run before the carriage, now came to some reapers.

“Good people,” said he, “if you do not tell the King that all this corn belongs to the Marquis of Carabas, you shall all be chopped up into little pieces.”

The King again stopped to ask to whom the land belonged, and the reapers, obedient to the Cat’s command, answered—

“To the Marquis of Carabas, please Your Majesty.”

And all the way the Cat kept running on before the carriage, repeating the same instructions to all the laborers he came to; so that the King became very astonished at the vast possessions of the Marquis of Carabas.

At last the Cat arrived at a great castle, where an Ogre lived who was very rich, for all the lands through which the King had been riding were part of his estate. The Cat knocked at the castle door, and asked to see the Ogre.

The Ogre received him very civilly, and asked him what he wanted.

“If you please, sir,” said the Cat, “I have heard that you have the power of changing[79] yourself into any sort of animal you please—and I came to see if it could possibly be true.”

“So I have,” replied the Ogre, and in a moment he turned himself into a lion. This gave the Cat a great fright, and he scrambled up the curtains to the ceiling.

“Indeed, sir,” he said, “I am now quite convinced of your power to turn yourself into such a huge animal as a lion; but I do not suppose you can change yourself into a small one—such as a mouse, for instance?”

“Indeed, I can,” cried the Ogre, indignantly; and in a moment the lion had vanished, while a little brown mouse frisked about the floor.

In less than half a second the Cat sprang down from the curtains and, pouncing upon the mouse, ate[80] him all up before the Ogre had time to return to any other shape.

And when the King arrived at the castle gates, there stood the Cat upon the doorstep, bowing and saying—

“Welcome to the castle of the Marquis of Carabas!”

The Marquis helped the King and the Princess to alight, and the Cat led them into a great hall, where a feast had been spread for the Ogre.

The King was so delighted with the good looks, the charming manners, and the great wealth of the Marquis of Carabas, that he said the Marquis must marry his daughter.

The Marquis, of course, replied that he should be only too happy; and the very next day he and the Princess were married.

As for the Cat, he was given the title of Puss-in-Boots, and ever after only caught mice for his own amusement.

Little Thumb by Charles Perrault

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

They were very poor, and their seven children were a great source of trouble to them because not one of them was able to earn his bread. What gave them yet more uneasiness was that the youngest was very delicate, and scarce ever spoke a word, which made people take for stupidity that which was a sign of good sense. He was very little, and when born he was no bigger than one’s thumb; hence he was called Little Thumb.

The poor child was the drudge of the household, and was always in the wrong. He was, however, the most bright and discreet of all the brothers; and if he spoke little, he heard and thought the more.

There came a very bad year, and the famine was so great that these poor people resolved to rid themselves of their children. One evening, when they were in bed, and the fagot-maker was sitting with his wife at the fire, he said to her, with his heart ready to burst with grief:—

little-thumb-perrault“You see plainly that we no longer can give our children food, and I cannot bear to see them die of hunger before my eyes; I am resolved to lose them in the wood to-morrow, which may very easily be done, for, while they amuse themselves in tying up fagots, we have only to run away and leave them without their seeing us.”

“Ah!” cried out his wife, “could you really take the children and lose them?”

In vain did her husband represent to her their great poverty; she would not consent to it. She was poor, but she was their mother.

However, having considered what a grief it would be to her to see them die of hunger, she consented, and went weeping to bed.

Little Thumb heard all they had said; for, hearing that they were talking business, he got up softly and slipped under his father’s seat, so as to hear without being seen. He went to bed again, but did not sleep a wink all the rest of the night, thinking of what he had to do. He got up early in the morning, and went to the brookside, where he filled his pockets full of small white pebbles, and then returned home. They all went out, but Little Thumb never told his brothers a word of what he knew.

They went into a very thick forest, where they could not see one another at ten paces apart. The fagot-maker began to cut wood, and the children to gather up sticks to make fagots. Their father and mother, seeing them busy at their work, got away from them unbeknown and then all at once ran as fast as they could through a winding by-path.

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

They followed, and he brought them home by the very same way they had come into the forest. They dared not go in at first, but stood outside the door to listen to what their father and mother were saying.

The very moment the fagot-maker and his wife reached home the lord of the manor sent them ten crowns, which he had long owed them, and which they never hoped to see. This gave them new life, for the poor people were dying of hunger. The fagot-maker sent his wife to the butcher’s at once. As it was a long while since they had eaten, she bought thrice as much meat as was needed for supper for two people. When they had eaten, the woman said:—

“Alas! where are our poor children now? They would make a good feast of what we have left here; it was you, William, who wished to lose them. I told you we should repent of it. What are they now doing in the forest? Alas! perhaps the wolves have already eaten them up; you are very inhuman thus to have lost your children.”

The fagot-maker grew at last quite out of patience, for she repeated twenty times that he would repent of it, and that she was in the right. He threatened to beat her if she did not hold her tongue. The fagot-maker was, perhaps, more sorry than his wife, but she teased him so he could not endure it. She wept bitterly, saying:—

“Alas! where are my children now, my poor children?”

She said this once so very loud that the children, who were at the door, heard her and cried out all together:—

“Here we are! Here we are!”

She ran immediately to let them in, and said as she embraced them:—

“How happy I am to see you again, my dear children; you are very tired and very hungry, and, my poor Peter, you are covered with mud. Come in and let me clean you.”

Peter was her eldest son, whom she loved more than all the rest, because he was red haired, as she was herself.

They sat down to table, and ate with an appetite which pleased both father and mother, to whom they told how frightened they were in the forest, nearly all speaking at once. The good folk were delighted to see their children once more, and this joy continued while the ten crowns lasted. But when the money was all spent, they fell again into their former uneasiness, and resolved to lose their children again. And, that they might be the surer of doing it, they determined to take them much farther than before.

They could not talk of this so secretly but they were overheard by Little Thumb, who laid his plans to get out of the difficulty as he had done before; but, though he got up very early to go and pick up some little pebbles, he could not, for he found the house-door double-locked. He did not know what to do. Their father had given each of them a piece of bread for their breakfast. He reflected that he might make use of the bread instead of the pebbles, by throwing crumbs all along the way they should pass, and so he stuffed it in his pocket. Their father and mother led them into the thickest and most obscure part of the forest, and then, stealing away into a by-path, left them there. Little Thumb was not very much worried about it, for he thought he could easily find the way again by means of his bread, which he had scattered all along as he came; but he was very much surprised when he could not find a single crumb: the birds had come and eaten them all.

They were now in great trouble; for the more they wandered, the deeper they went into the forest. Night now fell, and there arose a high wind, which filled them with fear. They fancied they heard on every side the howling of wolves coming to devour them. They scarce dared to speak or turn their heads. Then it rained very hard, which wetted them to the skin. Their feet slipped at every step, and they fell into the mud, covering their hands with it so that they knew not what to do with them.

Little Thumb climbed up to the top of a tree, to see if he could discover anything. Looking on every side, he saw at last a glimmering light, like that of a candle, but a long way beyond the forest. He came down, and, when upon the ground, he could see it no more, which grieved him sadly. However, having walked for some time with his brothers toward that side on which he had seen the light, he discovered it again as he came out of the wood.

They arrived at last at the house where this candle was, not without many frights; for very often they lost sight of it, which happened every time they came into a hollow. They knocked at the door, and a good woman came and opened it.

She asked them what they wanted. Little Thumb told her they were poor children who were lost in the forest, and desired to lodge there for charity’s sake. The woman, seeing them all so very pretty, began to weep and said to them: “Alas! poor babies, where do you come from? Do you know that this house belongs to a cruel Ogre who eats little children?”

“Alas! dear madam,” answered Little Thumb (who, with his brothers, was trembling in every limb), “what shall we do? The wolves of the forest surely will devour us to-night if you refuse us shelter in your house; and so we would rather the gentleman should eat us. Perhaps he may take pity upon us if you will be pleased to ask him to do so.”

The Ogre’s wife, who believed she could hide them from her husband till morning, let them come in, and took them to warm themselves at a very good fire; for there was a whole sheep roasting for the Ogre’s supper.

As they began to warm themselves they heard three or four great raps at the door; this was the Ogre, who was come home. His wife quickly hid them under the bed and went to open the door. The Ogre at once asked if supper was ready and the wine drawn, and then sat himself down to table. The sheep was as yet all raw, but he liked it the better for that. He sniffed about to the right and left, saying:—

“I smell fresh meat.”

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

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

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

“Ah!” said he, “that is how you would cheat me; I know not why I do not eat you, too; it is well for you that you are tough. Here is game, which comes very luckily to entertain three Ogres of my acquaintance who are to pay me a visit in a day or two.”

He dragged them out from under the bed, one by one. The poor children fell upon their knees and begged his pardon, but they had to do with one of the most cruel of Ogres, who, far from having any pity on them, was already devouring them in his mind, and told his wife they would be delicate eating when she had made a good sauce.

He then took a great knife, and, coming up to these poor children, sharpened it upon a great whetstone which he held in his left hand. He had already taken hold of one of them when his wife said to him:—

“What need you do it now? Will you not have time enough to-morrow?”

“Hold your prating,” said the Ogre; “they will eat the tenderer.”

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

“That is true,” said the Ogre; “give them a good supper that they may not grow thin, and put them to bed.”

The good woman was overjoyed at this, and gave them a good supper; but they were so much afraid that they could not eat. As for the Ogre, he sat down again to drink, being highly pleased that he had the wherewithal to treat his friends. He drank a dozen glasses more than ordinary, which got up into his head and obliged him to go to bed.

The Ogre had seven daughters, who were still little children. These young Ogresses had all of them very fine complexions; but they all had little gray eyes, quite round, hooked noses, a very large mouth, and very long, sharp teeth, set far apart. They were not as yet wicked, but they promised well to be, for they had already bitten little children.

They had been put to bed early, all seven in one bed, with every one a crown of gold upon her head. There was in the same chamber a bed of the like size, and the Ogre’s wife put the seven little boys into this bed, after which she went to bed herself.

Little Thumb, who had observed that the Ogre’s daughters had crowns of gold upon their heads, and was afraid lest the Ogre should repent his not killing them that evening, got up about midnight, and, taking his brothers’ bonnets and his own, went very softly and put them upon the heads of the seven little Ogresses, after having taken off their crowns of gold, which he put upon his own head and his brothers’, so that the Ogre might take them for his daughters, and his daughters for the little boys whom he wanted to kill.

Things turned out just as he had thought; for the Ogre, waking about midnight, regretted that he had deferred till morning to do that which he might have done overnight, and jumped quickly out of bed, taking his great knife.

“Let us see,” said he, “how our little rogues do, and not make two jobs of the matter.”

He then went up, groping all the way, into his daughters’ chamber; and, coming to the bed where the little boys lay, and who were all fast asleep, except Little Thumb, who was terribly afraid when he found the Ogre fumbling about his head, as he had done about his brothers’, he felt the golden crowns, and said:—

“I should have made a fine piece of work of it, truly; it is clear I drank too much last night.”

Then he went to the bed where the girls lay, and, having found the boys’ little bonnets:—

“Ah!” said he, “my merry lads, are you there? Let us work boldly.”

And saying these words, without more ado, he cruelly murdered all his seven daughters. Well pleased with what he had done, he went to bed again.

So soon as Little Thumb heard the Ogre snore, he waked his brothers, and bade them put on their clothes quickly and follow him. They stole softly into the garden and got over the wall. They ran about, all night, trembling all the while, without knowing which way they went.

The Ogre, when he woke, said to his wife: “Go upstairs and dress those young rascals who came here last night.” The Ogress was very much surprised at this goodness of her husband, not dreaming after what manner she should dress them; but, thinking that he had ordered her to go up and put on their clothes, she went, and was horrified when she perceived her seven daughters all dead.

She began by fainting away, as was only natural in such a case. The Ogre, fearing his wife was too long in doing what he had ordered, went up himself to help her. He was no less amazed than his wife at this frightful spectacle.

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

He threw a pitcher of water upon his wife’s face, and having brought her to herself, “Give me quickly,” cried he, “my seven-leagued boots, that I may go and catch them.”

He went out into the country, and, after running in all directions, he came at last into the very road where the poor children were, and not above a hundred paces from their father’s house. They espied the Ogre, who went at one step from mountain to mountain, and over rivers as easily as the narrowest brooks. Little Thumb, seeing a hollow rock near the place where they were, hid his brothers in it, and crowded into it himself, watching always what would become of the Ogre.

The Ogre, who found himself tired with his long and fruitless journey (for these boots of seven leagues greatly taxed the wearer), had a great mind to rest himself, and, by chance, went to sit down upon the rock in which the little boys had hidden themselves. As he was worn out with fatigue, he fell asleep, and, after reposing himself some time, began to snore so frightfully that the poor children were no less afraid of him than when he held up his great knife and was going to take their lives. Little Thumb was not so much frightened as his brothers, and told them that they should run away at once toward home while the Ogre was asleep so soundly, and that they need not be in any trouble about him. They took his advice, and got home quickly.

Little Thumb then went close to the Ogre, pulled off his boots gently, and put them on his own legs. The boots were very long and large, but as they were fairy boots, they had the gift of becoming big or little, according to the legs of those who wore them; so that they fitted his feet and legs as well as if they had been made for him. He went straight to the Ogre’s house, where he saw his wife crying bitterly for the loss of her murdered daughters.

“Your husband,” said Little Thumb, “is in very great danger, for he has been taken by a gang of thieves, who have sworn to kill him if he does not give them all his gold and silver. At the very moment they held their daggers at his throat he perceived me and begged me to come and tell you the condition he was in, and to say that you should give me all he has of value, without retaining any one thing; for otherwise they will kill him without mercy. As his case is very pressing, he desired me to make use of his seven-leagued boots, which you see I have on, so that I might make the more haste and that I might show you that I do not impose upon you.”

The good woman, being greatly frightened, gave him all she had; for this Ogre was a very good husband, though he ate up little children. Little Thumb, having thus got all the Ogre’s money, came home to his father’s house, where he was received with abundance of joy.

There are many people who do not agree in regard to this act of Little Thumb’s, and pretend that he never robbed the Ogre at all, and that he only thought he might very justly take off his seven-leagued boots because he made no other use of them but to run after little children. These folks affirm that they are very well assured of this, because they have drunk and eaten often at the fagot-maker’s house. They declare that when Little Thumb had taken off the Ogre’s boots he went to Court, where he was informed that they were very much in trouble about a certain army, which was two hundred leagues off, and anxious as to the success of a battle. He went, they say, to the King and told him that if he desired it, he would bring him news from the army before night.

The King promised him a great sum of money if he succeeded. Little Thumb returned that very same night with the news; and, this first expedition causing him to be known, he earned as much as he wished, for the King paid him very well for carrying his orders to the army. Many ladies employed him also to carry messages, from which he made much money. After having for some time carried on the business of a messenger and gained thereby great wealth, he went home to his father, and it is impossible to express the joy of his family. He placed them all in comfortable circumstances, bought places for his father and brothers, and by that means settled them very handsomely in the world, while he successfully continued to make his own way.

Cinderella or The Little Glass Slipper by Charles Perrault

Once upon a time there was a gentleman who married, for his second wife, the proudest and most haughty woman that ever was seen. She had two daughters of her own, who were, indeed, exactly like her in all things. The gentleman had also a young daughter, of rare goodness and sweetness of temper, which she took from her mother, who was the best creature in the world.

The wedding was scarcely over, when the stepmother’s bad temper began to show itself. She could not bear the goodness of this young girl, because it made her own daughters appear the more odious. The stepmother gave her the meanest work in the house to do; she had to scour the dishes, tables, etc., and to scrub the floors and clean out the bedrooms. The poor girl had to sleep in the garret, upon a wretched straw bed, while her sisters lay in fine rooms with inlaid floors, upon beds of the very newest fashion, and where they had looking-glasses so large that they might see themselves at their full length. The poor girl bore all patiently, and dared not complain to her father, who would have scolded her if she had done so, for his wife governed him entirely.

When she had done her work, she used to go into the chimney corner, and sit down among the cinders, hence she was called Cinderwench. The younger sister of the two, who was not so rude and uncivil as the elder, called her Cinderella. However, Cinderella, in spite of her mean apparel, was a hundred times more handsome than her sisters, though they were always richly dressed.

It happened that the King’s son gave a ball, and invited to it all persons of fashion. Our young misses were also invited, for they cut a very grand figure among the people of the country-side. They were highly delighted with the invitation, and wonderfully busy in choosing the gowns, petticoats, and head-dresses which might best become them. This made Cinderella’s lot still harder, for it was she who ironed her sisters’ linen and plaited their ruffles. They talked all day long of nothing but how they should be dressed.

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

“And I,” said the younger, “shall wear my usual skirt; but then, to make amends for that I will put on my gold-flowered mantle, and my diamond stomacher, which is far from being the most ordinary one in the world.” They sent for the best hairdressers they could get to make up their hair in fashionable style, and bought patches for their cheeks. Cinderella was consulted in all these matters, for she had good taste. She advised them always for the best, and even offered her services to dress their hair, which they were very willing she should do.

As she was doing this, they said to her:—

“Cinderella, would you not be glad to go to the ball?”

“Young ladies,” she said, “you only jeer at me; it is not for such as I am to go there.”

“You are right,” they replied; “people would laugh to see a Cinderwench at a ball.”

Any one but Cinderella would have dressed their hair awry, but she was good-natured, and arranged it perfectly well. They were almost two days without eating, so much were they transported with joy. They broke above a dozen laces in trying to lace themselves tight, that they might have a fine, slender shape, and they were continually at their looking-glass.

At last the happy day came; they went to Court, and Cinderella followed them with her eyes as long as she could, and when she had lost sight of them, she fell a-crying.

Her godmother, who saw her all in tears, asked her what was the matter.

“I wish I could—I wish I could—” but she could not finish for sobbing.

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

“Alas, yes,” said Cinderella, sighing.

“Well,” said her godmother, “be but a good girl, and I will see that you go.” Then she took her into her chamber, and said to her, “Run into the garden, and bring me a pumpkin.”

Cinderella went at once to gather the finest she could get, and brought it to her godmother, not being able to imagine how this pumpkin could help her to go to the ball. Her godmother scooped out all the inside of it, leaving nothing but the rind. Then she struck it with her wand, and the pumpkin was instantly turned into a fine gilded coach.

She then went to look into the mouse-trap, where she found six mice, all alive. She ordered Cinderella to lift the trap-door, when, giving each mouse, as it went out, a little tap with her wand, it was that moment turned into a fine horse, and the six mice made a fine set of six horses of a beautiful mouse-colored, dapple gray.

Being at a loss for a coachman, Cinderella said, “I will go and see if there is not a rat in the rat-trap—we may make a coachman of him.”

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

Cinderella brought the rat-trap to her, and in it there were three huge rats. The fairy chose the one which had the largest beard, and, having touched him with her wand, he was turned into a fat coachman with the finest mustache and whiskers ever seen.

After that, she said to her:—

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

She had no sooner done so than her godmother turned them into six footmen, who skipped up immediately behind the coach, with their liveries all trimmed with gold and silver, and they held on as if they had done nothing else their whole lives.

The fairy then said to Cinderella, “Well, you see here a carriage fit to go to the ball in; are you not pleased with it?”

“Oh, yes!” she cried; “but must I go as I am in these rags?”

Her godmother simply touched her with her wand, and, at the same moment, her clothes were turned into cloth of gold and silver, all decked with jewels. This done, she gave her a pair of the prettiest glass slippers in the whole world. Being thus attired, she got into the carriage, her god mother commanding her, above all things, not to stay till after midnight, and telling her, at the same time, that if she stayed one moment longer, the coach would be a pumpkin again, her horses mice, her coachman a rat, her footmen lizards, and her clothes would become just as they were before.

She promised her godmother she would not fail to leave the ball before midnight. She drove away, scarce able to contain herself for joy. The King’s son, who was told that a great princess, whom nobody knew, was come, ran out to receive her. He gave her his hand as she alighted from the coach, and led her into the hall where the company were assembled. There was at once a profound silence; every one left off dancing, and the violins ceased to play, so attracted was every one by the singular beauties of the unknown newcomer. Nothing was then heard but a confused sound of voices saying:—

“Ha! how beautiful she is! Ha! how beautiful she is!”

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

All the ladies were busy studying her clothes and head-dress, so that they might have theirs made next day after the same pattern, provided they could meet with such fine materials and able hands to make them.

The King’s son conducted her to the seat of honor, and afterwards took her out to dance with him. She danced so very gracefully that they all admired her more and more. A fine collation was served, but the young Prince ate not a morsel, so intently was he occupied with her.

She went and sat down beside her sisters, showing them a thousand civilities, and giving them among other things part of the oranges and citrons with which the Prince had regaled her. This very much surprised them, for they had not been presented to her.

Cinderella heard the clock strike a quarter to twelve. She at once made her adieus to the company and hastened away as fast as she could.

As soon as she got home, she ran to find her godmother, and, after having thanked her, she said she much wished she might go to the ball the next day, because the King’s son had asked her to do so. As she was eagerly telling her godmother all that happened at the ball, her two sisters knocked at the door; Cinderella opened it. “How long you have stayed!” said she, yawning, rubbing her eyes, and stretching herself as if she had been just awakened. She had not, however, had any desire to sleep since they went from home.

“If you had been at the ball,” said one of her sisters, “you would not have been tired with it. There came thither the finest princess, the most beautiful ever was seen with mortal eyes. She showed us a thousand civilities, and gave us oranges and citrons.”

Cinderella did not show any pleasure at this. Indeed, she asked them the name of the princess; but they told her they did not know it, and that the King’s son was very much concerned, and would give all the world to know who she was. At this Cinderella, smiling, replied:—

“Was she then so very beautiful? How fortunate you have been! Could I not see her? Ah! dear Miss Charlotte, do lend me your yellow suit of clothes which you wear every day.”

“Ay, to be sure!” cried Miss Charlotte; “lend my clothes to such a dirty Cinderwench as thou art! I should be out of my mind to do so.”

Cinderella, indeed, expected such an answer and was very glad of the refusal; for she would have been sadly troubled if her sister had lent her what she jestingly asked for. The next day the two sisters went to the ball, and so did Cinderella, but dressed more magnificently than before. The King’s son was always by her side, and his pretty speeches to her never ceased. These by no means annoyed the young lady. Indeed, she quite forgot her godmother’s orders to her, so that she heard the clock begin to strike twelve when she thought it could not be more than eleven. She then rose up and fled, as nimble as a deer. The Prince followed, but could not overtake her. She left behind one of her glass slippers, which the Prince took up most carefully. She got home, but quite out of breath, without her carriage, and in her old clothes, having nothing left her of all her finery but one of the little slippers, fellow to the one she had dropped. The guards at the palace gate were asked if they had not seen a princess go out, and they replied they had seen nobody go out but a young girl, very meanly dressed, and who had more the air of a poor country girl than of a young lady.

When the two sisters returned from the ball, Cinderella asked them if they had had a pleasant time, and if the fine lady had been there. They told her, yes; but that she hurried away the moment it struck twelve, and with so much haste that she dropped one of her little glass slippers, the prettiest in the world, which the King’s son had taken up. They said, further, that he had done nothing but look at her all the time, and that most certainly he was very much in love with the beautiful owner of the glass slipper.

What they said was true; for a few days after the King’s son caused it to be proclaimed, by sound of trumpet, that he would marry her whose foot this slipper would fit exactly. They began to try it on the princesses, then on the duchesses, and then on all the ladies of the Court; but in vain. It was brought to the two sisters, who did all they possibly could to thrust a foot into the slipper, but they could not succeed. Cinderella, who saw this, and knew her slipper, said to them, laughing:—

“Let me see if it will not fit me.”

cinderella-little-glass-slipperHer sisters burst out a-laughing, and began to banter her. The gentleman who was sent to try the slipper looked earnestly at Cinderella, and, finding her very handsome, said it was but just that she should try, and that he had orders to let every lady try it on.

He obliged Cinderella to sit down, and, putting the slipper to her little foot, he found it went on very easily, and fitted her as if it had been made of wax. The astonishment of her two sisters was great, but it was still greater when Cinderella pulled out of her pocket the other slipper and put it on her foot. Thereupon, in came her godmother, who, having touched Cinderella’s clothes with her wand, made them more magnificent than those she had worn before.

And now her two sisters found her to be that beautiful lady they had seen at the ball. They threw themselves at her feet to beg pardon for all their ill treatment of her. Cinderella took them up, and, as she embraced them, said that she forgave them with all her heart, and begged them to love her always.

She was conducted to the young Prince, dressed as she was. He thought her more charming than ever, and, a few days after, married her. Cinderella, who was as good as she was beautiful, gave her two sisters a home in the palace, and that very same day married them to two great lords of the Court.