By the Brother’s Grimm

There were once a man and a woman who had long in vain
wished for a child. At length the woman hoped that God
was about to grant her desire. These people had a little
window at the back of their house from which a splendid garden
could be seen, which was full of the most beautiful flowers and
herbs. It was, however, surrounded by a high wall, and no one
dared to go into it because it belonged to an enchantress, who had
great power and was dreaded by all the world. One day the woman
was standing by this window and looking down into the garden,
when she saw a bed which was planted with the most beautiful
rampion – rapunzel, and it looked so fresh and green that she
longed for it, and had the greatest desire to eat some. This desire
increased every day, and as she knew that she could not get any
of it, she quite pined away, and began to look pale and miserable.
Then her husband was alarmed, and asked, what ails you, dear
wife. Ah, she replied, if I can’t eat some of the rampion, which
is in the garden behind our house, I shall die. The man, who loved
her, thought, sooner than let your wife die, bring her some of
the rampion yourself, let it cost what it will. At twilight, he
clambered down over the wall into the garden of the enchantress,
hastily clutched a handful of rampion, and took it to his wife. She
at once made herself a salad of it, and ate it greedily. It tasted
so good to her – so very good, that the next day she longed for it
three times as much as before. If he was to have any rest, her
husband must once more descend into the garden. In the gloom of
evening, therefore, he let himself down again. But when he had
clambered down the wall he was terribly afraid, for he saw the
enchantress standing before him. How can you dare, said she with
angry look, descend into my garden and steal my rampion like a
thief. You shall suffer for it. Ah, answered he, let mercy take
the place of justice, I only made up my mind to do it out of
necessity. My wife saw your rampion from the window, and felt such
a longing for it that she would have died if she had not got some
to eat. Then the enchantress allowed her anger to be softened, and
said to him, if the case be as you say, I will allow you to take
away with you as much rampion as you will, only I make one
condition, you must give me the child which your wife will bring
into the world. It shall be well treated, and I will care for it
like a mother. The man in his terror consented to everything, and
when the woman was brought to bed, the enchantress appeared at once,
gave the child the name of rapunzel, and took it away with her.
Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful child under the sun.
When she was twelve years old, the enchantress shut her into a
tower, which lay in a forest, and had neither stairs nor door, but
quite at the top was a little window. When the enchantress
wanted to go in, she placed herself beneath it and cried,
rapunzel, rapunzel,
let down your hair to me.
Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when
she heard the voice of the enchantress she unfastened her braided
tresses, wound them round one of the hooks of the window above,
and then the hair fell twenty ells down, and the enchantress climbed
up by it.
After a year or two, it came to pass that the king’s son rode
through the forest and passed by the tower. Then he heard a song,
which was so charming that he stood still and listened. This was
rapunzel, who in her solitude passed her time in letting her sweet
voice resound. The king’s son wanted to climb up to her, and
looked for the door of the tower, but none was to be found. He
rode home, but the singing had so deeply touched his heart, that
every day he went out into the forest and listened to it. Once when
he was thus standing behind a tree, he saw that an enchantress
came there, and he heard how she cried,
rapunzel, rapunzel,
let down your hair.
Then rapunzel let down the braids of her hair, and the
enchantress climbed up to her. If that is the ladder by which one
mounts, I too will try my fortune, said he, and the next day when
it began to grow dark, he went to the tower and cried,
rapunzel, rapunzel,
let down your hair.
Immediately the hair fell down and the king’s son climbed up.
At first rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man, such as
her eyes had never yet beheld, came to her. But the king’s son
began to talk to her quite like a friend, and told her that his
heart had been so stirred that it had let him have no rest, and he
had been forced to see her. Then rapunzel lost her fear, and when
he asked her if she would take him for her husband, and she saw that
he was young and handsome, she thought, he will love me more than
old dame gothel does. And she said yes, and laid her hand in his.
She said, I will willingly go away with you, but I do not know
how to get down. Bring with you a skein of silk every time that
you come, and I will weave a ladder with it, and when that is ready
I will descend, and you will take me on your horse. They agreed
that until that time he should come to her every evening, for the
old woman came by day. The enchantress remarked nothing of
this, until once rapunzel said to her, tell me, dame gothel, how
it happens that you are so much heavier for me to draw up than
the young king’s son – he is with me in a moment. Ah. You
wicked child, cried the enchantress. What do I hear you say. I
thought I had separated you from all the world, and yet you have
deceived me. In her anger she clutched rapunzel’s beautiful
tresses, wrapped them twice round her left hand, seized a pair of
scissors with the right, and snip, snap, they were cut off, and the
lovely braids lay on the ground. And she was so pitiless that she
took poor rapunzel into a desert where she had to live in great
grief and misery.
On the same day that she cast out rapunzel, however, the
enchantress fastened the braids of hair, which she had cut off, to
the hook of the window, and when the king’s son came and cried,
rapunzel, rapunzel,
let down your hair,
she let the hair down. The king’s son ascended, but instead of
finding his dearest rapunzel, he found the enchantress, who gazed
at him with wicked and venomous looks. Aha, she cried mockingly,
you would fetch your dearest, but the beautiful bird sits
no longer singing in the nest. The cat has got it, and will scratch
out your eyes as well. Rapunzel is lost to you. You will never see
her again. The king’s son was beside himself with pain, and in
his despair he leapt down from the tower. He escaped with his life,
but the thorns into which he fell pierced his eyes. Then he
wandered quite blind about the forest, ate nothing but roots and
berries, and did naught but lament and weep over the loss of his
dearest wife. Thus he roamed about in misery for some years, and at
length came to the desert where rapunzel, with the twins to which
she had given birth, a boy and a girl, lived in wretchedness. He
heard a voice, and it seemed so familiar to him that he went towards
it, and when he approached, rapunzel knew him and fell on his neck
and wept. Two of her tears wetted his eyes and they grew clear
again, and he could see with them as before. He led her to his
kingdom where he was joyfully received, and they lived for a long
time afterwards, happy and contented.

Brother and Sister

By Brothers Grimm

Little brother took his little sister by the hand and said, since
our mother died we have had no happiness. Our step-mother
beats us every day, and if we come near her she kicks us away
with her foot. Our meals are the hard crusts of bread that are left
over. And the little dog under the table is better off, for she
often throws it a choice morsel. God pity us, if our mother only
knew. Come, we will go forth together into the wide world.

They walked the whole day over meadows, fields, and stony
places. And when it rained the little sister said, heaven and our
hearts are weeping together. In the evening they came to a large
forest, and they were so weary with sorrow and hunger and the
long walk, that they lay down in a hollow tree and fell asleep.
The next day when they awoke, the sun was already high in the
sky, and shone down hot into the tree. Then the brother said,
sister, I am thirsty. If I knew of a little brook I would go and
just take a drink. I think I hear one running. The brother got up
and took the little sister by the hand, and they set off to find
the brook. But the wicked step-mother was a witch, and had seen how
the two children had gone away, and had crept after them secretly,
as witches creep, and had bewitched all the brooks in the forest.

Now when they found a little brook leaping brightly over the
stones, the brother was going to drink out of it, but the sister
heard how it said as it ran, who drinks of me will be a tiger.
Who drinks of me will be a tiger. Then the sister cried, pray,
dear brother, do not drink, or you will become a wild beast, and
tear me to pieces. The brother did not drink, although he was so
thirsty, but said, I will wait for the next spring.

When they came to the next brook the sister heard this also say,
who drinks of me will be a wolf. Who drinks of me will be a wolf.
Then the sister cried out, pray, dear brother, do not drink,
or you will become a wolf, and devour me. The brother did not
drink, and said, I will wait until we come to the next spring, but
then I must drink, say what you like. For my thirst is too great.
And when they came to the third brook the sister heard how it
said as it ran, who drinks of me will be a roebuck. Who drinks
of me will be a roebuck. The sister said, oh, I pray you, dear
brother, do not drink, or you will become a roebuck, and run away
from me. But the brother had knelt down at once by the brook,
and had bent down and drunk some of the water, and as soon as
the first drops touched his lips he lay there in the form of a
young roebuck.

And now the sister wept over her poor bewitched brother, and
the little roe wept also, and sat sorrowfully near to her. But at
last the girl said, be quiet, dear little roe, I will never,
never leave you.

Then she untied her golden garter and put it round the roebuck’s
neck, and she plucked rushes and wove them into a soft cord. This
she tied to the little animal and led it on, and she walked deeper
and deeper into the forest.

And when they had gone a very long way they came at last to a
little house, and the girl looked in. And as it was empty, she
thought, we can stay here and live. Then she sought for leaves
and moss to make a soft bed for the roe. And every morning she
went out and gathered roots and berries and nuts for herself, and
brought tender grass for the roe, who ate out of her hand, and was
content and played round about her. In the evening, when the sister
was tired, and had said her prayer, she laid her head upon the
roebuck’s back – that was her pillow, and she slept softly on it.
And if only the brother had had his human form it would have been a
delightful life.
For some time they were alone like this in the wilderness. But
it happened that the king of the country held a great hunt in the
forest. Then the blasts of the horns, the barking of dogs and the
merry shouts of the huntsmen rang through the trees, and the roebuck
heard all, and was only too anxious to be there. Oh, said he,
to his sister, let me be off to the hunt, I cannot bear it any
longer, and he begged so much that at last she agreed. But, said
she to him, come back to me in the evening. I must shut my door for
fear of the rough huntsmen, so knock and say, my little sister,
let me in, that I may know you. And if you do not say that, I
shall not open the door. Then the young roebuck sprang away. So
happy was he and so merry in the open air.
The king and the huntsmen saw the lovely animal, and started
after him, but they could not catch him, and when they thought
that they surely had him, away he sprang through the bushes and
vanished. When it was dark he ran to the cottage, knocked, and
said, my little sister, let me in. Then the door was opened for
him, and he jumped in, and rested himself the whole night through
upon his soft bed.
The next day the hunt began again, and when the roebuck once
more heard the bugle-horn, and the ho. Ho. Of the huntsmen, he
had no peace, but said, sister, let me out, I must be off. His
sister opened the door for him, and said, but you must be here again
in the evening and say your pass-word.
When the king and his huntsmen again saw the young roebuck
with the golden collar, they all chased him, but he was too quick
and nimble for them. This lasted the whole day, but by the evening
the huntsmen had surrounded him, and one of them wounded him
a little in the foot, so that he limped and ran slowly. Then a
hunter crept after him to the cottage and heard how he said, my
little sister, let me in, and saw that the door was opened for him,
and was shut again at once. The huntsman took notice of it all, and
went to the king and told him what he had seen and heard. Then
the king said, to-morrow we will hunt once more.
The little sister, however, was dreadfully frightened when she
saw that her fawn was hurt. She washed the blood off him, laid
herbs on the wound, and said, go to your bed, dear roe, that you
may get well again. But the wound was so slight that the roebuck,
next morning, did not feel it any more. And when he again heard
the sport outside, he said, I cannot bear it, I must be there.
They shall not find it so easy to catch me. The sister cried, and
said, this time they will kill you, and here am I alone in the
forest and forsaken by all the world. I will not let you out. Then
you will have me die of grief, answered the roe. When I hear the
bugle-horns I feel as if I must jump out of my skin. Then the
sister could not do otherwise, but opened the door for him with a
heavy heart, and the roebuck, full of health and joy, bounded into
the forest.
When the king saw him, he said to his huntsmen, now chase
him all day long till night-fall, but take care that no one does him
any harm.
As soon as the sun had set, the king said to the huntsman, now
come and show me the cottage in the wood. And when he was at
the door, he knocked and called out, dear little sister, let me in.
Then the door opened, and the king walked in, and there stood
a maiden more lovely than any he had ever seen. The maiden was
frightened when she saw, not her little roe, but a man come in who
wore a golden crown upon his head. But the king looked kindly
at her, stretched out his hand, and said, will you go with me to
my palace and be my dear wife. Yes, indeed, answered the
maiden, but the little roe must go with me, I cannot leave him.
The king said, it shall stay with you as long as you live, and
shall want nothing. Just then he came running in, and the sister
again tied him with the cord of rushes, took it in her own hand, and
went away with the king from the cottage.
The king took the lovely maiden upon his horse and carried
her to his palace, where the wedding was held with great pomp.
She was now the queen, and they lived for a long time happily
together. The roebuck was tended and cherished, and ran about in
the palace-garden.
But the wicked step-mother, because of whom the children had
gone out into the world, had never thought but that the sister had
been torn to pieces by the wild beasts in the wood, and that the
brother had been shot for a roebuck by the huntsmen. Now when
she heard that they were so happy, and so well off, envy and
jealousy rose in her heart and left her no peace, and she thought of
nothing but how she could bring them again to misfortune. Her own
daughter, who was ugly as night, and had only one eye, reproached
her and said, a queen. That ought to have been my luck. Just be
quiet, answered the old woman, and comforted her by saying,
when the time comes I shall be ready.
As time went on the queen had a pretty little boy, and it
happened that the king was out hunting. So the old witch took the
form of the chamber maid, went into the room where the queen
lay, and said to her, come the bath is ready. It will do you good,
and give you fresh strength. Make haste before it gets cold.
Her daughter also was close by. So they carried the weakly
queen into the bath-room, and put her into the bath. Then they
shut the door and ran away. But in the bath-room they had made
a fire of such hellish heat that the beautiful young queen was soon
When this was done the old woman took her daughter, put a
nightcap on her head, and laid her in bed in place of the queen.
She gave her too the shape and look of the queen, only she
could not make good the lost eye. But in order that the king might
not see it, she was to lie on the side on which she had no eye.
In the evening when he came home and heard that he had a son
he was heartily glad, and was going to the bed of his dear wife to
see how she was. But the old woman quickly called out, for your
life leave the curtains closed. The queen ought not to see the
light yet, and must have rest. The king went away, and did not find
out that a false queen was lying in the bed.
But at midnight, when all slept, the nurse, who was sitting in the
nursery by the cradle, and who was the only person awake, saw
the door open and the true queen walk in. She took the child out
of the cradle, laid it on her arm, and suckled it. Then she shook
up its pillow, laid the child down again, and covered it with the
little quilt. And she did not forget the roebuck, but went into the
corner where it lay, and stroked its back. Then she went quite
silently out of the door again. The next morning the nurse asked
the guards whether anyone had come into the palace during the night,
but they answered, no, we have seen no one.
She came thus many nights and never spoke a word. The nurse
always saw her, but she did not dare to tell anyone about it.
When some time had passed in this manner, the queen began to
speak in the night, and said,
how fares my child, how fares my roe.
Twice shall I come, then never more.
The nurse did not answer, but when the queen had gone again,
went to the king and told him all. The king said, ah, God.
What is this. To-morrow night I will watch by the child. In the
evening he went into the nursery, and at midnight the queen again
appeared and said,
how fares my child, how fares my roe.
Once will I come, then never more.
And she nursed the child as she was wont to do before she
disappeared. The king dared not speak to her, but on the next
night he watched again. Then she said,
how fares my child, how fares my roe.
This time I come, then never more.
Then the king could not restrain himself. He sprang towards her,
and said, you can be none other than my dear wife. She answered,
yes, I am your dear wife, and at the same moment she received
life again, and by God’s grace became fresh, rosy and full of
Then she told the king the evil deed which the wicked witch
and her daughter had been guilty of towards her. The king ordered
both to be led before the judge, and the judgment was delivered
against them. The daughter was taken into the forest where she was
torn to pieces by wild beasts, but the witch was cast into the fire
and miserably burnt. And as soon as she was burnt to ashes, the
roebuck changed his shape, and received his human form again, so the
sister and brother lived happily together all their lives.

The Twelve Brothers

By Brother’s Grimm

There were once upon a time a king and a queen who lived
happily together and had twelve children, but they were
all boys. Then said the king to his wife, if the thirteenth
child which you are about to bring into the world, is a girl, the
twelve boys shall die, in order that her possessions may be great,
and that the kingdom may fall to her alone. He even caused twelve
coffins to be made, which were already filled with shavings, and
in each lay a little death pillow, and he had them taken into a
locked-up room, and then he gave the queen the key of it, and bade
her not to speak of this to anyone.

The mother, however, now sat and lamented all day long, until
the youngest son, who was always with her, and whom she had
named benjamin, from the bible, said to her, dear mother, why
are you so sad.

Dearest child, she answered, I may not tell you. But he let
her have no rest until she went and unlocked the room, and showed
him the twelve coffins ready filled with shavings. Then she said,
my dearest benjamin, your father has had these coffins made for
you and for your eleven brothers, for if I bring a little girl into
the world, you are all to be killed and buried in them. And as she
wept while she was saying this, the son comforted her and said, weep
not, dear mother, we will save ourselves, and go hence. But she
said, go forth into the forest with your eleven brothers, and let
one sit constantly on the highest tree which can be found, and keep
watch, looking towards the tower here in the castle. If I give
birth to a little son, I will put up a white flag, and then you may
venture to come back. But if I bear a daughter, I will hoist a red
flag, and then fly hence as quickly as you are able, and may the
good God protect you. And every night I will rise up and pray for
you – in winter that you may be able to warm yourself at a fire, and
in summer that you may not faint away in the heat.

After she had blessed her sons therefore, they went forth into
the forest. They each kept watch in turn, and sat on the highest
oak and looked towards the tower. When eleven days had passed
and the turn came to benjamin, he saw that a flag was being raised.
It was, however, not the white, but the blood-red flag which
announced that they were all to die. When the brothers heard that,
they were very angry and said, are we all to suffer death for the
sake of a girl. We swear that we will avenge ourselves –
wheresoever we find a girl, her red blood shall flow.

Thereupon they went deeper into the forest, and in the midst
of it, where it was the darkest, they found a little bewitched hut,
which was standing empty. Then said they, here we will dwell,
and you benjamin, who are the youngest and weakest, you shall
stay at home and keep house, we others will go out and fetch food.

Then they went into the forest and shot hares, wild deer, birds and
pigeons, and whatsoever there was to eat. This they took to
benjamin, who had to dress it for them in order that they might
appease their hunger. They lived together ten years in the little
hut, and the time did not appear long to them.

The little daughter which their mother the queen had given
birth to, was now grown up. She was good of heart, and fair of
face, and had a golden star on her forehead. Once, on a great
washing, she saw twelve men’s shirts among the things, and asked her
mother, to whom do these twelve shirts belong, for they are far
too small for father. Then the queen answered with a heavy
heart, dear child, these belong to your twelve brothers. Said the
maiden, where are my twelve brothers, I have never yet heard
of them. She replied, God knows where they are, they are
wandering about the world. Then she took the maiden and opened
the chamber for her, and showed her the twelve coffins with the
shavings, and the death pillows. These coffins, said she,
were destined for your brothers, who went away secretly before you
were born, and she related to her how everything had happened.
Then said the maiden, dear mother, weep not, I will go and seek
my brothers.

So she took the twelve shirts and went forth, and straight into
the great forest. She walked the whole day, and in the evening she
came to the bewitched hut. Then she entered it and found a young
boy, who asked, from whence do you come, and whither are you
bound, and was astonished that she was so beautiful, and wore
royal garments, and had a star on her forehead. And she answered,
I am a king’s daughter, and am seeking my twelve brothers, and
I will walk as far as the sky is blue until I find them. And she
showed him the twelve shirts which belonged to them. Then
benjamin saw that she was his sister, and said, I am benjamin, your
youngest brother. And she began to weep for joy, and benjamin
wept also, and they kissed and embraced each other with the
greatest love. But after this he said, dear sister, there is still
one difficulty. We have agreed that every maiden whom we meet
shall die, because we have been obliged to leave our kingdom on
account of a girl. Then said she, I will willingly die, if by so
doing I can save my twelve brothers.

No, answered he, you shall not die. Seat yourself beneath this
tub until our eleven brothers come, and then I will soon come to
an agreement with them.

She did so, and when it was night the others came from hunting,
and their dinner was ready. And as they were sitting at table, and
eating, they asked, what news is there. Said benjamin, don’t
you know anything. No, they answered. He continued, you have
been in the forest and I have stayed at home, and yet I know
more than you do. Tell us then, they cried. He answered, but
promise me that the first maiden who meets us shall not be killed.

Yes, they all cried, she shall have mercy, only do tell us.
Then said he, our sister is here, and he lifted up the tub, and
the king’s daughter came forth in her royal garments with the
golden star on her forehead, and she was beautiful, delicate and
fair. Then they were all rejoiced, and fell on her neck, and kissed
and loved her with all their hearts.

Now she stayed at home with benjamin and helped him with
the work. The eleven went into the forest and caught game, and
deer, and birds, and wood-pigeons that they might have food, and
the little sister and benjamin took care to make it ready for them.
She sought for the wood for cooking and herbs for vegetables, and
put the pans on the fire so that the dinner was always ready when
the eleven came. She likewise kept order in the little house, and
put beautifully white clean coverings on the little beds and the
brothers were always contented and lived in great harmony with her.

Once upon a time the two at home had prepared a wonderful
feast, and when they were all together, they sat down and ate and
drank and were full of gladness. There was, however, a little
garden belonging to the bewitched house wherein stood twelve lily
flowers, which are likewise called student-lilies. She wished to
give her brothers pleasure, and plucked the twelve flowers, and
thought she would present each brother with one while at dinner.
But at the self-same moment that she plucked the flowers the twelve
brothers were changed into twelve ravens, and flew away over the
forest, and the house and garden vanished likewise. And now the
poor maiden was alone in the wild forest, and when she looked
around, an old woman was standing near her who said, my child,
what have you done. Why did you not leave the twelve white
flowers growing. They were your brothers, who are now forevermore
changed into ravens. The maiden said, weeping, is there no way of
saving them.

No, said the woman, there is but one in the whole world, and
that is so hard that you will not save them by it, for you must be
dumb for seven years, and may not speak or laugh, and if you speak
one single word, and only an hour of the seven years is wanting, all
is in vain, and your brothers will be killed by the one word.

Then said the maiden in her heart, I know with certainty that
I shall set my brothers free, and went and sought a high tree and
seated herself in it and spun, and neither spoke nor laughed. Now
it so happened that a king was hunting in the forest, who had a
great greyhound which ran to the tree on which the maiden was
sitting, and sprang about it, whining, and barking at her. Then
the king came by and saw the beautiful king’s daughter with the
golden star on her brow, and was so charmed with her beauty that
he called to ask her if she would be his wife. She made no answer,
but nodded a little with her head. So he climbed up the tree
himself, carried her down, placed her on his horse, and bore her
home. Then the wedding was solemnized with great magnificence and
rejoicing, but the bride neither spoke nor smiled. When they had
lived happily together for a few years, the king’s mother, who was
a wicked woman, began to slander the young queen, and said to
the king, this is a common beggar girl whom you have brought
back with you. Who knows what wicked tricks she practises secretly.
Even if she be dumb, and not able to speak, she still might
laugh for once. But those who do not laugh have bad consciences.

At first the king would not believe it, but the old woman urged this
so long, and accused her of so many evil things, that at last the
king let himself be persuaded and sentenced her to death.
And now a great fire was lighted in the courtyard in which she
was to be burnt, and the king stood above at the window and
looked on with tearful eyes, because he still loved her so much.
And when she was bound fast to the stake, and the fire was licking
at her clothes with its red tongue, the last instant of the seven
years expired. Then a whirring sound was heard in the air, and
twelve ravens came flying towards the place, and sank downwards, and
when they touched the earth they were her twelve brothers, whom
she had saved. They tore the fire asunder, extinguished the flames,
set their dear sister free, and kissed and embraced her. And now
as she dared to open her mouth and speak, she told the king why she
had been dumb, and had never laughed. The king rejoiced when
he heard that she was innocent, and they all lived in great unity
until their death. The wicked step-mother was taken before the
judge, and put into a barrel filled with boiling oil and venomous
snakes, and died an evil death.

The Good Bargain

By Brother’s Grimm

There was once a peasant who had driven his cow to the fair, and sold her for seven talers. On the way home he had to pass a pond, and already from afar he heard the frogs crying, aik, aik, aik, aik. Well, said he to himself, they are talking without rhyme or reason, it is seven that I have received, not eight. When he got to the water, he cried to them, stupid animals that you are. Don’t you know better than that. It is seven thalers and not eight. The frogs, however, stuck to their, aik aik, aik, aik.

Come, then, if you won’t believe it, I can count it out to you. And he took his money out of his pocket and counted out the seven talers, always reckoning four and twenty groschen to a taler.

The frogs, however, paid no attention to his reckoning, but still cried, aik, aik, aik, aik.

What, cried the peasant, quite angry, if you know better than I, count it yourselves, and threw all the money at them into the water. He stood still and wanted to wait until they were through and had returned to him what was his, but the frogs maintained their opinion and cried continually, aik, aik, aik, aik. And besides that, did not throw the money out again.

He still waited a long while until evening came on and he was forced to go home. Then he abused the frogs and cried, you water-splashers, you thick-heads, you goggle-eyes, you have great mouths and can screech till you hurt one’s ears, but you cannot count seven talers. Do you think I’m going to stand here till you get through. And with that he went away, but the frogs still cried, aik, aik, aik, aik, after him till he went home sorely vexed.

After a while he bought another cow, which he slaughtered, and he made the calculation that if he sold the meat well he might gain as much as the two cows were worth, and have the hide into the bargain. When therefore he got to the town with the meat, a great pack of dogs were gathered together in front of the gate, with a large greyhound at the head of them, which jumped at the meat, sniffed at it, and barked, wow, wow, wow. As there was no stopping him, the peasant said to him, yes, yes, I know quite well that you are saying wow, wow, wow, because you want some of the meat, but I should be in a fine state if I were to give it to you. The dog, however, answered nothing but wow, wow.

Will you promise not to devour it all then, and will you go bail for your companions.

Wow, wow, wow, said the dog.

Well, if you insist on it, I will leave it for you, I know you well, and know whom you serve, but this I tell you, I must have my money in three days or else it will go ill with you, you can just bring it out to me. Thereupon he unloaded the meat and turned back again. The dogs fell upon it and loudly barked, wow, wow. The countryman, who heard them from afar, said to himself, hark, now they all want some, but the big one is responsible to me for it. When three days had passed, the countryman thought, to-night my money will be in my pocket, and was quite delighted. But no one would come and pay it.

There is no trusting any one now, said he. At last he lost patience, and went into the town to the butcher and demanded his money. The butcher thought it was a joke, but the peasant said, jesting apart, I will have my money. Did not the big dog bring you the whole of the slaughtered cow three days ago. Then the butcher grew angry, snatched a broomstick and drove him out.

Wait, said the peasant, there is still some justice in the world, and went to the royal palace and begged for an audience. He was led before the king, who sat there with his daughter, and asked him what injury he had suffered. Alas, said he, the frogs and the dogs have taken from me what is mine, and the butcher has paid me for it with the stick. And he related at full length what had happened.

Thereupon the king’s daughter began to laugh heartily, and the king said to him, I cannot give you justice in this, but you shall have my daughter to wife for it – in her whole life she has never yet laughed as she has just done at you, and I have promised her to him who could make her laugh. You may thank God for your good fortune.

Oh, answered the peasant, I do not want her at all. I have a wife already, and she is one too many for me, when I go home, it is just as if I had a wife standing in every corner. Then the king grew angry, and said, you are a boor.

Ah, lord king, replied the peasant, what can you expect from an ox, but beef. Stop, answered the king, you shall have another reward. Be off now, but come back in three days, and then you shall have five hundred counted out in full. When the peasant went out by the gate, the sentry said, you have made the king’s daughter laugh, so you will certainly receive something good.

Yes, that is what I think, answered the peasant, five hundred are to be counted out to me. Listen, said the soldier, give me some of it. What can you do with all that money. As it is you, said the peasant, you shall have two hundred, present yourself in three days, time before the king, and let it be paid to you.

A Jew, who was standing by and had heard the conversation, ran after the peasant, held him by the coat, and said, oh, wonder of God, what a child of fortune you are. I will change it for you, I will change it for you into small coins, what do you want with the great talers. Jew, said the countryman, three hundred can you still have, give it to me at once in coin, in three days from this, you will be paid for it by the king. The Jew was delighted with the small profit, and brought the sum in bad groschen, three of which were worth two good ones.

After three days had passed, according to the king’s command, the peasant went before the king. Pull his coat off, said the latter, and he shall have his five hundred. Ah, said the peasant, they no longer belong to me, I presented two hundred of them to the sentry, and three hundred the Jew has changed for me, so by right nothing at all belongs to me. In the meantime the soldier and the Jew entered and claimed what they had gained from the peasant, and they received the blows strictly counted out. The soldier bore it patiently and knew already how it tasted, but the Jew said sorrowfully, alas, alas, are these the heavy talers.

The king could not help laughing at the peasant, and when all his anger was spent, he said, as you have already lost your reward before it fell to your lot, I will give you compensation. Go into my treasure chamber and get some money for yourself, as much as you will. The peasant did not need to be told twice, and stuffed into his big pockets whatsoever would go in.

Afterwards he went to an inn and counted out his money. The Jew had crept after him and heard how he muttered to himself, that rogue of a king has cheated me after all, why could he not have given me the money himself, and then I should have known what I had. How can I tell now if what I have had the luck to put in my pockets is right or not. Good heavens, said the Jew to himself, that man is speaking disrespectfully of our lord the king, I will run and inform, and then I shall get a reward, and he will be punished as well.

When the king heard of the peasant’s words he fell into a passion, and commanded the Jew to go and bring the offender to him. The Jew ran to the peasant, you are to go at once to the lord king in the very clothes you have on. I know what’s right better than that, answered the peasant, I shall have a new coat made first. Do you think that a man with so much money in his pocket should go there in his ragged old coat.

The Jew, as he saw that the peasant would not stir without another coat, and as he feared that if the king’s anger cooled, he himself would lose his reward, and the peasant his punishment, said, I will out of pure friendship lend you a coat for the short time. What people will not do for love. The peasant was contented with this, put the Jew’s coat on, and went off with him. The king reproached the countryman because of the evil speaking of which the Jew had informed him.

Ah, said the peasant, what a Jew says is always false – no true word ever comes out of his mouth. That rascal there is capable of maintaining that I have his coat on. What is that, shrieked the Jew, is the coat not mine. Have I not lent it to you out of pure friendship, in order that you might appear before the lord king.

When the king heard that, he said, the Jew has assuredly deceived one or the other of us, either myself or the peasant. And again he ordered something to be counted out to him in hard thalers. The peasant, however, went home in the good coat, with the good money in his pocket, and said to himself, this time I have made it.

Faithful John

By Brother’s Grimm

There was once upon a time an old king who was ill and thought to
himself ‘I am lying on what must be my deathbed.’ Then said he ‘tell
faithful John to come to me.’ Faithful John was his favorite servant,
and was so called, because he had for his whole life long been so
true to him. When therefore he came beside the bed, the king said to
him ‘most faithful John, I feel my end approaching, and have no
anxiety except about my son. He is still of tender age, and cannot
always know how to guide himself. If you do not promise me to teach
him everything that he ought to know, and to be his foster-father, I
cannot close my eyes in peace.’ Then answered faithful John ‘I will
not forsake him, and will serve him with fidelity, even if it should
cost me my life.’ At this, the old king said ‘now I die in comfort
and peace.’ Then he added ‘after my death, you shall show him the
whole castle – all the chambers, halls, and vaults, and all the
treasures which lie therein, but the last chamber in the long
gallery, in which is the picture of the princess of the golden
dwelling, shall you not show. If he sees that picture, he will fall
violently in love with her, and will drop down in a swoon, and go
through great danger for her sake, therefore you must protect him
from that.’ And when faithful John had once more given his promise to
the old king about this, the king said no more, but laid his head on
his pillow, and died.

When the old king had been carried to his grave, faithful John told
the young king all that he had promised his father on his deathbed,
and said ‘this will I assuredly keep, and will be faithful to you as
I have been faithful to him, even if it should cost me my life.’ When
the mourning was over, faithful John said to him ‘it is now time that
you should see your inheritance. I will show you your father’s
palace.’ Then he took him about everywhere, up and down, and let him
see all the riches, and the magnificent apartments, only there was
one room which he did not open, that in which hung the dangerous
picture. The picture, however, was so placed that when the door was
opened you looked straight on it, and it was so admirably painted
that it seemed to breathe and live, and there was nothing more
charming or more beautiful in the whole world. The young king
noticed, however, that faithful John always walked past this one
door, and said ‘why do you never open this one for me.’ ‘There is
something within it, he replied, ‘which would terrify you.’ But the
king answered ‘I have seen all the palace, and I want to know what is
in this room also, and he went and tried to break open the door by
force. Then faithful John held him back and said ‘I promised your
father before his death that you should not see that which is in this
chamber, it might bring the greatest misfortune on you and on me.’
‘Ah, no, replied the young king, ‘if I do not go in, it will be my
certain destruction. I should have no rest day or night until I had
seen it with my own eyes. I shall not leave the place now until you
have unlocked the door.’

Then faithful John saw that there was no help for it now, and with a
heavy heart and many sighs, sought out the key from the great bunch.
When he opened the door, he went in first, and thought by standing
before him he could hide the portrait so that the king should not see
it in front of him. But what good was this. The king stood on
tip-toe and saw it over his shoulder. And when he saw the portrait
of the maiden, which was so magnificent and shone with gold and
precious stones, he fell fainting to the ground. Faithful John took
him up, carried him to his bed, and sorrowfully thought ‘the
misfortune has befallen us, Lord God, what will be the end of it.’
Then he strengthened him with wine, until he came to himself again.
The first words the king said were ‘ah, the beautiful portrait.
Whose it it.’ ‘That is the princess of the golden dwelling, answered
faithful John. Then the king continued ‘my love for her is so great,
that if all the leaves on all the trees were tongues, they could not
declare it. I will give my life to win her. You are my most
faithful John, you must help me.

The faithful servant considered within himself for a long time how to
set about the matter, for it was difficult even to obtain a sight of
the king’s daughter. At length he thought of a way, and said to the
king ‘everything which she has about her is of gold – tables, chairs,
dishes, glasses, bowls, and household furniture. Among your
treasures are five tons of gold, let one of the goldsmiths of the
kingdom fashion these into all manner of vessels and utensils, into
all kinds of birds, wild beasts and strange animals, such as may
please her, and we will go there with them and try our luck.’

The king ordered all the goldsmiths to be brought to him, and they
had to work night and day until at last the most splendid things were
prepared. When everything was stowed on board a ship, faithful John
put on the dress of a merchant, and the king was forced to do the
same in order to make himself quite unrecognizable. Then they sailed
across the sea, and sailed on until they came to the town wherein
dwelt the princess of the golden dwelling.

Faithful John bade the king stay behind on the ship, and wait for
him. ‘Perhaps I shall bring the princess with me, said he,
‘therefore see that everything is in order, have the golden vessels
set out and the whole ship decorated.’ Then he gathered together in
his apron all kinds of golden things, went on shore and walked
straight to the royal palace. When he entered the courtyard of the
palace, a beautiful girl was standing there by the well with two
golden buckets in her hand, drawing water with them. And when she
was just turning round to carry away the sparkling water she saw the
stranger, and asked who he was. So he answered ‘I am a merchant, and
opened his apron, and let her look in. Then she cried ‘oh, what
beautiful golden things.’ And put her pails down and looked at the
golden wares one after the other. Then said the girl ‘the princess
must see these, she has such great pleasure in golden things, that
she will buy all you have.’ She took him by the hand and led him
upstairs, for she was the waiting-maid. When the king’s daughter saw
the wares, she was quite delighted and said ‘they are so beautifully
worked, that I will buy them all from you.’ But faithful John said ‘I
am only the servant of a rich merchant. The things I have here are
not to be compared with those my master has in his ship. They are
the most beautiful and valuable things that have ever been made in
gold.’ When she wanted to have everything brought up to her, he said
‘there are so many of them that it would take a great many days to do
that, and so many rooms would be required to exhibit them, that your
house is not big enough.’ Then her curiosity and longing were still
more excited, until at last she said ‘conduct me to the ship, I will
go there myself, and behold the treasures of your master.’ At this
faithful John was quite delighted, and led her to the ship, and when
the king saw her, he perceived that her beauty was even greater than
the picture had represented it to be, and thought no other than that
his heart would burst in twain. Then she boarded the ship, and the
king led her within. Faithful John, however, remained with the
helmsman, and ordered the ship to be pushed off, saying ‘set all
sail, till it fly like a bird in the air.’ Within, the king showed
her the golden vessels, every one of them, also the wild beasts and
strange animals. Many hours went by whilst she was seeing
everything, and in her delight she did not observe that the ship was
sailing away. After she had looked at the last, she thanked the
merchant and wanted to go home, but when she came to the side of the
ship, she saw that it was on the high seas far from land, and
hurrying onwards with all sail set. ‘Ah, cried she in her alarm, ‘I
am betrayed. I am carried away and have fallen into the power of a
merchant – I would rather die.’ The king, however, seized her hand,
and said ‘I am not a merchant. I am a king, and of no meaner origin
than you are, and if I have carried you away with subtlety, that has
come to pass because of my exceeding great love for you. The first
time that I looked on your portrait, I fell fainting to the ground.’
When the princess of the golden dwelling heard this, she was
comforted, and her heart was drawn to him, so that she willingly
consented to be his wife. It so happened, while they were sailing
onwards over the deep sea, that faithful John, who was sitting on the
fore part of the vessel, making music, saw three ravens in the air,
which came flying towards them. At this he stopped playing and
listened to what they were saying to each other, for that he well
understood. One cried ‘oh, there he is carrying home the princess of
the golden dwelling.’ ‘Yes, replied the second, ‘but he has not got
her yet.’ Said the third ‘but he has got her, she is sitting beside
him in the ship.’ Then the first began again, and cried ‘what good
will that do him. When they reach land a chestnut horse will leap
forward to meet him, and the prince will want to mount it, but if he
does that, it will run away with him, and rise up into the air, and
he will never see his maiden more.’ Spoke the second ‘but is there no
escape.’ ‘Oh, yes, if someone else mounts it swiftly, and takes out
the pistol which he will find in its holster, and shoots the horse
dead, the young king is saved. But who knows that. And whosoever
does know it, and tells it to him, will be turned to stone from the
toe to the knee.’ Then said the second ‘I know more than that, even
if the horse be killed, the young king will still not keep his bride.
When they go into the castle together, a wrought bridal garment will
be lying there in a dish, and looking as if it were woven of gold and
silver, it is, however, nothing but sulphur and pitch, and if he put
it on, it will burn him to the very bone and marrow.’ Said the third
‘is there no escape at all.’ ‘Oh, yes, replied the second, ‘if any
one with gloves on seizes the garment and throws it into the fire and
burns it, the young king will be saved. But what good will that do.
Whosoever knows it and tells it to him, half his body will become
stone from the knee to the heart.’ Then said the third ‘I know still
more, even if the bridal garment be burnt, the young king will still
not have his bride. After the wedding, when the dancing begins and
the young queen is dancing, she will suddenly turn pale and fall down
as if dead, and if some one does not lift her up and draw three drops
of blood from her right breast and spit them out again, she will die.
But if any one who knows that were to declare it, he would become
stone from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot.’ When the
ravens had spoken of this together, they flew onwards, and faithful
John had well understood everything, but from that time forth he
became quiet and sad, for if he concealed what he had heard from his
master, the latter would be unfortunate, and if he disclosed it to
him, he himself must sacrifice his life. At length, however, he said
to himself ‘I will save my master, even if it bring destruction on
myself.’ When therefore they came to shore, all happened as had been
foretold by the ravens, and a magnificent chestnut horse sprang
forward. ‘Good, said the king, ‘he shall carry me to my palace,
and was about to mount it when faithful John got before him, jumped
quickly on it, drew the pistol out of the holster, and shot the
horse. Then the other attendants of the king, who were not very fond
of faithful John, cried ‘how shameful to kill the beautiful animal,
that was to have carried the king to his palace.’ But the king said
‘hold your peace and leave him alone, he is my most faithful John.
Who knows what good may come of this.’ They went into the palace, and
in the hall there stood a dish, and therein lay the bridal garment
looking no otherwise than as if it were made of gold and silver. The
young king went towards it and was about to take hold of it, but
faithful John pushed him away, seized it with gloves on, carried it
quickly to the fire and burnt it. The other attendants again began
to murmur, and said ‘behold, now he is even burning the king’s bridal
garment.’ But the young king said ‘who knows what good he may have
done, leave him alone, he is my most faithful John.’ And now the
wedding was solemnized – the dance began, and the bride also took
part in it, then faithful John was watchful and looked into her face,
and suddenly she turned pale and fell to the ground as if she were
dead. On this he ran hastily to her, lifted her up and bore her into
a chamber – then he laid her down, and knelt and sucked the three
drops of blood from her right breast, and spat them out. Immediately
she breathed again and recovered herself, but the young king had seen
this, and being ignorant why faithful John had done it, was angry and
cried ‘throw him into a dungeon.’ Next morning faithful John was
condemned, and led to the gallows, and when he stood on high, and was
about to be executed, he said ‘every one who has to die is permitted
before his end to make one last speech, may I too claim the right.’
‘Yes, answered the king, ‘it shall be granted unto you.’ Then said
faithful John ‘I am unjustly condemned, and have always been true to
you, and he related how he had hearkened to the conversation of the
ravens when on the sea, and how he had been obliged to do all these
things in order to save his master. Then cried the king ‘oh, my most
faithful John. Pardon, pardon – bring him down.’ But as faithful
John spoke the last word he had fallen down lifeless and become a

Thereupon the king and the queen suffered great anguish, and the king
said ‘ah, how ill I have requited great fidelity.’ And ordered the
stone figure to be taken up and placed in his bedroom beside his bed.
And as often as he looked on it he wept and said ‘ah, if I could
bring you to life again, my most faithful John.’

Some time passed and the queen bore twins, two sons who grew fast and
were her delight. Once when the queen was at church and the father
was sitting with his two children playing beside him, he looked at
the stone figure again, sighed, and full of grief he said ‘ah, if I
could but bring you to life again, my most faithful John.’ Then the
stone began to speak and said ‘you can bring me to life again if you
will use for that purpose what is dearest to you.’ Then cried the
king ‘I will give everything I have in the world for you.’ The stone
continued ‘if you will cut off the heads of your two children with
your own hand, and sprinkle me with their blood, I shall be restored
to life.’

The king was terrified when he heard that he himself must kill his
dearest children, but he thought of faithful John’s great fidelity,
and how he had died for him, drew his sword, and with his own hand
cut off the children’s heads. And when he had smeared the stone with
their blood, life returned to it, and faithful John stood once more
safe and healthy before him. He said to the king ‘your truth shall
not go unrewarded, and took the heads of the children, put them on
again, and rubbed the wounds with their blood, at which they became
whole again immediately, and jumped about, and went on playing as if
nothing had happened. Then the king was full of joy, and when he saw
the queen coming he hid faithful John and the two children in a great
cupboard. When she entered, he said to her ‘have you been praying in
the church.’ ‘Yes, answered she, ‘but I have constantly been thinking
of faithful John and what misfortune has befallen him through us.’
Then said he ‘dear wife, we can give him his life again, but it will
cost us our two little sons, whom we must sacrifice.’ The queen
turned pale, and her heart was full of terror, but she said ‘we owe
it to him, for his great fidelity.’ Then the king was rejoiced that
she thought as he had thought, and went and opened the cupboard, and
brought forth faithful John and the children, and said ‘God be
praised, he is delivered, and we have our little sons again also,
and told her how everything had occurred. Then they dwelt together
in much happiness until their death.

The Wolf and the Seven Little Kids

By Brother’s Grimm

There was once upon a time an old goat who had seven little kids, and
loved them with all the love of a mother for her children. One day
she wanted to go into the forest and fetch some food. So she called
all seven to her and said, dear children, I have to go into the
forest, be on your guard against the wolf, if he comes in, he will
devour you all – skin, hair, and everything. The wretch often
disguises himself, but you will know him at once by his rough voice
and his black feet. The kids said, dear mother, we will take good
care of ourselves, you may go away without any anxiety. Then the old
one bleated, and went on her way with an easy mind.

It was not long before some one knocked at the house-door and called,
open the door, dear children, your mother is here, and has brought
something back with her for each of you. But the little kids knew
that it was the wolf, by the rough voice. We will not open the door,
cried they, you are not our mother. She has a soft, pleasant voice,
but your voice is rough, you are the wolf. Then the wolf went away
to a shopkeeper and bought himself a great lump of chalk, ate this
and made his voice soft with it. The he came back, knocked at the
door of the house, and called, open the door, dear children, your
mother is here and has brought something back with her for each of
you. But the wolf had laid his black paws against the window, and
the children saw them and cried, we will not open the door, our
mother has not black feet like you, you are the wolf. Then the wolf
ran to a baker and said, I have hurt my feet, rub some dough over
them for me. And when the baker had rubbed his feet over, he ran to
the miller and said, strew some white meal over my feet for me. The
miller thought to himself, the wolf wants to deceive someone, and
refused, but the wolf said, if you will not do it, I will devour you.
Then the miller was afraid, and made his paws white for him. Truly,
this the way of mankind.

So now the wretch went for the third time to the house-door, knocked
at it and said, open the door for me, children, your dear little
mother has come home, and has brought every one of you something back
from the forest with her. The little kids cried, first show us your
paws that we may know if you are our dear little mother. Then he put
his paws in through the window, and when the kids saw that they were
white, they believed that all he said was true, and opened the door.
But who should come in but the wolf they were terrified and wanted to
hide themselves. One sprang under the table, the second into the
bed, the third into the stove, the fourth into the kitchen, the fifth
into the cupboard, the sixth under the washing-bowl, and the seventh
into the clock-case. But the wolf found them all, and used no great
ceremony, one after the other he swallowed them down his throat. The
youngest, who was in the clock-case, was the only one he did not
find. When the wolf had satisfied his appetite he took himself off,
laid himself down under a tree in the green meadow outside, and began
to sleep. Soon afterwards the old goat came home again from the
forest. Ah. What a sight she saw there. The house-door stood wide
open. The table, chairs, and benches were thrown down, the
washing-bowl lay broken to pieces, and the quilts and pillows were
pulled off the bed. She sought her children, but they were nowhere
to be found. She called them one after another by name, but no one
answered. At last, when she caame to the youngest, a soft voice
cried, dear mother, I am in the clock-case. She took the kid out,
and it told her that the wolf had come and had eaten all the others.
Then you may imagine how she wept over her poor children.

At length in her grief she went out, and the youngest kid ran with
her. When they came to the meadow, there lay the wolf by the tree
and snored so loud that the branches shook. She looked at him on
every side and saw that something was moving and struggling in his
gorged belly. Ah, heavens, she said, is it possible that my poor
children whom he has swallowed down for his supper, can be still
alive. Then the kid had to run home and fetch scissors, and a needle
and thread and the goat cut open the monster’s stomach, and hardly
had she make one cut, than one little kid thrust its head out, and
when she cut farther, all six sprang out one after another, and were
all still alive, and had suffered no injury whatever, for in his
greediness the monster had swallowed them down whole. What rejoicing
there was. They embraced their dear mother, and jumped like a sailor
at his wedding. The mother, however, said, now go and look for some
big stones, and we will fill the wicked beast’s stomach with them
while he is still asleep. Then the seven kids dragged the stones
thither with all speed, and put as many of them into his stomach as
they could get in, and the mother sewed him up again in the greatest
haste, so that he was not aware of anything and never once stirred.

When the wolf at length had had his fill of sleep, he got on his
legs, and as the stones in his stomach made him very thirsty, he
wanted to go to a well to drink. But when he began to walk and move
about, the stones in his stomach knocked against each other and
rattled. Then cried he, what rumbles and tumbles against my poor
bones. I thought ’twas six kids, but it feels like big stones. And
when he got to the well and stooped over the water to drink, the
heavy stones made him fall in, and he had to drown miserably. When
the seven kids saw that, they came running to the spot and cried
aloud, the wolf is dead. The wolf is dead, and danced for joy round
about the well with their mother.

The Story of a Youth Who Went Forth To Learn What Fear Was 

By the Brother’s Grimm

A certain father had two sons, the elder of whom was smart and
sensible, and could do everything, but the younger was stupid and
could neither learn nor understand anything, and when people saw him
they said ‘there’s a fellow who will give his father some trouble.’
When anything had to be done, it was always the elder who was forced
to do it, but if his father bade him fetch anything when it was late,
or in the night-time, and the way led through the churchyard, or any
other dismal place, he answered ‘oh, no, father, I’ll not go there,
it makes me shudder.’ For he was afraid. Or when stories were told
by the fire at night which made the flesh creep, the listeners
sometimes said ‘oh, it makes us shudder.’ The younger sat in a corner
and listened with the rest of them, and could not imagine what they
could mean. ‘They are always saying ‘it makes me shudder, it makes
me shudder, it does not make me shudder.’ Thought he. ‘That, too,
must be an art of which I understand nothing.’

Now it came to pass that his father said to him one day ‘hearken to
me, you fellow in the corner there, you are growing tall and strong,
and you too must learn something by which you can earn your bread.
Look how your brother works, but you do not even earn your salt.’
‘Well, father, he replied, ‘I am quite willing to learn something –
indeed, if it could but be managed, I should like to learn how to
shudder. I don’t understand that at all yet.’ The elder brother
smiled when he heard that, and thought to himself ‘good God, what a
blockhead that brother of mine is. He will never be good for
anything as long as he lives. He who wants to be a sickle must bend
himself betimes.’ The father sighed, and answered him ‘you shall soon
learn what it is to shudder, but you will not earn your bread by
that.’ Soon after this the sexton came to the house on a visit, and
the father bewailed his trouble, and told him how his younger son was
so backward in every respect that he knew nothing and learnt nothing.
‘Just think, said he, ‘when I asked him how he was going to earn
his bread, he actually wanted to learn to shudder.’ ‘If that be all,
replied the sexton, ‘he can learn that with me. Send him to me, and
I will soon polish him.’ The father was glad to do it, for he thought
‘it will train the boy a little.’ The sexton therefore took him into
his house, and he had to ring the church bell. After a day or two,
the sexton awoke him at midnight, and bade him arise and go up into
the church tower and ring the bell. ‘You shall soon learn what
shuddering is, thought he, and secretly went there before him, and
when the boy was at the top of the tower and turned round, and was
just going to take hold of the bell rope, he saw a white figure
standing on the stairs opposite the sounding hole. ‘Who is there.’
Cried he, but the figure made no reply, and did not move or stir.
‘Give an answer, cried the boy, ‘or take yourself off, you have no
business here at night.’

The sexton, however, remained standing motionless that the boy might
think he was a ghost. The boy cried a second time ‘what do you want
here. – Speak if you are an honest fellow, or I will throw you down
the steps.’ The sexton thought ‘he can’t mean to be as bad as his
words, uttered no sound and stood as if he were made of stone. Then
the boy called to him for the third time, and as that was also to no
purpose, he ran against him and pushed the ghost down the stairs, so
that it fell down ten steps and remained lying there in a corner.
Thereupon he rang the bell, went home, and without saying a word went
to bed, and fell asleep. The sexton’s wife waited a long time for
her husband, but he did not come back. At length she became uneasy,
and wakened the boy, and asked ‘do you not know where my husband is.
He climbed up the tower before you did.’ ‘No, I don’t know, replied
the boy, ‘but someone was standing by the sounding hole on the other
side of the steps, and as he would neither give an answer nor go
away, I took him for a scoundrel, and threw him downstairs. Just go
there and you will see if it was he. I should be sorry if it were.’
The woman ran away and found her husband, who was lying moaning in
the corner, and had broken his leg.

She carried him down, and then with loud screams she hastened to the
boy’s father. ‘Your boy, cried she, ‘has been the cause of a great
misfortune. He has thrown my husband down the steps so that he broke
his leg. Take the good-for-nothing fellow out of our house.’ The
father was terrified, and ran thither and scolded the boy. ‘What
wicked tricks are these.’ Said he, ‘the devil must have put them
into your head.’ ‘Father, he replied, ‘do listen to me. I am quite
innocent. He was standing there by night like one intent on doing
evil. I did not know who it was, and I entreated him three times
either to speak or to go away.’ ‘Ah, said the father, ‘I have
nothing but unhappiness with you. Go out of my sight. I will see
you no more.’

‘Yes, father, right willingly, wait only until it is day. Then will
I go forth and learn how to shudder, and then I shall, at any rate,
understand one art which will support me.’ ‘Learn what you will,
spoke the father, ‘it is all the same to me. Here are fifty talers
for you. Take these and go into the wide world, and tell no one from
whence you come, and who is your father, for I have reason to be
ashamed of you.’ ‘Yes, father, it shall be as you will. If you
desire nothing more than that, I can easily keep it in mind.’

When day dawned, therefore, the boy put his fifty talers into his
pocket, and went forth on the great highway, and continually said to
himself ‘if I could but shudder. If I could but shudder.’ Then a man
approached who heard this conversation which the youth was holding
with himself, and when they had walked a little farther to where they
could see the gallows, the man said to him ‘look, there is the tree
where seven men have married the ropemaker’s daughter, and are now
learning how to fly. Sit down beneath it, and wait till night comes,
and you will soon learn how to shudder.’ ‘If that is all that is
wanted, answered the youth, ‘it is easily done, but if I learn how
to shudder as fast as that, you shall have my fifty talers. Just
come back to me early in the morning.’ Then the youth went to the
gallows, sat down beneath it, and waited till evening came. And as he
was cold, he lighted himself a fire, but at midnight the wind blew so
sharply that in spite of his fire, he could not get warm. And as the
wind knocked the hanged men against each other, and they moved
backwards and forwards, he thought to himself ‘if you shiver below by
the fire, how those up above must freeze and suffer.’ And as he felt
pity for them, he raised the ladder, and climbed up, unbound one of
them after the other, and brought down all seven. Then he stoked the
fire, blew it, and set them all round it to warm themselves. But
they sat there and did not stir, and the fire caught their clothes.
So he said ‘take care, or I will hang you up again.’ The dead men,
however, did not hear, but were quite silent, and let their rags go
on burning. At this he grew angry, and said ‘if you will not take
care, I cannot help you, I will not be burnt with you, and he hung
them up again each in his turn. Then he sat down by his fire and fell
asleep, and the next morning the man came to him and wanted to have
the fifty talers, and said ‘well, do you know how to shudder.’ ‘No,
answered he, ‘how should I know. Those fellows up there did not
open their mouths, and were so stupid that they let the few old rags
which they had on their bodies get burnt.’ Then the man saw that he
would not get the fifty talers that day, and went away saying ‘such a
youth has never come my way before.’ The youth likewise went his way,
and once more began to mutter to himself ‘ah, if I could but shudder.
Ah, if I could but shudder.’ A waggoner who was striding behind him
heard this and asked ‘who are you.’ ‘I don’t know, answered the
youth. Then the waggoner asked ‘from whence do you come.’ ‘I know
not.’ ‘Who is your father.’ ‘That I may not tell you.’ ‘What is it
that you are always muttering between your teeth.’ ‘Ah, replied the
youth, ‘I do so wish I could shudder, but no one can teach me how.’
‘Enough of your foolish chatter, said the waggoner. ‘Come, go with
me, I will see about a place for you.’ The youth went with the
waggoner, and in the evening they arrived at an inn where they wished
to pass the night. Then at the entrance of the parlor the youth
again said quite loudly ‘if I could but shudder. If I could but
shudder.’ The host who heard this, laughed and said ‘if that is your
desire, there ought to be a good opportunity for you here.’ ‘Ah, be
silent, said the hostess, ‘so many prying persons have already lost
their lives, it would be a pity and a shame if such beautiful eyes as
these should never see the daylight again.’ But the youth said
‘however difficult it may be, I will learn it. For this purpose
indeed have I journeyed forth.’ He let the host have no rest, until
the latter told him, that not far from thence stood a haunted castle
where any one could very easily learn what shuddering was, if he
would but watch in it for three nights. The king had promised that
he who would venture should have his daughter to wife, and she was
the most beautiful maiden the sun shone on. Likewise in the castle
lay great treasures, which were guarded by evil spirits, and these
treasures would then be freed, and would make a poor man rich enough.
Already many men had gone into the castle, but as yet none had come
out again. Then the youth went next morning to the king and said ‘if
it be allowed, I will willingly watch three nights in the haunted
castle.’ The king looked at him, and as the youth pleased him, he
said ‘you may ask for three things to take into the castle with you,
but they must be things without life.’ Then he answered ‘then I ask
for a fire, a turning lathe, and a cutting-board with the knife.’ The
king had these things carried into the castle for him during the day.
When night was drawing near, the youth went up and made himself a
bright fire in one of the rooms, placed the cutting-board and knife
beside it, and seated himself by the turning-lathe. ‘Ah, if I could
but shudder.’ Said he, ‘but I shall not learn it here either.’
Towards midnight he was about to poke his fire, and as he was blowing
it, something cried suddenly from one corner ‘au, miau. How cold we
are.’ ‘You fools.’ Cried he, ‘what are you crying about. If you are
cold, come and take a seat by the fire and warm yourselves.’ And when
he had said that, two great black cats came with one tremendous leap
and sat down on each side of him, and looked savagely at him with
their fiery eyes. After a short time, when they had warmed
themselves, they said ‘comrade, shall we have a game of cards.’ ‘Why
not.’ He replied, ‘but just show me your paws.’ Then they stretched
out their claws. ‘Oh, said he, ‘what long nails you have. Wait, I
must first cut them for you.’ Thereupon he seized them by the
throats, put them on the cutting-board and screwed their feet fast.
‘I have looked at your fingers, said he, ‘and my fancy for
card-playing has gone, and he struck them dead and threw them out
into the water. But when he had made away with these two, and was
about to sit down again by his fire, out from every hole and corner
came black cats and black dogs with red-hot chains, and more and more
of them came until he could no longer move, and they yelled horribly,
and got on his fire, pulled it to pieces, and tried to put it out.
He watched them for a while quietly, but at last when they were going
too far, he seized his cutting-knife, and cried ‘away with you,
vermin, and began to cut them down. Some of them ran away, the others
he killed, and threw out into the fish-pond. When he came back he
fanned the embers of his fire again and warmed himself. And as he
thus sat, his eyes would keep open no longer, and he felt a desire to
sleep. Then he looked round and saw a great bed in the corner.
‘That is the very thing for me, said he, and got into it. When he
was just going to shut his eyes, however, the bed began to move of
its own accord, and went over the whole of the castle. ‘That’s right,
said he, ‘but go faster.’ Then the bed rolled on as if six horses
were harnessed to it, up and down, over thresholds and stairs, but
suddenly hop, hop, it turned over upside down, and lay on him like a
mountain. But he threw quilts and pillows up in the air, got out and
said ‘now any one who likes, may drive, and lay down by his fire, and
slept till it was day. In the morning the king came, and when he saw
him lying there on the ground, he thought the evil spirits had killed
him and he was dead. Then said he ‘after all it is a pity, — for so
handsome a man.’ The youth heard it, got up, and said ‘it has not
come to that yet.’ Then the king was astonished, but very glad, and
asked how he had fared. ‘Very well indeed, answered he, ‘one night
is past, the two others will pass likewise.’ Then he went to the
innkeeper, who opened his eyes very wide, and said ‘I never expected
to see you alive again. Have you learnt how to shudder yet.’ ‘No,
said he, ‘it is all in vain. If some one would but tell me.’ The
second night he again went up into the old castle, sat down by the
fire, and once more began his old song ‘if I could but shudder.’ When
midnight came, an uproar and noise of tumbling about was heard, at
first it was low, but it grew louder and louder. Then it was quiet
for a while, and at length with a loud scream, half a man came down
the chimney and fell before him. ‘Hullo.’ Cried he, ‘another half
belongs to this. This is not enough.’ Then the uproar began again,
there was a roaring and howling, and the other half fell down
likewise. ‘Wait, said he, ‘I will just stoke up the fire a little
for you.’ When he had done that and looked round again, the two
pieces were joined together, and a hideous man was sitting in his
place. ‘That is no part of our bargain, said the youth, ‘the bench
is mine.’ The man wanted to push him away, the youth, however, would
not allow that, but thrust him off with all his strength, and seated
himself again in his own place. Then still more men fell down, one
after the other, they brought nine dead men’s legs and two skulls,
and set them up and played at nine-pins with them. The youth also
wanted to play and said ‘listen you, can I join you.’ ‘Yes, if you
have any money.’ Money enough, replied he, ‘but your balls are not
quite round.’ Then he took the skulls and put them in the lathe and
turned them till they were round. ‘There, now they will roll
better.’ Said he. ‘Hurrah. Now we’ll have fun.’ He played with them
and lost some of his money, but when it struck twelve, everything
vanished from his sight. He lay down and quietly fell asleep. Next
morning the king came to inquire after him. ‘How has it fared with
you this time.’ Asked he. ‘I have been playing at nine-pins, he
answered, ‘and have lost a couple of farthings.’ ‘Have you not
shuddered then.’ ‘What.’ Said he, ‘I have had a wonderful time. If
I did but know what it was to shudder.’ The third night he sat down
again on his bench and said quite sadly ‘if I could but shudder.’
When it grew late, six tall men came in and brought a coffin. Then
said he ‘ha, ha, that is certainly my little cousin, who died only a
few days ago, and he beckoned with his finger, and cried ‘come,
little cousin, come.’ They placed the coffin on the ground, but he
went to it and took the lid off, and a dead man lay therein. He felt
his face, but it was cold as ice. ‘Wait, said he, ‘I will warm you
a little, and went to the fire and warmed his hand and laid it on the
dead man’s face, but he remained cold. Then he took him out, and sat
down by the fire and laid him on his breast and rubbed his arms that
the blood might circulate again. As this also did no good, he
thought to himself ‘when two people lie in bed together, they warm
each other, and carried him to the bed, covered him over and lay down
by him. After a short time the dead man became warm too, and began
to move. Then said the youth, ‘see, little cousin, have I not warmed
you.’ The dead man, however, got up and cried ‘now will I strangle
you.’ ‘What.’ Said he, ‘is that the way you thank me. You shall at
once go into your coffin again, and he took him up, threw him into
it, and shut the lid. Then came the six men and carried him away
again. ‘I cannot manage to shudder, said he. ‘I shall never learn
it here as long as I live.’ Then a man entered who was taller than
all others, and looked terrible. He was old, however, and had a long
white beard. ‘You wretch, cried he, ‘you shall soon learn what it
is to shudder, for you shall die.’ ‘Not so fast, replied the youth.
‘If I am to die, I shall have to have a say in it.’ ‘I will soon
seize you, said the fiend. ‘Softly, softly, do not talk so big. I
am as strong as you are, and perhaps even stronger.’ ‘We shall see,
said the old man. ‘If you are stronger, I will let you go – come, we
will try.’ Then he led him by dark passages to a smith’s forge, took
an axe, and with one blow struck an anvil into the ground. ‘I can do
better than that, said the youth, and went to the other anvil. The
old man placed himself near and wanted to look on, and his white
beard hung down. Then the youth seized the axe, split the anvil with
one blow, and in it caught the old man’s beard. ‘Now I have you,
said the youth. ‘Now it is your turn to die.’ Then he seized an iron
bar and beat the old man till he moaned and entreated him to stop,
when he would give him great riches. The youth drew out the axe and
let him go. The old man led him back into the castle, and in a
cellar showed him three chests full of gold. ‘Of these, said he,
‘one part is for the poor, the other for the king, the third yours.’
In the meantime it struck twelve, and the spirit disappeared, so that
the youth stood in darkness. ‘I shall still be able to find my way
out, said he and felt about, found the way into the room, and slept
there by his fire. Next morning the king came and said ‘now you must
have learnt what shuddering is.’ ‘No, he answered ‘what can it be.
My dead cousin was here, and a bearded man came and showed me a great
deal of money down below, but no one told me what it was to shudder.’
‘Then, said the king, ‘you have saved the castle, and shall marry my
daughter.’ ‘That is all very well, said he, ‘but still I do not know
what it is to shudder.’ Then the gold was brought up and the wedding
celebrated, but howsoever much the young king loved his wife, and
however happy he was, he still said always ‘if I could but shudder –
if I could but shudder.’ And this at last angered her. Her
waiting-maid said ‘I will find a cure for him, he shall soon learn
what it is to shudder. She went out to the stream which flowed
through the garden, and had a whole bucketful of gudgeons brought to

At night when the young king was sleeping, his wife was to draw the
clothes off him and empty the bucketful of cold water with the
gudgeons in it over him, so that the little fishes would sprawl about
him. Then he woke up and cried ‘oh, what makes me shudder so. – What
makes me shudder so, dear wife. Ah. Now I know what it is to

Our Lady’s Child 

by the Brother’s Grimm

Hard by a great forest dwelt a wood-cutter with his wife, who had an
only child, a little girl three years old. They were so poor,
however, that they no longer had daily bread, and did not know how to
get food for her. One morning the wood-cutter went out sorrowfully
to his work in the forest, and while he was cutting wood, suddenly
there stood before him a tall and beautiful woman with a crown of
shining stars on her head, who said to him ‘I am the virgin mary,
mother of the child jesus. You are poor and needy, bring your child
to me, I will take her with me and be her mother, and care for her.’
The wood-cutter obeyed, brought his child, and gave her to the virgin
mary, who took her up to heaven with her. There the child fared
well, ate sugar-cakes, and drank sweet milk, and her clothes were of
gold, and the little angels played with her. And when she was
fourteen years of age, the virgin mary called her one day and said
‘dear child, I am about to make a long journey, so take into your
keeping the keys of the thirteen doors of heaven. Twelve of these
you may open, and behold the glory which is within them, but the
thirteenth, to which this little key belongs, is forbidden you. Take
care not to open it, or you will be unhappy.’ The girl promised to be
obedient, and when the virgin mary was gone, she began to examine the
dwellings of the kingdom of heaven. Each day she opened one of them,
until she had made the round of the twelve. In each of them sat one
of the apostles in the midst of a great light, and she rejoiced in
all the magnificence and splendor, and the little angels who always
accompanied her rejoiced with her. Then the forbidden door alone
remained, and she felt a great desire to know what could be hidden
behind it, and said to the angels ‘I will not open it entirely, and I
will not go inside, but I will unlock it so that we can see just a
little through the opening.’ ‘Oh’no, said the little angels, ‘that
would be a sin. The virgin mary has forbidden it, and it might
easily cause your unhappiness.’ Then she was silent, but the desire
in her heart was not stilled, but gnawed there and tormented her, and
let her have no rest. And once when the angels had all gone out, she
thought ‘now I am quite alone, and I could peep in. If I do, no one
will ever know.’ She sought out the key, and when she had got it in
her hand, she put it in the lock, and when she had put it in, she
turned it round as well. Then the door sprang open, and she saw
there the trinity sitting in fire and splendor. She stayed there
awhile, and looked at everything in amazement, then she touched the
light a little with her finger, and her finger became quite golden.
Immediately a great fear fell on her. She shut the door violently,
and ran hi there. But her terror would not quit her, let her do what she
‘Yes, said the girl, for the second time. Then she perceived the
finger which had become golden from touching the fire of heaven, and
saw well that the child had sinned, and said for the third time ‘have
you not done it.’ ‘No, said the girl for the third time. Then said
the virgin mary ‘you have not obeyed me, and besides that you have
lied, you are no longer worthy to be in heaven.’ Then the girl fell
into a deep sleep, and when she awoke she lay on the earth below, and
in the midst of a wilderness. She wanted to cry out, but she could
bring forth no sound. She sprang up and wanted to run away, but
whithersoever she turned herself, she was continually held back by
thick hedges of thorns through which she could not break. In the
desert, in which she was imprisoned, there stood an old hollow tree,
and this had to be her dwelling-place. Into this she crept when
night came, and here she slept. Here, too, she found a shelter from
might, and her heart beat continually and would not be still, the gold too
stayed on her finger, and would not go away, let her rub it and wash it
never so much. It was not long before the virgin mary came back from her
journey. She called the girl before her, and asked to have the keys of
heaven back. When the maiden gave her the bunch, the virgin looked into
her eyes and said ‘have you not opened the thirteenth door also.’ ‘No, she
replied. Then she laid her hand on the girl’s heart, and felt how it beat
and beat, and saw right well that she had disobeyed her order and had
opened the door. Then she said once again ‘are you certain that you have
not done it.’
storm and rain, but it was a miserable life, and bitterly did she
weep when she remembered how happy she had been in heaven, and how
the angels had played with her. Roots and wild berries were her only
food, and for these she sought as far as she could go. In the autumn
she picked up the fallen nuts and leaves, and carried them into the
hole. The nuts were her food in winter, and when snow and ice came,
she crept amongst the leaves like a poor little animal that she might
not freeze. Before long her clothes were all torn, and one bit of
them after another fell off her. As soon, however, as the sun shone
warm again, she went out and sat in front of the tree, and her long
hair covered her on all sides like a mantle. Thus she sat year after
year, and felt the pain and the misery of the world. One day, when
the trees were once more clothed in fresh green, the king of the
country was hunting in the forest, and followed a roe, and as it had
fled into the thicket which shut in this part of the forest, he got
off his horse, tore the bushes asunder, and cut himself a path with
his sword. When he had at last forced his way through, he saw a
wonderfully beautiful maiden sitting under the tree, and she sat
there and was entirely covered with her golden hair down to her very
feet. He stood still and looked at her full of surprise, then he
spoke to her and said ‘who are you. Why are you sitting here in the
wilderness.’ But she gave no answer, for she could not open her
mouth. The king continued ‘will you go with me to my castle. Then
she just nodded her head a little. The king took her in his arms,
carried her to his horse, and rode home with her, and when he reached
the royal castle he caused her to be dressed in beautiful garments,
and gave her all things in abundance. Although she could not speak,
she was still so beautiful and charming that he began to love her
with all his heart, and it was not long before he married her. After
a year or so had passed, the queen brought a son into the world.
Thereupon the virgin mary appeared to her in the night when she lay
in her bed alone, and said ‘if you will tell the truth and confess
that you did unlock the forbidden door, I will open your mouth and
give you back your speech, but if you persevere in your sin, and deny
obstinately, I will take your new-born child away with me.’ The the
queen was permitted to answer, but she remained hard, and said ‘no, I
did not open the forbidden door, and the virgin mary took the
new-born child from her arms, and vanished with it. Next morning
when the child was not to be found, it was whispered among the people
that the queen was a man-eater, and had put her own child to death.
She heard all this and could say nothing to the contrary, but the
king would not believe it, for he loved her so much. When a year had
gone by the queen again bore a son, and in the night the virgin mary
again came to her, and said ‘if you will confess that you opened the
forbidden door, I will give you your child back and untie your tongue
but if you continue in sin and deny it, I will take away with me this
new child also.’ Then the queen again said ‘no, I did not open the
forbidden door.’ And the virgin took the child out of her arms, and
away with her to heaven. Next morning, when this child also had
disappeared, the people declared quite loudly that the queen had
devoured it, and the king’s councillors demanded that she should be
brought to justice. The king however, loved her so dearly that he
would not believe it, and commanded the councillors under pain of
death not to say any more about it. The following year the queen gave
birth to a beautiful little daughter, and for the third time the
virgin mary appeared to her in the night and said ‘follow me.’ She
took the queen by the hand and led her to heaven, and showed her
there her two eldest children, who smiled at her, and were playing
with the ball of the world. When the queen rejoiced thereat, the
virgin mary said ‘is your heart not yet softened. If you will own
that you opened the forbidden door, I will give you back your two
little sons.’ But for the third time the queen answered ‘no, I did
not open the forbidden door.’ Then the virgin let her sink down to
earth once more, and took from her likewise her third child.

Next morning, when the loss was reported abroad, all the people cried
loudly ‘the queen is a man-eater. She must be judged, and the king
was no longer able to restrain his councillors. Thereupon a trial was
held, and as she could not answer, and defend herself, she was
condemned to be burnt at the stake. The wood was got together, and
when she was fast bound to the stake, and the fire began to burn
round about her, the hard ice of pride melted, her heart was moved by
repentance, and she thought ‘if I could but confess before my death
that I opened the door.’ Then her voice came back to her, and she
cried out loudly ‘yes, mary, I did it, and straight-way rain fell
from the sky and extinguished the flames of fire, and a light broke
forth above her, and the virgin mary descended with the two little
sons by her side, and the new-born daughter in her arms. She spoke
kindly to her, and said ‘he who repents his sin and acknowledges it,
is forgiven.’ Then she gave her the three children, untied her
tongue, and granted her happiness for her whole life.

The Frog King, or Iron Henry 

by the Brothers Grimm

In olden times when wishing still helped one, there lived a king
whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful
that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever
it shone in her face. Close by the king’s castle lay a great dark
forest, and under an old lime-tree in the forest was a well, and when
the day was very warm, the king’s child went out into the forest and
sat down by the side of the cool fountain, and when she was bored she
took a golden ball, and threw it up on high and caught it, and this
ball was her favorite plaything.

Now it so happened that on one occasion the princess’s golden ball
did not fall into the little hand which she was holding up for it,
but on to the ground beyond, and rolled straight into the water. The
king’s daughter followed it with her eyes, but it vanished, and the
well was deep, so deep that the bottom could not be seen. At this
she began to cry, and cried louder and louder, and could not be
comforted. And as she thus lamented someone said to her, “What ails
you, king’s daughter? You weep so that even a stone would show pity.”

She looked round to the side from whence the voice came, and saw a
frog stretching forth its big, ugly head from the water. “Ah, old
water-splasher, is it you,” she said, “I am weeping for my golden ball,
which has fallen into the well.” “Be quiet, and do not weep,” answered
the frog, “I can help you, but what will you give me if I bring your
plaything up again?” “Whatever you will have, dear frog,” said she, “My
clothes, my pearls and jewels, and even the golden crown which I am
wearing.” The frog answered, “I do not care for your clothes, your
pearls and jewels, nor for your golden crown, but if you will love me
and let me be your companion and play-fellow, and sit by you at your
little table, and eat off your little golden plate, and drink out of
your little cup, and sleep in your little bed – if you will promise
me this I will go down below, and bring you your golden ball up

“Oh yes,” said she, “I promise you all you wish, if you will but bring
me my ball back again.” But she thought, “How the silly frog does
talk. All he does is to sit in the water with the other frogs, and
croak. He can be no companion to any human being.”

But the frog when he had received this promise, put his head into the
water and sank down; and in a short while came swimmming up again
with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the grass. The king’s
daughter was delighted to see her pretty plaything once more, and
picked it up, and ran away with it. “Wait, wait,” said the frog. “Take
me with you. I can’t run as you can.” But what did it avail him to
scream his croak, croak, after her, as loudly as he could. She did
not listen to it, but ran home and soon forgot the poor frog, who was
forced to go back into his well again.

The next day when she had seated herself at table with the king and
all the courtiers, and was eating from her little golden plate,
something came creeping splish splash, splish splash, up the marble
staircase, and when it had got to the top, it knocked at the door and
cried, “Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me.” She ran to
see who was outside, but when she opened the door, there sat the frog
in front of it. Then she slammed the door to, in great haste, sat
down to dinner again, and was quite frightened. The king saw plainly
that her heart was beating violently, and said, “My child, what are
you so afraid of? Is there perchance a giant outside who wants to
carry you away?” “Ah, no,” replied she. “It is no giant but a disgusting

“What does a frog want with you?” “Ah, dear father, yesterday as I was
in the forest sitting by the well, playing, my golden ball fell into
the water. And because I cried so, the frog brought it out again for
me, and because he so insisted, I promised him he should be my
companion, but I never thought he would be able to come out of his
water. And now he is outside there, and wants to come in to me.”

In the meantime it knocked a second time, and cried, “Princess,
youngest princess, open the door for me, do you not know what you
said to me yesterday by the cool waters of the well. Princess,
youngest princess, open the door for me.”

Then said the king, “That which you have promised must you perform.
Go and let him in.” She went and opened the door, and the frog hopped
in and followed her, step by step, to her chair. There he sat and
cried, “Lift me up beside you.” She delayed, until at last the king
commanded her to do it. Once the frog was on the chair he wanted to
be on the table, and when he was on the table he said, “Now, push your
little golden plate nearer to me that we may eat together.” She did
this, but it was easy to see that she did not do it willingly. The
frog enjoyed what he ate, but almost every mouthful she took choked
her. At length he said, “I have eaten and am satisfied, now I am
tired, carry me into your little room and make your little silken bed
ready, and we will both lie down and go to sleep.”

The king’s daughter began to cry, for she was afraid of the cold frog
which she did not like to touch, and which was now to sleep in her
pretty, clean little bed. But the king grew angry and said, “He who
helped you when you were in trouble ought not afterwards to be
despised by you.” So she took hold of the frog with two fingers,
carried him upstairs, and put him in a corner, but when she was in
bed he crept to her and said, “I am tired, I want to sleep as well as
you, lift me up or I will tell your father.” At this she was terribly
angry, and took him up and threw him with all her might against the
wall. “Now, will you be quiet, odious frog,” said she. But when he
fell down he was no frog but a king’s son with kind and beautiful
eyes. He by her father’s will was now her dear companion and
husband. Then he told her how he had been bewitched by a wicked
witch, and how no one could have delivered him from the well but
herself, and that to-morrow they would go together into his kingdom.

Then they went to sleep, and next morning when the sun awoke them, a
carriage came driving up with eight white horses, which had white
ostrich feathers on their heads, and were harnessed with golden
chains, and behind stood the young king’s servant Faithful Henry.
Faithful Henry had been so unhappy when his master was changed into a
frog, that he had caused three iron bands to be laid round his heart,
lest it should burst with grief and sadness. The carriage was to
conduct the young king into his kingdom. Faithful Henry helped them
both in, and placed himself behind again, and was full of joy because
of this deliverance. And when they had driven a part of the way the
king’s son heard a cracking behind him as if something had broken.
So he turned round and cried, “Henry, the carriage is breaking.”
“No, master, it is not the carriage. It is a band from my heart,
which was put there in my great pain when you were a frog and
imprisoned in the well.” Again and once again while they were on
their way something cracked, and each time the king’s son thought the
carriage was breaking, but it was only the bands which were springing
from the heart of Faithful Henry because his master was set free and
was happy.