Two Grimm Tales
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There was once a man who understood all kinds of arts; he served in war, and behaved well and bravely, but when the war was over he received his dismissal, and three farthings for his expenses on the way.
"Stop," said he, "I shall not be content with this. If I can only meet with the right people, the king will yet have to give me all the treasure of the country."
Then full of anger he went into the forest, and saw a man standing therein who had plucked up six trees as if they were blades of corn. He said to him, "Will you be my servant and go with me?"
"Yes," he answered, "but, first, I will take this little bundle of sticks home to my mother," and he took one of the trees, and wrapped it round the five others, lifted the bundle on his back, and carried it away. Then he returned and went with his master, who said, "We two ought to be able to get through the world very well," and when they had walked on for a short while they found a huntsman who was kneeling, had shouldered his gun, and was about to fire. The master said to him, "Huntsman, what are you going to shoot?" He answered, "Two miles from here a fly is sitting on the branch of an oak-tree, and I want to shoot its left eye out."
"Oh, come with me," said the man, "if we three are together, we certainly ought to be able to get on in the world!" The huntsman was ready, and went with him, and they came to seven windmills whose sails were turning round with great speed, and yet no wind was blowing either on the right or the left, and no leaf was stirring. Then said the man, "I know not what is driving the windmills, not a breath of air is stirring," and he went onwards with his servants, and when they had walked two miles they saw a man sitting on a tree who was shutting one nostril, and blowing out of the other.
"Good gracious! what are you doing up there?" He answered, "Two miles from here are seven windmills; look, I am blowing them till they turn round."
"Oh, come with me," said the man.
"If we four are together, we shall carry the whole world before us!" Then the blower came down and went with him, and after a while they saw a man who was standing on one leg and had taken off the other, and laid it beside him. Then the master said, "You have arranged things very comfortably to have a rest."
"I am a runner," he answered, "and to stop myself running far too fast, I have taken off one of my legs, for if I run with both, I go quicker than any bird can fly."
"Oh, go with me. If we five are together, we shall carry the whole world before us."
So he went with them, and it was not long before they met a man who wore a cap, but had put it quite on one ear. Then the master said to him, "Gracefully, gracefully, don't stick your cap on one ear, you look just like a tom-fool!"
"I must not wear it otherwise," said he, "for if I set my hat straight, a terrible frost comes on, and all the birds in the air are frozen, and drop dead on the ground."
"Oh, come with me," said the master. "If we six are together, we can carry the whole world before us."
Now the six came to a town where the king had proclaimed that whoever ran a race with his daughter and won the victory, should be her husband, but whoever lost it, must lose his head. Then the man presented himself and said, "I will, however, let my servant run for me."
The king answered, "Then his life also must be staked, so that his head and your are both set on the victory."
When that was settled and made secure, the man buckled the other leg on the runner, and said to him, "Now be nimble, and help us to win."
It was fixed that the one who was first to bring some water from a far distant well was to be the victor. The runner received a pitcher, and the king's daughter one too, and they began to run at the same time, but in an instant, when the king's daughter had got a very little way, the people who were looking on could see no more of the runner, and it was just as if the wind had whistled by. In a short time he reached the well, filled his pitcher with water, and turned back. Half-way home, however, he was overcome with fatigue, and set his pitcher down, lay down himself, and fell asleep. He had, however, made a pillow of a horse's skull which was lying on the ground, in order that he might lie uncomfortably, and soon wake up again. In the meantime the king's daughter, who could also run very well quite as well as any ordinary mortal can had reached the well, and was hurrying back with her pitcher full of water, and when she saw the runner lying there asleep, she was glad and said, "My enemy is delivered over into my hands," emptied his pitcher, and ran on. And now all would have been lost if by good luck the huntsman had not been standing at the top of the castle, and had not seen everything with his sharp eyes. Then said he, "The king's daughter shall still not prevail against us;" and he loaded his gun, and shot so cleverly, that he shot the horse's skull away from under the runner's head without hurting him. Then the runner awoke, leapt up, and saw that his pitcher was empty, and that the king's daughter was already far in advance. He did not lose heart, however, but ran back to the well with his pitcher, again drew some water, and was at home again, ten minutes before the king's daughter.
"Behold!" said he, "I have not bestirred myself till now, it did not deserve to be called running before."
But it pained the king, and still more his daughter, that she should be carried off by a common disbanded soldier like that; so they took counsel with each other how to get rid of him and his companions. Then said the king to her, "I have thought of a way; don't be afraid, they shall not come back again."
And he said to them, "You shall now make merry together, and eat and drink," and he conducted them to a room which had a floor of iron, and the doors also were of iron, and the windows were guarded with iron bars. There was a table in the room covered with delicious food, and the king said to them, "Go in, and enjoy yourselves."
And when they were inside, he ordered the doors to be shut and bolted. Then he sent for the cook, and commanded him to make a fire under the room till the iron became red-hot. This the cook did, and the six who were sitting at table began to feel quite warm, and they thought the heat was caused by the food; but as it became still greater, and they wanted to get out, and found that the doors and windows were bolted, they became aware that the king must have an evil intention, and wanted to suffocate them.
"He shall not succeed, however," said the one with the cap.
"I will cause a frost to come, before which the fire shall be ashamed, and creep away."
Then he put his cap on straight, and at once there came such a frost that all heat disappeared, and the food on the dishes began to freeze. When an hour or two had passed by, and the king believed that they had perished in the heat, he had the doors opened to behold them himself. But when the doors were opened, all six were standing there, alive and well, and said that they should very much like to get out to warm themselves, for the very food was fast frozen to the dishes with the cold. Then, full of anger, the king went down to the cook, scolded him, and asked why he had not done what he had been ordered to do. But the cook answered, "There is heat enough there, just look yourself."
Then the king saw that a fierce fire was burning under the iron room, and perceived that there was no getting the better of the six in this way.
Again the king considered how to get rid of his unpleasant guests, and caused their chief to be brought and said, "If you will take gold and renounce my daughter, you shall have as much as you will."
"Oh, yes, Lord king," he answered, "give me as much as my servant can carry, and I will not ask for your daughter."
On this the king was satisfied, and the other went on, "In fourteen days, I will come and fetch it."
Thereupon he summoned together all the tailors in the whole kingdom, and they were to sit for fourteen days and sew a sack. And when it was ready, the strong one who could tear up trees had to take it on his back, and go with it to the king. Then said the king, "Who can that strong fellow be who is carrying a bundle of linen on his back that is as big as a house?" and he was alarmed and said, "What a lot of gold he can carry away!" Then he commanded a ton of gold to be brought; it took sixteen of his strongest men to carry it, but the strong one snatched it up in one hand, put it in his sack, and said, "Why don't you bring more at the same time? that hardly covers the bottom!" Then, little by little, the king caused all his treasure to be brought there, and the strong one pushed it into the sack, and still the sack was not half full with it."
"Bring more," cried he, "these few crumbs don't fill it."
Then seven thousand carts with gold had to be gathered together in the whole kingdom, and the strong one thrust them and the oxen harnessed to them into his sack.
"I will examine it no longer," said he, "but will just take what comes, so long as the sack is but full." When all that was inside, there was still room for a great deal more; Then he said, "I will just make an end of the thing; people do sometimes tie up a sack even when it is not full."
So he took it on his back, and went away with his comrades. When the king now saw how one single man was carrying away the entire wealth of the country, he became enraged, and bade his horsemen mount and pursue the six, and ordered them to take the sack away from the strong one. Two regiments speedily overtook the six, and called out, "You are prisoners, put down the sack with the gold, or you will all be cut to pieces!"
"What say you?" cried the blower, "that we are prisoners! Rather than that should happen, all of you shall dance about in the air."
And he closed one nostril, and with the other blew on the two regiments. Then they were driven away from each other, and carried into the blue sky over all the mountains one here, the other there. One sergeant cried for mercy; he had nine wounds, and was a brave fellow who did not deserve ill treatment. The blower stopped a little so that he came down without injury, and then the blower said to him, "Now go home to your King, and tell him he had better send some more horsemen, and I will blow them all into the air."
When the king was informed of this he said, "Let the rascals go. They have the best of it."
Then the six conveyed the riches home, divided it amongst them, and lived in content till their death.
There was once on a time an old Queen whose husband had been dead for many years, and she had a beautiful daughter. When the princess grew up she was betrothed to a prince who lived at a great distance. When the time came for her to be married, and she had to journey forth into the distant kingdom, the aged Queen packed up for her many costly vessels of silver and gold, and trinkets also of gold and silver; and cups and jewels, in short, everything which appertained to a royal dowry, for she loved her child with all her heart. She likewise sent her maid in waiting, who was to ride with her, and hand her over to the bridegroom, and each had a horse for the journey, but the horse of the king's daughter was called Falada, and could speak. So when the hour of parting had come, the aged mother went into her bedroom, took a small knife and cut her finger with it till it bled, then she held a white handkerchief to it into which she let three drops of blood fall, gave it to her daughter and said, "Dear child, preserve this carefully, it will be of service to you on your way."
So they took a sorrowful leave of each other; the princess put the piece of cloth in her bosom, mounted her horse, and then went away to her bridegroom. After she had ridden for a while she felt a burning thirst, and said to her waiting-maid, "Dismount, and take my cup which you have brought with you for me, and get me some water from the stream, for I should like to drink."
"If you are thirsty," said the waiting-maid, "get off your horse yourself, and lie down and drink out of the water, I don't choose to be your servant."
So in her great thirst the princess alighted, bent down over the water in the stream and drank, and was not allowed to drink out of the golden cup. Then she said, "Ah, Heaven!" and the three drops of blood answered, "If your mother knew, her heart would break." But the king's daughter was humble, said nothing, and mounted her horse again. She rode some miles further, but the day was warm, the sun scorched her, and she was thirsty once more, and when they came to a stream of water, she again cried to her waiting-maid, "Dismount, and give me some water in my golden cup," for she had long ago forgotten the girl's ill words. But the waiting-maid said still more haughtily, "If you wish to drink, drink as you can, I don't choose to be your maid."
Then in her great thirst the king's daughter alighted, bent over the flowing stream, wept and said, "Ah, Heaven!" and the drops of blood again answered, "If your mother knew this, her heart would break."
And as she was thus drinking and leaning right over the stream, the handkerchief with the three drops of blood fell out of her bosom, and floated away with the water without her observing it, so great was her trouble. The waiting-maid, however, had seen it, and she rejoiced to think that she had now power over the bride, for since the princess had lost the drops of blood, she had become weak and powerless. So now when she wanted to mount her horse again, the one that was called Falada, the waiting-maid said, "Falada is more suitable for me, and my nag will do for you" and the princess had to be content with that. Then the waiting-maid, with many hard words, bade the princess exchange her royal apparel for her own shabby clothes; and at length she was compelled to swear by the clear sky above her, that she would not say one word of this to anyone at the royal court, and if she had not taken this oath she would have been killed on the spot. But Falada saw all this, and observed it well.
The waiting-maid now mounted Falada, and the true bride the bad horse, and thus they travelled onwards, till at length they entered the royal palace. There were great rejoicings over her arrival, and the prince sprang forward to meet her, lifted the waiting-maid from her horse, and thought she was his consort. She was conducted upstairs, but the real princess was left standing below. Then the old king looked out of the window and saw her standing in the courtyard, and how dainty and delicate and beautiful she was, and instantly went to the royal apartment, and asked the bride about the girl she had with her who was standing down below in the courtyard, and who she was? "I picked her up on my way for a companion; give the girl something to work at, that she may not stand idle."
But the old king had no work for her, and knew of none, so he said, "I have a little boy who tends the geese, she may help him."
The boy was called Conrad, and the true bride had to help him to tend the geese. Soon afterwards the false bride said to the young king, "Dearest husband, I beg you to do me a favour."
He answered, "I will do so most willingly."
"Then send for the knacker, and have the head of the horse on which I rode here cut off, for it vexed me on the way."
In reality, she was afraid that the horse might tell how she had behaved to the king's daughter. Then she succeeded in making the king promise that it should be done, and the faithful Falada was to die; this came to the ears of the real princess, and she secretly promised to pay the knacker a piece of gold if he would perform a small service for her. There was a great dark-looking gateway in the town, through which morning and evening she had to pass with the geese: would he be so goood as to nail up Falada's head on it, so that she might see him again, more than once. The knacker's man promised to do that, and cut off the head, and nailed it fast beneath the dark gateway.
Early in the morning, when she and Conrad drove out their flock beneath this gateway, she said in passing,
"Alas, Falada, hanging there!"
Then the head answered,
"Alas, young queen, how ill you fare!
Then they went still further out of the town, and drove their geese into the country. And when they had come to the meadow, she sat down and unbound her hair which was like pure gold, and Conrad saw it and delighted in its brightness, and wanted to pluck out a few hairs. Then she said,
"Blow, blow, you gentle wind, I say,
And there came such a violent wind that it blew Conrad's hat far away across country, and he was forced to run after it. When he came back she had finished combing her hair and was putting it up again, and he could not get any of it. Then Conrad was angry, and would not speak to her, and thus they watched the geese till the evening, and then they went home.
Next day when they were driving the geese out through the dark gateway, the maiden said,
"Alas, Falada, hanging there!"
"Alas, young Queen, how ill you fare!
And she sat down again in the field and began to comb out her hair, and Conrad ran and tried to clutch it, so she said in haste,
"Blow, blow, you gentle wind, I say,
Then the wind blew, and blew his little hat off his head and far away, and Conrad was forced to run after it, and when he came back, her hair had been put up a long time, and he could get none of it, and so they looked after their geese till evening came.
But in the evening after they had got home, Conrad went to the old king, and said, "I won't tend the geese with that girl any longer!"
"Why not?" inquired the aged king.
"Oh, because she vexes me the whole day long."
Then the aged king commanded him to relate what it was that she did to him. And Conrad said, "In the morning when we pass beneath the dark gateway with the flock, there is a sorry horse's head on the wall, and she says to it,
"Alas, Falada, hanging there!"
And the head replies,
"Alas, young Queen how ill you fare!
And Conrad went on to relate what happened on the goose pasture, and how when there he had to chase his hat.
The aged king commanded him to drive his flock out again next day, and as soon as morning came, he placed himself behind the dark gateway, and heard how the maiden spoke to the head of Falada, and then he too went into the country, and hid himself in the thicket in the meadow. There he soon saw with his own eyes the goose-girl and the goose-boy bringing their flock, and how after a while she sat down and unplaited her hair, which shone with radiance. And soon she said,
"Blow, blow, you gentle wind, I say,
Then came a blast of wind and carried off Conrad's hat, so that he had to run far away, while the maiden quietly went on combing and plaiting her hair, all of which the king observed. Then, quite unseen, he went away, and when the goose-girl came home in the evening, he called her aside, and asked why she did all these things.
"I may not tell you that, and I dare not lament my sorrows to any human being, for I have sworn not to do so by the heaven which is above me; if I had not done that, I should have lost my life."
He urged her and left her no peace, but he could draw nothing from her. Then said he, "If you will not tell me anything, tell your sorrows to the iron-stove there," and he went away. Then she crept into the iron-stove, and began to weep and lament, and emptied her whole heart, and said, "Here am I deserted by the whole world, and yet I am a king's daughter, and a false waiting-maid has by force brought me to such a pass that I have been compelled to put off my royal apparel, and she has taken my place with my bridegroom, and I have to perform menial service as a goose-girl. If my mother did but know that, her heart would break."
The aged king, however, was standing outside by the pipe of the stove, and was listening to what she said, and heard it. Then he came back again, and bade her come out of the stove. And royal garments were placed on her, and it was marvellous how beautiful she was! The aged king summoned his son, and revealed to him that he had got the false bride who was only a waiting-maid, but that the true one was standing there, as the sometime goose-girl. The young king rejoiced with all his heart when he saw her beauty and youth, and a great feast was made ready to which all the people and all good friends were invited. At the head of the table sat the bridegroom with the king's daughter at one side of him, and the waiting-maid on the other, but the waiting-maid was blinded, and did not recognize the princess in her dazzling array. When they had eaten and drunk, and were merry, the aged king asked the waiting-maid as a riddle, what a person deserved who had behaved in such and such a way to her master, and at the same time related the whole story, and asked what sentence such an one merited? Then the false bride said, "She deserves no better fate than to be stripped entirely naked, and put in a barrel which is studded inside with pointed nails, and two white horses should be harnessed to it, which will drag her along through one street after another, till she is dead."
"It is you," said the aged king, "and you have pronounced your own sentence, and thus shall it be done to you."
And when the sentence had been carried out, the young king married his true bride, and both of them reigned over their kingdom in peace and happiness.
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