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The Pancake

Once on a time there was a good housewife who had seven hungry children. One day she was busy frying pancakes for them, and this time she had used new milk in the making of them. One was lying in the pan, frizzling away – ah! so beautiful and thick – it was a pleasure to look at it. The children were standing round the fire, and the husband sat in the corner and looked on.

"Oh, give me a bit of pancake, mother, I am so hungry!" said one child.

"Ah, do! dear mother," said the second.

"Ah, do! dear, good mother," said the third.

"Ah, do! dear, good, kind mother," said the fourth.

"Ah, do! dear, good, kind, nice mother," said the fifth.

"Ah, do! dear, good, kind, nice, sweet mother," said the sixth.

"Ah, do! dear, good, kind, nice, sweet, darling mother," said the seventh. And thus they were all begging for pancakes, the one more prettily than the other, because they were so hungry, and such good little children.

"Yes, children dear, wait a bit until it turns itself," she answered – she ought to have said "until I turn it" – "and then you shall all have pancakes, beautiful pancakes, made of new milk – only look how thick and happy it lies there."

When the pancake heard this, it got frightened, and all of a sudden, it turned itself and wanted to get out of the pan, but it fell down in it again on the other side, and when it had been fried a little on pannekaka that side too, it felt a little stronger in the back, jumped out on the floor, and rolled away, like a wheel, right through the door and down the road.

"Hallo!" cried the good wife, and away she ran after it, with the frying pan in one hand and the ladle in the other, as fast as she could, and the children behind her, while the husband came limping after, last of all.

"Halloo, won't you stop? Catch it, stop it. Halloo there!" they all screamed, the one louder than the other, trying to catch it on the run, but the pancake rolled and rolled, and before long, it was so far ahead, that they could not see it, for the pancake was much smarter on its 'legs' than any of them.

When it had rolled a time, it met a man.

"Good-day, pancake!" said the man.

"Well met, Manny Panny," said the pancake.

"Dear pancake," said the man, "don't roll so fast, but wait a bit and let me eat you."

"When I have run away from Goody Poody and the husband and seven squalling children, I must run away from you too, Manny Panny," said the pancake, and rolled on and on, until it met a hen.

"Good day, pancake," said the hen.

"Good day, Henny Penny," said the pancake.

"My dear pancake, don't roll so fast, but wait a bit and let me eat you," said the hen.

"When I have run away from Goody Poody and the husband and seven squalling children, and from Manny Panny, I must run away from you too, Henny Penny," said the pancake, and rolled on like a wheel down the road. Then it met a cock.

"Good-day, pancake," said the cock.

"Good-day, Cocky Locky," said the pancake.

"My dear pancake, don't roll so fast, but wait a bit and let me eat you," said the cock.

"When I have run away from Goody Poody and the husband and seven squalling children, from Manny Panny, and Henny Penny, I must run away from you too, Cocky Locky," said the pancake, and rolled and rolled on as fast as it could. When it had rolled a long time, it met a duck.

"Good-day, pancake," said the duck.

"Good-day, Ducky Lucky," said the pancake.

"My dear pancake, don't roll so fast, but wait a bit and let me eat you," said the duck.

"When I have run away from Goody Poody and the husband and seven squalling children, from Manny Panny, and Henny Penny, and Cocky Locky, I must run away from you too, Ducky Lucky," said the pancake, and with that it fell to rolling and rolling as fast as ever it could. When it had rolled a long, long time, it met a goose.

"Good-day, pancake," said the goose.

"Good-day, Goosey Poosey," said the pancake.

"My dear pancake, don't roll so fast, but wait a bit and let me eat you," said the goose.

"When I have run away from Goody Poody and the husband and seven squalling children, from Manny Panny, and Henny Penny, and Cocky Locky, and Ducky Lucky, I must run away from you too, Goosey Poosey," said the pancake, and away it rolled. So when it had rolled a long, very long time, it met a gander.

"Good-day, pancake," said the gander.

"Good-day, Gander Pander," said the pancake.

"My dear pancake, don't roll so fast, but wait a bit and let me eat you," said the gander.

"When I have run away from Goody Poody and the husband and seven squalling children, from Manny Panny, and Henny Penny, and Cocky Locky, and Ducky Lucky, and Goosey Poosey, I must run away from you too, Gander Pander," said the pancake, and rolled and rolled as fast as it could. When it had rolled on a long, long time, it met a pig.

"Good-day, pancake," said the pig.

"Good-day, Piggy Wiggy," said the pancake, and began to roll on faster than ever.

Nay, wait a bit," said the pig, "you needn't be in such a hurry-scurry; we two can walk quietly together and keep each other company through the wood, because they say it isn't very safe there."

Norwegian folktales. Drawing by OTTO SINDING
"Ouf, ouf," grunted the pig.

The pancake thought there might be something in that, and so they walked together through the wood; but when they had gone some distance, they came to a brook.

The pig was so fat it wasn't much trouble for him to swim across, but the pancake couldn't get over.

"Sit on my snout," said the pig, "and I will ferry you over."

The pancake did so.

"Ouf, ouf," grunted the pig, and swallowed the pancake in one gulp, and as the pancake couldn't get any farther – well, you see we can't go on with this story any farther, either.

To top Notes  

One's Own Children Are Always Prettiest

A sportsman went out once into a wood to shoot, and met a snipe.
      "Dear friend," said the snipe, "don't shoot my children?"

"How shall I know your children?" asked the sportsman; "what are they like?"

"Oh!" said the snipe, "mine are the prettiest children in all the wood."

"Very well," said the sportsman, "I won't shoot them; don't be afraid."

But for all that, when he came back, there he had a whole string of young snipes in his hand which he had shot.

"Oh! oh!" said the snipe, "why did you shoot my children after all?"

"What, these your children!" said the sportsman; "why, I shot the ugliest I could find!"

"Poor them!" said the snipe; "don't you know that each one thinks his own children are the prettiest in the world?" (1)

Snipe
Snipe, Calidris alpina

To top Notes  

Bear and Fox

Head of a fox for a Norwegian folktale
What was the young's name?
The big bear and the clever fox had once bought a firkin of butter together; they were to have it at Christmas-tide, and hid it till then under a thick spruce bush.
      After that they went a little way off and lay down on a sunny bank to sleep. So when they had lain a while the fox got up, shook himself, and bawled out "yes."

Then he ran off straight to the firkin and ate a good third part of it. But when he came back, and the bear asked him where he had been since he was so fat about the paunch, he said,

"Don't you believe then that I was bidden to a childbed feast."

"So, so," said the bear. "What was the young's name?"

"Just-begun," said the fox.

So they lay down to sleep again. In a little while up jumped the fox again, bawled out "yes," and ran off to the firkin.

This time, too, he ate a good lump. When he came back, and the bear asked him again where he had been, he said, "Oh wasn't I bidden to a naming childbed party again, don't you think."

"And pray what was the young's name this time?" asked the bear.

"Half-eaten," said the fox.

The bear thought that a very queer name, but he hadn't wondered long over it before he began to yawn and gape, and fell asleep. Well, he hadn't lain long before the fox jumped up as he had done twice before, bawled out "yes," and ran off to the firkin, which this time he cleared right out. When he got back he had been bidden to childbed feast again, and when the bear wanted to know the young's name he answered, "Licked-to-the-bottom."

After that they lay down again, and slept a long time; but then they were to go to the firkin to look at the butter, and when they found it eaten up, the bear threw the blame on the fox, and the fox on the bear; and each said the one had been at the firkin while the other slept.

"Well, well," said Reynard, "we'll soon find this out, which of us has eaten the butter. We'll just lay down in the sunshine, and he whose cheeks and chaps are greasiest when we wake, he is the thief."

Yes, that trial the big bear felt ready to stand; and as he knew in his heart he had never so much as tasted the butter.

Then Reynard stole off to the firkin for a morsel of butter, which stuck there in a crack. Then he crept back to the bear who now lay without a care, sleeping in the sun, and greased his chaps and cheeks with it. Then he, too, lay down to sleep as if nothing had happened.

So when they both woke, the sun had melted the butter, and the bear's whiskers were all greasy; so it was the bear after all, and no one else, who had eaten the butter.

Notes

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