Hen - "You promise me shoes year after year, year after year, and yet I get no shoes!"
Cock - "You shall have them, never fear! Henny Penny!"
Hen - "I lay egg after egg, egg after egg, and yet I go about barefoot!"
Cock - "Well, take your eggs and be off to the tryst, and buy yourself shoes and don't go barefoot any longer!"
When telling the tale, try to imitate the notes of a cock and a hen.
Once there was a widower who had a son and a daughter by his first marriage. Both were good children, and loved each other dearly. Some time after the man married a widow, who had a daughter by her first husband. and she was both ugly and bad, like her mother. So from the day the new wife came into the house there was no peace for her stepchildren in any corner; and at last the boy thought he'd best go out into the world and try to earn his own bread. And when he had wandered a while he came to a king's palace, and got a place under the coachman, and quick and willing he was, and the horses he looked after were so sleek and clean that their coats shone again.
But the sister who stayed at home was treated worse than bad; both her stepmother and stepsister were always at her, and wherever she went, and whatever she did, they scolded and snarled so, the poor lassie hadn't an hour's peace. All the hard work she was forced to do, and early and late she got nothing but bad words, and little food besides.
So one day they had sent her to the burn to fetch water; and what do you think? up popped an ugly, ugly head out of the pool, and said,
"Wash me, you lassie."
"Yes, I'll wash you," said the lassie.
So she began to wash and scrub the ugly head; but truth to say she thought it nasty work.
Well, as soon as she had done washing it, up popped another head out of the pool, and this was uglier still.
"Brush me, you lassie," said the head.
"Yes, I'll brush you."
And with that she took in hand the matted locks, and you may fancy she hadn't very pleasant work with them.
But when she had got over that, if a third head didn't pop up out of the pool, and this was far more ugly and loathsome than both the others put together.
"Kiss me, you lassie!"
"Yes, I'll kiss you," said the lassie, and she did it too, though she thought it the worst work she had ever had to do in her life.
Then the heads began to chatter together, and each asked what they should do for the lassie who was so kind and gentle.
"'That she be the prettiest lassie in the world, and as fair as the bright day," said the first head.
"That gold shall drop from her hair every time she brushes it," said the second head.
"That gold shall fall from her mouth every time she speaks," said the third head.
So when the lassie came home looking so lovely, and beaming as the bright day itself, her stepmother and her stepsister got more and more cross, and they got worse still when she began to talk, and they saw how golden guineas fell from her mouth. As for the stepmother, she got so mad with rage, she chased the lassie into the pigsty. That was the right place for all her gold stuff, but as for coming into the house she wouldn't hear of it.
Well, it wasn't long before the stepmother wished her own daughter to go to the burn to fetch water. So when she came to the water's edge with her buckets, up popped the first head.
"Wash me, you lassie," it said.
"The Deil wash you," said the stepdaughter.
So the second head popped up.
"Brush me, you lassie," it said.
"The Deil brush you," said the stepdaughter.
So down it went to the bottom, and the third head popped up.
"Kiss me, you lassie," said the head.
"The Deil kiss you, you pig's-snout," said the girl.
Then the heads chattered together again, and asked what they should do to the girl who was so spiteful and cross-grained; and they all agreed she should have a nose four ells long, and a snout three ells long, and a pine-bush right in the midst of her forehead, and every time she spoke ashes were to fall out of her mouth.
So when she got home with her buckets, she bawled but to her mother -
"Open the door."
"Open it yourself, my darling child," said the mother.
"I can't reach it because of my nose," said the daughter.
So when the mother came out and saw her, you may fancy what a way she was in, and how she screamed and groaned; but, for all that, there were the nose and the snout and the pine-bush, and they got no smaller for all her grief.
Now the brother, who had got the place in the king's stable, had taken a little sketch of his sister, which he carried away with him, and every morning and every evening he knelt down before the picture and prayed to The first bigwig for his sister, whom he loved so dearly. The other grooms had heard him praying, so they peeped through the key-hole of his room, and there they saw him on his knees before the picture. So they went about saying how the boy every morning and every evening knelt down and prayed to an idol which he had, and at last they went to the king himself and begged him only to peep through the key-hole, and then his Majesty would see the boy, and what things he did. At first the king wouldn't believe it, but at last they talked him over, and he crept on tiptoe to the door and peeped in. Yes, there was the boy on his knees before the picture, which hung on the wall, praying with clasped hands.
"Open the door!" called out the king; but the boy didn't hear him.
So the king called out in a louder voice, but the boy was so deep in his prayers he couldn't hear him this time either.
"Open the door, I say!" roared the king; "It's I who want to come in."
Well, up jumped the boy and ran to the door, and unlocked it, but in his hurry he forgot to hide the picture. So when the king came in and saw the picture, he stood there as if he were fettered, and couldn't stir from the spot, so lovely he thought the picture.
"So lovely a woman there isn't in all the wide world," said the king.
But the boy told him she was his sister whom he had drawn, and if she wasn't prettier than that, at least she wasn't uglier.
"Well, if she's so lovely," said the king, "I'll have her for my queen;" and then he ordered the boy to set off in haste. The boy paced as best he could, and started off from the king's palace.
When the brother came home to fetch his sister, the stepmother and stepsister said they must go too. So they all set out, and the good lassie had a casket in which she kept her gold, and a little dog, whose name was "Little Flo" - those two things were all her mother left her. And when they had gone a while, they came to a lake which they had to cross; so the brother sat down at the helm and the stepmother and the two girls sat in the bow in the front, and so they sailed a long, long way.
At last they caught sight of land.
"There," said the brother, "where you see the white strand yonder, there's where we're to land;" and as he said this he pointed across the water.
"What is it my brother says?" asked the good lassie.
"He says you must throw your casket overboard," said the stepmother.
"Well, when my brother says it, I must do it," said the lassie, and overboard went the casket.
When they had sailed a bit farther, the brother pointed again across the lake.
"There you see the castle we're going to."
"What is it my brother says?" asked the lassie.
"He says now you must throw your little dog overboard," said the stepmother.
Then the lassie wept and was sore grieved, for Little Flo was the dearest thing she had in the world, but at last she threw him overboard.
"When my brother says it, I must do it, but heaven knows how it hurts me to throw you over, Little Flo," she said.
So they sailed on a good bit still.
"There you see the king coming down to meet us," said the brother, and pointed towards the strand.
"What is it my brother says?" asked the lassie.
"Now he says you must make haste and throw yourself overboard," said the stepmother.
Well, the lassie wept and moaned; but when her brother told her to do that, she thought she ought to do it, and so she leapt down into the lake.
But when they came to the palace, and the king saw the horrible bride, with a nose four ells long, and a snout three ells long, and a pine-bush in the midst of her forehead, he was quite scared out of his wits; but the wedding was all ready, both in brewing and baking, and there sat all the wedding guests, waiting for the bride; and so the king couldn't help himself, but was forced to take her for better for worse. But angry he was, that any one can forgive him, and so he had the brother thrown into a pit full of snakes.
Well, the first Thursday evening after the wedding, about midnight, in came a lovely lady into the farm kitchen, and begged the kitchen-maid, who slept there, so prettily to lend her a brush. That she got, and then she brushed her hair, and as she brushed, down dropped gold. A little dog was at her heel, and to him she said,
"Run out, Little Flo, and see if it will soon be day."
This she said three times, and the third time she sent the dog it was just about the time the dawn begins to peep, Then she had to go, but as she went she sang,
"Out on you, ugly Bushy Bride,
"Now I come twice more, and then never again," she said.
So next morning the kitchen-maid told what she had seen and heard, and the king said he'd watch himself next Thursday night in the kitchen, and see if it were true, and as soon as it got dark, out he went into the kitchen to the kitchen-maid. But all he could do, and however much he rubbed his eyes and tried to keep himself awake, it was no good; for the Bushy Bride chanted and sang till his eyes closed, and so when the lovely lady came, there he slept and snored. This time, too, as before, she borrowed a brush, and brushed her hair till the gold dropped, and sent her dog out three times, and as soon as it was grey dawn, away she went singing the same words, and adding,
"Now I come once more, and then never again."
The third Thursday evening the king said he would watch again; and he set two men to hold him, one under each arm, who were to shake and jog him every time he wanted to fall asleep; and two men he set to watch his Bushy Bride. But when the night wore on, the Bushy Bride began to chant and sing, so that his eyes began to wink, and his head hung down on his shoulders. Then in came the lovely lady, and got the brush and brushed her hair, till the gold dropped from it; after that she sent Little Flo out again to see if it would soon be day, and this she did three times. The third time it began to get grey in the east; then she sang -
"Out you go, ugly Bushy Bride,
"Now I come back never more," she said, and went towards the door. But the two men who held the king under the arms clenched his hands together, and put a knife into his grasp; and so, somehow or other, they got him to cut her in her little finger, and drew blood. Then the true bride was freed, and the king woke up, and she told him now the whole story, and how her stepmother and sister had deceived her. So the king sent at once and took her brother out of the pit of snakes, and the adders hadn't done him the least harm, but the stepmother and her daughter were thrown into it in his stead.
And now no one can tell how glad the king was to be rid of that ugly Bushy Bride, and to get a queen who was so lovely and bright as the day itself. So the true wedding was held, and every one talked of it over seven kingdoms; and then the king drove to church in their coach, and little Flo went inside with them too, and when the best of wafers was given they drove back again, and after that I saw nothing more of them.
Cosmetic surgery had its counterpart.
ONCE on a time there was a man and his wife, who had an only son, and his name was Jack. The old dame thought it high time for her son to go out into the world to learn a trade, and bade her husband be off with him.
"But all you do," she said, "mind you bind him to some one who can teach him to be master above all masters;" and with that she put some food and a roll of hay into a bag, and packed them off.
Well, they went to many masters; but one and all said they could make the boy as good as themselves, but better they couldn't make him. So when the man came home again to his wife with that answer, she said,
"I don't care what you make of him; but this I say and stick to, you must bind him to some one where he can learn to be master above all masters;" and with that she packed up more food and another roll of hay, and father and son had to be off again.
Now when they had walked a while they got upon the ice, and there they met a man who came whisking along in a sledge, and drove a black horse.
"Where away?" said the man.
"Well," said the father, "I'm going to bind my son to somebody who is good to teach him a trade; but my old dame comes of such fine folk, she will have him taught to be master above all masters."
"Well met then," said the driver; "I'm just the man for your money, for I'm looking out for such an apprentice. Up with you behind!" he added to the boy, and whisk! off they went, both of them, and sledge and horse, right up into the air.
"Nay, nay!" cried the boy's father, "you haven't told me your name, nor where you live."
"Oh" said the master, "I'm at home alike north and south, east and west, and my name's Farmer Weathersky. In a year and a day you may come here again, and then I'll tell you if I like him." So away they went through the air, and were soon out of sight.
So when the man got home, his old dame asked what had become of her son.
"Well," said the man, "Poker knows, I'm sure I don't. They went up in the air together." So he told her. But when the old dame heard that her husband couldn't tell at all when her son's apprenticeship would be out, nor where he had gone, she packed him off again, and gave him another bag of food and another roll of hay.
So, when he had walked a bit, he came to a great wood, which stretched on and on all day as he walked through it. When it got dark he saw a great light, and he went towards it. After a long, long time he came to a little hut under a rock, and outside stood an old hag drawing water out of a well with her nose, so long was it.
"Good evening, mother!" said the man.
"The same to you," said the old hag. "It's hundreds of years since any one called me mother."
"Can I have lodging here to-night?" asked the man.
"No, that you can't," said she.
But then the man pulled out his roll of hay, lighted his pipe, and gave the old dame a whiff and a pinch of snuff. Then she was so happy she began to dance for joy, and the end was, she gave the man leave to stop the night.
So next morning he began to ask after Farmer Weathersky. "No, she never heard tell of him, but she ruled over all the four-footed beasts; perhaps some of them might know him." So she played them all home with a pipe she had, and asked them all, but there wasn't one of them who knew anything about Farmer Weathersky.
"Well," said the old hag, "there are three sisters of us; maybe one of the other two knows where he lives. I'll lend you my horse and sledge, and then you'll beat her house by night; but it's at least three hundred miles off, the nearest way."
Then the man started off, and at night reached the house, and when he came there, there stood another old hag before the door, drawing water out of the well with her nose.
"Good evening, mother!" said the man.
"The same to you," said she; "it's hundreds of years since any one called me mother."
"Can I lodge here to-night?" asked the man
"No," said the old hag.
But he took out his roll of hay, lighted his pipe, and gave the old dame a whiff, and a good pinch of snuff besides on the back of her hand. Then she was so happy that she began to jump and dance for joy, and so the man got leave to stay the night. When that was over, he began to ask after Farmer Weathersky. "No, she had never heard tell of him; but she ruled all the fish in the sea; perhaps some of them might know something about him." So she played them all home with a pipe she had, and asked them, but there wasn't one of them who knew anything about Farmer Weathersky.
"Well, well!" said the old hag, "there's one sister of us left; maybe she knows something about him. She lives six hundred miles off, but I'll lend you my horse and sledge, and then you'll get there by nightfall."
Then the man started off, and reached the house by nightfall, and there he found another old hag who stood before the grate, and stirred the fire with her nose, so long and tough it was.
"Good evening, mother!" said the man.
"The same to you," said the old hag; "it's hundreds of years since any one called me mother."
"Can I lodge here to-night?" asked the man.
"No," said the old hag.
Then the man pulled out his roll of hay again, and lighted his pipe, and gave the old hag such a pinch of snuff that it covered the whole back of her hand. Then she got so happy she began to dance for joy, and so the man got leave to stay.
But when the night was over, he began to ask after Farmer Weathersky. She never heard tell of him, she said; but she ruled over all the birds of the air, and so she played them all home with a pipe she had, and when she had mustered them all, the Eagle was missing. But a little while after he came flying home, and when she asked him, he said he had just come straight from Farmer Weathersky. Then the old hag said he must guide the man thither; but the Eagle said he must have something to eat first, and besides he must rest till the next day; he was so tired with flying that long way, he could hardly rise from the earth.
So when he had eaten his fill and taken a good rest, the old hag pulled a feather out of the Eagle's tail, and put the man there in its stead; so the Eagle flew off with the man, and flew, and flew, but they didn't reach Farmer Weathersky's house before midnight.
So when they got there, the Eagle said,
"There are heaps of dead bodies lying about outside, but you mustn't mind them. Inside the house every man Jack of them are so sound asleep that it will be hard work to wake them; but you must go straight to the table drawer, and take out of it three crumbs of bread, and when you hear some one snoring loud, pull three feathers out of his head; he won't wake for all that."
So the man did as he was told, and after he had taken the crumbs of bread, he pulled out the first feather.
"OOF!" growled Farmer Weathersky, for it was he who snored.
So the man pulled out another feather.
"OOF!" he growled again.
But when he pulled out the third, Farmer Weathersky roared so, the man thought roof and wall would have flown asunder, but for all that the snorer slept on.
After that the Eagle told him what he was to do. He went to the yard, and there at the stable-door he stumbled against a big grey stone, and that he lifted up; underneath it lay three chips of wood, and those he picked up too; then he knocked at the stable-door, and it opened of itself. Then he threw down the three crumbs of bread, and a hare came and ate them up; that hare he caught and kept. After that the Eagle bade him pull three feathers out of his tail, and put the hare, the stone, the chips, and himself there instead, and then he would fly away home with them all.
So when the Eagle had flown a long way, he lighted on a rock to rest.
"Do you see anything?" it asked.
"Yes," said the man; "I see a flock of crows coming flying after us."
"We'd better be off again, then," said the Eagle, who flew away. After a while it asked again,
"Do you see anything now?"
"Yes," said the man; "now the crows are close behind us.
"Drop now the three feathers you pulled out of his head," said the Eagle.
Well, the man dropped the feathers, and as soon as ever he dropped them they became a flock of ravens which drove the crows home again. Then the Eagle flew on far away with the man, and at last it lighted on another stone to rest.
"Do you see anything?" it said.
"I'm not sure," said the man; "I fancy I see something coming far away."
"We'd better get on then," said the Eagle, and after a while it said again -
"Do you see anything?"
"Yes," said the man; "now he's close at our heels."
"Now you must let fall the chips of wood which you took from under the grey stone at the stable door," said the Eagle.
Yes, the man let them fall, and they grew at once up into tall thick wood, so that Farmer Weathersky had to go back home to fetch an axe to hew his way through. While he did this, the Eagle flew ever so far, but when it got tired, it lighted on a fir to rest.
"Do you see anything?" it said.
"Well, I'm not sure," said the man; "but I fancy I catch a glimpse of something far away."
"We'd best be off then," said the Eagle; and off it flew as fast as it could. After a while it said,
Do you see anything now?"
"Yes; now he's close behind us," said the man.
"Now, you must drop the big stone you lifted up at the stable door," said the Eagle.
The man did so, and as it fell, it became a great high mountain, which Farmer Weathersky had to break his way through. When he had got half through the mountain, he tripped and broke one of his legs, and so he had to limp home again and patch it up.
But while he was doing this, the Eagle flew away to the man's house with him and the hare, and as soon as they got home, the man went into the church yard and sprinkled Christian mould over the hare, and lo! it turned into "Jack," his son.
Well, you may fancy the old dame was glad to get her son again, but still she wasn't easy in her mind about his trade, and she wouldn't rest till he gave her a proof that he was "master above all masters."
So when the fair came round, the boy changed himself into a bay horse, and told his father to lead him to the fair.
"Now, when any one comes to buy me," he said, "you may ask a hundred dollars for me; but mind you don't forget to take the head stall off me; if you do, Farmer Weathersky will keep me for ever, for he it is who will come to deal with you."
So it turned out. Up came a horse-dealer, who had a great wish to deal for the horse, and he gave a hundred dollars down for him; but when the bargain was struck, and Jack's father had pocketed the money, the horse-dealer wanted to have the head stall." Nay, nay!" said the man, "there's nothing about that in the bargain; and besides, you can't have the head stall, for I've other horses at home to bring to town tomorrow."
So each went his way, but they hadn't gone far before Jack took his own shape and ran away, and when his father got home, there sat Jack in the ingle.
Next day he turned himself into a brown horse, and told his father to drive him to the fair.
"And when any one comes to buy me, you can ask two hundred dollars for me - he'll give that and treat you besides: but whatever you do, and however much you drink, don't forget to take the head stall off me, else you'll never set eyes on me again."
So all happened as he had said; the man got two hundred dollars for the horse and a glass of drink besides, and when the buyer and seller parted, it was as much as he could do to remember to take off the head stall. But the buyer and the horse hadn't got far on the road before Jack took his own shape, and when the man got home, there sat Jack in the ingle.
The third day it was the same story over again; the boy turned himself into a black horse, and told his father some one would come and bid three hundred dollars for him, and fill his skin with meat and drink besides; but however much he ate or drank, he was to mind and not forget to take the head stall off, else he'd have to stay with Farmer Weathersky all his life long.
"Oh, no, I'll not forget, never fear," said the man.
So when he came to the fair, he got three hundred dollars for the horse, and as it wasn't to be a dry bargain, Farmer Weathersky made him drink so much that he quite forgot to take the head stall off, and away went Farmer Weathersky with the horse. Now when he had gone a little way, Farmer Weathersky thought he would just stop and have another glass of brandy; so he put a barrel of red-hot nails under his horse's nose, and a sieve of oats under his tail, hung the halter upon a hook, and went into the inn. So the horse stood there, and stamped and pawed, and snorted and reared. Just then out came a lassie, who thought it a shame to treat a horse so.
"Oh, poor beast," she said, "what a cruel master you must have to treat you so," and as she said this she pulled the halter off the hook, so that the horse might turn round and taste the oats.
"I'm after you," roared Farmer Weathersky, who came rushing out of the door.
But the horse had already shaken off the head stall, and jumped into a duck-pond, where he turned himself into a tiny fish. In went Farmer Weathersky after him, and turned himself into a great pike. Then Jack turned himself into a dove, and Farmer Weathersky made himself into a hawk, and chased and struck at the dove. But just then a princess stood at the window of the palace and saw this struggle.
"Ah! poor dove," she cried, "if you only knew what I know, you'd fly to me through this window."
So the dove came flying in through the window, and turned itself into Jack again, who told his own tale.
"Turn yourself into a gold ring, and put yourself on my finger," said the princess.
"Nay, nay!" said Jack, "that'll never do, for then Farmer Weathersky will make the king sick, and then there'll be no one who can make him well again till Farmer Weathersky comes and cures him, and then, for his fee, he'll ask for that gold ring."
"Then I'll say I had it from my mother, and can't part with it," said the princess.
Well, Jack turned himself into a gold ring, and put himself on the princess' finger, and so Farmer Weathersky couldn't get at him. But then followed what the boy had foretold; the king fell sick, and there wasn't a doctor in the kingdom who could cure him till Farmer Weathersky came, and he asked for the ring off the princess' finger for his fee. So the king sent a messenger to the princess for the ring; but the princess said she wouldn't part with it, her mother had left it her. When the king heard that, he flew into a rage and said he would have the ring, whoever left it to her.
"Well," said the princess, "it's no good being cross about it. I can't get it off, and if you must have the ring, you must take my finger too."
"If you'll let me try, I'll soon get the ring off," said Farmer Weathersky.
"No, thanks, I'll try myself," said the princess, and flew off to the grate and put ashes on her finger. Then the ring slipped off and was lost among the ashes. So Farmer Weathersky turned himself into a cock, who scratched and pecked after the ring in the grate, till he was up to the ears in ashes. But while he was doing this, Jack turned himself into a fox, and bit off the cock's head, and so if the evil one was in Farmer Weathersky, it is all over with him now.