The Project Gutenberg EBook of Children's Literature, by 
Charles Madison Curry and Erle Elsworth Clippinger

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Title: Children's Literature
       A Textbook of Sources for Teachers and Teacher-Training Classes

Author: Charles Madison Curry
        Erle Elsworth Clippinger

Release Date: May 20, 2008 [EBook #25545]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


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Special Note: This e-text utilizes external linking to other Gutenberg projects. These links may be found within each Bibliography. If Gutenberg has the book, then clicking on the title will take the reader to the page for that book. At times, collections of books were mentioned and, for these instances, the link will take the reader to the list of the author instead of an individual project page. There are additional editions of many of the titles.


When all the novelists and spinners of elaborate fictions have been read and judged, we shall find that the peasant and the nurse are still unsurpassed as mere narrators. They are the guardians of that treasury of legend which comes to us from the very childhood of nations; they and their tales are the abstract and brief chronicles, not of an age merely, but of the whole race of man. It is theirs to keep alive the great art of telling stories as a thing wholly apart from and independent of the art of writing stories, and to pass on their art to children and to children's children. They abide in a realm of their own, in blessed isolation from that world of professional authors and their milk-and-water books "for children."

C. B. Tinker, "In Praise of Nursery Lore," The Unpopular
, October-December, 1916.









Professors of Literature in the Indiana State Normal School


CHICAGO               NEW YORK


Copyright, 1920, by
Rand McNally & Company

Copyright, 1921, by
Rand McNally & Company
All rights reserved

Printer's Emblem
Made in U. S. A.



General Bibliography2
The Preface5
General Introduction7
1.Literature for Children7
2.Literature in the Grades8
3.Story-Telling and Dramatization10
4.Courses of Study13

Mother Goose (Shorter rhymes):
1.A cat came fiddling out of a barn23
2.A diller, a dollar23
3.As I was going to St. Ives23
4.As I was going up Pippen Hill23
5.As I went to Bonner23
6.As Tommy Snooks and Bessie Brooks23
7.A swarm of bees in May23
8.Baa, baa, black sheep23
9.Barber, barber, shave a pig23
10.Birds of a feather flock together23
11.Bless you, bless you, burnie bee23
12.Bobby Shafto's gone to sea24
13.Bow, wow, wow24
14.Bye, baby bunting24
15.Come when you're called24
16.Cross patch24
17.Curly locks, curly locks24
18.Dance, little baby24
19.Diddle, diddle, dumpling24
20.Ding, dong, bell24
21.Doctor Foster24
22.Eggs, butter, cheese, bread24
23.For every evil under the sun24
24.Four-and-twenty tailors25
25.Great A, little a25
26.Hark, hark25
27.Here sits the Lord Mayor25
28.Here we go up, up, up25
29.Hey! diddle, diddle25
30.Hickery, dickery, 6 and 725
31.Higgledy, Piggledy25
32.Hickory, dickory, dock25
33.Hogs in the garden25
34.Hot-cross buns26
35.Hub a dub dub26
36.Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall26
37.If all the sea were one sea26
38.If all the world was apple-pie26
39.If I'd as much money as I could spend26
40.If "ifs" and "ands"26
41.If wishes were horses26
42.I had a little pony26
43.I had a little hobby horse26
44.I have a little sister27
45.I'll tell you a story27
46.In marble walls as white as milk27
47.I went up one pair of stairs27
48.Jack and Jill went up the hill27
49.Jack be nimble27
50.Jack Sprat could eat no fat27
51.Knock at the door27
52.Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home27
53.Little boy blue, come blow your horn27
54.Little girl, little girl, where have you been27
55.Little Jack Horner28
56.Little Jack Jingle28
57.Little Johnny Pringle28
58.Little Miss Muffet28
59.Little Nancy Etticoat28
60.Little Robin Redbreast28
61.Little Tommy Tucker28
62.Long legs, crooked thighs28
63.Lucy Locket lost her pocket28
64.Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John28
65.Mistress Mary, quite contrary28
66.Multiplication is vexation28
67.Needles and pins29
68.Old King Cole29
[vi]69.Once I saw a little bird29
70.One for the money29
71.One misty, moisty morning29
72.1, 2, 3, 4, 529
73.One, two29
74.Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man29
75.Pease-porridge hot29
76.Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater30
77.Peter Piper picked a peck30
78.Poor old Robinson Crusoe30
79.Pussy-cat, pussy-cat, where have you been30
80.Pussy sits beside the fire30
81.Ride a cock-horse to Banbury-cross30
82.Ride, baby, ride30
83.Rock-a-bye, baby30
84.Rock-a-bye, baby, thy cradle is green30
85.See a pin and pick it up30
86.See, saw, sacradown31
87.Shoe the little horse31
88.Sing a song of sixpence31
89.Star light, star bright31
90.The King of France went up the hill31
91.The lion and the unicorn31
92.The man in the moon31
93.The north wind doth blow31
94.The Queen of Hearts she made some tarts31
95.There was a crooked man31
96.There was a little boy went into a barn32
97.There was a man and he had naught32
98.There was a man in our town32
99.There was an old man32
100.There was an old woman, and what do you think32
101.There was an old woman lived under a hill32
102.There was an old woman of Leeds32
103.There was an old woman of Norwich32
104.There was an old woman tossed up in a basket32
105.There was an old woman who lived in a shoe33
106.There was an owl lived in an oak33
107.This is the way the ladies ride33
108.This little pig went to market33
109.Three blind mice33
110.Three wise men of Gotham33
111.To market, to market, to buy a fat pig33
112.Tom, Tom, the piper's son33
113.Two-legs sat upon three-legs33
114.When a twister a-twisting34
115."Willy boy, Willy boy, where are you going?"34
Wilhelmina Seegmiller
116.Milkweed Seeds34
117.An Anniversary34
118.Twink! twink!34
Mother Goose (Longer rhymes)
119.A Was an Apple-Pie34
120.Tom Thumb's Alphabet35
121.Where Are You Going35
122.Molly and I35
123.London Bridge36
124.I Saw a Ship36
125.There Was an Old Woman36
126.Little Bo-Peep37
127.Cock a Doodle Doo37
128.Three Jovial Huntsmen37
129.There Was a Little Man37
131.Simple Simon38
132.A Farmer Went Trotting38
133.Tom the Piper's Son38
134.When I Was a Little Boy39
135.The Babes in the Wood39
136.The Fox and His Wife40
137.For Want of a Nail40
138.A Man of Words40
140.Mother Hubbard and Her Dog41
141.The Courtship, Merry Marriage, and Picnic Dinner of Cock Robin and Jenny Wren42
142.The Burial of Poor Cock Robin44
143.Dame Wiggins of Lee, and Her Seven Wonderful Cats45
144.This Is the House That Jack Built47
145.The Egg in the Nest49
146.Change About49

[vii]147.The Old Woman and Her Pig56
150.The Cat and the Mouse60
151.The Story of the Three Little Pigs61
152.Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse63
153.The Story of the Three Bears64
154.The Three Sillies67
155.Lazy Jack69
156.The Story of Mr. Vinegar71
157.Jack and the Beanstalk73
158.Tom Thumb79
159.Whittington and His Cat84
160.Tom Tit Tot89
161.Little Red Riding Hood92
162.True History of Little Golden Hood94
163.Puss in Boots97
164.Toads and Diamonds100
165.Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper102
167.Beauty and the Beast110
168.Why the Bear Is Stumpy-Tailed122
169.The Three Billy-Goats Gruff123
170.The Husband Who Was to Mind the House124
171.Boots and His Brothers125
172.The Quern at the Bottom of the Sea128
173.The Traveling Musicians131
174.The Blue Light134
175.The Elves and the Shoemaker136
176.The Fisherman and His Wife138
179.Snow-White and Rose-Red146
180.The Lambikin150
181.Tit for Tat151
182.The Tiger, the Brahman, and the Jackal152
183.Pride Goeth before a Fall154
184.The Mirror of Matsuyama156
185.The Tongue-Cut Sparrow158
186.The Straw Ox160
187.Connla and the Fairy Maiden162
188.The Horned Women164
189.King O'Toole and His Goose165

Abram S. Isaacs
190.A Four-Leaved Clover174
I.The Rabbi and the Diadem174
III.True Charity175
IV.An Eastern Garden176
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
191.The Lord Helpeth Man and Beast177
Hans Christian Andersen
192.The Real Princess179
193.The Emperor's New Clothes180
194.The Nightingale183
195.The Fir Tree190
196.The Tinder Box195
197.The Hardy Tin Soldier200
198.The Ugly Duckling203
Frances Browne
199.The Story of Fairyfoot209
Oscar Wilde
200.The Happy Prince217
Raymond MacDonald Alden
201.The Knights of the Silver Shield223
Jean Ingelow
202.The Prince's Dream227
Frank R. Stockton
203.Old Pipes and the Dryad233
John Ruskin
204.The King of the Golden River245

[viii]205.The Shepherd's Boy266
206.The Lion and the Mouse266
207.The Crow and the Pitcher266
208.The Frog and the Ox267
209.The Frogs Desiring a King267
210.The Field Mouse and the Town Mouse268
Christina G. Rossetti
211.The City Mouse and the Garden Mouse268
212.The Country Mouse and the Town Mouse268
Thomas Day
214.Androcles and the Lion270
215.The Wind and the Sun272
216.The Goose with the Golden Eggs272
La Fontaine
217.The Hen with the Golden Eggs272
218.The Wolf in Sheep's Clothing273
219.The Hare and the Tortoise273
220.The Miller, His Son, and Their Ass274
221.The Travelers and the Bear274
222.The Lark and Her Young Ones275
223.The Old Man and His Sons275
224.The Fox and the Grapes276
225.The Widow and the Hen276
226.The Kid and the Wolf276
227.The Man and the Satyr276
228.The Dog and the Shadow276
229.The Swallow and the Raven276
230.Mercury and the Woodman276
231.The Mice in Council277
232.The Mountebank and Countryman277
233.The Milkmaid and Her Pail278
La Fontaine
234.The Dairywoman and the Pot of Milk278
From "The Arabian Nights"
235.The Story of Alnaschar279
Bidpai (Indian Fables)
236.The Camel and the Pig280
237.The Ass in the Lion's Skin281
238.The Talkative Tortoise282
239.A Lion Tricked by a Rabbit283
Marie de France
240.The Cock and the Fox284
La Fontaine
241.The Grasshopper and the Ant284
242.The Cock, the Cat, and the Young Mouse285
John Gay
243.The Hare with Many Friends286
Tomas Yriarte
244.The Musical Ass287
Ivan Krylov
245.The Swan, the Pike, and the Crab287
From the Bible
246.The Bramble Is Made King288
247.The Good Samaritan289
248.The Prodigal Son289
Henry Ward Beecher
249.The Anxious Leaf290
Benjamin Franklin
250.The Whistle291
251.The Ephemera292
Joseph Addison
252.The Vision of Mirzah294
Jane Taylor
253.The Discontented Pendulum297
Leo Tolstoi
254.Croesus and Solon299

Greek and Roman:
Grace H. Kupfer
255.A Story of the Springtime306
Nathaniel Hawthorne
256.The Paradise of Children309
257.The Miraculous Pitcher319
R. E. Francillon
258.The Narcissus330
259.The Apple of Discord332
Josephine P. Peabody
260.Icarus and Daedalus335
261.Admetus and the Shepherd337
Thomas Bulfinch
Charles Mills Gayley
Thomas Bulfinch
264.Thor's Visit to Jötunheim343
Hamilton Wright Mabie
265.Odin's Search for Wisdom348
Ethel M. Wilmot-Buxton
266.How the Fenris Wolf was Chained351
Anna and Eliza Keary
Hamilton Wright Mabie
268.The Death of Balder360

Eliza Lee Follen
269.The Three Little Kittens371
270.The Moon371
271.Runaway Brook372
272.Ding Dong! Ding Dong!372
Elizabeth Prentiss
273.The Little Kitty372
Sara J. Hale
274.Mary Had a Little Lamb372
Theodore Tilton
275.Baby Bye373
Lucy Larcom
276.The Brown Thrush374
Lydia Maria Child
277.Thanksgiving Day375
278.Who Stole the Bird's Nest375
"Susan Coolidge"
279.How the Leaves Came Down377
Phoebe Cary
280.They Didn't Think377
281.The Leak in the Dike378
Robert Louis Stevenson
282.Whole Duty of Children381
283.The Cow381
284.Time to Rise381
286.A Good Play382
287.The Lamplighter382
288.The Land of Nod382
289.The Land of Story-Books382
290.My Bed Is a Boat383
291.My Shadow383
292.The Swing383
293.Where Go the Boats384
294.The Wind384
295.Windy Nights384
Frank Dempster Sherman
296.Spinning Top384
297.Flying Kite385
298.King Bell385
Eugene Field
300.Wynken, Blynken, and Nod385
301.The Sugar-Plum Tree386
302.The Duel387
James Whitcomb Riley
303.The Treasures of the Wise Man387
304.The Circus-Day Parade388
305.The Raggedy Man389
James Hogg
306.A Boy's Song389
Mary Howitt
307.The Spider and the Fly390
William Howitt
308.The Wind in a Frolic391
Ann Taylor
309.The Cow392
310.Meddlesome Matty392
Jane Taylor
311."I Like Little Pussy"393
312.The Star394
Christina G. Rossetti
313.Seldom or Never394
314.An Emerald Is as Green as Grass394
315.Boats Sail on the Rivers394
316.A Diamond or a Coal?395
317.The Swallow395
318.Who Has Seen the Wind?395
319.Milking Time395
William Brighty Rands
320.The Peddler's Caravan395
321.The Wonderful World396
Richard Monckton Milnes
322.Good-Night and Good-Morning396
William Roscoe
323.The Butterfly's Ball397
Author Unknown
324.Can You?398
Robert Browning
325.Pippa's Song399
Charles Mackay
[x]326.Little and Great399
Felicia Dorothea Hemans
William Blake
328.Three Things to Remember400
329.The Lamb401
330.The Shepherd401
331.The Tiger401
332.The Piper401
Eliza Cook
333.Try Again402
Edward Lear
334.The Owl and the Pussy-Cat403
335.The Table and the Chair404
336.The Pobble Who Has No Toes404
"Lewis Carroll"
337.The Walrus and the Carpenter405
338.A Strange Wild Song406
Isaac Watts
339.Against Idleness and Mischief407
340.Famous Passages from Dr. Watts408
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
341.The Skeleton in Armor408
342.The Day Is Done410
343.A Psalm of Life411
Charles Kingsley
344.The Three Fishers412
345.The Sands of Dee412
Alfred Tennyson
346."What Does Little Birdie Say?"413
347.Sweet and Low413
348.The Poet's Song413
349.Crossing the Bar414
Leigh Hunt
350.Abou Ben Adhem414
Joaquin Miller
351.For Those Who Fail415
Edgar Allan Poe
George Gordon, Lord Byron
353.The Destruction of Sennacherib416
William Cullen Bryant
354.To a Waterfowl416
355.The Planting of the Apple-Tree417
Thomas Edward Brown
356.My Garden418
William Wordsworth
358.The Solitary Reaper419
Caroline Elizabeth Norton
359.The Arab to His Favorite Steed420
Robert Southey
360.The Inchcape Rock421
William Shakespeare
361.Over Hill, Over Dale423
362.A Fairy Scene in a Wood423
Ralph Waldo Emerson
364.Concord Hymn424
Sir Walter Scott
365.Breathes There the Man424
Oliver Wendell Holmes
366.Old Ironsides425
William Collins
367.How Sleep the Brave425
Author Unknown
368.The Ballad of Nathan Hale425
Sir Francis Hastings Doyle
369.The Red Thread of Honor427
Rudyard Kipling
William Ernest Henley
James Russell Lowell
372.The Falcon429
373.The Shepherd of King Admetus430
Sir William Schenck Gilbert
374.The Yarn of the Nancy Bell430
John Townsend Trowbridge
375.Darius Green and His Flying Machine432
William Robert Spencer
376.Beth Gêlert436
Author Unknown
377.King John and the Abbot of Canterbury437

Oliver Goldsmith
378.The Renowned History of Little Goody Two-Shoes445
Dr. John Aikin and Mrs. Letitia Barbauld
379.Eyes, and No Eyes451
Thomas Day
[xi]380.The Good-Natured Little Boy456
Maria Edgeworth
381.Waste Not, Want Not458
Juliana Horatia Ewing
Henry Seidel Canby
383.Betty's Ride496
Charles Major
384.The Big Bear500
"O. Henry"
385.The Gift of the Magi505

Beatrix Potter
386.The Tale of Peter Rabbit513
Thornton Waldo Burgess
387.Johnny Chuck Finds the Best Thing in the World514
Albert Bigelow Paine
388.Mr. 'Possum's Sick Spell516
Dallas Lore Sharp
389.Wild Life in the Farm-Yard520
Vernon L. Kellogg
390.The Vendetta524
Sewell Ford
391.Pasha, the Son of Selim527
"Ouida" (Louisa de la Ramée)
Olive Thorne Miller
393.Bird Habits: I. Where He Sleeps II. His Travels548
Ernest Thompson Seton
394.The Poacher and the Silver Fox551
David Starr Jordan
395.The Story of a Salmon556
Rudyard Kipling
396.Moti Guj—Mutineer562
Charles G. D. Roberts
397.Last Bull566

From Arabian Nights
398.Ali Baba, and the Forty Thieves579
"Felix Summerley"
Reynard the Fox
399.How Bruin the Bear Sped with Reynard the Fox586
400.The Battle Between the Fox and the Wolf591
Sir Thomas Malory
King Arthur and His Round Table
401.How Arthur Became King594
402.A Tourney with the French597
403.Adventures of Arthur598
Maude Radford Warren
404.Arthur and Sir Accalon603
Cervantes-Saavedra, Miguel de
405-411.Stories from Don Quixote
I.Dreams and Shadows606
II.Preparing for the Quest608
III.The Quest Begins610
IV.The Knightly Vigil613
V.On Honor's Field615
VI.The Return Home617
VII.The Battle with the Windmills618
Horace E. Scudder
412.The Proud King620
Eva March Tappan
413.Robin and the Merry Little Old Woman623
Author Unknown

Elbridge S. Brooks
415.How Columbus Got His Ships635
Horace E. Scudder
416.The Boyhood of Washington642
Benjamin Franklin
417.The Autobiography645
Helen Nicolay
418.Lincoln's Early Days655
Anna Howard Shaw
419.In the Western Wilderness662
Charlotte M. Yonge
420.The Pass of Thermopylae671

Home Reading Lists by Grades679
General Index687







Tappan, Eva March, The Children's Hour. 10 vols.
Neilson, William Patten, and others, The Junior Classics. 10 vols.
Sylvester, Charles H., Journeys through Bookland. 10 vols.
Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, and others, The Young Folks' Library. 30 vols.
Mabie, Hamilton Wright, After School Library. 12 vols.
Scudder, Horace E., The Children's Book. [Best single-volume collection for early grades.]
Barnes, Walter, Types of Children's Literature.


Darton, F. J. Harvey, "Children's Books," in Cambridge History of English Literature, Vol. XI, chap. xvi. [Best brief account of development in England. Elaborate bibliography.]
Tassin, Algernon, "Books for Children," in Cambridge History of American Literature, Vol. II, chap. vii. [Best account of American development. Extended bibliography.]
Field, Mrs. E. M., The Child and His Book. The history and progress of children's literature in England. [Stops with 1826.]
Moses, Montrose J., Children's Books and Reading. [Deals with both English and American side. Book-lists and bibliographies.]
Ashton, John, Chapbooks of the Eighteenth Century.
Halsey, Rosalie V., Forgotten Books of the American Nursery.
Welsh, Charles, A Bookseller of the Last Century. [John Newbery.]
"Godfrey, Elizabeth," English Children in the Olden Time.
Earle, Florence Morse, Child Life in Colonial Days.



Barnes, Walter, English in the Country School.
Carpenter, G. R., Baker, F. T., and Scott, F. N., The Teaching of English. [Pp. 155-187, "Literature in the Elementary Schools," by Professor Baker.]
Chubb, Percival, The Teaching of English.
Cox, John Harrington, Literature in the Common School.
Barron, Julia S., Bacon, Corinne, and Dana, J. C., Course of Study for Normal School Pupils on Literature for Children. [A syllabus.]
Hosic, James Fleming, The Elementary Course in English.
MacClintock, Porter Lander, Literature in the Elementary School.
McMurry, Charles A., Special Method in Reading in the Grades.
Welch, John S., Literature in the School: Aims, Methods, and Interpretations.


Bates, Arlo, Talks on the Teaching of Literature.
Bennett, Arnold, Literary Taste and How to Form It.
Colby, J. Rose, Literature and Life in School.
Kerfoot, J. B., How to Read.
Lee, Gerald Stanley, The Child and the Book.
Quiller-Couch, Sir Arthur, On the Art of Reading. [Children's Literature.]
Scudder, Horace E., Literature in the Schools.
Smith, C. Alphonso, What Can Literature Do for Me?
Woodberry, George E., The Appreciation of Literature. The Heart of Man.[3]


Arnold, Gertrude W., A Mother's List of Books for Children.
Field, Walter Taylor, Fingerposts to Children's Reading.
Hunt, Clara W., What Shall We Read to the Children?
Lowe, Orton, Literature for Children.
Macy, John, A Child's Guide to Reading.
Moore, Annie Carroll, Roads to Childhood.
Olcott, Frances Jenkins, The Children's Reading.
One Thousand Good Books for Children. [Classified and graded list prepared by National Congress of Mothers' Literature Committee, Alice M. Jordan, Chairman. Issued by U. S. Bureau of Education, Washington, D. C., as Home Education Circular No. 1.]
Stevens, David Harrison, The Home Guide to Good Reading.


Allison, S. B., and Perdue, H. A., The Story in Primary Education.
Bailey, Carolyn Sherman, For the Story-Teller.
Bryant, Sarah Cone, How to Tell Stories to Children. Stories to Tell to Children. [Introduction.]
Cather, Katherine D., Educating by Story-Telling.
Cowles, Julia D., The Art of Story-Telling.
Cross, Allen, and Statler, Nellie M., Story-Telling for Upper Grades.
Forbush, William B., Manual of Stories.
Horne, H. H., Story-Telling, Questioning, and Studying.
Keyes, Angela M., Stories and Story-Telling.
Kready, Laura F., A Study of Fairy Tales. [Chap. iii, "The Telling of Fairy Tales."]
Lindsay, Maud, The Story-Teller for Little Children.
Lyman, Edna, Story Telling: What to Tell and How to Tell It.
McMurry, Charles A., Special Method in Reading in the Grades.
Moore, Annie C., Article "Story-Telling," Cyclopedia of Education. [Ed. Monroe.]
Partridge, Emelyn N., and George E., Story-Telling in the School and Home.
Shedlock, Marie L., The Art of the Story-Teller.
St. John, Edward Porter, Stories and Story-Telling in Moral and Religious Education.
Wiltse, Sara E., The Place of the Story in Early Education.
Wyche, Richard Thomas, Some Great Stories and How to Tell Them.


Briggs, T. H., and Coffman, L. D., Reading in Public Schools. [Chap. x, "Dramatic Reading," and chap. xxiii, "Dramatics."]
Curtis, Elnora W., The Dramatic Instinct in Education.
Finlay-Johnson, Harriet, The Dramatic Method of Teaching.
Gesell, Arnold L., and Beatrice C., The Normal Child and Primary Education. [Chapter on "Dramatic Expression."]
Herts, Alice M., The Children's Educational Theatre.
Nixon, Lillian E., Fairy Tales a Child Can Read and Act.


Moulton, Richard Green, A Short Introduction to the Literature of the Bible.
The simplest and best discussion for teachers of the Bible as literature. The books that follow are good sources for story material from the Bible.
Baldwin, James, Old Stories from the East.[4]
Hodges, George, The Garden of Eden. The Castle of Zion. When the King Came.
Houghton, Louise Seymour, Telling Bible Stories.
Moulton, Richard Green, Bible Stories: Old Testament. Bible Stories: New Testament. [Two volumes of The Modern Reader's Bible for Children. The only variations from the text are by omissions.]
Olcott, Frances Jenkins, Bible Stories to Read and Tell.
Smith, Nora Archibald, Old, Old Tales from the Old, Old Book.
Stewart, Mary, "Tell Me a True Story."


Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, The Story of a Bad Boy.
Du Bois, Patterson, Beckonings from Little Hands.
Gilson, Roy Rolfe, In the Morning Glow.
Grahame, Kenneth, Dream Days. The Golden Age.
Howells, William Dean, A Boy's Town.
Kelly, Myra, Little Citizens.
Larcom, Lucy, A New England Girlhood.
Loti, Pierre, The Story of a Child.
Martin, George Madden, Emmy Lou, Her Book and Heart.
Masters, Edgar Lee, Mitch Miller.
Pater, Walter, The Child in the House.
Shute, Henry A., The Real Diary of a Real Boy.
Smith, William Hawley, The Evolution of Dodd.
Stuart, Ruth McEnery, Sonny.
Walpole, Hugh, Jeremy.
Warner, Charles Dudley, On Being a Boy.
White, William Allen, The Court of Boyville.


Addams, Jane, Youth and Our City Streets.
Adler, Felix, The Moral Instruction of Children.
Antin, Mary, The Promised Land.
Cabot, Ella Lyman, The Seven Ages of Childhood.
Dawson, George E., The Child and His Religion.
Engleman, J. O., Moral Education.
Griggs, Edward Howard, Moral Education.
Hall, G. Stanley, Youth.
Henderson, C. Hanford, Education and the Larger Life.
Hoyt, Franklin Chase, Quicksands of Youth.
Oppenheim, Nathan, The Development of the Child.
Puffer, J. Adams, The Boy and His Gang.





This book is primarily a handbook for teachers in the grades and for students preparing to teach in the grades. Although it does not ignore problems of grading and presentation, the chief purpose is to acquaint teachers and prospective teachers with standard literature of the various kinds suitable for use in the classroom and to give them information regarding books and authors to aid them in directing the selection of books by and for children.

In discussing the early training of children in literature with large classes of young people preparing for teaching in the grades, the compilers found themselves face to face with two difficulties. In the first place, only a limited number of these prospective teachers were in any real sense acquainted with what may be called the basic traditional material. Rhymes, fables, myths, stories were so vaguely and indistinctly held in mind that they were practically of no great value. It was therefore not possible to assume much real acquaintance with the material needed for use with children, and the securing of such an acquaintance seemed the first essential. After all is said, a discussion of ways and means must follow such a mastery of basic material.

In the second place, there was the difficulty of finding in any compact form a body of material sufficient in extent and wide enough in its range to serve as a satisfactory basis for such a course. No doubt the ideal way would be to send the student to the many authoritative volumes covering the various fields dealt with in this collection. But with large classes and a limited amount of time such a plan was hardly practicable. The young teacher cannot be much of a specialist in any of the various fields of knowledge with the elements of which he is expected to acquaint children. The principles of economy demand that the brief courses which specifically prepare for teaching should be such as will make the work in the schoolroom most helpful and least wasteful from the very beginning. Hence this attempt to collect in one volume what may somewhat roughly be spoken of as material for a minimum basic course in Children's Literature.

The important thing about this book, then, is the actual literary material included in it. The notes and suggestions scattered throughout are aimed to direct attention to this material either in the way of pointing out the sources of it, or helping in the understanding and appreciation of it, or suggesting some ways of presenting it most effectively to children.

In the case of folk material, an effort has been made to present reliable versions of the stories used. Many of the folk stories, for instance, appear in dozens of collections and in dozens of forms, according to the artistic or pedagogic biases of the various compilers. As a rule the most accessible stories are found in versions written[6] down to the supposed needs of children, and intended to be read by the children themselves. Even if we grant the teacher the right to make extensive modifications, it is still reasonable to insist that some correct traditional form be used as the starting point. Such a plan insures a mastery of one's material. The sources of the versions used in this text are pointed out in order that teachers who wish to do so may extend their acquaintance to other folk material by referring to the various collections mentioned.

Such a book as this must necessarily be selective. No doubt omissions will be noted of poems or stories that many teachers deem indispensable. Others will find selections included that to their minds are questionable. The editors can only plead in extenuation that they have included what they have found by experience to offer a sound basis for discussing with training classes the nature of this basic material and the form in which it should be presented to children. To accomplish these ends it has sometimes seemed well to give parallel versions, and occasionally to give a version that will necessitate the discussion of such subjects as the use of dialect, the inclusion of items of terror or horror, and the soundness of the ethical appeal. These various problems are indicated in the notes accompanying individual selections.

The editorial apparatus does not constitute a treatise on literary criticism, or a manual of mythology or folklore, or a "pedagogy" of children's literature as such, or anything like an exhaustive bibliography of the fields of study touched upon. It aims at the very modest purpose of immediate and practical utility. It hopes to fill a place as a sort of first aid for the inexperienced teacher, and as soon as the teacher gets some real grasp of the elements of the problem this book must yield to the more elaborate and well-knit discussions of specialists in the various subjects treated. The bibliographical references throughout are intended to offer help in this forward step. These bibliographies are, in all cases, frankly selective. As a rule most of the books mentioned are books now in print. In the bibliographies connected with the sections of traditional material some of the more important works in the field of scholarship are named in each case for the benefit of those who may be working where such books are available in institutional or public libraries. Titles of books are printed in italics, while titles of poems, separate stories, and selections are printed in roman type inclosed in quotation marks.

The grouping of material is in no sense a hard and fast one. Those who work in literary fields understand the pitfalls that beset one who attempts such a classification. Only a general grouping under headings used in the ordinary popular sense has been made. Fine distinctions are beside the mark in such a book as this. Popular literature was not made for classification, but for higher purposes, and anything that draws attention from the pleasure-giving and spirit-invigorating qualities of the literature itself should be avoided. Hence, the classifications adopted are as simple and unobtrusive as possible.

Finally, the editors make no pretense to original scholarship. They have not attempted to extend the limits of human knowledge, but to point out pleasant paths leading to the limitless domains of literature. They have tried to reflect accurately the best practices and theories, or to point out how teachers may get at the best.[7] Their obligations to others are too extended to be noted in a preface, but will be apparent on every page of the text. Their most important lessons have come from the reactions secured from hundreds of teachers who have been under their tuition.

Copyright obligations are indicated in connection with the selections used.



The beginnings. During the eighteenth century the peoples of Europe and America turned their attention in a remarkable way to a consideration of the worth and rights of the individual. In America this so-called democratic movement culminated in the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The most dramatic manifestation of the movement in Europe was the French Revolution of 1789, but every country of Europe was thrilled and changed by the new thought. Every important democratic movement leads to an awakened interest in the welfare of children, for they are among the weak and helpless. This great movement of the eighteenth century brought such a remarkable change of thought regarding children as to mark the beginning of a new kind of literature, known as literature for children.

Today we think of Andersen, Stevenson, Mrs. Ewing, and scores of others as writers of literature for children. Such writers did not exist before the democratic movement of the eighteenth century. It is true that a few short books and articles had been written for children as early as the fifteenth century, but they were written to teach children to be obedient and respectful to parents and masters or to instruct them in the customs of the church—they were not written primarily to entertain children and give them pleasure. Within the last century and a half, too, many authors have collected and retold for children innumerable traditional stories from all parts of the earth—traditional fairy stories, romantic stories of the Middle Ages, legends, and myths.

The child's inheritance. As has been indicated, children's literature is of two kinds: first, the traditional kind that grew up among the folk of long ago in the forms of rhyme, myth, fairy tale, fable, legend, and romantic hero story; and, second, the kind that has been produced in modern times by individual authors. The first, the traditional kind, was produced by early civilization and by the childlike peasantry of long ago. The best of the stories produced by the childhood of the race have been bequeathed to the children of today, and to deprive children of the pleasure they would get from this inheritance of folklore seems as unjust as to deprive them of traditional games, which also help to make the first years of a person's life, the period of childhood, the period of imaginative play. The second kind of children's literature, that produced in modern times by individual authors, has likewise been bequeathed to children. Some of it is so new that its worth has not been determined, but some of it has passed the test of the classics. The best of both kinds is as priceless as is the classical literature for adults. The world would not sell Shakespeare; yet one may well doubt that Shakespeare is worth as much to humanity as is Mother Goose. To evaluate truly the worth of such classics is impossible; but we may be assured[8] that the child who has learned to appreciate the pleasures and the beauties of Mother Goose is the one most likely to appreciate the pleasures and the beauties of Shakespeare when the proper time comes.

The true purpose of education is to bring the child into his inheritance. For many years educators have talked about the use of literature in the grades as one means of accomplishing this purpose. The results of attempts to teach literature in the grades have sometimes been disappointing because often the literature used has not been for the grades; that is, it has not been children's literature. In other cases the attempts have failed because the literature has not been presented as literature—it has, for example, been presented as reading lessons or composition assignments. Students preparing to teach in the grades have been studying textbooks from which literature for children has been excluded, regardless of its artistic worth. Consequently many teachers have not been prepared to teach literature in the grades. Often they have assumed that the reading lesson would develop in the pupil an appreciation of good literature, not realizing that the reading lesson may cause pupils to dislike literature, especially poetry, unless it is supplemented by appropriate work in children's literature. If the student reads thoughtfully the literary selections in the following sections of this book, he probably will realize that children's literature is also literature for adults, and that it is not only the child's inheritance, but also the inheritance of humanity.

The fact that literature for children is likely to have a strong interest for adults is strikingly suggested in a few sentences in John Macy's A Child's Guide to Reading:

When "juveniles" are really good, parents read them after children have gone to bed. I do not know whether Tom Brown at Rugby is catalogued by the careful librarian as a book for boys, but I am sure it is a book for men. I dare say that a good many pairs of eyes that have passed over the pages of Mr. John T. Trowbridge and Elijah Kellogg and Louisa M. Alcott have been old enough to wear spectacles. And if Mrs. Kate Douglas Wiggin ever thought that in Timothy's Quest and Rebecca she was writing books especially for the young, adult readers have long since claimed her for their own. I have enjoyed Mr. A. S. Pier's tales of the boys at St. Timothy's, though he planned them for younger readers. We are told on good authority that St. Nicholas and The Youth's Companion appear in households where there are no children, and they give a considerable portion of their space to serial stories written for young people. Between good "juveniles" and good books for grown persons there is not much essential difference.


Reading and literature distinguished. A country school-teacher once abruptly stopped the routine of daily work and, standing beside her desk, told the story of the maid who counted her chickens before they were hatched. One of her pupils, who is now a man, remembers vividly how the incident impressed him. Although he was in the second grade, that was the first time he had known a teacher to stop regular school work to tell a story. Immediately the teacher was transformed. She had been merely a teacher, one of those respected, awe-inspiring creatures whose business it is to make the school mill go; but the magic of her story established the relation of friendship between teacher and pupil. She was no longer merely a teacher.[9] If the story had been read as a part of the reading lesson, it would not have impressed the pupil greatly. It was impressive because it was presented as literature.

A clear distinction should be made between reading and literature, especially in the primary grades. In the work of the reading course the pupil should take the lead, being guided by the teacher. If the pupil is to progress, he must master the mechanics of reading—he must learn to pronounce printed words and to get the meaning of printed sentences and paragraphs. The course in reading requires patient work on the part of the pupil, just as the course in arithmetic does, and the chief pleasure that the primary pupil can derive from the work is a consciousness of enlarged power and of success in accomplishing what is undertaken.

In the work with literature, however, the teacher should take the lead. She should open to the pupils the magic treasure house of the world's best story and song. The literature period of the day should be the pupil's imaginative play period, bringing relief from the tension of tired nerves. The teacher who makes the study of literature a mechanical grind instead of a joyous exercise of imagination misses at least two of her greatest opportunities as a teacher. First, by failing to cultivate in her pupils an appreciation of good literature, she misses an opportunity to make the lives of her pupils brighter and happier. Second, by failing to realize that the person with a story and a song is everybody's friend, she misses an opportunity to win the friendship, admiration, and love of her pupils. The inexperienced teacher who is well-nigh distracted in her efforts to guide forty restless, disorderly pupils through the program of a day's work might charm half her troubles away by the magic of a simple story or by the music and imagery of a juvenile poem. Her story or poem would do more than remove the cause of disorder by giving the pupils relaxation from nerve-straining work: it would help to establish that first essential to all true success in teaching—a relation of friendship between pupils and teacher.

Culture through literature. He was a wise educator who said, "The boy who has access to good books and who has learned to make them his close friends is beyond the power of evil." Literature in the grades, in addition to furnishing intellectual recreation, should so cultivate in the pupil the power of literary appreciation that he will make good books his close friends. The child who has heard good music from infancy is not likely to be attracted by popular ragtime. The boy who has been trained in habits of courtesy, industry, and pure thinking in his home life, and school life is not likely to find pleasure in the rudeness, idleness, and vulgarity of the village poolroom. The pupil who is taught to appreciate the beautiful, the true, and the good in standard literature is not likely to find pleasure in reading the melodramatic and sentimental trash that now has prominence of place and space in many book stores and in some public libraries. It is the duty of the teacher, and it should be her pleasure, to cultivate in her pupils such a taste for good literature as will lead them to choose the good and reject the bad, a taste that will insure for them the culture that good literature gives.

Selection of material. In choosing selections of literary worth to present to her pupils, the teacher should keep in mind the pupil's stage of mental development and she should not forget that the study of literature should give pleasure. Often[10] pupils do not like what moral writers think they should like, and usually the pupils are right. Good literature is sincere and is true in its appeal to the fundamental emotions of humanity, and an obvious attempt to teach a moral theory at the expense of truth is no more to be tolerated in literature for children than in literature for adults. The childhood of the race has produced much literature with a true appeal to the human heart, in the form of fable, fairy story, myth, and hero story. Most of this literature appeals strongly to the child of today. For several hundred years the nursery rhymes of "Mother Goose" have delighted children with their melody, humor, and imagery. As literature for the kindergarten and first grade, they have not often been excelled by modern writers. The task of selecting suitable material from the many poems, stories, and books written for children in recent years is difficult, but if the teacher has a keen appreciation of good literature and is guided by the likes and dislikes of her pupils, she probably will not go far astray.

Supplemental reading. If the teacher examines the juvenile books offered for sale by the book dealers of her town or city, she probably will discover that most of them are trash not fit to be read by anyone, and she will realize the importance of directing parents in the selection of gift books for children. A good way to get better books into the book stores and into the hands of children is to give the pupils a list of good books, with the suggestion that they ask their parents to buy one of them the next time a book is to be bought as a present. Such lists of books also will improve the standard of books in the town library, for librarians will be quick to realize the importance of supplying standard literature if there is a demand for it.


Story-telling. Most stories are much more effective when well told than they are when read, just as most lectures and sermons are most effective when delivered without manuscript. To explain just why the story well told is superior to the story read might not be easy, but much of the superiority probably comes from the freedom of the "talk style" and the more appropriate use of inflection and emphasis. Then, too, the story-teller can look at her audience and is free to add a descriptive word or phrase occasionally to produce vividness of impression. Some stories, of course, are so constructed that they must follow closely the diction of the original form. "Henny-Penny" and Kipling's Just-So Stories are of this type. Such stories should be read. Most stories, however, are most effective when well told. The teacher, especially the teacher of one of the primary grades, should not consider herself prepared to teach literature until she has gained something of the art of story-telling.

Selection of stories. Never attempt to tell a story that you do not like. You are not prepared to interest pupils in a story, however appropriate it otherwise may be, if you are not interested in it yourself. Try to choose stories adapted in structure and content to the age and experience of the children of your grade. For the first or second grade, choose a few simple fables, a few short, simple fairy tales, and a few short, simple nature stories, such as "Peter Rabbit," "How Johnny Chuck Finds the Best Thing in the World," and "Mr. 'Possum's Sick Spell." Remember that a story for the first or second grade should be short.[11]

Two principles. Learn to apply readily the following principles of method: First, use the past tense in telling a story except in direct quotation. The rules of grammar require this, and it is an aid to clearness and effectiveness. For example, do not say, "So he goes" or "Then he says"; but say, "So he went" or "Then he said" (or, for variety, replied, growled, mumbled, etc.). Second, use direct discourse (the exact words of the characters) rather than indirect discourse. For example, do not say, "The Troll asked who was tripping over his bridge"; but say, "'WHO'S THAT tripping over my bridge?' roared the Troll." Direct discourse always gives life and vividness to a story.

Preparation and presentation. When you have selected a suitable story, read it carefully several times to learn the essential details and the order in which they should come. Keep in mind the fact that you are to use the past tense and direct discourse. If the story is a fable, you probably will see that you should add much conversation and description not in the text. A little description of the witch, giant, fairy, or castle may give vividness to your story. If the story is a long fairy tale, you may see that many details may be omitted. If the story is as concise and dramatic as is the version of "The Three Billy-Goats Gruff" in this book, it may be suitable for presentation without any changes. When you have the story clearly in mind as you wish to present it, tell it to the pupils several times, and then have some of them tell it.

Your story, of course, should not be told in a lifeless monotone. Some parts should be told slowly, and others rapidly. In some parts the voice should be low and soft, while in other parts it should be loud and gruff or harsh. The words of the princess should not sound like those of the old witch or the soldier. The daintiness and grace of elves and fairies should be indicated in the delivery.

Corroborative opinion. The many books on the art of story-telling by skilled practitioners and the emphasis placed upon the great practical value of story-telling by all those charged with the oversight of the education of children show conclusively that the story method in teaching is having its grand renascence. The English education minister, Mr. H. A. L. Fisher, speaking recently on the subject of "History Teaching," set forth admirably the general principles back of this revival:

There is no difficulty about interesting children. The real difficulty is to bore them. Almost any tale will interest a child. It need not be well constructed or thrilling; it may be filled with the most unexciting and trivial incidents, but so long as it carries the mind along at all, it will interest a child. The hunger which intelligent children have for stories is almost inexhaustible. They like to have their stories repeated, and insist that the characters should reappear over and over again, for they have an appetite for reality and a desire to fix these passing figments into the landscape of the real life with which they are surrounded.

One of the great qualities in childhood which makes it apt for receiving historical impressions is just this capacity for giving body to the phantoms of the mind. The limits between the real and the legendary or miraculous which are drawn by the critical intelligence do not exist for the childish mind. . . . It would then be a great educational disaster if this valuable faculty in childhood were allowed to run to waste. There are certain years in the development of every normal intelligent child when the mind is full of image-making power and eager to make a friend or enemy of any god, hero, nymph, fairy, or servant maid who may come along. Then is the time when it is right and fitting to affect some introductions to the great[12] characters of mythology and history; that is the age at which children will eagerly absorb what they can learn of Achilles and Orpheus, of King Arthur and his Knights, of Alexander and Christopher Columbus and the Duke of Wellington. I do not think it is necessary to obtrude any moralizing commentary when these great and vague images are first brought into the landscape of the child's intellectual experience. A little description, a few stories, a picture or two, will be enough to fix them in the memory and to give them body and shape together with the fairies and witches and pirate kings and buccaneering captains with whom we have all at one time been on such familiar terms. Let us then begin by teaching the past to small children by way of stories and pictures.

Dramatization. The play spirit that leads children to play lady, doctor, church, and school will also lead them to enjoy dramatizing stories, or "playing the stories," as they call it. Some stories, of course, are so lacking in action as to be not well suited for dramatization, and others have details of action, character, or situation that may not well be represented in the schoolroom. The teacher may be surprised, however, to see how ingenious her pupils are in overcoming difficulties after they have had a little assistance in playing two or three stories. Unconsciously the pupil will get from the dramatization a training in oral English, reading, and literary appreciation that can hardly be gained in any other way.

When the pupils have learned a story thoroughly, they are ready to make plans for playing it. The stage setting may be considered first, and here the child's imagination can work wonders in arranging details. The opening under the teacher's desk may become a dungeon, a cave, a cellar, or a well. If a two-story house is needed, it may be outlined on the floor in the front part of the schoolroom, with a chalk-mark stairway, up which Goldilocks can walk to lie down on three coats—the three beds in the bed-chamber of the three bears.

The pupils can probably soon decide what characters are necessary, but more time may be required to assign the parts. To play the part of a spider, bear, wolf, fairy, sheep, or butterfly does not seem difficult to a child who has entered into the spirit of the play.

The most difficult part of dramatization may be the plan for conversation, especially if the text version of the story contains little or no direct discourse. The pupils should know the general nature of the conversation and action before they begin to play the story, although they need not memorize the parts. Suppose that the fable "The Shepherd's Boy" is to be dramatized. The first part of the dramatization might be described about as follows:

The shepherd boy, tending his flock of pupil-sheep in the pasture land at one side of the teacher's-desk-mountain, looked toward the pupil-desk-village at one side of the room and said quietly, "It certainly is lonely here. I believe I'll make those villagers think a wolf has come to eat the sheep. Then perhaps they'll come down here, and I'll have a little company and some excitement." Then he jumped around frantically, waving his yardstick-shepherd's crook, and shouted to the villagers, "Wolf! Wolf!"

The villagers came rushing down to the pasture land, asking excitedly, "Where's the wolf? Has he killed many of the sheep?"[13]

"Oh, oh, oh," laughed the boy, "there wasn't any wolf. I certainly did fool you that time."

"I don't think that's very funny," said one of the villagers.

"Well, we might as well go back to our work," said another. Then they went back to the village.

After they had gone, the boy said, "I guess I'll try that joke again."

If the teacher puts much direct discourse in a story of this kind when she tells it to the pupils, the task of dramatizing will naturally be made easier.

Some stories lend themselves in the most natural manner to dramatization. An interesting example of such a story may be found among the tales dealing with the Wise Men of Gotham. These Wise Men are referred to in one of the best known of the Mother Goose rhymes. It would seem that the inhabitants of Gotham, in the reign of King John, had some reason of their own for pretending to be mad, and out of this event the legends took their rise. The number of fishermen may be changed to seven or some other number to suit the number in the acting group. Here is the story:

On a certain time there were twelve men of Gotham that went to fish, and some stood on dry land. And in going home, one said to the other "We have ventured wonderfully in wading. I pray God that none of us come home to be drowned." "Nay, marry," said the other, "let us see that, for there did twelve of us come out." Then they counted themselves, and every one counted eleven. Said the one to the other, "There is one of us drowned." They went back to the brook where they had been fishing and sought up and down for him that was drowned, making great lamentation.

A stranger coming by asked what it was they sought for, and why they were sorrowful. "Oh!" said they, "this day we went to fish in the brook; twelve of us came together, and one is drowned." Said the stranger, "Tell how many there be of you." One of them, counting, said, "Eleven," and again he did not count himself. "Well," said the stranger, "what will you give me if I find the twelfth man?" "Sir," said they, "all the money we have got." "Give me the money," said the stranger, and began with the first, and gave him a stroke over the shoulders with his whip, which made him groan, saying, "Here is one," and so he served them all, and they all groaned at the matter. When he came to the last he paid him well, saying, "Here is the twelfth man." "God's blessing on thy heart," said they, "for thus finding our dear brother."


As an aid to inexperienced teachers, it seems well to suggest in a summary how a selection of material suitable for each grade might be made from the material of this book. The summary, however, should be regarded as suggestive in a general way only. No detailed outline of a course of study in literature for the grades can be ideal for all schools because the pupils of a given grade in one school may be much more advanced in the knowledge of literature and the ability to understand and appreciate it than are the pupils of the same grade in another school. Many literary selections, too, might appropriately be taught in almost any grade if the method of presentation in each case were suited to the understanding of the pupils. Robinson Crusoe, for example, may appropriately be told to second-grade pupils, or it may be read by fourth- or fifth-grade pupils, or it may be studied as fiction by eighth-grade[14] pupils or university students. All poems of remarkable excellence that are suitable for primary pupils are also suitable for pupils in the higher grades and for adults, and the same is true of many prose selections.

The summary that follows, then, is to be regarded as "first aid" to the untrained, inexperienced teacher. The teacher's own personal likes and dislikes and her success in presenting various literary selections should eventually lead her to modify any prescribed course of study. If a teacher of the sixth grade discovers that her pupils should rank only second grade in knowledge and appreciation of literature, she may very properly begin with traditional fairy tales. Another outlined course of study is given in Section XII of this book.

First, second, and third grades. Since pupils in the primary grades read with difficulty if at all, the teacher should tell or read all selections presented as literature in these grades.

No kind of prose is better suited for use in the primary grades than traditional fairy tales. About half a dozen might well be presented in each of the three grades. For the first grade, the simplest should be chosen, such as "The Old Woman and Her Pig," "Teeny-Tiny," "The Cat and the Mouse," "The Three Pigs," "The Three Bears," and "The Elves and the Shoemaker." As suitable stories for the second grade, we might choose "The Three Sillies," "Little Red Riding-Hood," "Cinderella," "The Three Billy-Goats Gruff," "The Straw Ox," and "The Horned Women." For the third grade, somewhat longer and more complex stories might be chosen.

About half a dozen fables might also be used appropriately in each of the primary grades. Simple Aesopic fables in prose seem best for the first two grades. More complex forms might be chosen for the third grade, for example, "The Story of Alnaschar," "The Good Samaritan," "The Discontented Pendulum," "The Musical Ass," "The Swan, the Pike, and the Crab," and "The Hen with the Golden Eggs."

Much of the nature literature of the primary grades may be in the form of verse, but some simple nature prose may be used successfully. From the selections in this book, "Peter Rabbit" should be chosen for the first grade, while "Johnny Chuck," and "Mr. 'Possum's Sick Spell" are appropriate for the second and third grades.

The simplest of Andersen's Fairy Tales may be used in the third grade, and perhaps in the second. Some suitable stories are "The Real Princess," "The Fir Tree," "The Tinder Box," "The Hardy Tin Soldier," and "The Ugly Duckling."

The ideal verse for the first grade is nursery rhymes, which may be chosen from the first 135 selections of this book. These may be supplemented by such simple verse as "The Three Kittens," "The Moon," "Ding Dong," "The Little Kitty," "Baby Bye," "Time to Rise," "Rain," "I Like Little Pussy," and "The Star." In the second and third grades, traditional verses from those following Number 135 in Section II may be used. The poems by Stevenson are ideal for these grades, and those by Field, Sherman, and Christina Rossetti are good. In addition the teacher might select such poems as "The Brown Thrush," and "Who Stole the Bird's Nest."

Fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. Although pupils in these intermediate grades may be expected to read some library books, the teacher should read and tell stories[15] frequently, for this is the surest way to develop in the pupil a taste for good literature. The teacher should remember, too, that the story she recommends to the pupils as suitable reading should be about two grades easier than those told or read by the teacher. Probably every poem presented as literature in these grades should be read or recited by the teacher because pupils are not likely to get the charm of rhythm, melody, and rhyme if they do the reading. Pupils who dislike poetry are pupils who have not heard good poetry well read.

Myths are appropriate for each of the intermediate grades. Most teachers prefer for the fourth grade the simpler classical myths, such as "A Story of Springtime," "The Miraculous Pitcher," "The Narcissus," and "The Apple of Discord." In the fifth grade, the teacher may use the more difficult classical myths, reserving the Norse myths for the sixth grade.

Modern fairy and fantastic stories are also appropriate for each of these grades. Suitable stories for the fourth grade are "The Four-Leaved Clover," "The Emperor's New Clothes," "The Nightingale," and "The Story of Fairyfoot." Stories appropriate for the fifth grade are "The Happy Prince," "The Knights of the Silver Shield," and "The Prince's Dream." In the sixth grade, the teacher might use "Old Pipes and the Dryad" and "The King of the Golden River."

Two or three symbolic stories or fables in verse from the last part of Section V should be used in each of these grades.

Nature prose should appeal more and more to children as they advance from the fourth to the eighth grade. Many pupils in the fourth grade will enjoy reading for themselves books by Burgess and Paine, while fifth- and sixth-grade pupils will get much pleasure from the simpler books by Sharp, Seton, Long, Miller, and Roberts. In the intermediate grades, the teacher may read such stories as "Wild Life in the Farm Yard," "The Vendetta," "Pasha," "Moufflou," and "Bird Habits."

Stories of various other kinds may be read by the teacher in the intermediate grades. "Goody Two-Shoes" and "Waste Not, Want Not," are suitable for the fourth grade. The biographies "How Columbus Got His Ships" and "Boyhood of Washington" are excellent in the fifth or sixth grade as an introduction to history study, and the romance "Robin Hood and the Merry Little Old Woman" may be used appropriately in any of these grades, especially if it is made to supplement a discussion of the Norman conquest.

Most of the poems up to about No. 342, and a few beyond that, are within the range of the work for these grades.

Seventh and eighth grades. Although pupils in the seventh and eighth grades may be expected to read simple narrative readily, the teacher should read to the pupils frequently. It cannot be too much emphasized that reading aloud to children is the surest way of developing an appreciation of the best in literature. In poetry especially this is a somewhat critical time, as the pupil is passing from the simpler and more concrete verse to that which has a more prominent thought content. The persuasion of the reading voice smooths over many obstacles here. Outside the field of poetry, the teacher's work in these grades is mainly one of guidance and direction in getting the children and the right books in contact. Children at[16] this period are likely to be omnivorous readers, ready for any book that comes their way, and the job of keeping them supplied with titles of enough available good books for their needs is indeed one to tax all a teacher's knowledge and experience.

The demand for highly sensational stories on the part of pupils in the upper grades is so insistent that it constitutes a special problem for the teacher. It is a perfectly natural demand, and no wise teacher will attempt to stifle it. Such an attempt would almost certainly result in a more or less surreptitious reading of a mass of unwholesome books which have come to be known as "dime novels." Instead of trying to thwart this desire for the thrilling story the teacher should be ready to recommend books which have all the attractive adventure features of the "dime novel," and which have in addition sound artistic and ethical qualities. While many such books are mentioned in the bibliographies in the latter part of this text, it has seemed well to bring together here a short list of those which librarians over the country have found particularly fitted to serve as substitutes for the dime novel.

Alden, W. L., The Moral Pirate.

Altsheler, Joseph A., The Young Trailers. Horsemen of the Plains.

Barbour, Ralph H., The Crimson Sweater.

Bennett, John, The Treasure of Peyre Gaillard.

Burton, Charles P., The Boys of Bob's Hill.

Carruth, Hayden, Track's End.

Cody, William F., Adventures of Buffalo Bill.

Drysdale, William, The Fast Mail.

Grinnell, George Bird, Jack among the Indians. Jack, the Young Ranchman.

Hunting, Henry G., The Cave of the Bottomless Pool.

Janvier, Thomas A., The Aztec Treasure House.

Kaler, James Otis, Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus.

London, Jack, The Call of the Wild.

Malone, Captain P. B., Winning His Way to West Point.

Masefield, John, Jim Davis.

Mason, Alfred B., Tom Strong, Washington's Scout.

Matthews, Brander, Tom Paulding.

Moffett, Cleveland, Careers of Danger and Daring.

Munroe, Kirk, Cab and Caboose. Derrick Sterling.

O'Higgins, Harvey J., The Smoke Eaters.

Quirk, Leslie W., The Boy Scouts of the Black Eagle Patrol.

Sabin, Edwin L., Bar B Boys.

Schultz, James Willard, With the Indians in the Rockies.

Stevenson, Burton E., The Young Train Despatcher.

Stevenson, Robert Louis, Treasure Island.

Stoddard, William O., Two Arrows. Talking Leaves.

Trowbridge, John T., Cudjo's Cave. The Young Surveyor.

Verne, Jules, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea.

Wallace, Dillon, Wilderness Castaways.

White, Stewart Edward, The Magic Forest.







c. 1760. Mother Goose's Melody. [Published by John Newbery, London.]
No copy of this issue known to be in existence.
c. 1783. Ritson, Joseph, Gammer Gurton's Garland, or the Nursery Parnassus. [1810, enlarged.]
c. 1785. Mother Goose's Melody. [Reprint of Newbery, by Isaiah Thomas, Worcester, Mass.]
[1889. Whitmore, W. H., The Original Mother Goose's Melody, as first issued by John Newbery, of London, about a.d. 1760. Reproduced in facsimile from the edition as reprinted by Isaiah Thomas, of Worcester, Mass., about a.d. 1785. With introduction and notes.]
1824 ff. Mother Goose's Quarto, or Melodies Complete. [Various issues by Munroe and Francis, Boston.]
[Hale, Edward Everett, The Only True Mother Goose Melodies. Exact reproduction of the text and illustrations of the original edition (Mother Goose's Melodies: The Only Pure Edition) printed in Boston in 1834 by Monroe and Francis. With an introduction.]
1826. Chambers, Robert, Popular Rhymes of Scotland. [1870, enlarged.]
1834. Ker, John Bellenden, An Essay on the Archaeology of Popular English Phrases and Nursery Rhymes. [Supplemented 1840 and 1842.]
1842. Halliwell (Phillips), J. O., The Nursery Rhymes of England.
1849. Halliwell (Phillips), J. O., Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales.
1864. Rimbault, Edward F., Old Nursery Rhymes with Tunes.


Baring-Gould, Sabine, A Book of Nursery Songs and Rhymes.
Headland, I. T., Chinese Mother Goose Rhymes.
Jerrold, Walter, The Big Book of Nursery Rhymes.
Lang, Andrew, The Nursery Rhyme Book.
Newell, W. W., Games and Songs of American Children.
Saintsbury, G. E. B., National Rhymes of the Nursery.
Welsh, Charles, A Book of Nursery Rhymes.
Wheeler, William A., Mother Goose's Melodies.


Crane, Walter, The Baby's Bouquet, a Fresh Bunch of Old Rhymes and Tunes.
Homer, Sidney, Songs from Mother Goose.
Le Mair, H. Willebeck, Our Old Nursery Rhymes.
Le Mair, H. Willebeck, Little Songs of Long Ago.
Perkins, Raymond, Thirty Old-Time Nursery Songs.


Bolton, H. C., Counting-out Rhymes of Children, Their Antiquity, Origin, and Wide Distribution.
Earle, Alice Morse, Child Life in Colonial Days. [Especially chap. xiv.]
Eckenstein, Lina, Comparative Studies in Nursery Rhymes.
Godfrey, Elizabeth, English Children in the Olden Time. [Especially chap. ii.]
Gomme, A. B., The Traditional Games of England, Scotland, and Ireland. 2 vols.
Green, P. B., The History of Nursery Rhymes.
Halsey, Rosalie V., Forgotten Books of the American Nursery.
Field, W. T., Fingerposts to Children's Reading, pp. 193 ff.
Moses, M. J., Children's Books and Reading, pp. 40 ff.




A flawless literature. The one literature that is supremely adapted to its purpose is the collection of rhymes associated with Mother Goose. To every child it comes with an irresistible appeal. It has a power so natural and fundamental that it defies explanation. The child takes it for granted just as he does his parents. It has a perfection of rhythm and structure not attainable by modern imitators. It has been perfected through the generations by the surest of all tests, that of constant popular use. Much of it is common to many different nations. It is an international literature of childhood. While much of it is known to children long before they enter school, these jingles, like all folk literature, never lose their charm through repetition. The schools have long since learned the value of the familiar in teaching. The process of learning to read is usually based on some of the better known rhymes. Teachers of literature in more advanced classes think they can generally detect the students who have been especially "learned" in "Mother Goose her ways" by their quick responsiveness to the facts of verbal rhythm and rhythmical structure in more sophisticated products. "If we have no love for poetry to-day, it may not impossibly be due to the fact that we have ceased to prize the old, old tales which have been the delight of the child and the child-man since the foundations of the world. If you want your child to love Homer, do not withhold Mother Goose."

Who was Mother Goose? The answer to this, as to other questions suggested below, may be of no direct or special interest to the children themselves. But teachers should know some of the main conclusions arrived at by folklorists and others in their investigations of the traditional materials used for basic work in literature. All the evidence shows that Mother Goose as the name of the familiar old lady of the nursery came to us from France. Andrew Lang discovered a reference to her in a French poem of 1650, where she figures as a teller of stories. In 1697 Perrault's famous fairy tales were published with a frontispiece representing an old woman spinning, and telling tales to a man, a girl, a little boy, and a cat. On this frontispiece was the legend, Tales of Our Mother Goose. (See note to No. 161.)

As a teller of prose tales, Mother Goose came to England with the translation of Perrault about 1730. We do not find her name connected with verse until after the middle of the eighteenth century. About the year 1760 a little book called Mother Goose's Melody was issued by John Newbery, a London publisher and a most important figure in the history of the production of books for children. It is a pleasant and not improbable theory that this first collection of nursery rhymes, upon which later ones were built, was the work of Oliver Goldsmith, who was for some years in Newbery's employ. However that may be, it is certain that from this date the name of Mother Goose has been almost exclusively associated with nursery rhymes.[20]

Newbery's Mother Goose's Melody was soon reprinted by Isaiah Thomas, of Worcester, Massachusetts, and thus came into the hands of American children early in our national life. A long-since exploded theory was advanced about 1870 that Mother Goose was a real woman of Boston in the early eighteenth century, whose rhymes were published by her son-in-law, Thomas Fleet, in 1719. But no one has identified any such publication and there is no evidence whatever that this old lady in cap and spectacles is other than purely mythical.

Whence came the jingles themselves? It is certain that many nursery rhymes are both widespread geographically in distribution and of great antiquity. Halliwell and others have found references to some of them in old books which prove that many of the English rhymes go back several centuries. They are of popular origin; that is, they took root anonymously among the folk and were passed on by word of mouth. When a rhyme can be traced to any known authority we generally find that the folk have extracted what pleased, have forgotten or modified any original historical or other application the rhymes may have possessed, and in general have shaped the rhyme to popular taste. "Thus our old nursery rhymes," says Andrew Lang, "are smooth stones from the book of time, worn round by constant friction of tongues long silent. We cannot hope to make new nursery rhymes, any more than we can write new fairy tales."

Here are a few illustrations of what scholars have been able to tell us of the sources of the rhymes: "Jack and Jill" preserves the Icelandic myth of two children caught up into the moon, where they can still be seen carrying a bucket on a pole between them. "Three Blind Mice" is traced to an old book called Deuteromalia (1609). "Little Jack Horner" is all that is left of an extended chapbook story, The Pleasant History of Jack Horner, Containing His Witty Tricks, etc. "Poor Old Robinson Crusoe" is a fragment from a song by the character Jerry Sneak in Foote's Mayor of Garratt (1763). "Simple Simon" gives all that the nursery has preserved of a long chapbook verse story. "A Swarm of Bees in May" was found by Halliwell quoted in Miege's Great French Dictionary (1687). These and numerous like facts serve only to impress us with the long and honorable history of the nursery rhyme.

Can nursery rhymes be helpfully classified? This question seems of more consequence to the teacher than the previous ones because it deals with the practical organization of his material. The most superficial observer can see that Nos. 3, 36, 46, 59, 62, and 113, on the following pages, are riddles; that Nos. 22 and 30 are counting-out rhymes; that Nos. 37, 38, 39, 40, and 41 are replies that might be made to one who indulged unduly in suppositions; that No. 27 is a face game, No. 75 a hand game, and No. 108 a toe game; that Nos. 42, 81, 82, 107, and 111 are riding songs; that Nos. 7, 10, 23, 67, and 137 are proverbial sayings; that Nos. 64 and 89 are charms; and so one might continue with groupings based on the immediate use made of the rhyme, not forgetting the great number that lend themselves to the purposes of the crooned lullaby or soothing song.

Halliwell made the first attempt at any complete classification in his Nursery Rhymes of England (1842), using eighteen headings: (1) Historical, (2) Literal, (3) Tales, (4) Proverbs, (5) Scholastic, (6) Songs, (7) Riddles, (8) Charms, (9) Gaffers and Gammers, (10) Games, (11) Paradoxes, (12) Lullabies, (13) Jingles, (14) Love[21] and Matrimony, (15) Natural History, (16) Accumulative Stories, (17) Local, (18) Relics. Andrew Lang follows Halliwell, but reduces the classes to fourteen by combining (2) and (5), (7) and (11), (8) and (12), and by omitting (17). These classifications are made from the standpoint of the folklore scholar, and are based on the sources from which the rhymes originally sprang. Professor Saintsbury scouts the value of any such arrangement, since all belong equally in the one class, "jingles," and he also rightly points out that "all genuine nursery rhymes . . . have never become nursery rhymes until the historical fact has been practically forgotten by those who used them, and nothing but the metrical and musical attraction remains."

Without denying the great significance of popular rhymes to the student of folklore, we must look elsewhere for any practical suggestion for the teacher in the matter of arrangement. Such a suggestion will be found in the late Charles Welsh's Book of Nursery Rhymes, a little volume that every teacher interested in children's literature must make use of. The rhymes are grouped into three main divisions: (1) Mother Play, (2) Mother Stories, and (3) Child Play, with subordinate groupings under each. About 250 rhymes are included in Welsh's collection, and the arrangement suggests the best order for using them practically, without dropping into any ironclad system.

It may be argued that any attempt at classification of material so freely and variously used as the Mother Goose rhymes is sure to stiffen the work of the class and render it less enjoyable. Spontaneity is more vital here than at any other stage of one's literary education.

What is the secret of the nursery rhyme's appeal to children? Here at least we are face to face with what may be called a final fact, that these jingles do make an appeal so universal and remarkable that any attempt to explain it seems always to fall far short of completeness. Perhaps the best start may be made with Mr. Welsh's suggestion that this appeal is threefold: first, that which comes from the rhyming jingle, as in "Higgledy, piggledy, my fat hen"; second, that which comes from the nonsense surprises, as in "Hey diddle diddle," "Three wise men of Gotham," and "I'll tell you a story"; third, that which comes from the dramatic action, as in "Little Miss Muffet," and "Little Jack Horner." This summary does not differ much from Mr. Walter Taylor Field's conclusions: "The child takes little thought as to what any of these verses mean. There are perhaps four elements in them that appeal to him,—first, the jingle, and with it that peculiar cadence which modern writers of children's poetry strive in vain to imitate; second, the nonsense,—with just enough of sense in it to connect the nonsense with the child's thinkable world; third, the action,—for the stories are quite dramatic in their way; and fourth, the quaintness." Mr. Field also emphasizes the probable charm of mystery in the face of the unknown facts beyond the child's horizon, which appear in many of the rhymes.

Other commentators do little beyond expanding some of these suggestions. All of them agree in stressing the appeal made by rhythm, the jingle, the emphatic meter. This seems a fundamental thing in all literature, though readers are mainly conscious of it in poetry. Just how fundamental it is in human life has not been better hinted than in a sentence by Mrs. MacClintock: "One who is trying to write a sober treatise in a matter-of-fact way dares not, lest he be set down as the veriest[22] mystic, say all the things that might be said about the function of rhythm, especially in its more pronounced form of meter, among a community of children, no matter what the size of the group—how rhythmic motion, or the flow of measured and beautiful sounds, harmonizes their differences, tunes them up to their tasks, disciplines their conduct, comforts their hurts, quiets their nerves; all this apart from the facts more or less important from the point of view of literature, that it cultivates their ear, improves their taste, and provides them a genuinely artistic pleasure."

Professor Saintsbury, as usual, adds a fascinating turn to the discussion when, after agreeing that we may see in the rhymes, "to a great extent, the poetical appeal of sound as opposed to that of meaning in its simplest and most unmistakable terms," he continues: "And we shall find something else, which I venture to call the attraction of the inarticulate. . . . In moments of more intense and genuine feeling . . . [man] does not as a rule use or at least confine himself to articulate speech. . . . All children . . . fall naturally, long after they are able to express themselves as it is called rationally, into a sort of pleasant gibberish when they are alone and pleased or even displeased. . . . It must be a not infrequent experience of most people that one frequently falls into pure jingle and nonsense verse of the nursery kind. . . . I should myself, though I may not carry many people with me, go farther than this and say that this 'attraction of the inarticulate,' this allurement of mere sound and sequence, has a great deal more to do than is generally thought with the charm of the very highest poetry. . . . In the best nursery rhymes, as in the simpler and more genuine ballads which have so close a connection with them, we find this attraction of the inarticulate—this charm of pure sound, this utilizing of alliteration and rhyme and assonance." Those who have noticed the tendency of children to find vocal pleasure even of a physical or muscular sort in nonsense combinations of sounds, and who also realize their own tendency in this direction, will feel that Professor Saintsbury has hit upon a suggestive term in his claim for "the attraction of the inarticulate" as a partial explanation of the Mother Goose appeal.

Through song, game, memorization, and dramatization, traditional or original, the rhymes may be made to contribute to the child's satisfaction in all of the directions pointed out.


(Books referred to by authors' names are listed in preceding bibliography.)

For orientation read Chauncey B. Tinker, "In Praise of Nursery Lore," Unpopular Review, Vol. VI, p. 338 (Oct.-Dec., 1916). For a most satisfactory presentation of the whole subject read chap. x, "Mother Goose," in Field. For the origin of Mother Goose as a character consult Lang's introduction to his edition of Perrault's Popular Tales. For the theory of her American nativity see Wheeler and Whitmore. For the origins of the rhymes themselves the authorities are Halliwell and Eckenstein. For pedagogical suggestions see Welsh, also his article "Nursery Rhymes," Cyclopedia of Education (ed. Monroe). For many interesting facts and suggestions on rhythm in nursery rhymes consult Charles H. Sears, "Studies in Rhythm," Pedagogical Seminary, Vol. VIII, p. 3. For the whole subject of folk songs look into Martinengo-Cesaresco, The Study of Folk Songs. Books and periodicals dealing with primary education often contain brief discussions of value on the use of rhymes. Many Mother Goose records have been prepared by the educational departments of the various talking-machine companies, and may be used to advantage in the work in rhythm.


The shorter rhymes (Nos. 1-115) are arranged in alphabetical order. There are many slight variations in the form of the text as found in printed versions and in the oral versions used by children in different communities. While Halliwell has been used as the basis for rhymes given in his collection, the following versions try to reproduce the forms of expression that seem generally most pleasing to children.


A cat came fiddling out of a barn,
With a pair of bagpipes under her arm;
She could sing nothing but fiddle-de-dee,
The mouse has married the bumble-bee;
Pipe, cat—dance, mouse—
We'll have a wedding at our good house.


A diller, a dollar,
A ten o'clock scholar,
What makes you come so soon?
You used to come at ten o'clock,
And now you come at noon.


As I was going to St. Ives,
I met a man with seven wives;
Every wife had seven sacks,
Every sack had seven cats,
Every cat had seven kits:
Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,
How many were there going to St. Ives?


As I was going up Pippen Hill,—
Pippen Hill was dirty,—
There I met a pretty miss,
And she dropped me a curtsy.

Little miss, pretty miss,
Blessings light upon you;
If I had half-a-crown a day,
I'd spend it all upon you.


As I went to Bonner,
I met a pig
Without a wig,
Upon my word of honor.


As Tommy Snooks and Bessie Brooks
Were walking out one Sunday,
Says Tommy Snooks to Bessie Brooks,
"To-morrow will be Monday."


A swarm of bees in May
Is worth a load of hay;
A swarm of bees in June
Is worth a silver spoon;
A swarm of bees in July
Is not worth a fly.


Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, marry, have I,
Three bags full;
One for my master,
And one for my dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives in the lane.


Barber, barber, shave a pig,
How many hairs will make a wig?
"Four and twenty, that's enough."
Give the barber a pinch of snuff.


Birds of a feather flock together,
And so will pigs and swine;
Rats and mice will have their choice,
And so will I have mine.


Bless you, bless you, burnie bee;
Say, when will your wedding be?
If it be to-morrow day,
Take your wings and fly away.



Bobby Shafto's gone to sea,
With silver buckles at his knee;
He'll come back and marry me,—
Pretty Bobby Shafto!

Bobby Shafto's fat and fair,
Combing out his yellow hair,
He's my love for evermore,—
Pretty Bobby Shafto!


Bow, wow, wow,
Whose dog art thou?
Little Tom Tinker's dog,
Bow, wow, wow.


Bye, baby bunting,
Daddy's gone a-hunting,
To get a little rabbit skin
To wrap the baby bunting in.


Come when you're called,
Do what you're bid,
Shut the door after you,
Never be chid.


Cross patch,
Draw the latch,
And sit by the fire and spin;
Take a cup,
And drink it up,
Then call your neighbors in.


Curly locks! curly locks! wilt thou be mine?
Thou shalt not wash the dishes, nor yet feed the swine.
But sit on a cushion and sew a fine seam,
And feed upon strawberries, sugar, and cream!


Dance, little baby, dance up high,
Never mind, baby, mother is by;
Crow and caper, caper and crow,
There, little baby, there you go;

Up to the ceiling, down to the ground,
Backward and forward, round and round;
Dance, little baby, and mother will sing,
With the merry coral, ding, ding, ding!


Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son John,
He went to bed with his stockings on;
One shoe off, the other shoe on,
Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son John.


Ding, dong, bell!
Pussy's in the well.
Who put her in?
Little Tommy Green.
Who pulled her out?
Little Johnny Stout.
What a naughty boy was that,
To drown the poor, poor pussy-cat,
Who never did him any harm,
But killed the mice in his father's barn.


Doctor Foster
Went to Glo'ster,
In a shower of rain;
He stepped in a puddle,
Up to his middle,
And never went there again.


Eggs, butter, cheese, bread,
Stick, stock, stone dead,
Stick him up, stick him down,
Stick him in the old man's crown.


For every evil under the sun,
There is a remedy, or there is none.
If there be one, try to find it,
If there be none, never mind it.



Four-and-twenty tailors went to kill a snail,
The bravest man among them dursn't touch her tail;
The snail put out her horns, like a little Kyloe cow,
Run, tailors, run, or she'll kill you all e'en now.


Great A, little a,
Bouncing B!
The cat's in the cupboard,
And she can't see.


Hark, hark,
The dogs do bark,
The beggars are coming to town:
Some in tags,
Some in rags,
And some in velvet gowns.


Here sits the Lord Mayor,(touching forehead)
Here sit his two men, (eyes)
Here sits the cock,(right cheek)
Here sits the hen,(left cheek)
Here sit the little chickens,(tip of nose)
Here they all run in; (mouth)
Chinchopper, chinchopper,
Chinchopper chin!              (chuck the chin)


Here we go up, up, up,
And here we go down, down, down;
And here we go backwards and forwards,
And here we go round, round, round.


Given as usually known to children. In some older versions the word "craft" was used instead of "sport," thus making a rhyme. There is an old story of an overly serious parent who was greatly disturbed by the evident exaggerations in this jingle. After calling the attention of his children to the offensive improbabilities, the good man suggested the following "revised version."
Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped under the moon;
The little dog barked,
To see the sport,
And the cat ran after the spoon!
Hey! diddle, diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon;
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.


Hickery, dickery, 6 and 7,
Alabone Crackabone, 10 and 11,
Spin, span, muskidan;
Twiddle 'um, twaddle 'um, 21.


Higgledy, Piggledy,
My black hen,
She lays eggs
For gentlemen;
Sometimes nine,
And sometimes ten,
Higgledy, Piggledy,
My black hen!


Hickory, dickory, dock,
The mouse ran up the clock,
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down;
Hickory, dickory, dock.


Hogs in the garden, catch 'em, Towser.
[26]Cows in the cornfield, run, boys, run;
Cats in the cream-pot, run, girls, run, girls;
Fire on the mountains, run, boys, run.


Hot-cross buns!
Hot-cross buns!
One a penny, two a penny,
Hot-cross buns!

Hot-cross buns!
Hot-cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons.


Hub a dub dub,
Three men in a tub;
The butcher, the baker,
The candlestick-maker,
They all fell out of a rotten potato.


Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
Threescore men and threescore more
Cannot place Humpty Dumpty as he was before.
(An egg.)


If all the sea were one sea,
What a great sea that would be!
And if all the trees were one tree,
What a great tree that would be!
And if all the axes were one axe,
What a great axe that would be!
And if all the men were one man,
What a great man he would be!
And if the great man took the great axe,
And cut down the great tree,
And let it fall into the great sea,
What a splish splash that would be!


If all the world was apple-pie,
And all the sea was ink,
And all the trees were bread and cheese,
What should we have for drink?


If I'd as much money as I could spend,
I never would cry, "Old chairs to mend!
Old chairs to mend! Old chairs to mend!"
I never would cry, "Old chairs to mend!"
If I'd as much money as I could tell,
I never would cry, "Old clothes to sell!
Old clothes to sell! Old clothes to sell!"
I never would cry, "Old clothes to sell!"


If "ifs" and "ands"
Were pots and pans,
There would be no need for tinkers!


If wishes were horses,
Beggars might ride;
If turnips were watches,
I'd wear one by my side.


I had a little pony,
His name was Dapple-gray,
I lent him to a lady,
To ride a mile away;
She whipped him, she slashed him,
She rode him through the mire;
I would not lend my pony now
For all that lady's hire.


I had a little hobby horse,
His name was Tommy Gray,
His head was made of pease straw,
His body made of hay;
I saddled him and bridled him,
And rode him up to town,
There came a little puff of wind
And blew him up and down.



I have a little sister, they call her peep, peep;
She wades the waters deep, deep, deep;
She climbs the mountains high, high, high;
Poor little creature, she has but one eye.
(A star.)


I'll tell you a story
Of Jack-a-Nory,
And now my story's begun.
I'll tell you another
About Jack's brother,
And now my story is done.


In marble walls as white as milk,
Lined with a skin as soft as silk;
Within a fountain crystal clear,
A golden apple doth appear.
No doors there are to this stronghold,
Yet thieves break in and steal the gold.
(An egg.)


1. I went up one pair of stairs.
2. Just like me.
1. I went up two pair of stairs.
2. Just like me.
1. I went into a room.
2. Just like me.
1. I looked out of a window.
2. Just like me.
1. And there I saw a monkey.
2. Just like me.


Jack and Jill went up the hill,
To fetch a pail of water;
Jack fell down, and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.


Jack be nimble,
Jack be quick,
Jack jump over the candlestick.


Jack Sprat could eat no fat,
His wife could eat no lean;
And so between them both, you see,
They licked the platter clean.


Knock at the door,(forehead)
And peep in,(lift eyelids)
Open the door,(mouth)
And walk in.
Chinchopper, chinchopper,      
Chinchopper chin!


These lines, common in similar form to many countries, are said by children when they throw the beautiful little insect into the air to make it take flight.
Ladybird, ladybird, fly away home,
Your house is on fire, your children all gone;
All but one, and her name is Ann,
And she crept under the pudding-pan.


Little boy blue, come blow your horn,
The sheep's in the meadow, the cow's in the corn;
Where is the boy that looks after the sheep?
He's under the haycock fast asleep.
Will you wake him? No, not I;
For if I do, he'll be sure to cry.


Little girl, little girl, where have you been?
[28]Gathering roses to give to the queen.
Little girl, little girl, what gave she you?
She gave me a diamond as big as my shoe.


Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner,
Eating his Christmas pie.
He put in his thumb,
And he pulled out a plum,
And said, "What a good boy am I!"


Little Jack Jingle,
He used to live single,
But when he got tired of this kind of life,
He left off being single and lived with his wife.


Little Johnny Pringle had a little pig;
It was very little, so was not very big.
As it was playing beneath the shed,
In half a minute poor Piggie was dead.
So Johnny Pringle he sat down and cried,
And Betty Pringle she lay down and died.
This is the history of one, two, and three,
Johnny Pringle he,
Betty Pringle she,
And the Piggie-Wiggie.


Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating of curds and whey;
There came a great spider,
And sat down beside her,
And frightened Miss Muffet away.


Little Nancy Etticoat,
In a white petticoat,
And a red nose;
The longer she stands,
The shorter she grows.
(A candle.)


Little Robin Redbreast
Sat upon a rail;
Niddle naddle went his head,
Wiggle waggle went his tail.


Little Tommy Tucker
Sings for his supper;
What shall he eat?
White bread and butter.
How shall he cut it
Without e'er a knife?
How will he be married
Without e'er a wife?


Long legs, crooked thighs,
Little head and no eyes.
(The tongs.)


Lucy Locket lost her pocket,
Kitty Fisher found it:
Nothing in it, nothing in it,
But the binding round it.


Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Guard the bed that I lie on!
Four corners to my bed,
Four angels round my head;
One to watch, one to pray,
And two to bear my soul away.


Mistress Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With cockle-shells, and silver bells,
And pretty maids all in a row.


Multiplication is vexation,
Division is as bad;
The Rule of Three perplexes me,
And Practice drives me mad.



Needles and pins, needles and pins,
When a man marries his trouble begins.


Old King Cole
Was a merry old soul,
And a merry old soul was he;
He called for his pipe,
And he called for his bowl,
And he called for his fiddlers three.
Every fiddler, he had a fine fiddle,
And a very fine fiddle had he;
Twee tweedle dee, tweedle dee, went the fiddlers.
Oh, there's one so rare,
As can compare
With old King Cole and his fiddlers three!


Once I saw a little bird
Come hop, hop, hop;
So I cried, "Little bird,
Will you stop, stop, stop?"
And was going to the window
To say, "How do you do?"
But he shook his little tail,
And far away he flew.


One for the money,
And two for the show;
Three to make ready,
And four to go.


One misty, moisty morning,
When cloudy was the weather,
I chanced to meet an old man
Clothed all in leather,
He began to compliment,
And I began to grin,—
"How do you do," and "How do you do,"
And "How do you do" again!


1, 2, 3, 4, 5!
I caught a hare alive;
6, 7, 8, 9, 10!
I let her go again.


One, two,
Buckle my shoe;
Three, four,
Shut the door;
Five, six,
Pick up sticks;
Seven, eight,
Lay them straight;
Nine, ten,
A good fat hen;
Eleven, twelve,
Who will delve?
Thirteen, fourteen,
Maids a-courting;
Fifteen, sixteen,
Maids a-kissing;
Seventeen, eighteen,
Maids a-waiting;
Nineteen, twenty,
My stomach's empty.


Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker's man!
So I will, master, as fast as I can:
Pat it, and prick it, and mark it with T,
Put it in the oven for Tommy and me.


Pease-porridge hot,
Pease-porridge cold,
Pease-porridge in the pot,
Nine days old;
Some like it hot,
Some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot,
Nine days old.



Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater,
Had a wife and couldn't keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin-shell,
And there he kept her very well.


Halliwell suggests that "off a pewter plate" is sometimes added at the end of each line. This rhyme is famous as a "tongue twister," or enunciation exercise.
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers;
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked;
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
Where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?


Poor old Robinson Crusoe!
Poor old Robinson Crusoe!
They made him a coat,
Of an old nanny goat,
I wonder how they could do so!
With a ring a ting tang,
And a ring a ting tang,
Poor old Robinson Crusoe!


Pussy-cat, pussy-cat, where have you been?
I've been to London to see the Queen.
Pussy-cat, pussy-cat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under the chair.


Pussy sits beside the fire;
How can she be fair?
In comes the little dog,
"Pussy, are you there?
So, so, dear Mistress Pussy,
Pray tell me how do you do?"
"Thank you, thank you, little dog,
I'm very well just now."


Ride a cock-horse to Banbury-cross,
To see an old lady upon a white horse,
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
And so she makes music wherever she goes.


Ride, baby, ride!
Pretty baby shall ride,
And have a little puppy-dog tied to her side;
And one little pussy-cat tied to the other,
And away she shall ride to see her grandmother,
To see her grandmother,
To see her grandmother.


Rock-a-bye, baby,
On the tree top,
When the wind blows
The cradle will rock;
When the bough breaks
The cradle will fall,
Down will come baby,
Bough, cradle, and all.


Rock-a-bye, baby, thy cradle is green;
Father's a nobleman, mother's a queen;
And Betty's a lady, and wears a gold ring;
And Johnny's a drummer, and drums for the king.


See a pin and pick it up,
All the day you'll have good luck;
See a pin and let it lay,
Bad luck you'll have all the day!



See, saw, sacradown,
Which is the way to London town?
One foot up, the other foot down,
And that is the way to London town.


Shoe the little horse,
And shoe the little mare,
And let the little colt
Run bare, bare, bare.


Sing a song of sixpence,
A pocket full of rye;
Four and twenty blackbirds
Baked in a pie;
When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing;
Was not that a dainty dish
To set before the king?

The king was in his counting-house
Counting out his money;
The queen was in the parlor
Eating bread and honey;

The maid was in the garden
Hanging out the clothes,
When along came a blackbird,
And pecked off her nose.

Jenny was so mad,
She didn't know what to do;
She put her finger in her ear,
And cracked it right in two.


Star light, star bright,
First star I see to-night;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish to-night.


The King of France went up the hill,
With twenty thousand men;
The King of France came down the hill,
And ne'er went up again.


The lion and the unicorn
Were fighting for the crown;
The lion beat the unicorn
All round about the town.
Some gave them white bread,
And some gave them brown,
Some gave them plumcake,
And sent them out of town.


The man in the moon
Came tumbling down,
And asked the way to Norwich;
He went by the south
And burned his mouth
With supping cold pease porridge.


The north wind doth blow,
And we shall have snow,
And what will the robin do then?
Poor thing!

He will sit in a barn,
And to keep himself warm,
Will hide his head under his wing,
Poor thing!


The Queen of Hearts she made some tarts,
All on a summer's day.
The Knave of Hearts he stole those tarts,
And hid them clean away.
The King of Hearts he missed those tarts,
And beat the Knave right sore,
The Knave of Hearts brought back the tarts,
And vowed he'd steal no more.


There was a crooked man, and he went a crooked mile,
And found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile:
[32]He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse,
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.


There was a little boy went into a barn,
And lay down on some hay;
An owl came out and flew about,
And the little boy ran away.


There was a man and he had naught,
And robbers came to rob him;
He crept up to the chimney top,
And then they thought they had him;
But he got down on t'other side,
And then they could not find him:
He ran fourteen miles in fifteen days,
And never looked behind him.


There was a man in our town,
And he was wondrous wise;
He jumped into a briar bush,
And scratched out both his eyes:
And when he saw his eyes were out,
With all his might and main
He jumped into another bush,
And scratched 'em in again.


There was an old man,
And he had a calf,
And that's half;
He took him out of the stall,
And put him on the wall;
And that's all.


There was an old woman, and what do you think?
She lived upon nothing but victuals and drink:
Victuals and drink were the chief of her diet;
Yet this little old woman could never keep quiet.

She went to the baker, to buy her some bread,
And when she came home, her old husband was dead;
She went to the clerk to toll the bell,
And when she came back her old husband was well.


There was an old woman lived under a hill,
And if she's not gone, she lives there still.
She put a mouse in a bag and sent it to mill;
The miller he swore by the point of his knife,
He never took toll of a mouse in his life.


There was an old woman of Leeds,
Who spent all her time in good deeds;
She worked for the poor,
Till her fingers were sore,
This pious old woman of Leeds!


There was an old woman of Norwich,
Who lived upon nothing but porridge!
Parading the town,
She turned cloak into gown!
This thrifty old woman of Norwich.


There was an old woman tossed up in a basket
Nineteen times as high as the moon;
Where she was going I couldn't but ask it,
[33]For in her hand she carried a broom.

"Old woman, old woman, old woman," quoth I,
"O whither, O whither, O whither, so high?"
"To brush the cobwebs off the sky!"
"Shall I go with thee?" "Aye, by and by."


There was an old woman who lived in a shoe,
She had so many children, she didn't know what to do.
She gave them some broth without any bread,
Then whipped them all soundly, and put them to bed.


There was an owl lived in an oak,
Wisky, wasky, weedle;
And every word he ever spoke,
Was fiddle, faddle, feedle.

A gunner chanced to come that way,
Wisky, wasky, weedle;
Says he, "I'll shoot you, silly bird,"
Fiddle, faddle, feedle.


This is the way the ladies ride;
Tri, tre, tre, tree, tri, tre, tre, tree!
This is the way the ladies ride,
Tri, tre, tre, tree, tri, tre, tre, tree!

This is the way the gentlemen ride;
Gallop-a-trot, gallop-a-trot!
This is the way the gentlemen ride,

This is the way the farmers ride;
Hobbledy-hoy, hobbledy-hoy!
This is the way the farmers ride,


1. This little pig went to market;
2. This little pig stayed at home;
3. This little pig had roast beef;
4. And this little pig had none;
5. This little pig said, "Wee, wee, wee!
I can't find my way home."


Three blind mice! see, how they run!
They all ran after the farmer's wife,
Who cut off their tails with the carving knife!
Did you ever see such a thing in your life?
Three blind mice!


Three wise men of Gotham
Went to sea in a bowl;
If the bowl had been stronger,
My song would have been longer.


To market, to market, to buy a fat pig,
Home again, home again, dancing a jig;
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog,
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog;
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun.
Home again, home again, market is done.


Tom, Tom, the piper's son,
Stole a pig and away he run!
The pig was eat, and Tom was beat,
And Tom went roaring down the street!


Two-legs sat upon three-legs,
With one-leg in his lap;
In comes four-legs
And runs away with one-leg;
Up jumps two-legs,
[34]Catches up three-legs,
Throws it after four-legs,
And makes him bring one-leg back.
(One-leg is a leg of mutton;
two-legs, a man; three-legs,
a stool; four-legs, a dog.


The following is another good "tongue twister" (see No. 77). It is recommended for the little lisper, and in former days it was recommended as a sure cure for the hiccoughs.
When a twister a-twisting would twist him a twist,
For twisting a twist three twists he will twist;
But if one of the twists untwists from the twist,
The twist untwisting untwists the twist.


"Willy boy, Willy boy, where are you going?
I will go with you, if I may."

"I am going to the meadow to see them a-mowing,
I am going to see them make the hay."


No. 116 and the two rhymes following are by Miss Wilhelmina Seegmiller. (By permission of the publishers, Rand McNally & Co., Chicago.) Their presence will allow teachers to compare some widely and successfully used modern efforts with the traditional jingles in the midst of which they are placed.


As white as milk,
As soft as silk,
And hundreds close together:
They sail away,
On an autumn day,
When windy is the weather.



Pop! fizz! bang! whizz!
Don't you know what day this is?

Fizz! bang! whizz! pop!
Hurrah for the Fourth! and hippity-hop!



Twink, twink, twink, twink,
Twinkety, twinkety, twink!
The fireflies light their lanterns,
Then put them out in a wink.

Twink, twink, twink, twink,
They light their light once more,
Then twinkety, twinkety, twink, twink,
They put them out as before.

Nos. 119-146 are in the main the longer nursery favorites and may somewhat loosely be called the novels and epics of the nursery as the former group may be called the lyrics and short stories. All of them are marked by dramatic power, a necessary element in all true classics for children whether in verse or prose. Nos. 119 and 120 are two of the favorite jingles used in teaching the alphabet. Each letter suggests a distinct image. In No. 119 the images are all of actions, and connected by the direction of these actions upon a single object. In No. 120 the images are each complete and independent. Here it may be noticed that some of the elements of the pictures are determined by the exigencies of rhyme, as, for instance, what the archer shot at, and what the lady had. The originator doubtless expected the child to see the relation of cause and consequence between Y and Z.



A was an apple-pie;
[35]B bit it;
C cut it;
D dealt it;
E eat it;
F fought for it;
G got it;
H had it;
J joined it:
K kept it;
L longed for it;
M mourned for it;
N nodded at it;
O opened it;
P peeped in it;
Q quartered it;
R ran for it;
S stole it;
T took it;
V viewed it;
W wanted it;
X, Y, Z, and Ampersand (&)
All wished for a piece in hand.



A was an archer, and shot at a frog;
B was a butcher, and kept a bull-dog.

C was a captain, all covered with lace;
D was a drunkard, and had a red face.

E was an esquire, with insolent brow;
F was a farmer, and followed the plough.

G was a gamester, who had but ill luck;
H was a hunter, and hunted a buck.

I was an innkeeper, who loved to carouse;
J was a joiner, and built up a house.

K was a king, so mighty and grand;
L was a lady, who had a white hand.

M was a miser, and hoarded up gold;
N was a nobleman, gallant and bold.

O was an oyster girl, and went about town;
P was a parson, and wore a black gown.

Q was a queen, who sailed in a ship;
R was a robber, and wanted a whip.

S was a sailor, and spent all he got;
T was a tinker, and mended a pot.

U was an usurer, a miserable elf;
V was a vintner, who drank all himself.

W was a watchman, and guarded the door;
X was expensive, and so became poor.

Y was a youth, that did not love school;
Z was a zany, a poor harmless fool.



Where are you going, my pretty maid?
"I'm going a-milking, sir," she said.
May I go with you, my pretty maid?
"You're kindly welcome, sir," she said.
What is your father, my pretty maid?
"My father's a farmer, sir," she said.
What is your fortune, my pretty maid?
"My face is my fortune, sir," she said.
Then I can't marry you, my pretty maid.
"Nobody asked you, sir," she said.



Molly, my sister, and I fell out,
And what do you think it was about?
She loved coffee, and I loved tea,
And that was the reason we couldn't agree.
But Molly, my sister, and I made up,
And now together we can sup,
For Molly drinks coffee, and I drink tea,
And we both are happy as happy can be.




London bridge is broken down,
Dance o'er my lady Lee;
London bridge is broken down,
With a gay lady.

How shall we build it up again?
Dance o'er my lady Lee;
How shall we build it up again?
With a gay lady.

Build it up with silver and gold,
Dance o'er my lady Lee;
Build it up with silver and gold,
With a gay lady.

Silver and gold will be stole away,
Dance o'er my lady Lee;
Silver and gold will be stole away,
With a gay lady.

Build it again with iron and steel,
Dance o'er my lady Lee;
Build it up with iron and steel,
With a gay lady.

Iron and steel will bend and bow,
Dance o'er my lady Lee;
Iron and steel will bend and bow,
With a gay lady.

Build it up with wood and clay,
Dance o'er my lady Lee;
Build it up with wood and clay,
With a gay lady.

Wood and clay will wash away,
Dance o'er my lady Lee;
Wood and clay will wash away,
With a gay lady.

Build it up with stone so strong,
Dance o'er my lady Lee;
Huzza! 'twill last for ages long,
With a gay lady.



I saw a ship a-sailing,
A-sailing on the sea;
And oh, it was all laden
With pretty things for thee!

There were comfits in the cabin,
And apples in the hold;
The sails were made of silk,
And the masts were made of gold!

The four and twenty sailors,
That stood between the decks,
Were four and twenty white mice,
With chains about their necks.

The captain was a duck,
With a packet on his back;
And when the ship began to move,
The captain said, "Quack! Quack!"



There was an old woman, as I've heard tell,
She went to market her eggs for to sell;
She went to market all on a market-day,
And she fell asleep on the king's highway.

By came a pedlar whose name was Stout,
He cut her petticoats all round about;
He cut her petticoats up to her knees,
Which made the old woman to shiver and freeze.

When this little woman first did wake,
She began to shiver and she began to shake,
She began to wonder, and she began to cry,
"Lauk a mercy on me, this is none of I!

"But if it be I, as I do hope it be,
[37]I've a little dog at home, and he'll know me;
If it be I, he'll wag his little tail,
And if it be not I, he'll loudly bark and wail."

Home went the little woman all in the dark,
Up got the little dog, and he began to bark;
He began to bark, so she began to cry,
"Lauk a mercy on me, this is none of I!"



Little Bo-peep has lost her sheep,
And can't tell where to find them;
Leave them alone, and they'll come home,
And bring their tails behind them.

Little Bo-peep fell fast asleep,
And dreamt she heard them bleating;
But when she awoke, she found it a joke,
For they were still all fleeting.

Then up she took her little crook,
Determined for to find them;
She found them indeed, but it made her heart bleed,
For they'd left their tails behind them.

It happened one day, as Bo-peep did stray,
Unto a meadow hard by:
There she espied their tails side by side,
All hung on a tree to dry.



Cock a doodle doo!
My dame has lost her shoe;
My master's lost his fiddling stick,
And don't know what to do.

Cock a doodle doo!
What is my dame to do?
Till master finds his fiddling stick,
She'll dance without her shoe.

Cock a doodle doo!
My dame has found her shoe,
And master's found his fiddling stick,
Sing doodle doodle doo!

Cock a doodle doo!
My dame will dance with you,
While master fiddles his fiddling stick,
For dame and doodle doo.



There were three jovial huntsmen,
As I have heard them say,
And they would go a-hunting
All on a summer's day.

All the day they hunted,
And nothing could they find
But a ship a-sailing,
A-sailing with the wind.

One said it was a ship,
The other he said nay;
The third said it was a house
With the chimney blown away.

And all the night they hunted,
And nothing could they find,
But the moon a-gliding,
A-gliding with the wind.

One said it was the moon,
The other he said nay;
The third said it was a cheese,
And half o't cut away.



There was a little man,
And he had a little gun,
And his bullets were made of lead, lead, lead;
He went to a brook,
And fired at a duck,
[38]And shot it through the head, head, head.
He carried it home
To his old wife Joan,
And bade her a fire to make, make, make,
To roast the little duck,
He had shot in the brook,
And he'd go and fetch her the drake, drake, drake.

The drake was a-swimming,
With his curly tail;
The little man made it his mark, mark, mark!
He let off his gun,
But he fired too soon,
And the drake flew away with a quack, quack, quack.



Taffy was a Welshman;
Taffy was a thief;
Taffy came to my house,
And stole a piece of beef.
I went to Taffy's house;
Taffy wasn't home;
Taffy came to my house,
And stole a marrow-bone.
I went to Taffy's house;
Taffy was in bed;
I took up the marrow-bone
And flung it at his head!



Simple Simon met a pieman
Going to the fair:
Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
"Let me taste your ware."

Says the pieman to Simple Simon,
"Show me first your penny."
Says Simple Simon to the pieman,
"Indeed I haven't any."

Simple Simon went a fishing
Just to catch a whale:
All the water he had got
Was in his mother's pail.

Simple Simon went to look
If plums grew on a thistle;
He pricked his fingers very much,
Which made poor Simon whistle.



A farmer went trotting upon his gray mare,
Bumpety, bumpety, bump!
With his daughter behind him so rosy and fair,
Lumpety, lumpety, lump!

A raven cried "Croak!" and they all tumbled down,
Bumpety, bumpety, bump!
The mare broke her knees, and the farmer his crown,
Lumpety, lumpety, lump!

The mischievous raven flew laughing away,
Bumpety, bumpety, bump!
And vowed he would serve them the same the next day,
Lumpety, lumpety, lump!



Tom he was a piper's son,
He learned to play when he was young,
But all the tunes that he could play,
Was "Over the hills and far away";
Over the hills, and a great way off,
And the wind will blow my top-knot off.

Now Tom with his pipe made such a noise,
[39]That he pleased both the girls and boys,
And they stopped to hear him play,
"Over the hills and far away."

Tom with his pipe did play with such skill,
That those who heard him could never keep still;
Whenever they heard him they began to dance,
Even pigs on their hind legs would after him prance.

As Dolly was milking her cow one day,
Tom took out his pipe and began to play;
So Doll and the cow danced "the Cheshire round,"
Till the pail was broke and the milk ran on the ground.

He met old dame Trot with a basket of eggs,
He used his pipes and she used her legs;
She danced about till the eggs were all broke,
She began for to fret, but he laughed at the joke.

He saw a cross fellow was beating an ass,
Heavy laden with pots, pans, dishes, and glass;
He took out his pipe and played them a tune,
And the jackass's load was lightened full soon.



When I was a little boy,
I lived by myself,
And all the bread and cheese I got,
I put upon my shelf.

The rats and the mice,
They made such a strife,
I had to go to London
To buy me a wife.

The streets were so broad,
And the lanes were so narrow,
I had to bring my wife home
On a wheelbarrow.

The wheelbarrow broke,
And my wife had a fall;
Down tumbled wheelbarrow,
Little wife and all.



My dear, you must know that a long time ago,
Two poor little children whose names I don't know,
Were stolen away on a fine summer's day,
And left in a wood, as I've heard people say.
Poor babes in the wood, poor babes in the wood!
So hard was the fate of the babes in the wood.

And when it was night, so sad was their plight,
The sun it went down, and the stars gave no light.
They sobbed and they sighed, and they bitterly cried,
And the poor little things they lay down and died.

And when they were dead, the robins so red,
Brought strawberry leaves, and over them spread.
And all the day long, the branches among,
They sang to them softly, and this was their song:
Poor babes in the wood, poor babes in the wood!
So hard was the fate of the babes in the wood.




The fox and his wife they had a great strife,
They never ate mustard in all their whole life;
They ate their meat without fork or knife,
And loved to be picking a bone, e-oh!

The fox jumped up on a moonlight night;
The stars they were shining, and all things bright;
Oh, ho! said the fox, it's a very fine night
For me to go through the town, e-oh!

The fox when he came to yonder stile,
He lifted his ears and he listened awhile!
Oh, ho! said the fox, it's but a short mile
From this unto yonder wee town, e-oh!

The fox when he came to the farmer's gate,
Who should he see but the farmer's drake;
I love you well for your master's sake,
And long to be picking your bone, e-oh!

The gray goose she ran round the haystack,
Oh, ho! said the fox, you are very fat;
You'll grease my beard and ride on my back
From this into yonder wee town, e-oh!

The farmer's wife she jumped out of bed,
And out of the window she popped her head:
Oh, husband! oh, husband! the geese are all dead,
For the fox has been through the town, e-oh!

The farmer he loaded his pistol with lead,
And shot the old rogue of a fox through the head;
Ah, ha! said the farmer, I think you're quite dead;
And no more you'll trouble the town, e-oh!



For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For want of the shoe, the horse was lost;
For want of the horse, the rider was lost;
For want of the rider, the battle was lost;
For want of the battle, the kingdom was lost;
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail!



A man of words and not of deeds
Is like a garden full of weeds;
And when the weeds begin to grow,
It's like a garden full of snow;
And when the snow begins to fall,
It's like a bird upon the wall;
And when the bird away does fly,
It's like an eagle in the sky;
And when the sky begins to roar,
It's like a lion at the door;
And when the door begins to crack,
It's like a stick across your back;
And when your back begins to smart,
It's like a penknife in your heart;
And when your heart begins to bleed,
You're dead, and dead, and dead, indeed.


The first stanza of this jingle was long attributed to Longfellow as an impromptu made on one of his children. He took occasion to deny this, as well as the authorship of the almost equally famous "Mr. Finney had a turnip." The last two stanzas bear evidence of a more sophisticated origin than that of real nursery rhymes. Mr. Lucas, in his Book of Verses for Children, gives two different versions of these stanzas.



There was a little girl, and she had a little curl,
Right down the middle of her forehead,
When she was good, she was very, very good,
But when she was bad, she was horrid.

One day she went upstairs, while her parents, unawares,
In the kitchen down below were occupied with meals,
And she stood upon her head, on her little truckle-bed,
And she then began hurraying with her heels.

Her mother heard the noise, and thought it was the boys,
A playing at a combat in the attic,
But when she climbed the stair and saw Jemima there,
She took and she did whip her most emphatic!


The following was one of the favorite "toy-book" texts of the eighteenth century. These little books generally had a crude woodcut and one stanza of text on a page. It can be seen how easily this story lends itself to illustration. Each stanza is a chapter, and the story-teller could continue as long as his inventiveness held out. In one edition there are these additional lines:
"Old Mother Hubbard sat down in a chair,
And danced her dog to a delicate air;
She went to the garden to buy him a pippin,
When she came back the dog was a-skipping."


Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard,
To get her poor dog a bone;
But when she came there,
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.

She went to the baker's
To buy him some bread;
But when she came back,
The poor dog was dead.

She went to the joiner's
To buy him a coffin;
But when she came back,
The poor dog was laughing.

She took a clean dish,
To get him some tripe;
But when she came back
He was smoking his pipe.

She went to the fishmonger's
To buy him some fish;
And when she came back
He was licking the dish.

She went to the ale-house
To get him some beer;
But when she came back
The dog sat in a chair.

She went to the tavern
For white wine and red;
But when she came back
The dog stood on his head.

She went to the hatter's
To buy him a hat;
But when she came back
[42]He was feeding the cat.

She went to the barber's
To buy him a wig;
But when she came back
He was dancing a jig.

She went to the fruiterer's
To buy him some fruit;
But when she came back,
He was playing the flute.

She went to the tailor's
To buy him a coat;
But when she came back,
He was riding a goat.

She went to the cobbler's
To buy him some shoes;
But when she came back,
He was reading the news.

She went to the seamstress
To buy him some linen;
But when she came back,
The dog was spinning.

She went to the hosier's
To buy him some hose;
But when she came back,
He was dressed in his clothes.

The dame made a curtsy,
The dog made a bow;
The dame said, "Your servant,"
The dog said, "Bow, wow."


This story of a bird courtship and marriage with its attendant feast and tragedy, all followed by the long dirge of No. 142, constitutes one of the longest nursery novels. Its opportunities for the illustrator are very marked, and a copy illustrated by the children themselves would be an addition to the joy of any schoolroom.




It was a merry time
When Jenny Wren was young,
So neatly as she danced,
And so sweetly as she sung,
Robin Redbreast lost his heart:
He was a gallant bird;
He doft his hat to Jenny,
And thus to her he said:—

"My dearest Jenny Wren,
If you will but be mine,
You shall dine on cherry pie,
And drink nice currant wine.
I'll dress you like a Goldfinch,
Or like a Peacock gay;
So if you'll have me, Jenny,
Let us appoint the day."

Jenny blushed behind her fan,
And thus declared her mind:
"Then let it be to-morrow, Bob,
I take your offer kind—
Cherry pie is very good!
So is currant wine!
But I will wear my brown gown,
And never dress too fine."

Robin rose up early
At the break of day;
He flew to Jenny Wren's house,
To sing a roundelay.
He met the Cock and Hen,
And bid the Cock declare,
This was his wedding-day
[43]With Jenny Wren, the fair.

The Cock then blew his horn,
To let the neighbors know,
This was Robin's wedding-day,
And they might see the show.
And first came parson Rook,
With his spectacles and band,
And one of Mother Hubbard's books
He held within his hand.

Then followed him the Lark,
For he could sweetly sing,
And he was to be clerk
At Cock Robin's wedding.
He sang of Robin's love
For little Jenny Wren;
And when he came unto the end,
Then he began again.

Then came the bride and bridegroom;
Quite plainly was she dressed,
And blushed so much, her cheeks were
As red as Robin's breast.
But Robin cheered her up:
"My pretty Jen," said he,
"We're going to be married
And happy we shall be."

The Goldfinch came on next,
To give away the bride;
The Linnet, being bride's maid,
Walked by Jenny's side;
And, as she was a-walking,
She said, "Upon my word,
I think that your Cock Robin
Is a very pretty bird."

The Bullfinch walked by Robin,
And thus to him did say,
"Pray, mark, friend Robin Redbreast,
That Goldfinch, dressed so gay;
What though her gay apparel
Becomes her very well,
Yet Jenny's modest dress and look
Must bear away the bell."

The Blackbird and the Thrush,
And charming Nightingale,
Whose sweet jug sweetly echoes
Through every grove and dale;
The Sparrow and Tom Tit,
And many more, were there:
All came to see the wedding
Of Jenny Wren, the fair.

"O then," says parson Rook,
"Who gives this maid away?"
"I do," says the Goldfinch,
"And her fortune I will pay:
Here's a bag of grain of many sorts,
And other things beside;
Now happy be the bridegroom,
And happy be the bride!"

"And will you have her, Robin,
To be your wedded wife?"
"Yes, I will," says Robin,
"And love her all my life."
"And will you have him, Jenny,
Your husband now to be?"
"Yes, I will," says Jenny,
"And love him heartily."

Then on her finger fair
Cock Robin put the ring;
"You're married now," says parson Rook,
While the Lark aloud did sing:
"Happy be the bridegroom,
And happy be the bride!
And may not man, nor bird, nor beast,
This happy pair divide."

The birds were asked to dine;
Not Jenny's friends alone,
But every pretty songster
That had Cock Robin known.
They had a cherry pie,
Besides some currant wine,
And every guest brought something,
[44]That sumptuous they might dine.

Now they all sat or stood
To eat and to drink;
And every one said what
He happened to think;
They each took a bumper,
And drank to the pair:
Cock Robin, the bridegroom,
And Jenny Wren, the fair.

The dinner-things removed,
They all began to sing;
And soon they made the place
Near a mile round to ring.
The concert it was fine;
And every bird tried
Who best could sing for Robin
And Jenny Wren, the bride.

Then in came the Cuckoo,
And he made a great rout:
He caught hold of Jenny,
And pulled her about.
Cock Robin was angry,
And so was the Sparrow,
Who fetched in a hurry
His bow and his arrow.

His aim then he took,
But he took it not right;
His skill was not good,
Or he shot in a fright;
For the Cuckoo he missed,
But Cock Robin killed!—
And all the birds mourned
That his blood was so spilled.



Who killed Cock Robin?
"I," said the Sparrow,
"With my bow and arrow;
And I killed Cock Robin."

Who saw him die?
"I," said the Fly,
"With my little eye;
And I saw him die."

Who caught his blood?
"I," said the Fish,
"With my little dish;
And I caught his blood."

Who made his shroud?
"I," said the Beetle,
"With my little needle;
And I made his shroud."

Who will be the parson?
"I," said the Rook;
"With my little book;
And I will be the parson."

Who will dig his grave?
"I," said the Owl,
"With my spade and shovel;
And I'll dig his grave."

Who will be the clerk?
"I," said the Lark,
"If 'tis not in the dark;
And I will be the clerk."

Who'll carry him to the grave?
"I," said the Kite,
"If 'tis not in the night;
And I'll carry him to the grave."

Who will be the chief mourner?
"I," said the Dove,
"Because of my love;
And I will be chief mourner."

Who will sing a psalm?
"I," said the Thrush,
As she sat in a bush;
[45]"And I will sing a psalm."

Who will bear the pall?
"We," said the Wren,
Both the Cock and the Hen;
"And we will bear the pall."

Who will toll the bell?
"I," said the Bull,
"Because I can pull."
And so, Cock Robin, farewell.

All the birds of the air
Fell to sighing and sobbing
When they heard the bell toll
For poor Cock Robin.


The following tale was edited (1885) for children by John Ruskin from a version "written principally by a lady of ninety (Mrs. Sharp.)" Ruskin himself added the third, fourth, eighth, and ninth stanzas, because "in the old books no account is given of what the cats learned when they went to school, and I thought my younger readers might be glad of some notice of such particulars." But he thought his rhymes did not ring like the real ones, of which he said: "I aver these rhymes to possess the primary value of rhyme—that is, to be rhythmical in a pleasant and exemplary degree." The book was illustrated with quaint woodcuts for each stanza after the edition of 1823, with additional drawings for the four new stanzas by Kate Greenaway, one of the most famous illustrators of children's books. Ruskin commends the result "to the indulgence of the Christmas fireside, because it relates nothing that is sad, and portrays nothing that is ugly."


Dame Wiggins of Lee
Was a worthy old soul,
As e'er threaded a nee-
dle, or wash'd in a bowl;
She held mice and rats
In such antipa-thy,
That seven fine cats
Kept Dame Wiggins of Lee.

The rats and mice scared
By this fierce whisker'd crew,
The poor seven cats
Soon had nothing to do;
So, as any one idle
She ne'er loved to see,
She sent them to school,
Did Dame Wiggins of Lee.

The Master soon wrote
That they all of them knew
How to read the word "milk"
And to spell the word "mew."
And they all washed their faces
Before they took tea:
"Were there ever such dears!"
Said Dame Wiggins of Lee.

He had also thought well
To comply with their wish
To spend all their play-time
In learning to fish
For stitlings; they sent her
A present of three,
Which, fried, were a feast
For Dame Wiggins of Lee.

But soon she grew tired
Of living alone;
So she sent for her cats
From school to come home.
Each rowing a wherry,
Returning you see:
The frolic made merry
Dame Wiggins of Lee.

The Dame was quite pleas'd
And ran out to market;
When she came back
[46]They were mending the carpet.
The needle each handled
As brisk as a bee;
"Well done, my good cats,"
Said Dame Wiggins of Lee.

To give them a treat,
She ran out for some rice;
When she came back,
They were skating on ice.
"I shall soon see one down,
Aye, perhaps, two or three,
I'll bet half-a-crown,"
Said Dame Wiggins of Lee.

When spring-time came back
They had breakfast of curds;
And were greatly afraid
Of disturbing the birds.
"If you sit, like good cats,
All the seven in a tree,
They will teach you to sing!"
Said Dame Wiggins of Lee.

So they sat in a tree,
And said "Beautiful! Hark!"
And they listened and looked
In the clouds for the lark.
Then sang, by the fireside,
A song without words
To Dame Wiggins of Lee.

They called the next day
On the tomtit and sparrow,
And wheeled a poor sick lamb
Home in a barrow.
"You shall all have some sprats
For your humani-ty,
My seven good cats,"
Said Dame Wiggins of Lee.

While she ran to the field,
To look for its dam,
They were warming the bed
For the poor sick lamb:
They turn'd up the clothes
All as neat as could be;
"I shall ne'er want a nurse,"
Said Dame Wiggins of Lee.

She wished them good night,
And went up to bed:
When, lo! in the morning,
The cats were all fled.
But soon—what a fuss!
"Where can they all be?
Here, pussy, puss, puss!"
Cried Dame Wiggins of Lee.

The Dame's heart was nigh broke,
So she sat down to weep,
When she saw them come back
Each riding a sheep:
She fondled and patted
Each purring tom-my:
"Ah! welcome, my dears,"
Said Dame Wiggins of Lee.

The Dame was unable
Her pleasure to smother,
To see the sick lamb
Jump up to its mother.
In spite of the gout,
And a pain in her knee,
She went dancing about:
Did Dame Wiggins of Lee.

The Farmer soon heard
Where his sheep went astray,
And arrived at Dame's door
With his faithful dog Tray.
He knocked with his crook,
And the stranger to see,
Out the window did look
Dame Wiggins of Lee.

For their kindness he had them
All drawn by his team;
And gave them some field-mice,
[47]And raspberry-cream.
Said he, "All my stock
You shall presently see;
For I honor the cats
Of Dame Wiggins of Lee."

He sent his maid out
For some muffins and crumpets;
And when he turn'd round
They were blowing of trumpets.
Said he, "I suppose
She's as deaf as can be,
Or this ne'er could be borne
By Dame Wiggins of Lee."

To show them his poultry,
He turn'd them all loose,
When each nimbly leap'd
On the back of a goose,
Which frighten'd them so
That they ran to the sea,
And half-drown'd the poor cats
Of Dame Wiggins of Lee.

For the care of his lamb,
And their comical pranks,
He gave them a ham
And abundance of thanks.
"I wish you good-day,
My fine fellows," said he;
"My compliments, pray,
To Dame Wiggins of Lee."

You see them arrived
At their Dame's welcome door;
They show her their presents,
And all their good store.
"Now come in to supper,
And sit down with me;
All welcome once more,"
Cried Dame Wiggins of Lee.


This is the perfect pattern of all the accumulative stories, perhaps the best known and most loved of children among all nursery jingles. Halliwell thought it descended from the mystical Hebrew hymn, "A kid, a kid," found in the Talmud. Most commentators since have followed his example in calling attention to the parallel, though scholars have insisted that the hymn referred to is a late interpolation. The hymn opens:
"A kid, a kid, my father bought,
For two pieces of money:
A kid, a kid.

"Then came the cat, and ate the kid,
That my father bought," etc.
Then came the dog and bit the cat, then the staff and beat the dog, then the fire and burned the staff, then water and quenched the fire, then the ox and drank the water, then the butcher and slew the ox, then the angel of death and killed the butcher, and the hymn concludes:
"Then came the Holy One, blessed be He!
And killed the angel of death,
That killed the butcher,
That slew the ox,
That drank the water,
That quenched the fire,
That burned the staff,
That beat the dog,
That bit the cat,
That ate the kid,
That my father bought
For two pieces of money:
A kid, a kid."
There is an elaborate interpretation of the symbolism of this hymn, going back at least as far as 1731, in which the kid denotes the Hebrews, the father is Jehovah, the cat is the Assyrians, the dog is the Babylonians, the staff is the Persians, the fire is Greece under Alexander, the water is the Roman Empire, the ox is the Saracens, the butcher is the crusaders, the angel of death is the Turkish power, while the concluding accumulation shows that God will take vengeance on the enemies of the chosen people. This is the interpretation in barest outline only. Without the key no one would ever guess its hidden meaning. Fortunately, "The House That Jack Built" has no such[48] hidden meaning. But the important point is that such accumulative stories are almost as old as human records, and, like so many other possessions of the race, seem to have come to us from the Far East.


This is the house that Jack built.

This is the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the maiden all forlorn,
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the man all tattered and torn,
That kissed the maiden all forlorn,
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the priest all shaven and shorn,
That married the man all tattered and torn,
That kissed the maiden all forlorn,
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the cock that crowed in the morn,
That waked the priest all shaven and shorn,
That married the man all tattered and torn,
That kissed the maiden all forlorn,
That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.

This is the farmer sowing his corn,
That kept the cock that crowed in the morn,
That waked the priest all shaven and shorn,
That married the man all tattered and torn,
That kissed the maiden all forlorn,
[49]That milked the cow with the crumpled horn,
That tossed the dog,
That worried the cat,
That killed the rat,
That ate the malt
That lay in the house that Jack built.



There was a tree stood in the ground,
The prettiest tree you ever did see;
The tree in the wood, and the wood in the ground,
And the green grass growing all around.

And on this tree there was a limb,
The prettiest limb you ever did see;
The limb on the tree, and the tree in the wood,
The tree in the wood, and the wood in the ground,
And the green grass growing all around.

And on this limb there was a bough,
The prettiest bough you ever did see;
The bough on the limb, and the limb on the tree,
The limb on the tree, and the tree in the wood,
The tree in the wood, and the wood in the ground,
And the green grass growing all around.

Now on this bough there was a nest,
The prettiest nest you ever did see;
The nest on the bough, and the bough on the limb,
The limb on the tree, and the tree in the wood,
The tree in the wood, and the wood in the ground,
And the green grass growing all around.

And in the nest there were some eggs,
The prettiest eggs you ever did see;
Eggs in the nest, and the nest on the bough,
The bough on the limb, and the limb on the tree,
The limb on the tree, and the tree in the wood,
The tree in the wood, and the wood in the ground,
And the green grass growing all around,
And the green grass growing all around.


The following story is the same as that of the Norwegian tale "The Husband Who Was to Mind the House" (No. 170). In the Halliwell version the final lines read,
"If his wife didn't do a day's work in her life,
She should ne'er be ruled by he."
A later reading, now generally accepted, avoids the bad grammar by changing to direct discourse.


There was an old man, who lived in a wood,
As you may plainly see;
He said he could do as much work in a day,
As his wife could do in three.
With all my heart, the old woman said,
If that you will allow,
To-morrow you'll stay at home in my stead,
And I'll go drive the plough:

But you must milk the Tidy cow,
For fear that she go dry;
And you must feed the little pigs
That are within the sty;
And you must mind the speckled hen,
[50]For fear she lay away;
And you must reel the spool of yarn,
That I spun yesterday.

The old woman took a staff in her hand,
And went to drive the plough:
The old man took a pail in his hand,
And went to milk the cow;
But Tidy hinched, and Tidy flinched,
And Tidy broke his nose,
And Tidy gave him such a blow,
That the blood ran down to his toes.

High! Tidy! ho! Tidy! high!
Tidy! do stand still;
If ever I milk you, Tidy, again,
'Twill be sore against my will!

He went to feed the little pigs
That were within the sty;
He hit his head against the beam,
And he made the blood to fly.
He went to mind the speckled hen,
For fear she'd lay astray,
And he forgot the spool of yarn
His wife spun yesterday.

So he swore by the sun, the moon, and the stars,
And the green leaves on the tree,
"If my wife doesn't do a day's work in her life,
She shall ne'er be ruled by me."







Jacobs, Joseph, English Fairy Tales, More English Fairy Tales, Celtic Fairy Tales, More Celtic Fairy Tales, Indian Fairy Tales, Europa's Fairy Tales.
Lang, Andrew, The Blue Fairy Book, The Red Fairy Book, The Green Fairy Book, The Yellow Fairy Book.
The Perrault stories are included in the first. Many other volumes named by colors (Violet, Orange, etc.) were made under Mr. Lang's direction, but these four include the cream.


English: Campbell, J. F., Popular Tales of the West Highlands. 4 vols.
Halliwell, J. O., Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales.
Hartland, E. S., English Fairy and Folk Tales.
German: Grimm, J. and W., Kinder und Hausmärchen (Household Tales).
Translated by Edgar Taylor as Grimm's Popular Stories (55 stories, 1823-1827), and illustrated by George Cruikshank. Best reprint is in one volume with introduction by John Ruskin.
Translated complete by Margaret Hunt (2 vols., 1884), Introduction by Andrew Lang.
Other excellent translations of selected stories by Mrs. Lucas and by Lucy Crane.
Indian: Frere, Mary, Old Deccan Days.
Knowles, J. H., Folk Tales of Kashmir.
Steel, Flora Annie, Tales of the Punjab. (Notes by Captain R. C. Temple.)
Stokes, Maive, Indian Fairy Tales.
Irish: Curtin, J., Hero Tales of Ireland.
Graves, A. P., The Irish Fairy Book.
Hyde, Douglas, Beside the Fire.
Joyce, P. W., Old Celtic Romances.
Wilde, Lady Constance, Ancient Irish Legends.
Yeats, W. B., Irish Fairy Tales.
Italian: Crane, T. F., Italian Popular Tales.
Norse: Asbjörnsen, P. C., and Moe, J., Norske Folke-eventyr (Norwegian Folk Tales, 1842-1844, with subsequent additions).
Translated by Sir George Webbe Dasent in Popular Tales from the Norse and Tales of the Fjeld; by H. L. Braekstad in Round the Yule Log and Fairy Tales from the North.
Slavic: Bain, R. Nesbit, Cossack Fairy Tales, Russian Folk Tales.


Cox, Roalfe, Cinderella. (Introduction by Lang.)
Clouston, W. A., Popular Tales and Fictions. 2 vols.
Gomme, G. L., Folklore as an Historical Science.
Hartland, E. S., The Science of Fairy Tales.
Keightly, Thomas, Fairy Mythology.
Lang, Andrew, Perrault's Popular Tales. (Introduction.)
MacCulloch, J. A., The Childhood of Fiction.


Adler, Felix, The Moral Instruction of Children, pp. 63-79.
Kready, Laura F., The Study of Fairy Tales. (Indispensable.)
MacClintock, P. L., Literature in the Elementary School, pp. 92-112.
McMurry, Charles, Special Method in Reading, pp. 47-69.




The forty-three tales in this section have been chosen (1) in the light of what experience shows children most enjoy, (2) to represent as fully as possible the great variety of our traditional inheritance, (3) to afford an opportunity of calling attention to additional riches in various collections, and (4) to suggest a fair minimum of the amount of such material to be used with children. As in all such questions of judgment, there must inevitably be differences of opinion. Many will doubtless find stories missing that seem necessary even to so small a list, while others will find tales included that may seem questionable. Such a selection can be, and is intended to be, only tentative, a starting point from which there are many lines of departure.

Folklore. These tales are all from the traditional field. They are mainly of anonymous and popular origin, handed down orally by peasants. The investigation of their origin, distribution, and interrelations belongs to the science of folklore. A good-sized library could be filled entirely with the books concerned with the studies and disputations in this interesting field. While the folklorists have very much of value to tell the teacher, their questions may be largely ignored until the latter is quite fully acquainted with a large body of the acknowledged masterpieces among folk stories, especially those which the schools have taken to themselves as useful in elementary work. Teachers interested in pursuing the matter further—and it is to be hoped there are many such—will find suggestions in the notes at the head of each tale and in the preceding bibliography that may prove serviceable in directing them some little way. Each book will point the student to many others; when he is once started on the road of investigation, there will open up many unexpected and fascinating vistas.

Objections to fairy tales. These objections seem to fall as a rule under two main heads. First, there are those who object to any stimulation of the fanciful in children, and who would have us confine ourselves to what they call realities. They would eliminate as far as possible all the imaginings of children. The make-believe world so dear to infancy has no place in their creed. Second, there are those who doubt the moral tendency of all fairy tales. They observe that many of these tales come to us from a cruder and coarser social state than our own, that they contain elements of a superstitious and animistic past, that they often deal with cruelties and horrors, trickeries and disloyalties, that they are full of romantic improbabilities and impossibilities. It may as well be admitted at once that the folklore of the world contains many stories to which these and other objections are valid.

Is there a proper line of defense for fairy tales? Dr. Felix Adler, who certainly cannot be accused of being insensible to realities, puts the case thus, as between defenders and objectors: "I venture to think that, as in many other cases, the cause of the quarrel is what logicians call an undistributed middle—in other words, that[54] the parties to the dispute have each a different kind of fairy tale in mind. This species of literature can be divided broadly into two classes—one consisting of tales which ought to be rejected because they are really harmful, and children ought to be protected from their bad influence, the other of tales which have a most beautiful and elevating effect, and which we cannot possibly afford to leave unutilized." Dr. Adler proceeds to point out that the chief pedagogic values of the latter class are (1) that they exercise and cultivate the imagination, and (2) that they stimulate the idealizing tendency.

John Ruskin, another teacher who constantly in his writings throws the emphasis upon the necessity of a true ethical understanding, has this to say about the mischievous habit of trying to remake the fairy story in the service of morals: "And the effect of the endeavor to make stories moral upon the literary merit of the work itself, is as harmful as the motive of the effort is false. For every fairy tale worth recording at all is the remnant of a tradition possessing true historical value;—historical, at least in so far as it has naturally arisen out of the mind of a people under special circumstances, and arisen not without meaning, nor removed altogether from their sphere of religious faith. It sustains afterwards natural changes from the sincere action of the fear or fancy of successive generations; it takes new color from their manner of life, and new form from their changing moral tempers. As long as these changes are natural and effortless, accidental and inevitable, the story remains essentially true, altering its form, indeed, like a flying cloud, but remaining a sign of the sky; a shadowy image, as truly a part of the great firmament of the human mind as the light of reason which it seems to interrupt. But the fair deceit and innocent error of it cannot be interpreted nor restrained by a wilful purpose, and all additions to it by art do but defile, as the shepherd disturbs the flakes of morning mist with smoke from his fire of dead leaves." Instead of retouching stories "to suit particular tastes, or inculcate favorite doctrines," Ruskin would have the child "know his fairy tale accurately, and have perfect joy or awe in the conception of it as if it were real; thus he will always be exercising his power of grasping realities: but a confused, careless, and discrediting tenure of the fiction will lead to as confused and careless reading of fact." Still further, Ruskin defends the vulgarity, or commonness of language, found in many of the tales as "of a wholesome and harmless kind. It is not, for instance, graceful English, to say that a thought 'popped into Catherine's head'; but it nevertheless is far better, as an initiation into literary style, that a child should be told this than that 'a subject attracted Catherine's attention.'"

Finally, we cannot forbear adding one more quotation, from the most delightful of attacks upon the attackers of fairy tales, by Miss Repplier: "That which is vital in literature or tradition, which has survived the obscurity and wreckage of the past, whether as legend, or ballad, or mere nursery rhyme, has survived in right of some intrinsic merit of its own, and will not be snuffed out of existence by any of our precautionary or hygienic measures. . . . Puss in Boots is one long record of triumphant effrontery and deception. An honest and self-respecting lad would have explained to the king that he was not the Marquis of Carabas at all; that he had no desire to[55] profit by his cat's ingenious falsehoods, and no weak ambition to connect himself with the aristocracy. Such a hero would be a credit to our modern schoolrooms, and lift a load of care from the shoulders of our modern critics. Only the children would have none of him, but would turn wistfully back to those brave old tales which are their inheritance from a splendid past, and of which no hand shall rob them." And upon this ultimate fact that in literature the final decision rests with the audience appealed to, the discussion may end.

How to use fairy stories. Briefly, the whole matter may be summed up thus: Know your story perfectly. Don't read it (unless you can't do better). Tell it—with all the graces of voice and action you can command. Tell it naturally and simply, as the folk-tellers did, not with studied and elaborate "elocutionary" effects. Tell it again and again. If you do it well, the children will not soon tire of it—and they will indicate what you should do next!


(Books referred to by authors' name are listed in bibliography.)

The one important full-length discussion for teachers on the whole subject of the fairy tale is Kready's A Study of Fairy Tales. It is enthusiastic rather than severely critical, and that adds to its helpfulness. It has exhaustive bibliographies. The Ruskin quotations above are from his introduction to Taylor's Grimm; it may be found also in his collected works, in On the Old Road. Miss Repplier's "Battle of the Babies" in her Essays in Miniature should be read entire. A thoroughly stimulating article is Brian Hooker's "Narrative and the Fairy Tale," Bookman, Vol. XXXIII, pp. 389, 501; see also his "Types of Fairy Tales," Forum, Vol. XL, p. 375. For the scientific phase start with Hartland's Science of Fairy Tales. For pedagogy see Adler, MacClintock, McMurry.



Many English folk tales have doubtless been lost because no one made a serious attempt to collect them until railroads, newspapers, and popular education had greatly changed the life of the English folk and destroyed many of the traditions. For the preservation of many folk tales that we have, English-speaking peoples are indebted to the scholarly antiquarian James Orchard Halliwell (afterwards Halliwell-Phillips, 1820-1889), who in the year 1842 edited a collection of The Nursery Rhymes of England for the Percy Society. He followed it a few years later with Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales. They have long been regarded as the basic books in their field. These two collections were reprinted as Nursery Rhymes and Tales. This one-volume edition is the one referred to in the following pages. Halliwell should be remembered as the first person to collect in a scientific way the folk literature of England. He gathered these rhymes and tales from the mouths of the folk, from chapbooks, and from many other sources and endeavored to tell them as they had been told by the folk.

"The Old Woman and Her Pig" is perhaps the most familiar of all nursery stories. It belongs to the type of story known as the "accumulative," of which "The House That Jack Built" is the purest model. In such a story there is a constant repetition of the plot, with an addition or slight change at each repetition, until at the end there is a quick unwinding which carries us back to the initial situation and solves the difficulty with which the story started. Halliwell gives two versions of this particular story. It is so widespread that many slight variations would be expected in successful retellings of it. The traditional version which follows seems to be the favorite with primary teachers. It introduces at the sixth stage the attractive rhyme "I see by the moonlight, etc.," which originally formed part of another nursery tale.


Once upon a time, an old woman was sweeping her little house, when, to her great joy, she found a silver sixpence.

"What," said she, "shall I do with this little sixpence? I think I will go to market and buy a pig." So the next day, she went to market, and bought a nice little white pig. She tied a string to one of the pig's legs, and began to drive him home.

On the way, the old woman and her pig came to a stile, and she said,—

"Please, pig, get over the stile."
But the pig would not.

Just then a little dog came trotting up, and the old woman said to him,—

"Dog, dog, bite pig;
Pig won't get over the stile,
And I sha'n't get home to-night."
But the dog would not.

So the old woman held up her stick, and said,—

"Stick, stick, beat dog;
Dog won't bite pig;
Pig won't get over the stile,
And I sha'n't get home to-night."
But the stick would not.

So the old woman gathered some bits of wood together to make a fire, and set them on fire, and then threw her stick into the fire, and said,—

"Fire, fire, burn stick;
Stick won't beat dog;
Dog won't bite pig;
Pig won't get over the stile,
And I sha'n't get home to-night."
But the fire would not.

So the old woman fetched a pail of water that was standing near, and said,[57]

"Water, water, quench fire;
Fire won't burn stick;
Stick won't beat dog;
Dog won't bite pig;
Pig won't get over the stile,
And I sha'n't get home to-night."
But the water would not.

Then the old woman saw an ox coming; so she said,—

"Ox, ox, drink water;
Water won't quench fire;
Fire won't burn stick;
Stick won't beat dog;
Dog won't bite pig;
Pig won't go.
I see by the moonlight,
It's long past midnight;
Time pig and I were home an hour and a half ago."
But the ox would not.

So the old woman turned round, and saw a butcher, and she said,—

"Butcher, butcher, kill ox;
Ox won't drink water;
Water won't quench fire;
Fire won't burn stick;
Stick won't beat dog;
Dog won't bite pig;
Pig won't go.
I see by the moonlight,
It's long past midnight;
Time pig and I were home an hour and a half ago."
But the butcher would not.

So the old woman took a rope out of her pocket, and said,—

"Rope, rope, hang butcher;
Butcher won't kill ox;
Ox won't drink water;
Water won't quench fire;
Fire won't burn stick;
Stick won't beat dog;
Dog won't bite pig;
Pig won't go.
I see by the moonlight,
It's long past midnight;
Time pig and I were home an hour and a half ago."
But the rope would not.

Just then a large brown mouse ran across the meadow, and she said,—

"Mouse, mouse, gnaw rope;
Rope won't hang butcher;
Butcher won't kill ox;
Ox won't drink water;
Water won't quench fire;
Fire won't burn stick;
Stick won't beat dog;
Dog won't bite pig;
Pig won't go.
I see by the moonlight,
It's long past midnight;
Time pig and I were home an hour and a half ago."
"Yes," said the mouse, "I will if you
will give me some cheese."

So the old woman put her hand in her pocket, and found a nice piece of cheese; and when the mouse had eaten it,

The mouse began to gnaw the rope,
The rope began to hang the butcher,
The butcher began to kill the ox,
The ox began to drink the water,
The water began to quench the fire,
The fire began to burn the stick,
The stick began to beat the dog,
The dog began to bite the pig,
And the pig began to go.

But what time the old woman and her pig got home, you, nor I, nor nobody knows[58].


Teachers and parents owe a greater debt of gratitude to Joseph Jacobs than to any other modern student of folklore. He was born in Australia in 1854, spent most of his life in scholarly pursuits in England, and died in America in 1916. In his six volumes of English, Celtic, Indian, and European fairy tales he gave the world versions of its best known and most representative folk stories in a form suited to children while remaining true in all essentials to the original oral versions of the folk. This combination of scientific accuracy and literary workmanship is very rare. In the introductions and notes to these various volumes may be found a wealth of information which the general reader can understand without the necessity of special training in the science of folklore. And best of all, these volumes can be had at prices that are comparatively cheap.

The following story of "Henny-Penny" is given in the fine version by Joseph Jacobs in his English Fairy Tales. He heard it as a child in Australia and he thinks "the fun consists in the avoidance of all pronouns, which results in jawbreaking sentences." This story is also very familiar in the Halliwell version called "Chicken-Licken," and there are numerous European parallels.


One day Henny-penny was picking up corn in the cornyard when—whack!—something hit her upon the head. "Goodness gracious me!" said Henny-penny; "the sky's a-going to fall; I must go and tell the king."

So she went along, and she went along, and she went along till she met Cocky-locky. "Where are you going, Henny-penny?" says Cocky-locky. "Oh! I'm going to tell the king the sky's a-falling," says Henny-penny. "May I come with you?" says Cocky-locky. "Certainly," says Henny-penny. So Henny-penny and Cocky-locky went to tell the king the sky was a-falling.

They went along, and they went along, and they went along, till they met Ducky-daddles. "Where are you going to, Henny-penny and Cocky-locky?" says Ducky-daddles. "Oh! we're going to tell the king the sky's a-falling," said Henny-penny and Cocky-locky. "May I come with you?" says Ducky-daddles. "Certainly," said Henny-penny and Cocky-locky. So Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, and Ducky-daddles went to tell the king the sky was a-falling.

So they went along, and they went along, and they went along, till they met Goosey-poosey. "Where are you going to, Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, and Ducky-daddles?" said Goosey-poosey. "Oh! we're going to tell the king the sky's a-falling," said Henny-penny and Cocky-locky and Ducky-daddles. "May I come with you?" said Goosey-poosey. "Certainly," said Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, and Ducky-daddles. So Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, and Goosey-poosey went to tell the king the sky was a-falling.

So they went along, and they went along, and they went along, till they met Turkey-lurkey. "Where are you going, Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, and Goosey-poosey?" says Turkey-lurkey. "Oh! we're going to tell the king the sky's a-falling," said Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, and Goosey-poosey. "May I come with you, Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, and Goosey-poosey?" said Turkey-lurkey. "Oh, certainly, Turkey-lurkey," said Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, and Goosey-poosey. So Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-[59]daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey-lurkey all went to tell the king the sky was a-falling.

So they went along, and they went along, and they went along, till they met Foxy-woxy, and Foxy-woxy said to Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey-lurkey: "Where are you going, Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey-lurkey?" And Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey-lurkey said to Foxy-woxy: "We're going to tell the king the sky's a-falling." "Oh! but this is not the way to the king, Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey-lurkey," says Foxy-woxy; "I know the proper way; shall I show it you?" "Oh, certainly, Foxy-woxy," said Henny-Penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey-lurkey. So Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, Turkey-lurkey, and Foxy-woxy all went to tell the king the sky was a-falling.

So they went along, and they went along, and they went along, till they came to a narrow and dark hole. Now this was the door of Foxy-woxy's cave. But Foxy-woxy said to Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey-lurkey: "This is the short way to the king's palace; you'll soon get there if you follow me. I will go first and you come after, Henny-Penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey-lurkey." "Why of course, certainly, without doubt, why not?" said Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey-lurkey.

So Foxy-woxy went into his cave, and he didn't go very far, but turned round to wait for Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey-lurkey. So at last at first Turkey-lurkey went through the dark hole into the cave. He hadn't got far when "Hrumph," Foxy-woxy snapped off Turkey-lurkey's head and threw his body over his left shoulder. Then Goosey-poosey went in, and "Hrumph," off went her head and Goosey-poosey was thrown beside Turkey-lurkey. Then Ducky-daddles waddled down, and "Hrumph," snapped Foxy-woxy, and Ducky-daddles' head was off and Ducky-daddles was thrown alongside Turkey-lurkey and Goosey-poosey. Then Cocky-locky strutted down into the cave, and he hadn't gone far when "Snap, Hrumph!" went Foxy-woxy and Cocky-locky was thrown alongside of Turkey-lurkey, Goosey-poosey, and Ducky-daddles.

But Foxy-woxy had made two bites at Cocky-locky, and when the first snap only hurt Cocky-locky, but didn't kill him, he called out to Henny-penny. But she turned tail and off she ran home, so she never told the king the sky was a-falling.


The favorite story of "Teeny-Tiny" is taken from Halliwell, who obtained it from oral tradition, and by whom it was, apparently, first put into print. "This simple tale," he says, "seldom fails to rivet the attention of children, especially if well told. The last two words should be said loudly with a start." Many modern story-tellers seem to prefer modified forms of this story, presumably owing to a feeling on their part that the bone and the churchyard have gruesome suggestions. Carolyn S. Bailey gives one of the best of these modified forms in her[60] Firelight Stories, where the woman goes into a field instead of the churchyard, finds a hen at the foot of a tree, thinks this is a chance to have an egg for her breakfast, puts the hen in her reticule, goes home, puts the hen in her cupboard, and goes upstairs to take a nap. Of course the "teeny-tiny" goes in at every point. Substituting "hen" for "bone," the story continues substantially as given below.


Once upon a time there was a teeny-tiny woman lived in a teeny-tiny house in a teeny-tiny village. Now, one day this teeny-tiny woman put on her teeny-tiny bonnet, and went out of her teeny-tiny house to take a teeny-tiny walk. And when this teeny-tiny woman had gone a teeny-tiny way, she came to a teeny-tiny gate; so the teeny-tiny woman opened the teeny-tiny gate, and went into a teeny-tiny churchyard. And when this teeny-tiny woman had got into the teeny-tiny churchyard, she saw a teeny-tiny bone on a teeny-tiny grave, and the teeny-tiny woman said to her teeny-tiny self, "This teeny-tiny bone will make me some teeny-tiny soup for my teeny-tiny supper." So the teeny-tiny woman put the teeny-tiny bone into her teeny-tiny pocket, and went home to her teeny-tiny house.

Now when the teeny-tiny woman got home to her teeny-tiny house, she was a teeny-tiny tired; so she went up her teeny-tiny stairs to her teeny-tiny bed, and put the teeny-tiny bone into a teeny-tiny cupboard. And when this teeny-tiny woman had been to sleep a teeny-tiny time, she was awakened by a teeny-tiny voice from the teeny-tiny cupboard, which said:


And this teeny-tiny woman was a teeny-tiny frightened, so she hid her teeny-tiny head under the teeny-tiny clothes and went to sleep again. And when she had been to sleep again a teeny-tiny time, the teeny-tiny voice again cried out from the teeny-tiny cupboard a teeny-tiny louder,


This made the teeny-tiny woman a teeny-tiny more frightened, so she hid her teeny-tiny head a teeny-tiny farther under the teeny-tiny clothes. And when the teeny-tiny woman had been to sleep again a teeny-tiny time, the teeny-tiny voice from the teeny-tiny cupboard said again a teeny-tiny louder,


And this teeny-tiny woman was a teeny-tiny bit more frightened, but she put her teeny-tiny head out of the teeny-tiny clothes, and said in her loudest teeny-tiny voice,



The very old story that follows is taken from Halliwell, and is, according to Jacobs, scarcely more than a variant of "The Old Woman and Her Pig." Like that story, "The Cat and the Mouse" appeals to small people by its pronounced rhythmical structure, accentuated by the rhyme which marks the transition to each new section, and by the "run" at the close.


The cat and the mouse
Played in the malt-house:

The cat bit the mouse's tail off. "Pray, puss, give me my tail."[61]

"No," said the cat, "I'll not give you your tail till you go to the cow and fetch me some milk."

First she leapt, and then she ran,
Till she came to the cow, and thus began:

"Pray, cow, give me milk, that I may give cat milk, that cat may give me my own tail again."

"No," said the cow, "I will give you no milk till you go to the farmer and fetch me some hay."

First she leapt, and then she ran,
Till she came to the farmer, and thus began:

"Pray, farmer, give me hay, that I may give cow hay, that cow may give me milk, that I may give cat milk, that cat may give me my own tail again."

"No," said the farmer, "I'll give you no hay till you go to the butcher and fetch me some meat."

First she leapt, and then she ran,
Till she came to the butcher, and thus began:

"Pray, butcher, give me meat, that I may give farmer meat, that farmer may give me hay, that I may give cow hay, that cow may give me milk, that I may give cat milk, that cat may give me my own tail again."

"No," said the butcher, "I'll give you no meat till you go to the baker and fetch me some bread."

First she leapt, and then she ran,
Till she came to the baker, and thus began:

"Pray, baker, give me bread, that I may give butcher bread, that butcher may give me meat, that I may give farmer meat, that farmer may give me hay, that I may give cow hay, that cow may give me milk, that I may give cat milk, that cat may give me my own tail again."

"Yes," said the baker, "I'll give you some bread,
But if you eat my meal, I'll cut off your head."

Then the baker gave mouse bread, and mouse gave butcher bread, and butcher gave mouse meat, and mouse gave farmer meat, and farmer gave mouse hay, and mouse gave cow hay, and cow gave mouse milk, and mouse gave cat milk, and cat gave mouse her own tail again.


The following story is in the most familiar version of Halliwell's collection. Another much-used form of the story may be found in Lang's Green Fairy Book, in which the pigs are distinctly characterized and given the names of Browny, Whitey, and Blacky. Jacobs uses the Halliwell version in his English Fairy Tales, but prefixes to it an opening formula which seems to have been much in use by old story-tellers as a way of beginning almost any oral story for children:
"Once upon a time when pigs spoke rhyme
And monkeys chewed tobacco,
And hens took snuff to make them tough,
And ducks went quack, quack, quack, O!"


Once upon a time there was an old sow with three little pigs, and as she had not enough to keep them, she sent them out to seek their fortune. The first that went off met a man with a bundle of straw, and said to him:

"Please, man, give me that straw to build me a house."

Which the man did, and the little pig built a house with it. Presently came along a wolf, and knocked at the door, and said:[62]

"Little pig, little pig, let me come in."

To which the pig answered:

"No, no, by the hair of my chinny chin chin."

The wolf then answered to that:

"Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in."

So he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew his house in, and ate up the little pig.

The second little pig met a man with a bundle of furze and said:

"Please, man, give me that furze to build a house."

Which the man did, and the pig built his house. Then along came the wolf, and said:

"Little pig, little pig, let me come in."

"No, no, by the hair of my chinny chin chin."

"Then I'll puff, and I'll huff, and I'll blow your house in."

So he huffed, and he puffed, and he puffed, and he huffed, and at last he blew the house down, and he ate up the little pig.

The third little pig met a man with a load of bricks, and said:

"Please, man, give me those bricks to build a house with."

So the man gave him the bricks, and he built his house with them. So the wolf came, as he did to the other little pigs, and said:

"Little pig, little pig, let me come in."

"No, no, by the hair on my chinny chin chin."

"Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in."

Well, he huffed, and he puffed, and he huffed and he puffed, and he puffed and huffed; but he could not get the house down. When he found that he could not, with all his huffing and puffing, blow the house down, he said:

"Little pig, I know where there is a nice field of turnips."

"Where?" said the little pig.

"Oh, in Mr. Smith's Home-field, and if you will be ready to-morrow morning I will call for you, and we will go together and get some for dinner."

"Very well," said the little pig, "I will be ready. What time do you mean to go?"

"Oh, at six o'clock."

Well, the little pig got up at five and got the turnips before the wolf came (which he did about six), who said:

"Little pig, are you ready?"

The little pig said: "Ready! I have been and come back again, and got a nice potful for dinner."

The wolf felt very angry at this, but thought that he would be up to the little pig somehow or other, so he said:

"Little pig, I know where there is a nice apple-tree."

"Where?" said the pig.

"Down at Merry-garden," replied the wolf, "and if you will not deceive me I will come for you at five o'clock tomorrow and we will go together and get some apples."

Well, the little pig bustled up the next morning at four o'clock, and went off for the apples, hoping to get back before the wolf came; but he had farther to go and had to climb the tree, so that just as he was coming down from it, he saw the wolf coming, which, as you may suppose, frightened him very much. When the wolf came up he said:

"Little pig, what! are you here before me? Are they nice apples?"

"Yes, very," said the little pig. "I will throw you down one."[63]

And he threw it so far that, while the wolf was gone to pick it up, the little pig jumped down and ran home. The next day the wolf came again and said to the little pig:

"Little pig, there is a fair at Shanklin this afternoon. Will you go?"

"Oh, yes," said the pig, "I will go. What time shall you be ready?"

"At three," said the wolf. So the little pig went off before the time as usual, and got to the fair and bought a butter-churn, which he was going home with, when he saw the wolf coming. Then he could not tell what to do. So he got into the churn to hide, and by so doing turned it round, and it rolled down the hill with the pig in it, which frightened the wolf so much that he ran home without going to the fair. He went to the little pig's house and told him how frightened he had been by a great round thing which came down the hill past him. Then the little pig said:

"Hah, I frightened you, then. I had been to the fair and bought a butter-churn, and when I saw you, I got into it and rolled down the hill."

Then the wolf was very angry indeed, and declared he would eat up the little pig and that he would get down the chimney after him. When the little pig saw what he was about, he hung on the pot full of water and made up a blazing fire, and, just as the wolf was coming down, took off the cover, and in fell the wolf; so the little pig put on the cover again in an instant, boiled him up, and ate him for supper, and lived happy ever afterwards.


How great calamities sometimes grow out of small causes is illustrated in an old proverbial saying of Poor Richard (see No. 137). The favorite English folk-tale version of this theme, taken from Halliwell, is given below. It takes the form of an accumulative droll, or comic story. The overwhelming catastrophe at the end is so complete and so unexpected that it has a decidedly humorous effect.


Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse both lived in a house,
Titty Mouse went a leasing and Tatty Mouse went a leasing,
So they both went a leasing.

Titty Mouse leased an ear of corn, and
Tatty Mouse leased an ear of corn,
So they both leased an ear of corn.

Titty Mouse made a pudding, and
Tatty Mouse made a pudding,
So they both made a pudding.

And Tatty Mouse put her pudding into the pot to boil,
But when Titty went to put hers in, the pot tumbled over, and scalded her to death.

Then Tatty sat down and wept; then a three-legged stool said: "Tatty, why do you weep?" "Titty's dead," said Tatty, "and so I weep." "Then," said the stool, "I'll hop," so the stool hopped.

Then a broom in the corner of the room said: "Stool, why do you hop?" "Oh!" said the stool, "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, and so I hop." "Then," said the broom, "I'll sweep," so the broom began to sweep.

"Then," said the door, "Broom, why do you sweep?" "Oh!" said the broom, "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, and the stool hops, and so I sweep." "Then," said the door, "I'll jar," so the door jarred.[64]

"Then," said the window, "Door, why do you jar?" "Oh," said the door, "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, the stool hops, and the broom sweeps, and so I jar."

"Then," said the window, "I'll creak," so the window creaked. Now there was an old form outside the house, and when the window creaked, the form said: "Window, why do you creak?" "Oh!" said the window, "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, and the stool hops, and the broom sweeps, the door jars, and so I creak."

"Then," said the old form, "I'll run round the house"; then the old form ran round the house. Now there was a fine large walnut-tree growing by the cottage, and the tree said to the form: "Form, why do you run round the house?" "Oh!" said the form, "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, and the stool hops, and the broom sweeps, the door jars, and the window creaks, and so I run round the house."

"Then," said the walnut-tree, "I'll shed my leaves," so the walnut-tree shed all its beautiful green leaves. Now there was a little bird perched on one of the boughs of the tree, and when all the leaves fell, it said: "Walnut-tree, why do you shed your leaves?" "Oh!" said the tree, "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, the stool hops, and the broom sweeps, the door jars, and the window creaks, the old form runs round the house, and so I shed my leaves."

"Then," said the little bird, "I'll moult all my feathers," so he moulted all his pretty feathers. Now there was a little girl walking below, carrying a jug of milk for her brothers' and sisters' supper, and when she saw the poor little bird moult all its feathers, she said: "Little bird, why do you moult all your feathers?" "Oh!" said the little bird, "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, the stool hops, and the broom sweeps, the door jars, and the window creaks, the old form runs round the house, the walnut-tree sheds its leaves, and so I moult all my feathers."

"Then," said the little girl, "I'll spill the milk," so she dropt the pitcher and spilt the milk. Now there was an old man just by on the top of a ladder thatching a rick, and when he saw the little girl spill the milk, he said: "Little girl, what do you mean by spilling the milk?—your little brothers and sisters must go without their supper." Then said the little girl: "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, the stool hops, and the broom sweeps, the door jars, and the window creaks, the old form runs round the house, the walnut-tree sheds all its leaves, the little bird moults all its feathers, and so I spill the milk."

"Oh!" said the old man, "then I'll tumble off the ladder and break my neck," so he tumbled off the ladder and broke his neck; and when the old man broke his neck, the great walnut-tree fell down with a crash and upset the old form and house, and the house falling knocked the window out, and the window knocked the door down, and the door upset the broom, and the broom upset the stool, and poor little Tatty Mouse was buried beneath the ruins.


"The Story of the Three Bears" is perhaps the only instance in which a piece of literature by a known English author is found among accepted folk tales. It appeared in Robert Southey's rambling miscellany, The Doctor (1837). He may have taken it[65] from an old tale, but no amount of investigation has located any certain source. In the most familiar versions the naughty old woman gives place to a little girl whose name is Goldenhair, Goldilocks, Silverhair, or Silverlocks. The point to the story is lessened by the change, but the popularity of these modifications seems to suggest that children prefer to have the ill-mannered old woman turned into an attractive little girl. Southey apparently was delighted with efforts to bring his story into any form more pleasing to the folk, and we find his son-in-law saying that he was especially pleased with a versification "by G. N. and published especially for the amusement of 'little people' lest in the volumes of The Doctor it should 'escape their sight.'" However, it would appear that teachers at least should know this masterpiece in the only form in which its author put it. To that end this version of "The Three Bears" follows Southey with the change of a single word. At the head of the story he placed these lines from Gascoyne:
"A tale which may content the minds
Of learned men and grave philosophers."



Once upon a time there were Three Bears who lived together in a house of their own in a wood. One of them was a Little, Small, Wee Bear; and one was a Middle-sized Bear, and the other was a Great, Huge Bear. They had each a pot for their porridge; a little pot for the Little, Small, Wee Bear; and a middle-sized pot for the Middle Bear; and a great pot for the Great, Huge Bear. And they had each a chair to sit in; a little chair for the Little, Small, Wee Bear; and a middle-sized chair for the Middle Bear; and a great chair for the Great, Huge Bear. And they had each a bed to sleep in; a little bed for the Little, Small, Wee Bear; and a middle-sized bed for the Middle Bear; and a great bed for the Great, Huge Bear.

One day after they had made the porridge for their breakfast and poured it into their porridge-pots, they walked out into the wood while the porridge was cooling, that they might not burn their mouths by beginning too soon to eat it. And while they were walking, a little old Woman came to the house. She could not have been a good, honest old Woman; for first she looked in at the window and then she peeped in at the keyhole; and seeing nobody in the house, she lifted the latch. The door was not fastened, because the Bears were good Bears, who did nobody any harm and never suspected that anybody would harm them. So the little old Woman opened the door and went in, and well pleased she was when she saw the porridge on the table. If she had been a good little old Woman, she would have waited till the Bears came home, and then perhaps they would have asked her to breakfast, for they were good Bears—a little rough or so, as the manner of Bears is, but for all that very good-natured and hospitable. But she was an impudent, bad old Woman, and set about helping herself.

So first she tasted the porridge of the Great, Huge Bear, and that was too hot for her; and she said a bad word about that. And then she tasted the porridge of the Middle Bear, and that was too cold for her; and she said a bad word about that too. And then she went to the porridge of the Little, Small, Wee Bear, and tasted that; and that was neither too hot nor too cold, but just right; and she liked it so well that she ate it all up. But the naughty old Woman said a bad word[66] about the little porridge-pot because it did not hold enough for her.

Then the little old Woman sat down in the chair of the Great, Huge Bear, and that was too hard for her. And then she sat down in the chair of the Middle Bear, and that was too soft for her. And then she sat down in the chair of the Little, Small, Wee Bear, and that was neither too hard nor too soft, but just right. So she seated herself in it, and there she sat till the bottom of the chair came out, and down she came, plump upon the ground. And the naughty old Woman said a wicked word about that too.

Then the little old Woman went upstairs into the bed-chamber in which the three Bears slept. And first she lay down upon the bed of the Great, Huge Bear; but that was too high at the head for her. And next she lay down upon the bed of the Middle Bear, and that was too high at the foot for her. And then she lay down upon the bed of the Little, Small, Wee Bear, and that was neither too high at the head nor at the foot, but just right. So she covered herself up comfortably and lay there till she fell fast asleep.

By this time the Three Bears thought their porridge would be cool enough, so they came home to breakfast. Now the little old Woman had left the spoon of the Great, Huge Bear standing in his porridge.

"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN AT MY PORRIDGE!" said the Great, Huge Bear, in his great, rough, gruff voice. And when the Middle Bear looked at his, he saw that the spoon was standing in it too. They were wooden spoons; if they had been silver ones, the naughty old Woman would have put them in her pocket.

"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN AT MY PORRIDGE!" said the Middle Bear, in his middle voice.

Then the Little, Small, Wee Bear looked at his, and there was the spoon in the porridge-pot, but the porridge was all gone.

"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN AT MY PORRIDGE, AND HAS EATEN IT ALL UP!" said the Little, Small, Wee Bear, in his little, small, wee voice.

Upon this the Three Bears, seeing that some one had entered their house and eaten up the Little, Small, Wee Bear's breakfast, began to look about them. Now the little old Woman had not put the hard cushion straight when she rose from the chair of the Great, Huge Bear.

"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN SITTING IN MY CHAIR!" said the Great, Huge Bear, in his great, rough, gruff voice.

And the little old Woman had squatted down the soft cushion of the Middle Bear.

"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN SITTING IN MY CHAIR!" said the Middle Bear, in his middle voice.

And you know what the little old Woman had done to the third chair.

"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN SITTING IN MY CHAIR AND HAS SAT THE BOTTOM OUT OF IT!" said the Little, Small, Wee Bear, in his little, small, wee voice.

Then the three Bears thought it necessary that they should make further search; so they went upstairs into their bed-chamber. Now the little old Woman had pulled the pillow of the Great, Huge Bear out of its place.

"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN LYING IN MY BED!" said the Great, Huge Bear, in his great, rough, gruff voice.

And the little old Woman had pulled[67] the bolster of the Middle Bear out of its place.

"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN LYING IN MY BED!" said the Middle Bear, in his middle voice.

And when the Little, Small, Wee Bear came to look at his bed, there was the bolster in its right place, and the pillow in its place upon the bolster; and upon the pillow was the little old Woman's ugly, dirty head,—which was not in its place, for she had no business there.

"SOMEBODY HAS BEEN LYING IN MY BED,—AND HERE SHE IS!" said the Little, Small, Wee Bear, in his little, small, wee voice.

The little old Woman had heard in her sleep the great, rough, gruff voice of the Great, Huge Bear; but she was so fast asleep that it was no more to her than the roaring of wind or the rumbling of thunder. And she had heard the middle voice of the Middle Bear, but it was only as if she had heard some one speaking in a dream. But when she heard the little, small, wee voice of the Little, Small, Wee Bear, it was so sharp and so shrill that it awakened her at once. Up she started; and when she saw the Three Bears on one side of the bed, she tumbled herself out at the other and ran to the window. Now the window was open, because the Bears, like good, tidy Bears as they were, always opened their bed-chamber window when they got up in the morning. Out the little old Woman jumped; and whether she broke her neck in the fall, or ran into the wood and was lost there, or found her way out of the wood and was taken up by the constable and sent to the House of Correction for a vagrant, as she was, I cannot tell. But the Three Bears never saw anything more of her.


A noodle story is a droll, or comic story, that follows the fortunes of very simple or stupid characters. There are many noodle stories among the favorites of the folk, and the three immediately following are among the best known. This version of "The Three Sillies" was collected from oral tradition in Suffolk, England. In the original the dangerous tool was an ax, but the collector informed Mr. Hartland, in whose English Fairy and Folk Tales it is reprinted, that she had found it was really "a great big wooden mallet, as some one had left sticking there when they'd been making-up the beer." This change, following the example of Jacobs, is made in the text of the story. This particular droll is widespread. Grimms' "Clever Elsie" is the same story, and a French version, "The Six Sillies," is in Lang's Red Fairy Book. A very fine Italian version, called "Bastienelo," is given in Crane's Italian Popular Tales. The tendency of people to "borrow trouble" is so universal that stories illustrating its ludicrous consequences have always had wide appeal. Some details of these variants are due to local environments. For instance, in the Italian story wine takes the place of beer, and it has been pointed out that there are "borrowing trouble" stories found in New York and Ohio in which the thing feared is the heavy iron door closing the mouth of the oven which in pioneer days was built in by the side of the fireplace.


Once upon a time there was a farmer and his wife who had one daughter, and she was courted by a gentleman. Every evening he used to come and see her, and stop to supper at the farmhouse, and the daughter used to be sent down into the cellar to draw the beer for supper. So one evening she had gone down to draw the beer, and she happened to look[68] up at the ceiling while she was drawing, and she saw a mallet stuck in one of the beams. It must have been there a long, long time, but somehow or other she had never noticed it before, and she began a-thinking. And she thought it was very dangerous to have that mallet there, for she said to herself: "Suppose him and me was to be married, and we was to have a son, and he was to grow up to be a man, and come down into the cellar to draw the beer, like as I'm doing now, and the mallet was to fall on his head and kill him, what a dreadful thing it would be!" And she put down the candle and the jug, and sat herself down and began a-crying.

Well, they began to wonder upstairs how it was that she was so long drawing the beer, and her mother went down to see after her, and she found her sitting on the settle crying, and the beer running over the floor. "Why, whatever is the matter?" said her mother.

"Oh, mother!" says she, "look at that horrid mallet! Suppose we was to be married, and was to have a son, and he was to grow up, and was to come down to the cellar to draw the beer, and the mallet was to fall on his head and kill him, what a dreadful thing it would be!"

"Dear, dear! what a dreadful thing it would be!" said the mother, and she sat her down aside of the daughter and started a-crying too.

Then after a bit the father began to wonder that they didn't come back, and he went down into the cellar to look after them himself, and there they two sat a-crying, and the beer running all over the floor.

"Whatever is the matter?" says he.

"Why," says the mother, "look at that horrid mallet. Just suppose, if our daughter and her sweetheart was to be married, and was to have a son, and he was to grow up, and was to come down into the cellar to draw the beer, and the mallet was to fall on his head and kill him, what a dreadful thing it would be!"

"Dear, dear, dear! so it would!" said the father, and he sat himself down aside of the other two, and started a-crying.

Now the gentleman got tired of stopping up in the kitchen by himself, and at last he went down into the cellar too, to see what they were after; and there they three sat a-crying side by side, and the beer running all over the floor. And he ran straight and turned the tap. Then he said: "Whatever are you three doing, sitting there crying, and letting the beer run all over the floor?"

"Oh!" says the father, "look at that horrid mallet! Suppose you and our daughter was to be married, and was to have a son, and he was to grow up, and was to come down into the cellar to draw the beer, and the mallet was to fall on his head and kill him!" And then they all started a-crying worse than before.

But the gentleman burst out a-laughing, and reached up and pulled out the mallet, and then he said: "I've traveled many miles, and I never met three such big sillies as you three before; and now I shall start out on my travels again, and when I can find three bigger sillies than you three, then I'll come back and marry your daughter." So he wished them good-bye, and started off on his travels, and left them all crying because the girl had lost her sweetheart.

Well, he set out, and he traveled a long way, and at last he came to a woman's cottage that had some grass growing on the roof. And the woman was trying to get her cow to go up a ladder to the[69] grass, and the poor thing durst not go. So the gentleman asked the woman what she was doing. "Why, lookye," she said, "look at all that beautiful grass. I'm going to get the cow on to the roof to eat it. She'll be quite safe, for I shall tie a string round her neck, and pass it down the chimney, and tie it to my wrist as I go about the house, so she can't fall off without my knowing it."

"Oh, you poor silly!" said the gentleman, "you should cut the grass and throw it down to the cow!" But the woman thought it was easier to get the cow up the ladder than to get the grass down, so she pushed her and coaxed her and got her up, and tied a string round her neck, and passed it down the chimney, and fastened it to her own wrist. And the gentleman went on his way, but he hadn't gone far when the cow tumbled off the roof, and hung by the string tied round her neck, and it strangled her. And the weight of the cow tied to her wrist pulled the woman up the chimney, and she stuck fast half-way and was smothered in the soot.

Well, that was one big silly.

And the gentleman went on and on, and he went to an inn to stop the night, and they were so full at the inn that they had to put him in a double-bedded room, and another traveller was to sleep in the other bed. The other man was a very pleasant fellow, and they got very friendly together; but in the morning, when they were both getting up, the gentleman was surprised to see the other hang his trousers on the knobs of the chest of drawers and run across the room and try to jump into them, and he tried over and over again, and couldn't manage it; and the gentleman wondered whatever he was doing it for. At last he stopped and wiped his face with his handkerchief. "Oh, dear," he says, "I do think trousers are the most awkwardest kind of clothes that ever were. I can't think who could have invented such things. It takes me the best part of an hour to get into mine every morning, and I get so hot! How do you manage yours?" So the gentleman burst out a-laughing, and showed him how to put them on; and he was very much obliged to him, and said he never should have thought of doing it that way.

So that was another big silly.

Then the gentleman went on his travels again; and he came to a village, and outside the village there was a pond, and round the pond was a crowd of people. And they had got rakes, and brooms, and pitchforks, reaching into the pond; and the gentleman asked what was the matter.

"Why," they said, "matter enough! Moon's tumbled into the pond, and we can't rake her out anyhow!"

So the gentleman burst out a-laughing, and told them to look up into the sky, and that it was only the shadow in the water. But they wouldn't listen to him, and abused him shamefully, and he got away as quick as he could.

So there was a whole lot of sillies bigger than the three sillies at home. So the gentleman turned back home again and married the farmer's daughter, and if they didn't live happy for ever after, that's nothing to do with you or me.


There seemed to be a feeling common among the folk that simple-minded persons were in the special care of Providence. Hence, sometimes the achievement of success beyond the power of wiser and cleverer individuals. "Lazy Jack" comes from the[70] Halliwell collection. "The humor lies in the contrast between what Jack did and what anybody 'with sense' knows he ought to have done." A parallel story is the Grimms' "Hans in Luck." A most striking and popular Americanization of it is Sara Cone Bryant's "The Story of Epaminondas and His Auntie" in her Stories to Tell to Children.


Once upon a time there was a boy whose name was Jack, and he lived with his mother on a dreary common. They were very poor, and the old woman got her living by spinning, but Jack was so lazy that he would do nothing but bask in the sun in the hot weather and sit by the corner of the hearth in the winter time. His mother could not persuade him to do anything for her and was obliged at last to tell him that if he did not begin to work for his porridge she would turn him out to get his living as he could.

This threat at length roused Jack, and he went out and hired himself for the day to a neighboring farmer for a penny; but as he was coming home, never having had any money in his possession before, he lost it in passing over a brook. "You stupid boy," said his mother, "you should have put it in your pocket."

"I'll do so another time," replied Jack.

The next day Jack went out again and hired himself to a cowkeeper, who gave him a jar of milk for his day's work. Jack took the jar and put it into the large pocket of his jacket, spilling it all long before he got home. "Dear me!" said the old woman; "you should have carried it on your head."

"I'll do so another time," said Jack.

The following day Jack hired himself again to a farmer, who agreed to give him a cream cheese for his services. In the evening Jack took the cheese and went home with it on his head. By the time he got home the cheese was completely spoilt, part of it being lost and part matted with his hair. "You stupid lout," said his mother, "you should have carried it very carefully in your hands."

"I'll do so another time," replied Jack.

The day after this Jack again went out and hired himself to a baker, who would give him nothing for his work but a large tomcat. Jack took the cat and began carrying it very carefully in his hands, but in a short time pussy scratched him so much that he was compelled to let it go. When he got home, his mother said to him: "You silly fellow, you should have tied it with a string and dragged it along after you."

"I'll do so another time," said Jack.

The next day Jack hired himself to a butcher, who rewarded his labors by the handsome present of a shoulder of mutton. Jack took the mutton, tied it to a string, and trailed it along after him in the dirt, so that by the time he had got home the meat was completely spoilt. His mother was this time quite out of patience with him, for the next day was Sunday, and she was obliged to content herself with cabbage for her dinner. "You ninney-hammer," said she to her son, "you should have carried it on your shoulder."

"I'll do so another time," replied Jack.

On the Monday Jack went once more and hired himself to a cattle-keeper, who gave him a donkey for his trouble. Although Jack was very strong, he found some difficulty in hoisting the donkey on his shoulders, but at last he accomplished[71] it and began walking slowly home with his prize. Now it happened that in the course of his journey there lived a rich man with his only daughter, a beautiful girl, but unfortunately deaf and dumb. She had never laughed in her life, and the doctors said she would never recover till somebody made her laugh. This young lady happened to be looking out of the window when Jack was passing with the donkey on his shoulders, the legs sticking up in the air, and the sight was so comical and strange that she burst out into a great fit of laughter, and immediately recovered her speech and hearing. Her father was overjoyed, and fulfilled his promise by marrying her to Jack, who was thus made a rich gentleman. They lived in a large house, and Jack's mother lived with them in great happiness until she died.


The following noodle story is from Halliwell as obtained from oral tradition in the west of England. It is a variant of the "Lazy Jack" type.


Mr. and Mrs. Vinegar lived in a vinegar bottle. Now, one day when Mr. Vinegar was from home and Mrs. Vinegar, who was a very good housewife, was busily sweeping her house, an unlucky thump of the broom brought the whole house clitter-clatter about her ears. In a paroxysm of grief she rushed forth to meet her husband. On seeing him she exclaimed, "Oh, Mr. Vinegar, Mr. Vinegar, we are ruined, we are ruined: I have knocked the house down, and it is all to pieces!"

Mr. Vinegar then said: "My dear, let us see what can be done. Here is the door; I will take it on my back, and we will go forth to seek our fortune."

They walked all that day and at nightfall entered a thick forest. They were both excessively tired, and Mr. Vinegar said: "My love, I will climb up into a tree, drag up the door, and you shall follow." He accordingly did so, and they both stretched their weary limbs on the door, and fell fast asleep.

In the middle of the night Mr. Vinegar was disturbed by the sound of voices beneath, and to his inexpressible dismay perceived that a party of thieves were met to divide their booty. "Here, Jack," said one, "here's five pounds for you; here, Bill, here's ten pounds for you; here, Bob, here's three pounds for you."

Mr. Vinegar could listen no longer; his terror was so intense that he trembled most violently and shook down the door on their heads. Away scampered the thieves, but Mr. Vinegar dared not quit his retreat till broad daylight. He then scrambled out of the tree and went to lift up the door. What did he behold but a number of golden guineas! "Come down, Mrs. Vinegar," he cried; "come down, I say; our fortune's made! Come down, I say."

Mrs. Vinegar got down as fast as she could and saw the money with equal delight. "Now, my dear," said she, "I'll tell you what you shall do. There is a fair at the neighboring town; you shall take these forty guineas and buy a cow. I can make butter and cheese, which you shall sell at market, and we shall then be able to live very comfortably."

Mr. Vinegar joyfully assents, takes the money, and goes off to the fair. When he arrived, he walked up and down, and[72] at length saw a beautiful red cow. It was an excellent milker and perfect in every respect. "Oh," thought Mr. Vinegar, "if I had but that cow, I should be the happiest man alive." So he offers the forty guineas for the cow, and the owner declaring that, as he was a friend, he'd oblige him, the bargain was made. Proud of his purchase, he drove the cow backwards and forwards to show it. By-and-by he saw a man playing the bagpipes—tweedle-dum, tweedle-dee. The children followed him about, and he appeared to be pocketing money on all sides. "Well," thought Mr. Vinegar, "if I had but that beautiful instrument, I should be the happiest man alive—my fortune would be made." So he went up to the man. "Friend," says he, "what a beautiful instrument that is, and what a deal of money you must make."

"Why, yes," said the man, "I make a great deal of money, to be sure, and it is a wonderful instrument."

"Oh!" cried Mr. Vinegar, "how I should like to possess it!"

"Well," said the man, "as you are a friend, I don't much mind parting with it; you shall have it for that red cow."

"Done!" said the delighted Mr. Vinegar. So the beautiful red cow was given for the bagpipes. He walked up and down with his purchase; but in vain he attempted to play a tune, and instead of pocketing pence, the boys followed him hooting, laughing, and pelting.

Poor Mr. Vinegar, his fingers grew very cold, and heartily ashamed and mortified, he was leaving the town, when he met a man with a fine thick pair of gloves. "Oh, my fingers are so very cold," said Mr. Vinegar to himself. "If I had but those beautiful gloves I should be the happiest man alive." He went up to the man, and said to him: "Friend, you seem to have a capital pair of gloves there."

"Yes, truly," cried the man; "and my hands are as warm as possible this cold November day."

"Well," said Mr. Vinegar, "I should like to have them."

"What will you give?" said the man; "as you are a friend, I don't much mind letting you have them for those bagpipes."

"Done!" cried Mr. Vinegar. He put on the gloves, and felt perfectly happy as he trudged homewards.

At last he grew very tired, when he saw a man coming towards him with a good stout stick in his hand. "Oh," said Mr. Vinegar, "that I but had that stick! I should then be the happiest man alive." He accosted the man: "Friend! what a rare good stick you have got."

"Yes," said the man; "I have used it for many a long mile, and a good friend it has been; but if you have a fancy for it, as you are a friend, I don't mind giving it to you for that pair of gloves." Mr. Vinegar's hands were so warm, and his legs so tired, that he gladly exchanged.

As he drew near to the wood where he had left his wife, he heard a parrot on a tree calling out his name: "Mr. Vinegar, you foolish man, you blockhead, you simpleton; you went to the fair and laid out all your money in buying a cow. Not content with that, you changed it for bagpipes, on which you could not play and which were not worth one-tenth of the money. You fool, you—you had no sooner got the bagpipes than you changed them for the gloves, which were not worth one-quarter of the money;[73] and when you had got the gloves, you changed them for a poor miserable stick; and now for your forty guineas, cow, bagpipes, and gloves, you have nothing to show but that poor miserable stick, which you might have cut in any hedge." On this the bird laughed immoderately, and Mr. Vinegar, falling into a violent rage, threw the stick at its head. The stick lodged in the tree, and he returned to his wife without money, cow, bagpipes, gloves, or stick, and she instantly gave him such a sound cudgelling that she almost broke every bone in his skin.


One of the greatest favorites among nursery tales is the story of that Jack who showed "an inquiring mind, a great courage and enterprise," and who climbed the ladder of fortune when he mounted his bean-stalk. The traditional versions of this story are nearly all crude and unsatisfactory, as are those of many of the English tales. Joseph Jacobs made a remarkably fine literary version in his English Fairy Tales from memories of his Australian childhood. He materially shortens the story by omitting the fairy lady, who, he suggests, was put in "to prevent the tale becoming an encouragement to theft." He also made Jack's character more consistent by making him more sympathetic and kind at the beginning and less of a "ne'er-do-well," though the noodle element in the selling of the cow could not be eliminated. Andrew Lang, in his Green Fairy Book, gives an excellent version of the story in its most extended form. Both the versions mentioned introduce, when the giant comes in, the formula generally associated with "Jack the Giant Killer":
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive, or be he dead,
I'll grind his bones to make my bread."

The version chosen for use here contains the elements of the story most familiar to past generations and is probably as near the commoner oral traditions as it is possible to secure. It is taken from Miss Mulock's The Fairy Book, a very fine selection of tales, first published in 1863, and still widely used. Miss Muloch (Dinah Maria Craik, 1826-1887) is best known as the author of the popular novel John Halifax, Gentleman.


In the days of King Alfred there lived a poor woman, whose cottage was in a remote country village, many miles from London. She had been a widow some years, and had an only child named Jack, whom she indulged so much that he never paid the least attention to anything she said, but was indolent, careless, and extravagant. His follies were not owing to a bad disposition, but to his mother's foolish partiality. By degrees he spent all that she had—scarcely anything remained but a cow.

One day, for the first time in her life, she reproached him: "Cruel, cruel boy! you have at last brought me to beggary. I have not money enough to purchase even a bit of bread; nothing now remains to sell but my poor cow! I am sorry to part with her; it grieves me sadly, but we cannot starve."

For a few minutes Jack felt remorse, but it was soon over, and he began asking his mother to let him sell the cow at the next village, teasing her so much that she at last consented. As he was going along he met a butcher, who inquired why he was driving the cow from home. Jack replied that he was going to sell her. The butcher held some curious beans in his hat; they were of various colors, and attracted Jack's[74] attention. This did not pass unnoticed by the man, who, knowing Jack's easy temper, thought now was the time to take an advantage of it; and, determined not to let slip so good an opportunity, asked what was the price of the cow, offering at the same time all the beans in his hat for her. The silly boy could not conceal the pleasure he felt at what he supposed so great an offer. The bargain was struck instantly, and the cow exchanged for a few paltry beans. Jack made the best of his way home, calling aloud to his mother before he reached the door, thinking to surprise her.

When she saw the beans, and heard Jack's account, her patience quite forsook her. She tossed the beans out of the window, where they fell on the garden-bed below. Then she threw her apron over her head, and cried bitterly. Jack attempted to console her, but in vain, and, not having anything to eat, they both went supperless to bed.

Jack awoke early in the morning, and seeing something uncommon darkening the window of his bed-chamber, ran down stairs into the garden, where he found some of the beans had taken root and sprung up surprisingly. The stalks were of an immense thickness, and had twined together until they formed a ladder like a chain, and so high that the top appeared to be lost in the clouds.

Jack was an adventurous lad; he determined to climb up to the top, and ran to tell his mother, not doubting but that she would be equally pleased with himself. She declared he should not go; said it would break her heart if he did; entreated and threatened, but all in vain. Jack set out, and after climbing for some hours reached the top of the bean-stalk, quite exhausted. Looking around, he found himself in a strange country. It appeared to be a barren desert; not a tree, shrub, house, or living creature was to be seen; here and there were scattered fragments of stone, and at unequal distances small heaps of earth were loosely thrown together.

Jack seated himself pensively upon a block of stone and thought of his mother. He reflected with sorrow upon his disobedience in climbing the bean-stalk against her will, and concluded that he must die of hunger. However, he walked on, hoping to see a house where he might beg something to eat and drink. He did not find it; but he saw at a distance a beautiful lady walking all alone. She was elegantly clad, and carried a white wand, at the top of which sat a peacock of pure gold.

Jack, who was a gallant fellow, went straight up to her, when, with a bewitching smile, she asked him how he came there. He told her all about the bean-stalk. The lady answered him by a question, "Do you remember your father, young man?"

"No, madam; but I am sure there is some mystery about him, for when I name him to my mother she always begins to weep and will tell me nothing."

"She dare not," replied the lady, "but I can and will. For know, young man, that I am a fairy, and was your father's guardian. But fairies are bound by laws as well as mortals; and by an error of mine I lost my power for a term of years, so that I was unable to succor your father when he most needed it, and he died." Here the fairy looked so sorrowful that Jack's heart warmed to her, and he begged her earnestly to tell him more.[75]

"I will; only you must promise to obey me in everything, or you will perish yourself."

Jack was brave, and, besides, his fortunes were so bad they could not well be worse,—so he promised.

The fairy continued: "Your father, Jack, was a most excellent, amiable, generous man. He had a good wife, faithful servants, plenty of money; but he had one misfortune—a false friend. This was a giant, whom he had succored in misfortune, and who returned his kindness by murdering him and seizing on all his property; also making your mother take a solemn oath that she would never tell you anything about your father, or he would murder both her and you. Then he turned her off with you in her arms, to wander about the wide world as she might. I could not help her, as my power only returned on the day you went to sell your cow.

"It was I," added the fairy, "who impelled you to take the beans, who made the bean-stalk grow, and inspired you with the desire to climb up it to this strange country; for it is here the wicked giant lives who was your father's destroyer. It is you who must avenge him, and rid the world of a monster who never will do anything but evil. I will assist you. You may lawfully take possession of his house and all his riches, for everything he has belonged to your father, and is therefore yours. Now, farewell! Do not let your mother know you are acquainted with your father's history; this is my command, and if you disobey me you will suffer for it. Now go."

Jack asked where he was to go.

"Along the direct road, till you see the house where the giant lives. You must then act according to your own just judgment, and I will guide you if any difficulty arises. Farewell!"

She bestowed on the youth a benignant smile, and vanished.

Jack pursued his journey. He walked on till after sunset, when, to his great joy, he espied a large mansion. A plain-looking woman was at the door. He accosted her, begging she would give him a morsel of bread and a night's lodging. She expressed the greatest surprise, and said it was quite uncommon to see a human being near their house; for it was well known that her husband was a powerful giant, who would never eat anything but human flesh, if he could possibly get it; that he would walk fifty miles to procure it, usually being out the whole day for that purpose.

This account greatly terrified Jack, but still he hoped to elude the giant, and therefore he again entreated the woman to take him in for one night only, and hide him where she thought proper. She at last suffered herself to be persuaded, for she was of a compassionate and generous disposition, and took him into the house. First, they entered a fine large hall, magnificently furnished; they then passed through several spacious rooms, in the same style of grandeur; but all appeared forsaken and desolate. A long gallery came next, it was very dark, just light enough to show that instead of a wall on one side, there was a grating of iron which parted off a dismal dungeon, from whence issued the groans of those victims whom the cruel giant reserved in confinement for his own voracious appetite.

Poor Jack was half dead with fear, and would have given the world to have been with his mother again, for he now began[76] to doubt if he should ever see her more; he even mistrusted the good woman, and thought she had let him into the house for no other purpose than to lock him up among the unfortunate people in the dungeon. However, she bade Jack sit down, and gave him plenty to eat and drink; and he, not seeing anything to make him uncomfortable, soon forgot his fear, and was just beginning to enjoy himself, when he was startled by a loud knocking at the outer door, which made the whole house shake.

"Ah! that's the giant; and if he sees you he will kill you and me too," cried the poor woman, trembling all over. "What shall I do?"

"Hide me in the oven," cried Jack, now as bold as a lion at the thought of being face to face with his father's cruel murderer. So he crept into the oven—for there was no fire near it—and listened to the giant's loud voice and heavy step as he went up and down the kitchen scolding his wife. At last he seated himself at the table, and Jack, peeping through a crevice in the oven, was amazed to see what a quantity of food he devoured. It seemed as if he never would have done eating and drinking; but he did at last, and, leaning back, called to his wife in a voice like thunder:

"Bring me my hen!"

She obeyed, and placed upon the table a very beautiful live hen.

"Lay!" roared the giant, and the hen laid immediately an egg of solid gold.

"Lay another!" and every time the giant said this the hen laid a larger egg than before.

He amused himself a long time with his hen, and then sent his wife to bed, while he fell asleep by the fireside, and snored like the roaring of cannon.

As soon as he was asleep Jack crept out of the oven, seized the hen, and ran off with her. He got safely out of the house, and finding his way along the road he had come, reached the top of the bean-stalk, which he descended in safety.

His mother was overjoyed to see him. She thought he had come to some ill end.

"Not a bit of it, mother. Look here!" and he showed her the hen. "Now lay!" and the hen obeyed him as readily as the giant, and laid as many golden eggs as he desired.

These eggs being sold, Jack and his mother got plenty of money, and for some months lived very happily together; till Jack got another great longing to climb the bean-stalk and carry away some more of the giant's riches. He had told his mother of his adventure, but had been very careful not to say a word about his father. He thought of his journey again and again, but still he could not summon resolution enough to break it to his mother, being well assured that she would endeavor to prevent his going. However, one day he told her boldly that he must take another journey up the bean-stalk. She begged and prayed him not to think of it, and tried all in her power to dissuade him. She told him that the giant's wife would certainly know him again, and that the giant would desire nothing better than to get him into his power, that he might put him to a cruel death in order to be revenged for the loss of his hen. Jack, finding that all his arguments were useless, ceased speaking, though resolved to go at all events. He had a dress prepared which would disguise him, and something to color his[77] skin. He thought it impossible for any one to recollect him in this dress.

A few mornings after, he rose very early, and, unperceived by any one, climbed the bean-stalk a second time. He was greatly fatigued when he reached the top, and very hungry. Having rested some time on one of the stones, he pursued his journey to the giant's mansion, which he reached late in the evening. The woman was at the door as before. Jack addressed her, at the same time telling her a pitiful tale, and requesting that she would give him some victuals and drink, and also a night's lodging.

She told him (what he knew before very well) about her husband's being a powerful and cruel giant, and also that she had one night admitted a poor, hungry, friendless boy; that the little ungrateful fellow had stolen one of the giant's treasures; and ever since that her husband had been worse than before, using her very cruelly, and continually upbraiding her with being the cause of his misfortune.

Jack felt sorry for her, but confessed nothing, and did his best to persuade her to admit him, but found it a very hard task. At last she consented, and as she led the way, Jack observed that everything was just as he had found it before. She took him into the kitchen, and after he had done eating and drinking, she hid him in an old lumber-closet.

The giant returned at the usual time, and walked in so heavily that the house was shaken to its foundation. He seated himself by the fire, and soon after exclaimed, "Wife, I smell fresh meat!"

The wife replied it was the crows, which had brought a piece of raw meat and left it at the top of the house. While supper was preparing, the giant was very ill-tempered and impatient, frequently lifting up his hand to strike his wife for not being quick enough. He was also continually upbraiding her with the loss of his wonderful hen.

At last, having ended his supper, he cried, "Give me something to amuse me—my harp or my money-bags."

"Which will you have, my dear?" said the wife humbly.

"My money-bags, because they are the heaviest to carry," thundered he.

She brought them, staggering under the weight; two bags—one filled with new guineas, and the other with new shillings. She emptied them out on the table, and the giant began counting them in great glee. "Now you may go to bed, you old fool." So the wife crept away.

Jack from his hiding-place watched the counting of the money, which he knew was his poor father's, and wished it was his own; it would give him much less trouble than going about selling the golden eggs. The giant, little thinking he was so narrowly observed, reckoned it all up, and then replaced it in the two bags, which he tied up very carefully and put beside his chair, with his little dog to guard them. At last he fell asleep as before, and snored so loud that Jack compared his noise to the roaring of the sea in a high wind when the tide is coming in.

At last Jack, concluding all secure, stole out, in order to carry off the two bags of money; but just as he laid his hands upon one of them, the little dog, which he had not seen before, started from under the giant's chair and barked most furiously. Instead of endeavoring to escape, Jack stood still, though[78] expecting his enemy to awake every instant. Contrary, however, to his expectation, the giant continued in a sound sleep, and Jack, seeing a piece of meat, threw it to the dog, who at once ceased barking and began to devour it. So Jack carried off the bags, one on each shoulder, but they were so heavy that it took him two whole days to descend the bean-stalk and get back to his mother's door.

When he came he found the cottage deserted. He ran from one room to another, without being able to find any one. He then hastened into the village, hoping to see some of the neighbors who could inform him where he could find his mother. An old woman at last directed him to a neighboring house, where she was ill of a fever. He was greatly shocked at finding her apparently dying, and blamed himself bitterly as the cause of it all. However, at sight of her dear son, the poor woman revived, and slowly recovered health. Jack gave her his two money-bags. They had the cottage rebuilt and well furnished, and lived happier than they had ever done before.

For three years Jack heard no more of the bean-stalk, but he could not forget it, though he feared making his mother unhappy. It was in vain endeavoring to amuse himself; he became thoughtful, and would arise at the first dawn of day, and sit looking at the bean-stalk for hours together.

His mother saw that something preyed upon his mind, and endeavored to discover the cause; but Jack knew too well what the consequence would be should she succeed. He did his utmost, therefore, to conquer the great desire he had for another journey up the bean-stalk. Finding, however, that his inclination grew too powerful for him, he began to make secret preparations for his journey. He got ready a new disguise, better and more complete than the former; and when summer came, on the longest day he woke as soon as it was light, and, without telling his mother, ascended the bean-stalk. He found, the road, journey, etc., much as it was on the two former times. He arrived at the giant's mansion in the evening, and found the wife standing, as usual, at the door. Jack had disguised himself so completely that she did not appear to have the least recollection of him; however, when he pleaded hunger and poverty in order to gain admittance, he found it very difficult indeed to persuade her. At last he prevailed, and was concealed in the copper.

When the giant returned, he said furiously, "I smell fresh meat!" But Jack felt quite composed, as he had said so before and had been soon satisfied. However, the giant started up suddenly, and, notwithstanding all his wife could say, he searched all round the room. Whilst this was going forward, Jack was exceedingly terrified, wishing himself at home a thousand times; but when the giant approached the copper, and put his hand on the lid, Jack thought his death was certain. However, nothing happened; for the giant did not take the trouble to lift up the lid, but sat down shortly by the fireside and began to eat his enormous supper. When he had finished, he commanded his wife to fetch down his harp.

Jack peeped under the copper lid and saw a most beautiful harp. The giant placed it on the table, said, "Play!" and it played of its own accord, without anybody touching it, the most exquisite music imaginable.[79]

Jack, who was a very good musician, was delighted, and more anxious to get this than any other of his enemy's treasures. But the giant not being particularly fond of music, the harp had only the effect of lulling him to sleep earlier than usual. As for the wife, she had gone to bed as soon as ever she could.

As soon as he thought all was safe, Jack got out of the copper, and, seizing the harp, was eagerly running off with it. But the harp was enchanted by a fairy, and as soon as it found itself in strange hands, it called out loudly, just as if it had been alive, "Master! Master!"

The giant awoke, started up, and saw Jack scampering away as fast as his legs could carry him.

"Oh, you villain! It is you who have robbed me of my hen and my money-bags, and now you are stealing my harp also. Wait till I catch you, and I'll eat you up alive!"

"Very well; try!" shouted Jack, who was not a bit afraid, for he saw the giant was so tipsy he could hardly stand, much less run; and he himself had young legs and a clear conscience, which carry a man a long way. So, after leading the giant a considerable race, he contrived to be first at the top of the bean-stalk, and then scrambled down it as fast as he could, the harp playing all the while the most melancholy music, till he said, "Stop"; and it stopped.

Arrived at the bottom, he found his mother sitting at her cottage door, weeping silently.

"Here, mother, don't cry; just give me a hatchet; make haste." For he knew there was not a moment to spare. He saw the giant beginning to descend the bean-stalk.

However, it was too late—the monster's ill deeds had come to an end. Jack with his hatchet cut the bean-stalk close off at the root; the giant fell headlong into the garden, and was killed on the spot.

Instantly the fairy appeared and explained everything to Jack's mother, begging her to forgive Jack, who was his father's own son for bravery and generosity, and who would be sure to make her happy for the rest of her days.

So all ended well, and nothing was ever more heard or seen of the wonderful bean-stalk.


Those wonder stories that concern themselves with giants or with very little people have always been favorites with children. Of the little heroes Tom Thumb has always held the center of the stage. His adventures in one form or another are in the folk tales of most European countries. He has the honor of being the subject of a monograph by the great French scholar Gaston Paris. Hans Christian Andersen turned him into a delightful little girl in his derivative story of "Thumbelina." The English version of "Tom Thumb" seems to have been printed first in ballad form in the seventeenth century, and later in many chapbook versions in prose. Its plot takes the form of a succession of marvelous accidents by land and sea, limited only by the inventive ingenuity of the story-teller. "According to popular tradition Tom Thumb died at Lincoln. . . . There was a little blue flagstone in the pavement of the Minster which was shown as Tom Thumb's monument, and the country folks never failed to marvel at it when they came to church on the Assize Sunday; but during some of the modern repairs which have been inflicted on that venerable building, the flagstone was displaced and lost, to the great[80] discomfiture of the holiday visitants." Thus wrote an ancient and learned scholar in illustration of the tendency to give a local habitation and a name to our favorite fancies. The version of the story given by Miss Mulock in her Fairy Book is the one used here. It follows closely the rambling events of the various chapbook and ballad versions.


In the days of King Arthur, Merlin, the most learned enchanter of his time, was on a journey; and being very weary, stopped one day at the cottage of an honest ploughman to ask for refreshment. The ploughman's wife with great civility immediately brought him some milk in a wooden bowl and some brown bread on a wooden platter.

Merlin could not help observing that although everything within the cottage was particularly neat and clean and in good order, the ploughman and his wife had the most sorrowful air imaginable; so he questioned them on the cause of their melancholy and learned that they were very miserable because they had no children.

The poor woman declared with tears in her eyes that she should be the happiest creature in the world if she had a son, although he were no bigger than his father's thumb.

Merlin was much amused with the notion of a boy no bigger than a man's thumb, and as soon as he returned home he sent for the queen of the fairies (with whom he was very intimate) and related to her the desire of the ploughman and his wife to have a son the size of his father's thumb. She liked the plan exceedingly and declared their wish should be speedily granted. Accordingly the ploughman's wife had a son, who in a few minutes grew as tall as his father's thumb.

The queen of the fairies came in at the window as the mother was sitting up in bed admiring the child. Her majesty kissed the infant and, giving it the name of Tom Thumb, immediately summoned several fairies from Fairyland to clothe her new little favorite.

"An oak-leaf hat he had for his crown;
His shirt it was by spiders spun;
With doublet wove of thistledown,
His trousers up with points were done;
His stockings, of apple-rind, they tie
With eye-lash plucked from his mother's eye,
His shoes were made of a mouse's skin,
Nicely tann'd with hair within."

Tom was never any bigger than his father's thumb, which was not a large thumb either; but as he grew older he became very cunning, for which his mother did not sufficiently correct him, and by this ill quality he was often brought into difficulties. For instance, when he had learned to play with other boys for cherry-stones and had lost all his own, he used to creep into the boys' bags, fill his pockets, and come out again to play. But one day as he was getting out of a bag of cherry-stones, the boy to whom it belonged chanced to see him.

"Ah, ha, my little Tom Thumb!" said he, "have I caught you at your bad tricks at last? Now I will reward you for thieving." Then he drew the string tight around Tom's neck and shook the bag. The cherry-stones bruised Tom Thumb's legs, thighs, and body sadly, which made him beg to be let out and promise never to be guilty of such things any more.

Shortly afterwards Tom's mother was making a batter-pudding, and that he[81] might see how she mixed it, he climbed on the edge of the bowl; but his foot happening to slip, he fell over head and ears into the batter. His mother not observing him, stirred him into the pudding and popped him into the pot to boil. The hot water made Tom kick and struggle; and the mother, seeing the pudding jump up and down in such a furious manner, thought it was bewitched; and a tinker coming by just at the time, she quickly gave him the pudding. He put it into his budget and walked on.

As soon as Tom could get the batter out of his mouth he began to cry aloud, and so frightened the poor tinker that he flung the pudding over the hedge and ran away from it as fast as he could. The pudding being broken to pieces by the fall, Tom was released, and walked home to his mother, who gave him a kiss and put him to bed.

Tom Thumb's mother once took him with her when she went to milk the cow; and it being a very windy day, she tied him with a needleful of thread to a thistle, that he might not be blown away. The cow, liking his oak-leaf hat, took him and the thistle up at one mouthful. While the cow chewed the thistle, Tom, terrified at her great teeth, which seemed ready to crush him to pieces, roared, "Mother, mother!" as loud as he could bawl.

"Where are you, Tommy, my dear Tommy?" said the mother.

"Here, mother, here in the red cow's mouth."

The mother began to cry and wring her hands; but the cow, surprised at such odd noises in her throat, opened her mouth and let him drop out. His mother clapped him into her apron and ran home with him.

Tom's father made him a whip of a barley straw to drive the cattle with, and one day when he was in the field he slipped into a deep furrow. A raven flying over picked him up with a grain of corn and flew with him to the top of a giant's castle by the seaside, where he left him; and old Grumbo, the giant, coming soon after to walk upon his terrace, swallowed Tom like a pill, clothes and all.

Tom presently made the giant very uncomfortable, and he threw him up into the sea. A great fish then swallowed him. The fish was soon after caught, and sent as a present to King Arthur. When it was cut open, everybody was delighted with little Tom Thumb. The king made him his dwarf; he was the favorite of the whole court, and by his merry pranks often amused the queen and the knights of the Round Table.

The king, when he rode on horse-back, frequently took Tom in his hand; and if a shower of rain came on, he used to creep into the king's waist-coat pocket and sleep till the rain was over. The king also sometimes questioned Tom concerning his parents; and when Tom informed his majesty they were very poor people, the king led him into his treasury and told him he should pay his friends a visit and take with him as much money as he could carry. Tom procured a little purse, and putting a threepenny piece into it, with much labor and difficulty got it upon his back; and, after travelling two days and nights, arrived at his father's house.

When his mother met him at the door, he was almost tired to death, having in forty-eight hours traveled almost half a mile with a huge silver threepence[82] upon his back. Both his parents were glad to see him, especially when he had brought such an amazing sum of money with him. They placed him in a walnut-shell by the fireside and feasted him for three days upon a hazel-nut, which made him sick, for a whole nut usually served him for a month.

Tom got well, but could not travel because it had rained; therefore his mother took him in her hand, and with one puff blew him into King Arthur's court, where Tom entertained the king, queen, and nobility at tilts and tournaments, at which he exerted himself so much that he brought on a fit of sickness, and his life was despaired of.

At this juncture the queen of the fairies came in a chariot, drawn by flying mice, placed Tom by her side, and drove through the air without stopping till they arrived at her palace. After restoring him to health and permitting him to enjoy all the gay diversions of Fairyland, she commanded a fair wind, and, placing Tom before it, blew him straight to the court of King Arthur. But just as Tom should have alighted in the courtyard of the palace, the cook happened to pass along with the king's great bowl of furmenty (King Arthur loved furmenty), and poor Tom Thumb fell plump into the middle of it and splashed the hot furmenty into the cook's eyes. Down went the bowl.

"Oh, dear! Oh, dear!" cried Tom.

"Murder! murder!" bellowed the cook; and away poured the king's nice furmenty into the kennel.

The cook was a red-faced, cross fellow, and swore to the king that Tom had done it out of mere mischief; so he was taken up, tried, and sentenced to be beheaded. Tom hearing this dreadful sentence and seeing a miller stand by with his mouth wide open, he took a good spring and jumped down the miller's throat, unperceived by all, even the miller himself.

Tom being lost, the court broke up, and away went the miller to his mill. But Tom did not leave him long at rest; he began to roll and tumble about, so that the miller thought himself bewitched and sent for a doctor. When the doctor came, Tom began to dance and sing. The doctor was as much frightened as the miller and sent in great haste for five more doctors and twenty learned men.

While all these were debating upon the affair, the miller (for they were very tedious) happened to yawn, and Tom, taking the opportunity, made another jump and alighted on his feet in the middle of the table. The miller, provoked to be thus tormented by such a little creature, fell into a great passion, caught hold of Tom, and threw him out of the window into the river. A large salmon swimming by snapped him up in a minute. The salmon was soon caught and sold in the market to a steward of a lord. The lord, thinking it an uncommonly fine fish, made a present of it to the king, who ordered it to be dressed immediately. When the cook cut open the salmon he found poor Tom and ran with him directly to the king; but the king, being busy with state affairs, desired that he might be brought another day.

The cook, resolving to keep him safely this time, as he had so lately given him the slip, clapped him into a mouse-trap and left him to amuse himself by peeping through the wires for a whole week. When the king sent for him, he forgave him for throwing down the furmenty,[83] ordered him new clothes, and knighted him.

"His shirt was made of butterflies' wings;
His boots were made of chicken skins,
His coat and breeches were made with pride,
A tailor's needle hung by his side;
A mouse for a horse he used to ride."

Thus dressed and mounted, he rode a-hunting with the king and nobility, who all laughed heartily at Tom and his prancing steed. As they rode by a farm-house one day, a cat jumped from behind the door, seized the mouse and little Tom, and began to devour the mouse; however, Tom boldly drew his sword and attacked the cat, who then let him fall. The king and his nobles, seeing Tom falling, went to his assistance, and one of the lords caught him in his hat; but poor Tom was sadly scratched, and his clothes were torn by the claws of the cat. In this condition he was carried home, and a bed of down was made for him in a little ivory cabinet.

The queen of the fairies came and took him again to Fairyland, where she kept him for some years; and then, dressing him in bright green, sent him flying once more through the air to the earth, in the days of King Thunstone. The people flocked far and near to look at him; and the king, before whom he was carried, asked him who he was, whence he came, and where he lived? Tom answered:

"My name is Tom Thumb;
From the fairies I come;
When King Arthur shone,
This court was my home;
In me he delighted;
By him I was knighted.
Did you ever hear of
Sir Thomas Thumb?"

The king was so charmed with this address that he ordered a little chair to be made, in order that Tom might sit on his table, and also a palace of gold a span high with a door an inch wide, for little Tom to live in. He also gave him a coach drawn by six small mice. This made the queen angry, because she had not a new coach too; therefore, resolving to ruin Tom, she complained to the king that he had behaved very insolently to her. The king sent for him in a rage. Tom, to escape his fury, crept into an empty snail-shell and there lay till he was almost starved; then, peeping out of the hole, he saw a fine butterfly settle on the ground. He then ventured out, and getting astride, the butterfly took wing and mounted into the air with little Tom on his back. Away he flew from field to field, from tree to tree, till at last he flew to the king's court. The king, queen, and nobles all strove to catch the butterfly, but could not. At length poor Tom, having neither bridle nor saddle, slipped from his seat and fell into a watering-pot, where he was found almost drowned.

The queen vowed he should be guillotined; but while the guillotine was getting ready, he was secured once more in a mousetrap. The cat, seeing something stir and supposing it to be a mouse, patted the trap about till she broke it and set Tom at liberty.

Soon afterwards a spider, taking him for a fly, made at him. Tom drew his sword and fought valiantly, but the spider's poisonous breath overcame him:

"He fell dead on the ground where late he had stood,
And the spider suck'd up the last drop of his blood."

King Thunstone and his whole court went into mourning for little Tom[84] Thumb. They buried him under a rosebush and raised a nice white marble monument over his grave, with the following epitaph:

"Here lies Tom Thumb, King Arthur's knight,
Who died by a spider's cruel bite.
He was well known in Arthur's court,
Where he afforded gallant sport;
He rode at tilt and tournament,
And on a mouse a-hunting went.
Alive he fill'd the court with mirth,
His death to sorrow soon gave birth.
Wipe, wipe your eyes, and shake your head,
And cry, 'Alas! Tom Thumb is dead.'"


This chapbook form of the famous "Whittington and His Cat" is the one reprinted by Hartland in his English Fairy and Folk Tales. It goes back to the early eighteenth century. Sir Richard Whittington, at least, was a historical character and served his first term as Lord Mayor of London in 1397. Like most popular stories, this one of a fortune due to a cat is common to all Europe. Mr. Clouston, in the second volume of his Popular Tales and Fictions, outlines a number of these stories, and even points out a Persian parallel of an earlier date than the birth of Sir Richard. Just how this very prosperous business man of London, who was never in reality a poor boy, came to be adopted as the hero of the English version of this romantic tale has never been made clear. Probably it was due to the common tendency of the folk in all lands to attribute unusual success in any field to other than ordinary causes. However that may be, it is certainly true that no story more completely satisfies the ideal of complete success for children than this "History of Sir Richard Whittington." Mr. Jacobs calls attention to the interesting fact that the chapbook places the introduction of the potato into England rather far back!


In the reign of the famous King Edward III, there was a little boy called Dick Whittington, whose father and mother died when he was very young, so that he remembered nothing at all about them and was left a ragged little fellow, running about a country village. As poor Dick was not old enough to work, he was very badly off; he got but little for his dinner and sometimes nothing at all for his breakfast, for the people who lived in the village were very poor indeed and could not spare him much more than the parings of potatoes and now and then a hard crust of bread.

For all this, Dick Whittington was a very sharp boy and was always listening to what everybody talked about. On Sunday he was sure to get near the farmers as they sat talking on the tombstones in the churchyard before the parson was come; and once a week you might see little Dick leaning against the sign post of the village alehouse, where people stopped to drink as they came from the next market town; and when the barber's shop door was open, Dick listened to all the news that his customers told one another.

In this manner Dick heard a great many very strange things about the city called London; for the foolish country people at that time thought that folks in London were all fine gentlemen and ladies, and that there was singing and music there all day long, and that the streets were all paved with gold.

One day a large wagon and eight horses, all with bells at their heads, drove through the village while Dick was standing by the signpost. He thought that this wagon must be going to the fine[85] town of London; so he took courage and asked the wagoner to let him walk with him by the side of the wagon. As soon as the wagoner heard that poor Dick had no father or mother and saw by his ragged clothes that he could not be worse off than he was, he told him he might go if he would, so they set off together.

I could never find out how little Dick contrived to get meat and drink on the road, nor how he could walk so far, for it was a long way, nor what he did at night for a place to lie down to sleep in. Perhaps some good-natured people in the towns that he passed through, when they saw he was a poor little ragged boy, gave him something to eat; and perhaps the wagoner let him get into the wagon at night and take a nap upon one of the boxes or large parcels in the wagon.

Dick, however, got safe to London and was in such a hurry to see the fine streets paved all over with gold that I am afraid he did not even stay to thank the kind wagoner, but ran off as fast as his legs would carry him through many of the streets, thinking every moment to come to those that were paved with gold, for Dick had seen a guinea three times in his own little village and remembered what a deal of money it brought in change; so he thought he had nothing to do but to take up some little bits of the pavement and should then have as much money as he could wish for.

Poor Dick ran till he was tired and had quite forgotten his friend the wagoner; but at last, finding it grow dark and that every way he turned he saw nothing but dirt instead of gold, he sat down in a dark corner and cried himself to sleep.

Little Dick was all night in the streets; and next morning, being very hungry, he got up and walked about and asked everybody he met to give him a halfpenny to keep him from starving. But nobody stayed to answer him, and only two or three gave him a halfpenny; so that the poor boy was soon quite weak and faint for the want of victuals.

At last a good-natured looking gentleman saw how hungry he looked. "Why don't you go to work, my lad?" said he to Dick.

"That I would, but I do not know how to get any," answered Dick.

"If you are willing, come along with me," said the gentleman, and took him to a hay-field, where Dick worked briskly and lived merrily till the hay was made.

After this he found himself as badly off as before; and being almost starved again, he laid himself down at the door of Mr. Fitzwarren, a rich merchant. Here he was soon seen by the cook-maid, who was an ill-tempered creature and happened just then to be very busy dressing dinner for her master and mistress; so she called out to poor Dick: "What business have you there, you lazy rogue? There is nothing else but beggars. If you do not take yourself away, we will see how you will like a sousing of some dish water; I have some here hot enough to make you jump."

Just at that time Mr. Fitzwarren himself came home to dinner; and when he saw a dirty ragged boy lying at the door, he said to him: "Why do you lie there, my boy? You seem old enough to work. I am afraid you are inclined to be lazy."

"No, indeed, sir," said Dick to him, "that is not the case, for I would work with all my heart, but I do not know anybody, and I believe I am very sick for the want of food."

"Poor fellow, get up; let me see what ails you."[86]

Dick then tried to rise, but was obliged to lie down again, being too weak to stand, for he had not eaten any food for three days and was no longer able to run about and beg a halfpenny of people in the street. So the kind merchant ordered him to be taken into the house, and have a good dinner given him, and be kept to do what dirty work he was able for the cook.

Little Dick would have lived very happy in this good family if it had not been for the ill-natured cook, who was finding fault and scolding him from morning to night, and besides she was so fond of basting that when she had no meat to baste she would baste poor Dick's head and shoulders with a broom or anything else that happened to fall in her way. At last her ill-usage of him was told to Alice, Mr. Fitzwarren's daughter, who told the cook she should be turned away if she did not treat him kinder.

The ill-humor of the cook was now a little amended; but besides this Dick had another hardship to get over. His bed stood in a garret where there were so many holes in the floor and the walls that every night he was tormented with rats and mice. A gentleman having given Dick a penny for cleaning his shoes, he thought he would buy a cat with it. The next day he saw a girl with a cat and asked her if she would let him have it for a penny. The girl said she would and at the same time told him the cat was an excellent mouser.

Dick hid his cat in the garret and always took care to carry a part of his dinner to her, and in a short time he had no more trouble with the rats and mice, but slept quite sound every night.

Soon after this his master had a ship ready to sail; and as he thought it right that all his servants should have some chance for good fortune as well as himself, he called them all into the parlor and asked them what they would send out.

They all had something that they were willing to venture except poor Dick, who had neither money nor goods, and therefore could send nothing.

For this reason he did not come into the parlor with the rest; but Miss Alice guessed what was the matter and ordered him to be called in. She then said she would lay down some money for him from her own purse; but the father told her this would not do, for it must be something of his own.

When poor Dick heard this, he said he had nothing but a cat which he bought for a penny some time since of a little girl.

"Fetch your cat then, my good boy," said Mr. Fitzwarren, "and let her go."

Dick went up stairs and brought down poor puss, with tears in his eyes, and gave her to the captain, for he said he should now be kept awake again all night by the rats and mice.

All the company laughed at Dick's odd venture; and Miss Alice, who felt pity for the poor boy, gave him some money to buy another cat.

This and many other marks of kindness shown him by Miss Alice made the ill-tempered cook jealous of poor Dick, and she began to use him more cruelly than ever and always made game of him for sending his cat to sea. She asked him if he thought his cat would sell for as much money as would buy a stick to beat him.

At last poor Dick could not bear this usage any longer, and he thought he would run away from his place; so he[87] packed up his few things and started very early in the morning on All-hallows Day, which is the first of November. He walked as far as Holloway, and there sat down on a stone, which to this day is called Whittington's stone, and began to think to himself which road he should take as he proceeded.

While he was thinking what he should do, the Bells of Bow Church, which at that time had only six, began to ring, and he fancied their sound seemed to say to him:

"Turn again, Whittington,
Lord Mayor of London."

"Lord Mayor of London!" said he to himself. "Why, to be sure, I would put up with almost anything now to be Lord Mayor of London and ride in a fine coach when I grow to be a man! Well, I will go back and think nothing of the cuffing and scolding of the old cook if I am to be Lord Mayor of London at last."

Dick went back and was lucky enough to get into the house and set about his work before the old cook came downstairs.

The ship, with the cat on board, was a long time at sea, and was at last driven by the winds on a part of the coast of Barbary where the only people were the Moors, whom the English had never known before.

The people then came in great numbers to see the sailors, who were of different color from themselves, and treated them very civilly, and when they became better acquainted were very eager to buy the fine things that the ship was loaded with.

When the captain saw this, he sent patterns of the best things he had to the king of the country, who was so much pleased with them that he sent for the captain to the palace. Here they were placed, as it is the custom of the country, on rich carpets marked with gold and silver flowers. The king and queen were seated at the upper end of the room, and a number of dishes were brought in for dinner. When they had sat but a short time, a vast number of rats and mice rushed in, helping themselves from almost every dish. The captain wondered at this and asked if these vermin were not very unpleasant.

"Oh, yes," said they, "very offensive; and the king would give half his treasure to be freed of them, for they not only destroy his dinner, as you see, but they assault him in his chamber and even in bed, so that he is obliged to be watched while he is sleeping for fear of them."

The captain jumped for joy; he remembered poor Whittington and his cat and told the king he had a creature on board the ship that would dispatch all these vermin immediately. The king's heart heaved so high at the joy which this news gave him that his turban dropped off his head. "Bring this creature to me," says he; "vermin are dreadful in a court, and if she will perform what you say, I will load your ship with gold and jewels in exchange for her."

The captain, who knew his business, took this opportunity to set forth the merits of Mrs. Puss. He told his majesty that it would be inconvenient to part with her, as, when she was gone, the rats and mice might destroy the goods in the ship—but to oblige his majesty he would fetch her. "Run, run!" said the queen; "I am impatient to see the dear creature."

Away went the captain to the ship, while another dinner was got ready. He[88] put puss under his arm and arrived at the palace soon enough to see the table full of rats.

When the cat saw them, she did not wait for bidding, but jumped out of the captain's arms and in a few minutes laid almost all the rats and mice dead at her feet. The rest of them in their fright scampered away to their holes.

The king and queen were quite charmed to get so easily rid of such plagues and desired that the creature who had done them so great a kindness might be brought to them for inspection. The captain called, "Pussy, pussy, pussy!" and she came to him. He then presented her to the queen, who started back and was afraid to touch a creature who had made such a havoc among the rats and mice. However, when the captain stroked the cat and called, "Pussy, pussy," the queen also touched her and cried, "Putty, putty," for she had not learned English. He then put her down on the queen's lap; where she, purring, played with her majesty's hand and then sang herself to sleep.

The king, having seen the exploits of Mrs. Puss and being informed that she was with young and would stock the whole country, bargained with the captain for the whole ship's cargo and then gave him ten times as much for the cat as all the rest amounted to.

The captain then took leave of the royal party and set sail with a fair wind for England, and after a happy voyage arrived safe in London.

One morning when Mr. Fitzwarren had just come to his counting-house and seated himself at the desk, somebody came tap, tap, at the door. "Who's there?" says Mr. Fitzwarren.

"A friend," answered the other; "I come to bring you good news of your ship Unicorn." The merchant, bustling up instantly, opened the door, and who should be seen waiting but the captain with a cabinet of jewels and a bill of lading, for which the merchant lifted up his eyes and thanked heaven for sending him such a prosperous voyage.

They then told the story of the cat and showed the rich present that the king and queen had sent for her to poor Dick. As soon as the merchant heard this, he called out to his servants:

"Go fetch him—we will tell him of the same;
Pray call him Mr. Whittington by name."

Mr. Fitzwarren now showed himself to be a good man; for when some of his servants said so great a treasure was too much for him, he answered, "God forbid I should deprive him of the value of a single penny."

He then sent for Dick, who at that time was scouring pots for the cook and was quite dirty.

Mr. Fitzwarren ordered a chair to be set for him, and so he began to think they were making game of him, at the same time begging them not to play tricks with a poor simple boy, but to let him go down again, if they pleased, to his work.

"Indeed, Mr. Whittington," said the merchant, "we are all quite in earnest with you, and I most heartily rejoice in the news these gentlemen have brought you, for the captain has sold your cat to the King of Barbary and brought you in return for her more riches than I possess in the whole world; and I wish you may long enjoy them!"

Mr. Fitzwarren then told the men to open the great treasure they had brought[89] with them, and said, "Mr. Whittington has nothing to do but to put it in some place of safety."

Poor Dick hardly knew how to behave himself for joy. He begged his master to take what part of it he pleased, since he owed it all to his kindness. "No, no," answered Mr. Fitzwarren, "this is all your own, and I have no doubt but you will use it well."

Dick next asked his mistress, and then Miss Alice, to accept a part of his good fortune; but they would not, and at the same time told him they felt great joy at his good success. But this poor fellow was too kind-hearted to keep it all to himself; so he made a present to the captain, the mate, and the rest of Mr. Fitzwarren's servants, and even to the ill-natured old cook.

After this Mr. Fitzwarren advised him to send for a proper tradesman and get himself dressed like a gentleman, and told him he was welcome to live in his house till he could provide himself with a better.

When Whittington's face was washed, his hair curled, and his hat cocked, and he was dressed in a nice suit of clothes, he was as handsome and genteel as any young man who visited at Mr. Fitzwarren's; so that Miss Alice, who had once been so kind to him and thought of him with pity, now looked upon him as fit to be her sweetheart; and the more so, no doubt, because Whittington was now always thinking what he could do to oblige her and making her the prettiest presents that could be.

Mr. Fitzwarren soon saw their love for each other and proposed to join them in marriage, and to this they both readily agreed. A day for the wedding was soon fixed; and they were attended to church by the Lord Mayor, the court of aldermen, the sheriffs, and a great number of the richest merchants in London, whom they afterwards treated with a very rich feast.

History tells us that Mr. Whittington and his lady lived in great splendor and were very happy. They had several children. He was Sheriff of London, also Mayor, and received the honor of knighthood by Henry V.

The figure of Sir Richard Whittington with his cat in his arms, carved in stone, was to be seen till the year 1780 over the archway of the old prison of Newgate that stood across Newgate Street.


The next story came from Suffolk, England, and the original is in the pronounced dialect of that county. Mr. Jacobs thinks it one of the best folk tales ever collected. The version given follows Jacobs in reducing the dialect. There is enough left, however, to raise the question of the use of dialect in stories for children. Some modern versions eliminate the dialect altogether. It is certain that the retention of some of the qualities of the folk-telling makes it more dramatically effective and appropriate. The original form of the story may be seen in Hartland's English Fairy and Folk Tales. Teachers should feel free to use their judgment as to the best form in which to tell a story to children. Name-guessing stories are very common, and may be "a 'survival' of the superstition that to know a man's name gives you power over him, for which reason savages object to tell their names." The Grimm story of "Rumpelstiltskin" is the best known of many variants (No. 178). "Tom Tit Tot" has a rude vigor and dramatic force not in the continental versions, and it will be interesting to compare it with the Grimm tale.[90] Jacobs suggests that "it may be necessary to explain to the little ones that Tom Tit can be referred to only as 'that,' because his name is not known until the end."


Once upon a time there was a woman, and she baked five pies. And when they came out of the oven, they were that over-baked the crusts were too hard to eat. So she says to her daughter: "Darter," says she, "put you them there pies on the shelf, and leave 'em there a little, and they'll come again."—She meant, you know, the crust would get soft.

But the girl, she says to herself, "Well, if they'll come again, I'll eat 'em now." And she set to work and ate 'em all, first and last.

Well, come supper-time the woman said, "Go you and get one o' them there pies. I dare say they've come again now."

The girl went and she looked, and there was nothing but the dishes. So back she came and says she, "Noo, they ain't come again."

"Not one of 'em?" says the mother.

"Not one of 'em," says she.

"Well, come again or not come again," said the woman, "I'll have one for supper."

"But you can't if they ain't come," said the girl.

"But I can," says she. "Go you and bring the best of 'em."

"Best or worst," says the girl, "I've ate 'em all, and you can't have one till that's come again."

Well, the woman she was done, and she took her spinning to the door to spin, and as she span she sang:

"My darter ha' ate five, five pies to-day.
My darter ha' ate five, five pies to-day."

The king was coming down the street, and he heard her sing, but what she sang he couldn't hear, so he stopped and said, "What was that you were singing, my good woman?"

The woman was ashamed to let him hear what her daughter had been doing, so she sang, instead of that:

"My darter ha' spun five, five skeins to-day.
My darter ha' spun five, five skeins to-day."

"Stars o' mine!" said the king, "I never heard tell of any one that could do that."

Then he said, "Look you here, I want a wife, and I'll marry your daughter. But look you here," says he, "eleven months out of the year she shall have all she likes to eat, and all the gowns she likes to get, and all the company she likes to keep; but the last month of the year she'll have to spin five skeins every day, and if she don't I shall kill her."

"All right," says the woman; for she thought what a grand marriage that was. And as for the five skeins, when the time came, there'd be plenty of ways of getting out of it, and likeliest, he'd have forgotten all about it.

Well, so they were married. And for eleven months the girl had all she liked to eat and all the gowns she liked to get and all the company she liked to keep.

But when the time was getting over, she began to think about the skeins and to wonder if he had 'em in mind. But not one word did he say about 'em, and she thought he'd wholly forgotten 'em.

However, the first day of the last month he takes her to a room she'd never set eyes on before. There was nothing in it but a spinning-wheel and a stool. And says he, "Now, my dear, here you'll be shut in to-morrow with some victuals[91] and some flax, and if you haven't spun five skeins by the night, your head'll go off." And away he went about his business.

Well, she was that frightened, she'd always been such a gatless girl, that she didn't so much as know how to spin, and what was she to do to-morrow with no one to come nigh her to help her? She sat down on a stool in the kitchen, and law! how she did cry!

However, all of a sudden she heard a sort of a knocking low down on the door. She upped and oped it, and what should she see but a small little black thing with a long tail. That looked up at her right curious, and that said, "What are you a-crying for?"

"What's that to you?" says she.

"Never you mind," that said, "but tell me what you're a-crying for."

"That won't do me no good if I do," says she.

"You don't know that," that said, and twirled that's tail round.

"Well," says she, "that won't do no harm, if that don't do no good," and she upped and told about the pies and the skeins and everything.

"This is what I'll do," says the little black thing, "I'll come to your window every morning and take the flax and bring it spun at night."

"What's your pay?" says she.

That looked out of the corner of that's eyes, and that said, "I'll give you three guesses every night to guess my name, and if you haven't guessed it before the month's up you shalt be mine."

Well, she thought she'd be sure to guess that's name before the month was up. "All right," says she, "I agree."

"All right," that says, and law! how that twirled that's tail.

Well, the next day her husband took her into the room, and there was the flax and the day's food.

"Now, there's the flax," says he, "and if that ain't spun up this night, off goes your head." And then he went out and locked the door.

He'd hardly gone when there was a knocking against the window. She upped and she oped it, and there sure enough was the little old thing sitting on the ledge.

"Where's the flax?" says he.

"Here it be," says she. And she gave it to him.

Well, come the evening a knocking came again to the window. She upped and she oped it, and there was the little old thing with five skeins of flax on his arm.

"Here it be," says he, and he gave it to her. "Now, what's my name?" says he. "What, is that Bill?" says she. "Noo, that ain't," says he, and he twirled his tail. "Is that Ned?" says she. "Noo, that ain't," says he, and he twirled his tail. "Well, is that Mark?" says she. "Noo, that ain't," says he, and he twirled his tail harder, and away he flew.

Well, when her husband came in, there were the five skeins ready for him. "I see I shan't have to kill you to-night, my dear," says he; "you'll have your food and your flax in the morning," says he, and away he goes.

Well, every day the flax and the food were brought, and every day that there little black impet used to come mornings and evenings. And all the day the girl sat trying to think of names to say to it when it came at night. But she never hit on the right one. And as it got towards the end of the month, the impet began to look so maliceful, and that[92] twirled that's tail faster and faster each time she gave a guess.

At last it came to the last day but one. The impet came at night along with the five skeins, and that said, "What, ain't you got my name yet?" "Is that Nicodemus?" says she. "Noo, 't ain't," that says. "Is that Sammle?" says she. "Noo, 't ain't," that says. "A-well, is that Methusalem?" says she. "Noo, 't ain't that neither," that says.

Then that looks at her with that's eyes like a coal o' fire, and that says, "Woman, there's only to-morrow night, and then you'll be mine!" And away it flew.

Well, she felt that horrid. However she heard the king coming along the passage. In he came, and when he sees the five skeins, says he, "Well, my dear, I don't see but what you'll have your skeins ready to-morrow night as well and as I reckon I shan't have to kill you, I'll have supper in here to-night." So they brought supper and another stool for him, and down the two sat.

Well, he hadn't eaten but a mouthful or so, when he stops and begins to laugh.

"What is it?" says she.

"A-why," says he, "I was out a-hunting to-day, and I got away to a place in the wood I'd never seen before. And there was an old chalk-pit. And I heard a kind of a sort of humming. So I got off my hobby, and I went right quiet to the pit, and I looked down. Well, what should there be but the funniest little black thing you ever set eyes on. And what was that doing, but that had a little spinning-wheel, and that was spinning wonderful fast, and twirling that's tail. And as that span that sang:

"Nimmy nimmy not
My name's Tom Tit Tot."

Well, when the girl heard this, she felt as if she could have jumped out of her skin for joy, but she didn't say a word.

Next day that there little thing looked so maliceful when he came for the flax. And when night came she heard that knocking against the window panes. She oped the window, and that come right in on the ledge. That was grinning from ear to ear, and Oo! that's tail was twirling round so fast.

"What's my name?" that says, as that gave her the skeins. "Is that Solomon?" she says, pretending to be afeard. "Noo, 't ain't," that says, and that came further into the room. "Well, is that Zebedee?" says she again. "Noo, 't ain't," says the impet. And then that laughed and twirled that's tail till you couldn't hardly see it.

"Take time, woman," that says; "next guess, and you're mine." And that stretched out that's black hands at her.

Well, she backed a step or two, and she looked at it, and then she laughed out and says she, pointing her finger at it:

"Nimmy nimmy not
Your name's Tom Tit Tot."

Well, when that heard her, that gave an awful shriek and away that flew into the dark, and she never saw it any more.


In 1697 the French author Charles Perrault (1628-1703) published a little collection of eight tales in prose familiarly known as The Tales of Mother Goose (Contes de Ma Mère l'Oye). These tales were "The Fairies" ("Toads and Diamonds"), "The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood," "Bluebeard," "Little Red Riding Hood," "Puss-in-Boots," "Cinderella," "Rique with the[93] Tuft," and "Little Thumb." Perrault was prominent as a scholar and may have felt it beneath his dignity to write nursery tales. At any rate he declared the stories were copied from tellings by his eleven-year-old son. But Perrault's fairies have not only saved him from oblivion: in countless editions and translations they have won him immortality. The charming literary form of his versions, "Englished by R. S., Gent," about 1730, soon established them in place of the more somber English popular versions. It is practically certain that the name Mother Goose, as that of the genial old lady who presides over the light literature of the nursery, was established by the work of Perrault.

"Little Red Riding Hood," a likely candidate for first place in the affections of childish story-lovers, is here given in its "correct" form. Many versions are so constructed as to have happy endings, either by having the woodmen appear in the nick of time to kill the wolf before any damage is done, or by having the grandmother and Little Red Riding Hood restored to life after recovering them from the "innards" of the wolf. Andrew Lang thinks that the tale as it stands is merely meant to waken a child's terror and pity, after the fashion of the old Greek tragedies, and that the narrator properly ends it by making a pounce, in the character of wolf, at the little listener. That this was the correct "business" in Scotch nurseries is borne out by a sentence in Chambers' Popular Rhymes of Scotland: "The old nurse's imitation of the gnash, gnash, which she played off upon the youngest urchin lying in her lap, was electric."


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

One day her mother, having made some custards, said to her, "Go, my dear, and see how thy grandmamma does, for I hear that she has been very ill; carry her a custard and this little pot of butter."

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

As she was going through the wood, she met with Gaffer Wolf, who had a very great mind to eat her up, but he durst not because of some fagot-makers hard by in the forest. He asked her whither she was going. The poor child, who did not know that it was dangerous to stay and hear a wolf talk, said to him, "I am going to see my grandmamma and carry her a custard and a little pot of butter from my mamma."

"Does she live far off?" said the wolf.

"Oh! aye," answered Little Red Riding-Hood, "it is beyond the mill you see there at the first house in the village."

"Well," said the wolf, "and I'll go and see her too. I'll go this way and you go that, and we shall see who will be there soonest."

The wolf began to run as fast as he could, taking the nearest way, and the little girl went by that farthest about, diverting herself by gathering nuts, running after butterflies, and making nosegays of such little flowers as she met with. The wolf was not long before he got to the old woman's house. He knocked at the door—tap, tap.

"Who's there?"

"Your grandchild, Little Red Riding-Hood," replied the wolf, counterfeiting[94] her voice, "who has brought you a custard and a pot of butter sent you by mamma."

The good grandmother, who was in bed because she was somewhat ill, cried out, "Pull the bobbin and the latch will go up."

The wolf pulled the bobbin and the door opened, and then presently he fell upon the good woman and ate her up in a moment, for it was above three days that he had not touched a bit. He then shut the door and went into the grandmother's bed, expecting Little Red Riding-Hood, who came some time afterward and knocked at the door—tap, tap.

"Who's there?"

Little Red Riding-Hood, hearing the big voice of the wolf, was at first afraid, but believing her grandmother had got a cold and was hoarse, answered, "'Tis your grandchild, Little Red Riding-Hood, who has brought you a custard and a little pot of butter mamma sends you."

The wolf cried out to her, softening his voice as much as he could, "Pull the bobbin and the latch will go up."

Little Red Riding-Hood pulled the bobbin and the door opened.

The wolf, seeing her come in, said to her, hiding himself under the bedclothes, "Put the custard and the little pot of butter upon the stool and come and lie down with me."

Little Red Riding-Hood undressed herself and went into bed, where, being greatly amazed to see how her grandmother looked in her night-clothes, she said to her, "Grandmamma, what great arms you have got!"

"That is the better to hug thee, my dear."

"Grandmamma, what great legs you have got!"

"That is to run the better, my child."

"Grandmamma, what great ears you have got!"

"That is to hear the better, my child."

"Grandmamma, what great eyes you have got!"

"It is to see the better, my child."

"Grandmamma, what great teeth you have got!"

"That is to eat thee up."

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


Because many modern teachers are distressed at the tragedy of the real story of "Little Red Riding Hood" as just given, they prefer some softened form of the tale. The Grimm version, "Little Red Cap," is generally used by those who insist on a happy ending. There Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother are both recovered and the wicked wolf destroyed. The story that follows is from a modern French author, Charles Marelles, and is given in the translation found in Lang's Red Fairy Book. In it the events are dramatically imagined in detail, even if the writer does turn it all into a sunflower myth at the close.


You know the tale of poor Little Red Riding-Hood, that the wolf deceived and devoured, with her cake, her little butter can, and her grandmother. Well, the true story happened quite differently, as we know now. And first of all, the little girl was called and is still called Little Golden Hood; secondly, it was not she, nor the good granddame, but the wicked wolf who was, in the end, caught and devoured.

Only listen.

The story begins something like the tale.[95]

There was once a little peasant girl, pretty and nice as a star in its season. Her real name was Blanchette, but she was more often called Little Golden Hood, on account of a wonderful little cloak with a hood, gold and fire colored, which she always had on. This little hood was given her by her grandmother, who was so old that she did not know her age; it ought to bring her good luck, for it was made of a ray of sunshine, she said. And as the good old woman was considered something of a witch, every one thought the little hood rather bewitched too.

And so it was, as you will see.

One day the mother said to the child: "Let us see, my little Golden Hood, if you know now how to find your way by yourself. You shall take this good piece of cake to your grandmother for a Sunday treat to-morrow. You will ask her how she is, and come back at once, without stopping to chatter on the way with people you don't know. Do you quite understand?"

"I quite understand," replied Blanchette gayly. And off she went with the cake, quite proud of her errand.

But the grandmother lived in another village, and there was a big wood to cross before getting there. At a turn of the road under the trees suddenly, "Who goes there?"

"Friend Wolf."

He had seen the child start alone, and the villain was waiting to devour her, when at the same moment he perceived some wood-cutters who might observe him, and he changed his mind. Instead of falling upon Blanchette he came frisking up to her like a good dog.

"'Tis you! my nice Little Golden Hood," said he. So the little girl stops to talk with the wolf, whom, for all that, she did not know in the least.

"You know me, then!" said she. "What is your name?"

"My name is friend Wolf. And where are you going thus, my pretty one, with your little basket on your arm?"

"I am going to my grandmother to take her a good piece of cake for her Sunday treat to-morrow."

"And where does she live, your grandmother?"

"She lives at the other side of the wood in the first house in the village, near the windmill, you know."

"Ah! yes! I know now," said the wolf. "Well, that's just where I'm going. I shall get there before you, no doubt, with your little bits of legs, and I'll tell her you're coming to see her; then she'll wait for you."

Thereupon the wolf cuts across the wood, and in five minutes arrives at the grandmother's house.

He knocks at the door: toc, toc.

No answer.

He knocks louder.


Then he stands up on end, puts his two fore paws on the latch, and the door opens.

Not a soul in the house.

The old woman had risen early to sell herbs in the town, and had gone off in such haste that she had left her bed unmade, with her great night-cap on the pillow.

"Good!" said the wolf to himself, "I know what I'll do."

He shuts the door, pulls on the grandmother's night-cap down to his eyes; then he lies down all his length in the bed and draws the curtains.

In the meantime the good Blanchette went quietly on her way, as little girls[96] do, amusing herself here and there by picking Easter daisies, watching the little birds making their nests, and running after the butterflies which fluttered in the sunshine.

At last she arrives at the door.

Knock, knock.

"Who is there?" says the wolf, softening his rough voice as best he can.

"It's me, granny, your Little Golden Hood. I'm bringing you a big piece of cake for your Sunday treat to-morrow."

"Press your finger on the latch; then push and the door opens."

"Why, you've got a cold, granny," said she, coming in.

"Ahem! a little, my dear, a little," replies the wolf, pretending to cough. "Shut the door well, my little lamb. Put your basket on the table, and then take off your frock and come and lie down by me; you shall rest a little."

The good child undresses, but observe this:—she kept her little hood upon her head. When she saw what a figure her granny cut in bed, the poor little thing was much surprised.

"Oh!" cries she, "how like you are to friend Wolf, grandmother!"

"That's on account of my night-cap, child," replies the wolf.

"Oh! what hairy arms you've got, grandmother!"

"All the better to hug you, my child."

"Oh! what a big tongue you've got, grandmother!"

"All the better for answering, child."

"Oh! what a mouthful of great white teeth you have, grandmother!"

"That's for crunching little children with!" And the wolf opened his jaws wide to swallow Blanchette.

But she put down her head, crying, "Mamma! mamma!" and the wolf only caught her little hood.

Thereupon, oh, dear! oh, dear! he draws back, crying and shaking his jaw as if he had swallowed red-hot coals.

It was the little fire-colored hood that had burnt his tongue right down his throat.

The little hood, you see, was one of those magic caps that they used to have in former times, in the stories, for making one's self invisible or invulnerable.

So there was the wolf with his throat burned, jumping off the bed and trying to find the door, howling and howling as if all the dogs in the country were at his heels.

Just at this moment the grandmother arrives, returning from the town with her long sack empty on her shoulder.

"Ah, brigand!" she cries, "wait a bit!" Quickly she opens her sack wide across the door, and the maddened wolf springs in head downward.

It is he now that is caught, swallowed like a letter in the post. For the brave old dame shuts her sack, so; and she runs and empties it in the well, where the vagabond, still howling, tumbles in and is drowned.

"Ah, scoundrel! you thought you would crunch my little grandchild! Well, to-morrow we will make her a muff of your skin, and you yourself shall be crunched, for we will give your carcass to the dogs."

Thereupon the grandmother hastened to dress poor Blanchette, who was still trembling with fear in the bed.

"Well," she said to her, "without my little hood where would you be now, darling?" And, to restore heart and legs to the child, she made her eat a good piece[97] of her cake, and drink a good draught of wine, after which she took her by the hand and led her back to the house.

And then, who was it who scolded her when she knew all that had happened?

It was the mother.

But Blanchette promised over and over again that she would never more stop to listen to a wolf, so that at last the mother forgave her.

And Blanchette, the Little Golden Hood, kept her word. And in fine weather she may still be seen in the fields with her pretty little hood, the color of the sun.

But to see her you must rise early.


The next Perrault story is given in the traditional English form made by "R. S., Gent." Perrault met the popular taste of his time for "morals" by adding more or less playful ones in verse to his stories. Here is a prose rendering of a portion of the Moralité attached to "Puss-in-Boots": "However great may be the advantage of enjoying a rich inheritance coming down from father to son, industry and ingenuity are worth more to young people as a usual thing than goods acquired without personal effort." In relation to this moral, Ralston says, "the conclusion at which an ordinary reader would arrive, if he were not dazzled by fairy-land glamor, would probably be that far better than either tact and industry on a master's part is the loyalty of an unscrupulous retainer of an imaginative turn of mind. The impropriety of this teaching is not balanced by any other form of instruction. What the story openly inculcates is not edifying, and it does not secretly convey any improving doctrine." But on the other hand it may be argued that the "moral" passes over the child's head. Miss Kready, in her Study of Fairy Tales (p. 275), makes a very elaborate and proper defense of "Puss-in-Boots" as a story for children. There is delight in its strong sense of adventure, it has a hero clever and quick, there is loyalty, love, and sacrifice in Puss's devotion to his master, the tricks are true to "cat-nature," there are touches of nature beauty, a simple and pleasing plot, while we should not forget the delightful Ogre and his transformations into Lion and Mouse. The story is found in many forms among many different peoples. Perhaps the great stroke of genius which endears Perrault's version is in the splendid boots with which his tale provides the hero so that briers may not interfere with his doings. (Extended studies of this tale and its many parallels may be found in Lang's Perrault's Popular Tales; in McCulloch's Childhood of Fiction, chap. viii; in an article by Ralston in the Nineteenth Century, January, 1883, reprinted in Living Age, Vol. CLVI, p. 362.)


There was once a miller who left no more estate to the three sons he had than his mill, his ass, and his cat. The partition was soon made. Neither the clerk nor the attorney was sent for. They would soon have eaten up all the poor patrimony. The eldest had the mill, the second the ass, and the youngest nothing but the cat.

The poor young fellow was quite comfortless at having so poor a lot. "My brothers," said he, "may get their living handsomely enough by joining their stocks together; but for my part, when I have eaten up my cat and made me a muff of his skin, I must die with hunger."

The cat, who heard all this, but made as if he did not, said to him with a grave and serious air; "Do not thus afflict yourself, my good master; you have nothing else to do but to give me a bag[98] and get a pair of boots made for me, that I may scamper through the dirt and the brambles, and you shall see that you have not so bad a portion of me as you imagine."

Though the cat's master did not build very much upon what he said, he had, however, often seen him play a great many cunning tricks to catch rats and mice; as when he used to hang by the heels, or hide himself in the meal and make as if he were dead; so he did not altogether despair of his affording him some help in his miserable condition.

When the cat had what he asked for, he booted himself very gallantly; and putting his bag about his neck, he held the strings of it in his two fore paws and went into a warren where was a great abundance of rabbits. He put bran and sow-thistles into his bag, and, stretching himself out at length as if he had been dead, he waited for some young rabbits, not yet acquainted with the deceits of the world, to come and rummage his bag for what he had just put into it.

Scarce was he lain down but he had what he wanted. A rash and foolish young rabbit jumped into his bag, and master Puss, immediately drawing close the strings, took and killed him without pity. Proud of his prey, he went with it to the palace and asked to speak with his majesty. He was shown upstairs into the king's apartment, and, making a low reverence, said to him: "I have brought you, sir, a rabbit of the warren which my noble lord, the Marquis of Carabas" (for that was the title which Puss was pleased to give his master), "has commanded me to present to your majesty from him."

"Tell thy master," said the king, "that I thank him and that he gives me a great deal of pleasure."

Another time he went and hid himself among some standing corn, holding still his bag open; and when a brace of partridges ran into it, he drew the strings and so caught them both. He went and made a present of these to the king, as he had done before of the rabbit which he took in the warren. The king in like manner received the partridges with great pleasure and ordered him some money.

The cat continued for two or three months thus to carry his majesty, from time to time, game of his master's taking. One day in particular, when he knew for certain that he was to take the air along the riverside with his daughter, the most beautiful princess in the world, he said to his master: "If you will follow my advice, your fortune is made. You have nothing else to do but go and wash yourself in the river, in that part I shall show you, and leave the rest to me." The Marquis of Carabas did what the cat advised him to, without knowing why or wherefore.

While he was washing, the king passed by, and the cat began to cry out as loud as he could, "Help, help! my lord Marquis of Carabas is going to be drowned." At this noise the king put his head out of his coach-window, and, finding it was the cat who had so often brought him such good game, he commanded his guards to run immediately to the assistance of his lordship, the Marquis of Carabas.

While they were drawing the poor marquis out of the river, the cat came up to the coach and told the king that while his master was washing there came by some rogues, who went off with his clothes though he had cried out, "Thieves, thieves," as loud as he could. This cunning cat had hidden them under a great stone. The king immediately[99] commanded the officers of his wardrobe to run and fetch one of his best suits for the lord Marquis of Carabas.

The king caressed him after a very extraordinary manner; and as the fine clothes he had given him extremely set off his good mien (for he was well made and very handsome in his person), the king's daughter took a secret inclination to him, and the Marquis of Carabas had no sooner cast two or three respectful and somewhat tender glances, but she fell in love with him to distraction. The king would needs have him come into his coach and take part of the airing. The cat, quite overjoyed to see his project begin to succeed, marched on before, and meeting with some countrymen who were mowing a meadow, he said to them, "Good people, you who are mowing, if you do not tell the king, who will soon pass this way, that the meadow you mow belongs to my lord Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped as small as herbs for the pot."

The king did not fail asking of the mowers to whom the meadow they were mowing belonged: "To my lord Marquis of Carabas," answered they, all together, for the cat's threats had made them terribly afraid.

"You see, sir," said the marquis, "this is a meadow which never fails to yield a plentiful harvest every year."

The master-cat, who went still on before, met with some reapers, and said to them, "Good people, you who are reaping, if you do not tell the king, who will presently go by, that all this corn belongs to the Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped as small as herbs for the pot."

The king, who passed by a moment after, would needs know to whom all that corn, which he then saw, did belong. "To my lord Marquis of Carabas," replied the reapers; and the king was very well pleased with it, as well as the marquis, whom he congratulated thereupon. The master-cat, who went always before, said the same words to all he met; and the king was astonished at the vast estates of my lord Marquis of Carabas.

Master Puss came at last to a stately castle, the owner of which was an ogre, the richest that had ever been known, for all the lands which the king had then gone over belonged to this castle. The cat, who had taken care to inform himself who the ogre was and what he could do, asked to speak with him, saying he could not pass so near his castle without having the honor of paying his respects to him.

The ogre received him as civilly as an ogre could do and made him sit down. "I have been assured," said the cat, "that you have the gift of being able to change yourself into all sorts of creatures you have a mind to. You can, for example, transform yourself into a lion, or elephant, and the like."

"This is true," answered the ogre very briskly, "and to convince you, you shall see me now become a lion."

Puss was so sadly terrified at the sight of a lion so near him that he immediately got into the gutter, not without abundance of trouble and danger, because of his boots, which were of no use at all to him in walking upon the tiles. A little while after, when Puss saw that the ogre had resumed his natural form, he came down and owned he had been very much frightened.

"I have been, moreover, informed," said the cat, "but I know not how to[100] believe it, that you have also the power to take on you the shape of the smallest animals; for example, to change yourself into a rat or a mouse; but I must own to you, I take this to be impossible."

"Impossible!" cried the ogre, "you shall see that presently," and at the same time changed himself into a mouse, and began to run about the floor. Puss no sooner perceived this but he fell upon him and ate him up.

Meanwhile, the king, who saw, as he passed, this fine castle of the ogre's, had a mind to go into it. Puss, who heard the noise of his majesty's coach running over the drawbridge, ran out and said to the king, "Your Majesty is welcome to this castle of my lord Marquis of Carabas."

"What! my lord Marquis!" cried the king, "and does this castle also belong to you? There can be nothing finer than this court and all the stately buildings which surround it; let us go into it, if you please." They passed into a spacious hall, where they found a magnificent collation which the ogre had prepared for his friends, who were that very day to visit him, but dared not to enter, knowing the king was there. His majesty was perfectly charmed with the good qualities of my lord Marquis of Carabas, as was his daughter, who had fallen in love with him; and seeing the vast estate he possessed, said to him while they sat at the feast, "It will be owing to yourself only, my lord Marquis, if you are not my son-in-law." The marquis, making several low bows, accepted the honor which his majesty conferred upon him, and forthwith, that very same day, married the princess.

Puss became a great lord, and never ran after mice any more, but only for his diversion.


Perrault attached to the next story this moral: "Diamonds and dollars influence minds, and yet gentle words have more effect and are more to be esteemed. . . . It is a lot of trouble to be upright and it requires some effort, but sooner or later it finds its reward, and generally when one is least expecting it." English versions are usually given the title "Toads and Diamonds," though Perrault's title was simply "The Fairies" ("Les Fées"). Lang calls attention to the fact that the origin of the story is "manifestly moral." He thinks "it is an obvious criticism that the elder girl should have met the fairy first; she was not likely to behave so rudely when she knew that politeness would be rewarded." It would be interesting for a story-teller to test the effect of relating the incidents in the order suggested by Lang.


There was once upon a time a widow who had two daughters. The oldest was so much like her in face and humor that whoever looked upon the daughter saw the mother. They were both so disagreeable and so proud that there was no living with them. The youngest, who was the very picture of her father for courtesy and sweetness of temper, was withal one of the most beautiful girls that was ever seen. As people naturally love their own likenesses, this mother ever doted on her eldest daughter and at the same time had a sad aversion for the youngest. She made her eat in the kitchen and work continually.

Among other things, this poor child was forced twice a day to draw water above a mile and a half from the house, and bring home a pitcher full of it. One day as she was at this fountain there came to her a poor woman, who begged[101] of her to let her drink. "Oh, yes, with all my heart, Goody," said this pretty little girl; and rinsing the pitcher, she took up some water from the clearest place of the fountain and gave it to her, holding up the pitcher all the while that she might drink the easier.

The good woman having drunk, said to her, "You are so very pretty, my dear, so good and so mannerly, that I cannot help giving you a gift"—for this was a fairy, who had taken the form of a poor country woman to see how far the civility and good manners of this pretty girl would go. "I will give you for gift," continued the fairy, "that at every word you speak, there shall come out of your mouth either a flower or a jewel."

When this pretty girl came home, her mother scolded at her for staying so long at the fountain. "I beg your pardon, mamma," said the poor girl, "for not making more haste"; and, in speaking these words, there came out of her mouth two roses, two pearls, and two large diamonds.

"What is it I see there?" said her mother quite astonished. "I think I see pearls and diamonds come out of the girl's mouth! How happens this, my child?"—This was the first time she ever called her her child.

The poor creature told her frankly all the matter, not without dropping out infinite numbers of diamonds. "In good faith," cried the mother, "I must send my child thither. Come hither, Fanny. Look what comes out of your sister's mouth when she speaks! Would you not be glad, my dear, to have the same gift given to you? You have nothing else to do but go draw water out of the fountain, and when a certain poor woman asks you to let her drink, to give it her very civilly."

"It would be a very fine sight, indeed," said this ill-bred minx, "to see me go draw water!"

"You shall go, hussy," said the mother, "and this minute." So away she went, but grumbling all the way and taking with her the best silver tankard in the house.

She was no sooner at the fountain than she saw coming out of the wood a lady most gloriously dressed, who came up to her and asked to drink. This was, you must know, the very fairy who appeared to her sister, but who had now taken the air and dress of a princess to see how far this girl's rudeness would go. "Am I come hither," said the proud, saucy maid, "to serve you with water, pray? I suppose the silver tankard was brought purely for your ladyship, was it? However, you may drink out of it, if you have a fancy."

"You are not over and above mannerly," answered the fairy, without putting herself in a passion. "Well, then, since you have so little breeding and are so disobliging, I give you for gift, that at every word you speak there shall come out of your mouth a snake or a toad."

So soon as her mother saw her coming, she cried out, "Well, daughter."

"Well, mother," answered the pert hussy, throwing out of her mouth two vipers and two toads.

"Oh, mercy!" cried the mother, "what is it I see? Oh, it is that wretch, her sister, who has occasioned all this; but she shall pay for it"; and immediately she ran to beat her. The poor child fled away from her and went to hide herself in the forest, not far from thence.

The king's son, then on his return from hunting, met her, and seeing her so very pretty, asked her what she did there[102] alone, and why she cried. "Alas, sir! my mamma has turned me out of doors." The king's son, who saw five or six pearls, and as many diamonds, come out of her mouth, desired her to tell him how that happened. She thereupon told him the whole story; and so the king's son fell in love with her; and, considering with himself that such a gift was worth more than any marriage-portion whatsoever in another, he conducted her to the palace of the king his father and there married her.

As for her sister, she made herself so much hated that her own mother turned her off; and the miserable girl, having wandered about a good while without finding anybody to take her in, went to a corner in the wood and there died.


"Cinderella" is one of the world's greatest romantic stories. Its theme is a favorite in all folk literature. Young and old alike have never tired of hearing of the victories won by the deserving in the face of all sorts of obstacles. Perrault in his verse moral observes that "while beauty is a rare treasure for a woman, yet a winning manner, or personality, is worth even more." Still further, as if conscious of the part influence plays in the world, he says that "while it is doubtless a great advantage to have wit and courage, breeding and good sense, and other such natural endowments, still they will be of no earthly use for our advancement unless we have, to bring them into play, either godfathers or godmothers." One should not, however, take too seriously any moralizing over a fairy story whether by Perrault or another.

In one of the most thorough studies of a single folk tale, Miss Roalfe Cox's Cinderella, with an introduction by Andrew Lang, some three hundred and fifty variants of the story have been analyzed. The thing that marks a Cinderella story is the presence in it of the "slipper test." The finest versions are those by Perrault and the Grimms, and they are almost equally favorites with children. The Perrault form as found in the old English translation is given here for reasons stated by Ralston in his study of the Cinderella type: "But Perrault's rendering of the tale naturalised it in the polite world, gave it for cultured circles an attraction which it is never likely to lose. . . . It is with human more than with mythological interest that the story is replete, and therefore it appeals to human hearts with a force which no lapse of time can diminish. Such supernatural machinery as is introduced, moreover, has a charm for children which older versions of the tale do not possess. The pumpkin carriage, the rat coachman, the lizard lacqueys, and all the other properties of the transformation scene, appeal at once to the imagination and the sense of humor of every beholder." (Nineteenth Century, November, 1879.)


Once there was a gentleman who married, for his second wife, the proudest and most haughty woman that was ever seen. She had, by a former husband, two daughters of her own humor, who were indeed exactly like her in all things. He had likewise, by another wife, a young daughter, but of unparalleled goodness and sweetness of temper, which she took from her mother, who was the best creature in the world.

No sooner were the ceremonies of the wedding over but the step-mother began to show herself in her colors. She could not bear the good qualities of this pretty girl; and the less because they made her[103] own daughters appear the more odious. She employed her in the meanest work of the house; she scoured the dishes and tables, and cleaned madam's room and the rooms of misses, her daughters; she lay up in a sorry garret, upon a wretched straw-bed, while her sisters lay in fine rooms, with floors all inlaid, upon beds of the very newest fashion, and where they had looking-glasses so large that they might see themselves at their full length, from head to foot.

The poor girl bore all patiently, and dared not tell her father, who would have rattled her off, for his wife governed him entirely. When she had done her work, she used to go into the chimney corner and sit down among cinders and ashes, which made her commonly called Cinder-wench; but the youngest, who was not so rude and uncivil as the eldest, called her Cinderella. However, Cinderella, notwithstanding her mean apparel, was a hundred times handsomer than her sisters, though they were always dressed very richly.

It happened that the king's son gave a ball, and invited all persons of fashion to it. Our young misses were also invited, for they cut a very grand figure among the quality. They were mightily delighted at this invitation, and wonderfully busy in choosing out such gowns, petticoats, and head-clothes as might best become them. This was a new trouble to Cinderella, for it was she who ironed her sisters' linen and plaited their ruffles. They talked all day long of nothing but how they should be dressed. "For my part," said the eldest, "I will wear my red velvet suit with French trimmings."

"And I," said the youngest, "shall only have my usual petticoat; but then, to make amends for that, I will put on my gold flowered manteau and my diamond stomacher, which is far from being the most ordinary one in the world." They sent for the best tire-woman they could get to make up their head-dresses, and they had their patches from the very best maker.

Cinderella was likewise called up to them to be consulted in all these matters, for she had excellent notions and advised them always for the best; nay, and offered her service to dress their heads, which they were very willing she should do. As she was doing this, they said to her, "Cinderella, would you not be glad to go to the ball?"

"Ah!" said she, "you only jeer at me; it is not for such as I am to go thither."

"Thou art in the right of it," replied they; "it would make the people laugh to see a cinder-wench at a ball."

Any one but Cinderella would have dressed their heads awry, but she was very good, and dressed them perfectly well. They were almost two days without eating, so much they were transported with joy. They broke above a dozen of laces in trying to be laced up close, that they might have a fine slender shape, and they were continually at their looking-glass. At last the happy day came. They went to court, and Cinderella followed them with her eyes as long as she could, and when she had lost sight of them, she fell a-crying.

Her godmother, who saw her all in tears, asked her what was the matter. "I wish I could—I wish I could—"; she was not able to speak the rest, being interrupted by her tears and sobbing.

This godmother of hers, who was a fairy, said to her, "Thou wishest thou couldest go to the ball. Is it not so?"[104]

"Y—es," cried Cinderella with a great sigh.

"Well," said her godmother, "be but a good girl, and I will contrive that thou shalt go."

Then she took her into her chamber and said to her, "Run into the garden and bring me a pumpkin." Cinderella went immediately to gather the finest she could get, and brought it to her godmother, not being able to imagine how this pumpkin could make her go to the ball. Her godmother scooped out all the inside of it, having left nothing but the rind; which done, she struck it with her wand, and the pumpkin was instantly turned into a fine coach, gilded all over with gold.

She then went to look into her mouse-trap, where she found six mice, all alive, and ordered Cinderella to lift up a little the trap-door. Then she gave each mouse, as it went out, a little tap with her wand, and the mouse was that moment turned into a fair horse. All together the mice made a very fine set of six horses of a beautiful mouse-colored dapple-gray. Being at a loss for a coachman, "I will go and see," said Cinderella, "if there be never a rat in the rat-trap, that we may make a coachman of him."

"Thou art in the right," replied her godmother; "go and look."

Cinderella brought the trap to her, and in it there were three huge rats. The fairy made choice of one of the three, which had the largest beard, and, having touched him with her wand, he was turned into a fat, jolly coachman, who had the smartest whiskers that eyes ever beheld.

After that her godmother said to her, "Go again into the garden and you will find six lizards behind the watering pot; bring them to me." She had no sooner done so, than the fairy turned them into six footmen, who skipped up immediately behind the coach, with their liveries all bedecked with gold and silver, and clung as close behind each other as if they had done nothing else their whole lives. The fairy then said to Cinderella, "Well, you see here an equipage fit to go to the ball with. Are you not pleased with it?"

"Oh, yes," cried she, "but must I go thither as I am, in these filthy rags?" Her godmother only just touched her with her wand, and at the same instant her clothes were turned into cloth of gold and silver, all beset with jewels. This done, she gave her a pair of glass slippers, the prettiest in the whole world.

Being thus decked out, she got up into her coach; but her godmother, above all things, commanded her not to stay till after midnight, telling her that if she stayed at the ball one moment longer, her coach would be a pumpkin again, her horses mice, her coachman a rat, her footmen lizards, and her clothes just as they were before.

She promised her godmother she would not fail of leaving the ball before midnight; and then away she drives, scarce able to contain herself for joy. The king's son, who was told that a great princess, whom nobody knew, was come, ran out to receive her. He gave her his hand as she alighted from the coach, and led her into the hall among all the company. There was immediately a profound silence. They left off dancing, and the violins ceased to play, so attentive was every one to contemplate the singular beauties of this unknown new-comer. Nothing was then heard but a confused[105] noise of, "Ha! how handsome she is! Ha! how handsome she is!" The king himself, old as he was, could not help ogling her and telling the queen softly that it was a long time since he had seen so beautiful and lovely a creature. All the ladies were busied in considering her clothes and head-dress, that they might have some made next day after the same pattern, provided they could meet with such fine materials and as able hands to make them.

The king's son conducted her to the most honorable seat and afterwards took her out to dance with him. She danced so very gracefully that they all more and more admired her. A fine collation was served up, whereof the young prince ate not a morsel, so intently was he busied in gazing on her. She went and sat down by her sisters, showing them a thousand civilities, giving them part of the oranges and citrons which the prince had presented her with; which very much surprised them, for they did not know her. While Cinderella was thus amusing her sisters, she heard the clock strike eleven and three quarters, whereupon she immediately made a courtesy to the company and hasted away as fast as she could.

Being got home, she ran to seek out her godmother; and having thanked her, she said she could not but heartily wish she might go next day to the ball, because the king's son had desired her. As she was eagerly telling her godmother whatever had passed at the ball, her two sisters knocked at the door, which Cinderella ran and opened. "How long you have stayed!" cried she, gaping, rubbing her eyes, and stretching herself as if she had been just awakened out of her sleep; she had not, however, any manner of inclination to sleep since they went from home.

"If thou hadst been at the ball," said one of her sisters, "thou wouldest not have been tired with it. There came thither the finest princess, the most beautiful ever seen with mortal eyes. She showed us a thousand civilities and gave us oranges and citrons." Cinderella seemed very indifferent in the matter; indeed, she asked them the name of the princess, but they told her they did not know it and that the king's son was very uneasy on her account and would give all the world to know who she was.

At this Cinderella, smiling, replied, "She must then be very beautiful indeed! How happy have you been! Could not I see her? Ah! dear Miss Charlotte, do lend me your yellow suit of clothes, which you wear every day."

"Ay, to be sure," cried Miss Charlotte, "lend my clothes to such a dirty cinder-wench as thou art! Who's the fool then?" Cinderella indeed expected some such answer and was very glad of the refusal, for she would have been sadly put to it if her sister had lent her what she asked for jestingly.

The next day the two sisters were at the ball, and so was Cinderella, but dressed more magnificently than before. The king's son was always by her side and never ceased his compliments and amorous speeches to her; to whom all this was so far from being tiresome that she quite forgot what her godmother had recommended to her, so that she at last counted the clock striking twelve when she took it to be no more than eleven. She then rose up and fled as nimble as a deer. The prince followed, but could not overtake her. She left behind one of her glass slippers, which the prince[106] took up most carefully. She got home, but quite out of breath, without coach or footmen, and in her old cinder clothes, having nothing left of all her finery but one of the little slippers, fellow to that she dropped. The guards at the palace gate were asked if they had not seen a princess go out. They said they had seen nobody go out but a young girl very meanly dressed, who had more the air of a poor country wench than a gentlewoman.

When the two sisters returned from the ball, Cinderella asked them if they had been well diverted and if the fine lady had been there. They told her yes, but that she hurried away immediately when it struck twelve and with so much haste that she dropped one of her little glass slippers, the prettiest in the world, which the king's son had taken up; that he had done nothing but look at her all the time of the ball, and that most certainly he was very much in love with the beautiful person who owned the little glass slipper.

What they said was very true, for a few days after, the king's son caused to be proclaimed by sound of trumpets that he would marry her whose foot this slipper would just fit. They whom he employed began to try it on upon the princesses, then the duchesses, and all the court, but in vain. It was brought to the two sisters, who did all they possibly could to thrust their foot into the slipper, but they could not effect it. Cinderella, who saw all this and knew her slipper, said to them, laughing, "Let me see if it will not fit me!"

Her sisters burst out laughing and began to banter her. The gentleman who was sent to try the slipper looked earnestly at Cinderella, and finding her very handsome, said it was but just that she should try, and that he had orders to let every one make trial. He obliged Cinderella to sit down, and putting the slipper to her foot, he found it went in very easily and fitted her as if it had been made of wax. The astonishment her two sisters were in was excessively great, but still abundantly greater when Cinderella pulled out of her pocket the other slipper and put it on her foot. Thereupon in came her godmother, who having touched, with her wand, Cinderella's clothes, made them richer and more magnificent than any of those she had before.

And now her two sisters found her to be that fine beautiful lady whom they had seen at the ball. They threw themselves at her feet to beg pardon for all the ill treatment they had made her undergo. Cinderella took them up, and as she embraced them, cried that she forgave them with all her heart and desired them always to love her. She was conducted to the young prince, dressed as she was. He thought her more charming than ever, and a few days after, married her. Cinderella, who was no less good than beautiful, gave her two sisters lodgings in the palace, and that very same day matched them with two great lords of the court.


The hero of the next story is often known as Drakesbill, which easily becomes Bill Drake. The version that follows is a translation from the French of Charles Marelles as given by Lang in his Red Fairy Book. It has a raciness not in those softened versions in which one friend gets into a pocket, another under a wing, and so on. The persistent energy of the little hero, his[107] resourcefulness in difficulty, his loyal friends, the unexpected honor that comes as recognition of his success, the humor that pervades every character and incident, make this one of the most delightful of children's stories.


Drakestail was very little, that is why he was called Drakestail; but tiny as he was he had brains, and he knew what he was about, for having begun with nothing he ended by amassing a hundred crowns. Now the king of the country, who was very extravagant and never kept any money, having heard that Drakestail had some, went one day in his own person to borrow his hoard, and, my word, in those days Drakestail was not a little proud of having lent money to the king. But after the first and second year, seeing that he never even dreamed of paying the interest, he became uneasy, so much so that at last he resolved to go and see his majesty himself, and get repaid. So one fine morning Drakestail, very spruce and fresh, takes the road, singing: "Quack, quack, quack, when shall I get my money back?"

He had not gone far when he met friend Fox, on his rounds that way.

"Good-morning, neighbor," says the friend; "where are you off to so early?"

"I am going to the king for what he owes me."

"Oh! take me with thee!"

Drakestail said to himself: "One can't have too many friends." Aloud says he, "I will, but going on all fours you will soon be tired. Make yourself quite small, get into my throat—go into my gizzard, and I will carry you."

"Happy thought!" says friend Fox.

He takes bag and baggage, and, presto! is gone like a letter into the post.

And Drakestail is off again, all spruce and fresh, still singing: "Quack, quack, quack, when shall I have my money back?"

He had not gone far when he met his lady friend, Ladder, leaning on her wall.

"Good-morning, my duckling," says the lady friend, "whither away so bold?"

"I am going to the king for what he owes me."

"Oh! take me with thee!"

Drakestail said to himself: "One can't have too many friends." Aloud says he: "I will, but then with your wooden legs you will soon be tired. Make yourself quite small, get into my throat—go into my gizzard, and I will carry you."

"Happy thought!" says my friend Ladder, and nimble, bag and baggage, goes to keep company with friend Fox.

And "Quack, quack, quack," Drakestail is off again, singing and spruce as before. A little further he meets his sweetheart, my friend River, wandering quietly in the sunshine.

"Thou, my cherub," says she, "whither so lonesome, with arching tail, on this muddy road?"

"I am going to the king, you know, for what he owes me."

"Oh! take me with thee!"

Drakestail said to himself: "One can't have too many friends." Aloud says he: "I will, but you who sleep while you walk will soon get tired. Make yourself quite small, get into my throat—go into my gizzard, and I will carry you."

"Ah! happy thought!" says my friend River.

She takes bag and baggage, and glou, glou, glou she takes her place between friend Fox and my friend Ladder.[108]

And "Quack, quack, quack," Drakestail is off again singing.

A little further on he meets comrade Wasp's-nest, maneuvering his wasps.

"Well, good-morning, friend Drakestail," said comrade Wasp's-nest, "where are we bound for, so spruce and fresh?"

"I am going to the king for what he owes me."

"Oh! take me with thee!"

Drakestail said to himself, "One can't have too many friends." Aloud says he: "I will, but then with your battalion to drag along, you will soon be tired. Make yourself quite small, go into my throat—get into my gizzard, and I will carry you."

"By Jove! that's a good idea!" says comrade Wasp's-nest.

And left file! he takes the same road to join the others with all his party. There was not much room, but by closing up a bit they managed. And Drakestail is off again singing.

He arrived thus at the capital, and threaded his way straight up the High Street, still running and singing, "Quack, quack, quack, when shall I get my money back?" to the great astonishment of the good folks, till he came to the king's palace.

He strikes with the knocker: "Toc! toc!"

"Who is there?" asks the porter, putting his head out of the wicket.

"'Tis I, Drakestail. I wish to speak to the king."

"Speak to the king! That's easily said. The king is dining, and will not be disturbed."

"Tell him that it is I, and I have come he well knows why."

The porter shuts his wicket and goes up to say it to the king, who was just sitting down to dinner with a napkin round his neck, and all his ministers.

"Good, good!" said the king, laughing. "I know what it is! Make him come in, and put him with the turkeys and chickens."

The porter descends.

"Have the goodness to enter."

"Good!" says Drakestail to himself, "I shall now see how they eat at court."

"This way, this way," says the porter. "One step further. There, there you are."

"How? what? in the poultry-yard?"

Fancy how vexed Drakestail was!

"Ah! so that's it," says he. "Wait! I will compel you to receive me. Quack, quack, quack, when shall I get my money back?" But turkeys and chickens are creatures who don't like people that are not as themselves. When they saw the new-comer and how he was made, and when they heard him crying too, they began to look black at him.

"What is it? What does he want?"

Finally they rushed at him all together, to overwhelm him with pecks.

"I am lost!" said Drakestail to himself, when by good luck he remembers his comrade friend Fox, and he cries:

"Reynard, Reynard, come out of your earth,
Or Drakestail's life is of little worth."

Then friend Fox, who was only waiting for these words, hastens out, throws himself on the wicked fowls, and quick! quack! he tears them to pieces; so much so that at the end of five minutes there was not one left alive. And Drakestail, quite content, began to sing again, "Quack, quack, quack, when shall I get my money back?"

When the king, who was still at table, heard this refrain, and the poultry-[109]woman came to tell him what had been going on in the yard, he was terribly annoyed.

He ordered them to throw this tail of a drake into the well, to make an end of him.

And it was done as he commanded. Drakestail was in despair of getting himself out of such a deep hole, when he remembered his lady friend Ladder.

"Ladder, Ladder, come out of thy hold,
Or Drakestail's days will soon be told."

My friend Ladder, who was only waiting for these words, hastens out, leans her two arms on the edge of the well; then Drakestail climbs nimbly on her back, and hop! he is in the yard, where he begins to sing louder than ever.

When the king, who was still at table and laughing at the good trick he had played his creditor, heard him again reclaiming his money, he became livid with rage.

He commanded that the furnace should be heated, and this tail of a drake thrown into it, because he must be a sorcerer.

The furnace was soon hot, but this time Drakestail was not so afraid; he counted on his sweetheart, my friend River.

"River, River, outward flow,
Or to death Drakestail must go."

My friend River hastens out, and errouf! throws herself into the furnace, which she floods, with all the people who had lighted it; after which she flowed growling into the hall of the palace to the height of more than four feet.

And Drakestail, quite content, begins to swim, singing deafeningly, "Quack, quack, quack, when shall I get my money back?"

The king was still at table, and thought himself quite sure of his game; but when he heard Drakestail singing again, and when they told him all that had passed, he became furious and got up from the table brandishing his fists.

"Bring him here, and I'll cut his throat! Bring him here quick!" cried he.

And quickly two footmen ran to fetch Drakestail.

"At last," said the poor chap, going up the great stairs, "they have decided to receive me."

Imagine his terror when on entering he sees the king as red as a turkey cock, and all his ministers attending him standing sword in hand. He thought this time it was all up with him. Happily he remembered that there was still one remaining friend, and he cried with dying accents:

"Wasp's nest, Wasp's nest, make a sally,
Or Drakestail nevermore may rally."

Hereupon the scene changes.

"Bs, bs, bayonet them!" The brave Wasp's-nest rushes out with all his wasps. They threw themselves on the infuriated king and his ministers, and stung them so fiercely in the face that they lost their heads, and not knowing where to hide themselves they all jumped pell-mell from the window and broke their necks on the pavement.

Behold Drakestail much astonished, all alone in the big saloon and master of the field. He could not get over it.

Nevertheless, he remembered shortly what he had come for to the palace, and improving the occasion, he set to work to hunt for his dear money. But in vain he rummaged in all the drawers; he found nothing; all had been spent.

And ferreting thus from room to room he came at last to the one with the throne[110] in it, and feeling fatigued, he sat himself down on it to think over his adventure. In the meanwhile the people had found their king and his ministers with their feet in the air on the pavement, and they had gone into the palace to know how it had occurred. On entering the throne-room, when the crowd saw that there was already someone on the royal seat, they broke out in cries of surprise and joy:

"The King is dead, long live the King!
Heaven has sent us down this thing."

Drakestail, who was no longer surprised at anything, received the acclamations of the people as if he had never done anything else all his life.

A few of them certainly murmured that a Drakestail would make a fine king; those who knew him replied that a knowing Drakestail was a more worthy king than a spendthrift like him who was lying on the pavement. In short, they ran and took the crown off the head of the deceased, and placed it on that of Drakestail, whom it fitted like wax.

Thus he became king.

"And now," said he after the ceremony, "ladies and gentlemen, let's go to supper. I am so hungry!"


The story of "Beauty and the Beast," while very old in its ruder forms, is known to us in a fine version which comes from the middle of the eighteenth century. Madame de Villeneuve, a French writer of some note and a follower of Perrault in the field of the fairy tale, published in 1740 a collection of stories (Contes Marins) supposed to be told by an old woman during a voyage to St. Domingo. Among these was "Beauty and the Beast" in a long-winded style extending to more than 250 pages. In 1757, a greatly abridged form of this version was published by Madame de Beaumont, who was then living in England and who wrote many spirited tales designed for children. Her stories are full of the didactic element, and "Beauty and the Beast" is no exception to the rule. These "edifying commonplaces," however, are so sound and fit into the story so naturally that the reader does not suffer from their presence. The artificial character of the story is easily felt in contrast to the natural qualities of a folk version. The plot has all the perfection of a finished piece of literary art, and for this quality especially Madame de Beaumont's abridgement has always been heartily and rightly admired.


Once upon a time, in a far-off country, there lived a merchant who had been so fortunate in all his undertakings that he was enormously rich. As he had, however, six sons and six daughters, he found that his money was not too much to let them have everything they fancied, as they were accustomed to do.

But one day a most unexpected misfortune befell them. Their house caught fire and was speedily burned to the ground, with all the splendid furniture, the books, pictures, gold, silver, and precious goods it contained; and this was only the beginning of their troubles. Their father, who had until this moment prospered in all ways, suddenly lost every ship he had upon the sea, either by dint of pirates, shipwreck, or fire. Then he heard that his clerks in distant countries, whom he had trusted entirely, had proved unfaithful, and at last from great wealth he fell into direst poverty.

All that he had left was a little house in a desolate place at least a hundred leagues from the town in which he had lived, and to this he was forced to retreat with his[111] children, who were in despair at the idea of leading such a different life. Indeed, the daughters at first hoped that their friends, who had been so numerous while they were rich, would insist on their staying in their houses now they no longer possessed one. But they soon found that they were left alone, and that their former friends even attributed their misfortunes to their own extravagance, and showed no intention of offering them any help. So nothing was left for them but to take their departure to the cottage, which stood in the midst of a dark forest, and seemed to be the most dismal place upon the face of the earth.

As they were too poor to have any servants, the girls had to work hard, like peasants, and the sons, for their part, cultivated the fields to earn their living. Roughly clothed, and living in the simplest way, the girls regretted unceasingly the luxuries and amusements of their former life; only the youngest tried to be brave and cheerful. She had been as sad as anyone when the misfortune first overtook her father, but, soon recovering her natural gayety, she set to work to make the best of things, to amuse her father and brothers as well as she could, and to try to persuade her sisters to join her in dancing and singing. But they would do nothing of the sort, and because she was not as doleful as themselves they declared that this miserable life was all she was fit for. But she was really far prettier and cleverer than they were; indeed, she was so lovely that she was always called Beauty. After two years, when they were all beginning to get used to their new life, something happened to disturb their tranquillity. Their father received the news that one of his ships, which he had believed to be lost, had come safely into port with a rich cargo.

All the sons and daughters at once thought that their poverty was at an end and wanted to set out directly for the town, but their father, who was more prudent, begged them to wait a little, and though it was harvest-time and he could ill be spared, determined to go himself first to make inquiries. Only the youngest daughter had any doubt but that they would soon be as rich as they were before, or at least rich enough to live comfortably in some town where they would find amusement and gay companions once more. So they all loaded their father with commissions for jewels and dresses which it would have taken a fortune to buy; only Beauty, feeling sure that it was of no use, did not ask for anything. Her father, noticing her silence, said: "And what shall I bring for you, Beauty?"

"The only thing I wish for is to see you come home safely," she answered.

But this reply vexed her sisters, who fancied she was blaming them for having asked for such costly things. Her father was pleased, but as he thought that at her age she certainly ought to like pretty presents, he told her to choose something.

"Well, dear father," said she, "as you insist upon it, I beg that you will bring me a rose. I have not seen one since we came here, and I love them so much."

So the merchant set out and reached the town as quickly as possible, but only to find that his former companions, believing him to be dead, had divided between them the goods which the ship had brought; and after six months of trouble and expense he found himself as poor as when he started, having been[112] able to recover only just enough to pay the cost of the journey. To make matters worse, he was obliged to leave the town in terrible weather, so that by the time he was within a few leagues of his home he was almost exhausted with cold and fatigue. Though he knew it would take some hours to get through the forest, he was so anxious to be at his journey's end that he resolved to go on; but night overtook him, and the deep snow and bitter frost made it impossible for his horse to carry him any further. Not a house was to be seen. The only shelter he could get was the hollow trunk of a great tree, and there he crouched all the night, which seemed to him the longest he had ever known. In spite of his weariness the howling of the wolves kept him awake, and even when at last the day broke he was not much better off, for the falling snow had covered up every path and he did not know which way to turn.

At length he made out some sort of track, and though at the beginning it was so rough and slippery that he fell down more than once, it presently became easier and led him into an avenue of trees which ended in a splendid castle. It seemed to the merchant very strange that no snow had fallen in the avenue, which was entirely composed of orange-trees, covered with flowers and fruit. When he reached the first court of the castle he saw before him a flight of agate steps, and went up them and passed through several splendidly furnished rooms. The pleasant warmth of the air revived him and he felt very hungry; but there seemed to be nobody in all this vast and splendid palace whom he could ask to give him something to eat. Deep silence reigned everywhere, and at last, tired of roaming through empty rooms and galleries, he stopped in a room smaller than the rest, where a clear fire was burning and a couch was drawn up cozily, close to it. Thinking that this must be prepared for some one who was expected, he sat down to wait till he should come and very soon fell into a sweet sleep.

When his extreme hunger wakened him after several hours he was still alone, but a little table, upon which was a good dinner, had been drawn up close to him, and as he had eaten nothing for twenty-four hours he lost no time in beginning his meal, hoping that he might soon have an opportunity of thanking his considerate entertainer, whoever it might be. But no one appeared, and even after another long sleep, from which he awoke completely refreshed, there was no sign of anybody, though a fresh meal of dainty cakes and fruit was prepared upon a little table at his elbow. Being naturally timid, the silence began to terrify him, and he resolved to search once more through all the rooms; but it was of no use. Not even a servant was to be seen; there was no sign of life in the palace! He began to wonder what he should do, and to amuse himself by pretending that all the treasures he saw were his own, and considering how he would divide them among his children. Then he went down into the garden, and though it was winter everywhere else, here the sun shone, and the birds sang, and the flowers bloomed, and the air was soft and sweet. The merchant, in ecstasies with all he saw and heard, said to himself:

"All this must be meant for me. I will go this minute and bring my children to share all these delights."[113]

In spite of being so cold and weary when he reached the castle, he had taken his horse to the stable and fed it. Now he thought he would saddle it for his homeward journey, and he turned down the path which led to the stable. This path had a hedge of roses on each side of it, and the merchant thought he had never seen or smelled such exquisite flowers. They reminded him of his promise to Beauty, and he stopped and had just gathered one to take to her when he was startled by a strange noise behind him. Turning round he saw a frightful beast, which seemed to be very angry and said in a terrible voice: "Who told you that you might gather my roses? Was it not enough that I allowed you to be in my palace and was kind to you? This is the way you show your gratitude, by stealing my flowers! But your insolence shall not go unpunished."

The merchant, terrified by these furious words, dropped the fatal rose, and throwing himself on his knees cried: "Pardon me, noble sir. I am truly grateful to you for your hospitality, which was so magnificent that I could not imagine that you would be offended by my taking such a little thing as a rose." But the beast's anger was not lessened by this speech.

"You are very ready with excuses and flattery," he cried; "but that will not save you from the death you deserve."

"Alas!" thought the merchant, "if my daughter Beauty could only know what danger her rose has brought me into!"

And in despair be began to tell the beast all his misfortunes and the reason of his journey, not forgetting to mention Beauty's request.

"A king's ransom would hardly have procured all that my other daughters asked," he said, "but I thought that I might at least take Beauty her rose. I beg you to forgive me, for you see I meant no harm."

The beast considered for a moment, and then he said in a less furious tone:

"I will forgive you on one condition—that is, that you will give me one of your daughters."

"Ah!" cried the merchant, "if I were cruel enough to buy my own life at the expense of one of my children's, what excuse could I invent to bring her here?"

"No excuse would be necessary," answered the beast. "If she comes at all she must come willingly. On no other condition will I have her. See if any one of them is courageous enough and loves you well enough to come and save your life. You seem to be an honest man, so I will trust you to go home. I give you a month to see if either of your daughters will come back with you and stay here, to let you go free. If neither of them is willing you must come alone, after bidding them good-by forever, for then you will belong to me. And do not imagine that you can hide from me, for if you fail to keep your word I will come and fetch you!" added the beast grimly.

The merchant accepted this proposal, though he did not really think any of his daughters would be persuaded to come. He promised to return at the time appointed, and then, anxious to escape from the presence of the beast, he asked permission to set off at once. But the beast answered that he could not go until the next day.

"Then you will find a horse ready for you," he said. "Now go and eat your supper and await my orders."

The poor merchant, more dead than[114] alive, went back to his room, where the most delicious supper was already served on the little table which was drawn up before a blazing fire. But he was too terrified to eat, and only tasted a few of the dishes, for fear the beast should be angry if he did not obey his orders. When he had finished he heard a great noise in the next room, which he knew meant that the beast was coming. As he could do nothing to escape his visit, the only thing that remained was to seem as little afraid as possible; so when the beast appeared and asked roughly if he had supped well, the merchant answered humbly that he had, thanks to his host's kindness. Then the beast warned him to remember their agreement and to prepare his daughter exactly for what she had to expect.

"Do not get up to-morrow," he added, "until you see the sun and hear a golden bell ring. Then you will find your breakfast waiting for you here, and the horse you are to ride will be ready in the court-yard. He will also bring you back again when you come with your daughter a month hence. Farewell. Take a rose to Beauty, and remember your promise."

The merchant was only too glad when the beast went away, and though he could not sleep for sadness, he lay down until the sun rose. Then, after a hasty breakfast, he went to gather Beauty's rose and mounted his horse, which carried him off so swiftly that in an instant he had lost sight of the palace, and he was still wrapped in gloomy thoughts when it stopped before the door of the cottage.

His sons and daughters, who had been very uneasy at his long absence, rushed to meet him, eager to know the result of his journey, which, seeing him mounted upon a splendid horse and wrapped in a rich mantle, they supposed to be favorable. But he hid the truth from them at first, only saying sadly to Beauty as he gave her the rose:

"Here is what you asked me to bring you. You little know what it has cost."

But this excited their curiosity so greatly that presently he told them his adventures from beginning to end, and then they were all very unhappy. The girls lamented loudly over their lost hopes, and the sons declared that their father should not return to this terrible castle, and began to make plans for killing the beast if it should come to fetch him. But he reminded them that he had promised to go back. Then the girls were very angry with Beauty and said it was all her fault, and that if she had asked for something sensible this would never have happened, and complained bitterly that they should have to suffer for her folly.

Poor Beauty, much distressed, said to them:

"I have indeed caused this misfortune, but I assure you I did it innocently. Who could have guessed that to ask for a rose in the middle of summer would cause so much misery? But as I did the mischief it is only just that I should suffer for it. I will therefore go back with my father to keep his promise."

At first nobody would hear of this arrangement, and her father and brothers, who loved her dearly, declared that nothing should make them let her go; but Beauty was firm. As the time drew near she divided all her little possessions between her sisters and said good-by to everything she loved, and when the fatal day came she encouraged and cheered her father as they mounted together the[115] horse which had brought him back. It seemed to fly rather than gallop, but so smoothly that Beauty was not frightened; indeed, she would have enjoyed the journey if she had not feared what might happen to her at the end of it. Her father still tried to persuade her to go back, but in vain. While they were talking the night fell, and then, to their surprise, wonderful colored lights began to shine in all directions, and splendid fireworks blazed out before them. All the forest was illuminated by them, and even felt pleasantly warm, though it had been bitterly cold before. This lasted until they reached the avenue of orange-trees, where were statues holding flaming torches, and when they got nearer to the palace they saw that it was illuminated from the roof to the ground, and music sounded softly from the court-yard. "The beast must be very hungry," said Beauty, trying to laugh, "if he makes all this rejoicing over the arrival of his prey."

But in spite of her anxiety she could not help admiring all the wonderful things she saw.

The horse stopped at the foot of the flight of steps leading to the terrace, and when they had dismounted her father led her to the little room he had been in before, where they found a splendid fire burning and the table daintily spread with a delicious supper.

The merchant knew that this was meant for them, and Beauty, who was rather less frightened now that she had passed through so many rooms and seen nothing of the beast, was quite willing to begin, for her long ride had made her very hungry. But they had hardly finished their meal when the noise of the beast's footsteps was heard approaching, and Beauty clung to her father in terror, which became all the greater when she saw how frightened he was. But when the beast really appeared, though she trembled at the sight of him, she made a great effort to hide her horror and saluted him respectfully.

This evidently pleased the beast. After looking at her he said, in a tone that might have struck terror into the boldest heart, though he did not seem to be angry:

"Good-evening, old man. Good-evening, Beauty."

The merchant was too terrified to reply, but Beauty answered sweetly:

"Good-evening, beast."

"Have you come willingly?" asked the beast. "Will you be content to stay here when your father goes away?"

Beauty answered bravely that she was quite prepared to stay.

"I am pleased with you," said the beast. "As you have come of your own accord, you may stay. As for you, old man," he added, turning to the merchant, "at sunrise to-morrow you will take your departure. When the bell rings get up quickly and eat your breakfast, and you will find the same horse waiting to take you home; but remember that you must never expect to see my palace again."

Then turning to Beauty he said:

"Take your father into the next room and help him to choose everything you think your brothers and sisters would like to have. You will find two traveling-trunks there; fill them as full as you can. It is only just that you should send them something very precious as a remembrance of yourself."

Then he went away after saying, "Good-by, Beauty; good-by, old man"; and though Beauty was beginning to think with great dismay of her father's[116] departure, she was afraid to disobey the beast's orders, and they went into the next room, which had shelves and cupboards all round it. They were greatly surprised at the riches it contained. There were splendid dresses fit for a queen, with all the ornaments that were to be worn with them; and when Beauty opened the cupboards she was quite dazzled by the gorgeous jewels that lay in heaps upon every shelf. After choosing a vast quantity, which she divided between her sisters—for she made a heap of the wonderful dresses for each of them—she opened the last chest, which was full of gold.

"I think, father," she said, "that as the gold will be more useful to you we had better take out the other things again and fill the trunks with it." So they did this; but the more they put in the more room there seemed to be, and at last they put back all the jewels and dresses they had taken out, and Beauty even added as many more of the jewels as she could carry at once; and then the trunks were not too full, but they were so heavy that an elephant could not have carried them!

"The beast was mocking us," cried the merchant. "He must have pretended to give us all these things, knowing that I could not carry them away."

"Let us wait and see," answered Beauty. "I cannot believe that he meant to deceive us. All we can do is to fasten them up and leave them ready."

So they did this and returned to the little room, where, to their astonishment, they found breakfast ready. The merchant ate his with a good appetite, as the beast's generosity made him believe that he might perhaps venture to come back soon and see Beauty. But she felt sure that her father was leaving her forever, so she was very sad when the bell rang sharply for the second time and warned them that the time had come for them to part. They went down into the court-yard, where two horses were waiting, one loaded with the two trunks, the other for him to ride. They were pawing the ground in their impatience to start, and, the merchant was forced to bid Beauty a hasty farewell; and as soon as he was mounted he went off at such a pace that she lost sight of him in an instant.

Then Beauty began to cry and wandered back to her own room. But she soon found that she was very sleepy, and as she had nothing better to do she lay down and instantly fell asleep. And then she dreamed that she was walking by a brook bordered with trees and lamenting her sad fate, when a young prince, handsomer than anyone she had ever seen, and with a voice that went straight to her heart, came and said to her: "Ah, Beauty! you are not so unfortunate as you suppose. Here you will be rewarded for all you have suffered elsewhere. Your every wish shall be gratified. Only try to find me out, no matter how I may be disguised, as I love you dearly, and in making me happy you will find your own happiness. Be as true-hearted as you are beautiful, and we shall have nothing left to wish for."

"What can I do, prince, to make you happy?" said Beauty.

"Only be grateful," he answered, "and do not trust too much to your eyes. And above all, do not desert me until you have saved me from my cruel misery."

After this she thought she found herself in a room with a stately and beautiful lady, who said to her:

"Dear Beauty, try not to regret all you have left behind you, for you are[117] destined to a better fate. Only do not let yourself be deceived by appearances."

Beauty found her dreams so interesting that she was in no hurry to awake, but presently the clock roused her by calling her name softly twelve times, and then she got up and found her dressing-table set out with everything she could possibly want; and when her toilet was finished she found dinner was waiting in the room next to hers. But dinner does not take very long when you are all by yourself, and very soon she sat down cozily in the corner of a sofa and began to think about the charming prince she had seen in her dream.

"He said I could make him happy," said Beauty to herself. "It seems, then, that this horrible beast keeps him a prisoner. How can I set him free? I wonder why they both told me not to trust to appearances. I don't understand it. But after all it is only a dream, so why should I trouble myself about it? I had better go and find something to do to amuse myself."

So she got up and began to explore some of the many rooms of the palace.

The first she entered was lined with mirrors, and Beauty saw herself reflected on every side, and thought she had never seen such a charming room. Then a bracelet which was hanging from a chandelier caught her eye, and on taking it down she was greatly surprised to find that it held a portrait of her unknown admirer, just as she had seen him in her dream. With great delight she slipped the bracelet on her arm and went on into a gallery of pictures, where she soon found a portrait of the same handsome prince, as large as life and so well painted that as she studied it he seemed to smile kindly at her.

Tearing herself away from the portrait at last, she passed through into a room which contained every musical instrument under the sun, and here she amused herself for a long while in trying some of them and singing until she was tired. The next room was a library, and she saw everything she had ever wanted to read, as well as everything she had read, and it seemed to her that a whole lifetime would not be enough even to read the names of the books, there were so many. By this time it was growing dusk, and wax candles in diamond and ruby candlesticks were beginning to light themselves in every room.

Beauty found her supper served just at the time she preferred to have it, but she did not see anyone or hear a sound, and though her father had warned her that she would be alone, she began to find it rather dull.

But presently she heard the beast coming, and wondered tremblingly if he meant to eat her up now.

However, as he did not seem at all ferocious, and only said gruffly, "Good-evening, Beauty," she answered cheerfully and managed to conceal her terror. Then the beast asked her how she had been amusing herself, and she told him all the rooms she had seen.

Then he asked if she thought she could be happy in his palace, and Beauty answered that everything was so beautiful that she would be very hard to please if she could not be happy. And after about an hour's talk Beauty began to think that the beast was not nearly so terrible as she had supposed at first. Then he got up to leave her and said in his gruff voice:

"Do you love me, Beauty? Will you marry me?"[118]

"Oh! what shall I say?" cried Beauty, for she was afraid to make the beast angry by refusing.

"Say 'yes' or 'no' without fear," he replied.

"Oh! no, beast," said Beauty hastily.

"Since you will not, good-night, Beauty," he said. And she answered, "Good-night, beast," very glad to find that her refusal had not provoked him. And after he was gone she was very soon in bed and asleep and dreaming of her unknown prince. She thought he came and said to her:

"Ah, Beauty! why are you so unkind to me? I fear I am fated to be unhappy for many a long day still."

And then her dreams changed, but the charming prince figured in them all; and when morning came her first thought was to look at the portrait and see if it was really like him, and she found that it certainly was.

This morning she decided to amuse herself in the garden, for the sun shone and all the fountains were playing; but she was astonished to find that every place was familiar to her, and presently she came to the brook where the myrtle trees were growing where she had first met the prince in her dream, and that made her think more than ever that he must be kept a prisoner by the beast. When she was tired she went back to the palace, and found a new room full of materials for every kind of work—ribbons to make into bows and silks to work into flowers. Then there was an aviary full of rare birds, which were so tame that they flew to Beauty as soon as they saw her and perched upon her shoulders and her head.

"Pretty little creatures," she said, "how I wish that your cage was nearer to my room, that I might often hear you sing!"

So saying she opened a door and found to her delight that it led into her own room, though she had thought it was quite the other side of the palace.

There were more birds in a room further on, parrots and cockatoos that could talk, and they greeted Beauty by name. Indeed, she found them so entertaining that she took one or two back to her room, and they talked to her while she was at supper; after which the beast paid her his usual visit and asked the same questions as before, and then with a gruff "good-night" he took his departure, and Beauty went to bed to dream of her mysterious prince. The days passed swiftly in different amusements, and after a while Beauty found out another strange thing in the palace, which often pleased her when she was tired of being alone. There was one room which she had not noticed particularly. It was empty, except that under each of the windows stood a very comfortable chair, and the first time she had looked out of the window it had seemed to her that a black curtain prevented her from seeing anything outside. But the second time she went into the room, happening to be tired, she sat down in one of the chairs, and instantly the curtain was rolled aside and a most amusing pantomime was acted before her. There were dances, and colored lights, and music, and pretty dresses, and it was all so gay that Beauty was in ecstasies. After that she tried the other seven windows in turn, and there was some new and surprising entertainment to be seen from each of them, so that Beauty never could feel lonely any more. Every evening after supper the beast came to see[119] her, and always before saying good-night asked her in his terrible voice:

"Beauty, will you marry me?"

And it seemed to Beauty, now she understood him better, that when she said, "No, beast," he went away quite sad. But her happy dreams of the handsome young prince soon made her forget the poor beast, and the only thing that at all disturbed her was to be constantly told to distrust appearances, to let her heart guide her, and not her eyes, and many other equally perplexing things, which, consider as she would, she could not understand.

So everything went on for a long time, until at last, happy as she was, Beauty began to long for the sight of her father and her brothers and sisters; and one night, seeing her look very sad, the beast asked her what was the matter. Beauty had quite ceased to be afraid of him now she knew that he was really gentle in spite of his ferocious looks and his dreadful voice. So she answered that she was longing to see her home once more. Upon hearing this the beast seemed sadly distressed and cried miserably:

"Ah! Beauty, have you the heart to desert an unhappy beast like this? What more do you want to make you happy? Is it because you hate me that you want to escape?"

"No, dear beast," answered Beauty softly, "I do not hate you, and I should be very sorry never to see you any more, but I long to see my father again. Only let me go for two months, and I promise to come back to you and stay for the rest of my life."

The beast, who had been sighing dolefully while she spoke, now replied:

"I cannot refuse you anything you ask, even though it should cost me my life. Take the four boxes you will find in the room next to your own and fill them with everything you wish to take with you. But remember your promise and come back when the two months are over, or you may have cause to repent it, for if you do not come in good time you will find your faithful beast dead. You will not need any chariot to bring you back. Only say good-by to all your brothers and sisters the night before you come away, and when you have gone to bed turn this ring round upon your finger and say firmly: 'I wish to go back to my palace and see my beast again.' Good-night, Beauty. Fear nothing, sleep peacefully, and before long you shall see your father once more."

As soon as Beauty was alone she hastened to fill the boxes with all the rare and precious things she saw about her, and only when she was tired of heaping things into them did they seem to be full.

Then she went to bed, but could hardly sleep for joy. And when at last she did begin to dream of her beloved prince she was grieved to see him stretched upon a grassy bank, sad and weary and hardly like himself.

"What is the matter?" she cried.

But he looked at her reproachfully and said:

"How can you ask me, cruel one? Are you not leaving me to my death perhaps?"

"Ah, don't be so sorrowful!" cried Beauty. "I am only going to assure my father that I am safe and happy. I have promised the beast faithfully that I will come back, and he would die of grief if I did not keep my word!"

"What would that matter to you?"[120] said the prince. "Surely you would not care?"

"Indeed I should be ungrateful if I did not care for such a kind beast," cried Beauty indignantly. "I would die to save him from pain. I assure you it is not his fault that he is so ugly."

Just then a strange sound woke her—someone was speaking not very far away; and opening her eyes she found herself in a room she had never seen before, which was certainly not nearly so splendid as those she was used to in the beast's palace. Where could she be? She got up and dressed hastily, and then saw that the boxes she had packed the night before were all in the room. While she was wondering by what magic the beast had transported them and herself to this strange place she suddenly heard her father's voice, and rushed out and greeted him joyfully. Her brothers and sisters were all astonished at her appearance, as they had never expected to see her again, and there was no end to the questions they asked her. She had also much to hear about what had happened to them while she was away and of her father's journey home. But when they heard that she had only come to be with them for a short time, and then must go back to the beast's palace forever, they lamented loudly. Then Beauty asked her father what he thought could be the meaning of her strange dreams, and why the prince constantly begged her not to trust to appearances. After much consideration he answered:

"You tell me yourself that the beast, frightful as he is, loves you dearly and deserves your love and gratitude for his gentleness and kindness. I think the prince must mean you to understand that you ought to reward him by doing as he wishes you to, in spite of his ugliness."

Beauty could not help seeing that this seemed very probable. Still, when she thought of her dear prince who was so handsome, she did not feel at all inclined to marry the beast. At any rate, for two months she need not decide, but could enjoy herself with her sisters. But though they were rich now and lived in a town again and had plenty of acquaintances, Beauty found that nothing amused her very much; and she often thought of the palace where she was so happy, especially as at home she never once dreamed of her dear prince, and she felt quite sad without him.

Then her sisters seemed to have got used to being without her, and even found her rather in the way, so she would not have been sorry when the two months were over but for her father and brothers, who begged her to stay and seemed so grieved at the thought of her departure that she had not the courage to say good-by to them. Every day when she got up she meant to say it at night, and when night came she put it off again, until at last she had a dismal dream which helped her to make up her mind. She thought she was wandering in a lonely path in the palace gardens, when she heard groans which seemed to come from some bushes hiding the entrance of a cave, and running quickly to see what could be the matter, she found the beast stretched out upon his side, apparently dying. He reproached her faintly with being the cause of his distress, and at the same moment a stately lady appeared and said very gravely:

"Ah, Beauty! you are only just in time to save his life. See what happens[121] when people do not keep their promises! If you had delayed one day more you would have found him dead."

Beauty was so terrified by this dream that the next morning she announced her intention of going back at once, and that very night she said good-by to her father and all her brothers and sisters, and as soon as she was in bed she turned her ring round upon her finger and said firmly, "I wish to go back to my palace and see my beast again," as she had been told to do.

Then she fell asleep instantly, and only woke up to hear the clock saying "Beauty, Beauty," twelve times in its musical voice, which told her at once that she was really in the palace once more. Everything was just as before, and her birds were so glad to see her; but Beauty thought she had never known such a long day, for she was so anxious to see the beast again that she felt as if supper time would never come.

But when it did come and no beast appeared she was really frightened; so after listening and waiting for a long time she ran down into the garden to search for him. Up and down the paths and avenues ran poor Beauty, calling him in vain, for no one answered and not a trace of him could she find, until at last, quite tired, she stopped for a minute's rest and saw that she was standing opposite the shady path she had seen in her dream. She rushed down it, and, sure enough, there was the cave, and in it lay the beast—asleep, as Beauty thought. Quite glad to have found him, she ran up and stroked his head, but, to her horror, he did not move or open his eyes.

"Oh! he is dead, and it is all my fault," said Beauty, crying bitterly.

But then, looking at him again, she fancied he still breathed, and hastily fetching some water from the nearest fountain, she sprinkled it over his face, and to her great delight he began to revive.

"Oh, beast! how you frightened me!" she cried. "I never knew how much I loved you until just now, when I feared I was too late to save your life."

"Can you really love such an ugly creature as I am?" said the beast faintly. "Ah, Beauty! you only came just in time. I was dying because I thought you had forgotten your promise. But go back now and rest. I shall see you again by and by."

Beauty, who had half expected that he would be angry with her, was reassured by his gentle voice and went back to the palace, where supper was awaiting her; and afterward the beast came in as usual and talked about the time she had spent with her father, asking if she had enjoyed herself and if they had all been very glad to see her.

Beauty answered politely, and quite enjoyed telling him all that had happened to her. And when at last the time came for him to go, and he asked, as he had so often asked before, "Beauty, will you marry me?" she answered softly: "Yes, dear beast."

As she spoke a blaze of light sprang up before the windows of the palace; fireworks crackled and guns banged, and across the avenue of orange trees, in letters all made of fireflies, was written: "Long live the prince and his bride."

Turning to ask the beast what it could all mean, Beauty found that he had disappeared, and in his place stood her long-loved prince! At the same moment the wheels of a chariot were heard upon the terrace and two ladies entered the[122] room. One of them Beauty recognized as the stately lady she had seen in her dreams; the other was also so grand and queenly that Beauty hardly knew which to greet first.

But the one she already knew said to her companion:

"Well, queen, this is Beauty, who has had the courage to rescue your son from the terrible enchantment. They love one another, and only your consent to their marriage is wanting to make them perfectly happy."

"I consent with all my heart," cried the queen. "How can I ever thank you enough, charming girl, for having restored my dear son to his natural form?"

And then she tenderly embraced Beauty and the prince, who had meanwhile been greeting the fairy and receiving her congratulations.

"Now," said the fairy to Beauty, "I suppose you would like me to send for all your brothers and sisters to dance at your wedding?"

And so she did, and the marriage was celebrated the very next day with the utmost splendor, and Beauty and the prince lived happily ever after.


Peter Asbjörnsen (1812-1885) and Jorgen Moe (1813-1882) were the first scientific collectors of the folk tales of Norway. Their joint interest in folk tales began when they were schoolboys wandering on foot through the country and listening to peasant stories. This interest continued after Moe had become a theologian and Asbjörnsen a noted scientist. The latter served the government as an expert connected with the survey and development of his country's natural resources. This resulted in taking him to all parts of the land, and he never lost an opportunity to hear and copy down any folk tale that he found surviving in the more isolated districts. In 1842-1844 appeared Norwegian Folk Tales by Moe and Asbjörnsen; in 1845, Norwegian Fairy Tales and Folk Legends; and there were subsequent additions. The five tales following are from these Norse collections. They were first made accessible in English in Dasent's Popular Tales from the Norse (1858). This book with its long introductory essay on the origin and diffusion of popular tales constitutes a landmark in the study of folklore. It and Dasent's later volume, Tales from the Fjeld, are still, perhaps, the best sources for versions of the Norse popular tales. "Why the Bear Is Stumpy-tailed" belongs to the class of stories which explain how things happened to be as they are. It is of great antiquity and is found over most of the world. The greatest of all modern nature fairy tales, Kipling's Just So Stories, are of a similar type, though told at greater length and, of course, with infinitely greater art.


One day the Bear met the Fox, who came slinking along with a string of fish he had stolen.

"Whence did you get those?" asked the Bear.

"Oh! my Lord Bruin, I've been out fishing and caught them," said the Fox.

So the Bear had a mind to learn to fish too, and bade the Fox tell him how he was to set about it.

"Oh! it's an easy craft for you," answered the Fox, "and soon learnt. You've only got to go upon the ice, and cut a hole and stick your tail down into it; and so you must go on holding it there as long as you can. You're not to mind if your tail smarts a little; that's when the fish bite. The longer you hold it there the more fish you'll get; and[123] then all at once out with it, with a cross pull sideways, and with a strong pull too."

Yes; the Bear did as the Fox had said, and held his tail a long, long time down in the hole, till it was fast frozen in. Then he pulled it out with a cross pull, and it snapped short off. That's why Bruin goes about with a stumpy tail this very day.


The following is from Dasent's Popular Tales from the Norse and has long been a favorite with the younger children by reason of its remarkable compactness and its strong accumulative force. The Troll of northern stories is the Ogre of those farther south. The story has a closing formula which may often have been used for other stories as well. (For an opening verse formula see the note on "The Story of the Three Little Pigs," No. 151.)


Once on a time there were three Billy-goats who were to go up to the hillside to make themselves fat, and the name of all the three was "Gruff."

On the way up was a bridge over a burn they had to cross; and under the bridge lived a great ugly Troll, with eyes as big as saucers and a nose as long as a poker.

So first of all came the youngest billy-goat Gruff to cross the bridge.

"Trip, trap; trip, trap!" went the bridge.

"WHO'S THAT tripping over my bridge?" roared the Troll.

"Oh! it is only I, the tiniest billy-goat Gruff; and I'm going up to the hill-side to make myself fat," said the billy-goat, with such a small voice.

"Now, I'm coming to gobble you up," said the Troll.

"Oh, no! pray don't take me. I'm too little, that I am," said the billy-goat. "Wait a bit till the second billy-goat Gruff comes; he's much bigger."

"Well! be off with you," said the Troll.

A little while after came the second billy-goat Gruff to cross the bridge.

"trip, trap! trip, trap! trip, trap!" went the bridge.

"WHO'S THAT tripping over my bridge?" roared the Troll.

"Oh! it's the second billy-goat Gruff, and I'm going up to the hill-side to make myself fat," said the billy-goat, who hadn't such a small voice.

"Now, I'm coming to gobble you up," said the Troll.

"Oh, no! don't take me. Wait a little till the big billy-goat Gruff comes; he's much bigger."

"Very well! be off with you," said the Troll.

But just then up came the big billy-goat Gruff.

"TRIP, TRAP! TRIP, TRAP! TRIP, TRAP!" went the bridge, for the billy-goat was so heavy that the bridge creaked and groaned under him.

"WHO'S THAT tramping over my bridge?" roared the Troll.

"It's I! THE BIG BILLY-GOAT GRUFF," said the billy-goat, who had an ugly hoarse voice of his own.

"Now, I'm coming to gobble you up," roared the Troll.

"Well, come along! I've got two spears,
And I'll poke your eyeballs out at your ears;
I've got besides two curling-stones,
And I'll crush you to bits, body and bones."

That was what the big billy-goat said; and so he flew at the Troll and poked[124] his eyes out with his horns, and crushed him to bits, body and bones, and tossed him out into the burn, and after that he went up to the hill-side. There the billy-goats got so fat they were scarce able to walk home again; and if the fat hasn't fallen off them, why they're still fat; and so,—

"Snip, snap, snout,
This tale's told out."


The following droll seems to indicate that the folk had a strain of satirical humor which they could use with fine effect. The translation is that of Dasent's Popular Tales from the Norse. (An old English verse form of the same story will be found in No. 146.) The old proverb about the shoemaker sticking to his last is sure to come to mind as one reads, but it seems to lose force when we notice that the "goody" has no trouble with the mowing, while the good "man" has much with the housework!


Once on a time there was a man so surly and cross he never thought his wife did anything right in the house. So one evening in hay-making time he came home scolding and swearing and showing his teeth and making a dust.

"Dear love, don't be so angry; there's a good man," said his goody; "to-morrow let's change our work. I'll go out with the mowers and mow, and you shall mind the house at home."

Yes! the husband thought that would do very well. He was quite willing, he said.

So, early next morning, his goody took a scythe over her neck and went out into the hay-field with the mowers and began to mow; but the man was to mind the house, and do the work at home.

First of all, he wanted to churn the butter; but when he had churned a while, he got thirsty, and went down to the cellar to tap a barrel of ale. So, just when he had knocked in the bung, and was putting the tap into the cask, he heard overhead the pig come into the kitchen. Then off he ran up the cellar steps, with the tap in his hand, as fast as he could, to look after the pig lest it should upset the churn; but when he got up, and saw the pig had already knocked the churn over, and stood there, rooting and grunting amongst the cream which was running all over the floor, he got so wild with rage that he quite forgot the ale-barrel, and ran at the pig as hard as he could. He caught it, too, just as it ran out of doors, and gave it such a kick that piggy lay for dead on the spot. Then all at once he remembered he had the tap in his hand; but when he got down to the cellar, every drop of ale had run out of the cask.

Then he went into the dairy and found enough cream left to fill the churn again, and so he began to churn, for butter they must have at dinner. When he had churned a bit, he remembered that their milking cow was still shut up in the byre, and hadn't had a bit to eat or a drop to drink all the morning, though the sun was high. Then all at once he thought 'twas too far to take her down to the meadow, so he'd just get her up on the house-top—for the house, you must know, was thatched with sods, and a fine crop of grass was growing there. Now their house lay close up against a steep down, and he thought if he laid a plank across to the thatch at the back he'd easily get the cow up.

But still he couldn't leave the churn, for there was his little babe crawling[125] about on the floor, and "if I leave it," he thought, "the child is safe to upset it." So he took the churn on his back, and went out with it; but then he thought he'd better first water the cow before he turned her out on the thatch; so he took up a bucket to draw water out of the well; but, as he stooped down at the well's brink, all the cream ran out of the churn over his shoulders, and so down into the well.

Now it was near dinner-time, and he hadn't even got the butter yet; so he thought he'd best boil the porridge, and filled the pot with water and hung it over the fire. When he had done that, he thought the cow might perhaps fall off the thatch and break her legs or her neck. So he got up on the house to tie her up. One end of the rope he made fast to the cow's neck, and the other he slipped down the chimney and tied round his own thigh; and he had to make haste, for the water now began to boil in the pot, and he had still to grind the oatmeal.

So he began to grind away; but while he was hard at it, down fell the cow off the house-top after all, and as she fell, she dragged the man up the chimney by the rope. There he stuck fast; and as for the cow, she hung half way down the wall, swinging between heaven and earth, for she could neither get down nor up.

And now the goody had waited seven lengths and seven breadths for her husband to come and call them home to dinner; but never a call they had. At last she thought she'd waited long enough, and went home. But when she got there and saw the cow hanging in such an ugly place, she ran up and cut the rope in two with her scythe. But as she did this, down came her husband out of the chimney; and so when his old dame came inside the kitchen, there she found him standing on his head in the porridge pot.


The artistic qualities of "Boots and His Brothers," from Dasent's Popular Tales from the Norse, will impress every reader or listener. It belongs to that very numerous group of stories dealing with the success of the youngest child in the face of opposition, mistreatment, or lack of sympathy from others of his family. "John was Boots, of course, because he was the youngest"; which means that it was the rule to give the most menial tasks about the house to the youngest. But John had the saving trait of always "wondering" about things, which led him to find out what would always be hidden from his more stupid and less imaginative brothers.


Once on a time there was a man who had three sons, Peter, Paul, and John. John was Boots, of course, because he was the youngest. I can't say the man had anything more than these three sons, for he hadn't one penny to rub against another; and so he told his sons over and over again they must go out into the world and try to earn their bread, for there at home there was nothing to be looked for but starving to death.

Now, a bit off the man's cottage was the King's palace, and you must know, just against the King's windows a great oak had sprung up, which was so stout and big that it took away all the light from the King's palace. The King had said he would give many, many dollars to the man who could fell the oak, but no one was man enough for that, for as soon as ever one chip of the oak's trunk[126] flew off, two grew in its stead. A well, too, the King would have dug, which was to hold water for the whole year; for all his neighbors had wells, but he hadn't any, and that he thought a shame. So the King said he would give any one who could dig him such a well as would hold water for a whole year round, both money and goods; but no one could do it, for the King's palace lay high, high up on a hill, and they hadn't dug a few inches before they came upon the living rock.

But as the King had set his heart on having these two things done, he had it given out far and wide, in all the churches of his kingdom, that he who could fell the big oak in the king's court-yard, and get him a well that would hold water the whole year round, should have the Princess and half the kingdom. Well! you may easily know there was many a man who came to try his luck; but for all their hacking and hewing, and all their digging and delving, it was no good. The oak got bigger and stouter at every stroke, and the rock didn't get softer either. So one day those three brothers thought they'd set off and try too, and their father hadn't a word against it; for even if they didn't get the Princess and half the kingdom, it might happen they might get a place somewhere with a good master; and that was all he wanted. So when the brothers said they thought of going to the palace, their father said "yes" at once. So Peter, Paul, and Jack went off from their home.

Well! they hadn't gone far before they came to a fir wood, and up along one side of it rose a steep hillside, and as they went, they heard something hewing and hacking away up on the hill among the trees.

"I wonder now what it is that is hewing away up yonder?" said Jack.

"You're always so clever with your wonderings," said Peter and Paul both at once. "What wonder is it, pray, that a woodcutter should stand and hack up on a hillside?"

"Still, I'd like to see what it is, after all," said Jack; and up he went.

"Oh, if you're such a child, 'twill do you good to go and take a lesson," bawled out his brothers after him.

But Jack didn't care for what they said; he climbed the steep hillside towards where the noise came, and when he reached the place, what do you think he saw? Why, an axe that stood there hacking and hewing, all of itself, at the trunk of a fir.

"Good day!" said Jack. "So you stand here all alone and hew, do you?"

"Yes; here I've stood and hewed and hacked a long, long time, waiting for you," said the Axe.

"Well, here I am at last," said Jack, as he took the axe, pulled it off its haft, and stuffed both head and haft into his wallet.

So when he got down again to his brothers, they began to jeer and laugh at him.

"And now, what funny thing was it you saw up yonder on the hillside?" they said.

"Oh, it was only an axe we heard," said Jack.

So when they had gone a bit farther, they came under a steep spur of rock, and up there they heard something digging and shoveling.

"I wonder now," said Jack, "what it[127] is digging and shoveling up yonder at the top of the rock!"

"Ah, you're always so clever with your wonderings," said Peter and Paul again, "as if you'd never heard a woodpecker hacking and pecking at a hollow tree."

"Well, well," said Jack, "I think it would be a piece of fun just to see what it really is."

And so off he set to climb the rock, while the others laughed and made game of him. But he didn't care a bit for that; up he climbed, and when he got near the top, what do you think he saw? Why, a spade that stood there digging and delving.

"Good day!" said Jack. "So you stand here all alone, and dig and delve!"

"Yes, that's what I do," said the Spade, "and that's what I've done this many a long day, waiting for you."

"Well, here I am," said Jack again, as he took the spade and knocked it off its handle, and put it into his wallet, and then down again to his brothers.

"Well, what was it, so rare and strange," said Peter and Paul, "that you saw up there at the top of the rock?"

"Oh," said Jack, "nothing more than a spade; that was what we heard."

So they went on again a good bit, till they came to a brook. They were thirsty, all three, after their long walk, and so they lay down beside the brook to have a drink.

"I wonder now," said Jack, "where all this water comes from!"

"I wonder if you're right in your head," said Peter and Paul, in one breath. "If you're not mad already, you'll go mad very soon, with your wonderings. Where the brook comes from, indeed! Have you never heard how water rises from a spring in the earth?"

"Yes! but still I've a great fancy to see where this brook comes from," said Jack.

So up alongside the brook he went, in spite of all that his brothers bawled after him. Nothing could stop him. On he went. So, as he went up and up, the brook got smaller and smaller, and at last, a little way farther on, what do you think he saw? Why, a great walnut, and out of that the water trickled.

"Good day!" said Jack again. "So you lie here, and trickle and run down all alone?"

"Yes, I do," said the Walnut, "and here have I trickled and run this many a long day, waiting for you."

"Well, here I am," said Jack, as he took up a lump of moss, and plugged up the hole, that the water mightn't run out. Then he put the walnut into his wallet, and ran down to his brothers.

"Well, now," said Peter and Paul, "have you found out where the water comes from? A rare sight it must have been!"

"Oh, after all, it was only a hole it ran out of," said Jack; and so the others laughed and made game of him again, but Jack didn't mind that a bit.

"After all, I had the fun of seeing it," said he.

So when they had gone a bit farther, they came to the King's palace; but as every one in the kingdom had heard how they might win the Princess and half the realm, if they could only fell the big oak and dig the King's well, so many had come to try their luck that the oak was now twice as stout and big as it had been at first, for two chips grew for every one they hewed out with[128] their axes, as I dare say you all bear in mind. So the King had now laid it down as a punishment, that if any one tried and couldn't fell the oak, he should be put on a barren island, and both his ears were to be clipped off. But the two brothers didn't let themselves be scared by that; they were quite sure they could fell the oak, and Peter, as he was eldest, was to try his hand first; but it went with him as with all the rest who had hewn at the oak; for every chip he cut out, two grew in its place. So the King's men seized him, and clipped off both his ears, and put him out on the island.

Now Paul, he was to try his luck, but he fared just the same; when he had hewn two or three strokes, they began to see the oak grow, and so the King's men seized him too, and clipped his ears, and put him out on the island; and his ears they clipped closer, because they said he ought to have taken a lesson from his brother.

So now Jack was to try.

"If you will look like a marked sheep, we're quite ready to clip your ears at once, and then you'll save yourself some bother," said the King, for he was angry with him for his brothers' sake.

"Well, I'd like just to try first," said Jack, and so he got leave. Then he took his axe out of his wallet and fitted it to its haft.

"Hew away!" said he to his axe; and away it hewed, making the chips fly again, so that it wasn't long before down came the oak.

When that was done, Jack pulled out his spade, and fitted it to its handle.

"Dig away!" said he to the spade; and so the spade began to dig and delve till the earth and rock flew out in splinters, and so he had the well soon dug out, you may think.

And when he had got it as big and deep as he chose, Jack took out his walnut and laid it in one corner of the well, and pulled the plug of moss out.

"Trickle and run," said Jack; and so the nut trickled and ran, till the water gushed out of the hole in a stream, and in a short time the well was brimful.

Then Jack had felled the oak which shaded the King's palace, and dug a well in the palace-yard, and so he got the Princess and half the kingdom, as the King had said; but it was lucky for Peter and Paul that they had lost their ears, else they had heard each hour and day how every one said, "Well, after all, Jack wasn't so much out of his mind when he took to wondering."


For the next story from the Norse group the translation by H. L. Braekstad is used. It is better known under the more familiar title of the Dasent version, "Why the Sea Is Salt." Braekstad's translation of the Asbjörnsen and Moe stories, illustrated by Norwegian artists, appeared in two volumes called Round the Yule Log and Fairy Tales from the North. The story of the magic hand-mill is the story of how an evil brother violated the Christmas spirit and how his curse was turned into good fortune for his better-disposed relative. The naïve idea of the common folk as to the devil's home is especially interesting, as is the acceptance of the fact that a Christmas celebration includes a fine open fire of wood, even in a place of unusual warmth. But perhaps we should remember that in Norse mythology the evil place would be associated with intense cold. Of more importance, however, is the fact that the magic quern brings[129] not good but disaster to those who try to use it in the service of greed.


Once upon a time in the old, old days there were two brothers, one of whom was rich and the other poor. When Christmas Eve came the poor brother had not a morsel in the house, neither of meat nor bread; and so he went to his rich brother and asked for a trifle for Christmas, in heaven's name. It was not the first time the brother had helped him, but he was always very close-fisted, and was not particularly glad to see him this time.

"If you'll do what I tell you, you shall have a whole ham," he said. The poor brother promised he would, and was very grateful into the bargain.

"There it is, and now go to the devil!" said the rich brother, and threw the ham across to him.

"Well, what I have promised I must keep," said the other one. He took the ham, and set out. He walked and walked the whole day, and as it was getting dark he came to a place where the lights were shining brightly. "This is most likely the place," thought the man with the ham.

In the woodshed stood an old man with a long white beard, cutting fire-wood for Christmas.

"Good evening," said he with the ham.

"Good evening to you," said the man. "Where are you going so late?"

"I am going to the devil—that is to say, if I am on the right way," answered the poor man.

"Yes, you are quite right; this is his place," said the old man. "When you get in, they will all want to buy your ham, for ham is scarce food here; but you must not sell it unless you get the hand-quern, which stands just behind the door. When you come out again, I'll teach you how to use it. You will find it useful in many ways."

The man with the ham thanked him for all the information, and knocked at the door.

When he got in, it happened just as the old man had said. All the imps, both big and small, flocked around him like ants in a field, and the one outbid the other for the ham.

"Well," said the man, "my good woman and I were to have it for Christmas Eve, but since you want it so badly I will let you have it. But if I am going to part with it, I want that hand-quern which stands behind the door."

The devil did not like to part with it, and higgled and haggled with the man, but he stuck to what he had said, and in the end the devil had to part with the quern.

When the man came out, he asked the old wood-cutter how he was to use the quern, and when he had learned this, he thanked the old man and set out homewards as quickly as he could; but after all he did not get home till the clock struck twelve on Christmas Eve.

"Where in all the world have you been?" said his wife. "Here have I been sitting, hour after hour, waiting and watching for you, and have not had as much as two chips to lay under the porridge pot."

"Well, I couldn't get back before," said the man. "I have had a good many things to look after, and I've had a long way to walk as well; but now I'll show you something," said he, and put the quern on the table. He asked it first to grind candles, then a cloth,[130] and then food and beer, and everything else that was good for Christmas cheer; and as he spoke the quern brought them forth. The woman crossed herself time after time and wanted to know where her husband had got the quern from; but this he would not tell her.

"It does not matter where I got it from; you see the quern is good and the mill stream is not likely to freeze," said the man. So he ground food and drink and all good things during Christmas; and the third day he invited his friends, as he wanted to give them a feast. When the rich brother saw all that was in the house, he became both angry and furious, for he begrudged his brother everything.

"On Christmas Eve he was so needy that he came to me and asked for a trifle in heaven's name; and now he gives a feast, as if he were both a count and a king," said the brother. "Where did you get all your riches from?" he said to his brother.

"From just behind the door," he answered, for he did not care to tell his brother much about it. But later in the evening, when he had drunk a little freely, he could no longer resist, but brought out the quern.

"There you see that which has brought me all my riches," he said, and so he let the quern grind first one thing and then another.

When the brother saw this, he was determined to have the quern at all cost, and at last it was settled he should have it, but three hundred dollars was to be the price of it. The brother was, however, to keep it till the harvest began; "for if I keep it so long, I can grind out food for many years to come," he thought.

During that time you may be sure the quern did not rust, and when the harvest began the rich brother got it; but the other had taken great care not to show him how to use it.

It was evening when the rich brother got the quern home, and in the morning he asked his wife to go out and help the haymakers; he would get the breakfast ready himself to-day, he said.

When it was near breakfast time he put the quern on the breakfast table.

"Grind herrings and broth, and do it quickly and well," said the man, and the quern began to bring forth herrings and broth, and filled first all the dishes and tubs, and afterwards began flooding the whole kitchen.

The man fiddled and fumbled and tried to stop the quern, but however much he twisted and fingered it, the quern went on grinding, and in a little while the broth reached so high that the man was very near drowning. He then pulled open the parlor door, but it was not long before the quern had filled the parlor also, and it was just in the very nick of time that the man put his hand down into the broth and got hold of the latch, and when he had got the door open, he was soon out of the parlor, you may be sure. He rushed out, and the herrings and the broth came pouring out after him, like a stream, down the fields and meadows.

The wife, who was out haymaking, now thought it took too long a time to get the breakfast ready.

"If my husband doesn't call us soon, we must go home whether or no: I don't suppose he knows much about making broth, so I must go and help him," said the wife to the haymakers.

They began walking homewards, but when they had got a bit up the hill they[131] met the stream of broth with the herrings tossing about in it and the man himself running in front of it all.

"I wish all of you had a hundred stomachs each!" shouted the man; "but take care you don't get drowned." And he rushed past them as if the Evil One was at his heels, down to where his brother lived. He asked him for heaven's sake to take back the quern, and that at once. "If it goes on grinding another hour the whole parish will perish in broth and herrings," he said. But the brother would not take it back on any account before his brother had paid him three hundred dollars more, and this he had to do. The poor brother now had plenty of money, and before long he bought a farm much grander than the one on which his rich brother lived, and with the quern he ground so much gold that he covered the farmstead with gold plates and, as it lay close to the shore, it glittered and shone far out at sea. All those who sailed past wanted to call and visit the rich man in the golden house, and everybody wanted to see the wonderful quern, for its fame had spread both far and wide, and there was no one who had not heard it spoken of.

After a long while there came a skipper who wanted to see the quern; he asked if it could grind salt. Yes, that it could, said he who owned it; and when the skipper heard this he wanted the quern by hook or by crook, cost what it might, for if he had it he thought he need not sail far away across dangerous seas for cargoes of salt.

At first the man did not want to part with it, but the skipper both begged and prayed, and at last he sold it and got many, many thousand dollars for it.

As soon as the skipper had got the quern on his back he did not stop long, for he was afraid the man would change his mind, and as for asking how to use it, he had no time to do that; he made for his ship as quickly as he could, and when he had got out to sea a bit he had the quern brought up on deck.

"Grind salt, and that both quickly and well," said the skipper, and the quern began to grind out salt so that it spurted to all sides.

When the skipper had got the ship filled he wanted to stop the quern, but however much he tried and whatever he did the quern went on grinding, and the mound of salt grew higher and higher, and at last the ship sank.

There at the bottom of the sea stands the quern grinding till this very day, and that is the reason why the sea is salt.


The next seven stories are from the best known of all collections of folk tales, the Kinder und Hausmärchen (1812-1815) of the brothers Jacob Grimm (1785-1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859). They worked together as scholarly investigators in the field of philology. The world is indebted to them for the creation of the science of folklore. Other writers, such as Perrault, had published collections of folklore, but these two brothers were the first to collect, classify, and publish folk tales in a scientific way. With the trained judgment of scholars they excluded from the stories all details that seemed new or foreign, and put them as nearly as possible into the form in which they had been told by the folk. These Household Tales were first made accessible in English in the translation of Edgar Taylor, published in two volumes in 1823 and 1826, and revised in 1837. There have been later translations, notably the complete one by Margaret[132] Hunt in 1884, but the Taylor version has been the main source of the popular retellings for nearly a hundred years. It included only about fifty of the two hundred tales, and was illustrated by the famous artist George Cruikshank. An edition including all the Taylor translations and the original etchings was issued in 1868 with an introduction by John Ruskin. It is still reprinted under the title, Grimm's Popular Stories.

"The Traveling Musicians" is from the Taylor translation. It is sometimes called "The Bremen Town Musicians," or simply "The Town Musicians." The story is widespread, showing its great popularity. Jacobs finds "the fullest and most dramatic form" in the Irish "Jack and His Comrades," which he includes in his Celtic Fairy Tales. Jacobs also gives an English version by way of America, "How Jack Sought His Fortune," in his English Fairy Tales. The successful outcome for these distressed and deserving poor adventurers appeals as a fine stroke of poetic justice.


An honest farmer had once an ass that had been a faithful servant to him a great many years, but was now growing old and every day more and more unfit for work. His master therefore was tired of keeping him and began to think of putting an end to him; but the ass, who saw that some mischief was in the wind, took himself slyly off and began his journey towards the great city, "for there," thought he, "I may turn musician."

After he had traveled a little way, he spied a dog lying by the road-side and panting as if he were very tired. "What makes you pant so, my friend?" said the ass.

"Alas!" said the dog, "my master was going to knock me on the head because I am old and weak and can no longer make myself useful to him in hunting; so I ran away: but what can I do to earn my livelihood?"

"Hark ye!" said the ass, "I am going to the great city to turn musician: suppose you go with me and try what you can do in the same way?" The dog said he was willing, and they jogged on together.

Before they had gone far, they saw a cat sitting in the middle of the road and making a most rueful face. "Pray, my good lady," said the ass, "what's the matter with you? You look quite out of spirits!"

"Ah, me!" said the cat, "how can one be in good spirits when one's life is in danger? Because I am beginning to grow old and had rather lie at my ease by the fire than run about the house after the mice, my mistress laid hold of me and was going to drown me; and though I have been lucky enough to get away from her, I do not know what I am to live upon."

"Oh!" said the ass, "by all means go with us to the great city. You are a good night-singer and may make your fortune as a musician." The cat was pleased with the thought and joined the party.

Soon afterwards, as they were passing by a farmyard, they saw a cock perched upon a gate, screaming out with all his might and main. "Bravo!" said the ass; "upon my word you make a famous noise; pray what is all this about?"

"Why," said the cock, "I was just now saying that we should have fine weather for our washing-day, and yet my mistress and the cook don't thank me for my pains, but threaten to cut off my head tomorrow and make broth of me for the guests that are coming on Sunday."[133]

"Heaven forbid!" said the ass; "come with us, Master Chanticleer; it will be better, at any rate, than staying here to have your head cut off! Besides, who knows? If we take care to sing in tune, we may get up some kind of a concert: so come along with us."

"With all my heart," said the cock: so they all four went on jollily together.

They could not, however, reach the great city the first day: so when night came on they went into a wood to sleep. The ass and the dog laid themselves down under a great tree, and the cat climbed up into the branches; while the cock, thinking that the higher he sat the safer he should be, flew up to the very top of the tree, and then, according to his custom, before he went to sleep, looked out on all sides of him to see that everything was well. In doing this, he saw afar off something bright and shining; and calling to his companions said, "There must be a house no great way off, for I see a light."

"If that be the case," said the ass, "we had better change our quarters, for our lodging is not the best in the world!"

"Besides," added the dog, "I should not be the worse for a bone or two, or a bit of meat." So they walked off together towards the spot where Chanticleer had seen the light; and as they drew near, it became larger and brighter, till they at last came close to a house in which a gang of robbers lived.

The ass, being the tallest of the company, marched up to the window and peeped in. "Well, Donkey," said Chanticleer, "what do you see?"

"What do I see?" replied the ass, "why I see a table spread with all kinds of good things, and robbers sitting round it making merry."

"That would be a noble lodging for us," said the cock.

"Yes," said the ass, "if we could only get in": so they consulted together how they should contrive to get the robbers out; and at last they hit upon a plan. The ass placed himself upright on his hind-legs, with his fore-feet resting against the window; the dog got upon his back; the cat scrambled up to the dog's shoulders, and the cock flew up and sat upon the cat's head. When all was ready, a signal was given, and they began their music. The ass brayed, the dog barked, the cat mewed, and the cock screamed; and then they all broke through the window at once and came tumbling into the room, amongst the broken glass, with a most hideous clatter! The robbers, who had been not a little frightened by the opening concert, had now no doubt that some frightful hobgoblin had broken in upon them, and scampered away as fast as they could.

The coast once clear, our travelers soon sat down and dispatched what the robbers had left, with as much eagerness as if they had not expected to eat again for a month. As soon as they had satisfied themselves, they put out the lights and each once more sought out a resting-place to his own liking. The donkey laid himself down upon a heap of straw in the yard; the dog stretched himself upon a mat behind the door; the cat rolled herself up on the hearth before the warm ashes; and the cock perched upon a beam on the top of the house; and, as they were all rather tired with their journey, they soon fell asleep.

But about midnight, when the robbers saw from afar that the lights were out and that all seemed quiet, they began to think that they had been in too great a hurry to run away; and one of them, who[134] was bolder than the rest, went to see what was going on. Finding everything still, he marched into the kitchen and groped about till he found a match in order to light a candle; and then, espying the glittering fiery eyes of the cat, he mistook them for live coals and held the match to them to light it. But the cat, not understanding this joke, sprung at his face, and spit, and scratched at him. This frightened him dreadfully, and away he ran to the back door; but there the dog jumped up and bit him in the leg; and as he was crossing over the yard the ass kicked him; and the cock, who had been awakened by the noise, crowed with all his might. At this the robber ran back as fast as he could to his comrades and told the captain "how a horrid witch had got into the house, and had spit at him and scratched his face with her long bony fingers; how a man with a knife in his hand had hidden himself behind the door and stabbed him in the leg; how a black monster stood in the yard and struck him with a club, and how the devil sat upon the top of the house and cried out, 'Throw the rascal up here!'"

After this the robbers never dared to go back to the house; but the musicians were so pleased with their quarters that they took up their abode there; and there they are, I dare say, at this very day.


The Taylor translation of Grimm is used for "The Blue Light." This tale contains several of the elements most popular in children's stories. There is merit in distress, an old witch, the magic blue light, the little black dwarf, and the exceeding great reward at the end. From this very story or some variant of it Hans Christian Andersen must have drawn the inspiration for "The Tinder Box" (No. 196).


A soldier had served a king his master many years, till at last he was turned off without pay or reward. How he should get his living he did not know; so he set out and journeyed homeward all day in a very downcast mood, until in the evening he came to the edge of a deep wood. The road leading that way, he pushed forward; but before he had gone far, he saw a light glimmering through the trees, towards which he bent his weary steps; and soon he came to a hut where no one lived but an old witch. The poor fellow begged for a night's lodging and something to eat and drink; but she would listen to nothing. However, he was not easily got rid of; and at last she said, "I think I will take pity on you this once; but if I do, you must dig over all my garden for me in the morning." The soldier agreed very willingly to anything she asked, and he became her guest.

The next day he kept his word and dug the garden very neatly. The job lasted all day; and in the evening, when his mistress would have sent him away, he said, "I am so tired with my work that I must beg you to let me stay over the night."

The old lady vowed at first she would not do any such thing; but after a great deal of talk he carried his point, agreeing to chop up a whole cart-load of wood for her the next day.

This task too was duly ended; but not till towards night, and then he found himself so tired that he begged a third night's rest; and this too was given, but only on his pledging his word that he next day would fetch the witch the blue light that burnt at the bottom of the well.

When morning came she led him to the well's mouth, tied him to a long rope, and let him down. At the bottom sure[135] enough he found the blue light as the witch had said, and at once made the signal for her to draw him up again. But when she had pulled him up so near to the top that she could reach him with her hands, she said, "Give me the light: I will take care of it,"—meaning to play him a trick by taking it for herself and letting him fall again to the bottom of the well.

But the soldier saw through her wicked thoughts, and said, "No, I shall not give you the light till I find myself safe and sound out of the well."

At this she became very angry and dashed him, with the light she had longed for many a year, down to the bottom. And there lay the poor soldier for a while in despair, on the damp mud below, and feared that his end was nigh. But his pipe happened to be in his pocket still half full, and he thought to himself, "I may as well make an end of smoking you out; it is the last pleasure I shall have in this world." So he lit it at the blue light and began to smoke.

Up rose a cloud of smoke, and on a sudden a little black dwarf was seen making his way through the midst of it. "What do you want with me, soldier?" said he.

"I have no business with you," answered he.

But the dwarf said, "I am bound to serve you in every thing, as lord and master of the blue light."

"Then first of all, be so good as to help me out of this well." No sooner said than done: the dwarf took him by the hand and drew him up, and the blue light of course with him. "Now do me another piece of kindness," said the soldier: "pray let that old lady take my place in the well."

When the dwarf had done this, and lodged the witch safely at the bottom, they began to ransack her treasures; and the soldier made bold to carry off as much of her gold and silver as he well could. Then the dwarf said, "If you should chance at any time to want me, you have nothing to do but to light your pipe at the blue light, and I will soon be with you."

The soldier was not a little pleased at his good luck, and went to the best inn in the first town he came to and ordered some fine clothes to be made and a handsome room to be got ready for him. When all was ready, he called his little man to him and said, "The king sent me away penniless and left me to hunger and want. I have a mind to show him that it is my turn to be master now; so bring me his daughter here this evening, that she may wait upon me and do what I bid her."

"That is rather a dangerous task," said the dwarf. But away he went, took the princess out of her bed, fast asleep as she was, and brought her to the soldier.

Very early in the morning he carried her back; and as soon as she saw her father, she said, "I had a strange dream last night. I thought I was carried away through the air to a soldier's house, and there I waited upon him as his servant." Then the king wondered greatly at such a story; but told her to make a hole in her pocket and fill it with peas, so that if it were really as she said, and the whole was not a dream, the peas might fall out in the streets as she passed through, and leave a clue to tell whither she had been taken. She did so; but the dwarf had heard the king's plot; and when evening came, and the soldier said he must bring[136] him the princess again, he strewed peas over several of the streets, so that the few that fell from her pocket were not known from the others; and the people amused themselves all the next day picking up peas and wondering where so many came from.

When the princess told her father what had happened to her the second time, he said, "Take one of your shoes with you and hide it in the room you are taken to."

The dwarf heard this also; and when the soldier told him to bring the king's daughter again, he said, "I cannot save you this time; it will be an unlucky thing for you if you are found out—as I think you will." But the soldier would have his own way. "Then you must take care and make the best of your way out of the city gate very early in the morning," said the dwarf.

The princess kept one shoe on as her father bid her, and hid it in the soldier's room; and when she got back to her father, he ordered it to be sought for all over the town; and at last it was found where she had hid it. The soldier had run away, it is true; but he had been too slow and was soon caught and thrown into a strong prison and loaded with chains. What was worse, in the hurry of his flight, he had left behind him his great treasure, the blue light, and all his gold, and had nothing left in his pocket but one poor ducat.

As he was standing very sorrowful at the prison grating, he saw one of his comrades, and calling out to him said, "If you will bring me a little bundle I left in the inn, I will give you a ducat."

His comrade thought this very good pay for such a job; so he went away and soon came back bringing the blue light and the gold. Then the prisoner soon lit his pipe. Up rose the smoke, and with it came his old friend, the little dwarf. "Do not fear, master," said he: "keep up your heart at your trial and leave everything to take its course;—only mind to take the blue light with you."

The trial soon came on; the matter was sifted to the bottom; the prisoner found guilty, and his doom passed:—he was ordered to be hanged forthwith on the gallows-tree.

But as he was led out, he said he had one favor to beg of the king. "What is it?" said his majesty.

"That you will deign to let me smoke one pipe on the road."

"Two, if you like," said the king.

Then he lit his pipe at the blue light, and the black dwarf was before him in a moment. "Be so good as to kill, slay, or put to flight all these people," said the soldier: "and as for the king, you may cut him into three pieces."

Then the dwarf began to lay about him, and soon got rid of the crowd around: but the king begged hard for mercy; and, to save his life, agreed to let the soldier have the princess for his wife and to leave the kingdom to him when he died.


The following tale is from Taylor's translation of Grimm. The cheerful industry and the kindly gratitude of the shoemaker and his wife, together with the gayety of the little elves, make the story altogether charming. No doubt its popularity was helped by Cruikshank's famous accompanying etching, showing the scene at the close, in which the two elves "are drawn with a point at once so precise and vivacious, so full of keen fun and inimitably happy invention, that I have not found their equal in comic etching anywhere. . . . The picturesque[137] details of the room are etched with the same felicitous intelligence; but the marvel of the work is in the expression of the strange little faces, and the energy of the comical wee limbs." (Hamerton, Etching and Etchers.)


There was once a shoemaker who worked very hard and was very honest; but still he could not earn enough to live upon, and at last all he had in the world was gone, except just leather enough to make one pair of shoes. Then he cut them all ready to make up the next day, meaning to get up early in the morning to work. His conscience was clear and his heart light amidst all his troubles; so he went peaceably to bed, left all his cares to heaven, and fell asleep. In the morning, after he had said his prayers, he set himself down to his work, but to his great wonder, there stood the shoes, all ready made, upon the table. The good man knew not what to say or think of this strange event. He looked at the workmanship: there was not one false stitch in the whole job, and all was so neat and true that it was a complete masterpiece.

That same day a customer came in, and the shoes pleased him so well that he willingly paid a price higher than usual for them; and the poor shoemaker with the money bought leather enough to make two pairs more. In the evening he cut out the work and went to bed early that he might get up and begin betimes next day: but he was saved all the trouble, for when he got up in the morning the work was finished ready to his hand. Presently in came buyers, who paid him handsomely for his goods, so that he bought leather enough for four pairs more. He cut out the work again over night, and found it finished in the morning as before; and so it went on for some time: what was got ready in the evening was always done by daybreak, and the good man soon became thriving and prosperous again.

One evening about Christmas time, as he and his wife were sitting over the fire chatting together, he said to her, "I should like to sit up and watch to-night, that we may see who it is that comes and does my work for me." The wife liked the thought; so they left a light burning and hid themselves in the corner of the room behind a curtain that was hung up there, and watched what should happen.

As soon as it was midnight, there came two little naked dwarfs; and they sat themselves upon the shoemaker's bench, took up all the work that was cut out, and began to ply with their little fingers, stitching and rapping and tapping away at such a rate that the shoemaker was all amazement and could not take his eyes off for a moment. And on they went till the job was quite finished, and the shoes stood ready for use upon the table. This was long before daybreak; and then they bustled away as quick as lightning.

The next day the wife said to the shoemaker, "These little wights have made us rich, and we ought to be thankful to them and do them a good office in return. I am quite vexed to see them run about as they do; they have nothing upon their backs to keep off the cold. I'll tell you what, I will make each of them a shirt, and a coat and waistcoat, and a pair of pantaloons into the bargain; do you make each of them a little pair of shoes."[138]

The thought pleased the good shoemaker very much; and one evening, when all the things were ready, they laid them on the table instead of the work that they used to cut out, and then went and hid themselves to watch what the little elves would do. About midnight they came in and were going to sit down to their work as usual; but when they saw the clothes lying for them, they laughed and were greatly delighted. Then they dressed themselves in the twinkling of an eye, and danced and capered and sprang about as merry as could be, till at last they danced out at the door and over the green; and the shoemaker saw them no more; but everything went well with him from that time forward, as long as he lived.


In a note regarding "The Fisherman and His Wife," Taylor calls attention to the interesting fact that this tale became a great favorite after the battle of Waterloo "during the fervor of popular feeling on the downfall of the late Emperor of France." The catastrophe attendant upon Napoleon's ambitious efforts seemed to the popular mind to be paralleled by the penalty following the final wish of the wife "to be like unto God." But observe that Taylor, unlike more recent translators, felt under the necessity of softening "the boldness of the lady's ambition." The versions of the verse charm used in summoning the fish differ strikingly in the various translations. That of Taylor's first edition, used here, seems to fit the story better than any other, though tellers of the story may, properly enough, not agree. Taylor's revised version of 1837 reads:
"O man of the sea!
Hearken to me!
My wife Ilsabill
Will have her own will,
And hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!"

Mrs. Hunt's version runs:

"Flounder, flounder in the sea,
Come, I pray thee, come to me;
For my wife, good Ilsabil,
Wills not as I'd have her will."

The moral of the story is plain for those who need it: Greed overreaches itself. Who grasps too much loses all. Don't ride a free horse to death.


There was once a fisherman who lived with his wife in a ditch, close by the sea-side. The fisherman used to go out all day long a-fishing; and one day, as he sat on the shore with his rod, looking at the shining water and watching his line, all on a sudden his float was dragged away deep under the sea: and in drawing it up he pulled a great fish out of the water. The fish said to him, "Pray let me live: I am not a real fish; I am an enchanted prince. Put me in the water again, and let me go."

"Oh!" said the man, "you need not make so many words about the matter. I wish to have nothing to do with a fish that can talk; so swim away as soon as you please." Then he put him back into the water, and the fish darted straight down to the bottom and left a long streak of blood behind him.

When the fisherman went home to his wife in the ditch, he told her how he had caught a great fish, and how it had told him it was an enchanted prince, and that on hearing it speak he had let it go again.

"Did you not ask it for anything?" said the wife.

"No," said the man, "what should I ask for?"

"Ah!" said the wife, "we live very[139] wretchedly here in this nasty stinking ditch. Do go back, and tell the fish we want a little cottage."

The fisherman did not much like the business; however he went to the sea, and when he came there the water looked all yellow and green. And he stood at the water's edge, and said,

"O man of the sea!
Come listen to me,
For Alice my wife,
The plague of my life,
Hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!"

Then the fish came swimming to him, and said, "Well, what does she want?"

"Ah!" answered the fisherman, "my wife says that when I had caught you, I ought to have asked you for something before I let you go again. She does not like living any longer in the ditch, and wants a little cottage."

"Go home, then," said the fish. "She is in the cottage already."

So the man went home and saw his wife standing at the door of a cottage. "Come in, come in," said she; "is not this much better than the ditch?" And there was a parlor, and a bed-chamber, and a kitchen; and behind the cottage there was a little garden with all sorts of flowers and fruits, and a court-yard full of ducks and chickens.

"Ah!" said the fisherman, "how happily we shall live!"

"We will try to do so at least," said his wife.

Everything went right for a week or two, and then Dame Alice said, "Husband, there is not room enough in this cottage; the court-yard and garden are a great deal too small. I should like to have a large stone castle to live in; so go to the fish again, and tell him to give us a castle."

"Wife," said the fisherman, "I don't like to go to him again, for perhaps he will be angry. We ought to be content with the cottage."

"Nonsense!" said the wife; "he will do it very willingly. Go along, and try."

The fisherman went; but his heart was very heavy: and when he came to the sea, it looked blue and gloomy, though it was quite calm, and he went close to it and said,

"O man of the sea!
Come listen to me,
For Alice my wife,
The plague of my life,
Hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!"

"Well, what does she want now?" said the fish.

"Ah!" said the man very sorrowfully, "my wife wants to live in a stone castle."

"Go home then," said the fish. "She is standing at the door of it already." So away went the fisherman and found his wife standing before a great castle.

"See," said she, "is not this grand?" With that they went into the castle together and found a great many servants there and the rooms all richly furnished and full of golden chairs and tables; and behind the castle was a garden, and a wood half a mile long, full of sheep, and goats, and hares, and deer; and in the court-yard were stables and cow-houses.

"Well," said the man, "now will we live contented and happy in this beautiful castle for the rest of our lives."

"Perhaps we may," said the wife; "but let us consider and sleep upon it before we make up our minds": so they went to bed.

The next morning when Dame Alice awoke, it was broad daylight, and she jogged the fisherman with her elbow and[140] said, "Get up, husband, and bestir yourself, for we must be king of all the land."

"Wife, wife," said the man, "why should we wish to be king? I will not be king."

"Then I will," said Alice.

"But, wife," answered the fisherman, "how can you be king? The fish cannot make you a king."

"Husband," said she, "say no more about it, but go and try. I will be king!"

So the man went away, quite sorrowful to think that his wife should want to be king. The sea looked a dark grey color, and was covered with foam as he cried out,

"O man of the sea!
Come listen to me,
For Alice my wife,
The plague of my life,
Hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!"

"Well, what would she have now?" said the fish.

"Alas!" said the man, "my wife wants to be king."

"Go home," said the fish. "She is king already."

Then the fisherman went home; and as he came close to the palace, he saw a troop of soldiers and heard the sound of drums and trumpets; and when he entered in, he saw his wife sitting on a high throne of gold and diamonds, with a golden crown upon her head; and on each side of her stood six beautiful maidens, each a head taller than the other. "Well, wife," said the fisherman, "are you king?"

"Yes," said she, "I am king."

And when he had looked at her for a long time, he said, "Ah, wife! what a fine thing it is to be king! Now we shall never have anything more to wish for."

"I don't know how that may be," said she; "never is a long time. I am king, 'tis true, but I begin to be tired of it, and I think I should like to be emperor."

"Alas, wife! why should you wish to be emperor?" said the fisherman.

"Husband," said she, "go to the fish; I say I will be emperor."

"Ah, wife!" replied the fisherman, "the fish cannot make an emperor, and I should not like to ask for such a thing."

"I am king," said Alice, "and you are my slave, so go directly!"

So the fisherman was obliged to go; and he muttered as he went along, "This will come to no good. It is too much to ask. The fish will be tired at last, and then we shall repent of what we have done." He soon arrived at the sea, and the water was quite black and muddy, and a mighty whirlwind blew over it; but he went to the shore, and said,

"O man of the sea!
Come listen to me,
For Alice my wife,
The plague of my life,
Hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!"

"What would she have now!" said the fish.

"Ah!" said the fisherman, "she wants to be emperor."

"Go home," said the fish. "She is emperor already."

So he went home again; and as he came near he saw his wife sitting on a very lofty throne made of solid gold, with a great crown on her head full two yards high, and on each side of her stood her guards and attendants in a row, each one smaller than the other, from the tallest giant down to a little dwarf no bigger than my finger. And before her stood princes, and dukes, and earls: and the fisherman went up to her and said, "Wife, are you emperor?"[141]

"Yes," said she, "I am emperor."

"Ah!" said the man as he gazed upon her, "what a fine thing it is to be emperor!"

"Husband," said she, "why should we stay at being emperor; I will be pope next."

"O wife, wife!" said he, "how can you be pope? There is but one pope at a time in Christendom."

"Husband," said she, "I will be pope this very day."

"But," replied the husband, "the fish cannot make you pope."

"What nonsense!" said she, "if he can make an emperor, he can make a pope. Go and try him."

So the fisherman went. But when he came to the shore the wind was raging, and the sea was tossed up and down like boiling water, and the ships were in the greatest distress and danced upon the waves most fearfully. In the middle of the sky there was a little blue, but toward the south it was all red as if a dreadful storm were rising. At this the fisherman was terribly frightened, and trembled, so that his knees knocked together: but he went to the shore and said,

"O man of the sea!
Come listen to me,
For Alice my wife,
The plague of my life,
Hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!"

"What does she want now?" said the fish.

"Ah!" said the fisherman, "my wife wants to be pope."

"Go home," said the fish. "She is pope already."

Then the fisherman went home and found his wife sitting on a throne that was two miles high; and she had three great crowns on her head, and around stood all the pomp and power of the Church; and on each side were two rows of burning lights of all sizes, the greatest as large as the highest and biggest tower in the world, and the least no larger than a small rushlight. "Wife," said the fisherman as he looked at all this grandeur, "are you pope?"

"Yes," said she, "I am pope."

"Well, wife," replied he, "it is a grand thing to be pope; and now you must be content, for you can be nothing greater."

"I will consider of that," said the wife. Then they went to bed: but Dame Alice could not sleep all night for thinking what she should be next. At last morning came, and the sun rose. "Ha!" thought she as she looked at it through the window, "cannot I prevent the sun rising?" At this she was very angry, and she wakened her husband and said, "Husband, go to the fish and tell him I want to be lord of the sun and moon." The fisherman was half asleep, but the thought frightened him so much that he started and fell out of bed. "Alas, wife!" said he, "cannot you be content to be pope?"

"No," said she, "I am very uneasy, and cannot bear to see the sun and moon rise without my leave. Go to the fish directly."

Then the man went trembling for fear; and as he was going down to the shore a dreadful storm arose, so that the trees and the rocks shook; and the heavens became black, and the lightning played, and the thunder rolled; and you might have seen in the sea great black waves like mountains with a white crown of foam upon them; and the fisherman said,

"O man of the sea!
[142]Come listen to me,
For Alice my wife,
The plague of my life,
Hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!"

"What does she want now?" said the fish.

"Ah!" said he, "she wants to be lord of the sun and moon." "Go home," said the fish, "to your ditch again!" And there they live to this very day.


The Grimm version of "The Sleeping Beauty" is, by all odds, the finest one. Its perfect economy in the use of story materials has always been admired. Perrault's version drags in an unnecessary ogre and spoils a good story by not knowing when to stop. The Grimm title is "Dornröschen," and the more literal translation, "Brier Rose," is the one generally used as the English title, rather than the one given by Taylor, whose translation follows. Tennyson has a very beautiful poetic rendering of this story in his "Day-Dream."


Once upon a time there lived a king and queen who had no children; and this they lamented very much. But one day as the queen was walking by the side of the river, a little fish lifted its head out of the water and said, "Your wish shall be fulfilled, and you shall soon have a daughter."

What the little fish had foretold soon came to pass; and the queen had a little girl that was so very beautiful that the king could not cease looking on it for joy, and determined to hold a great feast. So he invited not only his relations, friends, and neighbors, but also all the fairies, that they might be kind and good to his little daughter.

Now there were thirteen fairies in his kingdom, and he had only twelve golden dishes for them to eat out of, so he was obliged to leave one of the fairies without an invitation. The rest came, and after the feast was over they gave all their best gifts to the little princess: one gave her virtue, another beauty, another riches, and so on till she had all that was excellent in the world. When eleven had done blessing her, the thirteenth, who had not been invited and was very angry on that account, came in and determined to take her revenge. So she cried out, "The king's daughter shall in her fifteenth year be wounded by a spindle, and fall down dead."

Then the twelfth, who had not yet given her gift, came forward and said that the bad wish must be fulfilled, but that she could soften it, and that the king's daughter should not die, but fall asleep for a hundred years.

But the king hoped to save his dear child from the threatened evil and ordered that all the spindles in the kingdom should be bought up and destroyed. All the fairies' gifts were in the meantime fulfilled, for the princess was so beautiful, and well-behaved, and amiable, and wise that every one who knew her loved her. Now it happened that on the very day she was fifteen years old the king and queen were not at home, and she was left alone in the palace. So she roved about by herself and looked at all the rooms and chambers till at last she came to an old tower, to which there was a narrow staircase ending with a little door. In the door there was a golden key, and when she turned it the door sprang open, and there sat an old lady spinning away very busily. "Why, how now, good mother," said the princess, "what are you doing there?"[143]

"Spinning," said the old lady, and nodded her head.

"How prettily that little thing turns round!" said the princess, and took the spindle and began to spin. But scarcely had she touched it before the prophecy was fulfilled, and she fell down lifeless on the ground.

However, she was not dead, but had only fallen into a deep sleep; and the king and the queen, who just then came home, and all their court, fell asleep too; and the horses slept in the stables, and the dogs in the court, the pigeons on the house-top and the flies on the walls. Even the fire on the hearth left off blazing and went to sleep; and the meat that was roasting stood still; and the cook, who was at that moment pulling the kitchen-boy by the hair to give him a box on the ear for something he had done amiss, let him go, and both fell asleep; and so everything stood still, and slept soundly.

A large hedge of thorns soon grew round the palace, and every year it became higher and thicker till at last the whole palace was surrounded and hid, so that not even the roof or the chimneys could be seen. But there went a report through all the land of the beautiful sleeping Rose-Bud (for so was the king's daughter called); so that from time to time several kings' sons came and tried to break through the thicket into the palace. This they could never do, for the thorns and bushes laid hold of them as it were with hands, and there they stuck fast and died miserably.

After many many years there came a king's son into that land, and an old man told him the story of the thicket of thorns, and how a beautiful palace stood behind it, in which was a wondrous princess, called Rose-Bud, asleep with all her court. He told, too, how he had heard from his grandfather that many many princes had come, and had tried to break through the thicket, but had stuck fast and died. Then the young prince said, "All this shall not frighten me. I will go and see Rose-Bud." The old man tried to dissuade him, but he persisted in going.

Now that very day were the hundred years completed; and as the prince came to the thicket, he saw nothing but beautiful flowering shrubs, through which he passed with ease, and they closed after him as firm as ever. Then he came at last to the palace, and there in the court lay the dogs asleep, and the horses in the stables, and on the roof sat the pigeons fast asleep with their heads under their wings; and when he came into the palace, the flies slept on the walls, and the cook in the kitchen was still holding up her hand as if she would beat the boy, and the maid sat with a black fowl in her hand ready to be plucked.

Then he went on still further, and all was so still that he could hear every breath he drew; till at last he came to the old tower and opened the door of the little room in which Rose-Bud was, and there she lay fast asleep, and looked so beautiful that he could not take his eyes off, and he stooped down and gave her a kiss. But the moment he kissed her she opened her eyes and awoke and smiled upon him. Then they went out together, and presently the king and queen also awoke, and all the court, and they gazed on one another with great wonder. And the horses got up and shook themselves, and the dogs jumped about and barked; the pigeons took their heads from under their wings and looked about and flew into the fields; the flies on the walls buzzed away;[144] the fire in the kitchen blazed up and cooked the dinner, and the roast meat turned round again; the cook gave the boy the box on his ear so that he cried out, and the maid went on plucking the fowl. And then was the wedding of the prince and Rose-Bud celebrated, and they lived happily together all their lives long.


The story of "Rumpelstiltskin" is taken from Margaret Hunt's translation of Grimm. It is the same story as "Tom Tit Tot" (No. 160), and is given in order that the teacher may compare the two. Grimm's is the most familiar of the many versions of this tale and is probably the best for use with children, although the "little man" lacks some of the fascinating power of "that" with its twirling tail.


Once there was a miller who was poor, but who had a beautiful daughter. Now it happened that he had to go and speak to the King, and in order to make himself appear important he said to him, "I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold."

The King said to the miller, "That is an art which pleases me well. If your daughter is as clever as you say, bring her tomorrow to my palace, and I will try what she can do."

And when the girl was brought to him he took her into a room which was quite full of straw, gave her a spinning-wheel and a reel, and said, "Now set to work, and if by tomorrow morning early you have not spun this straw into gold during the night, you must die." Thereupon he himself locked up the room, and left her in it alone. So there sat the poor miller's daughter, and for her life could not tell what to do. She had no idea how straw could be spun into gold, and she grew more and more miserable, until at last she began to weep.

But all at once the door opened, and in came a little man, and said, "Good evening, Mistress Miller; why are you crying so?"

"Alas!" answered the girl, "I have to spin straw into gold, and I do not know how to do it."

"What will you give me," said the manikin, "if I do it for you?"

"My necklace," said the girl. The little man took the necklace, seated himself in front of the wheel, and "whir, whir, whir," three turns, and the reel was full; then he put another on, and "whir, whir, whir," three times round, and the second was full, too. And so it went on until the morning, when all the straw was spun, and all the reels were full of gold. By daybreak the King was already there, and when he saw the gold he was astonished and delighted, but his heart became only more greedy. He had the miller's daughter taken into another room full of straw, which was much larger, and commanded her to spin that also in one night if she valued her life. The girl knew not how to help herself, and was crying, when the door again opened, and the little man appeared, and said, "What will you give me if I spin the straw into gold for you?"

"The ring on my finger," answered the girl.

The little man took the ring, again began to turn the wheel, and by morning had spun all the straw into glittering gold.

The King rejoiced beyond measure at the sight, but still he had not gold[145] enough; and he had the miller's daughter taken into a still larger room full of straw, and said, "You must spin this, too, in the course of this night; but if you succeed, you shall be my wife." "Even if she be a miller's daughter," thought he, "I could not find a richer wife in the whole world."

When the girl was alone the manikin came again for the third time, and said, "What will you give me if I spin the straw for you this time also?"

"I have nothing left that I could give," answered the girl.

"Then promise me, if you should become Queen, your first child."

"Who knows whether that will ever happen?" thought the miller's daughter; and, not knowing how else to help herself in this strait, she promised the manikin what he wanted, and for that he once more spun the straw into gold.

And when the King came in the morning, and found all as he had wished, he took her in marriage, and the pretty miller's daughter became a Queen.

A year after, she had a beautiful child, and she never gave a thought to the manikin. But suddenly he came into her room, and said, "Now give me what you promised."

The Queen was horror-struck, and offered the manikin all the riches of the kingdom if he would leave her the child. But the manikin said, "No, something that is living is dearer to me than all the treasures in the world."

Then the Queen began to weep and cry, so that the manikin pitied her. "I will give you three days' time," said he; "if by that time you find out my name, then shall you keep your child."

So the Queen thought the whole night of all the names that she had ever heard, and she sent a messenger over the country to inquire, far and wide, for any other names that there might be. When the manikin came the next day, she began with Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar, and said all the names she knew, one after another; but to every one the little man said, "That is not my name." On the second day she had inquiries made in the neighborhood as to the names of the people there, and she repeated to the manikin the most uncommon and curious. "Perhaps your name is Shortribs, or Sheepshanks, or Laceleg?" but he always answered, "That is not my name."

On the third day the messenger came back again, and said, "I have not been able to find a single new name, but as I came to a high mountain at the end of the forest, where the fox and the hare bid each other good-night, there I saw a little house, and before the house a fire was burning, and round about the fire quite a ridiculous little man was jumping; he hopped upon one leg, and shouted:

"To-day I bake, to-morrow brew,
The next I'll have the young Queen's child.
Ha! glad am I that no one knew
That Rumpelstiltskin I am styled.'"

You may think how glad the Queen was when she heard the name! And when soon afterwards the little man came in, and asked, "Now, Mistress Queen, what is my name?"

At first she said, "Is your name Conrad?"


"Is your name Harry?"


"Perhaps your name is Rumpelstiltskin?"[146]

"The devil has told you that! the devil has told you that!" cried the little man, and in his anger he plunged his right foot so deep into the earth that his whole leg went in; and then in rage he pulled at his left leg so hard with both hands that he tore himself in two.


Margaret Hunt's translation of Grimm's "Snow-White and Rose-Red" follows. It has long been recognized as one of the most beautiful and appealing of folk tales. The scenic effects, the domestic life with its maternal and filial affection, the kindness to animals and helpfulness to each other and to those in distress, the adventures with dwarf and bear, the magic enchantment of goodness through the power of evil, and the happy conclusion following the removal of this enchantment—all these are blended into a perfect union that never fails to delight the listener of any age.


There was once a poor widow who lived in a lonely cottage. In front of the cottage was a garden wherein stood two rose-trees, one of which bore white and the other red roses. She had two children who were like the two rose-trees, and one was called Snow-white, and the other Rose-red. They were as good and happy, as busy and cheerful as ever two children in the world were, only Snow-white was more quiet and gentle than Rose-red. Rose-red liked better to run about in the meadows and fields seeking flowers and catching butterflies; but Snow-white sat at home with her mother, and helped her with her housework, or read to her when there was nothing to do.

The two children were so fond of each other that they always held each other by the hand when they went out together, and when Snow-white said, "We will not leave each other," Rose-red answered, "Never so long as we live," and their mother would add, "What one has she must share with the other."

They often ran about the forest alone and gathered red berries, and no beasts did them any harm, but came close to them trustfully. The little hare would eat a cabbage-leaf out of their hands, the roe grazed by their side, the stag leaped merrily by them, and the birds sat still upon the boughs and sang whatever they knew.

No mishap overtook them; if they had stayed too late in the forest, and night came on, they laid themselves down near each other upon the moss and slept until morning came, and their mother knew this and had no distress on their account.

Once when they had spent the night in the wood and the dawn had roused them, they saw a beautiful child in a shining white dress sitting near their bed. He got up and looked quite kindly at them, but said nothing and went away into the forest. And when they looked round they found that they had been sleeping quite close to a precipice, and would certainly have fallen into it in the darkness if they had gone only a few paces farther. And their mother told them that it must have been the angel who watches over good children.

Snow-white and Rose-red kept their mother's little cottage so neat that it was a pleasure to look inside it. In the summer Rose-red took care of the house, and every morning laid a wreath of flowers by her mother's bed before she awoke, in which was a rose from[147] each tree. In the winter Snow-white lit the fire and hung the kettle on the crane. The kettle was of copper and shone like gold, so brightly was it polished. In the evening, when the snowflakes fell, the mother said, "Go, Snow-white, and bolt the door," and then they sat round the hearth, and the mother took her spectacles and read aloud out of a large book, and the two girls listened as they sat and spun. And close by them lay a lamb upon the floor, and behind them upon a perch sat a white dove with its head hidden beneath its wings.

One evening, as they were thus sitting comfortably together, some one knocked at the door as if he wished to be let in. The mother said, "Quick, Rose-red, open the door, it must be a traveler who is seeking shelter." Rose-red went and pushed back the bolt, thinking that it was a poor man, but it was not; it was a bear that stretched his broad, black head within the door.

Rose-red screamed and sprang back, the lamb bleated, the dove fluttered, and Snow-white hid herself behind her mother's bed. But the bear began to speak and said, "Do not be afraid, I will do you no harm! I am half-frozen, and only want to warm myself a little beside you."

"Poor bear," said the mother, "lie down by the fire, only take care that you do not burn your coat." Then she cried, "Snow-white, Rose-red, come out; the bear will do you no harm; he means well." So they both came out, and by-and-by the lamb and dove came nearer, and were not afraid of him.

The bear said, "Here, children, knock the snow out of my coat a little"; so they brought the broom and swept the bear's hide clean; and he stretched himself by the fire and growled contentedly and comfortably. It was not long before they grew quite at home and played tricks with their clumsy guest. They tugged his hair with their hands, put their feet upon his back and rolled him about, or they took a hazel-switch and beat him, and when he growled they laughed. But the bear took it all in good part, only when they were too rough he called out, "Leave me alive, children—

"Snowy-white, Rosy-red,
Will you beat your lover dead?"

When it was bed-time, and the others went to bed, the mother said to the bear, "You can lie there by the hearth, and then you will be safe from the cold and the bad weather." As soon as day dawned the two children let him out, and he trotted across the snow into the forest.

Henceforth the bear came every evening at the same time, laid himself down by the hearth, and let the children amuse themselves with him as much as they liked; and they got so used to him that the doors were never fastened until their black friend had arrived.

When spring had come and all outside was green, the bear said one morning to Snow-white, "Now I must go away, and cannot come back for the whole summer."

"Where are you going, then, dear bear?" asked Snow-white.

"I must go into the forest and guard my treasures from the wicked dwarfs. In the winter, when the earth is frozen hard, they are obliged to stay below and cannot work their way through; but now, when the sun has thawed and[148] warmed the earth, they break through it, and come out to pry and steal; and what once gets into their hands, and in their caves, does not easily see daylight again."

Snow-white was quite sorry for his going away, and as she unbolted the door for him, and the bear was hurrying out, he caught against the bolt and a piece of his hairy coat was torn off, and it seemed to Snow-white as if she had seen gold shining through it, but she was not sure about it. The bear ran away quickly, and was soon out of sight behind the trees.

A short time afterwards the mother sent her children into the forest to get fire-wood. There they found a big tree which lay felled on the ground, and close by the trunk something was jumping backwards and forwards in the grass, but they could not make out what it was. When they came nearer they saw a dwarf with an old withered face and a snow-white beard a yard long. The end of the beard was caught in a crevice of the tree, and the little fellow was jumping backwards and forwards like a dog tied to a rope, and did not know what to do.

He glared at the girls with his fiery red eyes and cried, "Why do you stand there? Can you not come here and help me?"

"What are you about there, little man?" asked Rose-red.

"You stupid, prying goose!" answered the dwarf; "I was going to split the tree to get a little wood for cooking. The little bit of food that one of us wants gets burnt up directly with thick logs; we do not swallow so much as you coarse, greedy folk. I had just driven the wedge safely in, and everything was going as I wished; but the wretched wood was too smooth and suddenly sprang asunder, and the tree closed so quickly that I could not pull out my beautiful white beard; so now it is tight in and I cannot get away, and you silly, sleek, milk-faced things laugh! Ugh! how odious you are!"

The children tried very hard, but they could not pull the beard out, it was caught too fast. "I will run and fetch some one," said Rose-red.

"You senseless goose!" snarled the dwarf; "why should you fetch some one? You are already two too many for me; can you not think of something better?"

"Don't be impatient," said Snow-white, "I will help you," and she pulled her scissors out of her pocket, and cut off the end of the beard.

As soon as the dwarf felt himself free he laid hold of a bag which lay amongst the roots of the tree, and which was full of gold, and lifted it up, grumbling to himself, "Uncouth people, to cut off a piece of my fine beard. Bad luck to you!" and then he swung the bag upon his back, and went off without even once looking at the children.

Some time after that Snow-white and Rose-red went to catch a dish of fish. As they came near the brook they saw something like a large grasshopper jumping towards the water, as if it were going to leap in. They ran to it and found it was the dwarf. "Where are you going?" said Rose-red; "you surely don't want to go into the water?"

"I am not such a fool!" cried the dwarf; "don't you see that the accursed fish wants to pull me in?"

The little man had been sitting there fishing, and unluckily the wind had[149] twisted his beard with the fishing line; just then a big fish bit, and the feeble creature had not strength to pull it out; the fish kept the upper hand and pulled the dwarf towards him. He held on to all the reeds and rushes, but it was of little good, he was forced to follow the movements of the fish, and was in urgent danger of being dragged into the water.

The girls came just in time; they held him fast and tried to free his beard from the line, but all in vain, beard and line were entangled fast together. Nothing was left but to bring out the scissors and cut the beard, whereby a small part of it was lost. When the dwarf saw that he screamed out, "Is that civil, you toadstool, to disfigure one's face? Was it not enough to clip off the end of my beard? Now you have cut off the best part of it. I cannot let myself be seen by my people. I wish you had been made to run the soles off your shoes!" Then he took out a sack of pearls which lay in the rushes, and without saying a word more he dragged it away and disappeared behind a stone.

It happened that soon afterwards the mother sent the two children to the town to buy needles and thread, and laces and ribbons. The road led them across a heath upon which huge pieces of rock lay strewn here and there. Now they noticed a large bird hovering in the air, flying slowly round and round above them; it sank lower and lower, and at last settled near a rock not far off. Directly afterwards they heard a loud, piteous cry. They ran up and saw with horror that the eagle had seized their old acquaintance the dwarf, and was going to carry him off.

The children, full of pity, at once took tight hold of the little man, and pulled against the eagle so long that at last he let his booty go. As soon as the dwarf had recovered from his first fright he cried with his shrill voice, "Could you not have done it more carefully? You dragged at my brown coat so that it is all torn and full of holes, you helpless, clumsy creatures!" Then he took up a sack full of precious stones, and slipped away again under the rock into his hole. The girls, who by this time were used to his thanklessness, went on their way and did their business in the town.

As they crossed the heath again on their way home they surprised the dwarf, who had emptied out his bag of precious stones in a clean spot, and had not thought that any one would come there so late. The evening sun shone upon the brilliant stones; they glittered and sparkled with all colors so beautifully that the children stood still and looked at them. "Why do you stand gaping there?" cried the dwarf, and his ashen-gray face became copper-red with rage. He was going on with his bad words when a loud growling was heard, and a black bear came trotting towards them out of the forest. The dwarf sprang up in a fright, but he could not get to his cave, for the bear was already close. Then in the dread of his heart he cried, "Dear Mr. Bear, spare me, I will give you all my treasures; look, the beautiful jewels lying there! Grant me my life; what do you want with such a slender little fellow as I? You would not feel me between your teeth. Come, take these two wicked girls, they are tender morsels for you, fat as young quails; for mercy's sake[150] eat them!" The bear took no heed of his words, but gave the wicked creature a single blow with his paw, and he did not move again.

The girls had run away, but the bear called to them, "Snow-white and Rose-red, do not be afraid; wait, I will come with you." Then they knew his voice and waited, and when he came up to them suddenly his bearskin fell off, and he stood there a handsome man, clothed all in gold. "I am a King's son," he said, "and I was bewitched by that wicked dwarf, who had stolen my treasures. I have had to run about the forest as a savage bear until I was freed by his death. Now he has got his well-deserved punishment."

Snow-white was married to him, and Rose-red to his brother, and they divided between them the great treasures which the dwarf had gathered together in his cave. The old mother lived peacefully and happily with her children for many years. She took the two rose-trees with her, and they stood before her window, and every year bore the most beautiful roses, white and red.


Whether it is possible to trace all folk tales to India, as some scholars have contended, is a matter yet open to debate. But there can be no doubt that some of the most instructing and valuable of folk tales for use with children are found in the various collections of Indian stories made since the pioneer work of Mary Frere in her Old Deccan Days (1868). A voluminous literature of collections and comment has grown up and is constantly increasing. Four stories that have won great favor with children are given immediately following as the ones probably best fitted for an introductory course. "The Lambikin" is one of the most popular of all. It is an accumulative droll in character and should be told early along with, say, "The Story of the Three Little Pigs." The children will be sure to notice that Lambikin trundling along in his drumikin has some similarity to the wise pig who traveled so fast down hill in his new churn. The story is taken from Tales from the Punjab, collected by Flora Annie Steel, with very valuable notes and analyses by Captain R. C. Temple.


Once upon a time there was a wee wee Lambikin, who frolicked about on his little tottery legs, and enjoyed himself amazingly. Now one day he set off to visit his Granny, and was jumping with joy to think of all the good things he should get from her, when whom should he meet but a Jackal, who looked at the tender young morsel and said: "Lambikin! Lambikin! I'll eat YOU!"

But Lambikin only gave a little frisk and said:

"To Granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so."

The Jackal thought this reasonable, and let Lambikin pass.

By and by he met a Vulture, and the Vulture, looking hungrily at the tender morsel before him, said: "Lambikin! Lambikin! I'll eat YOU!"

But Lambikin only gave a little frisk, and said:

"To Granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so."

The Vulture thought this reasonable, and let Lambikin pass.

And by and by he met a Tiger, and then a Wolf, and a Dog, and an Eagle, and all these, when they saw the tender little[151] morsel, said: "Lambikin! Lambikin! I'll eat YOU!"

But to all of them Lambikin replied, with a little frisk:

"To Granny's house I go,
Where I shall fatter grow,
Then you can eat me so."

At last he reached his Granny's house, and said, all in a great hurry, "Granny, dear, I've promised to get very fat; so, as people ought to keep their promises, please put me into the corn-bin at once."

So his Granny said he was a good boy, and put him into the corn-bin, and there the greedy little Lambikin stayed for seven days, and ate, and ate, and ate, until he could scarcely waddle, and his Granny said he was fat enough for anything, and must go home. But cunning little Lambikin said that would never do, for some animal would be sure to eat him on the way back, he was so plump and tender.

"I'll tell you what you must do," said Master Lambikin, "you must make a little drumikin out of the skin of my little brother who died, and then I can sit inside and trundle along nicely, for I'm as tight as a drum myself."

So his Granny made a nice little drumikin out of his brother's skin, with the wool inside, and Lambikin curled himself up snug and warm in the middle, and trundled away gayly. Soon he met with the Eagle, who called out:

"Drumikin! Drumikin!
Have you seen Lambikin?"

And Mr. Lambikin, curled up in his soft warm nest, replied:

"Lost in the forest, and so are you,
On, little Drumikin! Tum-pa, tum-too!"

"How very annoying!" sighed the Eagle, thinking regretfully of the tender morsel he had let slip.

Meanwhile Lambikin trundled along, laughing to himself, and singing:

"Tum-pa, tum-too;
Tum-pa, tum-too!"

Every animal and bird he met asked him the same question:

"Drumikin! Drumikin!
Have you seen Lambikin?"

And to each of them the little sly-boots replied:

"Lost in the forest, and so are you,
On, little Drumikin! Tum-pa, tum-too;
Tum-pa, tum-too; tum-pa, tum-too!"

Then they all sighed to think of the tender little morsel they had let slip.

At last the Jackal came limping along, for all his sorry looks as sharp as a needle, and he too called out:

"Drumikin! Drumikin!
Have you seen Lambikin?"

And Lambikin, curled up in his snug little nest, replied gayly:

"Lost in the forest, and so are you,
On, little Drumikin! Tum-pa—"

But he never got any further, for the Jackal recognized his voice at once, and cried: "Hullo! you've turned yourself inside out, have you? Just you come out of that!"

Whereupon he tore open Drumikin and gobbled up Lambikin.


The next story, dealing with the idea of "measure for measure," is from Mary Frere's Old Deccan Days. Miss Frere spent many years in India, where her father was a government official. She took down the tales as told by her ayah, or lady's maid, who in turn had heard them from her[152] hundred-year-old grandmother. It may be said of this story that while retaliation is certainly not the highest law of conduct, yet the ungracious, inconsiderate action of the jackal makes it impossible to feel the least sympathy for him.


There once lived a Camel and a Jackal who were great friends. One day the Jackal said to the Camel, "I know that there is a fine field of sugar cane on the other side of the river. If you will take me across, I'll show you the place. This plan will suit me as well as you. You will enjoy eating the sugar cane, and I am sure to find many crabs, bones, and bits of fish by the river side, on which to make a good dinner."

The Camel consented, and swam across the river, taking the Jackal, who could not swim, on his back. When they reached the other side, the Camel went to eat the sugar cane, and the Jackal ran up and down the river bank, devouring all the crabs, bits of fish, and bones he could find.

But being so much smaller an animal, he had made an excellent meal before the Camel had eaten more than two or three mouthfuls; and no sooner had he finished his dinner than he ran round and round the sugar-cane field, yelping and howling with all his might.

The villagers heard him, and thought, "There is a Jackal among the sugar canes; he will be scratching holes in the ground and spoiling the roots of the plants." And they went down to the place to drive him away. But when they got there they found to their surprise not only a Jackal, but a Camel who was eating the sugar canes! This made them very angry, and they caught the poor Camel and drove him from the field and beat him until he was nearly dead.

When the villagers had gone, the Jackal said to the Camel, "We had better go home." And the Camel, said, "Very well; then jump upon my back, as you did before."

So the Jackal jumped upon the Camel's back, and the Camel began to recross the river. When they had got well into the water, the Camel said, "This is a pretty way in which you have treated me, friend Jackal. No sooner had you finished your own dinner than you must go yelping about the place loud enough to arouse the whole village, and bring all the villagers down to beat me black and blue, and turn me out of the field before I had eaten two mouthfuls! What in the world did you make such a noise for?"

"I don't know," said the Jackal. "It is a custom I have. I always like to sing a little after dinner."

The Camel waded on through the river. The water reached up to his knees—then above them—up, up, up, higher and higher, until at last he was obliged to swim.

Then turning to the Jackal, he said, "I feel very anxious to roll."

"Oh, pray don't; why do you wish to do so?" asked the Jackal.

"I don't know," answered the Camel. "It is a custom I have. I always like to have a little roll after dinner."

So saying, he rolled over in the water, shaking the Jackal off as he did so. And the Jackal was drowned, but the Camel swam safely ashore.


The fine story following is from Steel's Tales of the Punjab. Scholars have pointed out a hundred or more variants. Such trickery[153] as that used by the jackal in trapping the tiger is the common thing to find in folk tales where oppressed weakness is matched against ruthless and tyrannic power. The tiger's ingratitude precludes any desire to "take his part." The attitude of the three judges is determined in each case by the fact that the experience of each has hardened him and rendered him completely hopeless and unsympathetic. "The work of the buffalo in the oil-press," says Captain Temple, "is the synonym all India over—and with good reason—for hard and thankless toil for another's benefit."


Once upon a time a tiger was caught in a trap. He tried in vain to get out through the bars, and rolled and bit with rage and grief when he failed.

By chance a poor Brahman came by. "Let me out of this cage, O pious one!" cried the tiger.

"Nay, my friend," replied the Brahman mildly; "you would probably eat me if I did."

"Not at all!" swore the tiger with many oaths; "on the contrary, I should be forever grateful, and serve you as a slave."

Now, when the tiger sobbed and sighed and wept and swore, the pious Brahman's heart softened, and at last he consented to open the door of the cage. Out popped the tiger, and, seizing the poor man, cried, "What a fool you are! What is to prevent my eating you now, for after being cooped up so long I am just terribly hungry?"

In vain the Brahman pleaded for his life; the most he could gain was a promise to abide by the decision of the first three things he chose to question as to the justice of the tiger's action.

So the Brahman first asked a pipal tree what it thought of the matter, but the pipal tree replied coldly, "What have you to complain about? Don't I give shade and shelter to every one who passes by, and don't they in return tear down my branches to feed their cattle? Don't whimper—be a man!"

Then the Brahman, sad at heart, went further afield till he saw a buffalo turning a well-wheel; but he fared no better from it, for it answered: "You are a fool to expect gratitude! Look at me! While I gave milk they fed me on cotton-seed and oil-cake, but now I am dry they yoke me here, and give me refuse as fodder!"

The Brahman, still more sad, asked the road to give him its opinion.

"My dear sir," said the road, "how foolish you are to expect anything else! Here am I, useful to everybody, yet all, rich and poor, great and small, trample on me as they go past, giving me nothing but the ashes of their pipes and the husks of their grain!"

On this the Brahman turned back sorrowfully, and on the way he met a jackal, who called out, "Why, what's the matter, Mr. Brahman? You look as miserable as a fish out of water!"

The Brahman told him all that had occurred. "How very confusing!" said the jackal, when the recital was ended; "would you mind telling me over again, for everything seems so mixed up?"

The Brahman told it all over again, but the jackal shook his head in a distracted sort of way, and still could not understand.

"It's very odd," said he sadly, "but it all seems to go in at one ear and out at the other! I will go to the place where it all happened, and then, perhaps, I shall be able to give a judgment."[154]

So they returned to the cage, by which the tiger was waiting for the Brahman, and sharpening his teeth and claws.

"You've been away a long time!" growled the savage beast, "but now let us begin our dinner."

"Our dinner!" thought the wretched Brahman, as his knees knocked together with fright; "what a remarkably delicate way of putting it!"

"Give me five minutes, my lord!" he pleaded, "in order that I may explain matters to the jackal here, who is somewhat slow in his wits."

The tiger consented, and the Brahman began the whole story over again, not missing a single detail, and spinning as long a yarn as possible.

"Oh, my poor brain! oh, my poor brain!" cried the jackal, wringing its paws. "Let me see! how did it all begin? You were in the cage, and the tiger came walking by—"

"Pooh!" interrupted the tiger, "what a fool you are! I was in the cage."

"Of course!" cried the jackal, pretending to tremble with fright; "yes! I was in the cage—no, I wasn't—dear! dear! where are my wits? Let me see—the tiger was in the Brahman, and the cage came walking by—no, that's not it, either! Well, don't mind me, but begin your dinner, for I shall never understand!"

"Yes, you shall!" returned the tiger, in a rage at the jackal's stupidity; "I'll make you understand! Look here—I am the tiger—"

"Yes, my lord!"

"And that is the Brahman—"

"Yes, my lord!"

"And that is the cage—"

"Yes, my lord!"

"And I was in the cage—do you understand?"

"Yes—no——Please, my lord—"

"Well?" cried the tiger impatiently.

"Please, my lord! How did you get in?"

"How? Why in the usual way, of course!"

"Oh, dear me! my head is beginning to whirl again! Please don't be angry, my lord, but what is the usual way?"

At this the tiger lost patience, and jumping into the cage, cried, "This way! Now do you understand how it was?"

"Perfectly!" grinned the jackal, as he dexterously shut the door, "and if you will permit me to say so, I think matters will remain as they were!"


The story that follows is from Mrs. Kingscote's Tales of the Sun, as reprinted in Joseph Jacobs' Indian Fairy Tales. Mr. Jacobs explains that he "changed the Indian mercantile numerals into those of English 'back-slang,' which make a very good parallel." As in other cases, the value of Jacobs' collection must be emphasized. If the teacher is limited to a single book for story material from the Hindoos, that book must be the one made by Joseph Jacobs. With well-chosen tales, with the slight changes here and there necessary for use with children, with just enough scholarship packed out of the way in the introduction and notes, the book has no rival.


In a certain village there lived ten cloth merchants, who always went about together. Once upon a time they had traveled far afield, and were returning home with a great deal of money which[155] they had obtained by selling their wares. Now there happened to be a dense forest near their village, and this they reached early one morning. In it there lived three notorious robbers, of whose existence the traders had never heard, and while they were still in the middle of it the robbers stood before them, with swords and cudgels in their hands, and ordered them to lay down all they had. The traders had no weapons with them, and so, though they were many more in number, they had to submit themselves to the robbers, who took away everything from them, even the very clothes they wore, and gave to each only a small loin-cloth a span in breadth and a cubit in length.

The idea that they had conquered ten men and plundered all their property now took possession of the robbers' minds. They seated themselves like three monarchs before the men they had plundered, and ordered them to dance to them before returning home. The merchants now mourned their fate. They had lost all they had, except their loin-cloth, and still the robbers were not satisfied, but ordered them to dance.

There was among the ten merchants one who was very clever. He pondered over the calamity that had come upon him and his friends, the dance they would have to perform, and the magnificent manner in which the three robbers had seated themselves on the grass. At the same time he observed that these last had placed their weapons on the ground, in the assurance of having thoroughly cowed the traders, who were now commencing to dance; and, as a song is always sung by the leader on such occasions, to which the rest keep time with hands and feet, he thus began to sing:

"We are enty men,
They are erith men:
If each erith man,
Surround eno men
Eno man remains.

Tâ, tai tôm, tadingana."

The robbers were all uneducated, and thought that the leader was merely singing a song as usual. So it was in one sense; for the leader commenced from a distance, and had sung the song over twice before he and his companions commenced to approach the robbers. They had understood his meaning, because they had been trained in trade.

When two traders discuss the price of an article in the presence of a purchaser, they use a riddling sort of language.

"What is the price of this cloth?" one trader will ask.

"Enty rupees," another will reply, meaning "ten rupees."

Thus there is no possibility of the purchaser knowing what is meant unless he be acquainted with trade language. By the rules of this secret language erith means "three," enty means "ten," and eno means "one." So the leader by his song meant to hint to his fellow-traders that they were ten men, the robbers only three, that if three pounced upon each of the robbers, nine of them could hold them down, while the remaining one bound the robbers' hands and feet.

The three thieves, glorying in their victory, and little understanding the meaning of the song and the intentions of the dancers, were proudly seated chewing betel and tobacco. Meanwhile the song was sung a third time. Tâ tai tôm had left the lips of the singer; and, before tadingana was out of them, the traders separated into parties of three, and each party pounced upon a thief.[156] The remaining one—the leader himself—tore up into long narrow strips a large piece of cloth, six cubits long, and tied the hands and feet of the robbers. These were entirely humbled now, and rolled on the ground like three bags of rice!

The ten traders now took back all their property, and armed themselves with the swords and cudgels of their enemies; and when they reached their village they often amused their friends and relatives by relating their adventure.


In recent years several Japanese stories have made their way into the list of those frequently used in the lower grades. Some of these are of unusual beauty and suggestiveness. The oriental point of view is so different from that of western children that these stories often cannot be used in their fully original form, although it would be a distinct loss if the available elements were therefore discarded. So, in this instance departing from the plan of giving only authentic copies of the tales here reprinted, the excellent retold versions of two Japanese stories are given as made by Teresa Peirce Williston in her Japanese Fairy Tales. (Copyrighted. Used by permission of the publishers, Rand McNally & Co.) In these simple versions the point to the story is made clear in natural fashion without undue moralizing.



In Matsuyama there lived a man, his wife, and their little daughter. They loved each other very much, and were very happy together. One day the man came home very sad. He had received a message from the Emperor, which said that he must take a journey to far-off Tokio.

They had no horses and in those days there were no railroads in Japan. The man knew that he must walk the whole distance. It was not the long walk that he minded, however. It was because it would take him many days from home.

Still he must obey his Emperor, so he made ready to start. His wife was very sorry that he must go, and yet a little proud, too, for no one else in the village had ever taken so long a journey.

She and the baby walked with him down to the turn in the road. There they stood and watched him through their tears, as he followed the path up through the pines on the mountain side. At last, no larger than a speck, he disappeared behind the hills. Then they went home to await his return.

For three long weeks they waited. Each day they spoke of him, and counted the days until they should see his dear face again. At last the time came. They walked down to the turn in the road to wait for his coming. Up on the mountain side some one was walking toward them. As he came nearer they could see that it was the one for whom they waited.

The good wife could scarcely believe that her husband was indeed safe home again. The baby girl laughed and clapped her hands to see the toys he brought her.

There was a tiny image of Uzume, the laughter-loving goddess. Next came a little red monkey of cotton, with a blue head. When she pressed the spring he ran to the top of the rod. Oh, how wonderful was the third gift! It was a tombo, or dragon fly. When she first looked at it she saw only a piece of wood shaped like a T. The cross piece was painted with different bright colors.[157] But the queer thing, when her father twirled it between his fingers, would rise in the air, dipping and hovering like a real dragon fly.

Last, of course, there was a ninghio, or doll, with a sweet face, slanting eyes, and such wonderful hair. Her name was O-Hina-San.

He told of the Feast of the Dead which he had seen in Tokio. He told of the beautiful lanterns, the Lanterns of the Dead; and the pine torches burning before each house. He told of the tiny boats made of barley straw and filled with food that are set floating away on the river, bearing two tiny lanterns to guide them to the Land of the Dead.

At last her husband handed the wife a small white box. "Tell me what you see inside," he said. She opened it and took out something round and bright.

On one side were buds and flowers of frosted silver. The other side at first looked as clear and bright as a pool of water. When she moved it a little she saw in it a most beautiful woman.

"Oh, what a beautiful picture!" she cried. "It is of a woman and she seems to be smiling and talking just as I am. She has on a blue dress just like mine, too! How strange!"

Then her husband laughed and said: "That is a mirror. It is yourself you see reflected in it. All the women in Tokio have them."

The wife was delighted with her present, and looked at it very often. She liked to see the smiling red lips, the laughing eyes, and beautiful dark hair.

After a while she said to herself: "How foolish this is of me to sit and gaze at myself in this mirror! I am not more beautiful than other women. How much better for me to enjoy others' beauty, and forget my own face. I shall only remember that it must always be happy and smiling or it will make no one else happy. I do not wish any cross or angry look of mine to make any one sad."

She put the mirror carefully away in its box. Only twice in a year she looked at it. Then it was to see if her face was still such as would make others happy.

The years passed by in their sweet and simple life until the baby had grown to be a big girl. Her ninghio, her tombo, the image of Uzume, even the cotton monkey, were put carefully away for her own children.

This girl was the very image of her mother. She was just as sweet and loving, just as kind and helpful.

One day her mother became very ill. Although the girl and her father did all they could for her, she grew worse and worse.

At last she knew that she must die, so she called her daughter to her and said: "My child, I know that I must soon leave you, but I wish to leave something with you in my place. Open this box and see what you find in it."

The girl opened the box and looked for the first time in a mirror. "Oh, mother dear!" she cried. "I see you here. Not thin and pale as you are now, but happy and smiling, as you have always been."

Then her mother said: "When I am gone, will you look in this every morning and every night? If anything troubles you, tell me about it. Always try to do right, so that you will see only happiness here."

Every morning when the sun rose and the birds began to twitter and sing, the[158] girl rose and looked in her mirror. There she saw the bright, happy face that she remembered as her mother's.

Every evening when the shadows fell and the birds were asleep, she looked again. She told it all that had happened during the day. When it had been a happy day the face smiled back at her. When she was sad the face looked sad, too. She was very careful not to do anything unkind, for she knew how sad the face would be then.

So each day she grew more kind and loving, and more like the mother whose face she saw each day and loved.


This favorite story of "The Tongue-Cut Sparrow" is from Mrs. Williston's Japanese Fairy Tales. (Copyrighted. Used by permission.)



In a little old house in a little old village in Japan lived a little old man and his little old wife.

One morning when the old woman slid open the screens which form the sides of all Japanese houses, she saw, on the doorstep, a poor little sparrow. She took him up gently and fed him. Then she held him in the bright morning sunshine until the cold dew was dried from his wings. Afterward she let him go, so that he might fly home to his nest, but he stayed to thank her with his songs.

Each morning, when the pink on the mountain tops told that the sun was near, the sparrow perched on the roof of the house and sang out his joy.

The old man and woman thanked the sparrow for this, for they liked to be up early and at work. But near them there lived a cross old woman who did not like to be awakened so early. At last she became so angry that she caught the sparrow and cut his tongue. Then the poor little sparrow flew away to his home, but he could never sing again.

When the kind woman knew what had happened to her pet she was very sad. She said to her husband, "Let us go and find our poor little sparrow." So they started together, and asked of each bird by the wayside: "Do you know where the Tongue-Cut Sparrow lives? Do you know where the Tongue-Cut Sparrow went?"

In this way they followed until they came to a bridge. They did not know which way to turn, and at first could see no one to ask.

At last they saw a Bat hanging head downward, taking his daytime nap. "Oh, friend Bat, do you know where the Tongue-Cut Sparrow went?" they asked.

"Yes. Over the bridge and up the mountain," said the Bat. Then he blinked his sleepy eyes and was fast asleep again.

They went over the bridge and up the mountain, but again they found two roads and did not know which one to take. A little Field Mouse peeped through the leaves and grass, so they asked him, "Do you know where the Tongue-Cut Sparrow went?"

"Yes. Down the mountain and through the woods," said the Field Mouse.

Down the mountain and through the woods they went, and at last came to the home of their little friend.

When he saw them coming the poor little sparrow was very happy indeed.[159] He and his wife and children all came and bowed their heads down to the ground to show their respect. Then the Sparrow rose and led the old man and the old woman into his house, while his wife and children hastened to bring them boiled rice, fish, cress, and saké.

After they had feasted, the Sparrow wished to please them still more, so he danced for them what is called the "sparrow-dance."

When the sun began to sink, the old man and woman started for home. The Sparrow brought out two baskets. "I would like to give you one of these," he said. "Which will you take?" One basket was large and looked very full, while the other one seemed very small and light. The old people thought they would not take the large basket, for that might have all the Sparrow's treasure in it, so they said, "The way is long and we are very old, so please let us take the smaller one."

They took it and walked home over the mountain and across the bridge, happy and contented.

When they reached their own home they decided to open the basket and see what the Sparrow had given them. Within the basket they found many rolls of silk and piles of gold, enough to make them rich, so they were more grateful than ever to the Sparrow.

The cross old woman who had cut the Sparrow's tongue was peering in through the screen when they opened their basket. She saw the rolls of silk and the piles of gold, and planned how she might get some for herself.

The next morning she went to the kind woman and said: "I am so sorry that I cut the tongue of your Sparrow. Please tell me the way to his home so that I may go to him and tell him I am sorry."

The kind woman told her the way and she set out. She went across the bridge, over the mountain, and through the woods. At last she came to the home of the little Sparrow.

He was not so glad to see this old woman, yet he was very kind to her and did everything to make her feel welcome. They made a feast for her, and when she started home the Sparrow brought out two baskets as before. Of course the woman chose the large basket, for she thought that would have even more wealth than the other one.

It was very heavy, and caught on the trees as she was going through the wood. She could hardly pull it up the mountain with her, and she was all out of breath when she reached the top. She did not get to the bridge until it was dark. Then she was so afraid of dropping the basket into the river that she scarcely dared to step.

When at last she reached home she was so tired that she was half dead, but she pulled the screens close shut, so that no one could look in, and opened her treasure.

Treasure indeed! A whole swarm of horrible creatures burst from the basket the moment she opened it. They stung her and bit her, they pushed her and pulled her, they scratched her and laughed at her screams.

At last she crawled to the edge of the room and slid aside the screen to get away from the pests. The moment the door was opened they swooped down upon her, picked her up, and flew away with her. Since then nothing has ever been heard of the old woman[160].


The tale of "The Straw Ox" as given in Cossack Fairy Tales, by R. Nesbit Bain, is one of the masterpieces among folk stories. It is of the accumulative type, winding up rapidly to the point where the old couple have secured, through the straw ox, all the raw material needed for comfortable clothing. Then comes the surprising release of the captured animals under promise to make contributions, each in his own way, to the welfare of the poverty-stricken couple. And then, the greatest surprise of all, the quick unwinding of the plot with the return of the grateful animals according to promise. "And the old man was glad, and the old woman was glad," and we are glad for their sake, and also for the sake of the bear and the wolf and the fox and the hare.


There was once upon a time an old man and an old woman. The old man worked in the fields as a pitch-burner, while the old woman sat at home and spun flax. They were so poor that they could save nothing at all; all their earnings went in bare food, and when that was gone there was nothing left. At last the old woman had a good idea: "Look now, husband," cried she, "make me a straw ox, and smear it all over with tar."

"Why, you foolish woman!" said he, "what's the good of an ox of that sort?"

"Never mind," said she, "you just make it. I know what I am about."

What was the poor man to do? He set to work and made the ox of straw, and smeared it all over with tar.

The night passed away, and at early dawn the old woman took her distaff, and drove the straw ox out into the steppe to graze, and she herself sat down behind a hillock, and began spinning her flax, and cried: "Graze away, little ox, while I spin my flax. Graze away, little ox, while I spin my flax!"

And while she spun, her head drooped down and she began to doze, and while she was dozing, from behind the dark wood and from the back of the huge pines a bear came rushing out upon the ox and said: "Who are you? Speak, and tell me!"

And the ox said: "A three-year-old heifer am I, made of straw and smeared with tar."

"Oh!" said the bear, "stuffed with straw and trimmed with tar, are you? Then give me your straw and tar, that I may patch up my ragged fur again!"

"Take some," said the ox, and the bear fell upon him and began to tear away at the tar.

He tore and tore, and buried his teeth in it till he found he couldn't let go again. He tugged and he tugged but it was no good, and the ox dragged him gradually off, goodness knows where.

Then the old woman awoke, and there was no ox to be seen. "Alas! old fool that I am!" cried she, "perchance it has gone home." Then she quickly caught up her distaff and spinning board, threw them over her shoulders, and hastened off home, and she saw that the ox had dragged the bear up to the fence, and in she went to her old man.

"Dad, dad," she cried, "look, look! The ox has brought us a bear. Come out and kill it!" Then the old man jumped up, tore off the bear, tied him up, and threw him in the cellar.

Next morning, between dark and dawn, the old woman took her distaff and drove the ox into the steppe to graze. She herself sat down by a mound, began spinning, and said: "Graze, graze away,[161] little ox, while I spin my flax! Graze, graze away, little ox, while I spin my flax!"

And while she spun, her head drooped down and she dozed. And lo! from behind the dark wood, from the back of the huge pines, a gray wolf came rushing out upon the ox and said: "Who are you? Come, tell me!"

"I am a three-year-old heifer, stuffed with straw and trimmed with tar," said the ox.

"Oh! trimmed with tar, are you? Then give me of your tar to tar my sides, that the dogs and the sons of dogs tear me not!"

"Take some," said the ox. And with that the wolf fell upon him and tried to tear the tar off. He tugged and tugged, and tore with his teeth, but could get none off. Then he tried to let go, and couldn't; tug and worry as he might, it was no good.

When the old woman woke, there was no heifer in sight. "Maybe my heifer has gone home!" she cried. "I'll go home and see." When she got there she was astonished for by the paling stood the ox with the wolf still tugging at it. She ran and told her old man, and her old man came and threw the wolf into the cellar also.

On the third day the old woman again drove her ox into the pastures to graze, and sat down by a mound and dozed off. Then a fox came running up. "Who are you?" it asked the ox.

"I'm a three-year-old heifer, stuffed with straw and daubed with tar."

"Then give me some of your tar to smear my sides with, when those dogs and sons of dogs tear my hide!"

"Take some," said the ox. Then the fox fastened her teeth in him and couldn't draw them out again. The old woman told her old man, and he took and cast the fox into the cellar in the same way. And after that they caught Pussy Swiftfoot likewise.

So when he had got them all safely the old man sat down on a bench before the cellar and began sharpening a knife. And the bear said to him: "Tell me, daddy, what are you sharpening your knife for?"

"To flay your skin off, that I may make a leather jacket for myself and a pelisse for my old woman."

"Oh! Don't flay me, daddy dear! Rather let me go, and I'll bring you a lot of honey."

"Very well, see you do it," and he unbound and let the bear go.

Then he sat down on the bench and again began sharpening his knife. And the wolf asked him: "Daddy, what are you sharpening your knife for?"

"To flay off your skin, that I may make me a warm cap against the winter."

"Oh! Don't flay me, daddy dear, and I'll bring you a whole herd of little sheep."

"Well, see that you do it," and he let the wolf go.

Then he sat down, and began sharpening his knife again. The fox put out her little snout, and asked him: "Be so kind, dear daddy, and tell me why you are sharpening your knife!"

"Little foxes," said the old man, "have nice skins that do capitally for collars and trimmings, and I want to skin you!"

"Oh! Don't take my skin away, daddy dear, and I will bring you hens and geese."

"Very well, see that you do it," and he let the fox go.[162]

The hare now alone remained, and the old man began sharpening his knife on the hare's account.

"Why do you do that?" asked Puss. He replied: "Little hares have nice little, soft, warm skins, which will make me nice gloves and mittens against the winter!"

"Oh! daddy dear! Don't flay me, and I'll bring you kale and good cauliflower, if only you let me go!"

Then he let the hare go also.

Then they went to bed; but very early in the morning, when it was neither dusk nor dawn, there was a noise in the doorway like "Durrrrrr!"

"Daddy!" cried the old woman, "there's some one scratching at the door; go and see who it is!"

The old man went out, and there was the bear carrying a whole hive full of honey. The old man took the honey from the bear; but no sooner did he lie down again than there was another "Durrrrr!" at the door. The old man looked out and saw the wolf driving a whole flock of sheep into the court-yard. Close on his heels came the fox, driving before him the geese and hens, and all manner of fowls; and last of all came the hare, bringing cabbage and kale, and all manner of good food.

And the old man was glad, and the old woman was glad. And the old man sold the sheep and oxen, and got so rich that he needed nothing more.

As for the straw-stuffed ox, it stood in the sun till it fell to pieces.


"The Adventures of Connla the Comely" is one of the romances in The Book of the Dun Cow, the oldest manuscript of miscellaneous Gaelic literature in existence. It was made about 1100 a.d. and is now preserved in the Royal Irish Academy at Dublin. The contents were transcribed from older books, some of the stories being older by many centuries. The story of Connla is "one of the many tales that illustrate the ancient and widespread superstition that fairies sometimes take away mortals to their palaces in the fairy forts and pleasant green hills." This conception is often referred to as the Earthly Paradise or the Isle of Youth. It is represented in the King Arthur stories by the Vale of Avalon to which the weeping queens carried the king after his mortal wound in "that last weird battle in the west." Conn the Hundred-fighter reigned in the second century of the Christian era (123-157 a.d.), and this story of his son must have sprung up soon after. According to Jacobs, it is the oldest fairy tale of modern Europe.

The following version of the tale is from Joseph Jacobs' Celtic Fairy Tales, which with its companion volume, More Celtic Fairy Tales, forms a standard source book for the usable stories in that field. Mr. Jacobs, as always, keeps to the authoritative versions while reducing them to forms at once available for educational purposes.


Connla of the Fiery Hair was son of Conn of the Hundred Fights. One day as he stood by the side of his father on the height of Usna, he saw a maiden clad in strange attire towards him coming.

"Whence comest thou, maiden?" said Connla.

"I come from the Plains of the Ever Living," she said, "there where is neither death nor sin. There we keep holiday alway, nor need we help from any in our joy. And in all our pleasure we have no strife. And because we have our homes in the round green hills, men call us the Hill Folk."[163]

The king and all with him wondered much to hear a voice when they saw no one. For save Connla alone, none saw the Fairy Maiden.

"To whom art thou talking, my son?" said Conn the king.

Then the maiden answered, "Connla speaks to a young, fair maid, whom neither death nor old age awaits. I love Connla, and now I call him away to the Plain of Pleasure, Moy Mell, where Boadag is king for aye, nor has there been sorrow or complaint in that land since he held the kingship. Oh, come with me, Connla of the Fiery Hair, ruddy as the dawn, with thy tawny skin. A fairy crown awaits thee to grace thy comely face and royal form. Come, and never shall thy comeliness fade, nor thy youth, till the last awful day of judgment."

The king in fear at what the maiden said, which he heard though he could not see her, called aloud to his Druid, Coran by name. "O Coran of the many spells," he said, "and of the cunning magic, I call upon thy aid. A task is upon me too great for all my skill and wit, greater than any laid upon me since I seized the kingship. A maiden unseen has met us, and by her power would take from me my dear, my comely son. If thou help not, he will be taken from thy king by woman's wiles and witchery."

Then Coran the Druid stood forth and chanted his spells towards the spot where the maiden's voice had been heard. And none heard her voice again, nor could Connla see her longer. Only as she vanished before the Druid's mighty spell, she threw an apple to Connla.

For a whole month from that day Connla would take nothing, either to eat or to drink, save only from that apple.

But as he ate, it grew again and always kept whole. And all the while there grew within him a mighty yearning and longing after the maiden he had seen.

But when the last day of the month of waiting came, Connla stood by the side of the king his father on the Plain of Arcomin, and again he saw the maiden come towards him, and again she spoke to him. "'Tis a glorious place, forsooth, that Connla holds among shortlived mortals awaiting the day of death. But now the folk of life, the ever-living ones, beg and bid thee come to Moy Mell, the Plain of Pleasure, for they have learnt to know thee, seeing thee in thy home among thy dear ones."

When Conn the king heard the maiden's voice he called to his men aloud and said: "Summon swift my Druid Coran, for I see she has again this day the power of speech."

Then the maiden said: "O mighty Conn, Fighter of a Hundred Fights, the Druid's power is little loved; it has little honor in the mighty land, peopled with so many of the upright. When the Law comes, it will do away with the Druid's magic spells that issue from the lips of the false black demon."

Then Conn the king observed that since the coming of the maiden Connla his son spoke to none that spake to him. So Conn of the Hundred Fights said to him, "Is it to thy mind what the woman says, my son?"

"'Tis hard upon me," said Connla; "I love my own folk above all things; but yet a longing seizes me for the maiden."

When the maiden heard this, she answered and said: "The ocean is not so strong as the waves of thy longing. Come with me in my curragh, the gleaming, straight-gliding crystal canoe. Soon[164] can we reach Boadag's realm. I see the bright sun sink, yet far as it is, we can reach it before dark. There is, too, another land worthy of thy journey, a land joyous to all that seek it. Only wives and maidens dwell there. If thou wilt, we can seek it and live there alone together in joy."

When the maiden ceased to speak, Connla of the Fiery Hair rushed away from his kinsmen and sprang into the curragh, the gleaming, straight-gliding crystal canoe. And then they all, king and court, saw it glide away over the bright sea towards the setting sun, away and away, till eye could see it no longer. So Connla and the Fairy Maiden went forth on the sea, and were no more seen, nor did any know whither they went.


One of the best of the volumes of Irish tales is Lady Wilde's Ancient Legends of Ireland, and one of the best stories in that volume is her version of the witch story of "The Horned Women." The story is compact and restrained in the telling, and carries effectively to the listener the "creepy" spell of the witches. The way in which the house was prepared against the enchantments of the returning witches furnishes a good illustration of some of the deep-seated superstitions of the folk.


A rich woman sat up late one night carding and preparing wool, while all the family and servants were asleep. Suddenly a knock was given at the door, and a voice called, "Open! Open!"

"Who is there?" said the woman of the house.

"I am the Witch of the one Horn," was answered.

The mistress, supposing that one of her neighbors had called and required assistance, opened the door, and a woman entered, having in her hand a pair of wool carders, and bearing a horn on her forehead, as if growing there. She sat down by the fire in silence, and began to card the wool with violent haste. Suddenly she paused, and said aloud: "Where are the women; they delay too long."

Then a second knock came to the door, and a voice called as before, "Open! Open!"

The mistress felt herself constrained to rise and open to the call, and immediately a second witch entered, having two horns on her forehead, and in her hand a wheel for spinning wool.

"Give me place," she said, "I am the Witch of the two Horns"; and she began to spin as quick as lightning.

And so the knocks went on, and the call was heard, and the witches entered, until at last, twelve women sat round the fire—the first with one horn, the last with twelve horns.

And they carded the thread, and turned their spinning wheels, and wound and wove.

All were singing together an ancient rhyme, but no word did they speak to the mistress of the house. Strange to hear and frightful to look upon were these twelve women, with their horns and their wheels; and the mistress felt near to death, and she tried to rise that she might call for help, but she could not move, nor could she utter a word or a cry, for the spell of the witches was upon her.

Then one of them called to her in Irish, and said, "Rise, woman, and make us a cake." Then the mistress searched for a vessel to bring water from the well[165] that she might mix the meal and make the cake, but she could find none.

And they said to her, "Take a sieve, and bring water in it." And she took the sieve and went to the well; but the water poured from it, and she could fetch none for the cake, and she sat down by the well and wept.

Then came a voice by her, and said, "Take yellow clay and moss and bind them together, and plaster the sieve so that it will hold."

This she did, and the sieve held the water for the cake; and the voice said again: "Return, and when thou comest to the north angle of the house cry aloud three times, and say, 'The mountain of the Fenian women and the sky over it is all on fire.'"

And she did so.

When the witches inside heard the call, a great and terrible cry broke from their lips, and they rushed forth with wild lamentations and shrieks, and fled away to Slievenamon, where was their chief abode. But the Spirit of the Well bade the mistress of the house to enter and prepare her home against the enchantments of the witches, if they returned again.

And first, to break their spells, she sprinkled the water in which she had washed her child's feet (the feet-water) outside the door on the threshold; secondly, she took the cake which the witches had made in her absence, of meal mixed with the blood drawn from the sleeping family, and she broke the cake in bits, and placed a bit in the mouth of each sleeper, and they were restored; and she took the cloth they had woven, and placed it half in and half out of the chest with the padlock; and, lastly, she secured the door with a great crossbeam fastened in the jambs, so that they could not enter, and having done these things she waited.

Not long were the witches in coming, and they raged and called for vengeance.

"Open! Open!" they screamed. "Open, feet-water!"

"I cannot," said the feet-water; "I am scattered on the ground, and my path is down to the Lough."

"Open, open, wood and trees and beam!" they cried to the door.

"I cannot," said the door, "for the beam is fixed in the jambs, and I have no power to move."

"Open, open, cake that we have made and mingled with blood!" they cried again.

"I cannot," said the cake, "for I am broken and bruised, and my blood is on the lips of the sleeping children."

Then the witches rushed through the air with great cries, and fled back to Slievenamon, uttering strange curses on the Spirit of the Well, who had wished their ruin. But the woman and the house were left in peace, and a mantle dropped by one of the witches was kept hung up by the mistress as a sign of the night's awful contest; and this mantle was in possession of the same family from generation to generation for five hundred years after.


The story of "King O'Toole and His Goose" is from Samuel Lover's Stories and Legends of the Irish Peasantry, as reprinted in slightly abridged form in William Butler Yeats's Irish Fairy Tales. The extreme form of the dialect is kept as in the original, since the humor is largely dependent on the language of the peasant who tells the story. It will serve as a good illustration[166] for practice work for the amateur story-teller. Probably most teachers would find it necessary to "reduce" this dialect or to eliminate it altogether. Mr. Jacobs, who includes this story in his Celtic Fairy Tales, reduces the dialect very materially, keeping just enough to remind one that it is Irish. He also says the final word as to the moral of the story: "This is a moral apologue on the benefits of keeping your word. Yet it is told with such humor and vigor, that the moral glides insensibly into the heart."


"By Gor, I thought all the world, far and near, heerd o' King O'Toole—well, well, but the darkness of mankind is ontellible! Well, sir, you must know, as you didn't hear it afore, that there was a king, called King O'Toole, who was a fine ould king in the ould ancient times, long ago; and it was him that owned the churches in the early days. The king, you see, was the right sort; he was the rale boy, and loved sport as he loved his life, and huntin' in partic'lar; and from the risin' o' the sun, up he got, and away he wint over the mountains beyant afther the deer; and the fine times them wor.

"Well, it was all mighty good, as long as the king had his health; but, you see, in coorse of time the king grew ould, by raison he was stiff in his limbs, and when he got sthriken in years, his heart failed him, and he was lost intirely for want o' divarshin, bekase he couldn't go a huntin' no longer; and, by dad, the poor king was obleeged at last for to get a goose to divart him. Oh, you may laugh, if you like, but it's truth I'm tellin' you; and the way the goose divarted him was this-a-way: You see, the goose used for to swim across the lake, and go divin' for throut, and cotch fish on a Friday for the king, and flew every other day round about the lake, divartin' the poor king. All went on mighty well, antil, by dad, the goose got sthriken in years like her master, and couldn't divart him no longer, and then it was that the poor king was lost complate. The king was walkin' one mornin' by the edge of the lake, lamentin' his cruel fate, and thinkin' o' drownin' himself, that could get no divarshun in life, when all of a suddint, turnin' round the corner beyant, who should he meet but a mighty dacent young man comin' up to him.

"'God save you,' says the king to the young man.

"'God save you kindly, King O'Toole,' says the young man. 'Thrue for you,' says the king. 'I am King O'Toole,' says he, 'prince and plennypennytinchery o' these parts,' says he; 'but how kem ye to know that?' says he. 'Oh, never mind,' says Saint Kavin.

"You see it was Saint Kavin, sure enough—the saint himself in disguise, and nobody else. 'Oh, never mind,' says he, 'I know more than that. May I make bowld to ax how is your goose, King O'Toole?' says he. 'Bluran-agers, how kem ye to know about my goose?' says the king. 'Oh, no matther; I was given to understand it,' says Saint Kavin. After some more talk the king says, 'What are you?' 'I'm an honest man,' says Saint Kavin. 'Well, honest man,' says the king, 'and how is it you make your money so aisy?' 'By makin' ould things as good as new,' says Saint Kavin. 'Is it a tinker you are?' says the king. 'No,' says the saint; 'I'm no tinker by thrade, King O'Toole; I've a betther thrade than a tinker,' says he—'what[167] would you say,' says he, 'if I made your ould goose as good as new?'

"My dear, at the word o' makin' his goose as good as new, you'd think the poor ould king's eyes was ready to jump out iv his head. With that the king whistled, and down kem the poor goose, all as one as a hound, waddlin' up to the poor cripple, her masther, and as like him as two pays. The minute the saint clapt his eyes on the goose, 'I'll do the job for you,' says he, 'King O'Toole.' 'By Jaminee!' says King O'Toole, 'if you do, but I'll say you're the cleverest fellow in the sivin parishes.' 'Oh, by dad,' says Saint Kavin, 'you must say more nor that—my horn's not so soft all out,' says he, 'as to repair your ould goose for nothin'; what'll you gi' me if I do the job for you?—that's the chat,' says Saint Kavin. 'I'll give you whatever you ax,' says the king; 'isn't that fair?' 'Divil a fairer,' says the saint; 'that's the way to do business. Now,' says he, 'this is the bargain I'll make with you, King O'Toole: will you gi' me all the ground the goose flies over, the first offer, afther I make her as good as new?' 'I will,' says the king, 'You won't go back o' your word?' says Saint Kavin. 'Honor bright!' says King O'Toole, howldin' out his fist. 'Honor bright!' says Saint Kavin, back agin, 'it's a bargain. Come here!' says he to the poor ould goose—'come here, you unfort'nate ould cripple, and it's I that'll make you the sportin' bird.' With that, my dear, he took up the goose by the two wings—'Criss o' my crass and you,' says he, markin' her to grace with the blessed sign at the same minute—and throwin' her up in the air, 'whew,' says he, jist givin' her a blast to help her; and with that, my jewel, she tuk to her heels, flyin' like one o' the aigles themselves and cuttin' as many capers as a swallow before a shower of rain.

"Well, my dear, it was a beautiful sight to see the king standin' with his mouth open, lookin' at his poor ould goose flyin' as light as a lark, and betther nor ever she was: and when she lit at his fut, patter her an the head, and, 'Ma vourneen,' says he, 'but you are the darlint o' the world.' 'And what do you say to me,' says Saint Kavin, 'for makin' her the like?' 'By gor,' says the king, 'I say nothin' bates the art o' man, barrin' the bees.' 'And do you say no more nor that?' says Saint Kavin. 'And that I'm behoulden to you,' says the king. 'But will you give me all the ground the goose flew over?' says Saint Kavin. 'I will,' says King O'Toole, 'and you're welkim to it,' says he, 'though it's the last acre I have to give.' 'But you'll keep your word thrue?' says the saint. 'As thrue as the sun,' says the king. 'It's well for you, King O'Toole, that you said that word,' says he; 'for if you didn't say that word, the devil receave the bit o' your goose id ever fly agin.'

"Whin the king was as good as his word, Saint Kavin was plazed with him, and thin it was that he made himself known to the king. 'And,' says he, 'King O'Toole, you're a dacent man, for I only kem here to thry you. You don't know me,' says he, 'bekase I'm disguised.' 'Musha! thin,' says the king, 'who are you?' 'I'm Saint Kavin,' said the Saint, blessin' himself. 'Oh, queen iv heaven!' says the king makin' the sign o' the crass betune his eyes, and fallin' down on his knees before the saint; 'is it the great Saint Kavin,' says he, 'that I've been discoorsin' all[168] this time without knowin' it,' says he, 'all as one as if he was a lump iv a gosson?—and so you're a saint?' says the king. 'I am,' says Saint Kavin. 'By gor, I thought I was only talking to a dacent boy,' says the king. 'Well, you know the differ now,' says the saint. 'I'm Saint Kavin,' says he, 'the greatest of all the saints.'

"And so the king had his goose as good as new, to divart him as long as he lived: and the saint supported him afther he kem into his property, as I tould you, until the day iv his death—and that was soon afther; for the poor goose thought he was ketchin' a throut one Friday; but, my jewel, it was a mistake he made—and instead of a throut, it was a thievin' horse-eel; and by gor, instead iv the goose killin' a throut for the king's supper,—by dad, the eel killed the king's goose—and small blame to him; but he didn't ate her, bekase he darn't ate what Saint Kavin had laid his blessed hands on."






Alden, Raymond Macdonald, Why the Chimes Rang, and Other Stories.
Andersen, Hans Christian, Fairy Tales.
Barrie, Sir James Matthew, The Little White Bird. [Peter Pan.]
Baum, L. Frank, The Wizard of Oz.
Benson, A. C., David Blaize and the Blue Door.
Beston, H. B., The Firelight Fairy Book.
Brown, Abbie Farwell, The Lonesomest Doll.
Browne, Frances, Granny's Wonderful Chair.
Carryl, Charles E., Davy and the Goblin.
"Carroll, Lewis," Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
"Carroll, Lewis," Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.
Chamisso, Adelbert von, The Wonderful History of Peter Schlemihl.
"Collodi, C.," The Adventures of Pinocchio.
Cox, Palmer, The Brownies: Their Book.
Craik, Dinah Mulock, Adventures of a Brownie.
Craik, Dinah Mulock, The Little Lame Prince and His Traveling-Cloak.
Crothers, Samuel McChord, Miss Muffet's Christmas Party.
Dickens, Charles, A Christmas Carol.
Ewald, Carl, Two-Legs, and Other Stories.
Grahame, Kenneth, The Wind in the Willows.
Harris, Joel Chandler, Nights with Uncle Remus.
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, "The Snow Image," "Little Daffydowndilly," "A Rill from the Town Pump."
Ingelow, Jean, Mopsa the Fairy.
Ingelow, Jean, Stories Told to a Child. 2 vols.
Jordan, David Starr, The Book of Knight and Barbara.
Lagerlof, Selma, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils.
La Motte-Fouqué, F. de, Undine.
Lang, Andrew, Prince Prigio.
Kingsley, Charles, The Water Babies.
Maeterlinck, Maurice, The Blue Bird.
Macdonald, George, The Princess and the Goblin.
Macdonald, George, At the Back of the North Wind.
Pyle, Katherine, In the Green Forest.
Raspe, Rudolph Erich, Baron Munchausen's Narrative.
Richards, Laura E., The Story of Toto.
Richards, Laura E., The Pig Brother.
Ruskin, John, The King of the Golden River.
Stockton, Frank R., Fanciful Tales.
Swift, Jonathan, Gulliver's Travels.
Thackeray, William Makepeace, The Rose and the Ring.
Wilde, Oscar, The Happy Prince, and Other Stories.
Wilkins, Mary E., The Pot of Gold.




The difficulties of classification are very apparent here, and once more it must be noted that illustrative and practical purposes rather than logical ones are served by the arrangement adopted. The modern fanciful story is here placed next to the real folk story instead of after all the groups of folk products. The Hebrew stories at the beginning belong quite as well, perhaps even better, in Section V, while the stories at the end of Section VI shade off into the more modern types of short tales. Then the fact that other groups of modern stories are to follow later, illustrating more realistic studies of life and the very recent and remarkably numerous writings centering around animal life, limits the list here. Many of the animal stories might, with equal propriety, be placed under the head of the fantastic.

The child's natural literature. The world has lost certain secrets as the price of an advancing civilization. It is a commonplace of observation that no one can duplicate the success of Mother Goose, whether she be thought of as the maker of jingles or the teller of tales. The conditions of modern life preclude the generally naïve attitude that produced the folk rhymes, ballads, tales, proverbs, fables, and myths. The folk saw things simply and directly. The complex, analytic, questioning mind is not yet, either in or out of stories. The motives from which people act are to them plain and not mixed. Characters are good or bad. They feel no need of elaborately explaining their joys and sorrows. Such experiences come with the day's work. "To-morrow to fresh woods, and pastures new." The zest of life with them is emphatic. Their humor is fresh, unbounded, sincere; there is no trace of cynicism. In folk literature we do not feel the presence of a "writer" who is mightily concerned about maintaining his reputation for wisdom, originality, or style. Hence the freedom from any note of straining after effect, of artificiality. In the midst of a life limited to fundamental needs, their literature deals with fundamentals. On the whole, it was a literature for entertainment. A more learned upper class may have concerned itself then about "problems" and "purposes," as the whole world does now, but the literature of the folk had no such interests.

Without discussing the limits of the culture-epoch theory of human development as a complete guide in education, it is clear that the young child passes through a period when his mind looks out upon the world in a manner analogous to that of the folk as expressed in their literature. Quarrel with the fact as we may, it still remains a fact that his nature craves these old stories and will not be satisfied with something "just as good."

The modern fairy story. The advance of civilization has been accompanied by a wistful longing for the simplicities left by the way. In some periods this interest in the past has been more marked than in others. When the machinery of life has weighed too heavily on the human spirit, men have turned for relief to a contemplation of the "good old times" and have preached crusades of a "return to nature."[172] Many modern writers have tried to recapture some of the power of the folk tale by imitating its method. In many cases they have had a fair degree of success: in one case, that of Hans Christian Andersen, the success is admittedly very complete. As a rule, however, the sharpness of the sense of wonder has been blunted, and many imitators of the old fairy tale succeed in keeping only the shell. Another class of modern fantastic tale is that of the pourquoi story, which has the explanation of something as its object. Such tales grow out of the attempt to use the charm of old stories as a means of conveying instruction, somewhat after the method of those parents who covered up our bitter medicine with some of our favorite jam. Even "Little Red Riding Hood," as we saw, has been turned into a flower myth. So compelling is this pedagogical motive that so-called nature myths have been invented or made from existing stories in great numbers. The practical results please many teachers, but it may be questioned whether the gain is sufficient to compensate children for the distorting results upon masterpieces.

Wide range of the modern fairy tale. The bibliography will suggest something of the treasures in the field of the modern fanciful story. From the delightful nonsense of Alice in Wonderland and the "travelers' tales" of Baron Munchausen to the profound seriousness of The King of the Golden River and Why the Chimes Rang is a far cry. There are the rich fancies of Barrie and Maeterlinck, at the same time delicate as the promises of spring and brilliant as the fruitions of summer. One may be blown away to the land of Oz, he may lose his shadow with Peter Schlemihl, he may outdo the magic carpet with his Traveling-Cloak, he may visit the courts of kings with his Wonderful Chair; Miss Muffet will invite us to her Christmas party, Lemuel Gulliver will lead us to lands not marked in the school atlas; on every side is a world of wonder.

Some qualities of these modern tales. Every age produces after its own fashion, and we must expect to find the modern user of the fairy-story method expressing through it the qualities of his own outlook upon the world. Interest in the picturesque aspects of landscape will be emphasized, as in the early portions of "The Story of Fairyfoot" and, with especial magnificence of style, throughout The King of the Golden River. There will appear the saddened mood of the modern in the face of the human miseries that make happiness a mockery, as in "The Happy Prince." The destructive effects of the possessive instinct upon all that is finest in human nature is reflected in "The Prince's Dream." That the most valuable efforts are often those performed with least spectacular settings may be discerned in "The Knights of the Silver Shield," while the lesson of kindly helpfulness is the burden of "Old Pipes and the Dryad." In many modern stories the reader is too much aware of the conscious efforts of style and structure. The thoughtful child will sometimes be too much distressed by the more somber modern story, and should not hear too many of the gloomy type.

Andersen the consummate master. Hans Christian Andersen is the acknowledged master of the modern story for children. What are the sources of his success? Genius is always unexplainable except in terms of itself, but some things are clear. To begin, he makes a mark—drives down a peg: "There came a soldier marching along[173] the high road—one, two! one, two!" and you are off. No backing and filling, no jockeying for position, no elaborate setting of the stage. The story's the thing! Next, the language is the language of common oral speech, free and unrestrained. The rigid forms of the grammar are eschewed. There is no beating around the bush. Seeing through the eyes of the child, he uses the language that is natural to such sight: "Aha! there sat the dog with eyes as big as mill-wheels." In quick dramatic fashion the story unrolls before your vision: "So the soldier cut the witch's head off. There she lay!" No agonizing over the cruelty of it, the lack of sympathy. It is a joke after the child's own heart, and with a hearty laugh at this end to an impostor, the listener is on with the story. The logic is the logic of childhood: "And everyone could see she was a real princess, for she was so lovely." When Andersen deals with some of the deeper truths of existence, as in "The Nightingale" or "The Ugly Duckling," he still manages to throw it all into the form that is natural and convincing and simple to the child. He never mounts a pedestal and becomes a grown-up philosopher. Perhaps Andersen's secret lay in the fact that some fairy godmother invested him at birth with a power to see things so completely as a child sees them that he never questioned the dignity of the method. In few of his stories is there any evidence of a constraint due to a conscious attempt to write down to the understandings of children.


The most valuable discussion of the difficulties to be mastered in writing the literary fairy tale, and the story of the only very complete mastery yet made, will be found in the account of Hans Christian Andersen in Eminent Authors of the Nineteenth Century, by Georg Brandes. Now and then hints of importance on such stories and their value for children may be found in biographies of the more prominent writers represented in the section and mentioned in the bibliography, and in magazine articles and reviews. These latter may be located by use of the periodical indexes found in most libraries. For the proper attitude which the schools should have toward fiction and fanciful writing in general, nothing could be better than two lectures on "Children's Reading," in On the Art of Reading, by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch.



The rabbis of old were good story-tellers. They were essentially teachers and they understood that the best sermon is a story. "They were fond of the parable, the anecdote, the apt illustration, and their legends that have been transmitted to us, all aglow with the light and life of the Orient, possess perennial charm." It is possible to find in rabbinical sources a large number of brief stories that have the power of entertaining as well as of emphasizing some qualities of character that are important in all ages. The plan of this book does not include the wonderful stories of the Old Testament, which are easy of access to any teacher and may be used as experience directs. The Hebrew stories following correspond very nearly to the folk anecdote and are placed in this section because of their literary form.
Dr. Abram S. Isaacs (1851—) is a professor in New York University and is also a rabbi. The selection that follows is from his Stories from the Rabbis. (Copyrighted. Used by special permission of The Bloch Publishing Company, New York.) Taking advantage of the popular superstition that a four-leaved clover is a sign of good luck, Dr. Isaacs has grouped together four parable-like stories, each of which deals with wealth as a subject. The editors are responsible for the special titles given. The messages of these stories might be summarized as follows: If you would be lucky, (1) be honest because it is right to be honest, (2) value good friends more highly than gold, (3) let love accompany each gift of charity, and (4) use common sense in your business ventures.



1. The Rabbi and The Diadem

Great was the alarm in the palace of Rome, which soon spread throughout the entire city. The Empress had lost her costly diadem, and it could not be found. They searched in every direction, but it was all in vain. Half distracted, for the mishap boded no good to her or her house, the Empress redoubled her exertions to regain her precious possession, but without result. As a last resource it was proclaimed in the public streets:

"The Empress has lost a priceless diadem. Whoever restores it within thirty days shall receive a princely reward. But he who delays, and brings it after thirty days, shall lose his head."

In those times all nationalities flocked toward Rome; all classes and creeds could be met in its stately halls and crowded thoroughfares. Among the rest was a rabbi, a learnèd sage from the East, who loved goodness and lived a righteous life, in the stir and turmoil of the Western world. It chanced one night as he was strolling up and down, in busy meditation, beneath the clear, moonlit sky, he saw the diadem sparkling at his feet. He seized it quickly, brought it to his dwelling, where he guarded it carefully until the thirty days had expired, when he resolved to return it to the owner.

He proceeded to the palace, and, undismayed at sight of long lines of soldiery and officials, asked for an audience with the Empress.

"What dost thou mean by this?" she inquired, when he told her his story and gave her the diadem. "Why didst thou delay until this hour? Dost thou know the penalty? Thy head must be forfeited."

"I delayed until now," the rabbi answered calmly, "so that thou mightst know that I return thy diadem, not for the sake of the reward, still less out of fear of punishment; but solely to comply[175] with the Divine command not to withhold from another the property which belongs to him."

"Blessed be thy God!" the Empress answered, and dismissed the rabbi without further reproof; for had he not done right for right's sake?

2. Friendship

A certain father was doubly blessed—he had reached a good old age, and had ten sons. One day he called them to his side, and after repeated expressions of affection, told them that he had acquired a fortune by industry and economy, and would give them one hundred gold pieces each before his death, so that they might begin business for themselves, and not be obliged to wait until he had passed away. It happened, however, that, soon after, he lost a portion of his property, much to his regret, and had only nine hundred and fifty gold pieces left. So he gave one hundred to each of his nine sons. When his youngest son, whom he loved most of all, asked naturally what was to be his share, the father replied:

"My son, I promised to give each of thy brothers one hundred gold pieces. I shall keep my word to them. I have fifty left. Thirty I shall reserve for my funeral expenses, and twenty will be thy portion. But understand this—I possess, in addition, ten friends, whom I give over to thee as compensation for the loss of the eighty gold pieces. Believe me, they are worth more than all the gold and silver."

The youth tenderly embraced his parent, and assured him that he was content, such was his confidence and affection. In a few days the father died, and the nine sons took their money, and without a thought of their youngest brother and the small amount he had received, followed each his own fancy. But the youngest son, although his portion was the least, resolved to heed his father's words, and hold fast to the ten friends. When a short time had elapsed he prepared a simple feast, went to the ten friends of his father, and said to them: "My father, almost in his last words, asked me to keep you, his friends, in honor. Before I leave this place to seek my fortune elsewhere, will you not share with me a farewell meal, and aid me thus to comply with his dying request?"

The ten friends, stirred by his earnestness and cordiality, accepted his invitation with pleasure, and enjoyed the repast, although they were used to richer fare. When the moment for parting arrived, however, one of them rose and spoke: "My friends, it seems to me that of all the sons of our dear friend that has gone, the youngest alone is mindful of his father's friendship for us, and reverences his memory. Let us, then, be true friends to him, for his own sake as well, and provide for him a generous sum, that he may begin business here, and not be forced to live among strangers."

The proposal, so unexpected and yet so merited, was received with applause. The youth, proud of their friendship, soon became a prosperous merchant, who never forgot that faithful friends were more valuable than gold or silver, and left an honored name to his descendants.

3. True Charity

There lived once a very wealthy man, who cared little for money, except as[176] a means for helping others. He used to adopt a peculiar plan in his method of charitable relief. He had three boxes made for the three different classes of people whom he desired to assist. In one box he put gold pieces, which he distributed among artists and scholars, for he honored knowledge and learning as the highest possession. In the second box he placed silver pieces for widows and orphans, for whom his sympathies were readily awakened. In the third were copper coins for the general poor and beggars—no one was turned away from his dwelling without some gift, however small.

That the man was beloved by all, need hardly be said. He rejoiced that he was enabled to do so much good, retained his modest bearing, and continued to regard his wealth as only an incentive to promote the happiness of mankind, without distinction of creed or nationality. Unhappily, his wife was just the opposite. She rarely gave food or raiment to the poor, and felt angry at her husband's liberality, which she considered shameless extravagance.

The day came when in the pressure of various duties he had to leave his house, and could not return until the morrow. Unaware of his sudden departure, the poor knocked at the door as usual for his kind gifts; but when they found him absent, they were about to go away or remain in the street, being terrified at the thought of asking his wife for alms. Vexed at their conduct, she exclaimed impetuously: "I will give to the poor according to my husband's method."

She seized the keys of the boxes, and first opened the box of gold. But how great was her terror when she gazed at its contents—frogs jumping here and there. Then she went to the silver box, and it was full of ants. With troubled heart, she opened the copper box, and it was crowded with creeping bugs. Loud then were her complaints, and bitter her tears, at the deception, and she kept her room until her husband returned.

No sooner did the man enter the room, annoyed that so many poor people were kept waiting outside, than she asked him: "Why did you give me keys to boxes of frogs, ants, and bugs, instead of gold, silver, and copper? Was it right thus to deceive your wife, and disappoint the poor?"

"Not so," rejoined her husband. "The mistake must be yours, not mine. I have given you the right keys. I do not know what you have done with them. Come, let me have them. I am guiltless of any deception." He took the keys, quickly opened the boxes, and found the coins as he had left them. "Ah, dear wife," said he, when she had regained her composure, "your heart, I fear, was not in the gift, when you wished to give to the poor. It is the feeling that prompts us to aid, not the mere money, which is the chief thing after all."

And ever after, her heart was changed. Her gifts blessed the poor of the land, and aroused their love and reverence.

4. An Eastern Garden

In an Eastern city a lovely garden flourished, whose beauty and luxuriance awakened much admiration. It was the owner's greatest pleasure to watch its growth, as leaf, flower, and tree seemed daily to unfold to brighter bloom. One morning, while taking his usual stroll through the well-kept paths,[177] he was surprised to find that some blossoms were picked to pieces. The next day he noticed more signs of mischief, and rendered thus more observant he gave himself no rest until he had discovered the culprit. It was a little trembling bird, whom he managed to capture, and was about to kill in his anger, when it exclaimed: "Do not kill me, I beg you, kind sir. I am only a wee, tiny bird. My flesh is too little to satisfy you. I would not furnish one-hundredth of a meal to a man of your size. Let me free without any hesitation, and I shall teach you something that will be of much use to you and your friends."

"I would dearly like to put an end to you," replied the man, "for you were rapidly putting an end to my garden. It is a good thing to rid the world of such annoyances. But as I am not revengeful, and am always glad to learn something useful, I shall set you free this time." And he opened his hand to give the bird more air.

"Attention!" cried the bird. "Here are three rules which should guide you through life, and if you observe them you will find your path made easier: Do not cry over spilt milk; do not desire what is unattainable, and do not believe what is impossible."

The man was satisfied with the advice, and let the bird escape; but it had scarcely regained its liberty, when, from a high tree opposite, it exclaimed:

"What a silly man! The idea of letting me escape! If you only knew what you have lost! But it is too late now."

"What have I lost?" the man asked, angrily.

"Why, if you had killed me, as you intended, you would have found inside of me a huge pearl, as large as a goose's egg, and you would have been a wealthy man forever."

"Dear little bird," the man said in his blandest tones; "sweet little bird, I will not harm you. Only come down to me, and I will treat you as if you were my own child, and give you fruit and flowers all day. I assure you of this most sacredly."

But the bird shook its head sagely, and replied: "What a silly man, to forget so soon the advice which was given him in all seriousness. I told you not to cry over spilt milk, and here you are, worrying over what has happened. I urged you not to desire the unattainable, and now you wish to capture me again. And, finally, I asked you not to believe what is impossible, and you are rashly imagining that I have a huge pearl inside of me, when a goose's egg is larger than my whole body. You ought to learn your lessons better in the future, if you would become wise," added the bird, as with another twist of its head it flew away, and was lost in the distance.


A classic collection of short stories from the ancient Hebrew sages is the little book, Hebrew Tales, published in London in 1826 by the noted Jewish scholar Hyman Hurwitz (1770-1844). A modern handy edition of this book (about sixty tales) is published as Vol. II of the Library of Jewish Classics. Of special interest is the fact that it contained three stories by the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who had published them first in his periodical, The Friend. Coleridge was much interested in Hebrew literature, and especially fond of speaking in parables, as those who know "The Ancient Mariner" will readily recall. The[178] following is one of the three stories referred to, and it had prefixed to it the significant text, "The Lord helpeth man and beast." (Psalm XXXVI, 6.)



During his march to conquer the world, Alexander, the Macedonian, came to a people in Africa who dwelt in a remote and secluded corner, in peaceful huts, and knew neither war nor conqueror. They led him to the hut of their chief, who received him hospitably, and placed before him golden dates, golden figs, and bread of gold.

"Do you eat gold in this country?" said Alexander.

"I take it for granted," replied the chief, "that thou wert able to find eatable food in thine own country. For what reason, then, art thou come amongst us?"

"Your gold has not tempted me hither," said Alexander, "but I would become acquainted with your manners and customs."

"So be it," rejoined the other: "sojourn among us as long as it pleaseth thee."

At the close of this conversation, two citizens entered, as into their court of justice. The plaintiff said, "I bought of this man a piece of land, and as I was making a deep drain through it, I found a treasure. This is not mine, for I only bargained for the land, and not for any treasure that might be concealed beneath it; and yet the former owner of the land will not receive it." The defendant answered, "I hope I have a conscience, as well as my fellow citizen. I sold him the land with all its contingent, as well as existing advantages, and consequently, the treasure inclusively."

The chief, who was at the same time their supreme judge, recapitulated their words, in order that the parties might see whether or not he understood them aright. Then, after some reflection, said: "Thou hast a son, friend, I believe?"


"And thou," addressing the other, "a daughter?"


"Well, then, let thy son marry thy daughter, and bestow the treasure on the young couple for a marriage portion." Alexander seemed surprised and perplexed. "Think you my sentence unjust?" the chief asked him.

"Oh, no!" replied Alexander; "but it astonishes me."

"And how, then," rejoined the chief, "would the case have been decided in your country?"

"To confess the truth," said Alexander, "we should have taken both parties into custody, and have seized the treasure for the king's use."

"For the king's use!" exclaimed the chief; "does the sun shine on that country?"

"Oh, yes!"

"Does it rain there?"


"Wonderful! But are there tame animals in the country, that live on the grass and green herbs?"

"Very many, and of many kinds."

"Ay, that must, then, be the cause," said the chief: "for the sake of those innocent animals the All-gracious Being continues to let the sun shine, and the rain drop down on your country; since its inhabitants are unworthy of such blessings.[179]"


By almost common consent Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875), the Danish author, is the acknowledged master of all modern writers of fairy tales. He was born in poverty, the son of a poor shoemaker. With a naturally keen dramatic sense, his imagination was stirred by stories from the Arabian Nights and La Fontaine's Fables, by French and Spanish soldiers marching through his native city, and by listening to the wonderful folk tales of his country. On a toy stage and with toy actors, these vivid impressions took actual form. The world continued a dramatic spectacle to him throughout his existence. His consuming ambition was for the stage, but he had none of the personal graces so necessary for success. He was ungainly and awkward, like his "ugly duckling." But when at last he began to write, he had the power to transfer to the page the vivid dramas in his mind, and this power culminated in the creation of fairy stories for children which he began to publish in 1835. It is usual to say that Andersen, like Peter Pan, "never grew up," and it is certain that he never lost the power of seeing things as children see them. Like many great writers whose fame now rests on the suffrages of child readers, Andersen seems at first to have felt that the Tales were slight and beneath his dignity. They are not all of the same high quality. Occasionally one of them becomes "too sentimental and sickly sweet," but the best of them have a sturdiness that is thoroughly refreshing.
The most acute analysis of the elements of Andersen's greatness as the ideal writer for children is that made by his fellow-countryman Georg Brandes in Eminent Authors of the Nineteenth Century. A briefer account on similar lines will be found in H. J. Boyesen's Scandinavian Literature. A still briefer account, eminently satisfactory for an introduction to Andersen, by Benjamin W. Wells, is in Warner's Library of the World's Best Literature. The interested student cannot, of course, afford to neglect Andersen's own The Story of My Life. Among the more elaborate biographies the Life of Hans Christian Andersen by R. Nisbet Bain is probably the best. The first translation of the Tales into English was made by Mary Howitt in 1846 and, as far as it goes, is still regarded as one of the finest. However, Andersen has been very fortunate in his many translators. The version by H. W. Dulcken has been published in many cheap forms and perhaps more widely read than any other. In addition to the stories in the following pages, some of those most suitable for use are "The Little Match Girl," "The Silver Shilling," "Five Peas in the Pod," "Hans Clodhopper," and "The Snow Queen." The latter is one of the longest and an undoubted masterpiece.
The first two stories following are taken from Mrs. Henderson's Andersen's Best Fairy Tales. (Copyright. Rand McNally & Co.) This little book contains thirteen stories in a very simple translation and also an excellent story of Andersen's life in a form most attractive to children. "The Princess and the Pea" is a story for the story's sake. The humor, perhaps slightly satirical, is based upon the notion so common in the old folk tales that royal personages are decidedly more delicate than the person of low degree. However, the tendency to think oneself of more consequence than another is not confined to any one class.



(Version by Alice Corbin Henderson)

There was once a Prince who wanted to marry a Princess. But it was only a real Princess that he wanted to marry.

He traveled all over the world to find a real one. But, although there were[180] plenty of princesses, whether they were real princesses he could never discover. There was always something that did not seem quite right about them.

At last he had to come home again. But he was very sad, because he wanted to marry a real Princess.

One night there was a terrible storm. It thundered and lightened and the rain poured down in torrents. In the middle of the storm there came a knocking, knocking, knocking at the castle gate. The kind old King himself went down to open the castle gate.

It was a young Princess that stood outside the gate. The wind and the rain had almost blown her to pieces. Water streamed out of her hair and out of her clothes. Water ran in at the points of her shoes and out again at the heels. Yet she said that she was a real Princess.

"Well, we will soon find out about that!" thought the Queen.

She said nothing, but went into the bedroom, took off all the bedding, and put a small dried pea on the bottom of the bedstead. Then she piled twenty mattresses on top of the pea, and on top of these she put twenty feather beds. This was where the Princess had to sleep that night.

In the morning they asked her how she had slept through the night.

"Oh, miserably!" said the Princess. "I hardly closed my eyes the whole night long! Goodness only knows what was in my bed! I slept upon something so hard that I am black and blue all over. It was dreadful!"

So then they knew that she was a real Princess. For, through the twenty mattresses and the twenty feather beds, she had still felt the pea. No one but a real Princess could have had such a tender skin.

So the Prince took her for his wife. He knew now that he had a real Princess.

As for the pea, it was put in a museum where it may still be seen if no one has carried it away.

Now this is a true story!


With some dozen exceptions, all of Andersen's Tales are based upon older stories, either upon some old folk tale or upon something that he ran across in his reading. Dr. Brandes, in his Eminent Authors, shows in detail how "The Emperor's New Clothes" came into being. "One day in turning over the leaves of Don Manuel's Count Lucanor, Andersen became charmed by the homely wisdom of the old Spanish story, with the delicate flavor of the Middle Ages pervading it, and he lingered over chapter vii, which treats of how a king was served by three rogues." But Andersen's story is a very different one in many ways from his Spanish original. For one thing, the meaning is so universal that no one can miss it. Most of us have, in all likelihood, at some time pretended to know what we do not know or to be what we are not in order to save our face, to avoid the censure or ridicule of others. "There is much concerning which people dare not speak the truth, through cowardice, through fear of acting otherwise than 'all the world,' through anxiety lest they should appear stupid. And the story is eternally new and it never ends. It has its grave side, but just because of its endlessness it has also its humorous side." When the absurd bubble of the grand procession is punctured by the child, whose mental honesty has not yet been spoiled by the pressure of convention, the Emperor "held himself stiffer than ever, and the chamberlains carried the invisible train." For it would never do to hold up the procession!




(Version by Alice Corbin Henderson)

Many years ago there lived an Emperor who thought so much of new clothes that he spent all his money on them. He did not care for his soldiers; he did not care to go to the theater. He liked to drive out in the park only that he might show off his new clothes. He had a coat for every hour of the day. They usually say of a king, "He is in the council chamber." But of the Emperor they said, "He is in the clothes closet!"

It was a gay city in which the Emperor lived. And many strangers came to visit it every day. Among these, one day, there came two rogues who set themselves up as weavers. They said they knew how to weave the most beautiful cloths imaginable. And not only were the colors and patterns used remarkably beautiful, but clothes made from this cloth could not be seen by any one who was unfit for the office he held or was too stupid for any use.

"Those would be fine clothes!" thought the Emperor. "If I wore those I could find out what men in my empire were not fit for the places they held. I could tell the clever men from the dunces! I must have some clothes woven for me at once!"

So he gave the two rogues a great deal of money that they might begin their work at once.

The rogues immediately put up two looms and pretended to be working. But there was nothing at all on their looms. They called for the finest silks and the brightest gold, but this they put into their pockets. At the empty looms they worked steadily until late into the night.

"I should like to know how the weavers are getting on with my clothes," thought the Emperor.

But he felt a little uneasy when he thought that any one who was stupid or was not fit for his office would be unable to see the cloth. Of course he had no fears for himself; but still he thought he would send some one else first, just to see how matters stood.

"I will send my faithful old Minister to the weavers," thought the Emperor. "He can see how the stuff looks, for he is a clever man, and no one is so careful in fulfilling duties as he is!"

So the good old Minister went into the room where the two rogues sat working at the empty looms.

"Mercy on us!" thought the old Minister, opening his eyes wide, "I can't see a thing!" But he didn't care to say so.

Both the rascals begged him to be good enough to step a little nearer. They pointed to the empty looms and asked him if he did not think the pattern and the coloring wonderful. The poor old Minister stared and stared as hard as he could, but he could not see anything, for, of course, there was nothing to see!

"Mercy!" he said to himself. "Is it possible that I am a dunce? I never thought so! Certainly no one must know it. Am I unfit for office? It will never do to say that I cannot see the stuff!"

"Well, sir, why do you say nothing of it?" asked the rogue who was pretending to weave.

"Oh, it is beautiful—charming!" said the old Minister, peering through his spectacles. "What a fine pattern, and what wonderful colors! I shall tell the Emperor that I am very much pleased with it."[182]

"Well, we are glad to hear you say so," answered the two swindlers.

Then they named all the colors of the invisible cloth upon the looms, and described the peculiar pattern. The old Minister listened intently, so that he could repeat all that was said of it to the Emperor.

The rogues now began to demand more money, more silk, and more gold thread in order to proceed with the weaving. All of this, of course, went into their pockets. Not a single strand was ever put on the empty looms at which they went on working.

The Emperor soon sent another faithful friend to see how soon the new clothes would be ready. But he fared no better than the Minister. He looked and looked and looked, but still saw nothing but the empty looms.

"Isn't that a pretty piece of stuff?" asked both rogues, showing and explaining the handsome pattern which was not there at all.

"I am not stupid!" thought the man. "It must be that I am not worthy of my good position. That is, indeed, strange. But I must not let it be known!"

So he praised the cloth he did not see, and expressed his approval of the color and the design that were not there. To the Emperor he said, "It is charming!"

Soon everybody in town was talking about the wonderful cloth that the two rogues were weaving.

The Emperor began to think now that he himself would like to see the wonderful cloth while it was still on the looms. Accompanied by a number of his friends, among whom were the two faithful officers who had already beheld the imaginary stuff, he went to visit the two men who were weaving, might and main, without any fiber and without any thread.

"Isn't it splendid!" cried the two statesmen who had already been there, and who thought the others would see something upon the empty looms. "Look, your Majesty! What colors! And what a design!"

"What's this?" thought the Emperor. "I see nothing at all! Am I a dunce? Am I not fit to be Emperor? That would be the worst thing that could happen to me, if it were true."

"Oh, it is very pretty!" said the Emperor aloud. "It has my highest approval!"

He nodded his head happily, and stared at the empty looms. Never would he say that he could see nothing!

His friends, too, gazed and gazed, but saw no more than had the others. Yet they all cried out, "It is beautiful!" and advised the Emperor to wear a suit made of this cloth in a great procession that was soon to take place.

"It is magnificent, gorgeous!" was the cry that went from mouth to mouth. The Emperor gave each of the rogues a royal ribbon to wear in his buttonhole, and called them the Imperial Court Weavers.

The rogues were up the whole night before the morning of the procession. They kept more than sixteen candles burning. The people could see them hard at work, completing the new clothes of the Emperor. They took yards of stuff down from the empty looms; they made cuts in the air with big scissors; they sewed with needles without thread; and, at last, they said, "The clothes are ready!"

The Emperor himself, with his grandest courtiers, went to put on his new suit.[183]

"See!" said the rogues, lifting their arms as if holding something. "Here are the trousers! Here is the coat! Here is the cape!" and so on. "It is as light as a spider's web. One might think one had nothing on. But that is just the beauty of it!"

"Very nice," said the courtiers. But they could see nothing; for there was nothing!

"Will your Imperial Majesty be graciously pleased to take off your clothes," asked the rogues, "so that we may put on the new ones before this long mirror?"

The Emperor took off all his own clothes, and the two rogues pretended to put on each new garment as it was ready. They wrapped him about, and they tied and they buttoned. The Emperor turned round and round before the mirror.

"How well his Majesty looks in his new clothes!" said the people. "How becoming they are! What a pattern! What colors! It is a beautiful dress!"

"They are waiting outside with the canopy which is to be carried over your Majesty in the procession," said the master of ceremonies.

"I am ready," said the Emperor. "Don't the clothes fit well?" he asked, giving a last glance into the mirror as though he were looking at all his new finery.

The men who were to carry the train of the Emperor's cloak stooped down to the floor as if picking up the train, and then held it high in the air. They did not dare let it be known that they could see nothing.

So the Emperor marched along under the bright canopy. Everybody in the streets and at the windows cried out: "How beautiful the Emperor's new clothes are! What a fine train! And they fit to perfection!"

No one would let it be known that he could see nothing, for that would have proved that he was unfit for office or that he was very, very stupid. None of the Emperor's clothes had ever been as successful as these.

"But he has nothing on!" said a little child.

"Just listen to the innocent!" said its father.

But one person whispered to another what the child had said. "He has nothing on! A child says he has nothing on!"

"But he has nothing on!" at last cried all the people.

The Emperor writhed, for he knew that this was true. But he realized that it would never do to stop the procession. So he held himself stiffer than ever, and the chamberlains carried the invisible train.


In his story "The Nightingale," Andersen suggests that the so-called upper class of society may become so conventionalized as to be unable to appreciate true beauty. Poor fishermen and the little kitchen girl in the story recognize the beauty of the exquisite song of the nightingale, and Andersen shows his regard for royalty by having the emperor appreciate it twice. The last part of the story is especially impressive. When Death approached the emperor and took from him the symbols that had made him rank above his fellows, the emperor saw the realities of life and again perceived the beauty of the nightingale's song. This contact with real life made Death shrink away. Then the emperor learned Andersen's message to artificial society: If you would behold true beauty, you must have it in your own heart.




In China, you must know, the Emperor is a Chinaman, and all whom he has about him are Chinamen too. It happened a good many years ago, but that's just why it's worth while to hear the story before it is forgotten. The Emperor's palace was the most splendid in the world; it was made entirely of porcelain, very costly, but so delicate and brittle that one had to take care how one touched it. In the garden were to be seen the most wonderful flowers, and to the costliest of them silver bells were tied, which sounded, so that nobody should pass by without noticing the flowers. Yes, everything in the Emperor's garden was admirably arranged. And it extended so far that the gardener himself did not know where the end was. If a man went on and on, he came into a glorious forest with high trees and deep lakes. The wood extended straight down to the sea, which was blue and deep; great ships could sail, too, beneath the branches of the trees; and in the trees lived a Nightingale, which sang so splendidly that even the poor fisherman, who had many other things to do, stopped still and listened, when he had gone out at night to throw out his nets, and heard the Nightingale.

"How beautiful that is!" he said; but he was obliged to attend to his property, and thus forgot the bird. But when the next night the bird sang again, and the fisherman heard it, he exclaimed again, "How beautiful that is!"

From all the countries of the world travelers came to the city of the Emperor, and admired it, and the palace and the garden, but when they heard the Nightingale, they said, "That is the best of all!"

And the travelers told of it when they came home; and the learnèd men wrote many books about the town, the palace, and the garden. But they did not forget the Nightingale; that was placed highest of all; and those who were poets wrote most magnificent poems about the Nightingale in the wood by the deep lake.

The books went through all the world, and a few of them once came to the Emperor. He sat in his golden chair, and read, and read: every moment he nodded his head, for it pleased him to peruse the masterly descriptions of the city, the palace, and the garden. "But the Nightingale is the best of all," it stood written there.

"What's that?" exclaimed the Emperor. "I don't know the Nightingale at all! Is there such a bird in my empire, and even in my garden? I've never heard of that. To think that I should have to learn such a thing for the first time from books!"

And hereupon he called his cavalier. This cavalier was so grand that if anyone lower in rank than himself dared to speak to him, or to ask him any question, he answered nothing but "P!"—and that meant nothing.

"There is said to be a wonderful bird here called a Nightingale," said the Emperor. "They say it is the best thing in all my great empire. Why have I never heard anything about it?"

"I have never heard him named," replied the cavalier. "He has never been introduced at Court."

"I command that he shall appear this evening, and sing before me," said the Emperor. "All the world knows what I possess, and I do not know it myself!"[185]

"I have never heard him mentioned," said the cavalier. "I will seek for him. I will find him."

But where was he to be found? The cavalier ran up and down all the staircases, through halls and passages, but no one among all those whom he met had heard talk of the Nightingale. And the cavalier ran back to the Emperor, and said that it must be a fable invented by the writers of books.

"Your Imperial Majesty cannot believe how much is written that is fiction, besides something that they call the black art."

"But the book in which I read this," said the Emperor, "was sent to me by the high and mighty Emperor of Japan and therefore it cannot be a falsehood. I will hear the Nightingale! It must be here this evening! It has my imperial favor; and if it does not come, all the Court shall be trampled upon after the Court has supped!"

"Tsing-pe!" said the cavalier; and again he ran up and down all the staircases, and through all the halls and corridors; and half the Court ran with him, for the courtiers did not like being trampled upon.

Then there was a great inquiry after the wonderful Nightingale, which all the world knew excepting the people at Court.

At last they met with a poor little girl in the kitchen, who said:

"The Nightingale? I know it well; yes, it can sing gloriously. Every evening I get leave to carry my poor sick mother the scraps from the table. She lives down by the strand; and when I get back and am tired, and rest in the wood, then I hear the Nightingale sing. And then the water comes into my eyes, and it is just as if my mother kissed me."

"Little kitchen girl," said the cavalier, "I will get you a place in the Court kitchen, with permission to see the Emperor dine, if you will but lead us to the Nightingale, for it is announced for this evening."

So they all went out into the wood where the Nightingale was accustomed to sing; half the Court went forth. When they were in the midst of their journey a cow began to low.

"Oh!" cried the Court pages, "now we have it! That shows a wonderful power in so small a creature! I have certainly heard it before."

"No, those are cows lowing," said the little kitchen girl. "We are a long way from the place yet."

Now the frogs began to croak in the marsh.

"Glorious!" said the Chinese Court preacher. "Now I hear it—it sounds just like little church bells."

"No, those are frogs," said the little kitchen maid. "But now I think we shall soon hear it."

And then the Nightingale began to sing.

"That is it!" exclaimed the little girl. "Listen, listen! and yonder it sits."

And she pointed to a little gray bird up in the boughs.

"Is it possible?" cried the cavalier. "I should never have thought it looked like that! How simple it looks! It must certainly have lost its color at seeing such grand people around."

"Little Nightingale!" called the little kitchen maid, quite loudly, "our gracious Emperor wishes you to sing before him."

"With the greatest pleasure!" replied the Nightingale, and began to sing most delightfully.[186]

"It sounds just like glass bells!" said the cavalier. "And look at its little throat, how it's working! It's wonderful that we should never have heard it before. That bird will be a great success at Court."

"Shall I sing once more before the Emperor?" inquired the Nightingale, for it thought the Emperor was present.

"My excellent little Nightingale," said the cavalier, "I have great pleasure in inviting you to a Court festival this evening, when you shall charm his Imperial Majesty with your beautiful singing."

"My song sounds best in the green wood," replied the Nightingale; still it came willingly when it heard what the Emperor wished.

The palace was festively adorned. The walls and the flooring, which were of porcelain, gleamed in the rays of thousands of golden lamps. The most glorious flowers, which could ring clearly, had been placed in the passages. There was a running to and fro, and a thorough draught, and all the bells rang so loudly that one could not hear one's self speak.

In the midst of the great hall, where the Emperor sat, a golden perch had been placed, on which the Nightingale was to sit. The whole Court was there, and the little cook-maid had got leave to stand behind the door, as she had now received the title of a real Court cook. All were in full dress, and all looked at the little gray bird, to which the Emperor nodded.

And the Nightingale sang so gloriously that the tears came into the Emperor's eyes, and the tears ran down over his cheeks; then the Nightingale sang still more sweetly, that went straight to the heart. The Emperor was so much pleased that he said the Nightingale should have his golden slipper to wear round its neck. But the Nightingale declined this with thanks, saying it had already received a sufficient reward.

"I have seen tears in the Emperor's eyes—that is the real treasure to me. An Emperor's tears have a peculiar power. I am rewarded enough!" And then it sang again with a sweet, glorious voice.

"That's the most amiable coquetry I ever saw!" said the ladies who stood round about, and then they took water in their mouths to gurgle when anyone spoke to them. They thought they should be nightingales too. And the lackeys and chambermaids reported that they were satisfied also; and that was saying a good deal, for they are the most difficult to please. In short, the Nightingale achieved a real success.

It was now to remain at Court, to have its own cage, with liberty to go out twice every day and once at night. Twelve servants were appointed when the Nightingale went out, each of whom had a silken string fastened to the bird's legs, which they held very tight. There was really no pleasure in an excursion of that kind.

The whole city spoke of the wonderful bird, and whenever two people met, one said nothing but "Nightin," and the other said "gale"; and then they both sighed, and understood one another. Eleven pedlars' children were named after the bird, but not one of them could sing a note.

One day the Emperor received a large parcel, on which was written, "The Nightingale."

"There we have a new book about this celebrated bird," said the Emperor.[187]

But it was not a book, but a little work of art, contained in a box—an artificial nightingale, which was to sing like a natural one, and was brilliantly ornamented with diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. So soon as the artificial bird was wound up, he could sing one of the pieces that he really sang, and then his tail moved up and down, and shone with silver and gold. Round his neck hung a little ribbon, and on that was written, "The Emperor of China's nightingale is poor compared to that of the Emperor of Japan."

"That is capital!" said they all, and he who had brought the artificial bird immediately received the title, Imperial Head-Nightingale-Bringer.

"Now they must sing together; what a duet that will be!" cried the courtiers.

And so they had to sing together; but it did not sound very well, for the real Nightingale sang its own way, and the artificial bird sang waltzes.

"That's not his fault," said the playmaster; "he's quite perfect, and very much in my style."

Now the artificial bird was to sing alone. It had just as much success as the real one, and then it was much handsomer to look at—it shone like bracelets and breastpins.

Three and thirty times over did it sing the same piece, and yet was not tired. The people would gladly have heard it again, but the Emperor said that the living Nightingale ought to sing something now. But where was it? No one had noticed that it had flown away out of the open window, back to the green wood.

"But what has become of that?" asked the Emperor.

And all the courtiers abused the Nightingale, and declared that it was a very ungrateful creature.

"We have the best bird after all," said they.

And so the artificial bird had to sing again, and that was the thirty-fourth time that they listened to the same piece. For all that they did not know it quite by heart, for it was so very difficult. And the playmaster praised the bird particularly; yes, he declared that it was better than a nightingale, not only with regard to its plumage and the many beautiful diamonds, but inside as well.

"For you see, ladies and gentlemen, and above all, your Imperial Majesty, with a real nightingale one can never calculate what is coming, but in this artificial bird, everything is settled. One can explain it; one can open it and make people understand where the waltzes come from, how they go, and how one follows up another."

"Those are quite our own ideas," they all said.

And the speaker received permission to show the bird to the people on the next Sunday. The people were to hear it sing too, the Emperor commanded: and they did hear it, and were as much pleased as if they had all got tipsy upon tea, for that's quite the Chinese fashion, and they all said, "Oh!" and held up their forefingers and nodded. But the poor fisherman, who had heard the real Nightingale, said:

"It sounds pretty enough, and the melodies resemble each other, but there's something wanting, though I know not what!"

The real Nightingale was banished from the country and empire. The artificial bird had its place on a silken[188] cushion close to the Emperor's bed; all the presents it had received, gold and precious stones, were ranged about it; in title it had advanced to be the High Imperial After-Dinner-Singer, and in rank to Number One on the left hand; for the Emperor considered that side the most important on which the heart is placed, and even in an Emperor the heart is on the left side; and the playmaster wrote a work of five and twenty volumes about the artificial bird; it was very learnèd and very long, full of the most difficult Chinese words; but yet all the people declared that they had read it and understood it, for fear of being considered stupid, and having their bodies trampled on.

So a whole year went by. The Emperor, the Court, and all the other Chinese knew every little twitter in the artificial bird's song by heart. But just for that reason it pleased them best—they could sing with it themselves, and they did so. The street boys sang, "Tsi-tsi-tsi-glug-glug!" and the Emperor himself sang it too. Yes, that was certainly famous.

But one evening, when the artificial bird was singing its best, and the Emperor lay in bed listening to it, something inside the bird said, "Whizz!" Something cracked. "Whir-r-r!" All the wheels ran round, and then the music stopped.

The Emperor immediately sprang out of bed, and caused his body physician to be called; but what could he do? Then they sent for a watchmaker, and after a good deal of talking and investigation, the bird was put into something like order, but the watchmaker said that the bird must be carefully treated, for the barrels were worn, and it would be impossible to put new ones in in such a manner that the music would go. There was a great lamentation; only once in the year was it permitted to let the bird sing, and that was almost too much. But then the playmaster made a little speech full of heavy words, and said this was just as good as before—and so of course it was as good as before.

Now five years had gone by, and a real grief came upon the whole nation. The Chinese were really fond of their Emperor, and now he was ill, and could not, it was said, live much longer. Already a new Emperor had been chosen, and the people stood out in the street and asked the cavalier how the Emperor did.

"P!" said he, and shook his head.

Cold and pale lay the Emperor in his great, gorgeous bed; the whole Court thought him dead, and each one ran to pay homage to the new ruler. The chamberlains ran out to talk it over, and the ladies' maids had a great coffee party. All about, in all the halls and passages, cloth had been laid down so that no footstep could be heard, and therefore it was quiet there, quite quiet. But the Emperor was not dead yet; stiff and pale he lay on the gorgeous bed, with the long velvet curtains and the heavy gold tassels; high up, a window stood open, and the moon shone in upon the Emperor and the artificial bird.

The poor Emperor could scarcely breathe; it was just as if something lay upon his chest; he opened his eyes, and then he saw that it was Death who sat upon his chest, and had put on his golden crown, and held in one hand the Emperor's sword, in the other his beautiful banner. And all around, from among the folds of the splendid velvet curtains, strange heads peered forth; a few very[189] ugly, the rest quite lovely and mild. These were all the Emperor's bad and good deeds, that stood before him now that Death sat upon his heart.

"Do you remember this?" whispered one to the other. "Do you remember that?" and then they told him so much that the perspiration ran from his forehead.

"I did not know that!" said the Emperor. "Music! music! the great Chinese drum!" he cried, "so that I need not hear all they say!"

And they continued speaking, and Death nodded like a Chinaman to all they said.

"Music! music!" cried the Emperor. "You little precious golden bird, sing, sing! I have given you gold and costly presents; I have even hung my golden slipper around your neck—sing now, sing!"

But the bird stood still; no one was there to wind him up, and he could not sing without that; but Death continued to stare at the Emperor with his great, hollow eyes, and it was quiet, fearfully quiet.

Then there sounded from the window, suddenly, the most lovely song. It was the little live Nightingale, that sat outside on a spray. It had heard of the Emperor's sad plight, and had come to sing to him of comfort and hope. As it sang the specters grew paler and paler; the blood ran quicker and more quickly through the Emperor's weak limbs; and even Death listened, and said:

"Go on, little Nightingale, go on!"

"But will you give me that splendid golden sword? Will you give me that rich banner? Will you give me the Emperor's crown?"

And Death gave up each of these treasures for a song. And the Nightingale sang on and on; and it sang of the quiet churchyard where the white roses grow, where the elder blossoms smell sweet, and where the fresh grass is moistened by the tears of survivors. Then Death felt a longing to see his garden, and floated out at the window in the form of a cold white mist.

"Thanks! thanks!" said the Emperor. "You heavenly little bird; I know you well. I banished you from my country and empire, and yet you have charmed away the evil faces from my couch, and banished Death from my heart! How can I reward you?"

"You have rewarded me!" replied the Nightingale. "I have drawn tears from your eyes, when I sang the first time—I shall never forget that. Those are the jewels that rejoice a singer's heart. But now sleep, and grow fresh and strong again. I will sing you something."

And it sang, and the Emperor fell into a sweet slumber. Ah! how mild and refreshing that sleep was! The sun shone upon him through the windows when he awoke refreshed and restored: not one of his servants had yet returned, for they all thought he was dead; only the Nightingale still sat beside him and sang.

"You must always stay with me," said the Emperor. "You shall sing as you please; and I'll break the artificial bird into a thousand pieces."

"Not so," replied the Nightingale. "It did well as long as it could; keep it as you have done till now. I cannot build my nest in the palace to dwell in it, but let me come when I feel the wish; then I will sit in the evening on the spray yonder by the window, and sing you something, so that you may be glad and thoughtful at once. I will sing of those who are happy and of those who suffer.[190] I will sing of good and of evil that remains hidden round about you. The little singing bird flies far around, to the poor fisherman, to the peasant's roof, to everyone who dwells far away from you and from your Court. I love your heart more than your crown, and yet the crown has an air of sanctity about it. I will come and sing to you—but one thing you must promise me."

"Every thing!" said the Emperor; and he stood there in his imperial robes, which he had put on himself, and pressed the sword which was heavy with gold to his heart.

"One thing I beg of you: tell no one that you have a little bird who tells you everything. Then it will go all the better."

And the Nightingale flew away.

The servants came in to look at their dead Emperor, and—yes, there he stood, and the Emperor said, "Good-morning!"


This story is a favorite for the Christmas season. It is loosely constructed, and rambles along for some time after it might have been expected to finish. Such rambling is often very attractive to childish listeners, as it allows the introduction of unexpected incidents. Miss Kready has some interesting suggestions about dramatizing this story in her Study of Fairy Tales, pp. 151-153. The translation is Dulcken's.



Out in the forest stood a pretty little Fir Tree. It had a good place; it could have sunlight, air there was in plenty, and all around grew many larger comrades—pines as well as firs. But the little Fir Tree wished ardently to become greater. It did not care for the warm sun and the fresh air; it took no notice of the peasant children, who went about talking together, when they had come out to look for strawberries and raspberries. Often they came with a whole pot-full, or had strung berries on a straw; then they would sit down by the little Fir Tree and say, "How pretty and small that one is!" and the Fir Tree did not like to hear that at all.

Next year he had grown a great joint, and the following year he was longer still, for in fir trees one can always tell by the number of rings they have how many years they have been growing.

"Oh, if I were only as great a tree as the other!" sighed the little Fir, "then I would spread my branches far around, and look out from my crown into the wide world. The birds would then build nests in my boughs, and when the wind blew I could nod just as grandly as the others yonder."

It took no pleasure in the sunshine, in the birds, and in the red clouds that went sailing over him morning and evening.

When it was winter, and the snow lay all around, white and sparkling, a hare would often come jumping along, and spring right over the little Fir Tree. Oh! this made him so angry. But two winters went by, and when the third came the little Tree had grown so tall that the hare was obliged to run round it.

"Oh! to grow, to grow, and become old; that's the only fine thing in the world," thought the Tree.

In the autumn woodcutters always came and felled a few of the largest trees; that was done this year too, and the little Fir Tree, that was now quite well grown, shuddered with fear, for the[191] great stately trees fell to the ground with a crash, and their branches were cut off, so that the trees looked quite naked, long, and slender—they could hardly be recognized. But then they were laid upon wagons, and horses dragged them away out of the wood. Where were they going? What destiny awaited them?

In the spring, when the Swallows and the Stork came, the Tree asked them, "Do you know where they were taken? Did you not meet them?"

The Swallows knew nothing about it, but the Stork looked thoughtful, nodded his head, and said:

"Yes, I think so. I met many new ships when I flew out of Egypt; on the ships were stately masts; I fancy these were the trees. They smelt like fir. I can assure you they're stately—very stately."

"Oh that I were only big enough to go over the sea! What kind of thing is this sea, and how does it look?"

"It would take too long to explain all that," said the Stork, and he went away.

"Rejoice in thy youth," said the Sunbeams; "rejoice in thy fresh growth, and in the young life that is within thee."

And the wind kissed the Tree, and the dew wept tears upon it; but the Fir Tree did not understand that.

When Christmas-time approached, quite young trees were felled, sometimes trees which were neither so old nor so large as this Fir Tree, that never rested, but always wanted to go away. These young trees, which were always the most beautiful, kept all their branches; they were put upon wagons, and horses dragged them away out of the wood.

"Where are they all going?" asked the Fir Tree. "They are not greater than I—indeed, one of them was much smaller. Why do they keep all their branches? Whither are they taken?"

"We know that! We know that!" chirped the Sparrows. "Yonder in the town we looked in at the windows. We know where they go. Oh! they are dressed up in the greatest pomp and splendor that can be imagined. We have looked in at the windows, and have perceived that they are planted in the middle of a warm room, and adorned with the most beautiful things—gilt apples, honey-cakes, playthings, and many hundred candles."

"And then?" asked the Fir Tree, and trembled through all its branches. "And then? What happens then?"

"Why, we have not seen anything more. But it was incomparable."

"Perhaps I may be destined to tread this glorious path one day!" cried the Fir Tree, rejoicingly. "That is even better than traveling across the sea. How painfully I long for it! If it were only Christmas now! Now I am great and grown up, like the rest who were led away last year. Oh, if I were only on the carriage! If I were only in the warm room, among all the pomp and splendor! And then? Yes, then something even better will come, something far more charming, or else why should they adorn me so? There must be something grander, something greater still to come; but what? Oh! I'm suffering, I'm longing! I don't know myself what is the matter with me!"

"Rejoice in us," said Air and Sunshine. "Rejoice in thy fresh youth here in the woodland."

But the Fir Tree did not rejoice at all, but it grew and grew; winter and summer it stood there, green, dark green. The[192] people who saw it said, "That's a handsome tree!" and at Christmas time it was felled before any one of the others. The ax cut deep into its marrow, and the tree fell to the ground with a sigh; it felt a pain, a sensation of faintness, and could not think at all of happiness, for it was sad at parting from its home, from the place where it had grown up; it knew that it should never again see the dear old companions, the little bushes and flowers all around—perhaps not even the birds. The parting was not at all agreeable.

The Tree only came to itself when it was unloaded in a yard, with other trees, and heard a man say:

"This one is famous; we want only this one!"

Now two servants came in gay liveries, and carried the Fir Tree into a large, beautiful saloon. All around the walls hung pictures, and by the great stove stood large Chinese vases with lions on the covers; there were rocking-chairs, silken sofas, great tables covered with picture books, and toys worth a hundred times a hundred dollars, at least the children said so. And the Fir Tree was put into a great tub filled with sand; but no one could see that it was a tub, for it was hung round with green cloth, and stood on a large, many-colored carpet. Oh, how the Tree trembled! What was to happen now? The servants, and the young ladies also, decked it out. On one branch they hung little nets, cut out of colored paper; every net was filled with sweetmeats; golden apples and walnuts hung down, as if they grew there, and more than a hundred little candles, red, white, and blue, were fastened to the different boughs. Dolls that looked exactly like real people—the tree had never seen such before—swung among the foliage, and high on the summit of the Tree was fixed a tinsel star. It was splendid, particularly splendid.

"This evening," said all, "this evening it will shine."

"Oh," thought the Tree, "that it were evening already! Oh, that the lights may be soon lit up! When may that be done? I wonder if trees will come out of the forest to look at me? Will the sparrows fly against the panes? Shall I grow fast here, and stand adorned in summer and winter?"

Yes, he did not guess badly. But he had a complete backache from mere longing, and the backache is just as bad for a Tree as the headache for a person.

At last the candles were lighted. What a brilliance, what splendor! The Tree trembled so in all its branches that one of the candles set fire to a green twig, and it was scorched.

"Heaven preserve us!" cried the young ladies; and they hastily put the fire out.

Now the Tree might not even tremble. Oh, that was terrible! It was so afraid of setting fire to some of its ornaments, and it was quite bewildered with all the brilliance. And now the folding doors were thrown open, and a number of children rushed in as if they would have overturned the whole Tree; the older people followed more deliberately. The little ones stood quite silent, but only for a minute; then they shouted till the room rang: they danced gleefully round the Tree, and one present after another was plucked from it.

"What are they about?" thought the Tree. "What's going to be done?"

And the candles burned down to the twigs, and as they burned down they[193] were extinguished, and then the children received permission to plunder the Tree. Oh! they rushed in upon it, so that every branch cracked again: if it had not been fastened by the top and by the golden star to the ceiling, it would have fallen down.

The children danced about with their pretty toys. No one looked at the Tree except one old man, who came up and peeped among the branches, but only to see if a fig or an apple had not been forgotten.

"A story! A story!" shouted the children; and they drew a little fat man toward the tree; and he sat down just beneath it—"for then we shall be in the green wood," said he, "and the tree may have the advantage of listening to my tale. But I can only tell one. Will you hear the story of Ivede-Avede, or of Klumpey-Dumpey, who fell downstairs, and still was raised up to honor and married the Princess?"

"Ivede-Avede!" cried some, "Klumpey-Dumpey!" cried others, and there was a great crying and shouting. Only the Fir Tree was quite silent, and thought, "Shall I not be in it? Shall I have nothing to do in it?" But he had been in the evening's amusement, and had done what was required of him.

And the fat man told about Klumpey-Dumpey who fell downstairs, and yet was raised to honor and married the Princess. And the children clapped their hands, and cried, "Tell another! tell another!" for they wanted to hear about Ivede-Avede; but they only got the story of Klumpey-Dumpey. The Fir Tree stood quite silent and thoughtful; never had the birds in the wood told such a story as that. Klumpey-Dumpey fell downstairs, and yet came to honor and married the Princess!

"Yes, so it happens in the world!" thought the Fir Tree, and believed it must be true, because that was such a nice man who told it. "Well, who can know? Perhaps I shall fall downstairs, too, and marry a Princess!" And it looked forward with pleasure to being adorned again, the next evening, with candles and toys, gold and fruit. "To-morrow I shall not tremble," it thought.

"I will rejoice in all my splendor. To-morrow I shall hear the story of Klumpey-Dumpey again, and perhaps that of Ivede-Avede, too."

And the Tree stood all night quiet and thoughtful.

In the morning the servants and the chambermaid came in.

"Now my splendor will begin afresh," thought the Tree. But they dragged him out of the room, and upstairs to the garret, and here they put him in a dark corner where no daylight shone.

"What's the meaning of this?" thought the Tree. "What am I to do here? What is to happen?"

And he leaned against the wall, and thought, and thought. And he had time enough, for days and nights went by, and nobody came up; and when at length someone came, it was only to put some great boxes in a corner. Now the Tree stood quite hidden away, and the supposition is that it was quite forgotten.

"Now it's winter outside," thought the Tree. "The earth is hard and covered with snow, and people cannot plant me; therefore I suppose I'm to be sheltered here until spring comes. How considerate that is! How good people are! If it were only not so dark[194] here, and so terribly solitary!—not even a little hare? That was pretty out there in the wood, when the snow lay thick and the hare sprang past; yes, even when he jumped over me; but then I did not like it. It is terribly lonely up here!"

"Piep! piep!" said a little Mouse, and crept forward, and then came another little one. They smelt at the Fir Tree, and then slipped among the branches.

"It's horribly cold," said the two little Mice, "or else it would be comfortable here. Don't you think so, you old Fir Tree?"

"I'm not old at all," said the Fir Tree. "There are many much older than I."

"Where do you come from?" asked the Mice. "And what do you know?" They were dreadfully inquisitive. "Tell us about the most beautiful spot on earth. Have you been there? Have you been in the store room, where cheeses lie on the shelves, and hams hang from the ceiling, where one dances on tallow candles, and goes in thin and comes out fat?"

"I don't know that," replied the Tree; "but I know the wood, where the sun shines and the birds sing."

And then it told all about its youth.

And the little Mice had never heard anything of the kind; and they listened and said:

"What a number of things you have seen! How happy you must have been!"

"I?" replied the Fir Tree; and it thought about what it had told. "Yes, those were really quite happy times." But then he told of the Christmas Eve, when he had been hung with sweetmeats and candles.

"Oh!" said the little Mice, "how happy you have been, you old Fir Tree!"

"I'm not old at all," said the Tree. "I only came out of the wood this winter. I'm only rather backward in my growth."

"What splendid stories you can tell!" said the little Mice.

And next night they came with four other little Mice, to hear what the Tree had to relate; and the more it said, the more clearly did it remember everything, and thought, "Those were quite merry days! But they may come again. Klumpey-Dumpey fell downstairs, and yet he married the Princess. Perhaps I may marry a Princess too!" And the Fir Tree thought of a pretty little Birch Tree that grew out in the forest; for the Fir Tree, that Birch was a real Princess.

"Who's Klumpey-Dumpey?" asked the little Mice.

And then the Fir Tree told the whole story. It could remember every single word; and the little Mice were ready to leap to the very top of the tree with pleasure. Next night a great many more Mice came, and on Sunday two Rats even appeared; but these thought the story was not pretty, and the little Mice were sorry for that, for now they also did not like it so much as before.

"Do you only know one story?" asked the Rats.

"Only that one," replied the Tree. "I heard that on the happiest evening of my life; I did not think then how happy I was."

"That's a very miserable story. Don't you know any about bacon and tallow candles—a store-room story?"

"No," said the Tree.

"Then we'd rather not hear you," said the Rats.

And they went back to their own people. The little Mice at last stayed[195] away also; and then the Tree sighed and said:

"It was very nice when they sat round me, the merry little Mice, and listened when I spoke to them. Now that's past too. But I shall remember to be pleased when they take me out."

But when did that happen? Why, it was one morning that people came and rummaged in the garret: the boxes were put away, and the Tree brought out; they certainly threw him rather roughly on the floor, but a servant dragged him away at once to the stairs, where the daylight shone.

"Now life is beginning again!" thought the Tree.

It felt the fresh air and the first sunbeams, and now it was out in the courtyard. Everything passed so quickly that the Tree quite forgot to look at itself, there was so much to look at all round. The courtyard was close to a garden, and here everything was blooming; the roses hung fresh and fragrant over the little paling, the linden trees were in blossom, and the swallows cried, "Quinze-wit! quinze-wit! my husband's come!" But it was not the Fir Tree that they meant.

"Now I shall live!" said the Tree, rejoicingly, and spread its branches far out; but, alas! they were all withered and yellow; and it lay in the corner among nettles and weeds. The tinsel star was still upon it, and shone in the bright sunshine.

In the courtyard a couple of the merry children were playing who had danced round the tree at Christmas time, and had rejoiced over it. One of the youngest ran up and tore off the golden star.

"Look what is sticking to the ugly old fir tree!" said the child, and he trod upon the branches till they cracked again under his boots.

And the Tree looked at all the blooming flowers and the splendor of the garden, and then looked at itself, and wished it had remained in the dark corner of the garret; it thought of its fresh youth in the wood, of the merry Christmas Eve, and of the little Mice which had listened so pleasantly to the story of Klumpey-Dumpey.

"Past! past!" said the old Tree. "Had I but rejoiced when I could have done so! Past! past!"

And the servant came and chopped the Tree into little pieces; a whole bundle lay there; it blazed brightly under the great brewing copper, and it sighed deeply, and each sigh was like a little shot; and the children who were at play there ran up and seated themselves at the fire, looked into it, and cried "Puff! puff!" But at each explosion, which was a deep sigh, the Tree thought of a summer day in the woods, or of a winter night there, when the stars beamed; he thought of Christmas Eve and of Klumpey-Dumpey, the only story he had ever heard or knew how to tell; and then the Tree was burned.

The boys played in the garden, and the youngest had on his breast a golden star, which the Tree had worn on its happiest evening. Now that was past, and the Tree's life was past, and the story is past too: past! past!—and that's the way with all stories.


The tale that follows was one of the author's earliest stories, published in 1835. It is clearly based upon an old folk tale, one variant of which is "The Blue Light" from the Grimm collection (No. 174). "It was[196] a lucky stroke," says Brandes, "that made Andersen the poet of children. After long fumbling, after unsuccessful efforts, which must necessarily throw a false and ironic light on the self-consciousness of a poet whose pride based its justification mainly on the expectancy of a future which he felt slumbering within his soul, after wandering about for long years, Andersen . . . one evening found himself in front of a little insignificant yet mysterious door, the door of the nursery story. He touched it, it yielded, and he saw, burning in the obscurity within, the little 'Tinder-Box' that became his Aladdin's lamp. He struck fire with it, and the spirits of the lamp—the dogs with eyes as large as tea-cups, as mill-wheels, as the round tower in Copenhagen—stood before him and brought him the three giant chests, containing all the copper, silver, and gold treasure stories of the nursery story. The first story had sprung into existence, and the 'Tinder-Box' drew all the others onward in its train. Happy is he who has found his 'tinder-box.'" The translation is by H. W. Dulcken.



There came a soldier marching along the high road—one, two! one, two! He had his knapsack on his back and a saber by his side, for he had been in the wars, and now he wanted to go home. And on the way he met with an old witch; she was very hideous, and her under lip hung down upon her breast. She said, "Good evening, soldier. What a fine sword you have, and what a big knapsack! You're a proper soldier! Now you shall have as much money as you like to have."

"I thank you, you old witch!" said the soldier.

"Do you see that great tree?" quoth the witch; and she pointed to a tree which stood beside them. "It's quite hollow inside. You must climb to the top, and then you'll see a hole, through which you can let yourself down and get deep into the tree. I'll tie a rope round your body, so that I can pull you up again when you call me."

"What am I to do down in the tree?" asked the soldier.

"Get money," replied the witch. "Listen to me. When you come down to the earth under the tree, you will find yourself in a great hall: it is quite light, for above three hundred lamps are burning there. Then you will see three doors; those you can open, for the keys are hanging there. If you go into the first chamber, you'll see a great chest in the middle of the floor; on this chest sits a dog, and he's got a pair of eyes as big as two tea-cups. But you need not care for that. I'll give you my blue-checked apron, and you can spread it out upon the floor; then go up quickly and take the dog, and set him on my apron; then open the chest, and take as many shillings as you like. They are of copper: if you prefer silver, you must go into the second chamber. But there sits a dog with a pair of eyes as big as mill-wheels. But do not you care for that. Set him upon my apron, and take some of the money. And if you want gold, you can have that too—in fact, as much as you can carry—if you go into the third chamber. But the dog that sits on the money-chest there has two eyes as big as round towers. He is a fierce dog, you may be sure; but you needn't be afraid, for all that. Only set him on my apron, and he won't hurt you; and take out of the chest as much gold as you like."[197]

"That's not so bad," said the soldier. "But what am I to give you, old witch? for you will not do it for nothing, I fancy."

"No," replied the witch, "not a single shilling will I have. You shall only bring me an old tinder-box which my grandmother forgot when she was down there last."

"Then tie the rope round my body," cried the soldier.

"Here it is," said the witch, "and here's my blue-checked apron."

Then the soldier climbed up into the tree, let himself slip down into the hole, and stood, as the witch had said, in the great hall where the three hundred lamps were burning.

Now he opened the first door. Ugh! there sat the dog with eyes as big as tea-cups, staring at him. "You're a nice fellow!" exclaimed the soldier; and he set him on the witch's apron, and took as many copper shillings as his pockets would hold, and then locked the chest, set the dog on it again, and went into the second chamber. Aha! there sat the dog with eyes as big as mill-wheels.

"You should not stare so hard at me," said the soldier; "you might strain your eyes." And he set the dog upon the witch's apron. And when he saw the silver money in the chest, he threw away all the copper money he had, and filled his pocket and his knapsack with silver only. Then he went into the third chamber. Oh, but that was horrid! The dog there really had eyes as big as towers, and they turned round and round in his head like wheels.

"Good evening!" said the soldier; and he touched his cap, for he had never seen such a dog as that before. When he had looked at him a little more closely, he thought, "That will do," and lifted him down to the floor, and opened the chest. Mercy! what a quantity of gold was there! He could buy with it the whole town, and the sugar sucking-pigs of the cake woman, and all the tin soldiers, whips, and rocking-horses in the whole world. Yes, that was a quantity of money! Now the soldier threw away all the silver coin with which he had filled his pockets and his knapsack, and took gold instead: yes, all his pockets, his knapsack, his boots, and his cap were filled, so that he could scarcely walk. Now indeed he had plenty of money. He put the dog on the chest, shut the door, and then called up through the tree, "Now pull me up, you old witch."

"Have you the tinder-box?" asked the witch.

"Plague on it!" exclaimed the soldier, "I had clean forgotten that." And he went and brought it.

The witch drew him up, and he stood on the high road again, with pockets, boots, knapsack, and cap full of gold.

"What are you going to do with the tinder-box?" asked the soldier.

"That's nothing to you," retorted the witch. "You've had your money—just give me the tinder-box."

"Nonsense!" said the soldier. "Tell me directly what you're going to do with it, or I'll draw my sword and cut off your head."

"No!" cried the witch.

So the soldier cut off her head. There she lay! But he tied up all his money in her apron, took it on his back like a bundle, put the tinder-box in his pocket, and went straight off toward the town.

That was a splendid town! And he put up at the very best inn and asked for the finest rooms, and ordered his[198] favorite dishes, for now he was rich, as he had so much money. The servant who had to clean his boots certainly thought them a remarkably old pair for such a rich gentleman; but he had not bought any new ones yet. The next day he procured proper boots and handsome clothes. Now our soldier had become a fine gentleman; and the people told him of all the splendid things which were in their city, and about the King, and what a pretty Princess the King's daughter was.

"Where can one get to see her?" asked the soldier.

"She is not to be seen at all," said they, all together; "she lives in a great copper castle, with a great many walls and towers round about it; no one but the King may go in and out there, for it has been prophesied that she shall marry a common soldier, and the King can't bear that."

"I should like to see her," thought the soldier; but he could not get leave to do so. Now he lived merrily, went to the theater, drove in the King's garden, and gave much money to the poor; and this was very kind of him, for he knew from old times how hard it is when one has not a shilling. Now he was rich, had fine clothes, and gained many friends, who all said he was a rare one, a true cavalier; and that pleased the soldier well. But as he spent money every day and never earned any, he had at last only two shillings left; and he was obliged to turn out of the fine rooms in which he had dwelt, and had to live in a little garret under the roof, and clean his boots for himself, and mend them with a darning-needle. None of his friends came to see him, for there were too many stairs to climb.

It was quite dark one evening, and he could not even buy himself a candle, when it occurred to him that there was a candle-end in the tinder-box which he had taken out of the hollow tree into which the witch had helped him. He brought out the tinder-box and the candle-end; but as soon as he struck fire and the sparks rose up from the flint, the door flew open, and the dog who had eyes as big as a couple of tea-cups, and whom he had seen in the tree, stood before him, and said:

"What are my lord's commands?"

"What is this?" said the soldier. "That's a famous tinder-box, if I can get everything with it that I want! Bring me some money," said he to the dog: and whisk! the dog was gone, and whisk! he was back again, with a great bag full of shillings in his mouth.

Now the soldier knew what a capital tinder-box this was. If he struck it once, the dog came who sat upon the chest of copper money; if he struck it twice, the dog came who had the silver; and if he struck it three times, then appeared the dog who had the gold. Now the soldier moved back into the fine rooms, and appeared again in handsome clothes; and all his friends knew him again, and cared very much for him indeed.

Once he thought to himself, "It is a very strange thing that one cannot get to see the Princess. They all say she is very beautiful; but what is the use of that, if she has always to sit in the great copper castle with the many towers? Can I not get to see her at all? Where is my tinder-box?" And so he struck a light, and whisk! came the dog with eyes as big as tea-cups.

"It is midnight, certainly," said the soldier, "but I should very much like[199] to see the Princess, only for one little moment."

And the dog was outside the door directly, and, before the soldier thought it, came back with the Princess. She sat upon the dog's back and slept; and everyone could see she was a real Princess, for she was so lovely. The soldier could not refrain from kissing her, for he was a thorough soldier. Then the dog ran back again with the Princess. But when morning came, and the King and Queen were drinking tea, the Princess said she had had a strange dream, the night before, about a dog and a soldier—that she had ridden upon the dog, and the soldier had kissed her.

"That would be a fine history!" said the Queen.

So one of the old Court ladies had to watch the next night by the Princess's bed, to see if this was really a dream, or what it might be.

The soldier had a great longing to see the lovely Princess again; so the dog came in the night, took her away, and ran as fast as he could. But the old lady put on water-boots, and ran just as fast after him. When she saw that they both entered a great house, she thought, "Now I know where it is"; and with a bit of chalk she drew a great cross on the door. Then she went home and lay down, and the dog came up with the Princess; but when he saw that there was a cross drawn on the door where the soldier lived, he took a piece of chalk too, and drew crosses on all the doors in the town. And that was cleverly done, for now the lady could not find the right door, because all the doors had crosses upon them.

In the morning early came the King and the Queen, the old Court lady and all the officers, to see where it was the Princess had been. "Here it is!" said the King, when he saw the first door with a cross upon it. "No, my dear husband, it is there!" said the Queen, who descried another door which also showed a cross. "But there is one, and there is one!" said all, for wherever they looked there were crosses on the doors. So they saw that it would avail them nothing if they searched on.

But the Queen was an exceedingly clever woman, who could do more than ride in a coach. She took her great gold scissors, cut a piece of silk into pieces, and made a neat little bag: this bag she filled with fine wheat flour, and tied it on the Princess's back; and when that was done, she cut a little hole in the bag, so that the flour would be scattered along all the way which the Princess should take.

In the night the dog came again, took the Princess on his back, and ran with her to the soldier, who loved her very much, and would gladly have been a prince, so that he might have her for his wife. The dog did not notice at all how the flour ran out in a stream from the castle to the windows of the soldier's house, where he ran up the wall with the Princess. In the morning the King and Queen saw well enough where their daughter had been, and they took the soldier and put him in prison.

There he sat. Oh, but it was dark and disagreeable there! And they said to him, "To-morrow you shall be hanged." That was not amusing to hear, and he had left his tinder-box at the inn. In the morning he could see, through the iron grating of the little window, how the people were hurrying out of the town to see him hanged. He heard the[200] drums beat and saw the soldiers marching. All the people were running out, and among them was a shoemaker's boy with leather apron and slippers, and he galloped so fast that one of his slippers flew off, and came right against the wall where the soldier sat looking through the iron grating.

"Halloo, you shoemaker's boy! you needn't be in such a hurry," cried the soldier to him: "it will not begin till I come. But if you will run to where I lived, and bring me my tinder-box, you shall have four shillings; but you must put your best leg foremost."

The shoemaker's boy wanted to get the four shillings, so he went and brought the tinder-box, and—well, we shall hear now what happened.

Outside the town a great gallows had been built, and around it stood the soldiers and many hundred thousand people. The King and Queen sat on a splendid throne, opposite to the Judges and the whole Council. The soldier already stood upon the ladder; but as they were about to put the rope round his neck, he said that before a poor criminal suffered his punishment an innocent request was always granted to him. He wanted very much to smoke a pipe of tobacco, as it would be the last pipe he should smoke in this world. The King would not say "No" to this; so the soldier took his tinder-box and struck fire. One—two—three—! and there suddenly stood all the dogs—the one with eyes as big as tea-cups, the one with eyes as large as mill-wheels, and the one whose eyes were as big as round towers.

"Help me now, so that I may not be hanged," said the soldier. And the dogs fell upon the Judge and all the Council, seized one by the leg and another by the nose, and tossed them all many feet into the air, so that they fell down and were all broken to pieces.

"I won't!" cried the King; but the biggest dog took him and the Queen and threw them after the others. Then the soldiers were afraid, and the people cried, "Little soldier, you shall be our King, and marry the beautiful Princess!"

So they put the soldier into the King's coach, and all the three dogs darted on in front and cried "Hurrah!" and the boys whistled through their fingers, and the soldiers presented arms. The Princess came out of the copper castle, and became Queen, and she liked that well enough. The wedding lasted a week, and the three dogs sat at the table too, and opened their eyes wider than ever at all they saw.


The following is one of Andersen's early stories, published in 1838. It has always been a great favorite. Whimsically odd couples, in this case so constant in their devotion to each other, seemed to appeal to Andersen. The romance of the Whip Top and the Ball in the little story "The Lovers" deals with another odd couple. "Constant" or "steadfast" are terms sometimes used in the different versions instead of "hardy," and, if they seem better to carry the meaning intended, teachers should feel free to substitute one of them in telling or reading the story. The translation is by H. W. Dulcken.



There were once five-and-twenty tin soldiers; they were all brothers, for they had all been born of one old tin spoon.[201] They shouldered their muskets, and looked straight before them; their uniform was red and blue, and very splendid. The first thing they had heard in the world, when the lid was taken off their box, had been the words, "Tin soldiers!" These words were uttered by a little boy, clapping his hands: the soldiers had been given to him, for it was his birthday; and now he put them upon the table. Each soldier was exactly like the rest; but one of them had been cast last of all, and there had not been enough tin to finish him; but he stood as firmly upon his one leg as the others on their two; and it was just this Soldier who became remarkable.

On the table on which they had been placed stood many other playthings, but the toy that attracted most attention was a neat castle of cardboard. Through the little windows one could see straight into the hall. Before the castle some little trees were placed round a little looking-glass, which was to represent a clear lake. Waxen swans swam on this lake, and were mirrored in it. This was all very pretty; but the prettiest of all was a little lady, who stood at the open door of the castle; she was also cut out in paper, but she had a dress of the clearest gauze, and a little narrow blue ribbon over her shoulders, that looked like a scarf; and in the middle of this ribbon was a shining tinsel rose as big as her whole face. The little lady stretched out both her arms, for she was a dancer; and then she lifted one leg so high that the Tin Soldier could not see it at all, and thought that, like himself, she had but one leg.

"That would be the wife for me," thought he; "but she is very grand. She lives in a castle, and I have only a box, and there are five-and-twenty of us in that. It is no place for her. But I must try to make acquaintance with her."

And then he lay down at full length behind a snuff-box which was on the table; there he could easily watch the little dainty lady, who continued to stand upon one leg without losing her balance.

When the evening came all the other tin soldiers were put into their box, and the people in the house went to bed. Now the toys began to play at "visiting," and at "war," and "giving balls." The tin soldiers rattled in their box, for they wanted to join, but could not lift the lid. The nutcracker threw somersaults, and the pencil amused itself on the table; there was so much noise that the canary woke up, and began to speak too, and even in verse. The only two who did not stir from their places were the Tin Soldier and the Dancing Lady: she stood straight up on the point of one of her toes, and stretched out both her arms; and he was just as enduring on his one leg; and he never turned his eyes away from her.

Now the clock struck twelve—and, bounce! the lid flew off the snuff-box; but there was no snuff in it, but a little black Goblin: you see, it was a trick.

"Tin Soldier!" said the Goblin, "don't stare at things that don't concern you."

But the Tin Soldier pretended not to hear him.

"Just you wait till to-morrow!" said the Goblin.

But when the morning came, and the children got up, the Tin Soldier was placed in the window; and whether it was the Goblin or the draught that did it, all at once the window flew open,[202] and the Soldier fell head over heels out of the third story. That was a terrible passage! He put his leg straight up, and stuck with helmet downward and his bayonet between the paving-stones.

The servant-maid and the little boy came down directly to look for him, but though they almost trod upon him, they could not see him. If the Soldier had cried out "Here I am!" they would have found him; but he did not think it fitting to call out loudly, because he was in uniform.

Now it began to rain; the drops soon fell thicker, and at last it came down into a complete stream. When the rain was past, two street boys came by.

"Just look!" said one of them, "there lies a Tin Soldier. He must come out and ride in the boat."

And they made a boat out of a newspaper, and put the Tin Soldier in the middle of it, and so he sailed down the gutter, and the two boys ran beside him and clapped their hands. Goodness preserve us! how the waves rose in that gutter, and how fast the stream ran! But then it had been a heavy rain. The paper boat rocked up and down, and sometimes turned round so rapidly that the Tin Soldier trembled; but he remained firm, and never changed countenance, and looked straight before him, and shouldered his musket.

All at once the boat went into a long drain, and it became as dark as if he had been in his box.

"Where am I going now?" he thought. "Yes, yes, that's the Goblin's fault. Ah! if the little lady only sat here with me in the boat, it might be twice as dark for what I should care."

Suddenly there came a great Water Rat, which lived under the drain.

"Have you a passport?" said the Rat. "Give me your passport."

But the Tin Soldier kept silence, and held his musket tighter than ever.

The boat went on, but the Rat came after it. Hu! how he gnashed his teeth, and called out to the bits of straw and wood:

"Hold him! hold him! He hasn't paid toll—he hasn't shown his passport!"

But the stream became stronger and stronger. The Tin Soldier could see the bright daylight where the arch ended; but he heard a roaring noise which might well frighten a bolder man. Only think—just where the tunnel ended, the drain ran into a great canal; and for him that would have been as dangerous as for us to be carried down a great waterfall.

Now he was already so near it that he could not stop. The boat was carried out, the poor Tin Soldier stiffening himself as much as he could, and no one could say that he moved an eyelid. The boat whirled round three or four times, and was full of water to the very edge—it must sink. The Tin Soldier stood up to his neck in water, and the boat sank deeper and deeper, and the paper was loosened more and more; and now the water closed over the soldier's head. Then he thought of the pretty little Dancer, and how he should never see her again; and it sounded in the soldier's ears:

Farewell, farewell, thou warrior brave,
For this day thou must die!

And now the paper parted, and the Tin Soldier fell out; but at that moment he was snapped up by a great fish.

Oh, how dark it was in that fish's body! It was darker yet than in the[203] drain tunnel; and then it was very narrow too. But the Tin Soldier remained unmoved, and lay at full length shouldering his musket.

The fish swam to and fro; he made the most wonderful movements, and then became quite still. At last something flashed through him like lightning. The daylight shone quite clear, and a voice said aloud, "The Tin Soldier!" The fish had been caught, carried to market, bought, and taken into the kitchen, where the cook cut him open with a large knife. She seized the Soldier round the body with both her hands and carried him into the room, where all were anxious to see the remarkable man who had traveled about in the inside of a fish; but the Tin Soldier was not at all proud. They placed him on the table, and there—no! What curious things may happen in the world. The Tin Soldier was in the very room in which he had been before! He saw the same children, and the same toys stood on the table; and there was the pretty castle with the graceful little Dancer. She was still balancing herself on one leg, and held the other extended in the air. She was hardy too. That moved the Tin Soldier; he was very nearly weeping tin tears, but that would not have been proper. He looked at her, but they said nothing to each other.

Then one of the little boys took the Tin Soldier and flung him into the stove. He gave no reason for doing this. It must have been the fault of the Goblin in the snuff-box.

The Tin Soldier stood there quite illuminated, and felt a heat that was terrible; but whether this heat proceeded from the real fire or from love he did not know. The colors had quite gone off from him; but whether that had happened on the journey, or had been caused by grief, no one could say. He looked at the little lady, she looked at him, and he felt that he was melting; but he still stood firm, shouldering his musket. Then suddenly the door flew open, and the draught of air caught the Dancer, and she flew like a sylph just into the stove to the Tin Soldier, and flashed up in a flame, and she was gone. Then the Tin Soldier melted down into a lump; and when the servant-maid took the ashes out next day, she found him in the shape of a little tin heart. But of the Dancer nothing remained but the tinsel rose, and that was burned as black as a coal.


"The Ugly Duckling" has always been regarded as one of Andersen's most exquisite stories. No one can fail to notice the parallel that suggests itself between the successive stages in the duckling's history and those in Andersen's own life. In this story, remarks Dr. Brandes, "there is the quintessence of the author's entire life (melancholy, humor, martyrdom, triumph) and of his whole nature: the gift of observation and the sparkling intellect which he used to avenge himself upon folly and wickedness, the varied faculties which constitute his genius." The standards of judgment used by the ducks, the turkey, the hen, and the cat are all delightfully and humorously satirical of human stupidity and shortsightedness. The translation used is by H. W. Dulcken.



It was glorious out in the country. It was summer, and the cornfields were yellow, and the oats were green; the hay[204] had been put up in stacks in the green meadows, and the stork went about on his long red legs, and chattered Egyptian, for this was the language he had learned from his good mother. All around the fields and meadows were great forests, and in the midst of these forests lay deep lakes. Yes, it was really glorious out in the country. In the midst of the sunshine there lay an old farm, surrounded by deep canals, and from the wall down to the water grew great burdocks, so high that little children could stand upright under the loftiest of them. It was just as wild there as in the deepest wood. Here sat a Duck upon her nest, for she had to hatch her young ones; but she was almost tired out before the little ones came; and then she so seldom had visitors. The other ducks liked better to swim about in the canals than to run up to sit down under a burdock and cackle with her.

At last one eggshell after another burst open. "Piep! piep!" it cried, and in all the eggs there were little creatures that stuck out their heads.

"Rap! rap!" they said; and they all came rapping out as fast as they could, looking all round them under the green leaves; and the mother let them look as much as they chose, for green is good for the eyes.

"How wide the world is!" said the young ones, for they certainly had much more room now than when they were in the eggs.

"Do you think this is all the world!" asked the mother. "That extends far across the other side of the garden, quite into the parson's field, but I have never been there yet. I hope you are all together," she continued, and stood up. "No, I have not all. The largest egg still lies there. How long is that to last? I am really tired of it." And she sat down again.

"Well, how goes it?" asked an old Duck who had come to pay her a visit.

"It lasts a long time with that one egg," said the Duck who sat there. "It will not burst. Now, only look at the others; are they not the prettiest ducks one could possibly see? They are all like their father; the bad fellow never comes to see me."

"Let me see the egg which will not burst," said the old visitor. "Believe me, it is a turkey's egg. I was once cheated in that way, and had much anxiety and trouble with the young ones, for they are afraid of the water. I could not get them to venture in. I quacked and clucked, but it was of no use. Let me see the egg. Yes, that's a turkey's egg! Let it lie there, and you teach the other children to swim."

"I think I will sit on it a little longer," said the Duck. "I've sat so long now that I can sit a few days more."

"Just as you please," said the old Duck; and she went away.

At last the great egg burst. "Piep! piep!" said the little one, and crept forth. It was very large and very ugly. The Duck looked at it.

"It's a very large duckling," said she; "none of the others look like that; can it really be a turkey chick? Now we shall soon find out. It must go into the water, even if I have to thrust it in myself."

The next day the weather was splendidly bright, and the sun shone on all the green trees. The Mother-Duck went down to the water with all her little ones. Splash! she jumped into the water. "Quack! quack!" she said, and then one duckling after another plunged in. The[205] water closed over their heads, but they came up in an instant, and swam capitally; their legs went of themselves, and there they were, all in the water. The ugly gray Duckling swam with them.

"No, it's not a turkey," said she; "look how well it can use its legs, and how upright it holds itself. It is my own child! On the whole it's quite pretty, if one looks at it rightly. Quack! quack! come with me, and I'll lead you out into the great world, and present you in the poultry-yard; but keep close to me, so that no one may tread on you; and take care of the cats!"

And so they came into the poultry-yard. There was a terrible riot going on in there, for two families were quarreling about an eel's head, and the cat got it after all.

"See, that's how it goes in the world!" said the Mother-Duck; and she whetted her beak, for she, too, wanted the eel's head. "Only use your legs," she said. "See that you bustle about, and bow your heads before the old Duck yonder. She's the grandest of all here; she's of Spanish blood—that's why she's so fat; and do you see, she has a red rag round her leg; that's something particularly fine, and the greatest distinction a duck can enjoy; it signifies that one does not want to lose her, and that she's to be recognized by man and beast. Shake yourselves—don't turn in your toes; a well-brought-up Duck turns its toes quite out, just like father and mother, so! Now bend your necks and say 'Rap!'"

And they did so; but the other Ducks round about looked at them, and said quite boldly:

"Look there! now we're to have these hanging on, as if there were not enough of us already! And—fie—! how that Duckling yonder looks; we won't stand that!" And one duck flew up immediately, and bit it in the neck.

"Let it alone," said the mother; "it does no harm to anyone."

"Yes, but it's too large and peculiar," said the Duck who had bitten it; "and therefore it must be buffeted."

"Those are pretty children that the mother has there," said the old Duck with the rag round her leg. "They're all pretty but that one; that was a failure. I wish she could alter it."

"That cannot be done, my lady," replied the Mother-Duck. "It is not pretty, but it has a really good disposition, and swims as well as any other; I may even say it swims better. I think it will grow up pretty, and become smaller in time; it has lain too long in the egg, and therefore is not properly shaped." And then she pinched it in the neck, and smoothed its feathers. "Moreover, it is a drake," she said, "and therefore it is not of so much consequence. I think he will be very strong; he makes his way already."

"The other ducklings are graceful enough," said the old Duck. "Make yourself at home; and if you find an eel's head, you may bring it me."

And now they were at home. But the poor Duckling which had crept last out of the egg, and looked so ugly, was bitten and pushed and jeered, as much by the ducks as by the chickens.

"It is too big!" they all said. And the turkey-cock, who had been born with spurs, and therefore thought himself an Emperor, blew himself up like a ship in full sail, and bore straight down upon it; then he gobbled, and grew quite red in the face. The poor Duckling did not know where it should stand or walk;[206] it was quite melancholy, because it looked ugly and was scoffed at by the whole yard.

So it went on the first day; and afterward it became worse and worse. The poor Duckling was hunted about by every one; even its brothers and sisters were quite angry with it, and said, "If the cat would only catch you, you ugly creature!" And the mother said, "If you were only far away!" And the ducks bit it, and the chickens beat it, and the girl who had to feed the poultry kicked at it with her foot.

Then it ran and flew over the fence, and the little birds in the bushes flew up in fear.

"That is because I am so ugly!" thought the Duckling; and it shut its eyes, but flew no farther; thus it came out into the great moor, where the Wild Ducks lived. Here it lay the whole night long; and it was weary and downcast.

Toward morning the Wild Ducks flew up, and looked at their new companion.

"What sort of a one are you?" they asked; and the Duckling turned in every direction, and bowed as well as it could. "You are remarkably ugly!" said the Wild Ducks. "But that is very indifferent to us, so long as you do not marry into our family."

Poor thing! It certainly did not think of marrying, and only hoped to obtain leave to lie among the reeds and drink some of the swamp-water.

Thus it lay two whole days; then came thither two Wild Geese, or, properly speaking, two wild ganders. It was not long since each had crept out of an egg, and that's why they were so saucy.

"Listen, comrade," said one of them. "You're so ugly that I like you. Will you go with us, and become a bird of passage? Near here, in another moor, there are a few sweet lovely wild geese, all unmarried, and all able to say, 'Rap!' You've a chance of making your fortune, ugly as you are!"

"Piff! paff!" resounded through the air; and the two ganders fell down dead in the swamp, and the water became blood-red. "Piff! paff!" it sounded again, and whole flocks of wild geese rose up from the reeds. And then there was another report. A great hunt was going on. The hunters were lying in wait all round the moor, and some were even sitting up in the branches of the trees, which spread far over the reeds. The blue smoke rose up like clouds among the dark trees, and was wafted far away across the water; and the hunting dogs came—splash, splash!—into the swamp, and the rushes and the reeds bent down on every side. That was a fright for the poor Duckling! It turned its head, and put it under its wing; but at that moment a frightful great dog stood close by the Duckling. His tongue hung far out of his mouth and his eyes gleamed horrible and ugly; he thrust out his nose close against the Duckling, showed his sharp teeth, and—splash, splash!—on he went without seizing it.

"Oh, Heaven be thanked!" sighed the Duckling. "I am so ugly that even the dog does not like to bite me!"

And so it lay quite quiet, while the shots rattled through the reeds and gun after gun was fired. At last, late in the day, silence was restored; but the poor Duckling did not dare to rise up; it waited several hours before it looked round, and then hastened away out of the moor as fast as it could. It ran on over field and meadow; there was such a storm raging that it was difficult to get from one place to another.[207]

Toward evening the Duck came to a little miserable peasant's hut. This hut was so dilapidated that it did not know on which side it should fall; and that's why it remained standing. The storm whistled round the Duckling in such a way that the poor creature was obliged to sit down, to stand against it; and the tempest grew worse and worse. Then the Duckling noticed that one of the hinges of the door had given way, and the door hung so slanting that the Duckling could slip through the crack into the room; and it did so.

Here lived a woman with her Tom Cat and her Hen. And the Tom Cat, whom she called Sonnie, could arch his back and purr. He could even give out sparks; but for that one had to stroke his fur the wrong way. The Hen had quite little short legs, and therefore she was called Chickabiddy-shortshanks; she laid good eggs, and the woman loved her as her own child.

In the morning the strange Duckling was at once noticed, and the Tom Cat began to purr, and the Hen to cluck.

"What's this?" said the woman, and looked all round; but she could not see well, and therefore she thought the Duckling was a fat duck that had strayed. "This is a rare prize," she said. "Now I shall have duck's eggs. I hope it is not a drake. We must try that."

And so the Duckling was admitted on trial for three weeks; but no eggs came. And the Tom Cat was master of the house, and the Hen was the lady, and they always said, "We and the world!" for they thought they were half the world, and by far the better half. The Duckling thought one might have a different opinion, but the Hen would not allow it.

"Can you lay eggs?" she asked.


"Then you'll have the goodness to hold your tongue."

And the Tom Cat said, "Can you curve your back, and purr, and give out sparks?"


"Then you cannot have any opinion of your own when sensible people are speaking."

And the Duckling sat in a corner and was melancholy; then the fresh air and the sunshine streamed in; and it was seized with such a strange longing to swim on the water that it could not help telling the Hen of it.

"What are you thinking of?" cried the Hen. "You have nothing to do; that's why you have these fancies. Purr or lay eggs, and they will pass over."

"But it is so charming to swim on the water!" said the Duckling, "so refreshing to let it close above one's head, and to dive down to the bottom."

"Yes, that must be a mighty pleasure, truly," quoth the Hen. "I fancy you must have gone crazy. Ask the Cat about it—he's the cleverest animal I know—ask him if he likes to swim on the water, or to dive down: I won't speak about myself. Ask our mistress, the old woman; no one in the world is cleverer than she. Do you think she has any desire to swim, and to let the water close above her head?"

"You don't understand me," said the Duckling.

"We don't understand you? Then pray who is to understand you? You surely don't pretend to be cleverer than the Tom Cat and the old woman—I won't say anything of myself. Don't be conceited, child, and be grateful for all the kindness you have received. Did[208] you not get into a warm room, and have you not fallen into company from which you may learn something? But you are a chatterer, and it is not pleasant to associate with you. You may believe me, I speak for your good. I tell you disagreeable things, and by that one may always know one's true friends. Only take care that you learn to lay eggs, or to purr and give out sparks!"

"I think I will go out into the wide world," said the Duckling.

"Yes, do go," replied the Hen.

And the Duckling went away. It swam on the water, and dived, but it was slighted by every creature because of its ugliness.

Now came the autumn. The leaves in the forest turned yellow and brown; the wind caught them so that they danced about, and up in the air it was very cold. The clouds hung low, heavy with hail and snow-flakes, and on the fence stood the raven, crying, "Croak! croak!" for mere cold; yes, it was enough to make one feel cold to think of this. The poor little Duckling certainly had not a good time. One evening—the sun was just setting in his beauty—there came a whole flock of great handsome birds out of the bushes; they were dazzlingly white, with long flexible necks; they were swans. They uttered a very peculiar cry, spread forth their glorious great wings, and flew away from that cold region to warmer lands, to fair open lakes. They mounted so high, so high! and the ugly little Duckling felt quite strange as it watched them. It turned round and round in the water like a wheel, stretched out its neck toward them, and uttered such a strange loud cry as frightened itself. Oh! it could not forget those beautiful, happy birds; and so soon as it could see them no longer, it dived down to the very bottom, and when it came up again, it was quite beside itself. It knew not the name of those birds, and knew not whither they were flying; but it loved them more than it had ever loved anyone. It was not at all envious of them. How could it think of wishing to possess such loveliness as they had? It would have been glad if only the ducks would have endured its company—the poor ugly creature!

And the winter grew cold, very cold! The Duckling was forced to swim about in the water, to prevent the surface from freezing entirely; but every night the hole in which it swam about became smaller and smaller. It froze so hard that the icy covering crackled again; and the Duckling was obliged to use its legs continually to prevent the hole from freezing up. At last it became exhausted, and lay quite still, and thus froze fast into the ice.

Early in the morning a peasant came by, and when he saw what had happened, he took his wooden shoe, broke the ice-crust to pieces, and carried the Duckling home to his wife. Then it came to itself again. The children wanted to play with it; but the Duckling thought they would do it an injury, and in its terror fluttered up into the milk-pan, so that the milk spurted down into the room. The woman clapped her hands, at which the Duckling flew down into the butter-tub, and then into the meal-barrel and out again. How it looked then! The woman screamed, and struck at it with the fire-tongs; the children tumbled over one another in their efforts to catch the Duckling; and they laughed and screamed finely. Happily the door stood open, and the poor creature was able to slip out between the shrubs into the newly-[209]fallen snow; and there it lay quite exhausted.

But it would be too melancholy if I were to tell all the misery and care which the Duckling had to endure in the hard winter. It lay out on the moor among the reeds when the sun began to shine again and the larks to sing; it was a beautiful spring.

Then all at once the Duckling could flap its wings; they beat the air more strongly than before, and bore it strongly away; and before it well knew how all this had happened, it found itself in a great garden, where the elder trees smelt sweet, and bent their long green branches down to the canal that wound through the region. Oh, here it was so beautiful, such a gladness of spring! and from the thicket came three glorious white swans; they rustled their wings, and swam lightly on the water. The Duckling knew the splendid creatures, and felt oppressed by a peculiar sadness.

"I will fly away to them, to the royal birds! and they will kill me, because I, that am so ugly, dare to approach them. But it is of no consequence! Better to be killed by them than to be pursued by ducks, and beaten by fowls, and pushed about by the girl who takes care of the poultry-yard, and to suffer hunger in winter!" And it flew out into the water, and swam toward the beautiful swans: these looked at it, and came sailing down upon it with outspread wings. "Kill me!" said the poor creature, and bent its head down upon the water, expecting nothing but death. But what was this that it saw in the clear water? It beheld its own image—and, lo! it was no longer a clumsy dark-gray bird, ugly and hateful to look at, but—a swan.

It matters nothing if one was born in a duck-yard, if one has only lain in a swan's egg.

It felt quite glad at all the need and misfortune it had suffered, now it realized its happiness in all the splendor that surrounded it. And the great swans swam round it, and stroked it with their beaks.

Into the garden came little children, who threw bread and corn into the water; the youngest cried, "There is a new one!" and the other children shouted joyously, "Yes, a new one has arrived!" And they clapped their hands and danced about, and ran to their father and mother; and bread and cake were thrown into the water; and they all said, "The new one is the most beautiful of all! so young and handsome!" and the old swans bowed their heads before him.

Then he felt quite ashamed, and hid his head under his wing, for he did not know what to do; he was so happy, and yet not at all proud. He thought how he had been persecuted and despised; and now he heard them saying that he was the most beautiful of all the birds. Even the elder tree bent its branches straight down into the water before him, and the sun shone warm and mild. Then his wings rustled, he lifted his slender neck, and cried rejoicingly from the depths of his heart:

"I never dreamed of so much happiness when I was still the Ugly Duckling!"


One of the really successful modern attempts at telling new fairy stories was Granny's Wonderful Chair (1857) by the blind poet Frances Browne (1816-1887). In spite of the obstacles due to blindness, poverty, and ill-health, she succeeded in educating herself, and after achieving some fame as a poet left her mountain village[210] in county Donegal, Ireland, to make a literary career in Edinburgh and London. She published many volumes of poems, novels, and children's books. Only one of these is now much read or remembered, but it has taken a firm place in the affections of children. In Granny's Wonderful Chair there are seven stories, set in an interesting framework which tells of the adventures of the little girl Snowflower and her chair at the court of King Winwealth. This chair had magic power to transport Snowflower wherever she wished to go, like the magic carpet in the Arabian Nights. When she laid down her head and said, "Chair of my grandmother, tell me a story," a clear voice from under the cushion would at once begin to speak. Besides the story that follows, two of the most satisfactory in the collection are "The Greedy Shepherd" and "The Story of Merrymind." Perhaps one of the secrets of their charm is in the power of visualization which the author possessed. The pictures are all clear and definite, yet touched with the glamor of fairyland.



Once upon a time there stood far away in the west country a town called Stumpinghame. It contained seven windmills, a royal palace, a market place, and a prison, with every other convenience befitting the capital of a kingdom. A capital city was Stumpinghame, and its inhabitants thought it the only one in the world. It stood in the midst of a great plain, which for three leagues round its walls was covered with corn, flax, and orchards. Beyond that lay a great circle of pasture land, seven leagues in breadth, and it was bounded on all sides by a forest so thick and old that no man in Stumpinghame knew its extent; and the opinion of the learned was that it reached to the end of the world.

There were strong reasons for this opinion. First, that forest was known to be inhabited time out of mind by the fairies, and no hunter cared to go beyond its border—so all the west country believed it to be solidly full of old trees to the heart. Secondly, the people of Stumpinghame were no travelers—man, woman, and child had feet so large and heavy that it was by no means convenient to carry them far. Whether it was the nature of the place or the people, I cannot tell, but great feet had been the fashion there time immemorial, and the higher the family the larger were they. It was, therefore, the aim of everybody above the degree of shepherds, and such-like rustics, to swell out and enlarge their feet by way of gentility; and so successful were they in these undertakings that, on a pinch, respectable people's slippers would have served for panniers.

Stumpinghame had a king of its own, and his name was Stiffstep; his family was very ancient and large-footed. His subjects called him Lord of the World, and he made a speech to them every year concerning the grandeur of his mighty empire. His queen, Hammerheel, was the greatest beauty in Stumpinghame. Her majesty's shoe was not much less than a fishing-boat; their six children promised to be quite as handsome, and all went well with them till the birth of their seventh son.

For a long time nobody about the palace could understand what was the matter—the ladies-in-waiting looked so astonished, and the king so vexed; but at last it was whispered through the city that the queen's seventh child had been born with such miserably small feet that[211] they resembled nothing ever seen or heard of in Stumpinghame, except the feet of the fairies.

The chronicles furnished no example of such an affliction ever before happening in the royal family. The common people thought it portended some great calamity to the city; the learnèd men began to write books about it; and all the relations of the king and queen assembled at the palace to mourn with them over their singular misfortune. The whole court and most of the citizens helped in this mourning, but when it had lasted seven days they all found out it was of no use. So the relations went to their homes, and the people took to their work. If the learnèd men's books were written, nobody ever read them; and to cheer up the queen's spirits, the young prince was sent privately out to the pasture lands, to be nursed among the shepherds.

The chief man there was called Fleecefold, and his wife's name was Rough Ruddy. They lived in a snug cottage with their son Blackthorn and their daughter Brownberry, and were thought great people, because they kept the king's sheep. Moreover, Fleecefold's family were known to be ancient; and Rough Ruddy boasted that she had the largest feet in all the pastures. The shepherds held them in high respect, and it grew still higher when the news spread that the king's seventh son had been sent to their cottage. People came from all quarters to see the young prince, and great were the lamentations over his misfortune in having such small feet.

The king and queen had given him fourteen names, beginning with Augustus—such being the fashion in that royal family; but the honest country people could not remember so many; besides, his feet were the most remarkable thing about the child, so with one accord they called him Fairyfoot. At first it was feared this might be high treason, but when no notice was taken by the king or his ministers, the shepherds concluded it was no harm, and the boy never had another name throughout the pastures. At court it was not thought polite to speak of him at all. They did not keep his birthday, and he was never sent for at Christmas, because the queen and her ladies could not bear the sight. Once a year the undermost scullion was sent to see how he did, with a bundle of his next brother's cast-off clothes; and, as the king grew old and cross, it was said he had thoughts of disowning him.

So Fairyfoot grew in Fleecefold's cottage. Perhaps the country air made him fair and rosy—for all agreed that he would have been a handsome boy but for his small feet, with which nevertheless he learned to walk, and in time to run and to jump, thereby amazing everybody, for such doings were not known among the children of Stumpinghame. The news of court, however, traveled to the shepherds, and Fairyfoot was despised among them. The old people thought him unlucky; the children refused to play with him. Fleecefold was ashamed to have him in his cottage, but he durst not disobey the king's orders. Moreover, Blackthorn wore most of the clothes brought by the scullion. At last, Rough Ruddy found out that the sight of such horrid jumping would make her children vulgar; and, as soon as he was old enough, she sent Fairyfoot every day to watch some sickly sheep that grazed on a wild, weedy pasture, hard by the forest.[212]

Poor Fairyfoot was often lonely and sorrowful; many a time he wished his feet would grow larger, or that people wouldn't notice them so much; and all the comfort he had was running and jumping by himself in the wild pasture, and thinking that none of the shepherds' children could do the like, for all their pride of their great feet.

Tired of this sport, he was lying in the shadow of a mossy rock one warm summer's noon, with the sheep feeding around, when a robin, pursued by a great hawk, flew into the old velvet cap which lay on the ground beside him. Fairyfoot covered it up, and the hawk, frightened by his shout, flew away.

"Now you may go, poor robin!" he said, opening the cap: but instead of the bird, out sprang a little man dressed in russet-brown, and looking as if he were an hundred years old. Fairyfoot could not speak for astonishment, but the little man said—

"Thank you for your shelter, and be sure I will do as much for you. Call on me if you are ever in trouble; my name is Robin Goodfellow"; and darting off, he was out of sight in an instant. For days the boy wondered who that little man could be, but he told nobody, for the little man's feet were as small as his own, and it was clear he would be no favorite in Stumpinghame. Fairyfoot kept the story to himself, and at last midsummer came. That evening was a feast among the shepherds. There were bonfires on the hills, and fun in the villages. But Fairyfoot sat alone beside his sheepfold, for the children of his village had refused to let him dance with them about the bonfire, and he had gone there to bewail the size of his feet, which came between him and so many good things. Fairyfoot had never felt so lonely in all his life, and remembering the little man, he plucked up spirit, and cried—

"Ho! Robin Goodfellow!"

"Here I am," said a shrill voice at his elbow; and there stood the little man himself.

"I am very lonely, and no one will play with me, because my feet are not large enough," said Fairyfoot.

"Come then and play with us," said the little man. "We lead the merriest lives in the world, and care for nobody's feet; but all companies have their own manners, and there are two things you must mind among us: first, do as you see the rest doing; and secondly, never speak of anything you may hear or see, for we and the people of this country have had no friendship ever since large feet came in fashion."

"I will do that, and anything more you like," said Fairyfoot; and the little man, taking his hand, led him over the pasture into the forest and along a mossy path among old trees wreathed with ivy (he never knew how far), till they heard the sound of music and came upon a meadow where the moon shone as bright as day, and all the flowers of the year—snowdrops, violets, primroses, and cowslips—bloomed together in the thick grass. There were a crowd of little men and women, some clad in russet color, but far more in green, dancing round a little well as clear as crystal. And under great rose-trees which grew here and there in the meadow, companies were sitting round low tables covered with cups of milk, dishes of honey, and carved wooden flagons filled with clear red wine. The little man led Fairyfoot up to the nearest table, handed him one of the flagons, and said[213]

"Drink to the good company."

Wine was not very common among the shepherds of Stumpinghame, and the boy had never tasted such drink as that before; for scarcely had it gone down when he forgot all his troubles—how Blackthorn and Brownberry wore his clothes, how Rough Ruddy sent him to keep the sickly sheep, and the children would not dance with him: in short, he forgot the whole misfortune of his feet, and it seemed to his mind that he was a king's son, and all was well with him. All the little people about the well cried—"Welcome! welcome!" and every one said—"Come and dance with me!" So Fairyfoot was as happy as a prince, and drank milk and ate honey till the moon was low in the sky, and then the little man took him by the hand, and never stopped nor stayed till he was at his own bed of straw in the cottage corner.

Next morning Fairyfoot was not tired for all his dancing. Nobody in the cottage had missed him, and he went out with the sheep as usual; but every night all that summer, when the shepherds were safe in bed, the little man came and took him away to dance in the forest. Now he did not care to play with the shepherds' children, nor grieve that his father and mother had forgotten him, but watched the sheep all day, singing to himself or plaiting rushes; and when the sun went down, Fairyfoot's heart rejoiced at the thought of meeting that merry company.

The wonder was that he was never tired nor sleepy, as people are apt to be who dance all night; but before the summer was ended Fairyfoot found out the reason. One night, when the moon was full, and the last of the ripe corn rustling in the fields, Robin Goodfellow came for him as usual, and away they went to the flowery green. The fun there was high, and Robin was in haste. So he only pointed to the carved cup from which Fairyfoot every night drank the clear red wine.

"I am not thirsty, and there is no use losing time," thought the boy to himself, and he joined the dance; but never in all his life did Fairyfoot find such hard work as to keep pace with the company. Their feet seemed to move like lightning, the swallows did not fly so fast or turn so quickly. Fairyfoot did his best, for he never gave in easily, but at length, his breath and strength being spent, the boy was glad to steal away and sit down behind a mossy oak, where his eyes closed for very weariness. When he awoke the dance was nearly over, but two little ladies clad in green talked close beside him.

"What a beautiful boy!" said one of them. "He is worthy to be a king's son. Only see what handsome feet he has!"

"Yes," said the other, with a laugh, that sounded spiteful; "they are just like the feet Princess Maybloom had before she washed them in the Growing Well. Her father has sent far and wide throughout the whole country searching for a doctor to make them small again, but nothing in this world can do it except the water of the Fair Fountain, and none but I and the nightingales know where it is."

"One would not care to let the like be known," said the first little lady: "there would come such crowds of these great coarse creatures of mankind, nobody would have peace for leagues round. But you will surely send word to the sweet princess!—she was so kind to our birds and butterflies, and danced so like one of ourselves!"[214]

"Not I, indeed!" said the spiteful fairy. "Her old skinflint of a father cut down the cedar which I loved best in the whole forest, and made a chest of it to hold his money in; besides, I never liked the princess—everybody praised her so. But come, we shall be too late for the last dance."

When they were gone, Fairyfoot could sleep no more with astonishment. He did not wonder at the fairies admiring his feet, because their own were much the same; but it amazed him that Princess Maybloom's father should be troubled at hers growing large. Moreover, he wished to see that same princess and her country, since there were really other places in the world than Stumpinghame.

When Robin Goodfellow came to take him home as usual he durst not let him know that he had overheard anything; but never was the boy so unwilling to get up as on that morning, and all day he was so weary that in the afternoon Fairyfoot fell asleep, with his head on a clump of rushes. It was seldom that any one thought of looking after him and the sickly sheep; but it so happened that towards evening the old shepherd, Fleecefold, thought he would see how things went on in the pastures. The shepherd had a bad temper and a thick staff, and no sooner did he catch sight of Fairyfoot sleeping, and his flock straying away, than shouting all the ill names he could remember, in a voice which woke up the boy, he ran after him as fast as his great feet would allow; while Fairyfoot, seeing no other shelter from his fury, fled into the forest, and never stopped nor stayed till he reached the banks of a little stream.

Thinking it might lead him to the fairies' dancing-ground, he followed that stream for many an hour, but it wound away into the heart of the forest, flowing through dells, falling over mossy rocks, and at last leading Fairyfoot, when he was tired and the night had fallen, to a grove of great rose-trees, with the moon shining on it as bright as day, and thousands of nightingales singing in the branches. In the midst of that grove was a clear spring, bordered with banks of lilies, and Fairyfoot sat down by it to rest himself and listen. The singing was so sweet he could have listened for ever, but as he sat the nightingales left off their songs, and began to talk together in the silence of the night.

"What boy is that," said one on a branch above him, "who sits so lonely by the Fair Fountain? He cannot have come from Stumpinghame with such small and handsome feet."

"No, I'll warrant you," said another, "he has come from the west country. How in the world did he find the way?"

"How simple you are!" said a third nightingale. "What had he to do but follow the ground-ivy which grows over height and hollow, bank and bush, from the lowest gate of the king's kitchen garden to the root of this rose-tree? He looks a wise boy, and I hope he will keep the secret, or we shall have all the west country here, dabbling in our fountain, and leaving us no rest to either talk or sing."

Fairyfoot sat in great astonishment at this discourse, but by and by, when the talk ceased and the songs began, he thought it might be as well for him to follow the ground-ivy, and see the Princess Maybloom, not to speak of getting rid of Rough Ruddy, the sickly sheep, and the crusty old shepherd. It[215] was a long journey; but he went on, eating wild berries by day, sleeping in the hollows of old trees by night, and never losing sight of the ground-ivy, which led him over height and hollow, bank and bush, out of the forest, and along a noble high road, with fields and villages on every side, to a great city, and a low old-fashioned gate of the king's kitchen-garden, which was thought too mean for the scullions, and had not been opened for seven years.

There was no use knocking—the gate was overgrown with tall weeds and moss; so, being an active boy, he climbed over, and walked through the garden, till a white fawn came frisking by, and he heard a soft voice saying sorrowfully—

"Come back, come back, my fawn! I cannot run and play with you now, my feet have grown so heavy"; and looking round he saw the loveliest young princess in the world, dressed in snow-white, and wearing a wreath of roses on her golden hair; but walking slowly, as the great people did in Stumpinghame, for her feet were as large as the best of them.

After her came six young ladies, dressed in white and walking slowly, for they could not go before the princess; but Fairyfoot was amazed to see that their feet were as small as his own. At once he guessed that this must be the Princess Maybloom, and made her an humble bow, saying—

"Royal princess, I have heard of your trouble because your feet have grown large; in my country that's all the fashion. For seven years past I have been wondering what would make mine grow, to no purpose; but I know of a certain fountain that will make yours smaller and finer than ever they were, if the king, your father, gives you leave to come with me, accompanied by two of your maids that are the least given to talking, and the most prudent officer in all his household; for it would grievously offend the fairies and the nightingales to make that fountain known."

When the princess heard that, she danced for joy in spite of her large feet, and she and her six maids brought Fairyfoot before the king and queen, where they sat in their palace hall, with all the courtiers paying their morning compliments. The lords were very much astonished to see a ragged, bare-footed boy brought in among them, and the ladies thought Princess Maybloom must have gone mad; but Fairyfoot, making an humble reverence, told his message to the king and queen, and offered to set out with the princess that very day. At first the king would not believe that there could be any use in his offer, because so many great physicians had failed to give any relief. The courtiers laughed Fairyfoot to scorn, the pages wanted to turn him out for an impudent impostor, and the prime minister said he ought to be put to death for high treason.

Fairyfoot wished himself safe in the forest again, or even keeping the sickly sheep; but the queen, being a prudent woman, said—

"I pray your majesty to notice what fine feet this boy has. There may be some truth in his story. For the sake of our only daughter, I will choose two maids who talk the least of all our train, and my chamberlain, who is the most discreet officer in our household. Let them go with the princess; who knows but our sorrow may be lessened?"

After some persuasion the king consented, though all his councillors advised[216] the contrary. So the two silent maids, the discreet chamberlain, and her fawn, which would not stay behind, were sent with Princess Maybloom, and they all set out after dinner. Fairyfoot had hard work guiding them along the track of the ground-ivy. The maids and the chamberlain did not like the brambles and rough roots of the forest—they thought it hard to eat berries and sleep in hollow trees; but the princess went on with good courage, and at last they reached the grove of rose-trees, and the spring bordered with lilies.

The chamberlain washed—and though his hair had been grey, and his face wrinkled, the young courtiers envied his beauty for years after. The maids washed—and from that day they were esteemed the fairest in all the palace. Lastly, the princess washed also—it could make her no fairer, but the moment her feet touched the water they grew less, and when she had washed and dried them three times, they were as small and finely-shaped as Fairyfoot's own. There was great joy among them, but the boy said sorrowfully—

"Oh! if there had been a well in the world to make my feet large, my father and mother would not have cast me off, nor sent me to live among the shepherds."

"Cheer up your heart," said the Princess Maybloom; "if you want large feet, there is a well in this forest that will do it. Last summer time I came with my father and his foresters to see a great cedar cut down, of which he meant to make a money chest. While they were busy with the cedar, I saw a bramble branch covered with berries. Some were ripe and some were green, but it was the longest bramble that ever grew; for the sake of the berries, I went on and on to its root, which grew hard by a muddy-looking well, with banks of dark green moss, in the deepest part of the forest. The day was warm and dry and my feet were sore with the rough ground, so I took off my scarlet shoes and washed my feet in the well; but as I washed they grew larger every minute, and nothing could ever make them less again. I have seen the bramble this day; it is not far off, and as you have shown me the Fair Fountain, I will show you the Growing Well."

Up rose Fairyfoot and Princess Maybloom, and went together till they found the bramble, and came to where its root grew, hard by the muddy-looking well, with banks of dark green moss in the deepest dell of the forest. Fairyfoot sat down to wash, but at that minute he heard a sound of music, and knew it was the fairies going to their dancing ground.

"If my feet grow large," said the boy to himself, "how shall I dance with them?" So, rising quickly, he took the Princess Maybloom by the hand. The fawn followed them; the maids and the chamberlain followed it, and all followed the music through the forest. At last they came to the flowery green. Robin Goodfellow welcomed the company for Fairyfoot's sake, and gave every one a drink of the fairies' wine. So they danced there from sunset till the grey morning, and nobody was tired; but before the lark sang, Robin Goodfellow took them all safe home, as he used to take Fairyfoot.

There was great joy that day in the palace because Princess Maybloom's feet were made small again. The king gave Fairyfoot all manner of fine clothes and rich jewels; and when they heard his wonderful story, he and the queen asked[217] him to live with them and be their son. In process of time Fairyfoot and Princess Maybloom were married, and still live happily. When they go to visit at Stumpinghame, they always wash their feet in the Growing Well, lest the royal family might think them a disgrace, but when they come back, they make haste to the Fair Fountain; and the fairies and the nightingales are great friends to them, as well as the maids and the chamberlain, because they have told nobody about it, and there is peace and quiet yet in the grove of rose-trees.


The ill-fated Oscar Wilde (1856-1900) was born in Ireland, was educated at Oxford, came into great notoriety as the reputed leader of the "aesthetic movement," was prominent in the London literary world from 1885 to 1895, fell under the obloquy of most of his countrymen, and died in distressing circumstances in Paris. In addition to some remarkable plays, poems, and prose books, he wrote a number of unusual stories especially fascinating to children, which were collected under the title The Happy Prince, and Other Tales. These stories were at once recognized as classic in quality. While they contain much implied criticism of certain features of modern civilization, the whole tone is so idealistic and the workmanship so fine that they convey no strong note of bitterness to the child. "The Happy Prince" suggests that Wilde saw on the one hand "the white faces of starving children looking out listlessly at the black streets"; while on the other hand he saw the Pyramids, marble angels sculptured on the cathedral tower, and the gold-covered statue of the Prince of the Palace of the Care-Free. Wilde also suggests a remedy for the starvation and wretchedness that exist, especially among children, in most cities where great wealth is displayed. The important thing in presenting this story to children is to get the full sympathetic response due to the sacrifice made by the Happy Prince and the little swallow. So much of the effect depends upon the wonderful beauty of the language that teachers will, as a rule, get better results from reading or reciting than from any kind of oral paraphrase. Another story in this same volume widely and successfully used by teachers is the one called "The Selfish Giant."



High above the city, on a tall column, stood the statue of the Happy Prince. He was gilded all over with thin leaves of fine gold, for eyes he had two bright sapphires, and a large red ruby glowed on his sword-hilt.

He was very much admired indeed. "He is as beautiful as a weathercock," remarked one of the Town Councillors who wished to gain a reputation for having artistic tastes; "only not quite so useful," he added, fearing lest people should think him unpractical, which he really was not.

"Why can't you be like the Happy Prince?" asked a sensible mother of her little boy who was crying for the moon. "The Happy Prince never dreams of crying for anything."

"I am glad there is some one in the world who is quite happy," muttered a disappointed man as he gazed at the wonderful statue.

"He looks just like an angel," said the Charity Children as they came out of the cathedral in their bright scarlet cloaks and their clean white pinafores.

"How do you know?" said the Mathematical Master; "you have never seen one."[218]

"Ah! but we have, in our dreams," answered the children; and the Mathematical Master frowned and looked very severe, for he did not approve of children dreaming.

One night there flew over the city a Little Swallow. His friends had gone away to Egypt six weeks before, but he had stayed behind, for he was in love with the most beautiful Reed. He had met her early in the spring as he was flying down the river after a big yellow moth, and had been so attracted by her slender waist that he had stopped to talk to her.

"Shall I love you?" said the Swallow, who liked to come to the point at once, and the Reed made him a low bow. So he flew round and round her, touching the water with his wings, and making silver ripples. This was his courtship, and it lasted all through the summer.

"It is a ridiculous attachment," twittered the other Swallows; "she has no money, and far too many relations"; and indeed the river was quite full of Reeds. Then when the autumn came they all flew away.

After they had gone he felt lonely, and began to tire of his lady-love. "She has no conversation," he said, "and I am afraid that she is a coquette, for she is always flirting with the wind." And certainly, whenever the wind blew, the Reed made the most graceful curtseys. "I admit that she is domestic," he continued, "but I love traveling, and my wife, consequently, should love traveling also."

"Will you come away with me?" he said finally to her; but the Reed shook her head, she was so attached to her home.

"You have been trifling with me," he cried. "I am off to the Pyramids. Good-bye!" and he flew away.

All day long he flew, and at night-time he arrived at the city. "Where shall I put up?" he said; "I hope the town has made preparations."

Then he saw the statue on the tall column.

"I will put up there," he cried; "it is a fine position, with plenty of fresh air." So he alighted just between the feet of the Happy Prince.

"I have a golden bedroom," he said softly to himself as he looked round, and he prepared to go to sleep; but just as he was putting his head under his wing a large drop of water fell on him. "What a curious thing!" he cried; "there is not a single cloud in the sky, the stars are quite clear and bright, and yet it is raining. The climate in the north of Europe is really dreadful. The Reed used to like the rain, but that was merely her selfishness."

Then another drop fell.

"What is the use of a statue if it cannot keep the rain off?" he said; "I must look for a good chimney-pot," and he determined to fly away.

But before he had opened his wings, a third drop fell, and he looked up, and saw—Ah! what did he see?

The eyes of the Happy Prince were filled with tears, and tears were running down his golden cheeks. His face was so beautiful in the moonlight that the little Swallow was filled with pity.

"Who are you?" he said.

"I am the Happy Prince."

"Why are you weeping then?" asked the Swallow; "you have quite drenched me."

"When I was alive and had a human heart," answered the statue, "I did not know what tears were, for I lived in the Palace of Sans-Souci, where sorrow is not allowed to enter. In the daytime I[219] played with my companions in the garden, and in the evening I led the dance in the Great Hall. Round the garden ran a very lofty wall, but I never cared to ask what lay beyond it, everything about me was so beautiful. My courtiers called me the Happy Prince, and happy indeed I was, if pleasure be happiness. So I lived, and so I died. And now that I am dead they have set me up here so high that I can see all the ugliness and all the misery of my city, and though my heart is made of lead yet I cannot choose but weep."

"What! is he not solid gold?" said the Swallow to himself. He was too polite to make any personal remarks out loud.

"Far away," continued the statue in a low musical voice, "far away in a little street there is a poor house. One of the windows is open, and through it I can see a woman seated at a table. Her face is thin and worn, and she has coarse, red hands, all pricked by the needle, for she is a seamstress. She is embroidering passion-flowers on a satin gown for the loveliest of the Queen's maids-of-honor to wear at the next Court-ball. In a bed in the corner of the room her little boy is lying ill. He has a fever, and is asking for oranges. His mother has nothing to give him but river water, so he is crying. Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow, will you not take her the ruby out of my sword-hilt? My feet are fastened to this pedestal and I cannot move."

"I am waited for in Egypt," said the Swallow. "My friends are flying up and down the Nile, and talking to the large lotus-flowers. Soon they will go to sleep in the tomb of the great King. The King is there himself in his painted coffin. He is wrapped in yellow linen, and embalmed with spices. Round his neck is a chain of pale green jade, and his hands are like withered leaves."

"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "will you not stay with me for one night, and be my messenger? The boy is so thirsty, and the mother so sad."

"I don't think I like boys," answered the Swallow. "Last summer, when I was staying on the river, there were two rude boys, the miller's sons, who were always throwing stones at me. They never hit me, of course; we swallows fly far too well for that, and besides, I come of a family famous for its agility; but still, it was a mark of disrespect."

But the Happy Prince looked so sad that the little Swallow was sorry. "It is very cold here," he said; "but I will stay with you for one night, and be your messenger."

"Thank you, little Swallow," said the Prince.

So the Swallow picked out the great ruby from the Prince's sword, and flew away with it in his beak over the roofs of the town.

He passed by the cathedral tower, where the white marble angels were sculptured. He passed by the palace and heard the sound of dancing. A beautiful girl came out on the balcony with her lover. "How wonderful the stars are," he said to her, "and how wonderful is the power of love!"

"I hope my dress will be ready in time for the State-ball," she answered; "I have ordered passion-flowers to be embroidered on it; but the seamstresses are so lazy."

He passed over the river, and saw the lanterns hanging to the masts of the ships. He passed over the Ghetto, and saw the old Jews bargaining with each[220] other, and weighing out money in copper scales. At last he came to the poor house and looked in. The boy was tossing feverishly on his bed, and the mother had fallen asleep, she was so tired. In he hopped, and laid the great ruby on the table beside the woman's thimble. Then he flew gently round the bed, fanning the boy's forehead with his wings. "How cool I feel," said the boy. "I must be getting better"; and he sank into a delicious slumber.

Then the Swallow flew back to the Happy Prince, and told him what he had done. "It is curious," he remarked, "but I feel quite warm now, although it is so cold."

"That is because you have done a good action," said the Prince. And the little Swallow began to think, and then he fell asleep. Thinking always made him sleepy.

When day broke he flew down to the river and had a bath. "What a remarkable phenomenon," said the Professor of Ornithology as he was passing over the bridge. "A swallow in winter!" And he wrote a long letter about it to the local newspaper. Every one quoted it, it was full of so many words that they could not understand.

"To-night I go to Egypt," said the Swallow, and he was in high spirits at the prospect. He visited all the public monuments, and sat a long time on top of the church steeple. Wherever he went the Sparrows chirruped, and said to each other, "What a distinguished stranger!" so he enjoyed himself very much.

When the moon rose he flew back to the Happy Prince. "Have you any commissions for Egypt?" he cried; "I am just starting."

"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "will you not stay with me one night longer?"

"I am waited for in Egypt," answered the Swallow. "To-morrow my friends will fly up to the Second Cataract. The river-horse couches there among the bulrushes, and on a great granite throne sits the God Memnon. All night long he watches the stars, and when the morning star shines he utters one cry of joy, and then he is silent. At noon the yellow lions come down to the water's edge to drink. They have eyes like green beryls, and their roar is louder than the roar of the cataract."

"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "far away across the city I see a young man in a garret. He is leaning over a desk covered with papers, and in a tumbler by his side there is a bunch of withered violets. His hair is brown and crisp, and his lips are red as a pomegranate, and he has large and dreamy eyes. He is trying to finish a play for the Director of the Theatre, but he is too cold to write any more. There is no fire in the grate, and hunger has made him faint."

"I will wait with you one night longer," said the Swallow, who really had a good heart. "Shall I take him another ruby?"

"Alas! I have no ruby now," said the Prince; "my eyes are all that I have left. They are made of rare sapphires, which were brought out of India a thousand years ago. Pluck out one of them and take it to him. He will sell it to the jeweller, and buy food and firewood, and finish his play."

"Dear Prince," said the Swallow, "I cannot do that"; and he began to weep.

"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "do as I command you."

So the Swallow plucked out the[221] Prince's eye, and flew away to the student's garret. It was easy enough to get in, as there was a hole in the roof. Through this he darted, and came into the room. The young man had his head buried in his hands, so he did not hear the flutter of the bird's wings, and when he looked up he found the beautiful sapphire lying on the withered violets.

"I am beginning to be appreciated," he cried; "this is from some great admirer. Now I can finish my play," and he looked quite happy.

The next day the Swallow flew down to the harbor. He sat on the mast of a large vessel and watched the sailors hauling big chests out of the hold with ropes. "Heave a-hoy!" they shouted as each chest came up. "I am going to Egypt!" cried the Swallow, but nobody minded, and when the moon rose he flew back to the Happy Prince.

"I am come to bid you good-bye," he cried.

"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "will you not stay with me one night longer?"

"It is winter," answered the Swallow, "and the chill snow will soon be here. In Egypt the sun is warm on the green palm-trees, and the crocodiles lie in the mud and look lazily about them. My companions are building a nest in the Temple of Baalbec, and the pink and white doves are watching them, and cooing to each other. Dear Prince, I must leave you, but I will never forget you, and next spring I will bring you back two beautiful jewels in place of those you have given away. The ruby shall be redder than a red rose, and the sapphire shall be as blue as the great sea."

"In the square below," said the Happy Prince, "there stands a little match-girl. She has let her matches fall in the gutter, and they are all spoiled. Her father will beat her if she does not bring home some money, and she is crying. She has no shoes or stockings, and her little head is bare. Pluck out my other eye, and give it to her, and her father will not beat her."

"I will stay with you one night longer," said the Swallow, "but I cannot pluck out your eye. You would be quite blind then."

"Swallow, Swallow, little Swallow," said the Prince, "do as I command you."

So he plucked out the Prince's other eye, and darted down with it. He swooped past the match-girl, and slipped the jewel into the palm of her hand. "What a lovely bit of glass," cried the little girl; and she ran home, laughing.

Then the Swallow came back to the Prince. "You are blind now," he said, "so I will stay with you always."

"No, little Swallow," said the poor Prince, "you must go away to Egypt."

"I will stay with you always," said the Swallow, and he slept at the Prince's feet.

All the next day he sat on the Prince's shoulder, and told him stories of what he had seen in strange lands. He told him of the red ibises, who stand in long rows on the banks of the Nile, and catch goldfish in their beaks; of the Sphinx, who is as old as the world itself, and lives in the desert, and knows everything; of the merchants, who walk slowly by the side of their camels, and carry amber beads in their hands; of the King of the Mountains of the Moon, who is as black as ebony, and worships a large crystal; of the great green snake that sleeps in a palm-tree, and has twenty priests to feed it with honey-cakes; and of the pygmies who sail over a big lake on large flat[222] leaves, and are always at war with the butterflies.

"Dear little Swallow," said the Prince, "you tell me of marvelous things, but more marvelous than anything is the suffering of men and of women. There is no Mystery so great as Misery. Fly over my city, little Swallow, and tell me what you see there."

So the Swallow flew over the great city, and saw the rich making merry in their beautiful houses, while the beggars were sitting at the gates. He flew into dark lanes, and saw the white faces of starving children looking out listlessly at the black streets. Under the archway of a bridge two little boys were lying in one another's arms to try to keep themselves warm. "How hungry we are!" they said. "You must not lie here," shouted the Watchman, and they wandered out into the rain.

Then he flew back and told the Prince what he had seen.

"I am covered with fine gold," said the Prince; "you must take it off, leaf by leaf, and give it to my poor; the living always think that gold can make them happy."

Leaf after leaf of the fine gold the Swallow picked off, till the Happy Prince looked quite dull and grey. Leaf after leaf of the fine gold he brought to the poor, and the children's faces grew rosier, and they laughed and played games in the street. "We have bread now!" they cried.

Then the snow came, and after the snow came the frost. The streets looked as if they were made of silver, they were so bright and glistening; long icicles like crystal daggers hung down from the eaves of the houses, everybody went about in furs, and the little boys wore scarlet caps and skated on the ice.

The poor little Swallow grew colder and colder, but he would not leave the Prince; he loved him too well. He picked up crumbs outside the baker's door when the baker was not looking, and tried to keep himself warm by flapping his wings.

But at last he knew that he was going to die. He had just strength to fly up to the Prince's shoulder once more. "Good-bye, dear Prince!" he murmured, "will you let me kiss your hand?"

"I am glad that you are going to Egypt at last, little Swallow," said the Prince. "You have stayed too long here; but you must kiss me on the lips, for I love you."

"It is not to Egypt that I am going," said the Swallow. "I am going to the House of Death. Death is the brother of Sleep, is he not?"

And he kissed the Happy Prince on the lips, and fell down dead at his feet.

At that moment a curious crack sounded inside the statue, as if something had suddenly broken. The fact is that the leaden heart had snapped right in two. It certainly was a dreadfully hard frost.

Early the next morning the Mayor was walking in the square below in company with the Town Councillors. As they passed the column he looked up at the statue: "Dear me! how shabby the Happy Prince looks!" he said.

"How shabby indeed!" cried the Town Councillors, who always agreed with the Mayor; and they went up to look at it.

"The ruby has fallen out of his sword, his eyes are gone, and he is golden no longer," said the Mayor; "in fact, he is little better than a beggar!"

"Little better than a beggar," said the Town Councillors.

"And here is actually a dead bird at his feet!" continued the Mayor. "We[223] must really issue a proclamation that birds are not to be allowed to die here." And the Town Clerk made a note of the suggestion.

So they pulled down the statue of the Happy Prince. "As he is no longer beautiful he is no longer useful," said the Art Professor at the University.

Then they melted the statue in a furnace, and the Mayor held a meeting of the Corporation to decide what was to be done with the metal. "We must have another statue, of course," he said, "and it shall be a statue of myself."

"Of myself," said each of the Town Councillors, and they quarrelled. When I last heard of them they were quarreling still.

"What a strange thing!" said the overseer of the workmen at the foundry. "This broken lead heart will not melt in the furnace. We must throw it away." So they threw it on a dustheap where the dead Swallow was also lying.

"Bring me the two most precious things in the city," said God to one of His Angels; and the Angel brought Him the leaden heart and the dead bird.

"You have rightly chosen," said God, "for in my garden of Paradise this little bird shall sing for evermore, and in my city of gold the Happy Prince shall praise me."


Two stories of unusual interest and charm for children are found in the collection of eleven by Raymond M. Alden (1873—), Why the Chimes Rang. One is the title story of the volume; the other is "The Knights of the Silver Shield." The latter follows by permission of the publishers, The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Indianapolis. (Copyright, 1906, 1908.) It is of striking dramatic interest and emphasizes a much-needed quality of character, the importance of a loyal performance of the lowlier duties of life. The salvation of a nation may depend upon the humble guardian of the gate quite as much as upon those who are engaged in the more spectacular struggle with giants. Mr. Alden is a scholarly professor of literature in Leland Stanford Jr. University, and it may interest the reader to know that he is the son of the author of the Pansy Books, a type of religious or Sunday-school fiction widely read throughout the country by a generation or two of young people.



There was once a splendid castle in a forest, with great stone walls and a high gateway, and turrets that rose away above the tallest trees. The forest was dark and dangerous, and many cruel giants lived in it; but in the castle was a company of knights, who were kept there by the king of the country, to help travelers who might be in the forest and to fight with the giants whenever they could.

Each of these knights wore a beautiful suit of armor and carried a long spear, while over his helmet there floated a great red plume that could be seen a long way off by any one in distress. But the most wonderful thing about the knights' armor was their shields. They were not like those of other knights, but had been made by a great magician who had lived in the castle many years before. They were made of silver, and sometimes shone in the sunlight with dazzling brightness; but at other times the surface of the shields would be clouded as though by a mist, and one could not see his face[224] reflected there as he could when they shone brightly.

Now, when each young knight received his spurs and his armor, a new shield was also given him from among those that the magician had made; and when the shield was new its surface was always cloudy and dull. But as the knight began to do service against the giants, or went on expeditions to help poor travelers in the forest, his shield grew brighter and brighter, so that he could see his face clearly reflected in it. But if he proved to be a lazy or cowardly knight, and let the giants get the better of him, or did not care what became of the travelers, then the shield grew more and more cloudy, until the knight became ashamed to carry it.

But this was not all. When any one of the knights fought a particularly hard battle, and won the victory, or when he went on some hard errand for the lord of the castle, and was successful, not only did his silver shield grow brighter, but when one looked into the center of it he could see something like a golden star shining in its very heart. This was the greatest honor that a knight could achieve, and the other knights always spoke of such a one as having "won his star." It was usually not till he was pretty old and tried as a soldier that he could win it. At the time when this story begins, the lord of the castle himself was the only one of the knights whose shield bore the golden star.

There came a time when the worst of the giants in the forest gathered themselves together to have a battle against the knights. They made a camp in a dark hollow not far from the castle, and gathered all their best warriors together, and all the knights made ready to fight them. The windows of the castle were closed and barred; the air was full of the noise of armor being made ready for use; and the knights were so excited that they could scarcely rest or eat.

Now there was a young knight in the castle, named Sir Roland, who was among those most eager for the battle. He was a splendid warrior, with eyes that shone like stars whenever there was anything to do in the way of knightly deeds. And although he was still quite young, his shield had begun to shine enough to show plainly that he had done bravely in some of his errands through the forest. This battle, he thought, would be the great opportunity of his life. And on the morning of the day when they were to go forth to it, and all the knights assembled in the great hall of the castle to receive the commands of their leaders, Sir Roland hoped that he would be put in the most dangerous place of all, so that he could show what knightly stuff he was made of.

But when the lord of the castle came to him, as he went about in full armor giving his commands, he said: "One brave knight must stay behind and guard the gateway of the castle, and it is you, Sir Roland, being one of the youngest, whom I have chosen for this."

At these words Sir Roland was so disappointed that he bit his lip and closed his helmet over his face so that the other knights might not see it. For a moment he felt as if he must reply angrily to the commander and tell him that it was not right to leave so sturdy a knight behind when he was eager to fight. But he struggled against this feeling and went quietly to look after his duties at the gate. The gateway was high and narrow, and was reached from outside by a high, narrow bridge that crossed the moat, which[225] surrounded the castle on every side. When an enemy approached, the knight on guard rang a great bell just inside the gate, and the bridge was drawn up against the castle wall, so that no one could come across the moat. So the giants had long ago given up trying to attack the castle itself.

To-day the battle was to be in the dark hollow in the forest, and it was not likely that there would be anything to do at the castle gate, except to watch it like a common doorkeeper. It was not strange that Sir Roland thought some one else might have done this.

Presently all the other knights marched out in their flashing armor, their red plumes waving over their heads, and their spears in their hands. The lord of the castle stopped only to tell Sir Roland to keep guard over the gate until they had all returned and to let no one enter. Then they went into the shadows of the forest and were soon lost to sight.

Sir Roland stood looking after them long after they had gone, thinking how happy he would be if he were on the way to battle like them. But after a little he put this out of his mind and tried to think of pleasanter things. It was a long time before anything happened, or any word came from the battle.

At last Sir Roland saw one of the knights come limping down the path to the castle, and he went out on the bridge to meet him. Now this knight was not a brave one, and he had been frightened away as soon as he was wounded.

"I have been hurt," he said, "so that I can not fight any more. But I could watch the gate for you, if you would like to go back in my place."

At first Sir Roland's heart leaped with joy at this, but then he remembered what the commander had told him on going away, and he said:

"I should like to go, but a knight belongs where his commander has put him. My place is here at the gate, and I can not open it even for you. Your place is at the battle."

The knight was ashamed when he heard this, and he presently turned about and went into the forest again.

So Sir Roland kept guard silently for another hour. Then there came an old beggar woman down the path to the castle and asked Sir Roland if she might come in and have some food. He told her that no one could enter the castle that day, but that he would send a servant out to her with food, and that she might sit and rest as long as she would.

"I have been past the hollow in the forest where the battle is going on," said the old woman, while she was waiting for her food.

"And how do you think it is going?" asked Sir Roland.

"Badly for the knights, I am afraid," said the old woman. "The giants are fighting as they have never fought before. I should think you had better go and help your friends."

"I should like to, indeed," said Sir Roland. "But I am set to guard the gateway of the castle and can not leave."

"One fresh knight would make a great difference when they are all weary with fighting," said the old woman. "I should think that, while there are no enemies about, you would be much more useful there."

"You may well think so," said Sir Roland, "and so may I; but it is neither you nor I that is commander here."

"I suppose," said the old woman then, "that you are one of the kind of[226] knights who like to keep out of fighting. You are lucky to have so good an excuse for staying at home." And she laughed a thin and taunting laugh.

Then Sir Roland was very angry, and thought that if it were only a man instead of a woman, he would show him whether he liked fighting or no. But as it was a woman, he shut his lips and set his teeth hard together, and as the servant came just then with the food he had sent for, he gave it to the old woman quickly and shut the gate that she might not talk to him any more.

It was not very long before he heard some one calling outside. Sir Roland opened the gate and saw standing at the other end of the drawbridge a little old man in a long black cloak. "Why are you knocking here?" he said. "The castle is closed to-day."

"Are you Sir Roland?" said the little old man.

"Yes," said Sir Roland.

"Then you ought not to be staying here when your commander and his knights are having so hard a struggle with the giants, and when you have the chance to make of yourself the greatest knight in this kingdom. Listen to me! I have brought you a magic sword."

As he said this, the old man drew from under his coat a wonderful sword that flashed in the sunlight as if it were covered with diamonds. "This is the sword of all swords," he said, "and it is for you, if you will leave your idling here by the castle gate and carry it to the battle. Nothing can stand before it. When you lift it the giants will fall back, your master will be saved, and you will be crowned the victorious knight—the one who will soon take his commander's place as lord of the castle."

Now Sir Roland believed that it was a magician who was speaking to him, for it certainly appeared to be a magic sword. It seemed so wonderful that the sword should be brought to him, that he reached out his hand as though he would take it, and the little old man came forward, as though he would cross the drawbridge into the castle. But as he did so, it came to Sir Roland's mind again that that bridge and the gateway had been intrusted to him, and he called out "No!" to the old man, so that he stopped where he was standing. But he waved the shining sword in the air again, and said: "It is for you! Take it, and win the victory!"

Sir Roland was really afraid that if he looked any longer at the sword or listened to any more words of the old man, he would not be able to hold himself within the castle. For this reason he struck the great bell at the gateway, which was the signal for the servants inside to pull in the chains of the drawbridge, and instantly they began to pull, and the drawbridge came up, so that the old man could not cross it to enter the castle, nor Sir Roland to go out.

Then, as he looked across the moat, Sir Roland saw a wonderful thing. The little old man threw off his black cloak, and as he did so he began to grow bigger and bigger, until in a minute more he was a giant as tall as any in the forest. At first Sir Roland could scarcely believe his eyes. Then he realized that this must be one of their giant enemies, who had changed himself to a little old man through some magic power, that he might make his way into the castle while all the knights were away. Sir Roland shuddered to think what might have happened if he had taken the sword and left the gate unguarded. The giant shook his[227] fist across the moat that lay between them, and then, knowing that he could do nothing more, he went angrily back into the forest.

Sir Roland now resolved not to open the gate again, and to pay no attention to any other visitor. But it was not long before he heard a sound that made him spring forward in joy. It was the bugle of the lord of the castle, and there came sounding after it the bugles of many of the knights that were with him, pealing so joyfully that Sir Roland was sure they were safe and happy. As they came nearer, he could hear their shouts of victory. So he gave the signal to let down the drawbridge again, and went out to meet them. They were dusty and bloodstained and weary, but they had won the battle with the giants; and it had been such a great victory that there had never been a happier home-coming.

Sir Roland greeted them all as they passed in over the bridge, and then, when he had closed the gate and fastened it, he followed them into the great hall of the castle. The lord of the castle took his place on the highest seat, with the other knights about him, and Sir Roland came forward with the key of the gate, to give his account of what he had done in the place to which the commander had appointed him. The lord of the castle bowed to him as a sign for him to begin, but just as he opened his mouth to speak, one of the knights cried out:

"The shield! the shield! Sir Roland's shield!"

Every one turned and looked at the shield which Sir Roland carried on his left arm. He himself could see only the top of it and did not know what they could mean. But what they saw was the golden star of knighthood, shining brightly from the center of Sir Roland's shield. There had never been such amazement in the castle before.

Sir Roland knelt before the lord of the castle to receive his commands. He still did not know why every one was looking at him so excitedly, and wondered if he had in some way done wrong.

"Speak, Sir Knight," said the commander, as soon as he could find his voice after his surprise, "and tell us all that has happened to-day at the castle. Have you been attacked? Have any giants come hither? Did you fight them alone?"

"No, my Lord," said Sir Roland. "Only one giant has been here, and he went away silently when he found he could not enter."

Then he told all that had happened through the day.

When he had finished, the knights all looked at one another, but no one spoke a word. Then they looked again at Sir Roland's shield, to make sure that their eyes had not deceived them, and there the golden star was still shining.

After a little silence the lord of the castle spoke.

"Men make mistakes," he said, "but our silver shields are never mistaken. Sir Roland has fought and won the hardest battle of all to-day."

Then the others all rose and saluted Sir Roland, who was the youngest knight that ever carried the golden star.


Jean Ingelow (1820-1897) was an English poet, novelist, and writer of stories for children, who lived in the fen district of Lincolnshire. Her most noted poem deals with a terrible catastrophe that happened there more than three centuries ago. It[228] is called "The High Tide on the Coast of Lincolnshire." Many reading books for the third or fourth grade contain her dainty and melodious "Seven Times One," in which a little girl expresses the joy and sense of power felt on reaching a seventh birthday. Of her children's books, the favorite is Mopsa the Fairy, which some one has called a "delightful succession of breezy impossibilities." Her shorter stories for children are collected under the title Stories Told to a Child (two series), from which "The Prince's Dream" is taken. It is somewhat old fashioned in method and style, reminding one of the stories of the days of Addison and Steele. Its seriousness is in striking contrast with the more flippant note in much modern writing for children, and it is sure to suggest some questions on the dangers and advantages of great possessions in their effects on labor, liberty, and human happiness in general. However, the moral will take care of itself, and the attention should rest on the means used by the old man to teach the young prince the things he is shut out from learning by experience. The children will easily see that it is an anticipation of the moving-picture method. Some other good stories in the collection mentioned are "I Have a Right," "The Fairy Who Judged Her Neighbors," and "Anselmo."



If we may credit the fable, there is a tower in the midst of a great Asiatic plain, wherein is confined a prince who was placed there in his earliest infancy, with many slaves and attendants, and all the luxuries that are compatible with imprisonment.

Whether he was brought there from some motive of state, whether to conceal him from enemies, or to deprive him of rights, has not transpired; but it is certain that up to the date of this little history he had never set his foot outside the walls of that high tower, and that of the vast world without he knew only the green plains which surrounded it; the flocks and the birds of that region were all his experience of living creatures, and all the men he saw outside were shepherds.

And yet he was not utterly deprived of change, for sometimes one of his attendants would be ordered away, and his place would be supplied by a new one. This fresh companion the prince would never weary of questioning, and letting him talk of cities, of ships, of forests, of merchandise, of kings; but though in turns they all tried to satisfy his curiosity, they could not succeed in conveying very distinct notions to his mind; partly because there was nothing in the tower to which they could compare the external world, partly because, having chiefly lived lives of seclusion and indolence in Eastern palaces, they knew it only by hearsay themselves.

At length, one day, a venerable man of a noble presence was brought to the tower, with soldiers to guard him and slaves to attend him. The prince was glad of his presence, though at first he seldom opened his lips, and it was manifest that confinement made him miserable. With restless feet he would wander from window to window of the stone tower, and mount from story to story; but mount as high as he would there was still nothing to be seen but the vast unvarying plain, clothed with scanty grass, and flooded with the glaring sunshine; flocks and herds, and shepherds, moved across it sometimes, but nothing else, not even a shadow, for there was no cloud in the sky to cast one.[229]

The old man, however, always treated the prince with respect, and answered his questions with a great deal of patience, till at length he found a pleasure in satisfying his curiosity, which so much pleased the young prisoner, that, as a great condescension, he invited him to come out on the roof of the tower and drink sherbet with him in the cool of the evening, and tell him of the country beyond the desert, and what seas are like, and mountains, and towns.

"I have learnt much from my attendants, and know this world pretty well by hearsay," said the prince, as they reclined on the rich carpet which was spread on the roof.

The old man smiled, but did not answer; perhaps because he did not care to undeceive his young companion, perhaps because so many slaves were present, some of whom were serving them with fruit, and others burning rich odors on a little chafing-dish that stood between them.

"But there are some words to which I never could attach any particular meaning," proceeded the prince, as the slaves began to retire, "and three in particular that my attendants cannot satisfy me upon, or are reluctant to do so."

"What words are those, my prince?" asked the old man. The prince turned on his elbow to be sure that the last slave had descended the tower stairs, then replied—

"O man of much knowledge, the words are these—Labor, and Liberty, and Gold."

"Prince," said the old man, "I do not wonder that it has been hard to make thee understand the first, the nature of it, and the cause why most men are born to it; as for the second, it would be treason for thee and me to do more than whisper it here, and sigh for it when none are listening; but the third need hardly puzzle thee, thy hookah is bright with it; all thy jewels are set in it; gold is inlaid in the ivory of thy bath; thy cup and thy dish are of gold, and golden threads are wrought into thy raiment."

"That is true," replied the prince, "and if I had not seen and handled this gold, perhaps I might not find its merits so hard to understand; but I possess it in abundance, and it does not feed me, nor make music for me, nor fan me when the sun is hot, nor cause me to sleep when I am weary; therefore when my slaves have told me how merchants go out and brave the perilous wind and sea, and live in the unstable ships, and run risks from shipwreck and pirates, and when, having asked them why they have done this, they have answered, 'For gold,' I have found it hard to believe them; and when they have told me how men have lied, and robbed, and deceived; how they have murdered one another, and leagued together to depose kings, to oppress provinces, and all for gold; then I have said to myself, either my slaves have combined to make me believe that which is not, or this gold must be very different from the yellow stuff that this coin is made of, this coin which is of no use but to have a hole pierced through it and hang to my girdle, that it may tinkle when I walk."

"Notwithstanding," said the old man, "nothing can be done without gold; for look you, prince, it is better than bread, and fruit, and music, for it can buy them all, since men love it, and have agreed to exchange it for whatever they may need."

"How so?" asked the prince.

"If a man has many loaves he cannot eat them all," answered the old man; "therefore he goes to his neighbor and[230] says, 'I have bread and thou hast a coin of gold—let us change'; so he receives the gold and goes to another man, saying, 'Thou hast two houses and I have none; lend me one of thy houses to live in, and I will give thee my gold'; thus again they change, and he that has the gold says, 'I have food enough and goods enough, but I want a wife, I will go to the merchant and get a marriage gift for her father, and for it I will give him this gold.'"

"It is well," said the prince; "but in time of drought, if there is no bread in a city, can they make it of gold?"

"Not so," answered the old man, "but they must send their gold to a city where there is food, and bring that back instead of it."

"But if there was a famine all over the world," asked the prince, "what would they do then?"

"Why then, and only then," said the old man, "they must starve, and the gold would be nought, for it can only be changed for that which is; it cannot make that which is not."

"And where do they get gold?" asked the prince; "is it the precious fruit of some rare tree, or have they whereby they can draw it down from the sky at sunset?"

"Some of it," said the old man, "they dig out of the ground."

Then he told the prince of ancient rivers running through terrible deserts, whose sands glitter, with golden grains and are yellow in the fierce heat of the sun, and of dreary mines where the Indian slaves work in gangs tied together, never seeing the light of day; and lastly (for he was a man of much knowledge, and had traveled far), he told him of the valley of the Sacramento in the New World, and of those mountains where the people of Europe send their criminals, and where now their free men pour forth to gather gold, and dig for it as hard as if for life; sitting up by it at night lest any should take it from them, giving up houses and country, and wife and children, for the sake of a few feet of mud, whence they dig clay that glitters as they wash it; and how they sift it and rock it as patiently as if it were their own children in the cradle, and afterwards carry it in their bosoms, and forego on account of it safety and rest.

"But, prince," he proceeded, observing that the young man was absorbed in his narrative, "if you would pass your word to me never to betray me, I would procure for you a sight of the external world, and in a trance you should see those places where gold is dug, and traverse those regions forbidden to your mortal footsteps."

Upon this, the prince threw himself at the old man's feet, and promised heartily to observe the secrecy required, and entreated that, for however short time, he might be suffered to see this wonderful world.

Then, if we may credit the story, the old man drew nearer to the chafing-dish which stood between them, and having fanned the dying embers in it, cast upon them a certain powder and some herbs, from whence as they burnt a peculiar smoke arose. As their vapors spread, he desired the prince to draw near and inhale them, and then (says the fable) when he should sleep he should find himself, in his dream, at whatever place he might desire, with this strange advantage, that he should see things in their truth and reality as well as in their outward shows.

So the prince, not without some fear, prepared to obey; but first he drank his[231] sherbet, and handed over the golden cup to the old man by way of recompense; then he reclined beside the chafing-dish and inhaled the heavy perfume till he became overpowered with sleep, and sank down upon the carpet in a dream.

The prince knew not where he was, but a green country was floating before him, and he found himself standing in a marshy valley, where a few wretched cottages were scattered here and there with no means of communication. There was a river, but it had overflowed its banks and made the central land impassable, the fences had been broken down by it, and the fields of corn laid low; a few wretched peasants were wandering about there; they looked half clad and half starved. "A miserable valley indeed!" exclaimed the prince; but as he said it a man came down from the hills with a great bag of gold in his hand.

"This valley is mine," said he to the people; "I have bought it for gold. Now make banks that the river may not overflow, and I will give you gold; also make fences and plant fields, and cover in the roofs of your houses, and buy yourselves richer clothing." So the people did so, and as the gold got lower in the bag the valley grew fairer and greener, till the prince exclaimed, "O gold, I see your value now! O wonderful, beneficent gold!"

But presently the valley melted away like a mist, and the prince saw an army besieging a city; he heard a general haranguing his soldiers to urge them on, and the soldiers shouting and battering the walls; but shortly, when the city was well-nigh taken, he saw some men secretly throwing gold among the soldiers, so much of it that they threw down their arms to pick it up, and said that the walls were so strong that they could not throw them down. "O powerful gold!" thought the prince; "thou art stronger than the city walls!"

After that it seemed to himself that he was walking about in a desert country, and in his dream he thought, "Now I know what labor is, for I have seen it, and its benefits; and I know what liberty is, for I have tasted it; I can wander where I will, and no man questions me; but gold is more strange to me than ever, for I have seen it buy both liberty and labor." Shortly after this he saw a great crowd digging upon a barren hill, and when he drew near he understood that he had reached the summit of his wishes, and that he was to see the place where the gold came from.

He came up and stood a long time watching the people as they toiled ready to faint in the sun, so great was the labor of digging the gold.

He saw who had much and could not trust any one to help them to carry it, binding it in bundles over their shoulders, and bending and groaning under its weight; he saw others hide it in the ground, and watch the place clothed in rags, that none might suspect that they were rich; but some, on the contrary, who had dug up an unusual quantity, he saw dancing and singing, and vaunting their success, till robbers waylaid them when they slept, and rifled their bundles and carried their golden sand away.

"All these men are mad," thought the prince, "and this pernicious gold has made them so."

After this, as he wandered here and there, he saw groups of people smelting the gold under the shadow of the trees, and he observed that a dancing, quivering vapor rose up from it, which dazzled their[232] eyes, and distorted everything that they looked at; arraying it also in different colors from the true one. He observed that this vapor from the gold caused all things to rock and reel before the eyes of those who looked through it, and also, by some strange affinity, it drew their hearts towards those that carried much gold on their persons, so that they called them good and beautiful; it also caused them to see darkness and dullness in the faces of those who carried none. "This," thought the prince, "is very strange"; but not being able to explain it, he went still further, and there he saw more people. Each of these had adorned himself with a broad golden girdle, and was sitting in the shade, while other men waited on them.

"What ails these people?" he inquired of one who was looking on, for he observed a peculiar air of weariness and dullness in their faces. He was answered that the girdles were very tight and heavy, and being bound over the regions of the heart, were supposed to impede its action, and prevent it from beating high, and also to chill the wearer, as being of opaque material, the warm sunshine of the earth could not get through to warm him.

"Why, then, do they not break them asunder," exclaimed the prince, "and fling them away?"

"Break them asunder!" cried the man; "why what a madman you must be; they are made of the purest gold!"

"Forgive my ignorance," replied the prince; "I am a stranger."

So he walked on, for feelings of delicacy prevented him from gazing any longer at the men with the golden girdles; but as he went he pondered on the misery he had seen, and thought to himself that this golden sand did more mischief than all the poisons of the apothecary; for it dazzled the eyes of some, it strained the hearts of others, it bowed down the heads of many to the earth with its weight; it was a sore labor to gather it, and when it was gathered, the robber might carry it away; it would be a good thing, he thought, if there were none of it.

After this he came to a place where were sitting some aged widows and some orphan children of the gold-diggers, who were helpless and destitute; they were weeping and bemoaning themselves, but stopped at the approach of a man, whose appearance attracted the prince, for he had a very great bundle of gold on his back, and yet it did not bow him down at all; his apparel was rich but he had no girdle on, and his face was anything but sad.

"Sir," said the prince to him, "you have a great burden; you are fortunate to be able to stand under it."

"I could not do so," he replied, "only that as I go on I keep lightening it"; and as he passed each of the widows, he threw gold to her, and stooping down, hid pieces of it in the bosoms of the children.

"You have no girdle," said the prince.

"I once had one," answered the gold gatherer; "but it was so tight over my breast that my very heart grew cold under it, and almost ceased to beat. Having a great quantity of gold on my back, I felt almost at the last gasp; so I threw off my girdle and being on the bank of a river, which I knew not how to cross, I was about to fling it in, I was so vexed! 'But no,' thought I, 'there are many people waiting here to cross besides myself. I will make my girdle into a bridge, and we will cross over on it.'"

"Turn your girdle into a bridge!" exclaimed the prince doubtfully, for he did not quite understand.

The man explained himself.[233]

"And then, sir, after that," he continued, "I turned one half of my burden into bread, and gave it to these poor people. Since then I have not been oppressed by its weight, however heavy it may have been; for few men have a heavier one. In fact, I gather more from day to day."

As the man kept speaking, he scattered his gold right and left with a cheerful countenance, and the prince was about to reply, when suddenly a great trembling under his feet made him fall to the ground. The refining fires of the gold gatherers sprang up into flames, and then went out; night fell over everything on the earth, and nothing was visible in the sky but the stars of the southern cross, which were glittering above him.

"It is past midnight," thought the prince, "for the stars of the cross begin to bend."

He raised himself upon his elbow, and tried to pierce the darkness, but could not. At length a slender blue flame darted out, as from ashes in a chafing-dish, and by the light of it he saw the strange pattern of his carpet and the cushions lying about. He did not recognise them at first, but presently he knew that he was lying in his usual place, at the top of his tower.

"Wake up, prince," said the old man.

The prince sat up and sighed, and the old man inquired what he had seen.

"O man of much learning!" answered the prince, "I have seen that this is a wonderful world; I have seen the value of labor, and I know the uses of it; I have tasted the sweetness of liberty, and am grateful, though it was but in a dream; but as for that other word that was so great a mystery to me, I only know this, that it must remain a mystery forever, since I am fain to believe that all men are bent on getting it; though, once gotten, it causeth them endless disquietude, only second to their discomfort that are without it. I am fain to believe that they can procure with it whatever they most desire, and yet that it cankers their hearts and dazzles their eyes; that it is their nature and their duty to gather it; and yet that, when once gathered, the best thing they can do is to scatter it!"

Alas! the prince visited this wonderful world no more; for the next morning, when he awoke, the old man was gone. He had taken with him the golden cup which the prince had given him. And the sentinel was also gone, none knew whither. Perhaps the old man had turned his golden cup into a golden key.


Few modern writers have given their readers more genuine delight than Frank R. Stockton (1834-1902). The most absurd and illogical situations and characters are presented with an air of such quiet sincerity that one refuses to question the reality of it all. Rudder Grange established his reputation in 1879, and was followed by a long list of stories of delightfully impossible events. For several years Stockton was one of the editors of St. Nicholas, and some of his stories for children, of first quality in both form and content, deserve to be better known than they are. Five of the best of them for school use have been brought together in a little volume called Fanciful Tales. One of these, "Old Pipes and the Dryad," is given here by permission of the publishers, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. (Copyright, 1894.) This story is based upon the old mythical belief that the trees are inhabited by guardian deities known as dryads, or hamadryads. To injure a tree meant to injure its guardian spirit and was almost certain to insure[234] disaster for the guilty person. On the other hand, to protect a tree would bring some token of appreciation from the dryad. A good introduction to the story would be the telling of one or two of these tree myths as found in Gayley's Classic Myths or Bulfinch's Age of Fable. A fine literary version of one of them is in Lowell's "Rhoecus." But the beautiful and kindly helpfulness of Old Pipes will carry its own message whether one knows any mythology or not.



A Mountain brook ran through a little village. Over the brook there was a narrow bridge, and from the bridge a foot-path led out from the village and up the hill-side, to the cottage of Old Pipes and his mother.

For many, many years Old Pipes had been employed by the villagers to pipe the cattle down from the hills. Every afternoon, an hour before sunset, he would sit on a rock in front of his cottage and play on his pipes. Then all the flocks and herds that were grazing on the mountains would hear him, wherever they might happen to be, and would come down to the village—the cows by the easiest paths, the sheep by those not quite so easy, and the goats by the steep and rocky ways that were hardest of all.

But now, for a year or more, Old Pipes had not piped the cattle home. It is true that every afternoon he sat upon the rock and played upon his pipes; but the cattle did not hear him. He had grown old, and his breath was feeble. The echoes of his cheerful notes, which used to come from the rocky hill on the other side of the valley, were heard no more; and twenty yards from Old Pipes one could scarcely tell what tune he was playing. He had become somewhat deaf, and did not know that the sound of his pipes was so thin and weak, and that the cattle did not hear him. The cows, the sheep, and the goats came down every afternoon as before; but this was because two boys and a girl were sent up after them. The villagers did not wish the good old man to know that his piping was no longer of any use; so they paid him his little salary every month, and said nothing about the two boys and the girl.

Old Pipes's mother was, of course, a great deal older than he was, and was as deaf as a gate—post, latch, hinges, and all—and she never knew that the sound of her son's pipe did not spread over all the mountain-side and echo back strong and clear from the opposite hills. She was very fond of Old Pipes, and proud of his piping; and as he was so much younger than she was, she never thought of him as being very old. She cooked for him, and made his bed, and mended his clothes; and they lived very comfortably on his little salary.

One afternoon, at the end of the month, when Old Pipes had finished his piping, he took his stout staff and went down the hill to the village to receive the money for his month's work. The path seemed a great deal steeper and more difficult than it used to be; and Old Pipes thought that it must have been washed by the rains and greatly damaged. He remembered it as a path that was quite easy to traverse either up or down. But Old Pipes had been a very active man, and as his mother was so much older than he was, he never thought of himself as aged and infirm.[235]

When the Chief Villager had paid him, and he had talked a little with some of his friends, Old Pipes started to go home. But when he had crossed the bridge over the brook, and gone a short distance up the hill-side, he became very tired, and sat down upon a stone. He had not been sitting there half a minute, when along came two boys and a girl.

"Children," said Old Pipes, "I'm very tired to-night, and I don't believe I can climb up this steep path to my home. I think I shall have to ask you to help me."

"We will do that," said the boys and the girl, quite cheerfully; and one boy took him by the right hand and the other by the left, while the girl pushed him in the back. In this way he went up the hill quite easily, and soon reached his cottage door. Old Pipes gave each of the three children a copper coin, and then they sat down for a few minutes' rest before starting back to the village.

"I'm sorry that I tired you so much," said Old Pipes.

"Oh, that would not have tired us," said one of the boys, "if we had not been so far to-day after the cows, the sheep, and the goats. They rambled high up on the mountain, and we never before had such a time in finding them."

"Had to go after the cows, the sheep, and the goats!" exclaimed Old Pipes. "What do you mean by that?"

The girl, who stood behind the old man, shook her head, put her hand on her mouth, and made all sorts of signs to the boy to stop talking on this subject; but he did not notice her, and promptly answered Old Pipes.

"Why, you see, good sir," said he, "that as the cattle can't hear your pipes now, somebody has to go after them every evening to drive them down from the mountain, and the Chief Villager has hired us three to do it. Generally it is not very hard work, but to-night the cattle had wandered far."

"How long have you been doing this?" asked the old man.

The girl shook her head and clapped her hand on her mouth as before, but the boy went on.

"I think it is about a year now," he said, "since the people first felt sure that the cattle could not hear your pipes; and from that time we've been driving them down. But we are rested now, and will go home. Good-night, sir."

The three children then went down the hill, the girl scolding the boy all the way home. Old Pipes stood silent a few moments, and then he went into his cottage.

"Mother," he shouted, "did you hear what those children said?"

"Children!" exclaimed the old woman; "I did not hear them. I did not know there were any children here."

Then Old Pipes told his mother—shouting very loudly to make her hear—how the two boys and the girl had helped him up the hill, and what he had heard about his piping and the cattle.

"They can't hear you?" cried his mother. "Why, what's the matter with the cattle?"

"Ah, me!" said Old Pipes; "I don't believe there's anything the matter with the cattle. It must be with me and my pipes that there is something the matter. But one thing is certain: if I do not earn the wages the Chief Villager pays me, I shall not take them. I shall go straight down to the village and give back the money I received to-day."[236]

"Nonsense!" cried his mother. "I'm sure you've piped as well as you could, and no more can be expected. And what are we to do without the money?"

"I don't know," said Old Pipes; "but I'm going down to the village to pay it back."

The sun had now set; but the moon was shining very brightly on the hill-side, and Old Pipes could see his way very well. He did not take the same path by which he had gone before, but followed another, which led among the trees upon the hill-side, and, though longer, was not so steep.

When he had gone about half-way, the old man sat down to rest, leaning his back against a great oak tree. As he did so, he heard a sound like knocking inside the tree, and then a voice said:

"Let me out! let me out!"

Old Pipes instantly forgot that he was tired, and sprang to his feet. "This must be a Dryad tree!" he exclaimed. "If it is, I'll let her out."

Old Pipes had never, to his knowledge, seen a Dryad tree, but he knew there were such trees on the hill-sides and the mountains, and that Dryads lived in them. He knew, too, that in the summer time, on those days when the moon rose before the sun went down, a Dryad could come out of her tree if any one could find the key which locked her in, and turn it. Old Pipes closely examined the trunk of the tree, which stood in the full moonlight. "If I see that key," he said, "I shall surely turn it." Before long he found a piece of bark standing out from the tree, which looked to him very much like the handle of a key. He took hold of it, and found he could turn it quite around. As he did so, a large part of the side of the tree was pushed open, and a beautiful Dryad stepped quickly out.

For a moment she stood motionless, gazing on the scene before her—the tranquil valley, the hills, the forest, and the mountain-side, all lying in the soft clear light of the moon. "Oh, lovely! lovely!" she exclaimed. "How long it is since I have seen anything like this!" And then, turning to Old Pipes, she said: "How good of you to let me out! I am so happy, and so thankful, that I must kiss you, you dear old man!" And she threw her arms around the neck of Old Pipes, and kissed him on both cheeks.

"You don't know," she then went on to say, "how doleful it is to be shut up so long in a tree. I don't mind it in the winter, for then I am glad to be sheltered, but in summer it is a rueful thing not to be able to see all the beauties of the world. And it's ever so long since I've been let out. People so seldom come this way; and when they do come at the right time, they either don't hear me or they are frightened and run away. But you, you dear old man, you were not frightened, and you looked and looked for the key, and you let me out; and now I shall not have to go back till winter has come, and the air grows cold. Oh, it is glorious! What can I do for you, to show you how grateful I am?"

"I am very glad," said Old Pipes, "that I let you out, since I see that it makes you so happy; but I must admit that I tried to find the key because I had a great desire to see a Dryad. But, if you wish to do something for me, you can, if you happen to be going down toward the village."

"To the village!" exclaimed the Dryad.[237] "I will go anywhere for you, my kind old benefactor."

"Well, then," said Old Pipes, "I wish you would take this little bag of money to the Chief Villager and tell him that Old Pipes cannot receive pay for the services which he does not perform. It is now more than a year that I have not been able to make the cattle hear me, when I piped to call them home. I did not know this until to-night; but now that I know it, I cannot keep the money, and so I send it back." And, handing the little bag to the Dryad, he bade her good-night, and turned toward his cottage.

"Good-night," said the Dryad. "And I thank you over, and over, and over again, you good old man!"

Old Pipes walked toward his home, very glad to be saved the fatigue of going all the way down to the village and back again. "To be sure," he said to himself, "this path does not seem at all steep, and I can walk along it very easily; but it would have tired me dreadfully to come up all the way from the village, especially as I could not have expected those children to help me again." When he reached home his mother was surprised to see him returning so soon.

"What!" she exclaimed; "have you already come back? What did the Chief Villager say? Did he take the money?"

Old Pipes was just about to tell her that he had sent the money to the village by a Dryad, when he suddenly reflected that his mother would be sure to disapprove such a proceeding, and so he merely said he had sent it by a person whom he had met.

"And how do you know that the person will ever take it to the Chief Villager?" cried his mother. "You will lose it, and the villagers will never get it. Oh, Pipes! Pipes! when will you be old enough to have ordinary common-sense?"

Old Pipes considered that, as he was already seventy years of age, he could scarcely expect to grow any wiser; but he made no remark on this subject, and, saying that he doubted not that the money would go safely to its destination, he sat down to his supper. His mother scolded him roundly, but he did not mind it; and after supper he went out and sat on a rustic chair in front of the cottage to look at the moonlit village, and to wonder whether or not the Chief Villager really received the money. While he was doing these two things, he went fast asleep.

When Old Pipes left the Dryad, she did not go down to the village with the little bag of money. She held it in her hand, and thought about what she had heard. "This is a good and honest old man," she said; "and it is a shame that he should lose this money. He looked as if he needed it, and I don't believe the people in the village will take it from one who has served them so long. Often, when in my tree, have I heard the sweet notes of his pipes. I am going to take the money back to him." She did not start immediately, because there were so many beautiful things to look at; but after awhile she went up to the cottage, and, finding Old Pipes asleep in his chair, she slipped the little bag into his coat-pocket, and silently sped away.

The next day Old Pipes told his mother that he would go up the mountain and cut some wood. He had a right to get wood from the mountain, but for a long time he had been content to pick up the dead branches which lay about his cottage. To-day, however, he felt so strong and vigorous that he thought he would[238] go and cut some fuel that would be better than this. He worked all the morning, and when he came back he did not feel at all tired, and he had a very good appetite for his dinner.

Now, Old Pipes knew a good deal about Dryads; but there was one thing which, although he had heard, he had forgotten. This was, that a kiss from a Dryad made a person ten years younger.

The people of the village knew this, and they were very careful not to let any child of ten years or younger go into the woods where the Dryads were supposed to be; for, if they should chance to be kissed by one of these tree-nymphs, they would be set back so far that they would cease to exist.

A story was told in the village that a very bad boy of eleven once ran away into the woods, and had an adventure of this kind; and when his mother found him he was a little baby of one year old. Taking advantage of her opportunity, she brought him up more carefully than she had done before, and he grew to be a very good boy indeed.

Now Old Pipes had been kissed twice by the Dryad, once on each cheek, and he therefore felt as vigorous and active as when he was a hale man of fifty. His mother noticed how much work he was doing, and told him that he need not try in that way to make up for the loss of his piping wages; for he would only tire himself out, and get sick. But her son answered that he had not felt so well for years, and that he was quite able to work.

In the course of the afternoon, Old Pipes, for the first time that day, put his hand in his coat-pocket, and there, to his amazement, he found the little bag of money. "Well, well!" he exclaimed, "I am stupid, indeed! I really thought that I had seen a Dryad; but when I sat down by that big oak tree I must have gone to sleep and dreamed it all; and then I came home, thinking I had given the money to a Dryad, when it was in my pocket all the time. But the Chief Villager shall have the money. I shall not take it to him to-day, but to-morrow I wish to go to the village to see some of my old friends; and then I shall give up the money."

Toward the close of the afternoon, Old Pipes, as had been his custom for so many years, took his pipes from the shelf on which they lay, and went out to the rock in front of the cottage.

"What are you going to do?" cried his mother. "If you will not consent to be paid, why do you pipe?"

"I am going to pipe for my own pleasure," said her son. "I am used to it, and I do not wish to give it up. It does not matter now whether the cattle hear me or not, and I am sure that my piping will injure no one."

When the good man began to play upon his favorite instrument he was astonished at the sound that came from it. The beautiful notes of the pipes sounded clear and strong down into the valley, and spread over the hills, and up the sides of the mountain beyond, while, after a little interval, an echo came back from the rocky hill on the other side of the valley.

"Ha! ha!" he cried, "what has happened to my pipes? They must have been stopped up of late, but now they are as clear and good as ever."

Again the merry notes went sounding far and wide. The cattle on the mountain heard them, and those that were old enough remembered how these notes had called them from their pastures[239] every evening, and so they started down the mountain-side, the others following.

The merry notes were heard in the village below, and the people were much astonished thereby. "Why, who can be blowing the pipes of Old Pipes?" they said. But, as they were all very busy, no one went up to see. One thing, however, was plain enough: the cattle were coming down the mountain. And so the two boys and the girl did not have to go after them, and had an hour for play, for which they were very glad.

The next morning Old Pipes started down to the village with his money, and on the way he met the Dryad. "Oh, ho!" he cried, "is that you? Why, I thought my letting you out of the tree was nothing but a dream."

"A dream!" cried the Dryad; "if you only knew how happy you have made me, you would not think it merely a dream. And has it not benefited you? Do you not feel happier? Yesterday I heard you playing beautifully on your pipes."

"Yes, yes," cried he. "I did not understand it before, but I see it all now. I have really grown younger. I thank you, I thank you, good Dryad, from the bottom of my heart. It was the finding of the money in my pocket that made me think it was a dream."

"Oh, I put it in when you were asleep," she said, laughing, "because I thought you ought to keep it. Good-by, kind, honest man. May you live long, and be as happy as I am now."

Old Pipes was greatly delighted when he understood that he was really a younger man; but that made no difference about the money, and he kept on his way to the village. As soon as he reached it, he was eagerly questioned as to who had been playing his pipes the evening before, and when the people heard that it was himself they were very much surprised. Thereupon Old Pipes told what had happened to him, and then there was greater wonder, with hearty congratulations and hand-shakes; for Old Pipes was liked by everyone. The Chief Villager refused to take his money; and although Old Pipes said that he had not earned it, everyone present insisted that, as he would now play on his pipes as before, he should lose nothing because, for a time, he was unable to perform his duty.

So Old Pipes was obliged to keep his money, and after an hour or two spent in conversation with his friends he returned to his cottage.

There was one person, however, who was not pleased with what had happened to Old Pipes. This was an Echo-dwarf who lived on the hills across the valley. It was his work to echo back the notes of the pipes whenever they could be heard.

A great many other Echo-dwarfs lived on these hills. They all worked, but in different ways. Some echoed back the songs of maidens, some the shouts of children, and others the music that was often heard in the village. But there was only one who could send back the strong notes of the pipes of Old Pipes, and this had been his sole duty for many years. But when the old man grew feeble, and the notes of his pipes could not be heard on the opposite hills, this Echo-dwarf had nothing to do, and he spent his time in delightful idleness; and he slept so much and grew so fat that it made his companions laugh to see him walk.[240]

On the afternoon on which, after so long an interval, the sound of the pipes was heard on the echo hills, this dwarf was fast asleep behind a rock. As soon as the first notes reached them, some of his companions ran to wake him up. Rolling to his feet, he echoed back the merry tune of Old Pipes.

Naturally, he was very angry at being thus obliged to give up his life of comfort, and he hoped very much that this pipe-playing would not occur again. The next afternoon he was awake and listening, and, sure enough, at the usual hour, along came the notes of the pipes as clear and strong as they ever had been; and he was obliged to work as long as Old Pipes played. The Echo-dwarf was very angry. He had supposed, of course, that the pipe-playing had ceased forever, and he felt that he had a right to be indignant at being thus deceived. He was so much disturbed that he made up his mind to go and try to find out how long this was to last. He had plenty of time, as the pipes were played but once a day, and he set off early in the morning for the hill on which Old Pipes lived. It was hard work for the fat little fellow, and when he had crossed the valley and had gone some distance into the woods on the hill-side, he stopped to rest, and in a few minutes the Dryad came tripping along.

"Ho, ho!" exclaimed the dwarf; "what are you doing here? and how did you get out of your tree?"

"Doing!" cried the Dryad; "I am being happy; that's what I am doing. And I was let out of my tree by the good old man who plays the pipes to call the cattle down from the mountain. And it makes me happier to think that I have been of service to him. I gave him two kisses of gratitude, and now he is young enough to play his pipes as well as ever."

The Echo-dwarf stepped forward, his face pale with passion. "Am I to believe," he said, "that you are the cause of this great evil that has come upon me? and that you are the wicked creature who has again started this old man upon his career of pipe-playing? What have I ever done to you that you should have condemned me for years and years to echo back the notes of those wretched pipes?"

At this the Dryad laughed loudly.

"What a funny little fellow you are!" she said. "Anyone would think you had been condemned to toil from morning till night; while what you really have to do is merely to imitate for half an hour every day the merry notes of Old Pipes's piping. Fie upon you, Echo-dwarf! You are lazy and selfish; and that is what is the matter with you. Instead of grumbling at being obliged to do a little wholesome work, which is less, I am sure, than that of any other echo-dwarf upon the rocky hill-side, you should rejoice at the good fortune of the old man who has regained so much of his strength and vigor. Go home and learn to be just and generous; and then, perhaps, you may be happy. Good-by."

"Insolent creature!" shouted the dwarf, as he shook his fat little fist at her. "I'll make you suffer for this. You shall find out what it is to heap injury and insult upon one like me, and to snatch from him the repose that he has earned by long years of toil." And, shaking his head savagely, he hurried back to the rocky hill-side.

Every afternoon the merry notes of[241] the pipes of Old Pipes sounded down into the valley and over the hills and up the mountain-side; and every afternoon when he had echoed them back, the little dwarf grew more and more angry with the Dryad. Each day, from early morning till it was time for him to go back to his duties upon the rocky hill-side, he searched the woods for her. He intended, if he met her, to pretend to be very sorry for what he had said, and he thought he might be able to play a trick upon her which would avenge him well.

One day, while thus wandering among the trees, he met Old Pipes. The Echo-dwarf did not generally care to see or speak to ordinary people; but now he was so anxious to find the object of his search, that he stopped and asked Old Pipes if he had seen the Dryad. The piper had not noticed the little fellow, and he looked down on him with some surprise.

"No," he said; "I have not seen her, and I have been looking everywhere for her."

"You!" cried the dwarf, "what do you wish with her?"

Old Pipes then sat down on a stone, so that he should be nearer the ear of his small companion, and he told what the Dryad had done for him.

When the Echo-dwarf heard that this was the man whose pipes he was obliged to echo back every day, he would have slain him on the spot, had he been able; but, as he was not able, he merely ground his teeth and listened to the rest of the story.

"I am looking for the Dryad now," Old Pipes continued, "on account of my aged mother. When I was old myself, I did not notice how very old my mother was; but now it shocks me to see how feeble her years have caused her to become; and I am looking for the Dryad to ask her to make my mother younger, as she made me."

The eyes of the Echo-dwarf glistened. Here was a man who might help him in his plans.

"Your idea is a good one," he said to Old Pipes, "and it does you honor. But you should know that a Dryad can make no person younger but one who lets her out of her tree. However, you can manage the affair very easily. All you need do is to find the Dryad, tell her what you want, and request her to step into her tree and be shut up for a short time. Then you will go and bring your mother to the tree; she will open it, and everything will be as you wish. Is not this a good plan?"

"Excellent!" cried Old Pipes; "and I will go instantly and search more diligently for the Dryad."

"Take me with you," said the Echo-dwarf. "You can easily carry me on your strong shoulders; and I shall be glad to help you in any way that I can."

"Now then," said the little fellow to himself, as Old Pipes carried him rapidly along, "if he persuades the Dryad to get into a tree,—and she is quite foolish enough to do it,—and then goes away to bring his mother, I shall take a stone or a club and I will break off the key of that tree, so that nobody can ever turn it again. Then Mistress Dryad will see what she has brought upon herself by her behavior to me."

Before long they came to the great oak tree in which the Dryad had lived, and at a distance they saw that beautiful creature herself coming toward them.

"How excellently well everything happens!" said the dwarf. "Put me down,[242] and I will go. Your business with the Dryad is more important than mine; and you need not say anything about my having suggested your plan to you. I am willing that you should have all the credit of it yourself."

Old Pipes put the Echo-dwarf upon the ground, but the little rogue did not go away. He hid himself between some low, mossy rocks, and he was so much like them in color that you would not have noticed him if you had been looking straight at him.

When the Dryad came up, Old Pipes lost no time in telling her about his mother, and what he wished her to do. At first, the Dryad answered nothing, but stood looking very sadly at Old Pipes.

"Do you really wish me to go into my tree again?" she said. "I should dreadfully dislike to do it, for I don't know what might happen. It is not at all necessary, for I could make your mother younger at any time if she would give me the opportunity. I had already thought of making you still happier in this way, and several times I have waited about your cottage, hoping to meet your aged mother, but she never comes outside, and you know a Dryad cannot enter a house. I cannot imagine what put this idea into your head. Did you think of it yourself?"

"No, I cannot say that I did," answered Old Pipes. "A little dwarf whom I met in the woods proposed it to me."

"Oh!" cried the Dryad; "now I see through it all. It is the scheme of that vile Echo-dwarf—your enemy and mine. Where is he? I should like to see him."

"I think he has gone away," said Old Pipes.

"No, he has not," said the Dryad, whose quick eyes perceived the Echo-dwarf among the rocks, "there he is. Seize him and drag him out, I beg of you."

Old Pipes saw the dwarf as soon as he was pointed out to him; and running to the rocks, he caught the little fellow by the arm and pulled him out.

"Now, then," cried the Dryad, who had opened the door of the great oak, "just stick him in there, and we will shut him up. Then I shall be safe from his mischief for the rest of the time I am free."

Old Pipes thrust the Echo-dwarf into the tree; the Dryad pushed the door shut; there was a clicking sound of bark and wood, and no one would have noticed that the big oak had ever had an opening in it.

"There," said the Dryad; "now we need not be afraid of him. And I assure you, my good piper, that I shall be very glad to make your mother younger as soon as I can. Will you not ask her to come out and meet me?"

"Of course I will," cried Old Pipes; "and I will do it without delay."

And then, the Dryad by his side, he hurried to his cottage. But when he mentioned the matter to his mother, the old woman became very angry indeed. She did not believe in Dryads; and, if they really did exist, she knew they must be witches and sorceresses, and she would have nothing to do with them. If her son had ever allowed himself to be kissed by one of them, he ought to be ashamed of himself. As to its doing him the least bit of good, she did not believe a word of it. He felt better than he used to feel, but that was very common. She had sometimes felt that way herself, and she forbade him ever to mention a Dryad to her again.

That afternoon, Old Pipes, feeling[243] very sad that his plan in regard to his mother had failed, sat down upon the rock and played upon his pipes. The pleasant sounds went down the valley and up the hills and mountain, but, to the great surprise of some persons who happened to notice the fact, the notes were not echoed back from the rocky hill-side, but from the woods on the side of the valley on which Old Pipes lived. The next day many of the villagers stopped in their work to listen to the echo of the pipes coming from the woods. The sound was not as clear and strong as it used to be when it was sent back from the rocky hill-side, but it certainly came from among the trees. Such a thing as an echo changing its place in this way had never been heard of before, and nobody was able to explain how it could have happened. Old Pipes, however, knew very well that the sound came from the Echo-dwarf shut up in the great oak tree. The sides of the tree were thin, and the sound of the pipes could be heard through them, and the dwarf was obliged by the laws of his being to echo back those notes whenever they came to him. But Old Pipes thought he might get the Dryad in trouble if he let anyone know that the Echo-dwarf was shut up in the tree, and so he wisely said nothing about it.

One day the two boys and the girl who had helped Old Pipes up the hill were playing in the woods. Stopping near the great oak tree, they heard a sound of knocking within it, and then a voice plainly said:

"Let me out! let me out!"

For a moment the children stood still in astonishment, and then one of the boys exclaimed:

"Oh, it is a Dryad, like the one Old Pipes found! Let's let her out!"

"What are you thinking of?" cried the girl. "I am the oldest of all, and I am only thirteen. Do you wish to be turned into crawling babies? Run! run! run!"

And the two boys and the girl dashed down into the valley as fast as their legs could carry them. There was no desire in their youthful hearts to be made younger than they were, and for fear that their parents might think it well that they should commence their careers anew, they never said a word about finding the Dryad tree.

As the summer days went on, Old Pipes's mother grew feebler and feebler. One day when her son was away, for he now frequently went into the woods to hunt or fish, or down into the valley to work, she arose from her knitting to prepare the simple dinner. But she felt so weak and tired that she was not able to do the work to which she had been so long accustomed. "Alas! alas!" she said, "the time has come when I am too old to work. My son will have to hire some one to come here and cook his meals, make his bed, and mend his clothes. Alas! alas! I had hoped that as long as I lived I should be able to do these things. But it is not so. I have grown utterly worthless, and some one else must prepare the dinner for my son. I wonder where he is." And tottering to the door, she went outside to look for him. She did not feel able to stand, and reaching the rustic chair, she sank into it, quite exhausted, and soon fell asleep.

The Dryad, who had often come to the cottage to see if she could find an opportunity of carrying out Old Pipes's affectionate design, now happened by;[244] and seeing that the much-desired occasion had come, she stepped up quietly behind the old woman and gently kissed her on each cheek, and then as quietly disappeared.

In a few minutes the mother of Old Pipes awoke, and looking up at the sun, she exclaimed: "Why, it is almost dinner-time! My son will be here directly, and I am not ready for him." And rising to her feet, she hurried into the house, made the fire, set the meat and vegetables to cook, laid the cloth, and by the time her son arrived the meal was on the table.

"How a little sleep does refresh one," she said to herself, as she was bustling about. She was a woman of very vigorous constitution, and at seventy had been a great deal stronger and more active than her son was at that age. The moment Old Pipes saw his mother, he knew that the Dryad had been there; but, while he felt as happy as a king, he was too wise to say anything about her.

"It is astonishing how well I feel to-day," said his mother; "and either my hearing has improved or you speak much more plainly than you have done of late."

The summer days went on and passed away, the leaves were falling from the trees, and the air was becoming cold.

"Nature has ceased to be lovely," said the Dryad, "and the night winds chill me. It is time for me to go back into my comfortable quarters in the great oak. But first I must pay another visit to the cottage of Old Pipes."

She found the piper and his mother sitting side by side on the rock in front of the door. The cattle were not to go to the mountain any more that season, and he was piping them down for the last time. Loud and merrily sounded the pipes of Old Pipes, and down the mountain-side came the cattle, the cows by the easiest paths, the sheep by those not quite so easy, and the goats by the most difficult ones among the rocks; while from the great oak tree were heard the echoes of the cheerful music.

"How happy they look, sitting there together," said the Dryad; "and I don't believe it will do them a bit of harm to be still younger." And moving quietly up behind them, she first kissed Old Pipes on his cheek and then kissed his mother.

Old Pipes, who had stopped playing, knew what it was, but he did not move, and said nothing. His mother, thinking that her son had kissed her, turned to him with a smile and kissed him in return. And then she arose and went into the cottage, a vigorous woman of sixty, followed by her son, erect and happy, and twenty years younger than herself.

The Dryad sped away to the woods, shrugging her shoulders as she felt the cool evening wind.

When she reached the great oak, she turned the key and opened the door. "Come out," said she to the Echo-dwarf, who sat blinking within. "Winter is coming on, and I want the comfortable shelter of my tree for myself. The cattle have come down from the mountain for the last time this year, the pipes will no longer sound, and you can go to your rocks and have a holiday until next spring."

Upon hearing these words the dwarf skipped quickly out, and the Dryad entered the tree and pulled the door shut after her. "Now, then," she said to herself, "he can break off the key if he likes. It does not matter to me.[245] Another will grow out next spring. And although the good piper made me no promise, I know that when the warm days arrive next year, he will come and let me out again."

The Echo-dwarf did not stop to break the key of the tree. He was too happy to be released to think of anything else, and he hastened as fast as he could to his home on the rocky hill-side.

The Dryad was not mistaken when she trusted in the piper. When the warm days came again he went to the oak tree to let her out. But, to his sorrow and surprise, he found the great tree lying upon the ground. A winter storm had blown it down, and it lay with its trunk shattered and split. And what became of the Dryad no one ever knew.


John Ruskin (1819-1900), the most eloquent of English prose writers, was much interested in the question of literature for both grown-ups and children. He edited a reissue of Taylor's translation of Grimms' Popular Stories, issued "Dame Wiggins of Lee and Her Seven Wonderful Cats" (see No. 143), and wrote that masterpiece among modern stories for children, The King of the Golden River. Its fine idealism, splendidly imagined structure, wonderful word-paintings, and perfect English all combine to justify the high place assigned to it. Ruskin wrote the story in 1841, at a "couple of sittings," though it was not published until ten years later. Speaking of it later in life, he said that it "was written to amuse a little girl; and being a fairly good imitation of Grimm and Dickens, mixed with a little true Alpine feeling of my own, it has been rightly pleasing to nice children, and good for them. But it is totally valueless, for all that. I can no more write a story than compose a picture." The final statement may be taken for what it is worth, written as it was at a time of disillusionment. The first part of Ruskin's analysis is certainly true and has been thus expanded by his biographer, Sir E. T. Cook: "The grotesque and the German setting of the tale were taken from Grimm; from Dickens it took its tone of pervading kindliness and geniality. The Alpine ecstasy and the eager pressing of the moral were Ruskin's own; and so also is the style, delicately poised between poetry and comedy."





In a secluded and mountainous part of Stiria there was, in old time, a valley of the most surprising and luxuriant fertility. It was surrounded, on all sides, by steep and rocky mountains, rising into peaks, which were always covered with snow, and from which a number of torrents descended in constant cataracts. One of these fell westward, over the face of a crag so high, that, when the sun had set to everything else, and all below was darkness, his beams still shone full upon this waterfall, so that it looked like a shower of gold. It was, therefore, called by the people of the neighborhood, the Golden River. It was strange that none of these streams fell into the valley itself. They all descended on the other side of the mountains, and wound away through broad plains and by populous cities. But the clouds were drawn so constantly to the snowy hills, and rested so softly[246] in the circular hollow, that in time of drought and heat, when all the country round was burnt up, there was still rain in the little valley; and its crops were so heavy, and its hay so high, and its apples so red, and its grapes so blue, and its wine so rich, and its honey so sweet, that it was a marvel to every one who beheld it, and was commonly called the Treasure Valley.

The whole of this little valley belonged to three brothers, called Schwartz, Hans, and Gluck. Schwartz and Hans, the two elder brothers, were very ugly men, with overhanging eyebrows and small dull eyes, which were always half shut, so that you couldn't see into them, and always fancied they saw very far into you. They lived by farming the Treasure Valley, and very good farmers they were. They killed everything that did not pay for its eating. They shot the blackbirds because they pecked the fruit; and killed the hedgehogs, lest they should suck the cows; they poisoned the crickets for eating the crumbs in the kitchen; and smothered the cicadas, which used to sing all summer in the lime trees. They worked their servants without any wages, till they would not work any more, and then quarreled with them, and turned them out of doors without paying them. It would have been very odd if, with such a farm, and such a system of farming, they hadn't got very rich; and very rich they did get. They generally contrived to keep their corn by them till it was very dear, and then sell it for twice its value; they had heaps of gold lying about on their floors, yet it was never known that they had given so much as a penny or a crust in charity; they never went to mass; grumbled perpetually at paying tithes; and were, in a word, of so cruel and grinding a temper as to receive from all those with whom they had any dealings the nickname of the "Black Brothers."

The youngest brother, Gluck, was as completely opposed, in both appearance and character, to his seniors as could possibly be imagined or desired. He was not above twelve years old, fair, blue-eyed, and kind in temper to every living thing. He did not, of course, agree particularly well with his brothers, or rather, they did not agree with him. He was usually appointed to the honorable office of turnspit, when there was anything to roast, which was not often; for, to do the brothers justice, they were hardly less sparing upon themselves than upon other people. At other times he used to clean the shoes, floors, and sometimes the plates, occasionally getting what was left on them, by way of encouragement, and a wholesome quantity of dry blows, by way of education.

Things went on in this manner for a long time. At last came a very wet summer, and everything went wrong in the country around. The hay had hardly been got in, when the haystacks were floated bodily down to the sea by an inundation; the vines were cut to pieces with the hail; the corn was all killed by a black blight; only in the Treasure Valley, as usual, all was safe. As it had rain when there was rain nowhere else, so it had sun when there was sun nowhere else. Everybody came to buy corn at the farm, and went away pouring maledictions on the Black Brothers. They asked what they liked, and got it, except from the poor people, who could only beg, and several of whom were starved at their very door, without the slightest regard or notice.[247]

It was drawing towards winter, and very cold weather, when one day the two elder brothers had gone out, with their usual warning to little Gluck, who was left to mind the roast, that he was to let nobody in, and give nothing out. Gluck sat down quite close to the fire, for it was raining very hard, and the kitchen walls were by no means dry or comfortable looking. He turned and turned, and the roast got nice and brown. "What a pity," thought Gluck, "my brothers never ask anybody to dinner. I'm sure, when they've got such a nice piece of mutton as this, and nobody else has got so much as a piece of dry bread, it would do their hearts good to have somebody to eat it with them."

Just as he spoke, there came a double knock at the house door, yet heavy and dull, as though the knocker had been tied up—more like a puff than a knock.

"It must be the wind," said Gluck; "nobody else would venture to knock double knocks at our door."

No; it wasn't the wind; there it came again very hard, and what was particularly astounding, the knocker seemed to be in a hurry, and not to be in the least afraid of the consequences. Gluck went to the window, opened it, and put his head out to see who it was.

It was the most extraordinary looking little gentleman he had ever seen in his life. He had a very large nose, slightly brass-colored; his cheeks were very round, and very red, and might have warranted a supposition that he had been blowing a refractory fire for the last eight-and-forty hours; his eyes twinkled merrily through long silky eyelashes, his mustaches curled twice round like a corkscrew on each side of his mouth, and his hair, of a curious mixed pepper-and-salt color, descended far over his shoulders. He was about four-feet-six in height, and wore a conical pointed cap of nearly the same altitude, decorated with a black feather some three feet long. His doublet was prolonged behind into something resembling a violent exaggeration of what is now termed a "swallowtail," but was much obscured by the swelling folds of an enormous black, glossy-looking cloak, which must have been very much too long in calm weather, as the wind, whistling round the old house, carried it clear out from the wearer's shoulders to about four times his own length.

Gluck was so perfectly paralyzed by the singular appearance of his visitor, that he remained fixed without uttering a word, until the old gentleman, having performed another, and a more energetic concerto on the knocker, turned round to look after his fly-away cloak. In so doing he caught sight of Gluck's little yellow head jammed in the window, with its mouth and eyes very wide open indeed.

"Hollo!" said the little gentleman, "that's not the way to answer the door: I'm wet; let me in!"

To do the little gentleman justice, he was wet. His feather hung down between his legs like a beaten puppy's tail, dripping like an umbrella; and from the ends of his mustaches the water was running into his waistcoat pockets, and out again like a mill stream.

"I beg pardon, sir," said Gluck, "I'm very sorry, but I really can't."

"Can't what?" said the old gentleman.

"I can't let you in, sir,—I can't indeed; my brothers would beat me to death, sir, if I thought of such a thing. What do you want, sir?"[248]

"Want?" said the old gentleman, petulantly. "I want fire, and shelter; and there's your great fire there blazing, crackling, and dancing on the walls, with nobody to feel it. Let me in, I say; I only want to warm myself."

Gluck had had his head, by this time, so long out of the window, that he began to feel it was really unpleasantly cold, and when he turned, and saw the beautiful fire rustling and roaring, and throwing long bright tongues up the chimney, as if it were licking its chops at the savory smell of the leg of mutton, his heart melted within him that it should be burning away for nothing. "He does look very wet," said little Gluck; "I'll just let him in for a quarter of an hour." Round he went to the door, and opened it; and as the little gentleman walked in, there came a gust of wind through the house that made the old chimneys totter.

"That's a good boy," said the little gentleman. "Never mind your brothers. I'll talk to them."

"Pray, sir, don't do any such thing," said Gluck. "I can't let you stay till they come; they'd be the death of me."

"Dear me," said the old gentleman, "I'm very sorry to hear that. How long may I stay?"

"Only till the mutton's done, sir," replied Gluck, "and it's very brown."

Then the old gentleman walked into the kitchen, and sat himself down on the hob, with the top of his cap accommodated up the chimney, for it was a great deal too high for the roof.

"You'll soon dry there, sir," said Gluck, and sat down again to turn the mutton. But the old gentleman did not dry there, but went on drip, drip, dripping among the cinders, and the fire fizzed and sputtered, and began to look very black and uncomfortable; never was such a cloak; every fold in it ran like a gutter.

"I beg pardon, sir," said Gluck at length, after watching the water spreading in long, quicksilver-like streams over the floor for a quarter of an hour; "mayn't I take your cloak?"

"No thank you," said the old gentleman.

"Your cap, sir?"

"I am all right, thank you," said the old gentleman rather gruffly.

"But—sir—I'm very sorry," said Gluck hesitatingly; "but—really, sir—you're—putting the fire out."

"It'll take longer to do the mutton, then," replied his visitor dryly.

Gluck was very much puzzled by the behavior of his guest; it was such a strange mixture of coolness and humility. He turned away at the string meditatively for another five minutes.

"That mutton looks very nice," said the old gentleman at length. "Can't you give me a little bit?"

"Impossible, sir," said Gluck.

"I'm very hungry," continued the old gentleman; "I've had nothing to eat yesterday nor to-day. They surely couldn't miss a bit from the knuckle!"

He spoke in so very melancholy a tone that it quite melted Gluck's heart. "They promised me one slice to-day, sir," said he; "I can give you that, but not a bit more."

"That's a good boy," said the old gentleman again.

Then Gluck warmed a plate, and sharpened a knife. "I don't care if I do get beaten for it," thought he. Just as he had cut a large slice out of the mutton, there came a tremendous rap at the door. The old gentleman jumped[249] off the hob, as if it had suddenly become inconveniently warm. Gluck fitted the slice into the mutton again, with desperate efforts at exactitude, and ran to open the door.

"What did you keep us waiting in the rain for?" said Schwartz, as he walked in, throwing his umbrella in Gluck's face. "Ay! what for, indeed, you little vagabond?" said Hans, administering an educational box on the ear, as he followed his brother into the kitchen.

"Bless my soul!" said Schwartz when he opened the door.

"Amen," said the little gentleman, who had taken his cap off and was standing in the middle of the kitchen, bowing with the utmost possible velocity.

"Who's that?" said Schwartz, catching up a rolling-pin, and turning to Gluck with a fierce frown.

"I don't know, indeed, brother," said Gluck in great terror.

"How did he get in?" roared Schwartz.

"My dear brother," said Gluck, deprecatingly, "he was so very wet!"

The rolling-pin was descending on Gluck's head; but, at the instant, the old gentleman interposed his conical cap, on which it crashed with a shock that shook the water out of it all over the room. What was very odd, the rolling pin no sooner touched the cap, than it flew out of Schwartz's hand, spinning like a straw in a high wind, and fell into the corner at the farther end of the room.

"Who are you, sir?" demanded Schwartz, turning upon him.

"What's your business?" snarled Hans.

"I'm a poor old man, sir," the little gentleman began very modestly, "and I saw your fire through the window, and begged shelter for a quarter of an hour."

"Have the goodness to walk out again, then," said Schwartz. "We've quite enough water in our kitchen, without making it a drying house."

"It is a cold day to turn an old man out in, sir; look at my gray hairs." They hung down to his shoulders, as I told you before.

"Ay!" said Hans, "there are enough of them to keep you warm. Walk!"

"I'm very, very hungry, sir; couldn't you spare me a bit of bread before I go?"

"Bread, indeed!" said Schwartz; "do you suppose we've nothing to do with our bread but to give it to such red-nosed fellows as you?"

"Why don't you sell your feather?" said Hans, sneeringly. "Out with you!"

"A little bit," said the old gentleman.

"Be off!" said Schwartz.

"Pray, gentlemen—"

"Off, and be hanged!" cried Hans, seizing him by the collar. But he had no sooner touched the old gentleman's collar, than away he went after the rolling-pin, spinning round and round, till he fell into the corner on the top of it. Then Schwartz was very angry, and ran at the old gentleman to turn him out; but he also had hardly touched him, when away he went after Hans and the rolling-pin, and hit his head against the wall as he tumbled into the corner. And so there they lay, all three.

Then the old gentleman spun himself round with velocity in the opposite direction; continued to spin until his long cloak was all wound neatly about him, clapped his cap on his head, very much on one side (for it could not stand upright without going through the ceiling), gave an additional twist to his corkscrew mustaches, and replied with perfect coolness: "Gentlemen, I wish you[250] a very good morning. At twelve o'clock to-night I'll call again; after such a refusal of hospitality as I have just experienced, you will not be surprised if that visit is the last I ever pay you."

"If ever I catch you here again," muttered Schwartz, coming, half frightened, out of the corner—but, before he could finish his sentence, the old gentleman had shut the house door behind him with a great bang: and there drove past the window, at the same instant, a wreath of ragged cloud that whirled and rolled away down the valley in all manner of shapes; turning over and over in the air, and melting away at last in a gush of rain.

"A very pretty business, indeed, Mr. Gluck!" said Schwartz. "Dish the mutton, sir. If ever I catch you at such a trick again—bless me, why the mutton's been cut!"

"You promised me one slice, brother, you know," said Gluck.

"Oh! and you were cutting it hot, I suppose, and going to catch all the gravy. It'll be long before I promise you such a thing again. Leave the room, sir; and have the kindness to wait in the coal-cellar till I call you."

Gluck left the room melancholy enough. The brothers ate as much mutton as they could, locked the rest in the cupboard, and proceeded to get very drunk after dinner.

Such a night as it was! Howling wind and rushing rain, without intermission! The brothers had just sense enough left to put up all the shutters, and double bar the door, before they went to bed. They usually slept in the same room. As the clock struck twelve, they were both awakened by a tremendous crash. Their door burst open with a violence that shook the house from top to bottom.

"What's that?" cried Schwartz, starting up in his bed.

"Only I," said the little gentleman.

The two brothers sat up on their bolster and stared into the darkness. The room was full of water, and by a misty moonbeam, which found its way through a hole in the shutter, they could see in the midst of it an enormous foam globe, spinning round, and bobbing up and down like a cork, on which, as on a most luxurious cushion, reclined the little old gentleman, cap and all. There was plenty of room for it now, for the roof was off.

"Sorry to incommode you," said their visitor, ironically. "I'm afraid your beds are dampish; perhaps you had better go to your brother's room; I've left the ceiling on, there."

They required no second admonition, but rushed into Gluck's room, wet through, and in an agony of terror.

"You'll find my card on the kitchen table," the old gentleman called after them. "Remember, the last visit."

"Pray Heaven it may!" said Schwartz, shuddering. And the foam globe disappeared.

Dawn came at last, and the two brothers looked out of Gluck's little window in the morning. The Treasure Valley was one mass of ruin and desolation. The inundation had swept away trees, crops, and cattle, and left in their stead a waste of red sand and gray mud. The two brothers crept shivering and horror-struck into the kitchen. The water had gutted the whole first floor; corn, money, almost every movable thing had been swept away, and there was left only a small white card on the kitchen table. On it, in large, breezy[251] long-legged letters, were engraved the words:—

South-West Wind, Esquire.


South-West Wind, Esquire, was as good as his word. After the momentous visit above related, he entered the Treasure Valley no more; and, what was worse, he had so much influence with his relations, the West Winds in general, and used it so effectually, that they all adopted a similar line of conduct. So no rain fell in the valley from one year's end to another. Though everything remained green and flourishing in the plains below, the inheritance of the Three Brothers was a desert. What had once been the richest soil in the kingdom, became a shifting heap of red sand; and the brothers, unable longer to contend with the adverse skies, abandoned their valueless patrimony in despair, to seek some means of gaining a livelihood among the cities and people of the plains. All their money was gone, and they had nothing left but some curious, old-fashioned pieces of gold plates, the last remnants of their ill-gotten wealth.

"Suppose we turn goldsmiths?" said Schwartz to Hans, as they entered the large city. "It is a good knave's trade; we can put a great deal of copper into the gold, without any one's finding it out."

The thought was agreed to be a very good one; they hired a furnace, and turned goldsmiths. But two slight circumstances affected their trade; the first, that people did not approve of the coppered gold; the second, that the two elder brothers, whenever they had sold anything, used to leave little Gluck to mind the furnace, and go and drink out the money in the ale-house next door. So they melted all their gold, without making money enough to buy more, and were at last reduced to one large drinking mug, which an uncle of his had given to little Gluck, and which he was very fond of, and would not have parted with for the world; though he never drank anything out of it but milk and water. The mug was a very odd mug to look at. The handle was formed of two wreaths of flowing golden hair, so finely spun that it looked more like silk than metal, and these wreaths descended into, and mixed with, a beard and whiskers of the same exquisite workmanship, which surrounded and decorated a very fierce little face, of the reddest gold imaginable, right in the front of the mug, with a pair of eyes in it which seemed to command its whole circumference. It was impossible to drink out of the mug without being subjected to an intense gaze out of the side of these eyes; and Schwartz positively averred that once, after emptying it, full of Rhenish, seventeen times, he had seen them wink! When it came to the mug's turn to be made into spoons, it half broke poor little Gluck's heart; but the brothers only laughed at him, tossed the mug into the melting-pot, and staggered out to the ale-house; leaving him, as usual, to pour the gold into bars, when it was all ready.

When they were gone, Gluck took a farewell look at his old friend in the melting-pot. The flowing hair was all gone; nothing remained but the red nose,[252] and the sparkling eyes, which looked more malicious than ever. "And no wonder," thought Gluck, "after being treated in that way." He sauntered disconsolately to the window, and sat himself down to catch the fresh evening air, and escape the hot breath of the furnace. Now this window commanded a direct view of the range of mountains, which, as I told you before, overhung the Treasure Valley, and more especially of the peak from which fell the Golden River. It was just at the close of the day, and when Gluck sat down at the window, he saw the rocks of the mountain tops, all crimson and purple with the sunset; and there were bright tongues of fiery cloud burning and quivering about them; and the river, brighter than all, fell, in a waving column of pure gold, from precipice to precipice, with the double arch of a broad purple rainbow stretched across it, flushing and fading alternately in the wreaths of spray.

"Ah!" said Gluck aloud, after he had looked at it for a while, "if that river were really all gold, what a nice thing it would be."

"No, it wouldn't, Gluck," said a clear metallic voice, close at his ear.

"Bless me! what's that?" exclaimed Gluck, jumping up. There was nobody there. He looked round the room, and under the table, and a great many times behind him, but there was certainly nobody there, and he sat down again at the window. This time he didn't speak, but he couldn't help thinking again that it would be very convenient if the river were really all gold.

"Not at all, my boy," said the same voice, louder than before.

"Bless me!" said Gluck again; "what is that?" He looked again into all the corners, and cupboards, and then began turning round, and round, as fast as he could in the middle of the room, thinking there was somebody behind him, when the same voice struck again on his ear. It was singing now very merrily, "Lala-lira-la"; no words, only a soft running effervescent melody, something like that of a kettle on the boil. Gluck looked out of the window. No, it was certainly in the house. Upstairs, and downstairs. No, it was certainly in that very room, coming in quicker time, and clearer notes, every moment. "Lala-lira-la." All at once it struck Gluck that it sounded louder near the furnace. He ran to the opening, and looked in; yes, he saw right, it seemed to be coming, not only out of the furnace, but out of the pot. He uncovered it, and ran back in a great fright, for the pot was certainly singing! He stood in the farthest corner of the room, with his hands up, and his mouth open, for a minute or two, when the singing stopped, and the voice became clear, and pronunciative.

"Hollo!" said the voice.

Gluck made no answer.

"Hollo! Gluck, my boy," said the pot again.

Gluck summoned all his energies, walked straight up to the crucible, drew it out of the furnace, and looked in. The gold was all melted, and its surface as smooth and polished as a river; but instead of reflecting little Gluck's head, as he looked in, he saw, meeting his glance from beneath the gold, the red nose and sharp eyes of his old friend of the mug, a thousand times redder and sharper than ever he had seen them in his life.

"Come, Gluck, my boy," said the voice out of the pot again, "I'm all right; pour me out."[253]

But Gluck was too much astonished to do anything of the kind.

"Pour me out, I say," said the voice rather gruffly.

Still Gluck couldn't move.

"Will you pour me out?" said the voice passionately. "I'm too hot."

By a violent effort, Gluck recovered the use of his limbs, took hold of the crucible, and sloped it so as to pour out the gold. But instead of a liquid stream, there came out, first, a pair of pretty little yellow legs, then some coat tails, then a pair of arms stuck a-kimbo, and, finally, the well-known head of his friend the mug; all which articles, uniting as they rolled out, stood up energetically on the floor, in the shape of a little golden dwarf, about a foot and a half high.

"That's right!" said the dwarf, stretching out first his legs and then his arms, and then shaking his head up and down, and as far round as it would go, for five minutes, without stopping; apparently with the view of ascertaining if he were quite correctly put together, while Gluck stood contemplating him in speechless amazement. He was dressed in a slashed doublet of spun gold, so fine in its texture that the prismatic colors gleamed over it, as if on a surface of mother of pearl; and, over this brilliant doublet, his hair and beard fell full halfway to the ground in waving curls so exquisitely delicate that Gluck could hardly tell where they ended; they seemed to melt into air. The features of the face, however, were by no means finished with the same delicacy; they were rather coarse, slightly inclining to coppery in complexion, and indicative, in expression, of a very pertinacious and intractable disposition in their small proprietor. When the dwarf had finished his self-examination, he turned his small sharp eyes full on Gluck and stared at him deliberately for a minute or two. "No, it wouldn't, Gluck, my boy," said the little man.

This was certainly rather an abrupt and unconnected mode of commencing conversation. It might indeed be supposed to refer to the course of Gluck's thoughts, which had first produced the dwarf's observations out of the pot; but whatever it referred to, Gluck had no inclination to dispute the dictum.

"Wouldn't it, sir?" said Gluck, very mildly and submissively indeed.

"No," said the dwarf, conclusively. "No, it wouldn't." And with that, the dwarf pulled his cap hard over his brows, and took two turns, of three feet long, up and down the room, lifting his legs up very high, and setting them down very hard. This pause gave time for Gluck to collect his thoughts a little, and, seeing no great reason to view his diminutive visitor with dread, and feeling his curiosity overcome his amazement, he ventured on a question of peculiar delicacy.

"Pray, sir," said Gluck rather hesitatingly, "were you my mug?"

On which the little man turned sharp round, walked straight up to Gluck, and drew himself up to his full height. "I," said the little man, "am the King of the Golden River." Whereupon he turned about again, and took two more turns, some six feet long, in order to allow time for the consternation which this announcement produced in his auditor to evaporate. After which, he again walked up to Gluck and stood still, as if expecting some comment on his communication.

Gluck determined to say something at all events. "I hope your Majesty is very well," said Gluck.[254]

"Listen!" said the little man, deigning no reply to this polite inquiry. "I am the King of what you mortals call the Golden River. The shape you saw me in, was owing to the malice of a stronger king, from whose enchantments you have this instant freed me. What I have seen of you, and your conduct to your wicked brothers, renders me willing to serve you; therefore, attend to what I tell you. Whoever shall climb to the top of that mountain from which you see the Golden River issue, and shall cast into the stream at its source three drops of holy water, for him, and for him only, the river shall turn to gold. But no one failing in his first, can succeed in a second attempt; and if any one shall cast unholy water into the river, it will overwhelm him, and he will become a black stone." So saying, the King of the Golden River turned away and deliberately walked into the center of the hottest flame of the furnace. His figure became red, white, transparent, dazzling—a blaze of intense light—rose, trembled, and disappeared. The King of the Golden River had evaporated.

"Oh!" cried poor Gluck, running to look up the chimney after him; "Oh, dear, dear, dear me! My mug! my mug! my mug!"



The King of the Golden River had hardly made the extraordinary exit, related in the last chapter, before Hans and Schwartz came roaring into the house, very savagely drunk. The discovery of the total loss of their last piece of plate had the effect of sobering them just enough to enable them to stand over Gluck, beating him very steadily for a quarter of an hour; at the expiration of which period they dropped into a couple of chairs, and requested to know what he had got to say for himself. Gluck told them his story, of which, of course, they did not believe a word. They beat him again, till their arms were tired, and staggered to bed. In the morning, however, the steadiness with which he adhered to his story obtained him some degree of credence; the immediate consequence of which was, that the two brothers, after wrangling a long time on the knotty question, which of them should try his fortune first, drew their swords and began fighting. The noise of the fray alarmed the neighbors, who, finding they could not pacify the combatants, sent for the constable.

Hans, on hearing this, contrived to escape, and hid himself; but Schwartz was taken before the magistrate, fined for breaking the peace, and, having drunk out his last penny the evening before, was thrown into prison till he should pay.

When Hans heard this, he was much delighted, and determined to set out immediately for the Golden River. How to get the holy water was the question. He went to the priest, but the priest could not give any holy water to so abandoned a character. So Hans went to vespers in the evening for the first time in his life, and, under pretense of crossing himself, stole a cupful, and returned home in triumph.

Next morning he got up before the sun rose, put the holy water into a strong flask, and two bottles of wine and some meat in a basket, slung them over his back, took his alpine staff in his hand, and set off for the mountains.[255]

On his way out of the town he had to pass the prison, and as he looked in at the windows, whom should he see but Schwartz himself peeping out of the bars, and looking very disconsolate.

"Good morning, brother," said Hans; "have you any message for the King of the Golden River?"

Schwartz gnashed his teeth with rage, and shook the bars with all his strength; but Hans only laughed at him, and advising him to make himself comfortable till he came back again, shouldered his basket, shook the bottle of holy water in Schwartz's face till it frothed again, and marched off in the highest spirits in the world.

It was, indeed, a morning that might have made any one happy, even with no Golden River to seek for. Level lines of dewy mist lay stretched along the valley, out of which rose the massy mountains—their lower cliffs in pale gray shadow, hardly distinguishable from the floating vapor, but gradually ascending till they caught the sunlight, which ran in sharp touches of ruddy color along the angular crags, and pierced, in long level rays, through their fringes of spear-like pine. Far above, shot up red splintered masses of castellated rock, jagged and shivered into myriads of fantastic forms, with here and there a streak of sunlit snow, traced down their chasms like a line of forked lightning; and, far beyond, and far above all these, fainter than the morning cloud, but purer and changeless, slept, in the blue sky, the utmost peaks of the eternal snow.

The Golden River, which sprang from one of the lower and snowless elevations, was now nearly in shadow; all but the uppermost jets of spray, which rose like slow smoke above the undulating line of the cataract, and floated away in feeble wreaths upon the morning wind.

On this object, and on this alone, Hans's eyes and thoughts were fixed; forgetting the distance he had to traverse, he set off at an imprudent rate of walking, which greatly exhausted him before he had scaled the first range of the green and low hills. He was, moreover, surprised, on surmounting them, to find that a large glacier, of whose existence, notwithstanding his previous knowledge of the mountains, he had been absolutely ignorant, lay between him and the source of the Golden River. He entered on it with the boldness of a practised mountaineer; yet he thought he had never traversed so strange or so dangerous a glacier in his life. The ice was excessively slippery, and out of all its chasms came wild sounds of gushing water; not monotonous or low, but changeful and loud, rising occasionally into drifting passages of wild melody; then breaking off into short melancholy tones, or sudden shrieks, resembling those of human voices in distress or pain. The ice was broken into thousands of confused shapes, but none, Hans thought, like the ordinary forms of splintered ice. There seemed a curious expression about all their outlines—a perpetual resemblance to living features, distorted and scornful. Myriads of deceitful shadows, and lurid lights, played and floated about and through the pale blue pinnacles, dazzling and confusing the sight of the traveler; while his ears grew dull and his head giddy with the constant gush and roar of the concealed waters. These painful circumstances increased upon him as he advanced; the ice crashed and yawned into fresh chasms at his feet, tottering spires nodded around him, and[256] fell thundering across his path; and though he had repeatedly faced these dangers on the most terrific glaciers, and in the wildest weather, it was with a new and oppressive feeling of panic terror that he leaped the last chasm, and flung himself, exhausted and shuddering, on the firm turf of the mountain.

He had been compelled to abandon his basket of food, which became a perilous encumbrance on the glacier, and had now no means of refreshing himself but by breaking off and eating some of the pieces of ice. This, however, relieved his thirst; an hour's repose recruited his hardy frame, and with the indomitable spirit of avarice, he resumed his laborious journey.

His way now lay straight up a ridge of bare red rocks, without a blade of grass to ease the foot, or a projecting angle to afford an inch of shade from the south sun. It was past noon, and the rays beat intensely upon the steep path, while the whole atmosphere was motionless and penetrated with heat. Intense thirst was soon added to the bodily fatigue with which Hans was now afflicted; glance after glance he cast on the flask of water which hung at his belt. "Three drops are enough," at last thought he; "I may, at least, cool my lips with it."

He opened the flask, and was raising it to his lips, when his eye fell on an object lying on the rock beside him; he thought it moved. It was a small dog, apparently in the last agony of death from thirst. Its tongue was out, its jaws dry, its limbs extended lifelessly, and a swarm of black ants were crawling about its lips and throat. Its eye moved to the bottle which Hans held in his hand. He raised it, drank, spurned the animal with his foot, and passed on. And he did not know how it was, but he thought that a strange shadow had suddenly come across the blue sky.

The path became steeper and more rugged every moment; and the high hill air, instead of refreshing him, seemed to throw his blood into a fever. The noise of the hill cataracts sounded like mockery in his ears; they were all distant, and his thirst increased every moment. Another hour passed, and he again looked down to the flask at his side; it was half empty, but there was much more than three drops in it. He stopped to open it; and again, as he did so, something moved in the path above him. It was a fair child, stretched nearly lifeless on the rock, its breast heaving with thirst, its eyes closed, and its lips parched and burning. Hans eyed it deliberately, drank, and passed on. And a dark gray cloud came over the sun, and long, snake-like shadows crept up along the mountain sides. Hans struggled on. The sun was sinking, but its descent seemed to bring no coolness; the leaden weight of the dead air pressed upon his brow and heart, but the goal was near. He saw the cataract of the Golden River springing from the hillside, scarcely five hundred feet above him. He paused for a moment to breathe, and sprang on to complete his task.

At this instant a faint cry fell on his ear. He turned, and saw a gray-haired old man extended on the rocks. His eyes were sunk, his features deadly pale, and gathered into an expression of despair. "Water!" he stretched his arms to Hans, and cried feebly, "Water! I am dying."

"I have none," replied Hans; "thou hast had thy share of life." He strode over the prostrate body, and darted on. And a flash of blue lightning rose out of the East, shaped like a sword; it shook[257] thrice over the whole heaven, and left it dark with one heavy, impenetrable shade. The sun was setting; it plunged toward the horizon like a red-hot ball.

The roar of the Golden River rose on Hans's ear. He stood at the brink of the chasm through which it ran. Its waves were filled with the red glory of the sunset; they shook their crests like tongues of fire, and flashes of bloody light gleamed along their foam. Their sound came mightier and mightier on his senses; his brain grew giddy with the prolonged thunder. Shuddering he drew the flask from his girdle, and hurled it into the center of the torrent. As he did so, an icy chill shot through his limbs; he staggered, shrieked, and fell. The waters closed over his cry. And the moaning of the river rose wildly into the night, as it gushed over

The Black Stone.



Poor little Gluck waited very anxiously alone in the house for Hans's return. Finding he did not come back, he was terribly frightened and went and told Schwartz in the prison, all that had happened. Then Schwartz was very much pleased, and said that Hans must certainly have been turned into a black stone, and he should have all the gold to himself. But Gluck was very sorry, and cried all night. When he got up in the morning there was no bread in the house, nor any money; so Gluck went and hired himself to another goldsmith, and he worked so hard, and so neatly, and so long every day, that he soon got money enough together to pay his brother's fine, and he went and gave it all to Schwartz, and Schwartz got out of prison. Then Schwartz was quite pleased, and said he should have some of the gold of the river. But Gluck only begged he would go and see what had become of Hans.

Now when Schwartz had heard that Hans had stolen the holy water, he thought to himself that such a proceeding might not be considered altogether correct by the King of the Golden River, and determined to manage matters better. So he took some more of Gluck's money, and went to a bad priest, who gave him some holy water very readily for it. Then Schwartz was sure it was all quite right. So Schwartz got up early in the morning before the sun rose, and took some bread and wine, in a basket, and put his holy water in a flask, and set off for the mountains. Like his brother, he was much surprised at the sight of the glacier, and had great difficulty in crossing it, even after leaving his basket behind him. The day was cloudless, but not bright; there was a heavy purple haze hanging over the sky, and the hills looked lowering and gloomy. And as Schwartz climbed the steep rock path, the thirst came upon him, as it had upon his brother, until he lifted his flask to his lips to drink. Then he saw the fair child lying near him on the rocks, and it cried to him, and moaned for water.

"Water, indeed," said Schwartz; "I haven't half enough for myself," and passed on. And as he went he thought the sunbeams grew more dim, and he saw a low bank of black cloud rising out of the West; and, when he had climbed for another hour the thirst overcame him again, and he would have drunk.[258] Then he saw the old man lying before him on the path, and heard him cry out for water. "Water, indeed," said Schwartz, "I haven't enough for myself," and on he went.

Then again the light seemed to fade before his eyes, and he looked up, and, behold, a mist, of the color of blood, had come over the sun; and the bank of black cloud had risen very high, and its edges were tossing and tumbling like the waves of the angry sea. And they cast long shadows, which flickered over Schwartz's path.

Then Schwartz climbed for another hour, and again his thirst returned; and as he lifted his flask to his lips, he thought he saw his brother Hans lying exhausted on the path before him, and, as he gazed, the figure stretched its arms to him, and cried for water. "Ha, ha," laughed Schwartz, "are you there? Remember the prison bars, my boy. Water, indeed! do you suppose I carried it all the way up here for you?" And he strode over the figure; yet, as he passed, he thought he saw a strange expression of mockery about its lips. And, when he had gone a few yards farther, he looked back; but the figure was not there.

And a sudden horror came over Schwartz, he knew not why; but the thirst for gold prevailed over his fear, and he rushed on. And the bank of black cloud rose to the zenith, and out of it came bursts of spiry lightning, and waves of darkness seemed to heave and float between their flashes over the whole heavens. And the sky where the sun was setting was all level, and like a lake of blood; and a strong wind came out of that sky, tearing its crimson cloud into fragments, and scattering them far into the darkness. And when Schwartz stood by the brink of the Golden River, its waves were black, like thunder clouds, but their foam was like fire; and the roar of the waters below, and the thunder above, met, as he cast the flask into the stream. And, as he did so, the lightning glared into his eyes, and the earth gave way beneath him, and the waters closed over his cry. And the moaning of the river rose wildly into the night, as it gushed over the

Two Black Stones.



When Gluck found that Schwartz did not come back he was very sorry, and did not know what to do. He had no money, and was obliged to go and hire himself again to the goldsmith, who worked him very hard, and gave him very little money. So, after a month or two, Gluck grew tired, and made up his mind to go and try his fortune with the Golden River. "The little King looked very kind," thought he. "I don't think he will turn me into a black stone." So he went to the priest, and the priest gave him some holy water as soon as he asked for it. Then Gluck took some bread in his basket, and the bottle of water, and set off very early for the mountains.

If the glacier had occasioned a great deal of fatigue to his brothers, it was twenty times worse for him, who was neither so strong nor so practised on the mountains. He had several bad falls, lost his basket and bread, and was very much frightened at the strange noises under the ice. He lay a long time to rest on the grass, after he had got over,[259] and began to climb the hill just in the hottest part of the day. When he had climbed for an hour, he got dreadfully thirsty, and was going to drink like his brothers, when he saw an old man coming down the path above him, looking very feeble, and leaning on a staff. "My son," said the old man, "I am faint with thirst. Give me some of that water." Then Gluck looked at him, and when he saw that he was pale and weary, he gave him the water; "Only pray don't drink it all," said Gluck. But the old man drank a great deal, and gave him back the bottle two-thirds empty. Then he bade him good speed, and Gluck went on again merrily. And the path became easier to his feet, and two or three blades of grass appeared upon it, and some grasshoppers began singing on the bank beside it; and Gluck thought he had never heard such merry singing.

Then he went on for another hour, and the thirst increased on him so that he thought he should be forced to drink. But, as he raised the flask, he saw a little child lying panting by the road-side, and it cried out piteously for water. Then Gluck struggled with himself, and determined to bear the thirst a little longer; and he put the bottle to the child's lips, and it drank it all but a few drops. Then it smiled on him, and got up and ran down the hill; and Gluck looked after it, till it became as small as a little star, and then turned and began climbing again. And then there were all kinds of sweet flowers growing on the rocks, bright green moss with pale pink starry flowers, and soft belled gentians, more blue than the sky at its deepest, and pure white transparent lilies. And crimson and purple butterflies darted hither and thither, and the sky sent down such pure light that Gluck had never felt so happy in his life.

Yet, when he had climbed for another hour, his thirst became intolerable again; and, when he looked at his bottle, he saw that there were only five or six drops left in it, and he could not venture to drink. And, as he was hanging the flask to his belt again, he saw a little dog lying on the rocks, gasping for breath—just as Hans had seen it on the day of his ascent. And Gluck stopped and looked at it, and then at the Golden River, not five hundred yards above him; and he thought of the dwarf's words, "that no one could succeed, except in his first attempt"; and he tried to pass the dog, but it whined piteously, and Gluck stopped again. "Poor beastie," said Gluck, "it'll be dead when I come down again, if I don't help it." Then he looked closer and closer at it, and its eye turned on him so mournfully that he could not stand it. "Confound the King and his gold, too," said Gluck; and he opened the flask, and poured all the water into the dog's mouth.

The dog sprang up and stood on its hind legs. Its tail disappeared, its ears became long, longer, silky, golden; its nose became very red, its eyes became very twinkling; in three seconds the dog was gone, and before Gluck stood his old acquaintance, the King of the Golden River.

"Thank you," said the monarch; "but don't be frightened, it's all right"; for Gluck showed manifest symptoms of consternation at this unlooked-for reply to his last observation. "Why didn't you come before," continued the dwarf, "instead of sending me those rascally brothers of yours, for me to have the trouble of turning into stones? Very hard stones they make, too."[260]

"Oh, dear me!" said Gluck, "have you really been so cruel?"

"Cruel!" said the dwarf: "they poured unholy water into my stream; do you suppose I'm going to allow that?"

"Why," said Gluck, "I am sure, sir—your Majesty, I mean,—they got the water out of the church font."

"Very probably," replied the dwarf; "but," and his countenance grew stern as he spoke, "the water which has been refused to the cry of the weary and dying is unholy, though it had been blessed by every saint in heaven; and the water which is found in the vessel of mercy is holy, though it had been defiled with corpses."

So saying, the dwarf stooped and plucked a lily that grew at his feet. On its white leaves there hung three drops of clear dew. And the dwarf shook them into the flask which Gluck held in his hand. "Cast these into the river," he said, "and descend on the other side of the mountains into the Treasure Valley, and so good speed."

As he spoke, the figure of the dwarf became indistinct. The playing colors of his robe formed themselves into a prismatic mist of dewy light: he stood for an instant veiled with them as with the belt of a broad rainbow. The colors grew faint, the mist rose into the air; the monarch had evaporated.

And Gluck climbed to the brink of the Golden River and its waves were as clear as crystal, and as brilliant as the sun. And, when he cast the three drops of dew into the stream, there opened where they fell, a small circular whirlpool, into which the waters descended with a musical noise.

Gluck stood watching it for some time, very much disappointed, because not only the river was not turned into gold but its waters seemed much diminished in quantity. Yet he obeyed his friend the dwarf, and descended the other side of the mountains, towards the Treasure Valley; and, as he went, he thought he heard the noise of water working its way under the ground. And when he came in sight of the Treasure Valley, behold, a river, like the Golden River, was springing from a new cleft of the rocks above it, and was flowing in innumerable streams among the dry heaps of red sand.

And, as Gluck gazed, fresh grass sprang beside the new streams, and creeping plants grew, and climbed among the moistening soil. Young flowers opened suddenly along the river sides, as stars leap out when twilight is deepening, and thickets of myrtle, and tendrils of vine, cast lengthening shadows over the valley as they grew. And thus the Treasure Valley became a garden again, and the inheritance, which had been lost by cruelty, was regained by love.

And Gluck went and dwelt in the valley, and the poor were never driven from his door; so that his barns became full of corn, and his house of treasure. And for him, the river had, according to the dwarf's promise, become a River of Gold.

And, to this day, the inhabitants of the valley point out the place where the three drops of holy dew were cast into the stream, and trace the course of the Golden River under the ground, until it emerges in the Treasure Valley. And at the top of the cataract of the Golden River are still to be seen two black stones, round which the waters howl mournfully every day at sunset; and these stones are still called by the people of the valley

The Black Brothers.






Jacobs, Joseph, History of the Aesopic Fable.
The only elaborate and scholarly study in English. Vol. I of a reprint of Caxton's Aesop. [Bibliothèque de Carabas Series.] Published in 1889 in a limited edition and not easily accessible.
Jacobs, Joseph, The Fables of Aesop. [Illustrated by Richard Heighway.]
Eighty-two selected fables. The Introduction is a summary of all the essential conclusions reached in the study above.
Wiggin, Kate D., and Smith, Nora A., The Talking Beasts.
The best general collection from all fields, including both the folk fable and the modern literary fable.
Babbitt, Ellen C., Jataka Tales Retold.
Dutton, Maude Barrows, The Tortoise and the Geese, and Other Fables of Bidpai.
Ramaswami Raju, P. V., Indian Folk Stories and Fables.
These three books are excellent for simplified versions of the eastern group. Those desiring to get closer to the sources may refer to Cowell [ed.], The Jataka, or Stories of the Buddha's Former Births; Rhys-Davids, Buddhist Birth Stories; Keith-Falconer, Bidpai's Fables.


It is possible to piece out a very satisfactory account of the nature and history of the traditional fable by looking up in any good encyclopedia the brief articles under the following heads: Folklore, Fable, Parable, Apologue, Æsop, Demetrius of Phalerum, Babrias, Phaedrus, Avian, Romulus, Maximus Planudes, Jataka, Bidpai, Panchatantra, Hitopadesa.

For a popular account of the whole philosophy of the apologue consult Newbigging, Fables and Fabulists: Ancient and Modern.

For distinctions between various kinds of symbolic tales see Canby, The Short Story in English (pp. 23 ff.); Trench, Notes on the Parables (Introduction); Smith, "The Fable and Kindred Forms," Journal of English and Germanic Philology, Vol. XIV, p. 519.

For origins and parallels read Müller, "On the Migration of Fables," Selected Essays, Vol. I (reprinted in large part in Warner, Library of the World's Best Literature, Vol. XVIII); Clouston, Popular Tales and Fictions, Vol. I, p. 266, and Vol. II, p. 432. The more general treatises on folklore all touch on these problems.

For suggestions on the use of fables with children see MacClintock, Literature in the Elementary School (chap. xi); Adler, Moral Instruction of Children (chaps. vii and viii); McMurry, Special Method in Reading in the Grades (p. 70).

For a clear and helpful account of the French writers of fables, the most important modern group, read Collins, La Fontaine and Other French Fabulists. Representative examples are given in most excellent translation. The best complete translation of La Fontaine is by Elizur Wright; of Krylov, in verse by I. H. Harrison, in prose by W. R. S. Ralston; of Yriarte, by R. Rockliffe. Gay's complete collection may be found in any edition of his poems.

Satisfactory collections of proverbial sayings useful in finding expressions for the wisdom found in fables are Christy, Proverbs, Maxims, and Phrases of All Ages; Hazlitt, English Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases; Trench, Proverbs and Their Lessons.

A book of great suggestive value covering the whole field of the prose story is Fansler, Types of Prose Narratives. It contains elaborate classifications, discussions and examples of each type, and an extended bibliography. Pp. 83-127 deal with fables, parables, and allegories.




The character and value of fables. Some one has pointed out that there are two kinds of ideals by which we are guided in life and that these ideals may be compared to lighthouses and lanterns. By means of the lighthouse, remote and lofty, we are able to lay a course and to know at any time whether we are headed in the right direction. But while we are moving along a difficult road we need more immediate illumination to avoid the mudholes and stumbling-places close at hand. We need the humble lantern to show us where we may safely step.

Fables are lanterns by which our feet are guided. They embody the practical rules for everyday uses, rules of prudence that have been tested and approved by untold generations of travelers along the arduous road of life. They chart only minor dangers and difficult places as a rule, but these are the ones with which we are always in direct contact. Being honest because it is the "best policy" is not the highest reason for honesty, but it is what a practical world has found to be best in practice. Fables simply give us the "rules of the road," and these rules contribute greatly to our convenience and safety. Such rules are the result of the common sense of man working upon his everyday problems. To violate one of these practical rules is to be a blunderer, and blundering is a subject for jest rather than bitter denouncement. Hence the humorous and satirical note in fables.

The practical, self-made men of the world, who have done things and inspired others to do them, have always placed great emphasis upon common-sense ideals. Benjamin Franklin, by his Poor Richard's Almanac, kept the incentives to industry and thrift before a people who needed to practice these everyday rules if they were to conquer an unwilling wilderness. So well did he do his work that after nearly two hundred years we are still quoting his pithy sayings. It may be that his proverbs were all borrowed, but the rules of the road are not matters for constant experiment. Again, no account of Abraham Lincoln can omit his use of Æsop or of Æsop-like stories to enforce his ideas. His homely stories were so "pat" that there was nothing left for the opposition to say. Only one who grasps the heart of a problem can use concrete illustrations with such effect.

No one really questions the truths enforced by the more familiar fables. But since these teachings are so commonplace and obvious, they cannot be impressed upon us by mere repetition of the teachings as such. To secure the emphasis needed the world gradually evolved a body of striking stories and proverbs by which the standing rules of everyday life are displayed in terms that cling like burrs. "The peculiar value of the fable," says Dr. Adler, "is that they are instantaneous photographs, which reproduce, as it were, in a single flash of light, some one aspect of human nature, and which, excluding everything else, permit the entire attention to be fixed on that one."[264]

Æsop and Bidpai. The type of fable in mind in the above account is that known as the Æsopic, a brief beast-story in which the characters are, as a rule, conventionalized animals, and which points out some practical moral. The fox may represent crafty people, the ass may represent stupid people, the wind may represent boisterous people, the tortoise may represent plodding people who "keep everlastingly at it." When human beings are introduced, such as the Shepherd Boy, or Androcles, or the Travelers, or the Milkmaid, they are as wholly conventionalized as the animals and there is never any doubt as to their motives. Æsop, if he ever existed at all, is said to have been a Greek slave of the sixth century b.c., very ugly and clever, who used fables orally for political purposes and succeeded in gaining his freedom and a high position. Later writers, among them Demetrius of Phalerum about 300 b.c. and Phaedrus about 30 a.d., made versions of fables ascribed to Æsop. Many writers in the Middle Ages brought together increasing numbers of fables under Æsop's name and enlarged upon the few traditional facts in Herodotus about Æsop himself until several hundred fables and an elaborate biography of the supposed author were in existence. Joseph Jacobs said he had counted as many as 700 different fables going under Æsop's name. The number included in a present-day book of Æsop usually varies from 200 to 350. Another name associated with the making of fables is that of Bidpai (or Pilpay), said to have been a philosopher attached to the court of some oriental king. Bidpai, a name which means "head scholar," is a more shadowy figure even than Æsop. What we can be sure of is that there were two centers, Greece and India, from which fables were diffused. Whether they all came originally from a single source, and, if so, what that source was, are questions still debated by scholars.

Modern fabulists. Modern fables are no more possible than a new Mother Goose or a new fairy story. For modern times the method of the fable is "at once too simple and too roundabout. Too roundabout; for the truths we have to tell we prefer to speak out directly and not by way of allegory. And the truths the fable has to teach are too simple to correspond to the facts in our complex civilization." No modern fabulist has duplicated in his field the success of Hans Christian Andersen in the field of the nursery story. A few fables from La Fontaine, a few from Krylov, one or two each from Gay, Cowper, Yriarte, and Lessing may be used to good advantage with children. The general broadening of literary variety has, of course, given us in recent times many valuable stories of the symbolistic kind. Suggestive parable-like or allegorical stories, such as a few of Hawthorne's in Twice Told Tales and Mosses from an Old Manse, or a few of Tolstoy's short tales, are simple enough for children.

The use of fables in school. Not all fables are good for educational purposes. There is, however, plenty of room for choice, and those that present points of view no longer accepted by the modern world should be eliminated from the list. Objections based on the unreality of the fables, their "unnatural natural history," are hardly valid. Rousseau's elimination of fables from his scheme of education in Emile is based on this objection and on the further point that the child will often sympathize with the wrong character in the story, thus going astray in the moral lesson. Other objectors down to the present day simply echo Rousseau. Such a view does little[265] justice to the child's natural sense of values. He is certain to see that the Frog is foolish in competing with the Ox in size, and certain to recognize the common sense of the Country Mouse. He will no more be deceived by a fable than he will by the painted clown in a circus.

The oral method of presentation is the ideal one. Tell the story in as vivid a form as possible. In the earlier grades the interest in the story may be a sufficient end, but almost from the beginning children will see the lesson intended. They will catch the phrases that have come from fables into our everyday speech. Thus, "sour grapes," "dog in the manger," "to blow hot and cold," "to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs," "to cry 'Wolf!'" will take on more significant meanings. If some familiar proverb goes hand in hand with the story, it will help the point to take fast hold in the mind. Applications of the fable to real events should be encouraged. That is what fables were made for and that is where their chief value for us is still manifest. Only a short time need be spent on any one fable, but every opportunity should be taken to call up and apply the fables already learned. For they are not merely for passing amusement, nor is their value confined to childhood. Listen to John Locke, one of the "hardest-headed" of philosophers: "As soon as a child has learned to read, it is desirable to place in his hands pleasant books, suited to his capacity, wherein the entertainment that he finds might draw him on, and reward his pains in reading; and yet not such as should fill his head with perfectly useless trumpery, or lay the principles of vice and folly. To this purpose I think Æsop's Fables the best, which being stories apt to delight and entertain a child, may yet afford useful reflections to a grown man, and if his memory retain them all his life after, he will not repent to find them there, amongst his manly thoughts and serious business."[266]

The best Æsop collection for teachers and pupils alike is The Fables of Æsop, edited by Joseph Jacobs. It contains eighty-two selected fables, including those that are most familiar and most valuable for children. The versions are standards of what such retellings should be, and may well serve as models for teachers in their presentation of other short symbolic stories. The introduction, "A Short History of the Æsopic Fable," and the notes at the end of the book contain, in concise form, all the practical information needed. The text of the Jacobs versions was the one selected for reproduction in Dr. Eliot's Harvard Classics. Nos. 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 213, and 233 in the following group are by Mr. Jacobs. The other Æsopic fables given are from various collections of the traditional versions. Almost any of the many reprints called Æsop are satisfactory for fables not found in Jacobs. Perhaps the one most common in recent times is that made by Thomas James in 1848, which had the good fortune to be illustrated by Tenniel. The versions are brief and not overloaded with editorial "filling."



There was once a young Shepherd Boy who tended his sheep at the foot of a mountain near a dark forest. It was rather lonely for him all day, so he thought upon a plan by which he could get a little company and some excitement. He rushed down towards the village calling out "Wolf! Wolf!" and the villagers came out to meet him, and some of them stopped with him for a considerable time. This pleased the boy so much that a few days afterwards he tried the same trick, and again the villagers came to his help. But shortly after this a Wolf actually did come out from the forest, and began to worry the sheep, and the boy of course cried out "Wolf! Wolf!" still louder than before. But this time the villagers, who had been fooled twice before, thought the boy was again deceiving them, and nobody stirred to come to his help. So the Wolf made a good meal off the boy's flock, and when the boy complained, the wise man of the village said:

"A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth."



Once when a Lion was asleep a little Mouse began running up and down upon him; this soon wakened the Lion, who placed his huge paw upon him and opened his big jaws to swallow him. "Pardon, O King," cried the little Mouse; "forgive me this time; I shall never forget it. Who knows but what I may be able to do you a good turn some of these days?" The Lion was so tickled at the idea of the Mouse being able to help him, that he lifted up his paw and let him go. Some time after the Lion was caught in a trap, and the hunters, who desired to carry him alive to the King, tied him to a tree while they went in search of a wagon to carry him on. Just then the little Mouse happened to pass by, and seeing the sad plight in which the Lion was, went up to him and soon gnawed away the ropes that bound the King of the Beasts. "Was I not right?" said the little Mouse.

Little friends may prove great friends.



A Crow, half-dead with thirst, came upon a Pitcher which had once been full[267] of water; but when the Crow put its beak into the mouth of the Pitcher he found that only very little water was left in it, and that he could not reach far enough down to get at it. He tried and he tried, but at last had to give up in despair. Then a thought came to him, and he took a pebble and dropped it into the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped it into the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher. Then he took another pebble and dropped that into the Pitcher. At last, at last, he saw the water mount up near him; and after casting in a few more pebbles he was able to quench his thirst and save his life.

Little by little does the trick.



"Oh, Father," said a little Frog to the big one sitting by the side of a pool, "I have seen such a terrible monster! It was as big as a mountain, with horns on its head, and a long tail, and it had hoofs divided in two."

"Tush, child, tush," said the old Frog, "that was only Farmer White's Ox. It isn't so big either; he may be a little bit taller than I, but I could easily make myself quite as broad; just you see." So he blew himself out, and blew himself out, and blew himself out. "Was he as big as that?" asked he.

"Oh, much bigger than that," said the young Frog.

Again the old one blew himself out, and asked the young one if the Ox was as big as that.

"Bigger, Father, bigger," was the reply.

So the Frog took a deep breath, and blew and blew and blew, and swelled and swelled and swelled. And then he said: "I'm sure the Ox is not as big as—" But at this moment he burst.

Self-conceit may lead to self-destruction.



Frogs were living as happy as could be in a marshy swamp that just suited them; they went splashing about, caring for nobody and nobody troubling with them. But some of them thought that this was not right, that they should have a king and a proper constitution, so they determined to send up a petition to Jove to give them what they wanted. "Mighty Jove," they cried, "send unto us a king that will rule over us and keep us in order." Jove laughed at their croaking, and threw down into the swamp a huge Log, which came down—kersplash—into the water. The Frogs were frightened out of their lives by the commotion made in their midst, and all rushed to the bank to look at the horrible monster; but after a time, seeing that it did not move, one or two of the boldest of them ventured out towards the Log, and even dared to touch it; still it did not move. Then the greatest hero of the Frogs jumped upon the Log and commenced dancing up and down upon it; thereupon all the Frogs came and did the same; and for some time the Frogs went about their business every day without taking the slightest notice of their new King Log lying in their midst. But this did not suit them, so they sent another petition to Jove, and[268] said to him: "We want a real king; one that will really rule over us." Now this made Jove angry, so he sent among them a big Stork that soon set to work gobbling them all up. Then the Frogs repented when too late.

Better no rule than cruel rule.


The following fable is found in the folklore of many countries. Its lesson of consolation for those who are not blessed with abundance of worldly goods may account for its widespread popularity. Independence and freedom from fear have advantages that make up for poorer fare.


A Field Mouse had a friend who lived in a house in town. Now the Town Mouse was asked by the Field Mouse to dine with him, and out he went and sat down to a meal of corn and wheat.

"Do you know, my friend," said he, "that you live a mere ant's life out here? Why, I have all kinds of things at home. Come, and enjoy them."

So the two set off for town, and there the Town Mouse showed his beans and meal, his dates, too, and his cheese and fruit and honey. And as the Field Mouse ate, drank, and was merry, he thought how rich his friend was, and how poor he was.

But as they ate, a man all at once opened the door, and the Mice were in such a fear that they ran into a crack.

Then, when they would eat some nice figs, in came a maid to get a pot of honey or a bit of cheese; and when they saw her, they hid in a hole.

Then the Field Mouse would eat no more, but said to the Town Mouse, "Do as you like, my good friend; eat all you want and have your fill of good things, but you will be always in fear of your life. As for me, poor Mouse, who have only corn and wheat, I will live on at home in no fear of any one."


This simple poem is based upon the old fable preceding. It does not follow out the idea of the fable, but limits itself to awakening our sympathy for the garden mouse.



The city mouse lives in a house;—
The garden mouse lives in a bower;
He's friendly with the frogs and toads,
And sees the pretty plants in flower.

The city mouse eats bread and cheese;—
The garden mouse eats what he can;
We will not grudge him seeds and stocks,
Poor little timid furry man.


The most famous use of this fable in literature is found in the Satires of the great Roman poet, Horace (b.c. 65-8). He is regarded as one of the most polished of writers, and the ancient world's most truthful painter of social life and manners. Horace had a country seat among the Sabine hills to which he could retire from the worries and distractions of the world. His delight in his Sabine farm is shown clearly in his handling of the story. The passage is a part of Book II, Satire 6, and is in Conington's translation. Some well-known appearances of this same fable in English poetry may be found in Prior and Montagu's City Mouse and Country Mouse and in Pope's Imitations of Horace.




One day a country mouse in his poor home
Received an ancient friend, a mouse from Rome.
The host, though close and careful, to a guest
Could open still; so now he did his best.
He spares not oats or vetches; in his chaps
Raisins he brings, and nibbled bacon-scraps,
Hoping by varied dainties to entice
His town-bred guest, so delicate and nice.
Who condescended graciously to touch
Thing after thing, but never would take much,
While he, the owner of the mansion, sate
On threshed-out straw, and spelt and darnels ate.
At length the town mouse cries, "I wonder how
You can live here, friend, on this hill's rough brow!
Take my advice, and leave these ups and downs,
This hill and dale, for humankind and towns.
Come, now, go home with me; remember, all
Who live on earth are mortal, great and small.
Then take, good sir, your pleasure while you may;
With life so short, 'twere wrong to lose a day."
This reasoning made the rustic's head turn round;
Forth from his hole he issues with a bound,
And they two make together for their mark,
In hopes to reach the city during dark.
The midnight sky was bending over all,
When they set foot within a stately hall,
Where couches of wrought ivory had been spread
With gorgeous coverlets of Tyrian red,
And viands piled up high in baskets lay,
The relics of a feast of yesterday.
The town mouse does the honors, lays his guest
At ease upon a couch with crimson dressed,
Then nimbly moves in character of host,
And offers in succession boiled and roast;
Nay, like a well-trained slave, each wish prevents,
And tastes before the titbits he presents.
The guest, rejoicing in his altered fare,
Assumes in turn a genial diner's air,
When, hark, a sudden banging of the door!
Each from his couch is tumbled on the floor.
Half dead, they scurry round the room, poor things,
While the whole house with barking mastiffs rings.
Then says the rustic, "It may do for you,
This life, but I don't like it; so, adieu.
Give me my hole, secure from all alarms;
I'll prove that tares and vetches still have charms."


The following is the Androcles story as retold by Jacobs. Scholars think this fable is clearly oriental in its origin, constituting as it does a sort of appeal to tyrannical rulers for leniency toward their subjects.


A Slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled to the forest. As he was wandering about there he[270] came upon a Lion lying down moaning and groaning. At first he turned to flee, but finding that the Lion did not pursue him, he turned back and went up to him. As he came near, the Lion put out his paw, which was all swollen and bleeding, and Androcles found that a huge thorn had got into it, and was causing all the pain. He pulled out the thorn and bound up the paw of the Lion, who was soon able to rise and lick the hand of Androcles like a dog. Then the Lion took Androcles to his cave, and every day used to bring him meat from which to live. But shortly afterwards both Androcles and the Lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to the Lion, after the latter had been kept without food for several days. The Emperor and all his Court came to see the spectacle, and Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena. Soon the Lion was let loose from his den, and rushed bounding and roaring towards his victim. But as soon as he came near to Androcles he recognized his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his hands like a friendly dog. The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned Androcles to him, who told him the whole story. Whereupon the slave was pardoned and freed, and the Lion let loose to his native forest.

Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.


The preceding fable is here given in the form used in Thomas Day's very famous, but probably little read, History of Sandford and Merton. (See No. 380.) Day's use of the story is probably responsible for its modern popularity. Jacobs points out that it dropped out of Æsop, although it was in some of the medieval fable books. A very similar tale, "Of the Remembrance of Benefits," is in the Gesta Romanorum (Tale 104). The most striking use of the fable in modern literature is in George Bernard Shaw's play Androcles. It will be instructive to compare the force of Day's rather heavy and slow telling of the story with that of the concise, unelaborated version by Jacobs.



There was a certain slave named Androcles, who was so ill-treated by his master that his life became insupportable. Finding no remedy for what he suffered, he at length said to himself, "It is better to die than to continue to live in such hardships and misery as I am obliged to suffer. I am determined therefore to run away from my master. If I am taken again, I know that I shall be punished with a cruel death; but it is better to die at once than to live in misery. If I escape, I must betake myself to deserts and woods, inhabited only by wild beasts; but they cannot use me more cruelly than I have been used by my fellow-creatures. Therefore I will rather trust myself with them than continue to be a miserable slave."

Having formed this resolution, he took an opportunity of leaving his master's house, and hid himself in a thick forest, which was at some miles' distance from the city. But here the unhappy man found that he had only escaped from one kind of misery to experience another. He wandered about all day through a vast and trackless wood, where his flesh was continually torn by thorns and brambles. He grew hungry, but could find no food in this dreary solitude. At length he was ready to die with[271] fatigue, and lay down in despair in a large cavern which he found by accident.

This unfortunate man had not lain long quiet in the cavern, before he heard a dreadful noise, which seemed to be the roar of some wild beast, and terrified him very much. He started up with a design to escape and had already reached the mouth of the cave when he saw coming towards him a lion of prodigious size, who prevented any possibility of retreat. The unfortunate man then believed his destruction to be inevitable; but, to his great astonishment, the beast advanced towards him with a gentle pace, without any mark of enmity or rage, and uttered a kind of mournful voice, as if he demanded the assistance of the man.

Androcles, who was naturally of a resolute disposition, acquired courage from this circumstance, to examine his monstrous guest, who gave him sufficient leisure for that purpose. He saw, as the lion approached him, that he seemed to limp upon one of his legs and that the foot was extremely swelled as if it had been wounded. Acquiring still more fortitude from the gentle demeanor of the beast, he advanced up to him and took hold of the wounded paw, as a surgeon would examine a patient. He then perceived that a thorn of uncommon size had penetrated the ball of the foot and was the occasion of the swelling and lameness he had observed. Androcles found that the beast, far from resenting this familiarity, received it with the greatest gentleness and seemed to invite him by his blandishments to proceed. He therefore extracted the thorn, and, pressing the swelling, discharged a considerable quantity of matter, which had been the cause of so much pain and uneasiness.

As soon as the beast felt himself thus relieved, he began to testify his joy and gratitude by every expression within his power. He jumped about like a wanton spaniel, wagged his enormous tail, and licked the feet and hands of his physician. Nor was he contented with these demonstrations of kindness; from this moment Androcles became his guest; nor did the lion ever sally forth in quest of prey without bringing home the produce of his chase and sharing it with his friend. In this savage state of hospitality did the man continue to live during the space of several months. At length, wandering unguardedly through the woods, he met with a company of soldiers sent out to apprehend him, and was by them taken prisoner and conducted back to his master. The laws of that country being very severe against slaves, he was tried and found guilty of having fled from his master, and, as a punishment for his pretended crime, he was sentenced to be torn in pieces by a furious lion, kept many days without food to inspire him with additional rage.

When the destined moment arrived, the unhappy man was exposed, unarmed, in the midst of a spacious area, enclosed on every side, round which many thousand people were assembled to view the mournful spectacle.

Presently a dreadful yell was heard, which struck the spectators with horror; and a monstrous lion rushed out of a den, which was purposely set open, and darted forward with erected mane, and flaming eyes, and jaws that gaped like an open sepulchre.—A mournful silence instantly prevailed! All eyes were turned upon the destined victim, whose destruction now appeared inevitable. But the pity of the multitude was soon converted into[272] astonishment, when they beheld the lion, instead of destroying his defenceless prey, crouch submissively at his feet; fawn upon him as a faithful dog would do upon his master, and rejoice over him as a mother that unexpectedly recovers her offspring. The governor of the town, who was present, then called out with a loud voice and ordered Androcles to explain to them this unintelligible mystery, and how a savage beast of the fiercest and most unpitying nature should thus in a moment have forgotten his innate disposition, and be converted into a harmless and inoffensive animal.

Androcles then related to the assembly every circumstance of his adventures in the woods, and concluded by saying that the very lion which now stood before them had been his friend and entertainer in the woods. All the persons present were astonished and delighted with the story, to find that even the fiercest beasts are capable of being softened by gratitude and moved by humanity; and they unanimously joined to entreat for the pardon of the unhappy man from the governor of the place. This was immediately granted to him, and he was also presented with the lion, who had in this manner twice saved the life of Androcles.



A dispute once arose between the North Wind and the Sun as to which was the stronger of the two. Seeing a Traveler on his way, they agreed to try which could the sooner get his cloak off him. The North Wind began, and sent a furious blast, which, at the onset, nearly tore the cloak from its fastenings; but the Traveler, seizing the garment with a firm grip, held it round his body so tightly that Boreas spent his remaining force in vain.

The Sun, dispelling the clouds that had gathered, then darted his genial beams on the Traveler's head. Growing faint with the heat, the Man flung off his coat and ran for protection to the nearest shade.

Mildness governs more than anger.


The following brief fable has given us one of the best known expressions in common speech, "killing the goose that lays the golden eggs." People who never heard of Æsop know what that expression means. It is easy to connect the fable with our "get rich quick" craze. (Compare with No. 254.)


A certain Man had a Goose that laid him a golden egg every day. Being of a covetous turn, he thought if he killed his Goose he should come at once to the source of his treasure. So he killed her and cut her open, but great was his dismay to find that her inside was in no way different from that of any other goose.

Greediness overreaches itself.


The most successful of modern literary fabulists was the French poet Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695). A famous critic has said that his fables delight the child with their freshness and vividness, the student of literature with their consummate art, and the experienced man with their subtle reflections on life and character. He drew most of his stories from Æsop and other sources. While he dressed the old fables in the brilliant style of his own day, he still[273] succeeded in being essentially simple and direct. A few of his 240 fables may be used to good effect with children, though they have their main charm for the more sophisticated older reader. (See Nos. 234, 234, and 241.) The best complete translation is that made in 1841 by Elizur Wright, an American scholar. The following version is from his translation. Notice that La Fontaine has changed the goose to a hen.



How avarice loseth all,
By striving all to gain,
I need no witness call
But him whose thrifty hen,
As by the fable we are told,
Laid every day an egg of gold.
"She hath a treasure in her body,"
Bethinks the avaricious noddy.
He kills and opens—vexed to find
All things like hens of common kind.
Thus spoil'd the source of all his riches,
To misers he a lesson teaches.
In these last changes of the moon,
How often doth one see
Men made as poor as he
By force of getting rich too soon!



A Wolf wrapped himself in the skin of a Sheep and by that means got admission into a sheep-fold, where he devoured several of the young Lambs. The Shepherd, however, soon found him out and hung him up to a tree, still in his disguise.

Some other Shepherds, passing that way, thought it was a Sheep hanging, and cried to their friend, "What, brother! is that the way you serve Sheep in this part of the country?"

"No, friends," cried he, turning the hanging body around so that they might see what it was; "but it is the way to serve Wolves, even though they be dressed in Sheep's clothing."

The credit got by a lie lasts only till the truth comes out.



The Hare one day laughed at the Tortoise for his short feet, slowness, and awkwardness.

"Though you may be swift as the wind," replied the Tortoise good-naturedly, "I can beat you in a race."

The Hare looked on the challenge as a great joke, but consented to a trial of speed, and the Fox was selected to act as umpire and hold the stakes.

The rivals started, and the Hare, of course, soon left the Tortoise far behind. Having reached midway to the goal, she began to play about, nibble the young herbage, and amuse herself in many ways. The day being warm, she even thought she would take a little nap in a shady spot, for she thought that if the Tortoise should pass her while she slept, she could easily overtake him again before he reached the end.

The Tortoise meanwhile plodded on, unwavering and unresting, straight towards the goal.

The Hare, having overslept herself, started up from her nap and was surprised to find that the Tortoise was nowhere in sight. Off she went at full speed, but on reaching the winning-post, found that the Tortoise was already there, waiting for her arrival.

Slow and steady wins the race.




A Miller and his Son were driving their Ass to a neighboring fair to sell him. They had not gone far when they met with a troop of women collected round a well, talking and laughing.

"Look there," cried one of them, "did you ever see such fellows, to be trudging along the road on foot when they might ride?"

The Miller, hearing this, quickly made his Son mount the Ass, and continued to walk along merrily by his side. Presently they came up to a group of old men in earnest debate.

"There," said one of them, "it proves what I was saying. What respect is shown to old age in these days? Do you see that idle lad riding while his old father has to walk? Get down, you young scapegrace, and let the old man rest his weary limbs."

Upon this, the Miller made his Son dismount, and got up himself. In this manner they had not proceeded far when they met a company of women and children.

"Why, you lazy old fellow," cried several tongues at once, "how can you ride upon the beast while that poor little lad there can hardly keep pace by the side of you?"

The good-natured Miller immediately took up his Son behind him. They had now almost reached the town.

"Pray, honest friend," said a citizen, "is that Ass your own?"

"Yes," replied the old man.

"Oh, one would not have thought so," said the other, "by the way you load him. Why, you two fellows are better able to carry the poor beast than he you."

"Anything to please you," said the Miller; "we can but try."

So, alighting with his Son, they tied the legs of the Ass together, and by the help of a pole endeavored to carry him on their shoulders over a bridge near the entrance of the town. This entertaining sight brought the people in crowds to laugh at it, till the Ass, not liking the noise nor the strange handling that he was subject to, broke the cords that bound him and, tumbling off the pole, fell into the river. Upon this, the old man, vexed and ashamed, made the best of his way home again, convinced that by trying to please everybody he had pleased nobody, and lost his Ass into the bargain.

He who tries to please everybody pleases nobody.



Two Men, about to journey through a forest, agreed to stand by each other in any dangers that might befall. They had not gone far before a savage Bear rushed out from a thicket and stood in their path. One of the Travelers, a light, nimble fellow, got up into a tree. The other, seeing that there was no chance to defend himself single-handed, fell flat on his face and held his breath. The Bear came up and smelled at him, and taking him for dead, went off again into the wood. The Man in the tree came down and, rejoining his companion, asked him, with a sly smile, what was the wonderful secret which he had seen the Bear whisper into his ear.

"Why," replied the other, "he told me to take care for the future and not[275] to put any confidence in such cowardly rascals as you are."

Trust not fine promises.