Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin.

Tales of laughter : a third fairy book online

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Then she ordered her maid to fetch all three, and gave them

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TALES OF LAUGHTER

to the doctor, and begged him to give them back to the sol-
diers ; and the moment he had them safe he gave her a whole
pear to eat, and the nose came right. And as for the
doctor, he put on the cloak, wished the king and all his court
a good day, and was soon with his two friends, who lived
from that time happily at home in their palace, except when
they took an airing to see the world, in their coach with the
three dapple-gray horses.









I"?]

/ -



The Adventures of Chanticleer and
Partlet

I. HOW THEY WENT TO THE HILLS TO EAT NUTS

X^>HANTICLEER said to Partlet one day: "The nuts
I must be ripe; now we will go up the hill together and
^-^ have a good feast before the squirrel carries them
all off."

" All right," said Partlet, " come along ; we'll have a fine
time." So they went away up the hill, and, as it was a bright
day, they stayed till evening.

Now whether they really had grown fat, or whether it was
merely pride, I do not know, but, whatever the reason, they
would not walk home, and Chanticleer had to make a little
carriage of nut-shells. When it was ready, Partlet took her
seat in it, and said to Chanticleer, " Now you get between the
shafts."

"That's all very fine," said Chanticleer, "but I would
sooner go home on foot than put myself in harness. I
will sit on the box and drive, but draw it myself, I never
will."

As they were squabbling over this, a duck quacked out:
" You thievish folk ! Who told you to come to my nut-hill ?
Just you wait, you will suffer for it."

Then she rushed at Chanticleer with open bill, but he was
not to be taken by surprise, and fell upon her with his spurs
till she cried out for grace. At last she allowed herself to be
harnessed to the carriage. Chanticleer seated himself on the
box as coachman, and cried out unceasingly : " Now, duck,
run as fast as you can."

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TALES OF LAUGHTER

When they had driven a little way they met two foot pas-
sengers, a pin and a needle, who called out : " Stop ! stop ! "
They said it would soon be pitch dark, and they couldn't walk
a step farther, the road was so dirty; might they not have
a lift? They had been to the Tailor's Inn by the gate, and had
lingered over their beer.

As they were both very thin, and did not take up much
room, Chanticleer allowed them to get in, but he made them
promise not to tread either on his toes or on Partlet 's. Late
in the evening they came to an inn, and as they did not want
to drive any farther in the dark, and the duck was getting
rather uncertain on her feet, tumbling from side to side, they
drove in.

The landlord at first made many objections to having them,
and said the house was already full ; perhaps he thought they
were not very grand folk. But at last, by dint of persuasive
words, and promising him the egg which Mrs. Partlet had
laid on the way, and also that he should keep the duck, who
laid an egg every day, he consented to let them stay the night.

Then they had a meal served to them, and feasted and
passed the time in rioting.

In the early dawn, before it grew light and every one was
asleep, Partlet woke up Chanticleer, fetched the egg, pecked a
hole in it, and between them they ate it all up, and threw the
shells on to the hearth. Then they went to the needle, which
was still asleep, seized it by the head and stuck it in the cush-
ion of the landlord's arm-chair; the pin they stuck in his
towel, and then, without more ado, away they flew over the
heath. The duck, who preferred to sleep in the open air and
had stayed in the yard, heard them whizzing by, and bestirred
herself. She found a stream, and swam away down it ; it was
a much quicker way to get on than being harnessed to a
carriage.

A couple of hours later the landlord, who was the first
to leave his pillow, got up and washed. When he took up the
towel to dry himself, he scratched his face and made a long
red line from ear to ear. Then he went to the kitchen to light



TALES OF LAUGHTER

his pipe, but when he stooped over the hearth the egg-shells
flew into his eye.

" Everything goes to my head this morning,' 5 he said
angrily, as he dropped on to the cushion of his grandfather's
arm-chair. But he quickly bounded up again, and shouted,
" Gracious me ! " for the needle had run into him, and this
time not in the head. He grew furious, and his suspicions
immediately fell on the guests who had come in so late the
night before. When he went to look for them, they were no-
where to be seen. Then he swore never to take such raga-
muffins into his house again; for they ate a great deal, paid
nothing, and played tricks, by way of thanks, into the bargain.



II. THE VISIT TO MR. KORBES

Another day, when Partlet and Chanticleer were about to
take a journey, Chanticleer built a fine carriage with four red
wheels, and harnessed four little mice to it. Mrs. Partlet
seated herself in it with Chanticleer, and they drove off to-
gether.

Before long they met a cat, who said, " Whither away ? "

Chanticleer answered:

"All on our way
A visit to pay
To Mr. Korbes at home to-day."

" Take me with you," said the cat.

Chanticleer answered : " With pleasure ; sit down behind,
so that you don't fall out forward."

"When we're off, away we roam,
To visit Mr. Korbes at home.
My wheels so red, pray have a care
From any splash of mud to spare.
Ye wheels sweep on with speed inclined,
Ye mice outstrip the whistling wind,
When we're off, away to roam,
To visit Mr. Korbes at home."
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TALES OF LAUGHTER

Then came a millstone, an egg, a duck, a pin, and, last of
all, a needle. They all took their places in the carriage and
went with the rest.

But when they arrived at Mr. Korbes's house, he wasn't in.
The mice drew the carriage into the coach-house, Partlet and
Chanticleer flew on to a perch, the cat sat down by the fire,
the duck lay down by the well-pole. The egg rolled itself up
in the towel, the pin stuck itself into the cushion, the needle
sprang into the pillow on the bed, and the millstone laid
itself over the door.

When Mr. Korbes came home, and went to the hearth to
make a fire, the cat threw ashes into his eyes. He ran into the
kitchen to wash, and the duck squirted water into his face;
seizing the towel to dry himself, the egg rolled out, broke, and
stuck up one of his eyes. He wanted to rest, and sat down
in his arm-chair, when the pin pricked him. He grew very
angry, threw himself on the bed and laid his head on the
pillow, when the needle ran into him and made him cry out.
In a fury he wanted to rush into the open air, but when he
got to the door, the millstone fell on his head and killed him.
What a bad man Mr. Korbes must have been !



III. THE DEATH OF PARTLET

Partlet and Chanticleer went to the nut-hill on another
occasion, and they arranged that whichever of them found a
nut should share it with the other.

Partlet found a huge nut, but said nothing about it, and
meant to eat it all herself; but the kernel was so big that she
could not swallow it. It stuck in her throat, and she was
afraid she would be choked. She shrieked : " Chanticleer,
Chanticleer, run and fetch some water as fast as you can, or
I shall choke!"

So Chanticleer ran as fast as he could to the well, and
said : " Well, well, you must give me some water ! Partlet
is out on the nut-hill; she has swallowed a big nut, and is
choking."



TALES OF LAUGHTER

The well answered : " First you must run to my bride, and
tell her to give you some red silk."

Chanticleer ran to the bride, and said : " Bride, bride, give
me some red silk; I will give the silk to the well, and the
well will give me some water to take to Partlet, for she has
swallowed a big nut and is choking."

The bride answered : " Run first and fetch me a wreath
which I left hanging on a willow."

So Chanticleer ran to the willow, pulled the wreath off
the branch, and brought it to the bride. The bride gave
him the red silk, which he took to the well, and the well
gave him the water for it. Then Chanticleer took the water
to Partlet ; but as it happened, she had choked in the meantime,
and lay there dead and stiff. Chanticleer's grief was so great
that he cried aloud, and all the animals came and condoled
with him.

Six mice built a little car to draw Partlet to the grave ; and
when the car was ready they harnessed themselves to it and
drew Partlet away.

On the way, Reynard the fox joined them. " Where are
you going, Chanticleer ? " said he.

" I'm going to bury my wife, Partlet."

" May I go with you ? "

"Well, yes, if ride you will, you must jump up behind,
To carry weight in front, my horses aren't inclined."

So the fox took a seat at the back, and he was followed
by the wolf, the bear, the stag, the lion, and all the other
animals of the forest. The procession went on till they came
to a stream.

" How shall we ever get over ? " said Chanticleer.

A straw was lying by the stream, and it said : " I will
stretch myself across, and then you can pass over upon me."

But when the six mice got on to the straw it collapsed, and
the mice fell into the water with it, and they were all drowned.
So the travelers' difficulty was as great as ever. Then a coal

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TALES OF LAUGHTER

came along and said : " I am big enough ; I will lie down and
you can pass over me."

So the coal laid itself across the stream, but unfortunately
it just touched the water, hissed, went out, and was dead.
A stone, seeing this, had pity on them, and, wanting to help
Chanticleer, laid itself over the water. Now Chanticleer drew
the car himself, and he just managed to get across with Part-
let. Next he wanted to pull the others over who were hang-
ing on behind, but it was too much for him, and the car fell
back and they all fell into the water and were drowned.

So Chanticleer was left alone with the dead hen, and he
dug a grave himself and laid her in it. Then he made a
mound over it, and seated himself upon it and grieved till he
died; and then they were all dead.



The Golden Goose

rHERE was once a man who had three sons. The
youngest of them was called Simpleton; he was
scorned and despised by the others, and kept in the
background.

The eldest son was going into the forest to cut wood, and,
before he started, his mother gave him a nice sweet cake and
a bottle of wine to take with him, so that he might not suffer
from hunger or thirst. In the wood he met a little, old, gray
man, who bade him good day, and said : " Give me a bit of
the cake in your pocket, and let me have a drop of your wine.
I am so hungry and thirsty."

But the clever son said : " If I give you my cake and wine,
I sha'n't have enough for myself. Be off with you ! "

He left the little man standing there, and went on his way.
But he had not been long at work, cutting down a tree, be-
fore he made a false stroke, and dug the ax into his own
arm, and he was obliged to go home to have it bound up.

Now, this was no accident; it was brought about by the
little gray man.

The second son now had to go into the forest to cut wood,
and, like the eldest, his mother gave him a sweet cake and
a bottle of wine. In the same way the little gray man met
him, and asked for a piece of his cake and a drop of his wine.
But the second son made the same sensible answer : "If I
give you any, I shall have the less for myself. Be off out
of my way ! " and he went on.

His punishment, however, was not long delayed. After a
few blows at the tree, he hit his own leg, and had to be car-
ried home.

Then Simpleton said : " Let me go to cut the wood, father."



TALES OF LAUGHTER

But his father said : " Your brothers have only come to
harm by it; you had better leave it alone. You know noth-
ing about it." But Simpleton begged so hard to be allowed
to go that at last his father said : " Well, off you go then.
You will be wiser when you have hurt yourself,"

His mother gave him a cake which was mixed with water
only and baked in the ashes, and a bottle of sour beer. When
he reached the forest, like the others, he met the little gray
man, who greeted him, and said : " Give me a bit of your cake
and a drop of your wine. I am so hungry and thirsty."

Simpleton answered : " I have only a cake baked in the
ashes, and some sour beer ; but, if you like such fare, we will
sit down and eat it together."

So they sat down ; but when Simpleton pulled out his cake,
it was a sweet, nice cake, and his sour beer was turned into
good wine. So they ate and drank, and the little man said:
" As you have such a kind heart, and are willing to share your
possessions, I will give you good luck. There stands an old
tree; cut it down, and you will find something at the roots."

So saying, he disappeared.

Simpleton cut down the tree, and when it fell, lo, and be-
hold! a goose was sitting among the roots, and its feathers
were of pure gold. He picked it up, and taking it with him,
went to an inn, where he meant to stay the night. The
landlord had three daughters, who saw the goose, and were
very curious as to what kind of bird it could be, and wanted
to get one of its golden feathers.

The eldest thought : " There will soon be some opportunity
for me to pull out one of the feathers," and when Simpleton
went outside, she took hold of its wing to pluck out a feather ;
but her hand stuck fast, and she could not get away.

Soon after, the second sister came up, meaning also to pluck
out one of the golden feathers; but she had hardly touched
her sister when she found herself held fast.

Lastly, the third one came, with the same intention, but the
others screamed out : " Keep away ! For goodness sake, keep
away ! "



TALES OF LAUGHTER

But she, not knowing why she was to keep away, thought,
" Why should I not be there, if they are there? "

So she ran up, but as soon as she touched her sisters she
had to stay hanging on to them, and they all had to pass the
night like this.

In the morning, Simpleton took up the goose under his arm,
without noticing the three girls hanging on behind, so they
had to keep running after, dodging his legs right and left.

In the middle of the fields they met the parson, who, when
he saw the procession, cried out : " For shame, you bold girls !
Why do you run after the lad like that? Do you call that
proper behavior ? "

Then he took hold of the hand of the youngest girl to pull
her away ; but no sooner had he touched her than he felt him-
self held fast, and he, too, had to run behind.

Soon after the sexton came up, and, seeing his master the
parson treading on the heels of the three girls, cried out in
amazement : " Hallo, your Reverence ! Whither away so fast?
Don't forget that we have a christening ! "

So saying, he plucked the parson by the sleeve, and soon
found that he could not get away either.

As this party of five, one behind the other, tramped on,
two peasants came along the road, carrying their hoes. The
parson called them, and asked them to set the sexton and
himself free. But as soon as ever they touched the sexton
they were held fast, so now there were seven people running
behind Simpleton and his goose.

By and by they reached a town where a king ruled whose
only daughter was so solemn that nothing and nobody could
make her laugh. So the king had proclaimed that whoever
could bring her laughter should marry her.

When Simpleton heard this he took his goose, with all his
following, before her, and when she saw these seven people
running, one behind another, she burst into fits of laughter,
and seemed as if she could never stop.

Thereupon Simpleton asked her in marriage. But the king
did not like him for a son-in-law, and he made all sorts of

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TALES OF LAUGHTER

conditions. First, he said Simpleton must bring him a man
who could drink up a cellar full of wine.

Then Simpleton at once thought of the little gray man,
who might be able to help him, and he went out to the forest
to look for him. On the very spot where the tree that he had
cut down had stood, he saw a man sitting with a very sad
face. Simpleton asked him what was the matter, and he an-
swered :

" I am so thirsty, and I can't quench my thirst. I hate
cold water, and I have already emptied a cask of wine; but
what is a drop like that on a burning stone ? "

" Well, there I can help you," said Simpleton. " Come with
me, and you shall soon have enough to drink and to spare."

He led him to the king's cellar, and the man set to upon the
great casks, and he drank and drank till his sides ached, and
by the end of the day the cellar was empty.

Then again Simpleton demanded his bride. But the king
was annoyed that a wretched fellow called " Simpleton "
should have his daughter, and he made new conditions. He
was now to find a man who could eat up a mountain of bread.

Simpleton did not reflect long, but went straight to the
forest, and there in the self-same place sat a man tightening
a strap round his body, and making a very miserable face.
He said : " I have eaten up a whole ovenful of rolls, but what
is the good of that when any one is as hungry as I am.
I am never satisfied. I have to tighten my belt every day
if I am not to die of hunger."

Simpleton was delighted, and said : " Get up and come with
me. You shall have enough to eat."

Then he took him to the court, where the king had caused
all the flour in the kingdom to be brought together, and a
huge mountain of bread to be baked. The man from the
forest sat down before it and began to eat, and at the end
of the day the whole mountain had disappeared.

Now, for the third time, Simpleton asked for his bride. But
again the king tried to find an excuse, and demanded a ship
which could sail on land as well as at sea.



TALES OF LAUGHTER

" As soon as you can furnish it, you shall have my daugh-
ter," he said.

Simpleton went straight to the forest, and there sat the lit-
tle gray man to whom he had given his cake. The little man
said : " I -have eaten and drunk for you, and now I will give
you the ship, too. I do it all because you were merciful to me."

Then he gave him the ship which could sail on land as well
as at sea, and when the king saw it he could no longer with-
hold his daughter. The marriage was celebrated, and, at the
king's death, Simpleton inherited the kingdom, and lived long
and happily with his wife.



[ 128



The Young Giant



X^VNCE upon a time there lived a husbandman who had
i i a son who, when he was born, was no bigger than the
v-X length of a thumb, and who for many years did not
grow a hair's breadth taller.

One morning, just as the countryman was about to set out
to plow his field, little Thumbling said:

" Father, I want to go, too."

" I dare say you do," said the man ; " but you are much bet-
ter at home. If I took you out I should be sure to lose you."

Thereupon Thumbling fell a-crying, and cried so much that
at length his father picked him up and put him in his pocket
and set forth to his work.

When they reached the fields the man took his son out and
set him down on the ridge of a newly turned furrow, so that
he might see the world around him. Then suddenly from
over the mountains a great giant came striding toward them.

" See, son," said the husbandman, " here is an ogre coming
to fetch you away because you were naughty and cried this
morning."

And the words had scarcely passed his lips when, in two
great strides, the giant had reached little Thumbling's side
and had picked him up in his great hands and carried him
away without uttering a sound.

The poor father stood dumb with fear, for he thought he
should never see his little son again.

The giant, however, treated little Thumbling very kindly
in his house in the woods. He kept him warm in his pocket,
and fed him so heartily and well that Thumbling became a
young giant himself, tall, and broad.

At the end of two years the old giant took him out into the
woods to try his strength.

[129]



TALES OF LAUGHTER

" Pull up that birch-tree for a staff to lean upon," he said,
and the youth obeyed and pulled it up by the roots as if
it had been a mere weed.

The old giant still thought he should like him to be
stronger, so, after taking great care of him for another two
years, they again went out into the wood. This time Thumb-
ling playfully uprooted a stout old oak, and the old giant, well
pleased, cried:

" Now you are a credit to me/' and took him back to the
field where he first found him.

Here the young giant's father happened to be just then
plowing; so Thumbling went up to him and said:

" See, father, to what a great big man your son has
grown ! "

But the peasant was afraid.

" Be off with you ! I don't know you," he cried.

" But really and truly, father, I am your son," he said.
" Let me take the plow, for I can guide it quite as well as
you."

The father very unwillingly let go of the plow, for he was
afraid of the giant, and sat down to watch. Then Thumbling
laid one hand on the plowshare and straightway drove it so
deep into the ground that the peasant cried :

" Now you will do more harm than good, if you drive so
deep into the earth."

Thereupon the young giant unharnessed the horses and be-
gan to draw the plow himself, first saying :

" Now, father, get you home and tell mother to cook a
hearty meal, while I just run round the field."

And in a very short time he had done what the peasant
would have taken two whole days to do.

When all was finished, he laid plow, horse, and harrow over
his shoulders and carried them home as easily as though they
were a truss of hay.

When he reached the house, he saw his mother sitting on a
bench in the courtyard.

" Oh, who is this frightful monster of a man ? " she cried.

[130]



TALES OF LAUGHTER

" That is our son," said her husband.

" I cannot believe that," replied the woman, " for our child
was a tiny little thing," and she begged the young giant to go
away.

However, he did not take any notice of what she said, for,
after feeding the horse in the stable, he came into the kitchen
and sat himself down upon the edge of the dresser.

" Mother, mother," he said, " I am so hungry. Give me my
dinner."

" Here it is," said his mother, and set two enormous dishes
of smoking stew upon the table.

It would have been enough to last the husbandman and his
wife for eight whole days, but the giant ate it all up in five
minutes, and then asked if they could give him more. But
the woman shook her head, and said they had no more in the
house.

" Mother," he said, " I am fainting with hunger. That was
a mere bite."

The woman was so frightened at this that she ran and made
some more stew in the largest fish kettle.

"Ah," sighed the young giant, "this is something like a
meal!"

But when he had finished he still felt hungry, and said :

" Well, father, I can see I shall starve if I come here to
live. I will go and seek my fortune in the wide world, if you
can procure me a bar of iron so strong that I cannot break it
across my knee."

The peasant quickly harnessed his two horses to the wagon,
and from the smithy in the village he fetched an iron bar
so heavy that the horses could hardly drag it. This the
giant tried across his knee. Snap! it cracked in half, like
a twig.

Then the peasant took his wagon and four horses to the
smithy and brought back as heavy a bar as they could carry.
But in a second the giant had broken it into two pieces and
tossed them each aside.

" Father," he said, " I need a stronger one yet. Take the



TALES OF LAUGHTER

wagon and eight horses to the smithy, and fetch me back as
heavy a one as they can draw."

This the countryman did, and again the youth broke it in
two as easily as if he had cracked a nut.

" Well, father, I see you cannot get me anything strong
enough. I must go and try my fortune without it."

So he turned blacksmith and journeyed for many miles, un-
til he came to a village, where dwelt a very grasping smith,
who earned a great deal of money, but who gave not a penny
of it away.

The giant stepped into his forge and asked if by any chance
he were in want of help.

" What wages do you ask ? " said the smith, looking the
young man up and down ; for, thought he : " Here is a fine,
powerful fellow, who surely will be worth his salt."

" I don't want money," replied the giant. " But here's a
bargain: every fortnight, when you give your workmen their
wages, I will give you two strokes across your shoulders. It
will be just a little amusement for me."

The cunning smith agreed very willingly, for, he thought,



Online LibraryKate Douglas Smith WigginTales of laughter : a third fairy book → online text (page 9 of 31)