Gebrüder Grimm.

Grimm's Fairy Stories online

. (page 3 of 11)
Online LibraryGebrüder GrimmGrimm's Fairy Stories → online text (page 3 of 11)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

as he returned he blew up the sparks of his fire again and warmed
himself, and while he sat his eyes began to feel very heavy and he
wished to go to sleep. So looking around he saw a great bed in one
corner, in which he lay down; but no sooner had he closed his eyes, than
the bed began to move of itself and travelled all round the castle.
"Just so," said he, "only better still"; whereupon the bed galloped away
as if six horses pulled it up and down steps and stairs, until at last,
all at once, it overset, bottom upward, and lay upon him like a
mountain; but up he got, threw pillows and mattresses into the air, and
saying, "Now he who wishes may travel," laid himself down by the fire
and slept till day broke. In the morning the King came, and, seeing the
youth lying on the ground, he thought that the spectres had killed him,
and that he was dead; so he said, "It is a great misfortune that the
finest men are thus killed"; but the youth, hearing this, sprang up,
saying, "It is not come to that with me yet!" The King was much
astonished, but very glad, and asked him how he had fared. "Very well,"
replied he; "as one night has passed, so also may the other two." Soon
after he met his landlord, who opened his eyes when he saw him. "I never
thought to see you alive again," said he; "have you learnt now what
shivering means?" "No," said he; "it is all of no use. Oh, if any one
would but tell me!"

The second night he went up again into the castle, and sitting down by
the fire, began his old song, "If I could but shiver!" When midnight
came, a ringing and a rattling noise was heard, gentle at first and
louder and louder by degrees; then there was a pause, and presently with
a loud outcry half a man's body came down the chimney and fell at his
feet. "Holloa," he exclaimed; "only half a man answered that ringing;
that is too little." Then the ringing began afresh, and a roaring and
howling was heard, and the other half fell down. "Wait a bit," said he;
"I will poke up the fire first." When he had done so and looked round
again, the two pieces had joined themselves together, and an ugly man
was sitting in his place. "I did not bargain for that," said the youth;
"the bench is mine." The man tried to push him away, but the youth would
not let him, and giving him a violent push sat himself down in his old
place. Presently more men fell down the chimney, one after the other,
who brought nine thigh-bones and two skulls, which they set up, and then
they began to play at ninepins. At this the youth wished also to play,
so he asked whether he might join them. "Yes, if you have money!" "Money
enough," he replied, "but your balls are not quite round"; so saying he
took up the skulls, and, placing them on his lathe, turned them round.
"Ah, now you will roll well," said he. "Holloa! now we will go at it
merrily." So he played with them and lost some of his money, but as it
struck twelve everything disappeared. Then he lay down and went to sleep
quietly. On the morrow the King came for news, and asked him how he had
fared this time. "I have been playing ninepins," he replied, "and lost a
couple of dollars." "Have you not shivered?" "No! I have enjoyed myself
very much; but I wish some one would teach me that!"

On the third night he sat down again on his bench, saying in great
vexation, "Oh, if I could only shiver!" When it grew late, six tall men
came in bearing a coffin between them. "Ah, ah," said he, "that is
surely my little cousin, who died two days ago"; and beckoning with his
finger he called, "Come, little cousin, come!" The men set down the
coffin upon the ground, and he went up and took off the lid, and there
lay a dead man within, and as he felt the face it was as cold as ice.
"Stop a moment," he cried; "I will warm it in a trice"; and stepping up
to the fire he warmed his hands, and then laid them upon the face, but
it remained cold. So he took up the body, and sitting down by the fire,
he laid it on his lap and rubbed the arms that the blood might circulate
again. But all this was of no avail, and he thought to himself if two
lie in a bed together they warm each other; so he put the body in the
bed, and covering it up laid himself down by its side. After a little
while the body became warm and began to move about. "See, my cousin," he
exclaimed, "have I not warmed you?" But the body got up and exclaimed,
"Now I will strangle you." "Is that your gratitude?" cried the youth.
"Then you shall get into your coffin again"; and taking it up, he threw
the body in, and made the lid fast. Then the six men came in again and
bore it away. "Oh, deary me," said he, "I shall never be able to shiver
if I stop here all my lifetime!" At these words in came a man who was
taller than all the others, and looked more horrible; but he was very
old and had a long white beard. "Oh, you wretch," he exclaimed, "now
thou shalt learn what shivering means, for thou shalt die!"

"Not so quick," answered the youth; "if I die I must be brought to it

"I will quickly seize you," replied the ugly one.

"Softly, softly; be not too sure. I am as strong as you, and perhaps

"That we will see," said the ugly man. "If you are stronger than I, I
will let you go; come, let us try"; and he led him away through a dark
passage to a smith's forge. Then taking up an axe he cut through the
anvil at one blow down to the ground. "I can do that still better," said
the youth, and went to another anvil, while the old man followed him and
watched him, with his long beard hanging down. Then the youth took up an
axe, and, splitting the anvil at one blow, wedged the old man's beard in
it. "Now I have you; now death comes upon you!" and taking up an iron
bar he beat the old man until he groaned, and begged him to stop, and he
would give him great riches. So the youth drew out the axe, and let him
loose. Then the old man, leading him back into the castle, showed him
three chests full of gold in a cellar. "One share of this," said he,
"belongs to the poor, another to the King, and a third to yourself." And
just then it struck twelve and the old man vanished, leaving the youth
in the dark. "I must help myself out here," said he, and groping round
he found his way back to his room and went to sleep by the fire.

The next morning the King came and inquired, "Now have you learnt to
shiver?" "No," replied the youth; "what is it? My dead cousin came here,
and a bearded man, who showed me a lot of gold down below; but what
shivering means, no one has showed me!" Then the King said, "You have
won the castle, and shall marry my daughter."

"That is all very fine," replied the youth, "but still I don't know what
shivering means."

So the gold was fetched, and the wedding was celebrated, but the young
Prince (for the youth was a Prince now), notwithstanding his love for
his bride, and his great contentment, was still continually crying, "If
I could but shiver! if I could but shiver!" At last it fell out in this
wise: one of the chambermaids said to the Princess, "Let me bring in my
aid to teach him what shivering is." So she went to the brook which
flowed through the garden, and drew up a pail of water full of little
fish; and, at night, when the young Prince was asleep, his bride drew
away the covering and poured the pail of cold water and the little
fishes over him, so that they slipped all about him. Then the Prince
woke up directly, calling out, "Oh! that makes me shiver! dear wife,
that makes me shiver! Yes, now I know what shivering means!"


Once upon a time there lived a King who had three sons; the two elder
were learned and bright, but the youngest said very little and appeared
somewhat foolish, so he was always known as Dummling.

When the King grew old and feeble, feeling that he was nearing his end,
he wished to leave the crown to one of his three sons, but could not
decide to which. He thereupon settled that they should travel, and that
the one who could obtain the most splendid carpet should ascend the
throne when he died.

So that there could be no disagreement as to the way each one should go,
the King conducted them to the courtyard of the Palace, and there blew
three feathers, by turn, into the air, telling his sons to follow the
course that the three feathers took.

Then one of the feathers flew eastwards, another westwards, but the
third went straight up towards the sky, though it only sped a short
distance before falling to earth.

Therefore one son travelled towards the east, and the second went to the
west, both making fun of poor Dummling, who was obliged to stay where
his feather had fallen. Then Dummling, sitting down and feeling rather
miserable after his brothers had gone, looked about him, and noticed
that near to where his feather lay was a trap-door. On lifting this up
he perceived a flight of steps, down which he went. At the bottom was
another door, so he knocked upon it, and then heard a voice calling -

"Maiden, fairest, come to me,
Make haste to ope the door,
A mortal surely you will see,
From the world above is he,
We'll help him from our store."

And then the door was flung open, and the young man found himself facing
a big toad sitting in the centre of a number of young toads. The big
toad addressed him, asking him what he wanted.

Dummling, though rather surprised when he saw the toads, and heard them
question him, being good-hearted replied politely -

"I am desirous to obtain the most splendid carpet in the world; just now
it would be extremely useful to me."

The toad who had just spoken, called to a young toad, saying -

"Maiden, fairest, come to me,
'Tis a mortal here you see;
Let us speed all his desires,
Giving him what he requires."

Immediately the young toad fetched a large box. This the old one opened,
and took out an exquisite carpet, of so beautiful a design, that it
certainly could have been manufactured nowhere upon the earth.

Taking it with grateful thanks, Dummling went up the flight of steps,
and was once more in the Palace courtyard.

The two elder brothers, being of the opinion that the youngest was so
foolish that he was of no account whatever in trying to obtain the
throne, for they did not think he would find anything at all, had said
to each other:

"It is not necessary for us to trouble much in looking for the carpet!"
so they took from the shoulders of the first peasant they came across a
coarse shawl, and this they carried to their father.

At the same time Dummling appeared with his beautiful carpet, which he
presented to the King, who was very much surprised, and said -

"By rights the throne should be for my youngest son."

But when the two brothers heard this, they gave the old King no rest,
saying -

"How is it possible that Dummling, who is not at all wise, could control
the affairs of an important kingdom? Make some other condition, we beg
of you!"

"Well," agreed the father, "the one who brings me the most magnificent
ring shall succeed to my throne," and once more he took his sons outside
the Palace. Then, again, he blew three feathers into the air to show the
direction each one should go; whereupon the two elder sons went east and
west, but Dummling's flew straight up, and fell close by the trap-door.
Then the youngest son descended the steps as before, and upon seeing the
large toad he talked with her, and told her what he desired. So the big
box was brought, and out of it the toad handed him a ring which was of
so exquisite a workmanship that no goldsmith's could equal it.

Meanwhile the two elder brothers made fun of the idea of Dummling
searching for a ring, and they decided to take no needless trouble

Therefore, finding an old iron ring belonging to some harness, they took
that to the King. Dummling was there before them with his valuable ring,
and immediately upon his showing it, the father declared that in justice
the kingdom should be his.

In spite of this, however, the two elder sons worried the poor King into
appointing one test further, before bestowing his kingdom, and the King,
giving way, announced that the one who brought home the most beautiful
woman should inherit the crown.

Then Dummling again descended to the large toad and made known to her
that he wished to find the most beautiful woman alive.

"The most beautiful woman is not always at hand," said the toad,
"however, you shall have her."

Then she gave to him a scooped-out turnip to which half a dozen little
mice were attached. The young man regarded this a trifle despondently,
for it had no great resemblance to what he was seeking.

"What can I make of this?" he asked.

"Only place in it one of my young toads," replied the large toad, "and
then you can decide how to use it."

From the young toads around the old toad, the young man seized one at
hazard, and placed it in the scooped-out turnip, but hardly was it there
when the most astounding change occurred, for the toad was transformed
into a wondrously lovely maiden, the turnip became an elegant carriage,
and the six mice were turned into handsome horses. The young man kissed
the maiden and drove off to bring her to the King.

Not long afterwards the two brothers arrived.

In the same way, as the twice before, they had taken no trouble about
the matter, but had picked up the first passable looking peasant woman
whom they had happened to meet.

After glancing at the three, the King said: "Without doubt, at my death
the kingdom will be Dummling's."

Once more the brothers loudly expressed their discontent, and gave the
King no peace, declaring -

"It is impossible for us to agree to Dummling becoming ruler of the
kingdom," and they insisted that the women should be required to spring
through a hoop which was suspended from the ceiling in the centre of the
hall, thinking to themselves "Now, certainly our peasants will get the
best of it, they are active and sturdy, but that fragile lady will kill
herself if she jumps."

To this, again, the King consented, and the peasants were first given

They sprang through the hoop, indeed, but so clumsily that they fell,
breaking their arms and legs.

Upon which the lovely lady whom Dummling had brought home, leapt through
as lightly as a fawn, and this put an end to all contention.

So the crown came to Dummling, who lived long, and ruled his people
temperately and justly.


It was in the middle of winter, when the broad flakes of snow were
falling around, that a certain queen sat working at her window, the
frame of which was made of fine black ebony; and, as she was looking out
upon the snow, she pricked her finger, and three drops of blood fell
upon it. Then she gazed thoughtfully down on the red drops which
sprinkled the white snow and said, "Would that my little daughter may be
as white as that snow, as red as the blood, and as black as the ebony
window-frame!" And so the little girl grew up; her skin was a white as
snow, her cheeks as rosy as blood, and her hair as black as ebony; and
she was called Snow-White.

But this queen died; and the king soon married another wife, who was
very beautiful, but so proud that she could not bear to think that any
one could surpass her. She had a magical looking-glass, to which she
used to go and gaze upon herself in it, and say -

"Tell me, glass, tell me true!
Of all the ladies in the land,
Who is fairest? tell me who?"

And the glass answered, "Thou, Queen, art fairest in the land"

But Snow-White grew more and more beautiful; and when she was seven
years old, she was as bright as the day, and fairer than the queen
herself. Then the glass one day answered queen, when she went to consult
it as usual -

"Thou, Queen, may'st fair and beauteous be,
But Snow-White is lovelier far than thee?"

When the queen heard this she turned pale with rage and envy; and
calling to one of her servants said, "Take Snow-White away into the wide
wood, that I may never see her more." Then the servant led the little
girl away; but his heart melted when she begged him to spare her life,
and he said, "I will not hurt thee, thou pretty child." So he left her
there alone; and though he thought it most likely that the wild beasts
would tear her to pieces, he felt as if a great weight were taken off
his heart when he had made up his mind not to kill her, but leave her to
her fate.

Then poor Snow-White wandered along through the wood in great fear; and
the wild beasts roared around, but none did her any harm. In the evening
she came to a little cottage, and went in there to rest, for her weary
feet would carry her no further. Everything was spruce and neat in the
cottage: on the table was spread a white cloth, and there were seven
little plates with seven little loaves and seven little glasses with
wine in them; and knives and forks laid in order, and by the wall stood
seven little beds. Then, as she was exceedingly hungry, she picked a
little piece off each loaf, and drank a very little wine out of each
glass; and after that she thought she would lie down and rest. So she
tried all the little beds; and one was too long, and another was too
short, till, at last, the seventh suited her; and there she laid herself
down and went to sleep. Presently in came the masters of the cottage,
who were seven little dwarfs that lived among the mountains, and dug and
searched about for gold. They lighted up their seven lamps, and saw
directly that all was not right. The first said, "Who has been sitting
on my stool?" The second, "Who has been eating off my plate?" The third,
"Who has been picking at my bread?" The fourth, "Who has been meddling
with my spoon?" The fifth, "Who has been handling my fork?" The sixth,
"Who has been cutting with my knife?" The seventh, "Who has been
drinking my wine?" Then the first looked around and said, "Who has been
lying on my bed?" And the rest came running to him, and every one cried
out that somebody had been upon his bed. But the seventh saw Snow-White,
and called upon his brethren to come and look at her; and they cried out
with wonder and astonishment, and brought their lamps and gazing upon
her, they said, "Good heavens! what a lovely child she is!" And they
were delighted to see her, and took care not to waken her; and the
seventh dwarf slept an hour with each of the other dwarfs in turn, till
the night was gone.

In the morning Snow-White told them all her story, and they pitied her,
and said if she would keep all things in order, and cook and wash, and
knit and spin for them, she might stay where she was, and they would
take good care of her. Then they went out all day long to their work,
seeking for gold and silver in the mountains; and Snow-White remained at
home; and they warned her, saying, "The queen will soon find out where
you are, so take care and let no one in." But the queen, now that she
thought Snow-White was dead, believed that she was certainly the
handsomest lady in the land; so she went to her glass and said -

"Tell me, glass, tell me true!
Of all the ladies in the land,
Who is fairest? tell me who?"

And the glass answered -

"Thou, Queen, thou are fairest in all this land;
But over the Hills, in the greenwood shade,
Where the seven dwarfs their dwelling have made,
There Snow-White is hiding; and she
Is lovelier far, O Queen, than thee."

Then the queen was very much alarmed; for she knew that the glass always
spoke the truth, and she was sure that the servant had betrayed her. And
as she could not bear to think that any one lived who was more beautiful
than she was, she disguised herself as an old pedlar woman and went her
way over the hills to the place where the dwarfs dwelt. Then she knocked
at the door and cried, "Fine wares to sell!" Snow-White looked out of
the window, and said, "Good day, good woman; what have you to sell?"
"Good wares, fine wares," replied she; "laces and bobbins of all
colors." "I will let the old lady in; she seems to be a very good sort
of a body," thought Snow-White; so she ran down, and unbolted the door.
"Bless me!" said the woman, "how badly your stays are laced. Let me lace
them up with one of my nice new laces." Snow-White did not dream of any
mischief; so she stood up before the old woman who set to work so
nimbly, and pulled the lace so tightly that Snow-White lost her breath,
and fell down as if she were dead. "There's an end of all thy beauty,"
said the spiteful queen, and went away home.

In the evening the seven dwarfs returned; and I need not say how grieved
they were to see their faithful Snow-White stretched upon the ground
motionless, as if she were quite dead. However, they lifted her up, and
when they found what was the matter, they cut the lace; and in a little
time she began to breathe, and soon came to herself again. Then they
said, "The old woman was the queen; take care another time, and let no
one in when we are away."

When the queen got home, she went to her glass, and spoke to it, but to
her surprise it replied in the same words as before.

Then the blood ran cold in her heart with spite and malice to hear that
Snow-White still lived; and she dressed herself up again in a disguise,
but very different from the one she wore before, and took with her a
poisoned comb. When she reached the dwarfs' cottage, she knocked at the
door, and cried, "Fine wares to sell!" but Snow-White said, "I dare not
let any one in." Then the queen said, "Only look at my beautiful combs;"
and gave her the poisoned one. And it looked so pretty that the little
girl took it up and put it into her hair to try it; but the moment it
touched her head the poison was so powerful that she fell down
senseless. "There you may lie," said the queen, and went her way. But by
good luck the dwarfs returned very early that evening; and when they saw
Snow-White lying on the ground, they thought what had happened, and soon
found the poisoned comb. And when they took it away, she recovered, and
told them all that had passed; and they warned her once more not to open
the door to any one.

Meantime the queen went home to her glass, and trembled with rage when
she received exactly the same answer as before; and she said,
"Snow-White shall die, if it costs me my life." So she went secretly
into a chamber, and prepared a poisoned apple: the outside looked very
rosy and tempting, but whosoever tasted it was sure to die. Then she
dressed herself up as a peasant's wife, and travelled over the hills to
the dwarfs' cottage, and knocked at the door; but Snow-White put her
head out of the window, and said, "I dare not let any one in, for the
dwarfs have told me not to." "Do as you please," said the old woman,
"but at any rate take this pretty apple; I will make you a present of
it." "No," said Snow-White, "I dare not take it." "You silly girl!"
answered the other, "what are you afraid of? do you think it is
poisoned? Come! do you eat one part, and I will eat the other." Now the
apple was so prepared that one side was good, though the other side was
poisoned. Then Snow-White was very much tempted to taste, for the apple
looked exceedingly nice; and when she saw the old woman eat, she could
refrain no longer. But she had scarcely put the piece into her mouth
when she fell down dead upon the ground. "This time nothing will save
thee," said the queen; and she went home to her glass, and at last it
said - "Thou, Queen, art the fairest of all the fair." And then her
envious heart was glad, and as happy as such a heart could be.

When evening came, and the dwarfs returned home, they found Snow-White
lying on the ground; no breath passed her lips, and they were afraid
that she was quite dead. They lifted her up, and combed her hair, and
washed her face with wine and water; but all was in vain. So they laid
her down upon a bier, and all seven watched and bewailed her three whole
days; and then they proposed to bury her; but her cheeks were still
rosy, and her face looked just as it did while she was alive; so they
said, "We will never bury her in the cold ground." And they made a
coffin of glass so that they might still look at her, and wrote her name
upon it in golden letters, and that she was a king's daughter. Then the
coffin was placed upon the hill, and one of the dwarfs always sat by it
and watched. And the birds of the air came, too, and bemoaned
Snow-White. First of all came an owl, and then a raven, but at last came
a dove.

And thus Snow-White lay for a long, long time, and still only looked as
though she were asleep; for she was even now as white as snow, and as

1 3 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Online LibraryGebrüder GrimmGrimm's Fairy Stories → online text (page 3 of 11)