In a city there lived a very wealthy merchant who had a very beautiful daughter, and she said that she would marry only a man who had a green beard.
Great forests surrounded the city, and twenty-four robbers lived together in these woods. The captain of these robbers had heard about the girl who would marry only a man with a green beard, so he asked his people if they did not know of a substance that would color a beard green, and they immediately procured such a dye for him.
Then he dyed his beard green (otherwise he was a handsome man) and rode into the city to the merchant to court his daughter. The girl liked him, so he spent the night there. The next day they made arrangements for the girl to pay him a visit. He said that he possessed a large mansion in the woods. He told the girl to ride along the main road until she came to a bridge. The other side of the bridge she should turn left onto a path, then continue riding until she came to his mansion. Then Greenbeard departed.
The merchant's daughter now made preparations for the journey. She had a good cake baked for her bridegroom, then mounted her horse and rode on her way. Arriving at the bridge she found the side path that Greenbeard had told her about. She rode along this path into the woods. The deeper she went into the woods the narrower the path became, until it was only a narrow footpath. What should she do now? She could not ride any further, so she dismounted, tied up her horse, and continued on foot.
At the end of the pathway she saw a small house with two lions chained near the door. Approaching them she thought, "Should I go any further, or not?"
The lions did nothing, so she went inside. In the first room there were beds and a number of flintlocks hanging on the wall. She went into another room where there was a table. A bird's cage with a little bird hung from a rafter.
The bird said to her, "How did you get here? This is a robbers' house. You cannot get away right now, for if you go outside the lions will rip you apart. I will tell you what to do. Lie down under the bed. When the robbers come home they will get drunk and then fall asleep. Then you can escape. When you go outside throw a piece of cake to each of the lions, then you can run away."
She did just that, and crawled under the bed.
One after the other the robbers came home, saying, "It smells here like human flesh."
The bird made excuses as best it could, and they stopped asking questions.
The robbers had brought a girl with them. After eating their supper they chopped her into pieces, beginning with her little fingers. She had a ring on one of her fingers, and the finger with the ring rolled under the bed where the merchant's daughter was lying. She picked up the finger and put it into her pocket.
When the robbers had finished their work they began to drink again, drinking so much that they knew nothing more of their sins, and they all fell asleep.
When the girl thought that they were all fast asleep, she got up, gave the little bird a bit of sugar, then took a piece of cake in each hand. She threw the cake to the lions as she walked out. While they were devouring the cake she made her escape. However, they had scarcely finished the cake when they began to roar, bellowing so loudly that the forest shook.
The robbers jumped up, and they immediately surmised that the girl had been there. They took after her, but she safely reached her horse. She rode home as fast as she could, arriving there as white as a corpse with fear. She was so sick that she had to lie down immediately.
Greenbeard cut off his beard, then made plans to capture the girl. He ordered large wagons loaded with large barrels in which the robbers could hide. So outfitted he rode to the merchant. He offered him these wares, claiming to be a wholesale merchant from such and such a city.
He had told his people that he would gain entrance into the merchant's house, and then would give them a sign when they should break their way out of the barrels, steal everything the merchant had, and take away the girl as well.
However, one of the merchant's servants was walking about in the courtyard when he heard a voice from one of the barrels: "What is happening? It is taking a long time."
He went inside and reported to his master: "Sir, what is happening? There are people inside the barrels."
Then the merchant called up a number of strong men to capture the robbers. He forced the robber captain to stay seated inside with two strong men beside him.
Then the girl came in and showed him the chopped off finger with the ring and asked him if he remembered it. Now he knew that he had been exposed, and he looked around for an escape route. But the merchant gave the men a sign, and they held him fast, then bound him hand and foot. In one of his boots he had hidden a long knife.
After tying him securely, they went into the courtyard and capured the rest of them, one after the other. Then they took them all to prison. Thus all the robbers were captured and taken care of.
The girl then led the people to the robbers' house. She kept the little bird for herself. Everything else was divided among the poor. They burned the house down. The merchant kept the lions.
The robbers all died in prison. Thus everything was finished. And the girl no longer showed any desire for green beards.
Source: August Schleicher, "Vom Grünbart," Litauische Märchen, Sprichworte, Rätsel und Lieder (Weimar: Hermann Bölau, 1857), pp. 22-25.
Yeahs an' yeahs an' double yeahs ago, deah wuz a nice young Gypsy gal playin' round an ole oak tree. An' up comed a squire as she wur a-playin', an' he fa1led in love wid her, an' asked her ef she'd go to his hall an' marry him.
An' she says, "No, sir, you wouldn't have a pooah Gypsy gal like me."
But he meaned so, an' stoled her away an' married her.
Now when he bring'd her home, his mother warn't 'greeable to let hisself down so low as to marry a Gypsy gal. So she says, "You'll hev to go an' 'stry her in de Hundert Mile Wood, an' strip her star'-mother-naked, an' bring back her clothes and her heart and pluck wid you."
And he took'd his hoss, and she jumped up behint him, and rid behint him into de wood. You 'll be shuah it wor a wood, an ole-fashioned wood we know it should be, wid bears an' eagles an' sneks an' wolfs into it.
And when he took'd her in de wood he says, "Now, I 'll ha' to kill you here, an' strip you star'-mother-naked and tek back your clothes an' your heart an' pluck wid me, and show dem to my mammy."
But she begged hard for herself, an' she says, "Deah's an eagle into dat wood, an' he's gat de same heart an' pluck as a Christ'n; take dat home an' show it to your mammy, an' I 'll gin you my clothes as well."
So he stript her clothes affer her, an' he kilt de eagle, an' took'd his heart an' pluck home, an' showed it to his mammy, an' said as he'd kilt her.
And she heared him rode aff, an' she wents an, an' she wents an, an' she wents an, an' she crep an' crep an her poor hens and knees, tell she fun' a way troo de long wood. You 'ah shuah she'd have hard work to fin' a way troo it; an' long an' by last she got to de hedge anear de road, so as she'd hear any one go by.
Now, in de marnin' deah wuz a young genleman comed by an hoss-back, an' he couldn't get his hoss by for love nor money; an' she hed herself in under de hedge, for she wur afrightened 'twor de same man come back to kill her agin, an' besides you 'ah shuah she wor ashamed of bein' naked.
An' he calls out, "Ef you 'ah a ghost, go way; but ef you 'ah a livin' Christ'n, speak to me."
An' she med answer direc'ly, "I'm as good a Christ'n as you are, but not in parable [apparel]."
An' when he sin her, he pull't his deah beautiful topcoat affer him, an' put it an her. An' he says, "Jump behint me."
An' she jumped behint him, an' he rid wi' her to his own gret hall. An' deah wuz no speakin' tell dey gat home. He knowed she wuz deah to be kilt, an' he galloped as hard as he could an his blood-hoss, tell he got to his own hall. An' when he bring'd her in, dey wur all struck stunt to see a woman naked, wid her beautiful black hair hangin down her back in long rinklets.
Deh asked her what she wuz deah fur, an' she tell'd dem, an' she tell'd dem. An' you 'ah shuah dey soon put clothes an her; an' when she wuz dressed up, deah warn't a lady in de land more han'some nor her. An' his folks wor in delight av her.
"Now," dey says, "we'll have a supper for goers an' comers an' all gentry to come at."
You 'ah shuah it should be a 'spensible supper an' no savation of no money. And deah wuz to be tales tell'd an' songs sing'd. An' every wan dat didn't sing't a song had to tell't a tale. An' every door wuz bolted for fear any wan would mek a skip out.
An' it kem to pass to dis' Gypsy gal to sing a song; an' de gentleman dat fun' her says, "Now, my pretty Gypsy gal, tell a tale."
An' de gentleman dat wuz her husband knowed her, an' didn't want her to tell a tale. And he says, "Sing a song, my pretty Gypsy gal."
An' she says, "I won't sing a song, but I'll tell a tale."
An' she says:
Bobby rag! Bobby rag!
Roun' de oak tree
"Pooh! pooh!" says her husband, "dat tale won't do." (Now de ole mother an' de son, dey knowed what wuz comin' out.)
"Go on, my pretty Gypsy gal," says de oder young genleman. "A werry nice tale indeed."
So she goes on:
Bobby rag! Bobby rag!
Roun' de oak tree.
A Gypsy I wuz born'd,
A lady I wuz bred;
Dey made me a coffin
Afore I wuz dead.
"An' dat's de rogue deah."
An' she tell't all de tale into de party, how he wur agoin' to kill her an' tek her heart an' pluck home. An' all de gentry took't an' gibbeted him alive, both him an' his mother. An' dis young squire married her, an' med her a lady for life. Ah! ef we could know her name, an' what breed she wur, what a beautiful ting dat would be. But de tale doan' say.
Once upon a time there was a young lady called Lady Mary, who had two brothers. One summer they all three went to a country seat of theirs, which they had not before visited. Among the other gentry in the neighborhood who came to see them was a Mr. Fox, a bachelor, with whom they, particularly the young lady, were much pleased. He used often to dine with them, and frequently invited Lady Mary to come and see his house. One day that her brothers were absent elsewhere, and she had nothing better to do, she determined to go thither, and accordingly set out unattended. When she arrived at the house and knocked at the door, no one answered.
At length she opened it and went in; over the portal of the door was written: "Be bold, be bold, but not too bold." She advanced; over the staircase was the same inscription. She went up; over the entrance of a gallery, the same again. Still she went on, and over the door of a chamber found written:
Be bold, be bold, but not too bold,
Lest that your heart's blood should run cold!
She opened it; it was full of skeletons and tubs of blood. She retreated in haste, and, coming downstairs, saw from a window Mr. Fox advancing towards the house with a drawn sword in one hand, while with the other he dragged along a young lady by her hair. Lady Mary had just time to slip down and hide herself under the stairs before Mr. Fox and his victim arrived at the foot of them. As he pulled the young lady upstairs, she caught hold of one of the banisters with her hand, on which was a rich bracelet. Mr. Fox cut it off with his sword. The hand and bracelet fell into Lady Mary's lap, who then contrived to escape unobserved, and got safe home to her brothers' house.
A few days afterwards Mr. Fox came to dine with them as usual. After dinner the guests began to amuse each other with extraordinary anecdotes, and Lady Mary said she would relate to them a remarkable dream she had lately had.
"I dreamt," said she, "that as you, Mr. Fox, had often invited me to your house, I would go there one morning. When I came to the house I knocked at the door, but no one answered. When I opened the door, over the hall I saw written, 'Be bold, be bold, but not too bold.' But," said she, turning to Mr. Fox, and smiling, "It is not so, nor it was not so."
Then she pursued the rest of the story, concluding at every turn with, "It is not so, nor it was not so," until she came to the room full of skeletons, when Mr. Fox took up the burden of the tale, and said:
It is not so, nor it was not so,
And God forbid it should be so!
which he continued to repeat at every subsequent turn of the dreadful story, until she came to the circumstance of his cutting off the young lady's hand, when, upon his saying, as usual:
It is not so, nor it was not so,
And God forbid it should be so!
Lady Mary retorts by saying:
But it is so, and it was so,
And here the hand I have to show!
at the same moment producing the hand and bracelet from her lap, whereupon the guests drew their swords, and instantly cut Mr. Fox into a thousand pieces.
By Charles Perrault
There was once a man who had fine houses, both in town and country, a deal of silver and gold plate, embroidered furniture, and coaches gilded all over with gold. But this man was so unlucky as to have a blue beard, which made him so frightfully ugly that all the women and girls ran away from him.
One of his neighbors, a lady of quality, had two daughters who were perfect beauties. He desired of her one of them in marriage, leaving to her choice which of the two she would bestow on him. Neither of them would have him, and they sent him backwards and forwards from one to the other, not being able to bear the thoughts of marrying a man who had a blue beard. Adding to their disgust and aversion was the fact that he already had been married to several wives, and nobody knew what had become of them.
Bluebeard, to engage their affection, took them, with their mother and three or four ladies of their acquaintance, with other young people of the neighborhood, to one of his country houses, where they stayed a whole week.
The time was filled with parties, hunting, fishing, dancing, mirth, and feasting. Nobody went to bed, but all passed the night in rallying and joking with each other. In short, everything succeeded so well that the youngest daughter began to think that the man's beard was not so very blue after all, and that he was a mighty civil gentleman.
As soon as they returned home, the marriage was concluded. About a month afterwards, Bluebeard told his wife that he was obliged to take a country journey for six weeks at least, about affairs of very great consequence. He desired her to divert herself in his absence, to send for her friends and acquaintances, to take them into the country, if she pleased, and to make good cheer wherever she was.
"Here," said he," are the keys to the two great wardrobes, wherein I have my best furniture. These are to my silver and gold plate, which is not everyday in use. These open my strongboxes, which hold my money, both gold and silver; these my caskets of jewels. And this is the master key to all my apartments. But as for this little one here, it is the key to the closet at the end of the great hall on the ground floor. Open them all; go into each and every one of them, except that little closet, which I forbid you, and forbid it in such a manner that, if you happen to open it, you may expect my just anger and resentment."
She promised to observe, very exactly, whatever he had ordered. Then he, after having embraced her, got into his coach and proceeded on his journey.
Her neighbors and good friends did not wait to be sent for by the newly married lady. They were impatient to see all the rich furniture of her house, and had not dared to come while her husband was there, because of his blue beard, which frightened them. They ran through all the rooms, closets, and wardrobes, which were all so fine and rich that they seemed to surpass one another.
After that, they went up into the two great rooms, which contained the best and richest furniture. They could not sufficiently admire the number and beauty of the tapestry, beds, couches, cabinets, stands, tables, and looking glasses, in which you might see yourself from head to foot; some of them were framed with glass, others with silver, plain and gilded, the finest and most magnificent that they had ever seen.
They ceased not to extol and envy the happiness of their friend, who in the meantime in no way diverted herself in looking upon all these rich things, because of the impatience she had to go and open the closet on the ground floor. She was so much pressed by her curiosity that, without considering that it was very uncivil for her to leave her company, she went down a little back staircase, and with such excessive haste that she nearly fell and broke her neck.
Having come to the closet door, she made a stop for some time, thinking about her husband's orders, and considering what unhappiness might attend her if she was disobedient; but the temptation was so strong that she could not overcome it. She then took the little key, and opened it, trembling. At first she could not see anything plainly, because the windows were shut. After some moments she began to perceive that the floor was all covered over with clotted blood, on which lay the bodies of several dead women, ranged against the walls. (These were all the wives whom Bluebeard had married and murdered, one after another.) She thought she should have died for fear, and the key, which she, pulled out of the lock, fell out of her hand.
After having somewhat recovered her surprise, she picked up the key, locked the door, and went upstairs into her chamber to recover; but she could not, so much was she frightened. Having observed that the key to the closet was stained with blood, she tried two or three times to wipe it off; but the blood would not come out; in vain did she wash it, and even rub it with soap and sand. The blood still remained, for the key was magical and she could never make it quite clean; when the blood was gone off from one side, it came again on the other.
Bluebeard returned from his journey the same evening, saying that he had received letters upon the road, informing him that the affair he went about had concluded to his advantage. His wife did all she could to convince him that she was extremely happy about his speedy return.
The next morning he asked her for the keys, which she gave him, but with such a trembling hand that he easily guessed what had happened.
"What!" said he, "is not the key of my closet among the rest?"
"I must," said she, "have left it upstairs upon the table."
"Fail not," said Bluebeard, "to bring it to me at once."
After several goings backwards and forwards, she was forced to bring him the key. Bluebeard, having very attentively considered it, said to his wife, "Why is there blood on the key?"
"I do not know," cried the poor woman, paler than death.
"You do not know!" replied Bluebeard. "I very well know. You went into the closet, did you not? Very well, madam; you shall go back, and take your place among the ladies you saw there."
Upon this she threw herself at her husband's feet, and begged his pardon with all the signs of a true repentance, vowing that she would never more be disobedient. She would have melted a rock, so beautiful and sorrowful was she; but Bluebeard had a heart harder than any rock!
"You must die, madam," said he, "at once."
"Since I must die," answered she (looking upon him with her eyes all bathed in tears), "give me some little time to say my prayers."
"I give you," replied Bluebeard, "half a quarter of an hour, but not one moment more."
When she was alone she called out to her sister, and said to her, "Sister Anne" (for that was her name), "go up, I beg you, to the top of the tower, and look if my brothers are not coming. They promised me that they would come today, and if you see them, give them a sign to make haste."
Her sister Anne went up to the top of the tower, and the poor afflicted wife cried out from time to time, "Anne, sister Anne, do you see anyone coming?"
And sister Anne said, "I see nothing but a cloud of dust in the sun, and the green grass."
In the meanwhile Bluebeard, holding a great saber in his hand, cried out as loud as he could bawl to his wife, "Come down instantly, or I shall come up to you."
"One moment longer, if you please," said his wife; and then she cried out very softly, "Anne, sister Anne, do you see anybody coming?"
And sister Anne answered, "I see nothing but a cloud of dust in the sun, and the green grass."
"Come down quickly," cried Bluebeard, "or I will come up to you."
"I am coming," answered his wife; and then she cried, "Anne, sister Anne, do you not see anyone coming?"
"I see," replied sister Anne, "a great cloud of dust approaching us."
"Are they my brothers?"
"Alas, no my dear sister, I see a flock of sheep."
"Will you not come down?" cried Bluebeard.
"One moment longer," said his wife, and then she cried out, "Anne, sister Anne, do you see nobody coming?"
"I see," said she, "two horsemen, but they are still a great way off."
"God be praised," replied the poor wife joyfully. "They are my brothers. I will make them a sign, as well as I can for them to make haste."
Then Bluebeard bawled out so loud that he made the whole house tremble. The distressed wife came down, and threw herself at his feet, all in tears, with her hair about her shoulders.
"This means nothing," said Bluebeard. "You must die!" Then, taking hold of her hair with one hand, and lifting up the sword with the other, he prepared to strike off her head. The poor lady, turning about to him, and looking at him with dying eyes, desired him to afford her one little moment to recollect herself.
"No, no," said he, "commend yourself to God," and was just ready to strike.
At this very instant there was such a loud knocking at the gate that Bluebeard made a sudden stop. The gate was opened, and two horsemen entered. Drawing their swords, they ran directly to Bluebeard. He knew them to be his wife's brothers, one a dragoon, the other a musketeer; so that he ran away immediately to save himself; but the two brothers pursued and overtook him before he could get to the steps of the porch. Then they ran their swords through his body and left him dead. The poor wife was almost as dead as her husband, and had not strength enough to rise and welcome her brothers.
Bluebeard had no heirs, and so his wife became mistress of all his estate. She made use of one part of it to marry her sister Anne to a young gentleman who had loved her a long while; another part to buy captains' commissions for her brothers, and the rest to marry herself to a very worthy gentleman, who made her forget the ill time she had passed with Bluebeard.
Curiosity, in spite of its appeal, often leads to deep regret. To the displeasure of many a maiden, its enjoyment is short lived. Once satisfied, it ceases to exist, and always costs dearly.
Apply logic to this grim story, and you will ascertain that it took place many years ago. No husband of our age would be so terrible as to demand the impossible of his wife, nor would he be such a jealous malcontent. For, whatever the color of her husband's beard, the wife of today will let him know who the master is.
- Source: Andrew Lang, The Blue Fairy Book, 5th edition (London and New York: Longmans, Green, and Company, 1891), pp. 290-95. First published 1889.
- Lang's source: Charles Perrault, Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralités: Contes de ma mère l'Oye (Paris, 1697).
- Link to Perrault's tale in the original French: "La Barbe Bleuë," Perrault's Popular Tales, edited from the original editions, with introduction, etc. by Andrew Lang (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1888), pp. 23-29.
Once upon a time the devil was seized with a desire to marry. He therefore left hell, took the form of a handsome young man, and built a fine large house. When it was completed and furnished in the most fashionable style he introduced himself to a family where there were three pretty daughters, and paid his addresses to the eldest of them. The handsome man pleased the maiden, her parents were glad to see a daughter so well provided for, and it was not long before the wedding was celebrated.
When he had taken his bride home, he presented her with a very tastefully arranged bouquet, led her through all the rooms of the house, and finally to a closed door. "The whole house is at your disposal," said he, "only I must request one thing of you; that is, that you do not on any account open this door."
Of course the young wife promised faithfully; but equally, of course, she could scarcely wait for the moment to come when she might break her promise. When the devil had left the house the next morning, under pretence of going hunting, she ran hastily to the forbidden door, opened it, and saw a terrible abyss full of fire that shot up towards her, and singed the flowers on her bosom. When her husband came home and asked her whether she had kept her promise, she unhesitatingly said "Yes." But he saw by the flowers that she was telling a lie, and said, "Now I will not put your curiosity to the test any longer. Come with me. I will show you myself what is behind the door." Thereupon he led her to the door, opened it, gave her such a push that she fell down into hell, and shut the door again.
A few months after he wooed the next sister for his wife, and won her; but with her everything that had happened with the first wife was exactly repeated.
Finally he courted the third sister. She was a prudent maiden, and said to herself, "He has certainly murdered my two sisters; but then it is a splendid match for me, so I will try and see whether I cannot be more fortunate than they." And accordingly she consented. After the wedding the bridegroom gave her a beautiful bouquet, but forbade her, also, to open the door which he pointed out.
Not a whit less curious than her sisters, she, too, opened the forbidden door when the devil had gone hunting, but she had previously put her flowers in water. Then she saw behind the door the fatal abyss and her sisters therein. "Ah!" she exclaimed, "poor creature that I am; I thought I had married an ordinary man, and instead of that he is the devil! How can I get away from him?" She carefully pulled her two sisters out of hell and hid them. When the devil came home he immediately looked at the bouquet, which she again wore on her bosom, and when he found the flowers so fresh he asked no questions; but reassured as to his secret, he now, for the first time, really loved her.
After a few days she asked him if he would carry three chests for her to her parents' house, without putting them down or resting on the way. "But," she added, "you must keep your word, for I shall be watching you."
The devil promised to do exactly as she wished. So the next morning she put one of her sisters in a chest, and laid it on her husband's shoulders. The devil, who is very strong, but also very lazy and unaccustomed to work, soon got tired of carrying the heavy chest, and wanted to rest before he was out of the street on which he lived; but his wife called out to him, "Don't put it down; I see you!"
The devil went reluctantly on with the chest until he had turned the corner, and then said to himself, "She cannot see me here; I will rest a little."
But scarcely had he begun to put the chest down when the sister inside cried out, "Don't put it down; I see you still!" Cursing, he dragged the chest on into another street, and was going to lay it down on a doorstep, but he again heard the voice, "Don't lay it down, you rascal; I see you still!"
"What kind of eyes must my wife have," he thought, "to see around corners as well as straight ahead, and through walls as if they were made of glass!" and thus thinking he arrived, all in a perspiration and quite tired out, at the house of his mother-in-law, to whom he hastily delivered the chest, and then hurried home to strengthen himself with a good breakfast.
The same thing was repeated the next day with the second chest. On the third day she herself was to be taken home in the chest. She therefore prepared a figure which she dressed in her own clothes, and placed on the balcony, under the pretext of being able to watch him better; slipped quickly into the chest, and had the maid put it on the devil's back. "The deuce!" said he; "this chest is a great deal heavier than the others; and today, when she is sitting on the balcony, I shall have so much the less chance to rest." So by dint of the greatest exertions he carried it, without stopping, to his mother-in-law, and then hastened home to breakfast, scolding, and with his back almost broken.
But quite contrary to custom, his wife did not come out to meet him, and there was no breakfast ready. "Margerita, where are you?" he cried, but received no answer. As he was running through the corridors, he at length looked out of a window and saw the figure on the balcony. "Margerita, have you gone to sleep? Come down. I am as tired as a dog, and as hungry as a wolf." But there was no reply. "If you do not come down instantly I will go up and bring you down," he cried, angrily; but Margerita did not stir. Enraged, he hastened up to the balcony, and gave her such a box on the ear that her head flew off, and he saw that the head was nothing but a milliner's form, and the body, a bundle of rags. Raging, he rushed down and rummaged through the whole house, but in vain; he found only his wife's empty jewel box. "Ha!" he cried; "she has been stolen from me and her jewels, too!" and he immediately ran to inform her parents of the misfortune. But when he came near the house, to his great surprise he saw on the balcony above the door all three sisters, his wives, who were looking down on him with scornful laughter.
Three wives at once terrified the devil so much that he took his flight with all possible speed.
Since that time he has lost his taste for marrying.
Three young ladies live at a castle. A gentleman comes to visit them daily. They know not who he is or where he lives. He asks the youngest to accompany him home. She goes with him, eats, drinks, and returns. She asks his coachman his master's name, "Laula."
She thinks it a pretty name; her elder sister a bad one.
Next evening she goes again. They eat, drink, and play cards. He leaves the room, and returns with a phial of blood.
"Is your blood as red as this?"
She pretends that he is jesting; but he cuts off her finger, opens the window, and throws it to the big dog, afterwards killing her.
The tale goes on, "Who got the finger? The elder sister got it."
It then explains how she had followed the pair by the track of the horse's feet, pacified the dog, and caught the finger (with ring on) thrown to him.
She desires her father to issue invitations to a dinner. Everyone comes and has to tell a tale or sing a song. On Laula's plate is placed nothing but this finger. When the elder sister tells her tale, he grows uneasy, and says he must go outside. He twice interrupts thus, but is restrained by the other gentlemen.
She gives him away, and at the old father's suggestion he is placed in a barrel filled with grease and burnt to death.
By Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe
Once upon a time there was an old widow who lived, with her three daughters, far away from the rest of the world, next to a mountain. She was so poor that her only animal was a single hen, which she prized as the apple of her eye. It was always cackling at her heels, and she was always running to look after it. One day, all at once, the hen was gone. The old woman went out, and walked around and around the cottage, looking and calling for her hen, but it was gone, and could not be found.
So the woman said to her oldest daughter, "You must just go out and see if you can find our hen, for we must have it back, even if we have to fetch it out of the mountain."
The daughter was ready enough to go, so she set off and walked up and down, and looked and called, but she could not find the hen. Suddenly, just as she was about to give up the hunt, she heard someone calling out from a cleft in the rock:
Your hen is in the mountain!
Your hen is in the mountain!
So she went into the cleft to see what it was, but she had barely set foot inside, when she fell through a trapdoor, deep, deep down, into an underground cavern. When she got to the bottom she went through many rooms, each finer than the one before it; but in the innermost room of all, a large ugly troll came to her and asked, "Will you be my sweetheart?"
"No! I will not," she said. She wouldn't have him for any price! All she wanted was to get above ground again as fast as ever she could, and to find her lost hen. Then the troll got so angry that he picked her up, twisted her head off, and then threw both the head and body into the cellar.
While this was going on, her mother sat at home waiting and waiting, but no daughter came. After she had waited a bit longer, and neither heard nor saw anything of her daughter, she told her middle daughter to go out and look for her sister, and, she added, "Give our hen a call at the same time."
So the second sister had to set off, and the very same thing happened to her. She was looking and calling, and suddenly she too heard a voice calling from from the cleft in the rock:
Your hen is in the mountain!
Your hen is in the mountain!
She thought that this was strange, and went to see what it was. She too fell through the trapdoor, deep, deep down, into the cavern. She too went from room to room, and in the innermost one the troll came to her and asked if she would be his sweetheart? No, she would not. All she wanted was to get above ground again, and hunt for her lost hen. The troll got angry, and picked her up, twisted her head off, and threw both head and body into the cellar.
Now, when the old woman had sat and waited seven lengths and seven breadths for her second daughter, and could neither see nor hear anything of her, she said to the youngest, "Now, you must go out and look for your sisters. It was silly to lose the hen, but it would be sillier still to lose both your sisters. Of course, you can give the hen a call at the same time." You see, the old woman's heart was still set on her hen.
Yes, the youngest was ready to go, and she walked up and down, hunting for her sisters and calling the hen, but she could neither see nor hear anything of them. She too came to the cleft in the rock, and heard something say:
Your hen is in the mountain!
Your hen is in the mountain!
She thought that this was strange, so she too went to see what it was, and she too fell through the trapdoor, deep, deep down, into a cavern. When she reached the bottom she went from one room to another, each grander than the one before it; but she wasn't at all afraid, and took time to look carefully about her. As she was peeping into this and that, she saw the trapdoor into the cellar, and looked down it, and what should she see there but her dead sisters. She barely had time to slam to the trapdoor before the troll came to her and asked, "Will you be my sweetheart?"
"With all my heart," answered the girl, for she saw very well how it had gone with her sisters. When the troll heard that, he brought her the finest clothes in the world. Indeed, she had only to ask, and she got whatever she wanted, because the troll was so glad that someone would be his sweetheart.
One day, after she had been there a little while, she was looking very gloomy and downcast, so the troll asked her what was the matter, and why she was so sad.
"Ah!" said the girl, "it's because I can't get home to my mother. I know that she has very little to eat and drink, and she has no one with her."
"Well!" said the troll, "I can't let you go to see her; but just stuff some meat and drink into a sack, and I'll carry it to her."
With many thanks, she said that she would do that. However, she put a lot of gold and silver into the bottom of the sack, then laid a little food on top. She told the ogre the sack was ready, but that he must be sure not to look into it. He gave his word not to look inside, and set off. As the troll walked off, she peeped out at him through a chink in the trapdoor. When he had gone a little way, he said, "This sack is very heavy. I'll just see what is inside." He was about to untie the the sack, when the girl called out to him, "I can still see you! I can still see you!"
"The devil you can!" said the troll; "you must have mighty sharp eyes!" And the troll did not try to look into it again. When he reached the widow's cottage, he threw the sack in through the cottage door, saying, "Here you have meat and drink from your daughter; she doesn't want for anything."
After the girl had been in the mountain a good bit longer, one day a billy goat fell down the trapdoor.
"Who sent for you, you long bearded beast!" said the troll, in an awful rage, and he picked up the goat, twisted his head off, and threw him into the cellar.
"Oh!" said the girl, "why did you do that? I might have had the goat to play with down here."
"Well!" said the troll, "you don't need to be so down in the mouth about it. I can bring the billy goat back to life again."
So saying, he took down a flask that was hanging on the wall, put the billy goat's head on his body again, and smeared it with some ointment from flask, and he was as well and as lively as before.
"Aha!" said the girl to herself; "that flask is worth something -- that it is."
When she had been in the mountain some time longer, on a day when the troll was away, she took her oldest sister, put her head on her shoulders, smeared her with some of the ointment from the flask, just as she had seen the troll do with the billy goat, and in an instant her sister came to life again.
The girl stuffed her into a sack, laid a little food over her, and when the troll came home, she said to him, "Dear friend! Now do go home to my mother with a morsel of food again. I'm certain that the poor thing is both hungry and thirsty, and besides that, she's all alone in the world. But you must not look into the sack."
He said that he would carry the sack, and that he would not look into it. But when he had gone a little way, he thought that the sack was getting very heavy; and when he had gone a bit further he said to himself, "Come what will, I must see what's inside this sack, for however sharp her eyes may be, she can't see me all this way off."
But just as he was about to untie the sack, the girl inside the sack called out, "I can still see you! I can still see you!"
"The devil you can!" said the ogre; "then you must have mighty sharp eyes," for he thought it was the girl inside the mountain who was speaking. So he didn't dare so much as to peep into the sack again, but carried it straight to her mother as fast as he could, and when he got to the cottage door he threw it in through the door, and cried out, "Here you have meat and drink from your daughter; she wants for nothing."
When the girl had been in the mountain a while longer, she did the very same thing with her other sister. She put her head on her shoulders, smeared her with ointment from the flask, brought her to life, and put her into the sack. This time she crammed in also as much gold and silver as the sack would hold, laying just a little food on top.
"Dear friend," she said to the troll, "you really must run home to my mother with a little food again; and don't look into the sack."
Yes, the troll was eager to do as she wished, and he gave his word too that he wouldn't look into the sack; but when he had gone a little way he began to think that the sack was getting very heavy, and when he had gone a bit further, he could scarce stagger along under it, so he set it down, and was just about to untie the string and look into it, when the girl inside the sack cried out, "I can still see you! I can still see you!"
"The devil you can," said the troll, "then you must have mighty sharp eyes."
Well, he did not dare to try to look into the sack, but hurried straight to the girl's mother. When he got to the cottage he threw the sack in through the door, and roared out, "Here you have food from your daughter; she wants for nothing!"
After the girl had been there a good while longer, on a day when the troll had decided to go out for the day, the girl pretended to be sick. She moaned and complained. "There's no need for you to come home before twelve o'clock tonight," she said, "for I won't be able to have supper ready before then. I'm just too sick!"
As soon as the troll was out of the house, she stuffed some of her clothes with straw, and stood this straw girl in the corner by the chimney, with a broom in her hand, so that it looked just as though she herself were standing there. After that she stole off home, and got a marksman to stay in the cottage with her mother.
So when the clock struck twelve, or thereabouts, the troll came home, and the first thing he said to the straw girl was, "Give me something to eat."
But she did not answer him.
"Give me something to eat, I say!" called out the troll, "for I am almost starved."
But she did not have a word for him.
"Give me something to eat!" roared out the ogre the third time. "I think you'd better open your ears and hear what I say, or else I'll wake you up, I will!"
But the girl stood just as still as ever; so he flew into a rage, and gave her such a slap in the face, that the straw flew all about the room. When he saw that he had been tricked, he began to hunt everywhere. When he came to the cellar, and found both the girl's sisters missing, he soon figured out what had happened, and ran off to the cottage, saying, "I'll soon pay her for this!"
But when he reached the cottage, the marksman fired off his piece. The troll did not dare go into the house, for he thought it was thunder [Thor]. So he set off for home again as fast as he could run; but just as he reached the trapdoor, the sun rose and he exploded.
There's a lot of gold and silver down there still, if you only knew where the trapdoor is!
Link to the text in the original Norwegian: Høna tripper i berget, Norske Folkeeventyr
by Joel Chandler Harris
Uncle Remus's little patron seemed to be so shocked at the burning of the woman [in the previous story, "How a Witch Was Caught"] that the old man plunged at once into a curious story about a little boy and his two dogs.
One time there was a woman living alongside the big road, and this woman, she had one little boy. It seems to me that he must have been just about your size. He might have been a little broader in the shoulders and a little longer in the legs, yet, take him up one side and down the other, he was just about your shape and size.
He was a mighty smart little boy, and his mammy set lots by him. It seems like she had never had any luck except with that boy, because there was a time when she had a little gal, and bless your soul, somebody came along and carried the little gal off, and the little boy didn't have a little sister anymore. This made both of them mighty sorry, but it looked like the little boy was the sorriest, because he showed it the most.
Some days he'd take a notion to go and hunt for his little sister, and then he'd go down the big road and climb a big pine tree, and get clear to the top, and look all around to see if he couldn't see his little sister somewhere in the woods. He couldn't see her, but he'd stay up there in the tree and swing in the wind and allow to himself that maybe he might see her by and by.
One day while he was sitting up there, he saw two mighty fine ladies walking down the road. He climbed down out of the tree, he did, and ran and told his mammy. The she up an asked, "How fine are they, honey?"
"Mighty fine, mammy, mighty fine: puffy-out petticoats and long green veils."
"How do they look, honey?"
"Spick-and-span new, mammy."
"They aren't any of our kin, are they, honey?"
"That they aren't, mammy. They are mighty fine ladies."
The fine ladies, they came on down the road, they did, and stopped by the woman's house, and begged to please give them some water. The little boy, he ran and fetched them a gourd full, and they put the gourd under their veils and drank, and drank, and drank just like they were nearly perished for water. The little boy watched them. Soon he hollered out, "Mammy, mammy! What do you reckon? They are lapping the water."
The woman hollered back, "I reckon that's the way quality folks do, honey."
Then the ladies begged for some bread, and the little boy took them a pone. They ate it like they were mighty nigh famished for bread. By and by the little boy hollered out and said, "Mammy, mammy! What do you reckon? They've got great long teeth."
The woman, she hollered back, "I reckon all the quality folks have got them, honey."
Then the ladies asked for some water to wash their hands, and the little boy brought them some. He watched them, and by and by he hollered out, "Mammy, mammy! What do you reckon? They've got hairy hands and arms."
The woman, she hollered back, "I reckon all the quality folks have got them, honey."
Then the ladies begged the woman to please let the little boy show them where the big road forks. But the little boy didn't want to go. He hollered out, "Mammy, folks don't have to be shown where the road forks."
But the woman, she allowed, "I reckon the quality folks do, honey."
The little boy, he began to whimper and cry, because he didn't want to go with the ladies, but the woman said he ought to be ashamed of himself for going on that way in front of the quality folks, and more than that, he might run into his little sister and fetch her home.
Now this here little boy had two mighty bad dogs. One of them was named Minnyminny Morack, and the other one was named Follerlinsko, and they were so bad that they had to be tied in the yard day and night, except when they were a-hunting. So the little boy, he went and got a pan of water and set in down in the middle of the floor, and then he went and got himself a willow limb, and he stuck it in the ground.
Then he allowed, "Mammy, when the water in this here pan turns to blood, then you run out and set loose Minnyminny Morack and Follerlinsko, and when you see that there willow limb a-shaking, you run and sick them on my track."
The woman, she up and said, she'd turn the dogs loose, and then the little boy, he stuck his hands in his pockets and went on down the road a-whistling, just the same as any other little boy, except that he was a lot smarter. He went on down the road, he did, and the fine quality ladies, they came on behind.
The further he went the faster he walked. This made the quality ladies walk fast too, and it wasn't so mighty long before the little boy heard them making a mighty curious fuss, and when he turned around, bless gracious! they were a-panting, because they were so tired and hot. The little boy allowed to himself that it was mighty curious how ladies could pant the same as a wild varmint, but he said he expected that was the way quality ladies do when they get hot and tired, and he made like he couldn't hear them, because he wanted to be nice and polite.
After a while, when the quality ladies thought the little boy wasn't looking at them, he saw one of them drop down on her all fours and trot along just like a varmint, and it wasn't long before the other one dropped down on her all fours. Then the little boy allowed, "Shoo! If that is the way quality ladies rest themselves when they get tired, I reckon a little chap about my size had better be fixing to rest himself."
So he looked around, he did, and he took and picked himself out a great big pine tree by the side of the road, and began to climb it. Then, when they saw that, one of the quality ladies allowed, "My goodness! What in the world are you up to now?"
The little boy, he said, "I'm just a-climbing a tree to rest my bones."
The ladies, they allowed, "Why don't you rest them on the ground?"
The little boy, he said, "Because I want to get up where it is cool and high."
The quality ladies, they took and walked around and around the tree like they were measuring it to see how big it was. By and by, after a while, they said, "Little boy, little boy! You'd better come down from there and show us the way to the forks of the road."
Then the little boy allowed, "Just keep right on, ladies. You'll find the forks of the road. You can't miss them. I'm afraid to come down, because I might fall and hurt one of you all."
The ladies, they said, "You'd better come down before we run and tell your mammy how bad your are."
The little boy allowed, "While you are telling her, please tell her how scared I am."
The quality ladies got mighty mad. They walked around that tree and fairly snorted. They pulled off their bonnets, and their veils, and their dresses, and, lo and behold, the little boy saw that they were two great big panthers. They had great big eyes, and big sharp teeth, and great long tails, and they looked up at the little boy and growled and grinned at him until he mighty nigh had a chill. They tried to climb the tree, but they had trimmed their claws so they could get gloves on, and they couldn't climb any more.
Then one of them sat down in the road and made a curious mark in the sand, and their great long tales turned into axes, and no sooner did the tails turn into axes than they began to cut the tree down. I don't dare tell you how sharp those axes were, because you wouldn't nigh believe me. One of them stood on one side of the tree, and the other one stood on the other side, and they whacked at that tree like they were taking a holiday. They whacked out chips as big as your hat, and it wasn't so mighty long before the tree was ready to fall.
But while the little boy was sitting up there, scared mighty nigh to death, it came into his mind that he had some eggs in his pocket that he had brought with him to eat whenever he got hungry. He took out one of the eggs and broke it, and said, "Place fill up!" And bless your soul, the place sure enough filled up, and the tree looked just exactly like nobody had been a-cutting on it.
But them there panthers, they were very vigorous. They just spit on their hands and cut away. When they got the tree mighty nigh cut down, the little boy, he pulled out another egg and broke it, and said, "Place, fill up!" And by the time he said it, the tree was done made sound again. They kept on this a-way until the little boy began to get scared again. He had broken all his eggs except one, and them there creatures were a-cutting away like they were venomous, which they most surely were.
Just about that time the little boy's mammy happened to stumble over the pan of water that was sitting down on the floor, and there it was, all turned to blood. Then she ran and unloosed Minnyminny Morack and Follerlinsko. Then when she did that she saw the willow limb a-shaking, and then she put the dogs on the little boy's track, and away they went.
The little boy heard them a-coming, and he hollered out, "Come on, my good dogs. Here, dogs, here."
The panthers, they stopped chopping and listened. One asked the other one what she could hear. The little boy said, "You don't hear anything. Go on with your chopping."
The panthers, they chopped some more, and then they thought they heard the dogs a-coming. Then they tried their best to get away, but it wasn't any use. They didn't have time to change their axes back into tails, and because they couldn't run with axes dragging behind them, the dogs caught them.
The little boy, he allowed, "Shake them and bite them. Drag them around and around, until you drag them two miles." So the dogs dragged them around for two miles.
Then the little boy said, "Shake them and tear them. Drag them around and around, until you drag them ten miles." They dragged them ten miles, and by the time they got back, the panthers were cold and stiff.
Then the little boy climbed down out of the tree and sat down to rest himself. By and by, after a while, he allowed to himself that beings he was having so much fun, he believed he'd take his dogs and go way off into the woods to see if he couldn't find his little sister. He called his dogs, he did, and went off into the woods, and they hadn't gone so mighty far before he saw a house in the woods away off by itself.
The dogs, they went up and smelled around, they did, and came back with their bristles up, but the little boy allowed he'd go up there anyhow and see what the dogs were mad about. So he called the dogs and went towards the house, and when he got close up he saw a little gal toting wood and water. She was a might pretty little gal, because she had milk-white skin and great long yellow hair, but her clothes were all in rags, and she was crying because she had to work so hard. Minnyminny Morack and Follerlinsko wagged their tales when they saw the little gal, and the little boy knew by that that she was his sister.
So he went up and asked her what her name was, and she said she didn't know what her name was, because she was so scared she forgot. Then he asked her what in the name of goodness she was crying about, and she said she was crying because she had to work so hard. Then he asked her who the house belonged to, and she allowed it belonged to a great big old black bear, and this old bear made her tote wood and water all the time. She said the water was to go into the big wash-pot, and the wood was to make the pot boil, and the pot was to cook folks that the great big old bear brought home to his children.
The little boy didn't tell the little gal that he was her brother, but he allowed that he was going to stay and eat supper with the big old bear.
The little gal cried and allowed he'd better not, but the little boy said he wasn't afraid to eat supper with a bear. So they went into the house, and when the little boy got in there, he saw that the bear had two great big children, and one of them was squatting on the bed, and the other one was squatting down in the hearth. The children were both named Cubs for short, but the little boy wasn't scared of them, because there were his dogs to do away with them if they so much as rolled an eyeball.
The old bear was a mighty long time coming back, so the little gal, she up and fixed supper anyhow, and the little boy, he scrounged from Cubs first on one side and then on the other, and he and the little gal got as much as they wanted. After supper the little boy told the little gal that he'd take and comb her hair just to while away the time. But the little gal's hair hadn't been combed for so long, and it was in such a tangle, that it made the poor creature cry to hear anybody talking about combing it. Then the little boy allowed he wasn't going to hurt her, and he took and warmed some water in a pan and put it on her hair, and then he combed and curled it, just as nice you ever did see.
When the old bear got home he was mighty taken back when he saw he had company, and when he saw them all sitting down like they had come to stay. But he was mighty polite, and he shook hands all around, and sat down by the fire and dried his boots, and asked about the crops, and allowed that the weather would be monstrous fine if they could get a little season of rain.
Then he took and made a great admiration over the little gal's hair, and he asked the little boy how in the whole world he could curl it and fix it so nice. The little one allowed it was easy enough. Then the old bear said he believed he would like to get his hair curled up that way, and the little boy said, "Fill the big pot with water."
The old bear filled the pot with water. Then the little boy said, "Build a fire under the pot and heat the water hot."
When the water got scalding hot, the little boy said, "All ready now. Stick your head in. It's the only way to make your hair curl."
Then the old bear stuck his head in the water, and that was the last of him, bless gracious! The scalding water curled the hair until it came off, and I suspect that is where they got the idea about putting bear grease on folks's hair. The young bears, they cried like everything when they saw how their daddy had been treated, and they wanted to bite and scratch the little boy and his sister, but those dogs -- Minnyminny Morack and Follerlinsko -- they just laid hold of them there bears, and there wasn't enough left of them to feed a kitten.
"What did they do then?" asked the little boy who had been listening to the story.
The old man took off his spectacles and cleaned the glasses on his coattail. "Well, sir," he went on, "the little boy took and carried his sister home, and his mammy said that she never again would set any store by folks with fine clothes, because they were so deceitful. No, never, so long as the Lord might spare her. And then after that they lived together right straight along, and if it hadn't been for the war, they'd be a-living there now. Because war is a mighty dangerous business."
Source: Joel Chandler Harris, Daddy Jake, the Runaway; and, Short Stories Told After Dark by "Uncle Remus" (New York: The Century Company, 1896), pp. 93-107.
There was once a poor woodcutter, who had a wife and three daughters dependent on him. One day, while he was working in the forest, a stranger passed that way and stopped to talk with him. Hearing he had three daughters the stranger persuaded him, for a large sum of money, which he paid on the spot, to let him have the eldest girl in marriage.
When the woodcutter went home at dusk, he boasted of the bargain to his wife, and next morning, took the girl to a certain cave and there gave her over to the stranger, who said that his name was Abu Freywar.
As soon as the woodman was gone, Abu Freywar said to her, "You must be hungry, eat these."
So saying, he took a knife and cut off both his ears, which he gave to her together with a nasty-looking loaf of black bread.
The girl refusing such food, he hung her up by the hair from the ceiling of a chamber in the cave, which had meanwhile become a magnificent palace.
Next day, Abu Freywar went again to the forest and found the woodcutter. "I want your second daughter for my brother," he said. "Here is the money. Bring her to the cave tomorrow."
The woodcutter, delighted at his great good fortune, brought his second daughter to Abu Freywar, and directly he had gone, Abu Freywar gave the girl his ears, which had grown afresh, to eat. She said she was not hungry just then, but would keep them to eat by-and-by. When he went out of the room, she tried to deceive him by hiding his ears under a carpet on the floor.
When he returned and asked if she had eaten them, she said "Yes."
But he called out, "Ears of mine, are you hot or cold? "and they answered promptly, "Cold as ice, and lying under the carpet."
Whereupon Abu Freywar, in a rage hung her up beside her sister.
He then went and asked for the youngest daughter, whose name was Zerendac, saying, that he wanted her for another brother. But the girl, a spoilt child, refused to go unless she might take with her a pet kitten and a box in which she kept her treasures. Hugging those, she went with Abu Freywar to the cave.
She proved wiser than her sisters. When her husband's back was turned, she gave his ears to the cat which devoured them eagerly, while she ate some food which she had brought from home.
When the ogre returned and cried as of wont, "Ears of mine, are you hot or cold?"
He received the answer, "As hot as can be in this snug little stomach," and this pleased him so that from that time he began to grow very fond of Zerendac.
After she had lived some days with him, he said, "I must go on a journey. There are forty rooms in this palace. Here are the keys, with which you may open any door you please except that to which this golden key belongs," and with that he took his departure.
Zerendac amused herself in his absence with opening and examining the locked- up rooms. On entering the thirty-ninth, she happened to look out of the window which opened on to a burial ground, and was terrified to see her husband, who was a ghoul, devouring a corpse that he had just dug out of a grave with his long claw- like nails. She was so fascinated with the sight that (hidden behind the window curtain), she watched him at his horrible repast. A few minutes later she saw him start and hide himself behind a monument in the cemetery. He had been disturbed by the approach of a funeral.
As the procession approached she heard one of the bearers say, "Let us be off as soon as possible, lest the ghoul which haunts this place get hold of us," and she could see that the whole company seemed very anxious.
This discovery caused the girl great uneasiness. She was anxious to know what was in the fortieth room, and the discovery she had made as to the real character of her husband prompted her to solve the mystery at any cost. She took the golden key and opened the door. She found her two sisters still alive and dangling from the ceiling by their hair. She cut them down, fed them, and as soon as their health was restored, sent them back to her parents.
Abu Freywar returned next day, but not for long. He left home a few days later, telling his wife she might invite any of her relations whom she cared to see. Accordingly she invited many of her friends and relatives, who came to see her, but heard nothing of her troubles. It was well for her that she did not complain, for her visitors were not the persons they seemed to be, but simply her husband in various shapes assumed in order to entrap her.
He succeeded at last in the form of her grandmother to whom she was beginning to tell all her sorrows; when the old woman became Abu Freywar and, taking a poisoned nail, drove it into her breast. The wound did not kill her, but it caused her to swoon away. No sooner was she unconscious than the monster put her into a chest and sank it in the sea.
Now the son of the sultan of that land was fond of boating and fishing, and this prince happened to cast a large net from a boat close to the place where the chest in which she was lay at the bottom of the sea. The net, happening to enclose the chest, was hauled in with the greatest difficulty. The sultan's son had it drawn into the boat, and, before opening it, said to his attendants, "If it contains money or jewels, you may have them all; but should it contain anything else, it is mine."
He was greatly shocked when he saw its actual contents, and mourned the sad fate of that lovely girl. He had her body carried to his mother's chamber, to be honorably prepared for burial. During the process, the nail being found and removed, Zerendac sneezed and came to life again.
She married the prince, and in course of time bore him a daughter. But one day, when she was alone with the child, the wall of her room suddenly split open, and Abu Freywar appeared. Without a word to the mother, he snatched up the infant and swallowed it, disappearing as suddenly as he had come. Zerendac was so bewildered by this fresh misfortune that, when asked where the baby had gone, she could only weep despairingly.
Her second child, a son, and the third, another daughter, were torn from her in the same horrible manner. On this last occasion, the cruel ogre smeared the poor mother's face with her child's blood. She washed it off, but, in her hurry and anguish, missed a slight stain beneath her under lip. Her husband and her mother-in-law, already very suspicious, judged of course that she was a ghoul and had devoured her offspring.
Zerendac told her story, but no one would believe it. Her husband, being loth to put her to death, ordered her to be imprisoned in a small underground chamber, and, at his mother's suggestion, sought another bride. Hearing of the beauty of the daughter of a neighboring sultan, he went to ask for her. But before setting out he sent for the mother of his lost children, and asked her what she would like him to bring her when he came back. She asked for a box of aloes [Arabic sebr, also meaning "patience"], for a box of henna [the same word means "tenderness"], and a dagger.
Her request was granted, and when the prince returned from his betrothal to the sultan's daughter, he brought with him these things for Zerendac. She opened the boxes, one by one, saying, "O box of sebr, you have not in you more patience than I have shown. O box of henna, you cannot be gentler than I have been," and was just going to stab herself with the dagger, when the wall of her prison opened and Abu Frey war appeared, leading a handsome boy and two lovely girls.
"Live!" he cried, "I have not killed your children. Here they are."
He then by his magic made a secret staircase connecting her dungeon with the great hall of the palace. Having done this, he seized the dagger and slew himself.
When the festivities in connection with the prince's marriage began, Zerendac sent the three children, richly dressed in clothes which Abu Freywar had left with her, up the staircase, telling them to amuse themselves without respect for the guests or the furniture. Accordingly they did all the damage they could think of; but the mother of the prince was slow to punish them, because they were pretty, and reminded her of her son at their age.
But at last, losing patience, she was going to strike one of them when they all shouted at once, "Ya sitt Ubdûr, shun keyf el kamr btadûr," which means, "O Lady Full-Moon, look how the moon is turning round."
Everyone rushed to the window, and while their backs were turned the children vanished.
On the actual wedding day the children appeared again when their father was present, ran about, breaking china and glass, and did all the damage they could think of. The prince forbade them.
They replied haughtily, "This is our house, and everything here belongs to us and to our parents."
"What do you mean by that?" inquired the prince.
The children answered by leading their father down the secret staircase to Zerendac, who explained who they really were and how they came there. The prince, greatly moved, embraced her tenderly and swore to be true to her till his life's end.
The sultan's daughter was returned, with excuses and a satisfactory present, to her father; and the prince and Zerendac lived happy ever after.
Source: J. E. Hanauer, Folk-Lore of the Holy Land: Moslem, Christian, and Jewish (London: Duckworth and Company, 1907), pp. 221-28.
Once there was a poor orphan girl who worked as a servant at the house of a rich man. Her dearest companion was a little dog that her parents had given her before they died.
One day the chieftain of a robber band, disguised as an ordinary servant, came to the rich man's house and asked the girl to marry him. Sensing something sinister about him, the girl rejected the suitor's advances, so, with the assistance of his fellow robbers, he carried her away by force.
Now a prisoner in the robber's house, the girl still refused to marry him, in spite of his friendly words, his threats, and his abuse. Finally he gave up his attempts to win her love, and sold her to a wild and cruel innkeeper.
Now this innkeeper would rob travelers, kill them, cut them into pieces, and serve their cooked flesh to his other guests. He terrorized the poor girl by showing her the valuables he had stolen from his victims, the room where he murdered them, and the weapons he used for his wicked deeds. Then he locked her and her little dog in an adjoining room.
Soon afterward he brought in a little boy whom he had captured in the woods gathering berries. He cut off the boy's head and cut him into pieces. Then he forced the girl to cook the boy's flesh and serve it to the innkeeper's guests.
Some time later the innkeeper brought in a very old woman, ugly and wrinkled, and nothing but skin and bones. Perhaps wanting to fatten her up for later, he locked her in the room with the girl and her dog.
After their captor had left, the old woman told the girl that the cannibal innkeeper was her own son, and that she, disguised so well that he could not recognize her, had come to punish him for his wickedness. Skilled in witchcraft, the old woman told the girl how she could escape. She would first have to kill her little dog and eat a piece of its heart. The girl did this, and then the old woman rubbed some ointment all over the girl's body, which transformed her into a duck.
A little later the wild man opened the door, and the duck flew over his head, escaping into the open. The innkeeper ran from room to room looking for the girl, and his mother uttered a magic curse that caused the house to collapse upon him, killing him at once.
The girl turned around and saw the heap of ruins, but as the old woman had not told her how she could again become a human being, she has remained a duck to this very day.
by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
THERE was once on a time a miller, who had a beautiful daughter, and as she was grown up, he wished that she was provided for, and well married. He thought, "If any good suitor comes and asks for her, I will give her to him." Not long afterwards, a suitor came, who appeared to be very rich, and as the miller had no fault to find with him, he promised his daughter to him. The maiden, however, did not like him quite so much as a girl should like the man to whom she is engaged, and had no confidence in him. Whenever she saw, or thought of him, she felt a secret horror. Once he said to her, "Thou art my betrothed, and yet thou hast never once paid me a visit." The maiden replied, "I know not where thy house is." Then said the bridegroom, "My house is out there in the dark forest." She tried to excuse herself and said she could not find the way there. The bridegroom said, "Next Sunday thou must come out there to me; I have already invited the guests, and I will strew ashes in order that thou mayst find thy way through the forest." When Sunday came, and the maiden had to set out on her way, she became very uneasy, she herself knew not exactly why, and to mark her way she filled both her pockets full of peas and lentils. Ashes were strewn at the entrance of the forest, and these she followed, but at every step she threw a couple of peas on the ground. She walked almost the whole day until she reached the middle of the forest, where it was the darkest, and there stood a solitary house, which she did not like, for it looked so dark and dismal. She went inside it, but no one was within, and the most absolute stillness reigned. Suddenly a voice cried,
"Turn back, turn back, young maiden dear,
'Tis a murderer's house you enter here."
The maiden looked up, and saw that the voice came from a bird, which was hanging in a cage on the wall. Again it cried,
"Turn back, turn back, young maiden dear,
'Tis a murderer's house you enter here."
Then the young maiden went on farther from one room to another, and walked through the whole house, but it was entirely empty and not one human being was to be found. At last she came to the the cellar, and there sat an extremely aged woman, whose head shook constantly. "Can you not tell me," said the maiden, "if my betrothed lives here?"
"Alas, poor child," replied the old woman, "whither hast thou come? Thou art in a murderer's den. Thou thinkest thou art a bride soon to be married, but thou wilt keep thy wedding with death. Look, I have been forced to put a great kettle on there, with water in it, and when they have thee in their power, they will cut thee to pieces without mercy, will cook thee, and eat thee, for they are eaters of human flesh. If I do not have compassion on thee, and save thee, thou art lost.
Thereupon the old woman led her behind a great hogshead where she could not be seen. "Be as still as a mouse," said she, "do not make a sound, or move, or all will be over with thee. At night, when the robbers are asleep, we will escape; I have long waited for an opportunity." Hardly was this done, than the godless crew came home. They dragged with them another young girl. They were drunk, and paid no heed to her screams and lamentations. They gave her wine to drink, three glasses full, one glass of white wine, one glass of red, and a glass of yellow, and with this her heart burst in twain. Thereupon they tore off her delicate raiment, laid her on a table, cut her beautiful body in pieces and strewed salt thereon. The poor bride behind the cask trembled and shook, for she saw right well what fate the robbers had destined for her. One of them noticed a gold ring on the little finger of the murdered girl, and as it would not come off at once, he took an axe and cut the finger off, but it sprang up in the air, away over the cask and fell straight into the bride's bosom. The robber took a candle and wanted to look for it, but could not find it. Then another of them said, "Hast thou looked behind the great hogshead?" But the old woman cried, "Come and get something to eat, and leave off looking till the morning, the finger won't run away from you."
Then the robbers said, "The old woman is right," and gave up their search, and sat down to eat, and the old woman poured a sleeping-draught in their wine, so that they soon lay down in the cellar, and slept and snored. When the bride heard that, she came out from behind the hogshead, and had to step over the sleepers, for they lay in rows on the ground, and great was her terror lest she should waken one of them. But God helped her, and she got safely over. The old woman went up with her, opened the doors, and they hurried out of the murderers' den with all the speed in their power. The wind had blown away the strewn ashes, but the peas and lentils had sprouted and grown up, and showed them the way in the moonlight. They walked the whole night, until in the morning they arrived at the mill, and then the maiden told her father everything exactly as it had happened.
When the day came when the wedding was to be celebrated, the bridegroom appeared, and the Miller had invited all his relations and friends. As they sat at table, each was bidden to relate something. The bride sat still, and said nothing. Then said the bridegroom to the bride, "Come, my darling, dost thou know nothing? Relate something to us like the rest." She replied, "Then I will relate a dream. I was walking alone through a wood, and at last I came to a house, in which no living soul was, but on the wall there was a bird in a cage which cried,
"Turn back, turn back, young maiden dear,
'Tis a murderer's house you enter here."
And this it cried once more. 'My darling, I only dreamt this. Then I went through all the rooms, and they were all empty, and there was something so horrible about them! At last I went down into the cellar, and there sat a very very old woman, whose head shook; I asked her, 'Does my bridegroom live in this house? She answered, 'Alas poor child, thou hast got into a murderer's den, thy bridegroom does live here, but he will hew thee in pieces, and kill thee, and then he will cook thee, and eat thee.' My darling, I only dreamt this. But the old woman hid me behind a great hogshead, and, scarcely was I hidden, when the robbers came home, dragging a maiden with them, to whom they gave three kinds of wine to drink, white, red, and yellow, with which her heart broke in twain. My darling, I only dreamt this. Thereupon they pulled off her pretty clothes, and hewed her fair body in pieces on a table, and sprinkled them with salt. My darling, I only dreamt this. And one of the robbers saw that there was still a ring on her little finger, and as it was hard to draw off, he took an axe and cut it off, but the finger sprang up in the air, and sprang behind the great hogshead, and fell in my bosom. And there is the finger with the ring!" And with these words she drew it forth, and showed it to those present.
The robber, who had during this story become as pale as ashes, leapt up and wanted to escape, but the guests held him fast, and delivered him over to justice. Then he and his whole troop were executed for their infamous deeds.
by The Brothers Grimm
From two stories heard in Lower Hesse: in one, ashes are strewn on the road to mark it instead of peas and lentils. A third and less perfect version comes from the district of the Maine. In this it is a king's daughter, to whom the bridegroom shows the way by means of ribbons which he ties to every tree. While she is hidden behind the barrel, the robbers bring in her grandmother and cut off her finger. Compare Carol. Stahl's story of the Miller's Daughter (see further on). See Meier, No. 63. No. 33 in Pröhle's Märchen für die Jugend. In Danish, see Thiele, 2. pp. 12, 13. In Hungarian, Streit, p. 45 .
1: In Boswell's Life of Johnson, with notes by Malone, there is this very similar English story, which is thus alluded to by Benedick in Much Ado about Nothing. "Like the old tale, my lord, it is not so, nor 'twas not so but indeed, God forbid that it should be so." Once upon a time these was a young lady (called Lady Mary in the story) who had two brothers. One summer they all went to a country seat of theirs, which they had not before visited. Among the other gentry in the neighbourhood who came to see them was a Mr. Fox, a bachelor, with whom they, particularly the young lady, were much pleased. He used often to dine with them, and frequently invited Lady Mary to come and see his house. One day when her brothers were absent elsewhere, and she had nothing better to do, she determined to go thither, and accordingly set out unattended. When she arrived at the house and knocked at the door, no one answered. At length she opened it and went in. Over the portal of the hail was written, "Be bold, be bold, but not too bold." She advanced: over the staircase the same inscription. She went up: over the entrance of a gallery, the same. She proceeded: over the door of a chamber she read: "Be bold, be bold, but not too bold, lest that your heart's blood should run cold." She opened it-it was full of skeletons, tubs full of blood, &c. She retreated in haste. Coming down stairs she saw from a window, Mr. Fox advancing towards the house, with a drawn sword in one hand, while with the other he dragged along a young lady by her hair. Lady Mary had just time to slip down and hide herself under the stairs before Mr. Fox and his victim arrived at the foot of them. As he pulled the young lady upstairs she caught hold of one of the banisters with her hand on which was a rich bracelet, Mr. Fox cut it off with his sword: the hand and bracelet fell into Lady Mary's lap, who then contrived to escape unobserved, and got home safe to her brother's house. After a few days Mr. Fox came to dine with them as usual (whether by invitation or of his own accord this deponent saith not). After dinner, when the guests began to amuse each other with extraordinary anecdotes, Lady Mary at length said she would relate to them a remarkable dream she had lately had. "1 dreamt," said she, "that as you, Mr. Fox, had often invited me to your house, I thought I would go there one morning. When I cane to the house I knocked, but no one answered. When I opened the door, over the hall was written 'Be bold, be bold, but not too bold.' But," said she, turning to Mr. Fox and smiling, "It is not so, nor it was not so;" then she pursued the rest of the story, concluding at every turn with "It is not so, nor it was not so," till she came to the room full of dead bodies, when Mr. Fox took up the burden of the tale and said, "It is not so, nor it was not so, and God forbid that it should be so; "which he continued to repeat at every turn of the dreadful story, till she came to the circumstance of his cutting off the young lady's hand, when, upon his saying as usual, "It is not so, nor it was not so, and God forbid that it should be so," Lady Mary retorted, "But it is so, and it was so, and here is the hand I have to show," at the same time producing the hand and bracelet from her lap: whereupon the guests drew their swords, and instantly cut Mr. Fox into a thousand pieces.-TR.
Source: Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. Household Tales. Margaret Hunt, translator. London: George Bell, 1884.
In the Western Isles of Scotland there lived a very rich man, of the name of Gregory, who had two beautiful daughters, to whom he was inordinately attached, but being vastly rich, he would not suffer either of them to go for an hour out of his presence without a strong detachment of the inmates of his house accompanying them wherever they went; and for the purpose of defending them from violent attacks that might be made upon them, or being carried off by the lawless banditti who at that time infested that part of the country.
It happened, however, one day when they were at their usual walk and recreation, a little distance from their house, there came up to them a gentleman with his servant on horseback, who accosted them in a rather familiar way, asking them if those men they saw at a little distance were attendants of theirs? They were answered in the affirmative. He also put some other questions to them which they did not choose to answer.
One of the ladies then wished to know how he was so impertinent; when he replied that, being much attached to the elder of the two, her beauty being so enchanting, he broke through the rules of good breeding.
As flattery has too often the desired effect of gaining its purpose over silly minds, it wrought upon this lady like a charm, and made her the more attentive to his bewitching strain, Having so far gained her heart and confidence, he next got all the information that he wanted regarding her place of residence, and other particulars, with liberty to visit her as a suitor.
These preliminaries having been settled, the ladies returned home, attended by the stranger gentleman, who gave his name as Mr. Greenwood, proprietor of an extensive tract of land on one of the neighbouring islands. His visits becoming so frequent, and himself so familiar, that at length he entreated the lady, his sweetheart, to pay a visit in return to his castle, as it was but a short way off, to which she consented.
The necessary instructions were given her for finding the castle secretly, as she could not go openly for fear of her father, he not permitting her to go anywhere without her usual guard of attendants. She behoved, therefore, to steal away in his absence.
The time for this purpose being agreed upon, as it was expected her father would leave home in a few days; but as some secret forebodings of evil preyed much upon her mind, she thought it advisable to go to the place he had appointed some days previous to the time they were to meet. The impropriety of venturing alone, and to a place she knew not, and to meet with one with whom she was so little acquainted, seemed very improper. Having deliberately weighed the matter in her own mind, she thought it better to go in disguise and reconnoitre his dwelling and circumstances. Accordingly, she got herself dressed in all the tattered and torn habiliments of an old beggar woman, and went as proposed, asking alms on her way thither.
On her arriving at Greenwood's castle, she knocked loudly, but as no one appeared, she ventured in, as the door was unlocked, and destitute of a bolt for its security. Her first movement was to examine the contents of a pot which boiled on the fire, but on looking in, she saw such a sight as quite horrified her�it was part of a human body! She next observed a bundle of rusty keys to lie on a table in the kitchen. When taking them up, she applied one of them to the door of a room which was adjoining the kitchen. In this room hung men's clothes of every description; out of each dress she cut a swatch, which having pocketed, she went to another room, when having opened it also, there she found women's dresses of great variety; some new, and some old. Out of each of them she cut again. Her next adventure was down a small trap-door, where, when she arrived at the bottom, she was up to the knees in blood, at which she greatly wondered ; but in the midst of her astonishment, from one of the dark corners of this dreadful vault, a voice said:
O, dear lady Maisry, be not so bold,
Lest your warm heart blood soon turn as cold.
On hearing these words, she immediately fled from this ocean of blood, and ascended with a quick though palsied step, till she arrived at its summit. On beholding the light, she was put to her wits' end how she should make her escape from this place of skulls, which she never thought of till now.
On ruminating on these things, her eyes were shocked with the cannibal owner of the place and his servant dragging triumphantly by the hair of the head, the dead body of a murdered female. As they came hurriedly into the room upon her, she had little time to seek a hiding place, or meditate her escape; so fled behind a door which stood half open between them, but so placed as she could hear and see what passed without being observed by the other party.
Near this place lay a large bloodhound, to which she threw a piece of bread and thereby gained his favour. Greenwood then cut off one of the female's hands and threw it to the dog; but as Maisry had so lately given him a piece of bread, she was suffered to take it up and carry it away.
Having continued in this precarious situation for a wearyful length of time, Greenwood remarked to his man, that he smelled fresh blood. The servant, with some difficulty, got him persuaded that the smell arose from the hand which he had so recently cut off from the dead body and thrown to the dog.
He was also with some reluctance appeased in his rage towards one of his domestics that had offended him. However, he determined that on going to bed, all the doors should be well secured inside, so that none could make their escape ere morning, if any were in the house that did not belong to it; and for their better security, should have their beds made at one of the back doors of the castle. On their going to bed, as fate would have it, sleep took such strong hold of their senses that they were soon in the arms of the drowsy god and snored aloud.
It was now time for the lady to think of saving herself by flight, which she accomplished in the following surprising manner. She opened the door, and at once made such a spring over both of their bodies, as cleared them and the place of her confinement. She then fled with the rapidity of lightning. The jump which she took awoke Greenwood, who said, surely someone had escaped; but the servant insisted that it was only the flutter of a bird that had passed the door. Unconcernedly they then went to sleep again.
The lady having reached her father's house, caused a great party of her friends and acquaintances to be invited to a feast which was to be prepared for their entertainment, about the time that Greenwood had promised to give her a call. All things being ready, and the guests at supper set, Greenwood among the rest, when all were merry, and all seemed to enjoy the entertainment.
Supper at length being ended, it was proposed that a few songs for the amusement of the company, should be sung by those who could, and those who could not sing should tell some story or tale. This being agreed upon by all, songs were sung and tales were told by all till it came to Maisry's turn, who said, as she could do neither she would tell a dream she dreamed last night; and looking over to Greenwood, remarked that it was concerning him.
All seemed anxious to hear it, but none more so than Greenwood, when she began thus:
I thought that I disguised myself as a common pauper, and went to your castle to ask alms, but after loudly knocking, and finding no one to make answer, I ventured in, and seeing a pot boiling on the fire, a thought struck me to look into it, I saw what I could scarcely believe, a part of a human body. This having raised my curiosity, I went a step farther and on finding a bunch of keys lying on a table near where I stood; I opened an apartment near the kitchen, and found a variety of men's clothes; next I went into another, where I found women's and cut a piece out of each of them, which I brought along. I also ventured down a small trap stair, when I found myself up to the knees among blood, and a voice saying:O, dear lady Maisry, be not so bold,
Lest your warm heart blood soon turn as cold.
Greenwood could contain himself no longer, but interrupting her said, "Women's dreams are fabulous, and so are women's thoughts. Jack, saddle your horse, and we will go ride."
But she would not consent to this, but continued to tell the rest of her dream, much against his wish or inclination; but there was no avoiding hearing her out, so she went on, "On arriving at the top of the trap stair which I went down to the vault of blood, I observed you and your man dragging by the hair of her head, the body of a dead lady. You cut off one of her hands and threw it to a greedy bloodhound which lay near where I stood. The hand I took up, and see here it is," producing the bloody hand before them all; when, to his mortification and confusion, he and his servant were secured. He to be burned in the midst of his castle, which was in a remote and secret place of a large wood; the servant to be drowned; which were immediately put into execution, to the no small satisfaction and amazement of all who heard his murderous history.
Source: Peter Buchan, Ancient Scottish Tales: An Unpublished Collection Made by Peter Buchan, pp. 21-24.
In a certain village there lived an old Brahman who had three sons and a daughter. The girl being the youngest was brought up most tenderly and become spoilt, and so whenever she saw a beautiful boy she would say to her parents that she must be wedded to him. Her parents were, therefore, much put about to devise excuses for taking her away from her youthful lovers. Thus passed on some years, until the girl was very nearly grown up, and then the parents, fearing that they would be driven out of their caste if they failed to dispose of her hand in marriage before she came to the years of maturity, began to be eager about finding a bridegroom for her.
Now near their village there lived a fierce tiger, that had attained to great proficiency in the art of magic, and had the power of assuming different forms. Having a great taste for Brahman's food, the tiger used now and then to frequent temples and other places of public refreshment in the shape of an old famished Brahman in order to share the food prepared for the Brahmans. The tiger also wanted, if possible, a Brahman wife to take to the woods, and there to make her cook his meals after her fashion. One day, when he was partaking of his meals in Brahman shape at a public feeding place, he heard the talk about the Brahman girl who was always falling in love with every beautiful Brahman boy.
Said he to himself, "Praised be the face that I saw first this morning. I shall assume the shape of a Brahman boy, and appear as beautiful as can be, and win the heart of the girl."
Next morning he accordingly assumed the form of a Brahman teacher proficient in the Ramayana near the landing of the sacred river of the village. Scattering holy ashes profusely over his body he opened the Ramayana and began to read.
"The voice of the new teacher is most enchanting. Let us go and hear him," said some women among themselves, and sat down before him to hear him expound the great book. The girl for whom the tiger had assumed this shape came in due time to bathe at the river, and as soon as she saw the new teacher fell in love with him, and bothered her old mother to speak to her father about him, so as not to lose her new lover. The old woman too was delighted at the bridegroom whom fortune had thrown in her way, and ran home to her husband, who, when he came and saw the teacher, raised up his hands in praise of the great god Mahesvara. The teacher was now invited to take his meals with them, and as he had come with the express intention of marrying the daughter, he, of course, agreed.
A grand dinner followed in honor of the teacher, and his host began to question him as to his parentage, etc., to which the cunning tiger replied that he was born in a village beyond the adjacent wood. The Brahman had no time to wait for further inquiries, and as the boy was very fair he married his daughter to him the very next day. Feasts followed for a month, during which time the bridegroom gave every satisfaction to his new relatives, who supposed him to be human all the while. He also did full justice to the Brahman dishes, and swallowed everything that was placed before him.
After the first month was over the tiger bridegroom yearned for his accustomed prey, and hankered after his abode in the woods. A change of diet for a day or two is all very well, but to renounce his own proper food for more than a month was hard. So one day he said to his father-in-law, "I must go back soon to my old parents, for they will be pining at my absence. But why should we have to bear the double expense of my coming all the way here again to take my wife to my village? So if you will kindly let me take the girl with me I shall take her to her future home, and hand her over to her mother-in-law, and see that she is well taken care of."
The old Brahman agreed to this, and replied, "My dear son-in-law, you are her husband, and she is yours, and we now send her with you, though it is like sending her into the wilderness with her eyes tied up. But as we take you to be everything to her, we trust you to treat her kindly."
The mother of the bride shed tears at the idea of having to send her away, but nevertheless the very next day was fixed for the journey. The old woman spent the whole day in preparing cakes and sweetmeats for her daughter, and when the time for the journey arrived, she took care to place in her bundles and on her head one or two margosa leaves to keep off demons. The relatives of the bride requested her husband to allow her to rest wherever she found shade, and to eat wherever she found water, and to this he agreed, and so they began their journey.
The boy tiger and his human wife pursued their journey for an hour or so in free and pleasant conversation, when the girl happened to see a fine pond, around which the birds were warbling their sweet notes. She requested her husband to follow her to the water's edge and to partake of some of the cakes and sweetmeats with her.
But he replied, "Be quiet, or I shall show you my original shape."
This made her afraid, so she pursued her journey in silence until she saw another pond, when she asked the same question of her husband, who replied in the same tone.
Now she was very hungry, and not liking her husband's tone, which she found had greatly changed ever since they had entered the woods, said to him, "Show me your original shape."
No sooner were these words uttered than her husband's form changed from that of a man. Four legs, striped skin, a long tail, and a tiger's face came over him suddenly and, horror of horrors! a tiger and not a man stood before her! Nor were her fears stilled when the tiger in human voice began as follows: "Know henceforth that I, your husband, am a tiger -- this very tiger that now speaks to you. If you have any regard for your life you must obey all my orders implicitly, for I can speak to you in human voice, and understand what you say. In an hour or so we shall reach my home, of which you will become the mistress. In the front of my house you will see half a dozen tubs, each of which you must fill up daily with some dish or other, cooked in your own way. I shall take care to supply you with all the provisions you want." So saying the tiger slowly conducted her to his house.
The misery of the girl may more be imagined than described, for if she were to object she would be put to death. So, weeping all the way, she reached her husband's house. Leaving her there he went out and returned with several pumpkins and some flesh, of which she soon prepared a curry and gave it to her husband. He went out again after this and returned in the evening with several vegetables and some more flesh, and gave her an order, "Every morning I shall go out in search of provisions and prey, and bring something with me on my return; you must keep cooked for me whatever I leave in the house."
So next morning as soon as the tiger had gone away she cooked everything left in the house and filled all the tubs with food. At the fourth hour the tiger returned and growled out, "I smell a man! I smell a woman in my wood." And his wife for very fear shut herself up in the house.
As soon as the tiger had satisfied his appetite he told her to open the door, which she did, and they talked together for a time, after which the tiger rested awhile, and then went out hunting again. Thus passed many a day, until the tiger's Brahman wife had a son, which also turned out to be only a tiger.
One day, after the tiger had gone out to the woods, his wife was crying all alone in the house, when a crow happened to peck at some rice that was scattered near her, and seeing the girl crying, began to shed tears.
"Can you assist me?" asked the girl.
"Yes," said the crow.
So she brought out a palmyra leaf and wrote on it with an iron nail all her sufferings in the wood, and requested her brothers to come and relieve her. This palmyra leaf she tied to the neck of the crow, which, seeming to understand her thoughts, flew to her village and sat down before one of her brothers. He untied the leaf and read the contents of the letter and told them to his other brothers. All the three then started for the wood, asking their mother to give them something to eat on the way. She had not enough rice for the three, so she made a big ball of clay and stuck it over with what rice she had, so as to make it look like a ball of rice. This she gave to the brothers to eat on their way, and started them off to the woods.
They had not proceeded long before they caught sight of a donkey. The youngest, who was of a playful disposition, wished to take the donkey with him. The two elder brothers objected to this for a time, but in the end they allowed him to have his own way. Further on they saw an ant, which the middle brother took with him. Near the ant there was a big palmyra tree lying on the ground, which the eldest took with him to keep off the tiger.
The sun was now high in the horizon and the three brothers became very hungry. So they sat down near a tank and opened the bundle containing the ball of rice. To their utter disappointment they found it to be all clay, but being extremely hungry they drank all the water in the pond and continued their journey. On leaving the tank they found a big iron tub belonging to the washerman of the adjacent village. This they took also with them in addition to the donkey, the ant, and the palmyra tree. Following the road described by their sister in her letter sent by the crow, they walked on and on until they reached the tiger's house.
The sister, overjoyed to see her brothers again, ran out at once to welcome them, "My dearest brothers, I am so glad to see that you have come here to relieve me after all, but the time for the tiger's coming home is approaching, so hide yourselves in the loft, and wait until he is gone." So saying, she helped her brothers to ascend into the loft.
By this time the tiger returned, and perceived the presence of human beings by the peculiar smell. He asked his wife whether anyone had come to their house. She said, "No." But when the brothers, who with their trophies of the way -- the donkey, the ant, and so on -- were sitting upon the loft, saw the tiger dallying with their sister, they were greatly frightened; so much so that the youngest, through fear, began to quake, and they all fell on the floor.
"What is all this?" said the terrified tiger to his wife.
"Nothing," said she, "but your brothers-in-law. They came here three hours ago, and as soon as you have finished your meals they want to see you."
"How can my brothers-in-law be such cowards?" thought the tiger to himself. He then asked them to speak to him, whereon the youngest brother put the ant which he had in his hand into the ear of the donkey, and as soon as the latter was bitten, it began to bawl out most horribly.
"How is it that your brothers have such a hoarse voice?" said the tiger to his wife.
He next asked them to show him their legs. Taking courage at the stupidity of the tiger on the two former occasions, the eldest brother now stretched out the palmyra tree.
"By my father, I have never seen such a leg," said the tiger, and asked his brothers-in-law to show their bellies. The second brother now showed the tub, at which the tiger shuddered, and saying, "such a harsh voice, so stout a leg, and such a belly, truly I have never heard of such persons as these!" He ran away.
It was already dark, and the brothers, wishing to take advantage of the tiger's terror, prepared to return home with their sister at once. They ate up what little food she had, and ordered her to start. Fortunately for her, her tiger child was asleep. So she tore it into two pieces and suspended them over the hearth, and, thus getting rid of the child, she ran off with her brothers towards home.
Before leaving she bolted the front door from inside, and went out at the back of the house. As soon as the pieces of the cub, which were hung up over the hearth, began to roast, they dripped, which made the fire hiss and sputter; and when the tiger returned at about midnight, he found the door shut and heard the hissing of the fire, which he mistook for the noise of cooking muffins.
"I see," said he to himself, "how very cunning you are; you have bolted the door and are cooking muffins for your brothers. Let us see if we can't get your muffins."
So saying, he went around to the back door and entered his house, and was greatly perplexed to find his cub torn in two and being roasted, his house deserted by his Brahman wife, and his property plundered; for his wife, before leaving, had taken with her as much of the tiger's property as she could conveniently carry.
The tiger now discovered all the treachery of his wife, and his heart grieved for the loss of his son, that was now no more. He determined to be revenged on his wife, and to bring her back into the wood, and there tear her into many pieces in place of only two. But how to bring her back? He assumed his original shape of a young bridegroom, making, of course, due allowance for the number of years that had passed since his marriage, and next morning went to his father-in-law's house. His brothers-in-law and his wife saw from a distance the deceitful form he had assumed, and devised means to kill him. The younger ones too ran here and there to bring provisions to feed him sumptuously, and the tiger was highly pleased at the hospitable way in which he was received.
There was a ruined well at the back of the house, and the eldest of the brothers placed some thin sticks across its mouth, over which he spread a fine mat. Now it is usual to ask guests to have an oil bath before dinner, and so his three brothers-in-law requested the tiger to take his seat on the fine mat for his bath. As soon as he sat on it, the thin sticks being unable to bear his weight, gave way, and down fell the cunning tiger with a heavy crash! The well was at once filled in with stones and other rubbish, and thus the tiger was effectually prevented from doing any more mischief.
But the Brahman girl, in memory of her having married a tiger, raised a pillar over the well and planted a tulasi shrub on the top of it. Morning and evening, for the rest of her life, she used to smear the pillar with sacred cow dung, and water the tulasi shrub.
This story is told to explain the Tamil proverb, "Be quiet, or I shall show you my original shape."
by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Once upon a time there was a sorcerer who was a thief. He disguised himself as a poor man and went begging from house to house. A girl came to the door and brought him a piece of bread. He touched her, and she was forced to jump into his pack basket. Then he carried her to his house where everything was splendid, and he gave her everything that she wanted.
One day he said, "I have to take care of something away from home. I will be away for a while. Here is an egg. Take good care of it. Carry it with you at all times. And here is a key, but at the risk of your life, do not go into the room that it opens. But as soon as he had gone, she unlocked the door and went into the room. In the middle there was a large basin. In it there were dead and dismembered people. She was so terrified that she dropped the egg, which she was holding in her hand, into the basin. She quickly took it out again and wiped off the blood, but it reappeared in an instant. She could not get the egg clean, no matter how much she wiped and scrubbed.
When the man returned, he asked for the egg and the key. He looked at them and knew that she had been in the blood chamber. "You did not heed my words," he said angrily, "and now you are going into the chamber against your will." With that he seized her, led her into the room, cut her up in pieces, and threw her into the basin with the others.
Sometime later the man went begging again. He captured the second daughter from the house, and the same thing happened to her as to the first one. She too opened the forbidden door, dropped the egg into the blood, and was cut to pieces and thrown into the basin.
Then the sorcerer wanted to have the third daughter. He captured her in his pack basket, carried her home, and at his departure gave her the egg and the key. However, the third sister was clever and sly. First of all, she put the egg in a safe place, and then she went into the secret chamber. When she saw her sisters in the basin, she found all of their parts and put each one back in its right place: head, body, arm, and leg. The parts started to move, and then they joined together, and the two sister came back to life. She took them both out of the room and hid them.
When the man returned and found that the egg was free of blood, he asked her to become his bride. She said yes, but told him that first he would have to carry a basket filled with gold on his back to her parents, and that meanwhile she would be getting ready for the wedding. Then she told her sisters to get help from home. She put them into the basket and covered them over with gold. Then she said to the man, "Carry this away. And don't you dare stop to rest. If you do, I'll be able to see through my window." He lifted the basket onto his back and started off, but it was so heavy that the weight nearly killed him. He wanted to rest a little, but one of the girls inside the basket called out, "I can see through my window that you are resting. Walk on at once!" He thought it was his bride calling out, so he got up and walked on. Every time he wanted to rest, he heard the call, and had to continue on.
Meanwhile, back at his house, his bride dressed up a skull and placed it in the attic window. Then she invited all the sorcerer's friends to the wedding. Then she dipped herself in a barrel of honey, cut open the bed, and rolled in the feathers so that no one would be able to recognize her. In this strange disguise, she left the house and started down the path. Soon she met some of the guests, who said, "You, Fitcher's bird, where are you coming from?"
"I'm coming from Fitcher's house."
"And what is his young bride doing?"
"She's cleaning the house from bottom to top. Right now she is looking out of the attic window."
Then she also met the bridegroom, who was returning home.
"You, Fitcher's bird, where are you coming from?"
"I'm coming from Fitcher's house."
"And what is my young bride doing?"
"She's cleaning the house from bottom to top. Right now she is looking out of the attic window."
The bridegroom looked up, and saw the disguised skull. Thinking it was his bride, he waved to it. But after he arrived home, and all his friends were there as well, the help came that the sisters had sent. They closed up the house and set it afire, and because no one could get out, they all perished in the flames.
Source: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, "Fitchers Vogel," Kinder- und Hausmärchen, 1st ed., vol. 1 (Berlin: Realschulbuchhandlung, 1812), no. 46, pp. 200-203.
Link to the German text of the first edition: Fitchers Vogel (1812)
Once upon a time there was a farmer who had a daughter who used to take his dinner to him in the fields. One day he said to her, "So that you may find me I will sprinkle bran along the way. You follow the bran, and you will come to me."
By chance the old ogre passed that way, and seeing the bran, said, "This means something." So he took the bran and scattered it so that it led to his own house.
When the daughter set out to take her father his dinner, she followed the bran until she came to the ogre's house. When the ogre saw the young girl, he said, "You must be my wife."
Then she began to weep. When the father saw that his daughter did not appear, he went home in the evening, and began to search for her, and not finding her, he asked God to give him a son or a daughter.
A year after, he had a son whom they called Don Firriulieddu. When the child was three days old it spoke, and said, "Have you made me a cloak? Now give me a little dog and the cloak, for I must look for my sister." So he set out and went to seek his sister.
After a while he came to a plain where he saw a number of men, and asked, "Whose cattle are these?"
The herdsman replied, "They belong to the ogre, who fears neither God nor the saints, who fears Don Firriulieddu, who is three days old, and is on the way, and gives his dog bread and says, 'Eat, my dog, and do not bark, for we have fine things to do.'"
Afterwards he saw a flock of sheep, and asked, "Whose are these sheep?" and received the same answer as from the herdsman.
Then he arrived at the ogre's house and knocked, and his sister opened the door and saw the child. "Who are you looking for?" she said.
"I am looking for you, for I am your brother, and you must return to mamma."
When the ogre heard that Don Firriulieddu was there, he went and hid himself upstairs. Don Firriulieddu asked his sister, "Where is the ogre?"
Don Firriulieddu said to his dog, "Go upstairs and bark, and I will follow you."
The dog went up and barked, and Firriulieddu followed him, and killed the ogre. Then he took his sister and a quantity of money, and they went home to their mother, and are all contented.
Next to a great forest there lived an old man who had three sons and two daughters. Once they were sitting together thinking of nothing when a splendid carriage suddenly drove up and stopped in front of their house. A dignified gentleman climbed from the carriage, entered the house, and engaged the father and his daughters in conversation. Because he especially liked the youngest one, he asked the father if he would not give her to him to be his wife.
This seemed to the father to be a good marriage, and he had long desired to see his daughters taken care of while he was still alive. However, the daughter could not bring herself to say yes, for the strange knight had an entirely blue beard, which caused her to shudder with fear whenever she looked at him.
She went to her brothers, who were valiant knights, and asked them for advice. The brothers thought that she should accept Bluebeard, and they gave her a little whistle, saying, "If you are ever threatened, just blow this whistle, and we will come to your aid!"
Thus she let herself be talked into becoming the strange man's wife, but she did arrange for her sister to accompany her when King Bluebeard took her to his castle.
When the young wife arrived there, there was great joy throughout the entire castle, and King Bluebeard was very happy as well. This continued for about four weeks, and then he said that he was going on a journey. He turned all the keys of the castle over to his wife, saying, "You may go anywhere in the castle, unlock everything, and look at anything you want to, except for one door, to which this little golden key belongs. If you value your life, you are not allowed to open it!"
"Oh no!" she said, adding that she surely would not open that door. But after the king had been away for a while, she could find no rest for constantly thinking about what there might be in the forbidden chamber. She was just about to unlock it when her sister approached her and held her back. However, on the morning of the fourth day, she could no longer resist the temptation, and taking the key she secretly crept to the room, stuck the key into the lock, and opened the door.
Horrified, she saw that the entire room was filled with corpses, all of them women. She wanted to slam the door shut immediately, but the key fell out and into the blood. She quickly picked it up, but it was stained with blood. And however much she rubbed and cleaned it, the stains would not go away. With fear and trembling she went to her sister.
When King Bluebeard finally returned from his journey, he immediately asked for the golden key. Seeing the bloodstains on it, he said, "Wife, why did you not heed my warning? Your hour has now struck! Prepare yourself to die, for you have been in the forbidden room!"
Crying, she went to her sister, who lived upstairs in the castle. While she was bemoaning her fate to her, the sister thought of the whistle that she had received from her brothers, and said, "Give me the whistle! I shall send a signal to our brothers. Perhaps they will be able to help!" And she blew the whistle three times, issuing a bright sound that rang through the woods.
An hour later they heard Bluebeard rustling up the stairs to get his wife and slaughter her. "Oh God, oh God!" she cried out. "Aren't my brothers coming?" She rushed to the door and locked it, then fearfully stood there holding it shut as well.
Bluebeard pounded on the door, crying out that she should open it, and when she did not do so, he tried to break it down.
"Oh sister, oh sister, aren't my brothers coming?" she said to her sister, who was standing at the window looking out into the distance.
She replied, "I don't see anyone yet."
Meanwhile, Bluebeard was breaking the door apart more and more, and the opening was almost large enough for him to get through, when three knights suddenly appeared before the castle. The sister cried from the window as loudly as she could, "Help! Help!" and waved to her brothers.
They stormed up the stairs to where they had heard their sister's cry for help. There they saw King Bluebeard, sword in hand, standing before the broken door, and they heard their sister screaming inside the room. Immediately sensing what he was up to, they quickly ran their daggers into his breast and killed him.
When the brothers learned what the godless king was going to do to their sister, and that he had already killed so many women, they destroyed his castle, so that there was not one stone remaining on another one. They took with them all his treasures, and lived happily with their sisters in their father's house.
Source: Ernst Meier, "König Blaubart," Deutsche Volksmärchen aus Schwaben: Aus dem Munde des Volks gesammelt (Stuttgart: C. P. Scheitlin's Verlagshandlung, 1852), no. 38, pp. 134-37