Little Knit Friends -Tutorial

I’ve finally found a simple and free pattern for these little knit friends just click on the link and it will take you right to the downloadable PDF. This pattern is by Jean Greenhouse


Once you get the hang of the pattern, they are very versatile. You could easily be adapt the pattern to make elves, gnomes, simple comfort dolls -anything. You can make them with cotton, wool or any yarn you’d like. If you use a larger bulky yarn the dolls will be bigger, a thin yarn with small needles will give you a smaller doll.




Have fun ūüôā

I’d love to see your creations, share them with us on FaceBook!

Simple Winter Puppet Show

Puppet shows can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like. If there are some peg dolls around you can use them as the characters. Even your children little wooden, plastic or stuffed animals. Simple pieces of cloth or scarves work for sky and scenery. I like to check the thrift stores for real silk scarves, I have even found some beautifully handprinted ones for under a dollar.

This video is a wonderful example of a truly simple and lovely puppet show by Starfuldolls.


Hans Christian Andersen

public-domain-vintage-childrens-book-illustration-arthur-rackham-jack-and-the-beanstalk Illustration -Arthur Rackham

THERE lived a poor widow, whose cottage stood in a country village, a long distance from London, for many years.

The widow had only a child named Jack, whom she gratified in everything; the consequence of her partiality was, that Jack paid little attention to anything she said; and he was heedless and extravagant. His follies were not owing to bad disposition, but to his mother never having chided him. As she was not wealthy, and he would not work, she was obliged to support herself and him by selling everything she had. At last nothing remained only a cow.

The widow, with tears in her eyes, could not help reproaching Jack. “Oh! you wicked boy,” said she, “by your prodigal course of life you have now brought us both to fall! Heedless, heedless boy! I have not money enough to buy a bit of bread for another day: nothing remains but my poor cow, and that must be sold, or we must starve!”

Jack was in a degree of tenderness for a few minutes, but soon over; and then becoming very hungry for want of food he teased his poor mother to let him sell the cow; to which at last she reluctantly consented.

As he proceeded on his journey he met a butcher, who inquired why he was driving the cow from home? Jack replied he was going to sell it. The butcher had some wonderful beans, of different colours, in his bag, which attracted Jack’s notice. This the butcher saw, who, knowing Jack’s easy temper, resolved to take advantage of it, and offered all the beans for the cow. The foolish boy thought it a great offer. The bargain was momently struck, and the cow exchanged for a few paltry beans. When Jack hastened home with the beans and told his mother and showed them to her, she kicked the beans away in a great passion. They flew in all directions, and were extended as far as the garden.

Early in the morning Jack arose from his bed, and seeing something strange from the window, he hastened downstairs into the garden, where he soon found that some of the beans had grown in root, and sprung up wonder. fully: the stalks grew in an immense thickness, and had so entwined, that they formed a ladder like a chain in view.

Looking upwards, he could not descry the top, it seemed to be lost in the clouds. He tried it, discovered it firm, and not to be shaken. A new idea immediately struck him: he would climb the bean-stalk, and see to whence it would lead. Full of this plan, which made him forget even his hunger, Jack hastened to communicate his intention to his mother.

He instantly set out, and after climbing for some hours, reached the top of the bean-stalk, fatigued and almost exhausted. Looking round, he was surprised to find himself in a strange country; it looked to be quite a barren desert not a tree, shrub, house, or living creature was to be seen.

Jack sat himself pensively upon a block of stone, and thought of his mother; his hunger attacked him, and now he appeared sorrowful for his disobedience in climbing the bean-stalk against her will; and concluded that he must now die for want of food.

However, he walked on, hoping to see a house where he might beg something to eat. Suddenly he observed a beautiful young female at some distance. She was dressed in an elegant manner, and had a small white wand in her hand, on the top of which was a peacock of pure gold. She approached and said: “I will reveal to you a story your mother dare not. But before I begin, I require a solemn promise on your part to do what I command. I am a fairy, and unless you perform exactly what I direct you to do, you will deprive me of the power to assist you; and there is little doubt but that you will die in the attempt.” Jack was rather frightened at this caution, but promised to follow her directions.

“Your father was a rich man, with a disposition greatly benevolent. It was his practice never to refuse relief to the deserving in his neighbourhood; but, on the contrary, to seek out the helpless and distressed. Not many miles from your father’s house lived a huge giant, who was the dread of the country around for cruelty and oppression. This creature was moreover of a very envious disposition, and disliked to hear others talked of for their goodness and humanity, and he vowed to do him a mischief, so that he might no longer hear his good actions made the subject of every one’s conversation. Your father was too good a man to fear evil from others; consequently it was not long before the cruel giant found an opportunity to put his wicked threats into practice; for hearing that your parents were about passing a few days with a friend at some distance from home, he caused your father to be waylaid and murdered, and your mother to be seized on their way homeward.

“At the time this happened, you were but a few months old. Your poor mother, almost dead with affright and horror, was borne away by the cruel giant’s emissaries to a dungeon under his house, in which she and her poor babe were both long confined as prisoners. Distracted at the absence of your parents, the servants went in them; but no tidings of either could be obtained. Meantime he caused a will to be found making over all your father’s property to him as your guardian, and as such he took open possession.

“After your mother had been some months the giant offered to restore her to liberty, on con she would solemnly swear that she would never divulge the story of her wrongs to any one. To put it out of power to do him any harm, should she break her oath, the giant had her put on ship-board, and taken to a distant country where he had her left with no more money for her support than what she obtained from the sale of a few had secreted in her dress.

“I was appointed your father’s guardian at his birth; but fairies have laws to which they are subject as well as mortals. A short time before the giant assassinated your father, I transgressed; my punishment was a suspension of my power for a limited time, an unfortunate circumstance as it entirely prevented my assisting your father, even when I most wished to do so. The day on which you met the butcher, as you went to sell your mother’s cow, my power was restored. It was I who secretly prompted you to take the beans in exchange for the cow. By my power the bean-stalk grew to so great a height, and formed a ladder. The giant lives in this country; you are the person appointed to punish him for all his wickedness. You will have dangers and difficulties to encounter, but you must persevere in avenging the death of your father, or you will not not prosper in any of your undertakings.

“As to the giant’s possessions, everything he has is yours, though you are deprived of it; you may take, therefore, what part of it you can. You must, however, be careful, for such is his love for gold, that the first loss he discovers will make him outrageous and very watchful for the future. But you must still pursue him; for it is only by stratagem that you can ever hope to overcome him, and become possessed of your rightful property, and the means of retributive justice overtaking him for his barbarous murder. One thing I desire is, do not let your mother know you are acquainted with your father’s history till you see me again.

“Go along the direct road; you will soon see the house where your cruel enemy lives. While you do as I order you, I will protect and guard you; but remember, if you disobey my commands, a dreadful punishment awaits you.”

As soon as she had concluded she disappeared, leaving Jack to follow his journey. He walked on till after sunset, when, to his great joy, he espied a large mansion. This pleasant sight revived his drooping spirits; he redoubled his speed, and reached it shortly. A well-looking woman’ stood at the door: he accosted her, begging she would give him a morsel of bread and a night’s lodging. She expressed the greatest surprise at seeing him; and said it was quite uncommon to see any strange creature. near their house, for it was mostly known that her husband was a very cruel and powerful giant, and one that would eat human flesh, if he could possibly get it.

This account terrified Jack greatly, but still, not forgetting the fairy’s protection, he hoped to elude the giant, and therefore he entreated the woman to take him in for one night only, and hide him where she thought proper. The good woman at last suffered herself to be persuaded, for her disposition was remarkably compassionate, and at last led him into the house.

First they passed an elegant hall, finely furnished; they then proceeded through several spacious rooms, all in the same style of grandeur, but they looked to be quite forsaken and desolate. A long gallery came next; it was very dark, just large enough to show that, instead of a wall each side, there was a grating of iron, which parted off a dismal dungeon, from whence issued the groans of several poor victims whom the cruel giant reserved in confinement for his voracious appetite. Poor Jack was in a dreadful fright at witnessing such a horrible scene, which caused him to fear that he would never see his mother, but be captured lastly for the giant’s meat; but still he recollected the fairy, and a gleam of hope forced itself into his heart.

The good woman then took Jack to a spacious kitchen, where a great fire was kept; she bade him sit down, and gave him plenty to eat and drink. In the meantime he had done his meal and enjoyed himself, but was disturbed by a hard knocking at the gate, so loud as to cause the house to shake. Jack was concealed in the oven, and the giant’s wife ran to let in her husband.

Jack heard him accost her in a voice like thunder, saying: “Wife! wife! I smell fresh meat!” “Oh! my dear,” replied she, “it is nothing but the people in the dungeon.” The giant seemed to believe her, and at last seated himself by the fireside, whilst the wife prepared supper.

By degrees Jack endeavoured to look at the monster through a small crevice. He was much surprised to see what an amazing quantity he devoured, and supposed he would never have done eating and drinking. After his supper was ended, a very curious hen was brought and placed on the table before him. Jack’s curiosity was so

great to see what would happen. He observed that it stood quiet before him, and every time the giant said: “Lay!” the hen laid an egg of solid gold. The giant amused himself a long time with his hen; meanwhile his wife went to bed. At length he fell asleep, and snored like the roaring of a cannon. Jack finding him still asleep at daybreak, crept softly from his hiding-place, seized the hen, and ran off with her as fast as his legs could possibly allow him.

Jack easily retraced his way to the bean-stalk, and descended it better and quicker than he expected. His mother was overjoyed to see him. “Now, mother,” said Jack, “I have brought you home that which will make you rich.” The hen produced as many golden eggs as they desired; they sold them, and soon became possessed of as much riches as they wanted.

For a few months Jack and his mother lived very happy, but he longed to pay the giant another visit. Early in the morning he again climbed the bean-stalk, and reached the giant’s mansion late in the evening: the woman was at the door as before. Jack told her a pitiful tale, and prayed for a night’s shelter. She told him that she had admitted a poor hungry boy once before, and the little ingrate had stolen one of the giant’s treasures, and ever since that she had been cruelly used. She however led him to the kitchen, gave him a supper, and put him in a lumber closet. Soon after the giant came in, took his supper, and ordered his wife to bring down his bags of gold and silver. Jack peeped out of his hiding-place, and observed the giant counting over his treasures, and after which he carefully put them in bags again, fell asleep, and snored as before. Jack crept quietly from his hiding-place, and approached the giant, when a little dog under the chair barked furiously. Contrary to his expectation, the giant slept on soundly, and the dog ceased. Jack seized the bags, reached the door in safety, and soon arrived at the bottom of the bean-stalk. When he reached his mother’s cottage, he found it quite deserted. Greatly surprised he ran into the village, and an old woman directed him to a house, where he found his mother apparently dying. On being informed of our hero’s safe return, his mother revived and soon recovered. Jack then presented two bags of gold and silver to her.

His mother discovered that something preyed upon his mind heavily, and endeavoured to discover the cause; but Jack knew too well what the consequence would be should he discover the cause of his melancholy to her. He did his utmost therefore to conquer the great desire which now forced itself upon him in spite of himself for another journey up the bean-stalk.

On the longest day Jack arose as soon as it was light, ascended the bean-stalk, and reached the top with some little trouble. He found the road, journey, etc., the same as on the former occasions. He arrived at the giant’s house in the evening, and found his wife standing as usual at the door. Jack now appeared a different character, and had disguised himself so completely that she did not appear to have any recollection of him. However, when he begged admittance, be found it very difficult to persuade her. At last he prevailed, was allowed to go in, and was concealed in the copper.

When the giant returned, he said, as usual: “Wife! wife! I smell fresh meat!” But jack felt quite composed, as he had said so before, and had soon been satisfied. However, the giant started up suddenly, and notwithstanding all his wife could say, he searched all round the room. Whilst this was going forward, Jack was much terrified, and ready to die with fear, wishing himself at home a thousand times; but when the giant approached the copper, and put his hand upon the lid, Jack thought his death was certain. Fortunately the giant ended his search there, without moving the lid, and seated himself quietly by the fireside.

When the giant’s supper was over, he commanded his wife to fetch down his harp. Jack peeped under the copper-lid, and soon saw the most beautiful one that could be imagined. It was put by the giant on the table, who said: “Play,” and it instantly played of its own accord. The music was uncommonly fine. Jack was delighted, and felt more anxious to get the harp into his possession than either of the former treasures.

The giant’s soul was not attuned to harmony, and the music soon lulled him into a sound sleep. Now, therefore, was the time to carry off the harp, as the giant appeared to be in a more profound sleep than usual. Jack soon made up his mind, got out of the copper, and seized the harp; which, however, being enchanted by a fairy, called out loudly: “Master, master!”

The giant awoke, stood up, and tried to pursue Jack; but he had drank so much that he could not stand. Jack ran as quick as he could. In a little time the giant recovered sufficiently to walk slowly, or rather to reel after him. Had he been sober, he must have overtaken Jack instantly; but as he then was, Jack contrived to be first at the top of the bean-stalk. The giant called to him all the way along the road in a voice like thunder, and was sometimes very near to him.

The moment Jack got down the bean-stalk, he called out for a hatchet: one was brought him directly. Just at that instant the giant began to descend, but Jack with his hatchet cut the bean-stalk close off at the root, and the giant fell headlong into the garden. The fall instantly killed him. Jack heartily begged his mother’s pardon for all the sorrow and affliction he had caused her, promising most faithfully to be dutiful and obedient to her in future. He proved as good as his word, and became a pattern of affectionate behaviour and attention to his parent.

Star Money

Star Money
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 5-6 Year Olds)


There was once upon a time a little girl whose father and mother
were dead, and she was so poor that she no longer had a room to
live in, or bed to sleep in, and at last she had nothing else but
the clothes she was wearing and a little bit of bread in her
hand which some charitable soul had given her. She was good and
pious, however. And as she was thus forsaken by all the world,
she went forth into the open country, trusting in the good God.
Then a poor man met her, who said, ah, give me something to eat,
I am so hungry. She handed him the whole of her piece of bread,
and said, may God bless you, and went onwards. Then came a child
who moaned and said, my head is so cold, give me something to
cover it with. So she took off her hood and gave it to him. And
when she had walked a little farther, she met another child who
had no jacket and was frozen with cold. Then she gave it her
own, and a little farther on one begged for a frock,
and she gave away that also. At length she got into a forest
and it had already become dark, and there came yet another child,
and asked for a shirt, and the good little girl thought
to herself, it is a dark night and no one sees you, you can very
well give your shirt away, and took it off, and gave away that
also. And as she so stood, and had not one single thing left,
suddenly some stars from heaven fell down, and they were nothing
else but hard smooth pieces of money, and although she had just
given her shirt away, she had a new one which was of the very
finest linen. Then she put the money into it, and was rich all
the days of her life.

Frog Prince

Frog Prince
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 5-6 Year Olds)
*Audio file at the end


In olden times when wishing still helped one, there lived a king
whose daughters were all beautiful, but the youngest was so beautiful
that the sun itself, which has seen so much, was astonished whenever
it shone in her face. Close by the king’s castle lay a great dark
forest, and under an old lime-tree in the forest was a well, and when
the day was very warm, the king’s child went out into the forest and
sat down by the side of the cool fountain, and when she was bored she
took a golden ball, and threw it up on high and caught it, and this
ball was her favorite plaything.

Now it so happened that on one occasion the princess’s golden ball
did not fall into the little hand which she was holding up for it,
but on to the ground beyond, and rolled straight into the water. The
king’s daughter followed it with her eyes, but it vanished, and the
well was deep, so deep that the bottom could not be seen. At this
she began to cry, and cried louder and louder, and could not be
comforted. And as she thus lamented someone said to her, “What ails
you, king’s daughter? You weep so that even a stone would show pity.”

She looked round to the side from whence the voice came, and saw a
frog stretching forth its big, ugly head from the water. “Ah, old
water-splasher, is it you,” she said, “I am weeping for my golden ball,
which has fallen into the well.” “Be quiet, and do not weep,” answered
the frog, “I can help you, but what will you give me if I bring your
plaything up again?” “Whatever you will have, dear frog,” said she, “My
clothes, my pearls and jewels, and even the golden crown which I am
wearing.” The frog answered, “I do not care for your clothes, your
pearls and jewels, nor for your golden crown, but if you will love me
and let me be your companion and play-fellow, and sit by you at your
little table, and eat off your little golden plate, and drink out of
your little cup, and sleep in your little bed – if you will promise
me this I will go down below, and bring you your golden ball up

“Oh yes,” said she, “I promise you all you wish, if you will but bring
me my ball back again.” But she thought, “How the silly frog does
talk. All he does is to sit in the water with the other frogs, and
croak. He can be no companion to any human being.”

But the frog when he had received this promise, put his head into the
water and sank down; and in a short while came swimmming up again
with the ball in his mouth, and threw it on the grass. The king’s
daughter was delighted to see her pretty plaything once more, and
picked it up, and ran away with it. “Wait, wait,” said the frog. “Take
me with you. I can’t run as you can.” But what did it avail him to
scream his croak, croak, after her, as loudly as he could. She did
not listen to it, but ran home and soon forgot the poor frog, who was
forced to go back into his well again.

The next day when she had seated herself at table with the king and
all the courtiers, and was eating from her little golden plate,
something came creeping splish splash, splish splash, up the marble
staircase, and when it had got to the top, it knocked at the door and
cried, “Princess, youngest princess, open the door for me.” She ran to
see who was outside, but when she opened the door, there sat the frog
in front of it. Then she slammed the door to, in great haste, sat
down to dinner again, and was quite frightened. The king saw plainly
that her heart was beating violently, and said, “My child, what are
you so afraid of? Is there perchance a giant outside who wants to
carry you away?” “Ah, no,” replied she. “It is no giant but a disgusting

“What does a frog want with you?” “Ah, dear father, yesterday as I was
in the forest sitting by the well, playing, my golden ball fell into
the water. And because I cried so, the frog brought it out again for
me, and because he so insisted, I promised him he should be my
companion, but I never thought he would be able to come out of his
water. And now he is outside there, and wants to come in to me.”

In the meantime it knocked a second time, and cried, “Princess,
youngest princess, open the door for me, do you not know what you
said to me yesterday by the cool waters of the well. Princess,
youngest princess, open the door for me.”

Then said the king, “That which you have promised must you perform.
Go and let him in.” She went and opened the door, and the frog hopped
in and followed her, step by step, to her chair. There he sat and
cried, “Lift me up beside you.” She delayed, until at last the king
commanded her to do it. Once the frog was on the chair he wanted to
be on the table, and when he was on the table he said, “Now, push your
little golden plate nearer to me that we may eat together.” She did
this, but it was easy to see that she did not do it willingly. The
frog enjoyed what he ate, but almost every mouthful she took choked
her. At length he said, “I have eaten and am satisfied, now I am
tired, carry me into your little room and make your little silken bed
ready, and we will both lie down and go to sleep.”

The king’s daughter began to cry, for she was afraid of the cold frog
which she did not like to touch, and which was now to sleep in her
pretty, clean little bed. But the king grew angry and said, “He who
helped you when you were in trouble ought not afterwards to be
despised by you.” So she took hold of the frog with two fingers,
carried him upstairs, and put him in a corner, but when she was in
bed he crept to her and said, “I am tired, I want to sleep as well as
you, lift me up or I will tell your father.” At this she was terribly
angry, and took him up and threw him with all her might against the
wall. “Now, will you be quiet, odious frog,” said she. But when he
fell down he was no frog but a king’s son with kind and beautiful
eyes. He by her father’s will was now her dear companion and
husband. Then he told her how he had been bewitched by a wicked
witch, and how no one could have delivered him from the well but
herself, and that to-morrow they would go together into his kingdom.

Then they went to sleep, and next morning when the sun awoke them, a
carriage came driving up with eight white horses, which had white
ostrich feathers on their heads, and were harnessed with golden
chains, and behind stood the young king’s servant Faithful Henry.
Faithful Henry had been so unhappy when his master was changed into a
frog, that he had caused three iron bands to be laid round his heart,
lest it should burst with grief and sadness. The carriage was to
conduct the young king into his kingdom. Faithful Henry helped them
both in, and placed himself behind again, and was full of joy because
of this deliverance. And when they had driven a part of the way the
king’s son heard a cracking behind him as if something had broken.
So he turned round and cried, “Henry, the carriage is breaking.”
“No, master, it is not the carriage. It is a band from my heart,
which was put there in my great pain when you were a frog and
imprisoned in the well.” Again and once again while they were on
their way something cracked, and each time the king’s son thought the
carriage was breaking, but it was only the bands which were springing
from the heart of Faithful Henry because his master was set free and
was happy.

Listen to the audio from LibriVox here:

Mother Holle

Mother Holle
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 5-6 Year olds)

Mother Holle
Mother Holle

There was once a widow who had two daughters – one of
whom was pretty and industrious, whilst the other was ugly
and idle. But she was much fonder of the ugly and idle one,
because she was her own daughter. And the other, who was a
step-daughter, was obliged to do all the work, and be the
cinderella of the house. Every day the poor girl had to sit by a
well, in the highway, and spin and spin till her fingers bled.

Now it happened that one day the shuttle was marked with her
blood, so she dipped it in the well, to wash the mark off, but it
dropped out of her hand and fell to the bottom. She began to
weep, and ran to her step-mother and told her of the mishap. But
she scolded her sharply, and was so merciless as to say, since
you have let the shuttle fall in, you must fetch it out again.

So the girl went back to the well, and did not know what to do.
And in the sorrow of her heart she jumped into the well to get the
shuttle. She lost her senses. And when she awoke and came to
herself again, she was in a lovely meadow where the sun was
shining and many thousands of flowers were growing. Across this
meadow she went, and at last came to a baker’s oven full of bread,
and the bread cried out, oh, take me out. Take me out. Or I shall
burn. I have been baked a long time. So she went up to it, and
took out all the loaves one after another with the bread-shovel.

After that she went on till she came to a tree covered with apples,
which called out to her, oh, shake me. Shake me. We apples are
all ripe. So she shook the tree till the apples fell like rain,
and went on shaking till they were all down, and when she had
gathered them into a heap, she went on her way.

At last she came to a little house, out of which an old woman
peeped. But she had such large teeth that the girl was
frightened, and was about to run away. But the old woman called
out to her, what are you afraid of, dear child. Stay with me.
If you will do all the work in the house properly, you shall be
the better for it. Only you must take care to make my bed well,
and shake it thoroughly till the feathers fly – for then there
is snow on the earth. I am Mother Holle.

As the old woman spoke so kindly to her, the girl took courage
and agreed to enter her service. She attended to everything to the
satisfaction of her mistress, and always shook her bed so vigorously
that the feathers flew about like snow-flakes. So she had a
pleasant life with her. Never an angry word. And to eat she had
boiled or roast meat every day.

She stayed some time with mother holle, before she became sad.
At first she did not know what was the matter with her, but found
at length that it was home-sickness. Although she was many thousand
times better off here than at home, still she had a longing to be
there. At last she said to the old woman, I have a longing for
home, and however well off I am down here, I cannot stay any
longer. I must go up again to my own people. Mother holle said,
I am pleased that you long for your home again, and as you have
served me so truly, I myself will take you up again. Thereupon
she took her by the hand, and led her to a large door. The door
was opened, and just as the maiden was standing beneath the
doorway, a heavy shower of golden rain fell, and all the gold clung
to her, so that she was completely covered over with it.

You shall have that because you have been so industrious, said
mother holle, and at the same time she gave her back the shuttle
which she had let fall into the well. Thereupon the door closed,
and the maiden found herself up above upon the earth, not far
from her mother’s house.

And as she went into the yard the cock was sitting on the well,
and cried –
Your golden girl’s come back to you.

So she went in to her mother, and as she arrived thus covered with
gold, she was well received, both by her and her sister.
The girl told all that had happened to her, and as soon as the
mother heard how she had come by so much wealth, she was very
anxious to obtain the same good luck for the ugly and lazy daughter.
She had to seat herself by the well and spin. And in order that
her shuttle might be stained with blood, she stuck her hand into a
thorn bush and pricked her finger. Then she threw her shuttle
into the well, and jumped in after it.

She came, like the other, to the beautiful meadow and walked
along the very same path. When she got to the oven the bread again
cried, oh, take me out. Take me out. Or I shall burn. I have been
baked a long time. But the lazy thing answered, as if I had any
wish to make myself dirty. And on she went. Soon she came to the
apple-tree, which cried, oh, shake me. Shake me. We apples are all
ripe. But she answered, I like that. One of you might fall on
my head, and so went on. When she came to mother holle’s house
she was not afraid, for she had already heard of her big teeth, and
she hired herself to her immediately.

The first day she forced herself to work diligently, and obeyed
mother holle when she told her to do anything, for she was thinking
of all the gold that she would give her. But on the second day
she began to be lazy, and on the third day still more so, and then
she would not get up in the morning at all. Neither did she make
mother holle’s bed as she ought, and did not shake it so as to
make the feathers fly up. Mother holle was soon tired of this, and
gave her notice to leave. The lazy girl was willing enough to go,
and thought that now the golden rain would come. Mother holle led
her also to the great door, but while she was standing beneath it,
instead of the gold a big kettleful of pitch was emptied over her.
That is the reward for your service, said mother holle, and shut
the door.

So the lazy girl went home, but she was quite covered with pitch,
and the cock on the well, as soon as he saw her, cried out –
Your dirty girl’s come back to you.

But the pitch clung fast to her, and could not be got off as long
as she lived.

Little Red Cap AKA Little Red Ridding-hood

Little Red Cap
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 5-6 Year Olds)


Once upon a time there was a dear little girl who was loved
by every one who looked at her, but most of all by her
grandmother, and there was nothing that she would not have
given to the child. Once she gave her a little cap of red
velvet, which suited her so well that she would never wear
anything else. So she was always called little red-cap.

One day her mother said to her, come, little red-cap, here
is a piece of cake and a bottle of wine. Take them to your
grandmother, she is ill and weak, and they will do her good.
Set out before it gets hot, and when you are going, walk
nicely and quietly and do not run off the path, or you may
fall and break the bottle, and then your grandmother will
get nothing. And when you go into her room, don’t forget
to say, good-morning, and don’t peep into every corner before
you do it.

I will take great care, said little red-cap to her mother, and
gave her hand on it.

The grandmother lived out in the wood, half a league from the
village, and just as little red-cap entered the wood, a wolf
met her. Red-cap did not know what a wicked creature he was,
and was not at all afraid of him.

“Good-day, little red-cap,” said he.

“Thank you kindly, wolf.”

“Whither away so early, little red-cap?”

“To my grandmother’s.”

“What have you got in your apron?”

“Cake and wine. Yesterday was baking-day, so poor sick
grandmother is to have something good, to make her stronger.”

“Where does your grandmother live, little red-cap?”

“A good quarter of a league farther on in the wood. Her house
stands under the three large oak-trees, the nut-trees are just
below. You surely must know it,” replied little red-cap.

The wolf thought to himself, what a tender young creature. What a
nice plump mouthful, she will be better to eat than the old
woman. I must act craftily, so as to catch both. So he walked
for a short time by the side of little red-cap, and then he
said, “see little red-cap, how pretty the flowers are about here.
Why do you not look round. I believe, too, that you do not
hear how sweetly the little birds are singing. You walk gravely
along as if you were going to school, while everything else out
here in the wood is merry.”

Little red-cap raised her eyes, and when she saw the sunbeams
dancing here and there through the trees, and pretty flowers
growing everywhere, she thought, suppose I take grandmother a
fresh nosegay. That would please her too. It is so early in the
day that I shall still get there in good time. And so she ran
from the path into the wood to look for flowers. And whenever
she had picked one, she fancied that she saw a still prettier one
farther on, and ran after it, and so got deeper and deeper into
the wood.

Meanwhile the wolf ran straight to the grandmother’s house and
knocked at the door.

“Who is there?”

“Little red-cap,” replied the wolf. “She is bringing cake and
wine. Open the door.”

“Lift the latch,” called out the grandmother, “I am too weak, and
cannot get up.”

The wolf lifted the latch, the door sprang open, and without
saying a word he went straight to the grandmother’s bed, and
devoured her. Then he put on her clothes, dressed himself in
her cap, laid himself in bed and drew the curtains.

Little red-cap, however, had been running about picking flowers,
and when she had gathered so many that she could carry
no more, she remembered her grandmother, and set out on the
way to her.

She was surprised to find the cottage-door standing open, and
when she went into the room, she had such a strange feeling that
she said to herself, oh dear, how uneasy I feel to-day, and at
other times I like being with grandmother so much. She called
out, “good morning,” but received no answer. So she went to the
bed and drew back the curtains. There lay her grandmother with
her cap pulled far over her face, and looking very strange.

“Oh, grandmother,” she said, “what big ears you have.”

“The better to hear you with, my child,” was the reply.

“But, grandmother, what big eyes you have,” she said.

“The better to see you with,” my dear.

“But, grandmother, what large hands you have.”

“The better to hug you with.”

“Oh, but, grandmother, what a terrible big mouth you have.”

“The better to eat you with.”

And scarcely had the wolf said this, than with one bound he was
out of bed and swallowed up red-cap.

When the wolf had appeased his appetite, he lay down again in
the bed, fell asleep and began to snore very loud. The
huntsman was just passing the house, and thought to himself, how
the old woman is snoring. I must just see if she wants anything.

So he went into the room, and when he came to the bed, he saw
that the wolf was lying in it. Do I find you here, you old
sinner, said he. I have long sought you. Then just as he was going
to fire at him, it occurred to him that the wolf might have
devoured the grandmother, and that she might still be saved, so
he did not fire, but took a pair of scissors, and began to cut
open the stomach of the sleeping wolf. When he had made two
snips, he saw the little red-cap shining, and then he made two
snips more, and the little girl sprang out, crying, ah, how
frightened I have been. How dark it was inside the wolf. And
after that the aged grandmother came out alive also, but scarcely
able to breathe. Red-cap, however, quickly fetched great stones with which they filled the wolf’s belly, and when he awoke, he wanted to run away, but the stones were so
heavy that he collapsed at once, and fell dead.

Then all three were delighted. The huntsman drew off the wolf’s
skin and went home with it. The grandmother ate the cake and
drank the wine which red-cap had brought, and revived, but
red-cap thought to herself, as long as I live, I will never by
myself leave the path, to run into the wood, when my mother has
forbidden me to do so.

It is also related that once when red-cap was again taking cakes
to the old grandmother, another wolf spoke to her, and tried to
entice her from the path. Red-cap, however, was on her guard,
and went straight forward on her way, and told her grandmother
that she had met the wolf, and that he had said good-morning to
her, but with such a wicked look in his eyes, that if they had
not been on the public road she was certain he would have eaten
her up. Well, said the grandmother, we will shut the door, that
he may not come in. Soon afterwards the wolf knocked, and cried,
open the door, grandmother, I am little red-cap, and am bringing
you some cakes. But they did not speak, or open the door, so
the grey-beard stole twice or thrice round the house, and at last
jumped on the roof, intending to wait until red-cap went home in
the evening, and then to steal after her and devour her in the
darkness. But the grandmother saw what was in his thoughts. In
front of the house was a great stone trough, so she said to the
child, take the pail, red-cap. I made some sausages yesterday,
so carry the water in which I boiled them to the trough. Red-cap
carried until the great trough was quite full. Then the smell
of the sausages reached the wolf, and he sniffed and peeped
down, and at last stretched out his neck so far that he could
no longer keep his footing and began to slip, and slipped down
from the roof straight into the great trough, and was drowned.
But red-cap went joyously home, and no one ever did anything
to harm her again.

Bremen Town Musicians

Bremen Town Musicians
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 5-6 Years Old)


A certain man had a donkey, which had carried the corn-sacks
to the mill indefatigably for many a long year. But his
strength was going, and he was growing more and more unfit
for work. Then his master began to consider how he might
best save his keep. But the donkey, seeing that no good wind
was blowing, ran away and set out on the road to bremen. There,
he thought, I can surely be a town-musician. When he had walked
some distance, he found a hound lying on the road, gasping like
one who had run till he was tired. What are you gasping so for,
you big fellow, asked the donkey.

Ah, replied the hound, as I am old, and daily grow weaker, and
no longer can hunt, my master wanted to kill me, so I took to
flight, but now how am I to earn my bread.

I tell you what, said the donkey, I am going to bremen, and
shall be town-musician there. Go with me and engage yourself
also as a musician. I will play the lute, and you shall beat
the kettle-drum.

The hound agreed, and on they went.
Before long they came to a cat, sitting on the path, with a face
like three rainy days. Now then, old shaver, what has gone
askew with you, asked the donkey.

Who can be merry when his neck is in danger, answered the cat.
Because I am now getting old, and my teeth are worn to
stumps, and I prefer to sit by the fire and spin, rather than
hunt about after mice, my mistress wanted to drown me, so I
ran away. But now good advice is scarce. Where am I to go.
Go with us to bremen. You understand night-music, you
can be a town-musician.

The cat thought well of it, and went with them. After this the
three fugitives came to a farm-yard, where the cock was sitting
upon the gate, crowing with all his might. Your crow goes
through and through one, said the donkey. What is the matter.
I have been foretelling fine weather, because it is the day on
which our lady washes the christ-child’s little shirts, and
wants to dry them, said the cock. But guests are coming for
sunday, so the housewife has no pity, and has told the cook that
she intends to eat me in the soup to-morrow, and this evening
I am to have my head cut off. Now I am crowing at the top of
my lungs while still I can.

Ah, but red-comb, said the donkey, you had better come away
with us. We are going to bremen. You can find something better
than death everywhere. You have a good voice, and if we make
music together it must have some quality.

The cock agreed to this plan, and all four went on together.
They could not reach the city of bremen in one day, however,
and in the evening they came to a forest where they meant to
pass the night. The donkey and the hound laid themselves down
under a large tree, the cat and the cock settled themselves in
the branches. But the cock flew right to the top, where he was
most safe. Before he went to sleep he looked round on all four
sides, and thought he saw in the distance a little spark burning.
So he called out to his companions that there must be a house
not far off, for he saw a light. The donkey said, if so, we
had better get up and go on, for the shelter here is bad. The
hound thought too that a few bones with some meat on would do
him good.

So they made their way to the place where the light was, and
soon saw it shine brighter and grow larger, until they came to
a well-lighted robbers, house. The donkey, as the biggest, went
to the window and looked in.

What do you see, my grey-horse, asked the cock. What do I
see, answered the donkey. A table covered with good things to
eat and drink, and robbers sitting at it enjoying themselves.
That would be the sort of thing for us, said the cock. Yes,
yes. Ah, if only we were there, said the donkey.

Then the animals took counsel together how they should manage
to drive away the robbers, and at last they thought of a plan.
The donkey was to place himself with his fore-feet upon the
window-ledge, the hound was to jump on the donkey’s back, the
cat was to climb upon the dog, and lastly the cock was to fly
up and perch upon the head of the cat.

When this was done, at a given signal, they began to perform
their music together. The donkey brayed, the hound barked,
the cat mewed, and the cock crowed. Then they burst through the
window into the room, shattering the glass. At this horrible din,
the robbers sprang up, thinking no otherwise than that a ghost
had come in, and fled in a great fright out into the forest. The
four companions now sat down at the table, well content with
what was left, and ate as if they were going to fast for a


As soon as the four minstrels had done, they put out the light,
and each sought for himself a sleeping-place according to his
nature and what suited him. The donkey laid himself down upon
some straw in the yard, the hound behind the door, the cat upon
the hearth near the warm ashes, and the cock perched himself
upon a beam of the roof. And being tired from their long walk,
they soon went to sleep.

When it was past midnight, and the robbers saw from afar that
the light was no longer burning in their house, and all appeared
quiet, the captain said, we ought not to have let ourselves
be frightened out of our wits, and ordered one of them to go
and examine the house.

The messenger finding all still, went into the kitchen to light
a candle, and, taking the glistening fiery eyes of the cat for
live coals, he held a lucifer-match to them to light it. But
the cat did not understand the joke, and flew in his face, spitting
and scratching. He was dreadfully frightened, and ran to the
back-door, but the dog, who lay there sprang up and bit his
leg. And as he ran across the yard by the dunghill, the donkey
gave him a smart kick with its hind foot. The cock, too, who had
been awakened by the noise, and had become lively, cried down
from the beam, cock-a-doodle-doo.

Then the robber ran back as fast as he could to his captain, and
said, ah, there is a horrible witch sitting in the house, who
spat on me and scratched my face with her long claws. And by
the door stands a man with a knife, who stabbed me in the leg.
And in the yard there lies a black monster, who beat me with
a wooden club. And above, upon the roof, sits the judge, who
called out, bring the rogue here to me. So I got away as well
as I could.

After this the robbers never again dared enter the house.
But it suited the four musicians of bremen so well that they
did not care to leave it any more. And the mouth of him who
last told this story is still warm.

Spindle, Shuttle and Needle

Spindle, Shuttle and Needle
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Grimm, 186)


There was once a girl whose father and mother died while
she was still a little child. All alone, in a small house at the
end of the village, dwelt her godmother, who supported herself
by spinning, weaving, and sewing. The old woman took the
forlorn child to live with her, kept her to her work, and educated
her in all that is good. When the girl was fifteen years old,
the old woman became ill, called the child to her bedside,
and said, dear daughter, I feel my end drawing near. I leave you
the little house, which will protect you from wind and weather, and
my spindle, shuttle, and needle, with which you can earn your
bread. Then she laid her hands on the girl’s head, blessed her,
and said, only preserve the love of God in your heart, and all will
go well with you. Thereupon she closed her eyes, and when she was
laid in the earth, the maiden followed the coffin, weeping
bitterly, and paid her the last mark of respect.

And now the maiden lived quite alone in the little house, and
was industrious, and spun, wove, and sewed, and the blessing of the
good old woman was on all that she did. It seemed as if the flax
in the room increased of its own accord, and whenever she wove a
piece of cloth or carpet, or had made a shirt, she at once found
a buyer who paid her amply for it, so that she was in want of
nothing, and even had something to share with others.

About this time, the son of the king was traveling about the
country looking for a bride. He was not to choose a poor one, and
did not want to have a rich one. So he said, she shall be my wife
who is the poorest, and at the same time the richest. When he came
to the village where the maiden dwelt, he inquired, as he did
wherever he went, who was the richest and also the poorest girl in
the place. They first named the richest. The poorest, they said,
was the girl who lived in the small house quite at the end of the
village. The rich girl was sitting in all her splendor before the
door of her house, and when the prince approached her, she got up,
went to meet him, and made him a low curtsy. He looked at her,
said nothing, and rode on. When he came to the house of the poor
girl, she was not standing at the door, but sitting in her little
room. He stopped his horse, and saw through the window, on which
the bright sun was shining, the girl sitting at her spinning-wheel,
busily spinning. She looked up, and when she saw that the prince
was looking in, she blushed all over her face, let her eyes fall,
and went on spinning. I do not know whether, just at that
moment, the thread was quite even, but she went on spinning until
the king’s son had ridden away again. Then she went to the
window, opened it, and said, it is so warm in this room, and she
looked after him as long as she could distinguish the white
feathers in his hat. Then she sat down to work again in her room
and went on with her spinning, and a saying which the old woman
had often repeated when she was sitting at her work, came into her mind, and she sang these
words to herself,
spindle, my spindle, haste, haste thee away,
and here to my house bring the wooer, I pray.
And what do you think happened. The spindle sprang out of her
hand in an instant, and out of the door, and when, in her
astonishment, she got up and looked after it, she saw that it was
dancing out merrily into the open country, and drawing a shining
gold thread after it. Before long, it had entirely vanished from
her sight. As she had now no spindle, the girl took the weaver’s
shuttle in her hand, sat down to her loom, and began to weave.
The spindle, however, danced continually onwards, and just as
the thread came to an end, reached the prince. What do I see, he
cried, the spindle certainly wants to show me the way, turned
his horse about, and rode back with the golden thread. The girl
however, was sitting at her work singing,
shuttle, my shuttle, weave well this day,
and guide the wooer to me, I pray.

Immediately the shuttle sprang out of her hand and out by the door.
Before the threshold, however, it began to weave a carpet which
was more beautiful than the eyes of man had ever yet beheld.
Lilies and roses blossomed on both sides of it, and on a golden
ground in the center green branches ascended, under which bounded
hares and rabbits, stags and deer stretched their heads in
between them, brightly-colored birds were sitting in the branches
above, they lacked nothing but the gift of song. The shuttle
leapt hither and thither, and everything seemed to grow of
its own accord.

As the shuttle had run away, the girl sat down to sew. She held
the needle in her hand and sang,
needle, my needle, sharp-pointed and fine,
prepare for the wooer this house of mine.

Then the needle leapt out of her fingers, and flew everywhere
about the room as quick as lightning. It was just as if
invisible spirits were working, it covered tables and benches
with green cloth in an instant, and the chairs with velvet, and hung the windows with silken
curtains. Hardly had the needle put in the last stitch than the
maiden saw through the window the white feathers of the prince,
whom the spindle had brought thither by the golden thread. He
alighted, stepped over the carpet into the house, and when he
entered the room, there stood the maiden in her poor garments, but
she shone out from within them like a rose surrounded by leaves.
You are the poorest and also the richest, said he to her. Come
with me, you shall be my bride. She did not speak, but she gave
him her hand. Then he gave her a kiss, led her forth, lifted her
on to his horse, and took her to the royal castle, where the
wedding was solemnized with great rejoicings. The spindle,
shuttle, and needle were preserved in the treasure-chamber,
and held in great honor.

Hut in the Forest

Hut in the Forest
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 5-6 Year Olds)


A poor wood-cutter lived with his wife and three daughters in
a little hut on the edge of a lonely forest. One morning as he
was about to go to his work, he said to his wife, let our
eldest daughter bring me my dinner into the forest, or I shall
never get my work done, and in order that she may not miss
her way, he added, I will take a bag of millet with me and strew
the seeds on the path. When, therefore, the sun was just above
the centre of the forest, the girl set out on her way with a
bowl of soup, but the field-sparrows, and wood-sparrows,
larks and finches, blackbirds and siskins had picked up the
millet long before, and the girl could not find the track.
Trusting to chance, she went on and on, until the sun sank and
night began to fall. The trees rustled in the darkness, the
owls hooted, and she began to be afraid. Then in the distance she
perceived a light which glimmered between the trees. There
ought to be some people living there, who can take me in for the
night, thought she, and went up to the light. It was not long before
she came to a house the windows of which were all lighted up. She
knocked, and a rough voice from inside cried, come in. The
girl stepped into the dark entrance, and knocked at the door of
the room. Just come in, cried the voice, and when she opened the
door, an old gray-haired man was sitting at the table, supporting
his face with both hands, and his white beard fell down over
the table almost as far as the ground. By the stove lay three
animals, a hen, a cock, and a brindled cow. The girl told her
story to the old man, and begged for shelter for the night. The
man said,
my pretty hen,
my pretty cock,
my pretty brindled cow,
what are you saying now.

Duks, answered the animals, and that must have meant, we are
willing, for the old man said, here you shall have shelter
and food, go to the fire, and cook us our supper. The girl
found in the kitchen abundance of everything, and cooked a
good supper, but had no thought of the animals. She carried
the full bowl to the table, seated herself by the gray-haired man,
ate and satisfied her hunger. When she had had enough, she said,
but now I am tired, where is there a bed in which I can lie down,
and sleep. The animals replied,
thou hast eaten with him,
thou hast drunk with him,
thou hast had no thought for us,
so find out for thyself where thou canst pass the

Then said the old man, just go upstairs, and you will find a
room with two beds, shake them up, and put white linen on them,
and then I, too, will come and lie down to sleep. The girl
went up, and when she had shaken the beds and put clean sheets
on, she lay down in one of them without waiting any longer for
the old man. After some time the gray-haired man came, held his
candle over the girl and shook his head. When he saw that she
had fallen into a sound sleep, he opened a trap-door, and let her
down into the cellar.

Late at night, the wood-cutter came home, and reproached his
wife for leaving him to hunger all day. It is not my fault,
she replied, the girl went out with your dinner, and must have
lost herself, but surely she will come back to-morrow. The
wood-cutter, however, arose before dawn to go into the forest, and
requested that the second daughter should take him his dinner
that day. I will take a bag with lentils, said he, the seeds
are larger than millet, the girl will see them better, and
can’t lose her way. At dinner-time, therefore, the girl took
out the food, but the lentils had disappeared. The birds of the
forest had picked them up as they had done the day before,
and had left none. The girl wandered about in the forest
until night, and then she too reached the house of the old man,
was told to go in, and begged for food and a bed. The man with
the white beard again asked the animals,
my pretty hen,
my pretty cock,
my pretty brindled cow,
what are you saying now.

The animals again replied ‘duks, and everything happened just
as it had happened the day before. The girl cooked a good meal,
ate and drank with the old man, and did not concern herself about
the animals, and when she inquired about her bed they answered,
thou hast eaten with him,
thou hast drunk with him,
thou hast had no thought for us,
so find out for thyself where thou canst pass
the night.

When she was asleep the old man came, looked at her, shook his
head, and let her down into the cellar.

On the third morning the wood-cutter said to his wife, send our
youngest child out with my dinner to-day, she has always been good
and obedient, and will stay in the right path, and not rove about
like her sisters, the wild bumble-bees. The mother did not
want to do it, and said, am I to lose my dearest child, as well.
Have no fear, he replied, the girl will not go astray. She is
too prudent and sensible. Besides I will take some peas with me,
strew them about. They are still larger than lentils, and will
show her the way. But when the girl went out with her basket on
her arm, the wood-pigeons had already got all the peas in their
crops, and she did not know which way she was to turn. She was
full of sorrow and never ceased to think how hungry her father
would be, and how her good mother would grieve, if she did
not go home. At length when it grew dark, she saw the light and
came to the house in the forest. She begged quite prettily to
be allowed to spend the night there, and the man with the white
beard again asked his animals,
my pretty hen,
my pretty cock,
my pretty brindled cow,
what are you saying now.

Duks, said they. Then the girl went to the stove where the
animals were lying, and petted the cock and hen, and stroked
their smooth feathers with her hand, and caressed the brindled
cow between her horns, and when, in obedience to the old man’s
orders, she had made ready some good soup, and the bowl was
placed upon the table, she said, am I to eat as much as I want,
and the good animals to have nothing. Outside is food in plenty,
I will look after them first. So she went and brought some
barley and stewed it for the cock and hen, and a whole armful
of sweet-smelling hay for the cow. I hope you will like it,
dear animals, said she, and you shall have a refreshing draught
in case you are thirsty. Then she fetched a bucketful of water,
and the cock and hen jumped on to the edge of it and dipped
their beaks in, and then held up their heads as the birds do when
they drink, and the brindled cow also took a hearty draught. When
the animals were fed, the girl seated herself at the table by
the old man, and ate what he had left. It was not long before
the cock and the hen began to thrust their heads beneath
their wings, and the eyes of the cow likewise began to blink.
Then said the girl, ought we not to go to bed.
My pretty hen,
my pretty cock,
my pretty brindled cow,
what are you saying now.

The animals answered, duks,
thou hast eaten with us,
thou hast drunk with us,
thou hast had kind thought for all of us,
we wish thee good-night.

Then the maiden went upstairs, shook the feather-beds, and laid
clean sheets on them, and when she had done it the old man came
and lay down in one of the beds, and his white beard reached down
to his feet. The girl lay down on the other, said her prayers,
and fell asleep.

She slept quietly till midnight, and then there was such a noise
in the house that she awoke. There was a sound of cracking and
splitting in every corner, and the doors sprang open, and beat
against the walls. The beams groaned as if they were being torn
out of their joints, it seemed as if the staircase were falling
down, and at length there was a crash as if the entire roof had
fallen in. When, however, all grew quiet once more, and the girl
was not hurt, she stayed quietly lying where she was, and fell
asleep again. But when she woke up in the morning with the
brilliancy of the sunshine, what did her eyes behold. She was
lying in a vast hall, and everything around her shone with royal
splendor. On the walls, golden flowers grew up on a ground of
green silk, the bed was of ivory, and the canopy of red velvet,
and on a chair close by, was a pair of slippers embroidered
with pearls. The girl believed that she was in a dream, but
three richly clad attendants came in, and asked what orders she
would like to give. If you will go, she replied, I will get up
at once and make ready some soup for the old man, and then I
will feed the pretty hen, and the pretty cock, and the pretty
brindled cow. She thought the old man was up already, and looked
round at his bed. He, however, was not lying in it, but a

And while she was looking at him, and becoming aware that he was
young and handsome, he awoke, sat up in bed, and said, I am
a king’s son, and was bewitched by a wicked witch, and made to
live in this forest, as an old gray-haired man. No one was
allowed to be with me but my three attendants in the form
of a cock, a hen, and a brindled cow. The spell was not to be
broken until a girl came to us whose heart was so good that she
showed herself full of love, not only towards mankind, but towards
animals – and that you have done, and by you at midnight we were
set free, and the old hut in the forest was changed back again
into my royal palace. And when they had arisen, the king’s son
ordered the three attendants to set out and fetch the father and
mother of the girl to the marriage feast. But where are my two
sisters, inquired the maiden. I have locked them in the cellar,
and to-morrow they shall be led into the forest, and shall live
as servants to a charcoal-burner, until they have grown kinder,
and do not leave poor animals to suffer hunger.

The Donkey

The Donkey
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 5-6 Year Olds)

Donkey, the
Donkey, the

Once upon a time there lived a king and a queen, who were rich, and had everything they wanted, but no children. The queen lamented over this day and night, and said, I am like a field on which nothing grows. At last God gave her her wish, but when the child came into the world, it did not look like a human child, but was a little donkey. When the mother saw that, her lamentations and outcries began in real earnest. She said she would far rather have had no child at all than have a donkey, and that they were to throw it into the water that the fishes might devour it. But the king said, no, since God has sent him he shall be my son and heir, and after my death sit on the royal throne, and wear the kingly crown. The donkey, therefore, was brought up and grew bigger, and his ears grew up high and straight. And he was of a merry disposition, jumped about, played and took especial pleasure in music, so that he went to a celebrated musician and said, teach me your art, that I may play the lute as well as you do.

Ah, dear little master, answered the musician, that would come¬†very hard to you, your fingers are not quite suited to it, and¬†are far too big. I am afraid the strings would not last. But¬†no excuses were of any use. The donkey was determined to play the¬†lute. And since he was persevering and industrious, he at last¬†learnt to do it as well as the master himself. The young lordling¬†once went out walking full of thought and came to a well. He¬†looked into it and in the mirror-clear water saw his donkey’s¬†form. He was so distressed about it, that he went out into the¬†wide world and only took with him one faithful companion. They¬†traveled up and down, and at last they came into a kingdom where¬†and old king reigned who had a single but wonderfully beautiful daughter.

The donkey said, here we will stay, knocked at the gate, and cried, a guest is without. Open, that he may enter. When the gate was not opened, he sat down, took his lute and played it in the most delightful manner with his two fore-feet. Then the door-keeper opened his eyes, and gaped, and ran to the king and said, outside by the gate sits a young donkey which plays the lute as well as an experienced master. Then let the musician come to me, said the king. But when a donkey came in, everyone began to laugh at the lute-player. And when the donkey was asked to sit down and eat with the servants, he was unwilling, and said, I am no common stable-ass, I am a noble one. Then they said, if that is what you are, seat yourself with the soldiers. No, said he, I will sit by the king. The king smiled, and said good-humoredly, yes, it shall be as you will, little ass, come here to me. Then he asked, little ass, how does my daughter please you. The donkey turned his head towards her, looked at her, nodded and said, I like her above measure, I have never yet seen anyone so beautiful as she is.

Well, then, you shall sit next her too, said the king. That is¬†exactly what I wish, said the donkey, and he placed himself by her¬†side, ate and drank, and knew how to behave himself daintily¬†and cleanly. When the noble beast had stayed a long time at the¬†king’s court, he thought, what good does all this do me, I¬†shall still have to go home again, let his head hang sadly,¬†and went to the king and asked for his dismissal. But the king¬†had grown fond of him, and said, little ass, what ails you. You¬†look as sour as a jug of vinegar, I will give you what you want.

Do you want gold. No, said the donkey, and shook his head. Do you want jewels and rich dress. No. Do you wish for half my kingdom. Indeed, no. Then said the king, if I did but know what would make you content. Will you have my pretty daughter to wife.

Ah, yes, said the ass, I should indeed like her, and all at once¬†he became quite merry and full of happiness, for that was exactly¬†what he was wishing for. So a great and splendid wedding was¬†held. In the evening, when the bride and bridegroom were led¬†into their bed-room, the king wanted to know if the ass would¬†behave well, and ordered a servant to hide himself there. When¬†they were both within, the bridegroom bolted the door, looked¬†around, and as he believed that they were quite alone, he suddenly¬†threw off his ass’s skin, and stood there in the form of a handsome¬†royal youth. Now, said he, you see who I am, and see also that¬†I am not unworthy of you. Then the bride was glad, and kissed¬†him, and loved him dearly. When morning came, he jumped up, put¬†his animal’s skin on again, and no one could have guessed¬†what kind of a form was hidden beneath it. Soon came the old king.

Ah, cried he, so the little ass is already up. But surely you are¬†sad, said he to his daughter, that you have not got a proper¬†man for your husband. Oh, no, dear father, I love him as well as¬†if he were the handsomest in the world, and I will keep him as long¬†as I live. The king was surprised, but the servant who had¬†concealed himself came and revealed everything to him. The king¬†said, that cannot be true. Then watch yourself the next night,¬†and you will see it with your own eyes, and hark you, lord king,¬†if you were to take his skin away and throw it in the fire, he¬†would be forced to show himself in his true shape. Your advice is¬†good, said the king, and at night when they were asleep, he stole¬†in, and when he got to the bed he saw by the light of the moon¬†a noble-looking youth lying there, and the skin lay stretched on¬†the ground. So he took it away, and had a great fire lighted¬†outside, and threw the skin into it, and remained by it himself¬†until it was all burnt to ashes. But since he was anxious to know¬†how the robbed man would behave himself, he stayed awake the whole¬†night and watched. When the youth had slept his fill, he got¬†up by the first light of morning, and wanted to put on the¬†ass’s skin, but it was not to be found. At this he was alarmed,¬†and, full of grief and anxiety, said, now I shall have to contrive¬†to escape. But when he went out, there stood the king, who said,¬†my son, whither away in such haste. What have you in mind. Stay¬†here, you are such a handsome man, you shall not go away from me.

I will now give you half my kingdom, and after my death you shall¬†have the whole of it. Then I hope that what begins so well may¬†end well, and I will stay with you, said the youth. And the old¬†man gave him half the kingdom, and in a year’s time, when he died,¬†the youth had the whole, and after the death of his father he had¬†another kingdom as well, and lived in all magnificence.


Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 5-6 Year Olds)

the-millers-daughter-anne-anderson-2 Illustration -Ann Anderson

rumpelstiltskin-anne-aderson Ann Anderson

Once there was a miller who was poor, but who had a beautiful
daughter. Now it happened that he had to go and speak to the
king, and in order to make himself appear important he said
to him, I have a daughter who can spin straw into gold. The
king said to the miller, that is an art which
pleases me well, if your daughter is as clever as you say, bring
her to-morrow to my palace, and I will put her to the test.

And when the girl was brought to him he took her into a room
which was quite full of straw, gave her a spinning-wheel and a
reel, and said, now set to work, and if by to-morrow morning
early you have not spun this straw into gold during the night,
you must die. Thereupon he himself locked up the room, and
left her in it alone. So there sat the poor miller’s daughter,
and for the life of her could not tell what to do, she had no
idea how straw could be spun into gold, and she grew more and
more frightened, until at last she began to weep.

But all at once the door opened, and in came a little man,
and said, good evening, mistress miller, why are you crying so.
Alas, answered the girl, I have to spin straw into gold, and I do
not know how to do it. What will you give me, said the
manikin, if I do it for you. My necklace, said the girl. The
little man took the necklace, seated himself in front of the
wheel, and whirr, whirr, whirr, three turns, and the reel was
full, then he put another on, and whirr, whirr, whirr, three times
round, and the second was full too. And so it went on until
the morning, when all the straw was spun, and all the reels
were full of gold.

By daybreak the king was already there, and
when he saw the gold he was astonished and delighted, but his
heart became only more greedy. He had the miller’s daughter
taken into another room full of straw, which was much larger,
and commanded her to spin that also in one night if she valued
her life. The girl knew not how to help herself, and was
crying, when the door opened again, and the little man appeared,
and said, what will you give me if I spin that straw into gold
for you. The ring on my finger, answered the girl. The little
man took the ring, again began to turn the wheel, and by
morning had spun all the straw into glittering gold.

The king rejoiced beyond measure at the sight, but still he had
not gold enough, and he had the miller’s daughter taken into
a still larger room full of straw, and said, you must spin this,
too, in the course of this night, but if you succeed, you shall
be my wife.

Even if she be a miller’s daughter, thought he, I could not
find a richer wife in the whole world.

When the girl was alone the manikin came again for the third
time, and said, what will you give me if I spin the straw for
you this time also. I have nothing left that I could give,
answered the girl. Then promise me, if you should become queen,
to give me your first child. Who knows whether that will
ever happen, thought the miller’s daughter, and, not knowing
how else to help herself in this strait, she promised the
manikin what he wanted, and for that he once more spun the
straw into gold.

And when the king came in the morning, and found all as he
had wished, he took her in marriage, and the pretty miller’s
daughter became a queen.

A year after, she brought a beautiful child into the world,
and she never gave a thought to the manikin. But suddenly he
came into her room, and said, now give me what you promised.

The queen was horror-struck, and offered the manikin all the
riches of the kingdom if he would leave her the child. But the
manikin said, no, something alive is dearer to me than all the
treasures in the world. Then the queen began to lament and cry,
so that the manikin pitied her. I will give you three days,
time, said he, if by that time you find out my name, then shall
you keep your child.

So the queen thought the whole night of all the names that
she had ever heard, and she sent a messenger over the country to
inquire, far and wide, for any other names that there might be.
When the manikin came the next day, she began with caspar,
melchior, balthazar, and said all the names she knew, one
after another, but to every one the little man said, that is not
my name. On the second day she had inquiries made in the
neighborhood as to the names of the people there, and she
repeated to the manikin the most uncommon and curious. Perhaps
your name is shortribs, or sheepshanks, or laceleg, but he
always answered, that is not my name.

On the third day the messenger came back again, and said, I
have not been able to find a single new name, but as I came to
a high mountain at the end of the forest, where the fox and the hare
bid each other good night, there I saw a little house, and
before the house a fire was burning, and round about the fire
quite a ridiculous little man was jumping, he hopped upon
one leg, and shouted –
to-day I bake, to-morrow brew,
the next I’ll have the young queen’s child.
Ha, glad am I that no one knew
that Rumpelstiltskin I am styled.

You may imagine how glad the queen was when she heard the
name. And when soon afterwards the little man came in, and
asked, now, mistress queen, what is my name, at first she
said, is your name Conrad? No. Is your name Harry? No.
Perhaps your name is Rumpelstiltskin?

The devil has told you that! The devil has told you that, cried
the little man, and in his anger he plunged his right foot so
deep into the earth that his whole leg went in, and then in
rage he pulled at his left leg so hard with both hands that
he tore himself in two.

Hansel and Gretel

Hansel and Gretel
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 5-6 year old)

Hard by a great forest dwelt a poor wood-cutter with his wife
and his two children. The boy was called Hansel and the
girl Gretel. He had little to bite and to break, and once when
great dearth fell on the land, he could no longer procure even daily
bread. Now when he thought over this by night in his bed, and
tossed about in his anxiety, he groaned and said to his wife, what
is to become of us. How are we to feed our poor children, when
we no longer have anything even for ourselves. I’ll tell you what,
husband, answered the woman, early to-morrow morning we
will take the children out into the forest to where it is the
thickest. There we will light a fire for them, and give each of
them one more piece of bread, and then we will go to our work and
leave them alone. They will not find the way home again, and we
shall be rid of them. No, wife, said the man, I will not do that.
How can I bear to leave my children alone in the forest. The wild
animals would soon come and tear them to pieces. O’ you fool, said
she, then we must all four die of hunger, you may as well plane the
planks for our coffins, and she left him no peace until he
consented. But I feel very sorry for the poor children, all the
same, said the man.

The two children had also not been able to sleep for hunger, and
had heard what their step-mother had said to their father. Gretel
wept bitter tears, and said to Hansel, now all is over with us.
Be quiet, Gretel, said Hansel, do not distress yourself, I will soon
find a way to help us. And when the old folks had fallen asleep,
he got up, put on his little coat, opened the door below, and crept
outside. The moon shone brightly, and the white pebbles which lay
in front of the house glittered like real silver pennies. Hansel
stooped and stuffed the little pocket of his coat with as many as he
could get in. Then he went back and said to Gretel, be comforted,
dear little sister, and sleep in peace, God will not forsake us, and
he lay down again in his bed. When day dawned, but before the
sun had risen, the woman came and awoke the two children, saying
get up, you sluggards. We are going into the forest to fetch
wood. She gave each a little piece of bread, and said, there is
something for your dinner, but do not eat it up before then, for you
will get nothing else. Gretel took the bread under her apron, as
Hansel had the pebbles in his pocket. Then they all set out
together on the way to the forest. When they had walked a short
time, Hansel stood still and peeped back at the house, and did so
again and again. His father said, Hansel, what are you looking at
there and staying behind for. Pay attention, and do not forget how
to use your legs. Ah, father, said Hansel, I am looking at my
little white cat, which is sitting up on the roof, and wants to say
good-bye to me. The wife said, fool, that is not your little cat,
that is the morning sun which is shining on the chimneys. Hansel,
however, had not been looking back at the cat, but had been
constantly throwing one of the white pebble-stones out of his pocket
on the road.

When they had reached the middle of the forest, the father said,
now, children, pile up some wood, and I will light a fire that you
may not be cold. Hansel and Gretel gathered brushwood together,
as high as a little hill. The brushwood was lighted, and when the
flames were burning very high, the woman said, now, children,
lay yourselves down by the fire and rest, we will go into the forest
and cut some wood. When we have done, we will come back and
fetch you away.

Hansel and Gretel sat by the fire, and when noon came, each ate
a little piece of bread, and as they heard the strokes of the
wood-axe they believed that their father was near. It was not the
axe, however, but a branch which he had fastened to a withered tree
which the wind was blowing backwards and forwards. And as they had
been sitting such a long time, their eyes closed with fatigue, and
they fell fast asleep. When at last they awoke, it was already dark
night. Gretel began to cry and said, how are we to get out of the
forest now. But Hansel comforted her and said, just wait a little,
until the moon has risen, and then we will soon find the way. And
when the full moon had risen, Hansel took his little sister by the
hand, and followed the pebbles which shone like newly-coined silver
pieces, and showed them the way.

They walked the whole night long, and by break of day came
once more to their father’s house. They knocked at the door, and
when the woman opened it and saw that it was Hansel and Gretel,
she said, you naughty children, why have you slept so long in the
forest. We thought you were never coming back at all. The father,
however, rejoiced, for it had cut him to the heart to leave them
behind alone.

Not long afterwards, there was once more great dearth throughout
the land, and the children heard their mother saying at night to
their father, everything is eaten again, we have one half loaf left,
and that is the end. The children must go, we will take them
farther into the wood, so that they will not find their way out
again. There is no other means of saving ourselves. The man’s
heart was heavy, and he thought, it would be better for you to share
the last mouthful with your children. The woman, however, would
listen to nothing that he had to say, but scolded and reproached
him. He who says a must say b, likewise, and as he had yielded the
first time, he had to do so a second time also.

The children, however, were still awake and had heard the
conversation. When the old folks were asleep, Hansel again got up,
and wanted to go out and pick up pebbles as he had done before, but
the woman had locked the door, and Hansel could not get out.
Nevertheless he comforted his little sister, and said, do not cry,
Gretel, go to sleep quietly, the good God will help us.
Early in the morning came the woman, and took the children out of
their beds. Their piece of bread was given to them, but it was
still smaller than the time before. On the way into the forest
Hansel crumbled his in his pocket, and often stood still and threw a
morsel on the ground. Hansel, why do you stop and look round.
Said the father, go on. I am looking back at my little pigeon
which is sitting on the roof, and wants to say good-bye to me,
answered Hansel. Fool. Said the woman, that is not your little
pigeon, that is the morning sun that is shining on the chimney.
Hansel, however, little by little, threw all the crumbs on the path.
The woman led the children still deeper into the forest, where they
had never in their lives been before. Then a great fire was again
made, and the mother said, just sit there, you children, and when
you are tired you may sleep a little. We are going into the forest
to cut wood, and in the evening when we are done, we will come and
fetch you away. When it was noon, Gretel shared her piece of
bread with Hansel, who had scattered his by the way. Then they
fell asleep and evening passed, but no one came to the poor
children. They did not awake until it was dark night, and Hansel
comforted his little sister and said, just wait, Gretel, until the
moon rises, and then we shall see the crumbs of bread which I have
strewn about, they will show us our way home again. When the moon
came they set out, but they found no crumbs, for the many thousands
of birds which fly about in the woods and fields had picked them all
up. Hansel said to Gretel, we shall soon find the way, but they did
not find it. They walked the whole night and all the next day too
from morning till evening, but they did not get out of the forest,
and were very hungry, for they had nothing to eat but two or three
berries, which grew on the ground. And as they were so weary that
their legs would carry them no longer, they lay down beneath a tree
and fell asleep.

It was now three mornings since they had left their father’s house.
They began to walk again, but they always came deeper into the
forest, and if help did not come soon, they must die of hunger and
weariness. When it was mid-day, they saw a beautiful snow-white
bird sitting on a bough, which sang so delightfully that they stood
still and listened to it. And when its song was over, it spread its
wings and flew away before them, and they followed it until they
reached a little house, on the roof of which it alighted. And when
they approached the little house they saw that it was built of
bread and covered with cakes, but that the windows were of clear
sugar. We will set to work on that, said Hansel, and have a good
meal. I will eat a bit of the roof, and you Gretel, can eat some
of the window, it will taste sweet. Hansel reached up above, and
broke off a little of the roof to try how it tasted, and Gretel
leant against the window and nibbled at the panes. Then a soft
voice cried from the parlor –
nibble, nibble, gnaw
who is nibbling at my little house.

The children answered –
the wind, the wind,
the heaven-born wind,
and went on eating without disturbing themselves. Hansel, who
liked the taste of the roof, tore down a great piece of it, and
Gretel pushed out the whole of one round window-pane, sat down, and
enjoyed herself with it. Suddenly the door opened, and a woman
as old as the hills, who supported herself on crutches, came
creeping out. Hansel and Gretel were so terribly frightened that
they let fall what they had in their hands. The old woman, however,
nodded her head, and said, oh, you dear children, who has brought
you here. Do come in, and stay with me. No harm shall happen to
you. She took them both by the hand, and led them into her little
house. Then good food was set before them, milk and pancakes,
with sugar, apples, and nuts. Afterwards two pretty little beds
were covered with clean white linen, and Hansel and Gretel lay down
in them, and thought they were in heaven.

The old woman had only pretended to be so kind. She was in reality
a wicked witch, who lay in wait for children, and had only built the
little house of bread in order to entice them there. When a child
fell into her power, she killed it, cooked and ate it, and that
was a feast day with her. Witches have red eyes, and cannot see
far, but they have a keen scent like the beasts, and are aware when
human beings draw near. When Hansel and Gretel came into her
neighborhood, she laughed with malice, and said mockingly, I have
them, they shall not escape me again. Early in the morning before
the children were awake, she was already up, and when she saw both
of them sleeping and looking so pretty, with their plump and rosy
cheeks, she muttered to herself, that will be a dainty mouthful.

Then she seized Hansel with her shrivelled hand, carried
him into a little stable, and locked him in behind a grated door.
Scream as he might, it would not help him. Then she went to
Gretel, shook her till she awoke, and cried, get up, lazy thing,
fetch some water, and cook something good for your brother, he is
in the stable outside, and is to be made fat. When he is fat, I
will eat him. Gretel began to weep bitterly, but it was all in
vain, for she was forced to do what the wicked witch commanded.
And now the best food was cooked for poor Hansel, but Gretel
got nothing but crab-shells. Every morning the woman crept to the
little stable, and cried, Hansel, stretch out your finger that I may
feel if you will soon be fat. Hansel, however, stretched out a
little bone to her, and the old woman, who had dim eyes, could not
see it, and thought it was Hansel’s finger, and was astonished that
there was no way of fattening him. When four weeks had gone by,
and Hansel still remained thin, she was seized with impatience and
would not wait any longer. Now, then, Gretel, she cried to the
girl, stir yourself, and bring some water. Let Hansel be fat or
lean, to-morrow I will kill him, and cook him. Ah, how the poor
little sister did lament when she had to fetch the water, and how
her tears did flow down her cheeks. Dear God, do help us, she
cried. If the wild beasts in the forest had but devoured us, we
should at any rate have died together. Just keep your noise to
yourself, said the old woman, it won’t help you at all.

Early in the morning, Gretel had to go out and hang up the
cauldron with the water, and light the fire. We will bake first,
said the old woman, I have already heated the oven, and kneaded
the dough. She pushed poor Gretel out to the oven, from which
flames of fire were already darting. Creep in, said the witch,
and see if it properly heated, so that we can put the bread in.
And once Gretel was inside, she intended to shut the oven and let
her bake in it, and then she would eat her, too. But Gretel saw
what she had in mind, and said, I do not know how I am to do it.
How do I get in. Silly goose, said the old woman, the door is big
enough. Just look, I can get in myself, and she crept up and
thrust her head into the oven. Then Gretel gave her a push that
drove her far into it, and shut the iron door, and fastened the
bolt. Oh. Then she began to howl quite horribly, but Gretel ran
away, and the godless witch was miserably burnt to death.
Gretel, however, ran like lightning to Hansel, opened his little
stable, and cried, Hansel, we are saved. The old witch is dead.
Then Hansel sprang like a bird from its cage when the door is
opened. How they did rejoice and embrace each other, and dance
about and kiss each other. And as they had no longer any need to
fear her, they went into the witch’s house, and in every corner
there stood chests full of pearls and jewels. These are far better
than pebbles. Said Hansel, and thrust into his pockets whatever
could be got in, and Gretel said, I, too, will take something home
with me, and filled her pinafore full. But now we must be off, said
Hansel, that we may get out of the witch’s forest.

When they had walked for two hours, they came to a great
stretch of water. We cannot cross, said Hansel, I see no
foot-plank, and no bridge. And there is also no ferry, answered
Gretel, but a white duck is swimming there. If I ask her, she
will help us over. Then she cried –
little duck, little duck, dost thou see,
Hansel and Gretel are waiting for thee.
There’s never a plank, or bridge in sight,
take us across on thy back so white.

The duck came to them, and Hansel seated himself on its back,
and told his sister to sit by him. No, replied Gretel, that will be
too heavy for the little duck. She shall take us across, one after
the other. The good little duck did so, and when they were once
safely across and had walked for a short time, the forest seemed to
be more and more familiar to them, and at length they saw from
afar their father’s house. Then they began to run, rushed into the
parlor, and threw themselves round their father’s neck. The man
had not known one happy hour since he had left the children in the
forest. The woman, however, was dead. Gretel emptied her
pinafore until pearls and precious stones ran about the room, and
Hansel threw one handful after another out of his pocket to add to
them. Then all anxiety was at an end, and they lived together in
perfect happiness. My tale is done, there runs a mouse, whosoever
catches it, may make himself a big fur cap out of it.