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
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
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 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
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
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
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
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
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
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.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 5-6 Year Olds)
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)
Illustration -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
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
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.
Jorinda and Joringel
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 1st Grade)
*Audio file at the end
There was once an old castle in the midst of a large and dense
forest, and in it an old woman who was a witch dwelt all
alone. In the day-time she changed herself into a car or a
screech-owl, but in the evening she took her proper shape
again as a human being. She could lure wild beasts and birds
to her, and then she killed and boiled and roasted them. If
anyone came within one hundred paces of the castle he was
obliged to stand still, and could not stir from the place until
she bade him be free. But whenever an innocent maiden came
within this circle, she changed her into a bird, and shut her
up in a wicker-work cage, and carried the cage into a room in the
castle. She had about seven thousand cages of rare birds in
Now, there was once a maiden who was called jorinda, who was
fairer than all other girls. She and a handsome youth named
joringel had promised to marry each other. They were still in
the days of betrothal, and their greatest happiness was being
together. One day in order that they might be able to talk
together in peace they went for a walk in the forest. Take
care, said joringel, that you do not go too near the castle.
It was a beautiful evening. The sun shone brightly between
the trunks of the trees into the dark green of the forest, and
the turtle-doves sang mournfully upon the beech trees.
Jorinda wept now and then. She sat down in the sunshine and
was sorrowful. Joringel was sorrowful too. They were as
sad as if they were about to die. Then they looked around them,
and were quite at a loss, for they did not know by which way
they should go home. The sun was still half above the
mountain and half under.
Joringel looked through the bushes, and saw the old walls of the
castle close at hand. He was horror-stricken and filled with
deadly fear. Jorinda was singing,
my little bird, with the necklace red,
sings sorrow, sorrow, sorrow,
he sings that the dove must soon be dead,
sings sorrow, sor – jug, jug, jug.
Joringel looked for jorinda. She was changed into a nightingale,
and sang, jug, jug, jug. A screech-owl with glowing eyes
flew three times round about her, and three times cried, to-whoo,
Joringel could not move. He stood there like a stone, and
could neither weep nor speak, nor move hand or foot.
The sun had now set. The owl flew into the thicket, and directly
afterwards there came out of it a crooked old woman, yellow
and lean, with large red eyes and a hooked nose, the point of
which reached to her chin. She muttered to herself, caught the
nightingale, and took it away in her hand.
Joringel could neither speak nor move from the spot. The
nightingale was gone. At last the woman came back, and said
in a hollow voice, greet you, zachiel. If the moon shines on
the cage, zachiel, let him loose at once. Then joringel was
freed. He fell on his knees before the woman and begged that
she would give him back his jorinda, but she said that he
should never have her again, and went away. He called, he wept,
he lamented, but all in vain, hooh, what is to become of me.
Joringel went away, and at last came to a strange village, where
he kept sheep for a long time. He often walked round and round
the castle, but not too near to it. At last he dreamt one
night that he found a blood-red flower, in the middle of
which was a beautiful large pearl. That he picked the flower
and went with it to the castle, and that everything he touched
with the flower was freed from enchantment. He also dreamt
that by means of it he recovered his jorinda.
In the morning, when he awoke, he began to seek over hill and
dale for such a flower. He sought until the ninth day, and then,
early in the morning, he found the blood-red flower. In the
middle of it there was a large dew-drop, as big as the finest
Day and night he journeyed with this flower to the castle. When
he was within a hundred paces of it he was not held fast, but
walked on to the door. Joringel was full of joy. He touched the
door with the flower, and it sprang open. He walked in through
the courtyard, and listened for the sound of the birds. At
last he heard it. He went on and found the room from whence it
came, and there the witch was feeding the birds in the seven
When she saw joringel she was angry, very angry, and scolded
and spat poison and gall at him, but she could not come within
two paces of him. He did not take any notice of her, but went
and looked at the cages with the birds. But there were many
hundred nightingales, how was he to find his jorinda again.
Just then he saw the old woman quietly take away a cage with
a bird in it, and go towards the door.
Swiftly he sprang towards her, touched the cage with the flower,
and also the old woman. She could now no longer bewitch anyone.
And jorinda was standing there, clasping him round the neck,
and she was as beautiful as ever. Then all the other birds
were turned into maidens again, and he went home with his jorinda,
and they lived happily together for a long time.
Brother and Sister
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 1st Grade)
Little brother took his little sister by the hand and said, since
our mother died we have had no happiness. Our step-mother
beats us every day, and if we come near her she kicks us away
with her foot. Our meals are the hard crusts of bread that are left
over. And the little dog under the table is better off, for she
often throws it a choice morsel. God pity us, if our mother only
knew. Come, we will go forth together into the wide world.
They walked the whole day over meadows, fields, and stony
places. And when it rained the little sister said, heaven and our
hearts are weeping together. In the evening they came to a large
forest, and they were so weary with sorrow and hunger and the
long walk, that they lay down in a hollow tree and fell asleep.
The next day when they awoke, the sun was already high in the
sky, and shone down hot into the tree. Then the brother said,
sister, I am thirsty. If I knew of a little brook I would go and
just take a drink. I think I hear one running. The brother got up
and took the little sister by the hand, and they set off to find
the brook. But the wicked step-mother was a witch, and had seen how
the two children had gone away, and had crept after them secretly,
as witches creep, and had bewitched all the brooks in the forest.
Now when they found a little brook leaping brightly over the
stones, the brother was going to drink out of it, but the sister
heard how it said as it ran, who drinks of me will be a tiger.
Who drinks of me will be a tiger. Then the sister cried, pray,
dear brother, do not drink, or you will become a wild beast, and
tear me to pieces. The brother did not drink, although he was so
thirsty, but said, I will wait for the next spring.
When they came to the next brook the sister heard this also say,
who drinks of me will be a wolf. Who drinks of me will be a wolf.
Then the sister cried out, pray, dear brother, do not drink,
or you will become a wolf, and devour me. The brother did not
drink, and said, I will wait until we come to the next spring, but
then I must drink, say what you like. For my thirst is too great.
And when they came to the third brook the sister heard how it
said as it ran, who drinks of me will be a roebuck. Who drinks
of me will be a roebuck. The sister said, oh, I pray you, dear
brother, do not drink, or you will become a roebuck, and run away
from me. But the brother had knelt down at once by the brook,
and had bent down and drunk some of the water, and as soon as
the first drops touched his lips he lay there in the form of a
And now the sister wept over her poor bewitched brother, and
the little roe wept also, and sat sorrowfully near to her. But at
last the girl said, be quiet, dear little roe, I will never,
never leave you.
Then she untied her golden garter and put it round the roebuck’s
neck, and she plucked rushes and wove them into a soft cord. This
she tied to the little animal and led it on, and she walked deeper
and deeper into the forest.
And when they had gone a very long way they came at last to a
little house, and the girl looked in. And as it was empty, she
thought, we can stay here and live. Then she sought for leaves
and moss to make a soft bed for the roe. And every morning she
went out and gathered roots and berries and nuts for herself, and
brought tender grass for the roe, who ate out of her hand, and was
content and played round about her. In the evening, when the sister
was tired, and had said her prayer, she laid her head upon the
roebuck’s back – that was her pillow, and she slept softly on it.
And if only the brother had had his human form it would have been a
For some time they were alone like this in the wilderness. But
it happened that the king of the country held a great hunt in the
forest. Then the blasts of the horns, the barking of dogs and the
merry shouts of the huntsmen rang through the trees, and the roebuck
heard all, and was only too anxious to be there. Oh, said he,
to his sister, let me be off to the hunt, I cannot bear it any
longer, and he begged so much that at last she agreed. But, said
she to him, come back to me in the evening. I must shut my door for
fear of the rough huntsmen, so knock and say, my little sister,
let me in, that I may know you. And if you do not say that, I
shall not open the door. Then the young roebuck sprang away. So
happy was he and so merry in the open air.
The king and the huntsmen saw the lovely animal, and started
after him, but they could not catch him, and when they thought
that they surely had him, away he sprang through the bushes and
vanished. When it was dark he ran to the cottage, knocked, and
said, my little sister, let me in. Then the door was opened for
him, and he jumped in, and rested himself the whole night through
upon his soft bed.
The next day the hunt began again, and when the roebuck once
more heard the bugle-horn, and the ho. Ho. Of the huntsmen, he
had no peace, but said, sister, let me out, I must be off. His
sister opened the door for him, and said, but you must be here again
in the evening and say your pass-word.
When the king and his huntsmen again saw the young roebuck
with the golden collar, they all chased him, but he was too quick
and nimble for them. This lasted the whole day, but by the evening
the huntsmen had surrounded him, and one of them wounded him
a little in the foot, so that he limped and ran slowly. Then a
hunter crept after him to the cottage and heard how he said, my
little sister, let me in, and saw that the door was opened for him,
and was shut again at once. The huntsman took notice of it all, and
went to the king and told him what he had seen and heard. Then
the king said, to-morrow we will hunt once more.
The little sister, however, was dreadfully frightened when she
saw that her fawn was hurt. She washed the blood off him, laid
herbs on the wound, and said, go to your bed, dear roe, that you
may get well again. But the wound was so slight that the roebuck,
next morning, did not feel it any more. And when he again heard
the sport outside, he said, I cannot bear it, I must be there.
They shall not find it so easy to catch me. The sister cried, and
said, this time they will kill you, and here am I alone in the
forest and forsaken by all the world. I will not let you out. Then
you will have me die of grief, answered the roe. When I hear the
bugle-horns I feel as if I must jump out of my skin. Then the
sister could not do otherwise, but opened the door for him with a
heavy heart, and the roebuck, full of health and joy, bounded into
When the king saw him, he said to his huntsmen, now chase
him all day long till night-fall, but take care that no one does him
As soon as the sun had set, the king said to the huntsman, now
come and show me the cottage in the wood. And when he was at
the door, he knocked and called out, dear little sister, let me in.
Then the door opened, and the king walked in, and there stood
a maiden more lovely than any he had ever seen. The maiden was
frightened when she saw, not her little roe, but a man come in who
wore a golden crown upon his head. But the king looked kindly
at her, stretched out his hand, and said, will you go with me to
my palace and be my dear wife. Yes, indeed, answered the
maiden, but the little roe must go with me, I cannot leave him.
The king said, it shall stay with you as long as you live, and
shall want nothing. Just then he came running in, and the sister
again tied him with the cord of rushes, took it in her own hand, and
went away with the king from the cottage.
The king took the lovely maiden upon his horse and carried
her to his palace, where the wedding was held with great pomp.
She was now the queen, and they lived for a long time happily
together. The roebuck was tended and cherished, and ran about in
But the wicked step-mother, because of whom the children had
gone out into the world, had never thought but that the sister had
been torn to pieces by the wild beasts in the wood, and that the
brother had been shot for a roebuck by the huntsmen. Now when
she heard that they were so happy, and so well off, envy and
jealousy rose in her heart and left her no peace, and she thought of
nothing but how she could bring them again to misfortune. Her own
daughter, who was ugly as night, and had only one eye, reproached
her and said, a queen. That ought to have been my luck. Just be
quiet, answered the old woman, and comforted her by saying,
when the time comes I shall be ready.
As time went on the queen had a pretty little boy, and it
happened that the king was out hunting. So the old witch took the
form of the chamber maid, went into the room where the queen
lay, and said to her, come the bath is ready. It will do you good,
and give you fresh strength. Make haste before it gets cold.
Her daughter also was close by. So they carried the weakly
queen into the bath-room, and put her into the bath. Then they
shut the door and ran away. But in the bath-room they had made
a fire of such hellish heat that the beautiful young queen was soon
When this was done the old woman took her daughter, put a
nightcap on her head, and laid her in bed in place of the queen.
She gave her too the shape and look of the queen, only she
could not make good the lost eye. But in order that the king might
not see it, she was to lie on the side on which she had no eye.
In the evening when he came home and heard that he had a son
he was heartily glad, and was going to the bed of his dear wife to
see how she was. But the old woman quickly called out, for your
life leave the curtains closed. The queen ought not to see the
light yet, and must have rest. The king went away, and did not find
out that a false queen was lying in the bed.
But at midnight, when all slept, the nurse, who was sitting in the
nursery by the cradle, and who was the only person awake, saw
the door open and the true queen walk in. She took the child out
of the cradle, laid it on her arm, and suckled it. Then she shook
up its pillow, laid the child down again, and covered it with the
little quilt. And she did not forget the roebuck, but went into the
corner where it lay, and stroked its back. Then she went quite
silently out of the door again. The next morning the nurse asked
the guards whether anyone had come into the palace during the night,
but they answered, no, we have seen no one.
She came thus many nights and never spoke a word. The nurse
always saw her, but she did not dare to tell anyone about it.
When some time had passed in this manner, the queen began to
speak in the night, and said,
how fares my child, how fares my roe.
Twice shall I come, then never more.
The nurse did not answer, but when the queen had gone again,
went to the king and told him all. The king said, ah, God.
What is this. To-morrow night I will watch by the child. In the
evening he went into the nursery, and at midnight the queen again
appeared and said,
how fares my child, how fares my roe.
Once will I come, then never more.
And she nursed the child as she was wont to do before she
disappeared. The king dared not speak to her, but on the next
night he watched again. Then she said,
how fares my child, how fares my roe.
This time I come, then never more.
Then the king could not restrain himself. He sprang towards her,
and said, you can be none other than my dear wife. She answered,
yes, I am your dear wife, and at the same moment she received
life again, and by God’s grace became fresh, rosy and full of
Then she told the king the evil deed which the wicked witch
and her daughter had been guilty of towards her. The king ordered
both to be led before the judge, and the judgment was delivered
against them. The daughter was taken into the forest where she was
torn to pieces by wild beasts, but the witch was cast into the fire
and miserably burnt. And as soon as she was burnt to ashes, the
roebuck changed his shape, and received his human form again, so the
sister and brother lived happily together all their lives.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 1st Grade)
Illustration -Eleanor Abbott
The wife of a rich man fell sick, and as she felt that her end
was drawing near, she called her only daughter to her bedside and
said, dear child, be good and pious, and then the
good God will always protect you, and I will look down on you
from heaven and be near you. Thereupon she closed her eyes and
departed. Every day the maiden went out to her mother’s grave,
and wept, and she remained pious and good. When winter came
the snow spread a white sheet over the grave, and by the time the
spring sun had drawn it off again, the man had taken another wife.
The woman had brought with her into the house two daughters,
who were beautiful and fair of face, but vile and black of heart.
Now began a bad time for the poor step-child. Is the stupid goose
to sit in the parlor with us, they said. He who wants to eat bread
must earn it. Out with the kitchen-wench. They took her pretty
clothes away from her, put an old grey bedgown on her, and gave
her wooden shoes. Just look at the proud princess, how decked
out she is, they cried, and laughed, and led her into the kitchen.
There she had to do hard work from morning till night, get up
before daybreak, carry water, light fires, cook and wash. Besides
this, the sisters did her every imaginable injury – they mocked her
and emptied her peas and lentils into the ashes, so that she was
forced to sit and pick them out again. In the evening when she had
worked till she was weary she had no bed to go to, but had to sleep
by the hearth in the cinders. And as on that account she always
looked dusty and dirty, they called her cinderella.
It happened that the father was once going to the fair, and he
asked his two step-daughters what he should bring back for them.
Beautiful dresses, said one, pearls and jewels, said the second.
“And you, cinderella, said he, what will you have.”
“Father break off for me the first branch which knocks against your hat on your way home.”
So he bought beautiful dresses, pearls and jewels for his two step-daughters, and on his way home, as he was riding through a green thicket, a hazel twig brushed against him and
knocked off his hat. Then he broke off the branch and took it with
him. When he reached home he gave his step-daughters the things
which they had wished for, and to cinderella he gave the branch
from the hazel-bush. Cinderella thanked him, went to her mother’s
grave and planted the branch on it, and wept so much that the tears
fell down on it and watered it. And it grew and became a handsome
tree. Thrice a day cinderella went and sat beneath it, and wept and
prayed, and a little white bird always came on the tree, and if
cinderella expressed a wish, the bird threw down to her what she
had wished for.
It happened, however, that the king gave orders for a festival
which was to last three days, and to which all the beautiful young
girls in the country were invited, in order that his son might choose
himself a bride. When the two step-sisters heard that they too were
to appear among the number, they were delighted, called cinderella
and said, comb our hair for us, brush our shoes and fasten our
buckles, for we are going to the wedding at the king’s palace.
Cinderella obeyed, but wept, because she too would have liked to
go with them to the dance, and begged her step-mother to allow
her to do so. You go, cinderella, said she, covered in dust and
dirt as you are, and would go to the festival. You have no clothes
and shoes, and yet would dance. As, however, cinderella went on
asking, the step-mother said at last, I have emptied a dish of
lentils into the ashes for you, if you have picked them out again in
two hours, you shall go with us. The maiden went through the
back-door into the garden, and called, you tame pigeons, you
turtle-doves, and all you birds beneath the sky, come and help me
the good into the pot,
the bad into the crop.
Then two white pigeons came in by the kitchen window, and
afterwards the turtle-doves, and at last all the birds beneath the
sky, came whirring and crowding in, and alighted amongst the ashes.
And the pigeons nodded with their heads and began pick, pick,
pick, pick, and the rest began also pick, pick, pick, pick, and
gathered all the good grains into the dish. Hardly had one hour
passed before they had finished, and all flew out again. Then the
girl took the dish to her step-mother, and was glad, and believed
that now she would be allowed to go with them to the festival.
But the step-mother said, no, cinderella, you have no clothes and
you can not dance. You would only be laughed at. And as
cinderella wept at this, the step-mother said, if you can pick two
dishes of lentils out of the ashes for me in one hour, you shall go
with us. And she thought to herself, that she most certainly
cannot do again. When the step-mother had emptied the two
dishes of lentils amongst the ashes, the maiden went through the
back-door into the garden and cried, you tame pigeons, you
turtle-doves, and all you birds beneath the sky, come and help me
the good into the pot,
the bad into the crop.
Then two white pigeons came in by the kitchen-window, and
afterwards the turtle-doves, and at length all the birds beneath the
sky, came whirring and crowding in, and alighted amongst the
ashes. And the doves nodded with their heads and began pick,
pick, pick, pick, and the others began also pick, pick, pick, pick,
and gathered all the good seeds into the dishes, and before half an
hour was over they had already finished, and all flew out again.
Then the maiden was delighted, and believed that she might now go
with them to the wedding. But the step-mother said, all this will
not help. You cannot go with us, for you have no clothes and can
not dance. We should be ashamed of you. On this she turned her
back on cinderella, and hurried away with her two proud daughters.
As no one was now at home, cinderella went to her mother’s
grave beneath the hazel-tree, and cried –
shiver and quiver, little tree,
silver and gold throw down over me.
Then the bird threw a gold and silver dress down to her, and
slippers embroidered with silk and silver. She put on the dress
with all speed, and went to the wedding. Her step-sisters and the
step-mother however did not know her, and thought she must be a
foreign princess, for she looked so beautiful in the golden dress.
They never once thought of cinderella, and believed that she was
sitting at home in the dirt, picking lentils out of the ashes. The
prince approached her, took her by the hand and danced with her.
He would dance with no other maiden, and never let loose of her
hand, and if any one else came to invite her, he said, this is my
She danced till it was evening, and then she wanted to go home.
But the king’s son said, I will go with you and bear you company,
for he wished to see to whom the beautiful maiden belonged.
She escaped from him, however, and sprang into the
pigeon-house. The king’s son waited until her father came, and
then he told him that the unknown maiden had leapt into the
pigeon-house. The old man thought, can it be cinderella. And
they had to bring him an axe and a pickaxe that he might hew
the pigeon-house to pieces, but no one was inside it. And when they
got home cinderella lay in her dirty clothes among the ashes, and
a dim little oil-lamp was burning on the mantle-piece, for
cinderella had jumped quickly down from the back of the pigeon-house
and had run to the little hazel-tree, and there she had taken off
her beautiful clothes and laid them on the grave, and the bird had
taken them away again, and then she had seated herself in the
kitchen amongst the ashes in her grey gown.
Next day when the festival began afresh, and her parents and
the step-sisters had gone once more, cinderella went to the
hazel-tree and said –
shiver and quiver, my little tree,
silver and gold throw down over me.
Then the bird threw down a much more beautiful dress than on
the preceding day. And when cinderella appeared at the wedding
in this dress, every one was astonished at her beauty. The king’s
son had waited until she came, and instantly took her by the hand
and danced with no one but her. When others came and invited
her, he said, this is my partner. When evening came she wished
to leave, and the king’s son followed her and wanted to see into
which house she went. But she sprang away from him, and into
the garden behind the house. Therein stood a beautiful tall tree on
which hung the most magnificent pears. She clambered so nimbly
between the branches like a squirrel that the king’s son did not
know where she was gone. He waited until her father came, and
said to him, the unknown maiden has escaped from me, and I
believe she has climbed up the pear-tree. The father thought,
can it be cinderella. And had an axe brought and cut the
tree down, but no one was on it. And when they got into the
kitchen, cinderella lay there among the ashes, as usual, for she
had jumped down on the other side of the tree, had taken the
beautiful dress to the bird on the little hazel-tree, and put on her
On the third day, when the parents and sisters had gone away,
cinderella went once more to her mother’s grave and said to the
little tree –
shiver and quiver, my little tree,
silver and gold throw down over me.
And now the bird threw down to her a dress which was more
splendid and magnificent than any she had yet had, and the
slippers were golden. And when she went to the festival in the
dress, no one knew how to speak for astonishment. The king’s son
danced with her only, and if any one invited her to dance, he said
this is my partner.
When evening came, cinderella wished to leave, and the king’s
son was anxious to go with her, but she escaped from him so quickly
that he could not follow her. The king’s son, however, had
employed a ruse, and had caused the whole staircase to be smeared
with pitch, and there, when she ran down, had the maiden’s left
slipper remained stuck. The king’s son picked it up, and it was
small and dainty, and all golden. Next morning, he went with it to
the father, and said to him, no one shall be my wife but she whose
foot this golden slipper fits. Then were the two sisters glad,
for they had pretty feet. The eldest went with the shoe into her
room and wanted to try it on, and her mother stood by. But she
could not get her big toe into it, and the shoe was too small for
her. Then her mother gave her a knife and said, cut the toe off,
when you are queen you will have no more need to go on foot. The
maiden cut the toe off, forced the foot into the shoe, swallowed
the pain, and went out to the king’s son. Then he took her on his
his horse as his bride and rode away with her. They were
obliged, however, to pass the grave, and there, on the hazel-tree,
sat the two pigeons and cried –
turn and peep, turn and peep,
there’s blood within the shoe,
the shoe it is too small for her,
the true bride waits for you.
Then he looked at her foot and saw how the blood was trickling
from it. He turned his horse round and took the false bride
home again, and said she was not the true one, and that the
other sister was to put the shoe on. Then this one went into her
chamber and got her toes safely into the shoe, but her heel was
too large. So her mother gave her a knife and said, cut a bit
off your heel, when you are queen you will have no more need
to go on foot. The maiden cut a bit off her heel, forced
her foot into the shoe, swallowed the pain, and went out to the
king’s son. He took her on his horse as his bride, and rode away
with her, but when they passed by the hazel-tree, the two pigeons
sat on it and cried –
turn and peep, turn and peep,
there’s blood within the shoe,
the shoe it is too small for her,
the true bride waits for you.
He looked down at her foot and saw how the blood was running
out of her shoe, and how it had stained her white stocking quite
red. Then he turned his horse and took the false bride home
again. This also is not the right one, said he, have you no
other daughter. No, said the man, there is still a little
stunted kitchen-wench which my late wife left behind her, but
she cannot possibly be the bride. The king’s son said he was
to send her up to him, but the mother answered, oh, no, she is
much too dirty, she cannot show herself. But he absolutely
insisted on it, and cinderella had to be called. She first
washed her hands and face clean, and then went and bowed down
before the king’s son, who gave her the golden shoe. Then she
seated herself on a stool, drew her foot out of the heavy
wooden shoe, and put it into the slipper, which fitted like a
glove. And when she rose up and the king’s son looked at her
face he recognized the beautiful maiden who had danced with
him and cried, that is the true bride. The step-mother and
the two sisters were horrified and became pale with rage, he,
however, took cinderella on his horse and rode away with her. As
they passed by the hazel-tree, the two white doves cried –
turn and peep, turn and peep,
no blood is in the shoe,
the shoe is not too small for her,
the true bride rides with you,
and when they had cried that, the two came flying down and
placed themselves on cinderella’s shoulders, one on the right,
the other on the left, and remained sitting there.
When the wedding with the king’s son was to be celebrated, the
two false sisters came and wanted to get into favor with
cinderella and share her good fortune. When the betrothed
couple went to church, the elder was at the right side and the
younger at the left, and the pigeons pecked out one eye from
each of them. Afterwards as they came back the elder was at
the left, and the younger at the right, and then the pigeons
pecked out the other eye from each. And thus, for their
wickedness and falsehood, they were punished with blindness
all their days.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 5-6 Year Olds)
There was a man who had three sons, the youngest of whom was called
Dummling, and was despised, mocked, and sneered at on every occasion.
It happened that the eldest wanted to go into the forest to hew wood,
and before he went his mother gave him a beautiful sweet cake and a
bottle of wine in order that he might not suffer from hunger or
When he entered the forest he met a little grey-haired old man who
bade him good-day, and said, do give me a piece of cake out of your
pocket, and let me have a draught of your wine, I am so hungry and
thirsty. But the clever son answered, if I give you my cake and
wine, I shall have none for myself, be off with you, and he left the
little man standing and went on.
But when he began to hew down a tree, it was not long before he made
a false stroke, and the axe cut him in the arm, so that he had to go
home and have it bound up. And this was the little grey man’s doing.
After this the second son went into the forest, and his mother gave
him, like the eldest, a cake and a bottle of wine. The little old
grey man met him likewise, and asked him for a piece of cake and a
drink of wine. But the second son, too, said sensibly enough, what I
give you will be taken away from myself, be off, and he left the
little man standing and went on. His punishment, however, was not
delayed, when he had made a few blows at the tree he struck himself
in the leg, so that he had to be carried home.
Then Dummling said, father, do let me go and cut wood. The father
answered, your brothers have hurt themselves with it, leave it alone,
you do not understand anything about it. But Dummling begged so long
that at last he said, just go then, you will get wiser by hurting
yourself. His mother gave him a cake made with water and baked in
the cinders, and with it a bottle of sour beer.
When he came to the forest the little old grey man met him likewise,
and greeting him, said, give me a piece of your cake and a drink out
of your bottle, I am so hungry and thirsty.
Dummling answered, I have only cinder-cake and sour beer, if that
pleases you, we will sit down and eat. So they sat down, and when
Dummling pulled out his cinder-cake, it was a fine sweet cake, and
the sour beer had become good wine. So they ate and drank, and after
that the little man said, since you have a good heart, and are
willing to divide what you have, I will give you good luck. There
stands an old tree, cut it down, and you will find something at the
roots. Then the little man took leave of him.
Dummling went and cut down the tree, and when it fell there was a
goose sitting in the roots with feathers of pure gold. He lifted her
up, and taking her with him, went to an inn where he thought he would
stay the night. Now the host had three daughters, who saw the goose
and were curious to know what such a wonderful bird might be, and
would have liked to have one of its golden feathers.
The eldest thought, I shall soon find an opportunity of pulling out a
feather, and as soon as Dummling had gone out she seized the goose by
the wing, but her finger and hand remained sticking fast to it.
The second came soon afterwards, thinking only of how she might get a
feather for herself, but she had scarcely touched her sister than she
was held fast.
At last the third also came with the like intent, and the others
screamed out, keep away, for goodness, sake keep away. But she did
not understand why she was to keep away. The others are there, she
thought, I may as well be there too, and ran to them, but as soon as
she had touched her sister, she remained sticking fast to her. So
they had to spend the night with the goose.
The next morning Dummling took the goose under his arm and set out,
without troubling himself about the three girls who were hanging on
to it. They were obliged to run after him continually, now left, now
right, wherever his legs took him.
In the middle of the fields the parson met them, and when he saw the
procession he said, for shame, you good-for-nothing girls, why are
you running across the fields after this young man. Is that seemly?
At the same time he seized the youngest by the hand in order to pull
her away, but as soon as he touched her he likewise stuck fast, and
was himself obliged to run behind.
Before long the sexton came by and saw his master, the parson,
running behind three girls. He was astonished at this and called
out, hi, your reverence, whither away so quickly. Do not forget that
we have a christening to-day, and running after him he took him by
the sleeve, but was also held fast to it. Whilst the five were
trotting thus one behind the other, two laborers came with their hoes
from the fields, the parson called out to them and begged that they
would set him and the sexton free. But they had scarcely touched the
sexton when they were held fast, and now there were seven of them
running behind Dummling and the goose.
Soon afterwards he came to a city, where a king ruled who had a
daughter who was so serious that no one could make her laugh. So he
had put forth a decree that whosoever should be able to make her
laugh should marry her. When Dummling heard this, he went with his
goose and all her train before the king’s daughter, and as soon as
she saw the seven people running on and on, one behind the other, she
began to laugh quite loudly, and as if she would never stop.
Thereupon Dummling asked to have her for his wife, but the king did
not like the son-in-law, and made all manner of excuses and said he
must first produce a man who could drink a cellarful of wine.
Dummling thought of the little grey man, who could certainly help
him, so he went into the forest, and in the same place where he had
felled the tree, he saw a man sitting, who had a very sorrowful face.
Dummling asked him what he was taking to heart so sorely, and he
answered, I have such a great thirst and cannot quench it, cold water
I cannot stand, a barrel of wine I have just emptied, but that to me
is like a drop on a hot stone.
There, I can help you, said Dummling, just come with me and you shall
He led him into the king’s cellar, and the man bent over the huge
barrels, and drank and drank till his loins hurt, and before the day
was out he had emptied all the barrels. Then Dummling asked once
more for his bride, but the king was vexed that such an ugly fellow,
whom everyone called Dummling, should take away his daughter, and he
made a new condition, he must first find a man who could eat a whole
mountain of bread. Dummling did not think long, but went straight
into the forest, where in the same place there sat a man who was
tying up his body with a strap, and making an awful face, and saying,
I have eaten a whole ovenful of rolls, but what good is that when one
has such a hunger as I. My stomach remains empty, and I must tie
myself up if I am not to die of hunger.
At this Dummling was glad, and said, get up and come with me, you
shall eat yourself full. He led him to the king’s palace, where all
the flour in the whole kingdom was collected, and from it he caused a
huge mountain of bread to be baked. The man from the forest stood
before it, began to eat, and by the end of one day the whole mountain
had vanished. Then Dummling for the third time asked for his bride,
but the king again sought a way out, and ordered a ship which could
sail on land and on water. As soon as you come sailing back in it,
said he, you shall have my daughter for wife.
Dummling went straight into the forest, and there sat the little grey
man to whom he had given his cake. When he heard what Dummling
wanted, he said, since you have given me to eat and to drink, I will
give you the ship, and I do all this because you once were kind to
me. Then he gave him the ship which could sail on land and water,
and when the king saw that, he could no longer prevent him from
having his daughter. The wedding was celebrated, and after the
king’s death, Dummling inherited his kingdom and lived for a long
time contentedly with his wife.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 1st Grade)
*Audio file at the end
Art by Emma Florence Harrison
There were once a man and a woman who had long in vain
wished for a child. At length the woman hoped that God
was about to grant her desire. These people had a little
window at the back of their house from which a splendid garden
could be seen, which was full of the most beautiful flowers and
herbs. It was, however, surrounded by a high wall, and no one
dared to go into it because it belonged to an enchantress, who had
great power and was dreaded by all the world. One day the woman
was standing by this window and looking down into the garden,
when she saw a bed which was planted with the most beautiful
rampion – rapunzel, and it looked so fresh and green that she
longed for it, and had the greatest desire to eat some. This desire
increased every day, and as she knew that she could not get any
of it, she quite pined away, and began to look pale and miserable.
Then her husband was alarmed, and asked, what ails you, dear
wife. Ah, she replied, if I can’t eat some of the rampion, which
is in the garden behind our house, I shall die. The man, who loved
her, thought, sooner than let your wife die, bring her some of
the rampion yourself, let it cost what it will. At twilight, he
clambered down over the wall into the garden of the enchantress,
hastily clutched a handful of rampion, and took it to his wife. She
at once made herself a salad of it, and ate it greedily. It tasted
so good to her – so very good, that the next day she longed for it
three times as much as before. If he was to have any rest, her
husband must once more descend into the garden. In the gloom of
evening, therefore, he let himself down again. But when he had
clambered down the wall he was terribly afraid, for he saw the
enchantress standing before him. How can you dare, said she with
angry look, descend into my garden and steal my rampion like a
thief. You shall suffer for it. Ah, answered he, let mercy take
the place of justice, I only made up my mind to do it out of
necessity. My wife saw your rampion from the window, and felt such
a longing for it that she would have died if she had not got some
to eat. Then the enchantress allowed her anger to be softened, and
said to him, if the case be as you say, I will allow you to take
away with you as much rampion as you will, only I make one
condition, you must give me the child which your wife will bring
into the world. It shall be well treated, and I will care for it
like a mother. The man in his terror consented to everything, and
when the woman was brought to bed, the enchantress appeared at once,
gave the child the name of rapunzel, and took it away with her.
Rapunzel grew into the most beautiful child under the sun.
When she was twelve years old, the enchantress shut her into a
tower, which lay in a forest, and had neither stairs nor door, but
quite at the top was a little window. When the enchantress
wanted to go in, she placed herself beneath it and cried,
let down your hair to me.
Rapunzel had magnificent long hair, fine as spun gold, and when
she heard the voice of the enchantress she unfastened her braided
tresses, wound them round one of the hooks of the window above,
and then the hair fell twenty ells down, and the enchantress climbed
up by it.
After a year or two, it came to pass that the king’s son rode
through the forest and passed by the tower. Then he heard a song,
which was so charming that he stood still and listened. This was
rapunzel, who in her solitude passed her time in letting her sweet
voice resound. The king’s son wanted to climb up to her, and
looked for the door of the tower, but none was to be found. He
rode home, but the singing had so deeply touched his heart, that
every day he went out into the forest and listened to it. Once when
he was thus standing behind a tree, he saw that an enchantress
came there, and he heard how she cried,
let down your hair.
Then rapunzel let down the braids of her hair, and the
enchantress climbed up to her. If that is the ladder by which one
mounts, I too will try my fortune, said he, and the next day when
it began to grow dark, he went to the tower and cried,
let down your hair.
Immediately the hair fell down and the king’s son climbed up.
At first rapunzel was terribly frightened when a man, such as
her eyes had never yet beheld, came to her. But the king’s son
began to talk to her quite like a friend, and told her that his
heart had been so stirred that it had let him have no rest, and he
had been forced to see her. Then rapunzel lost her fear, and when
he asked her if she would take him for her husband, and she saw that
he was young and handsome, she thought, he will love me more than
old dame gothel does. And she said yes, and laid her hand in his.
She said, I will willingly go away with you, but I do not know
how to get down. Bring with you a skein of silk every time that
you come, and I will weave a ladder with it, and when that is ready
I will descend, and you will take me on your horse. They agreed
that until that time he should come to her every evening, for the
old woman came by day. The enchantress remarked nothing of
this, until once rapunzel said to her, tell me, dame gothel, how
it happens that you are so much heavier for me to draw up than
the young king’s son – he is with me in a moment. Ah. You
wicked child, cried the enchantress. What do I hear you say. I
thought I had separated you from all the world, and yet you have
deceived me. In her anger she clutched rapunzel’s beautiful
tresses, wrapped them twice round her left hand, seized a pair of
scissors with the right, and snip, snap, they were cut off, and the
lovely braids lay on the ground. And she was so pitiless that she
took poor rapunzel into a desert where she had to live in great
grief and misery.
On the same day that she cast out rapunzel, however, the
enchantress fastened the braids of hair, which she had cut off, to
the hook of the window, and when the king’s son came and cried,
let down your hair,
she let the hair down.
The king’s son ascended, but instead of
finding his dearest rapunzel, he found the enchantress, who gazed
at him with wicked and venomous looks. Aha, she cried mockingly,
you would fetch your dearest, but the beautiful bird sits
no longer singing in the nest. The cat has got it, and will scratch
out your eyes as well. Rapunzel is lost to you. You will never see
her again. The king’s son was beside himself with pain, and in
his despair he leapt down from the tower. He escaped with his life,
but the thorns into which he fell pierced his eyes. Then he
wandered quite blind about the forest, ate nothing but roots and
berries, and did naught but lament and weep over the loss of his
dearest wife. Thus he roamed about in misery for some years, and at
length came to the desert where rapunzel, with the twins to which
she had given birth, a boy and a girl, lived in wretchedness. He
heard a voice, and it seemed so familiar to him that he went towards
it, and when he approached, rapunzel knew him and fell on his neck
and wept. Two of her tears wetted his eyes and they grew clear
again, and he could see with them as before. He led her to his
kingdom where he was joyfully received, and they lived for a long
time afterwards, happy and contented.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 1st Grade)
*Audio file at the end
There was once a young huntsman who went into the forest to lie in
wait. He had a fresh and joyous heart, and as he was going thither,
whistling upon a leaf, an ugly old crone came up, who spoke to him
and said, “Good-day, dear huntsman, truly you are merry and
contented, but I am suffering from hunger and thirst, do give me an
alms.” The huntsman took pity on the poor old creature, felt in his
pocket, and gave her what he could afford.
He was then about to go further, but the old woman stopped him and
said, “Listen, dear huntsman, to what I tell you. I will make you a
present in return for your good heart. Go on your way now, but in a
little while you will come to a tree, whereon nine birds are sitting
which have a cloak in their claws, and are fighting for it, take your
gun and shoot into the midst of them. They will let the cloak fall
down to you, but one of the birds will be hurt, and will drop down
dead. Carry away the cloak, it is a wishing-cloak. When you throw
it over your shoulders, you only have to wish to be in a certain
place, and you will be there in the twinkling of an eye. Take out
the heart of the dead bird and swallow it whole, and every morning
early, when you get up, you will find a gold piece under your
pillow.” The huntsman thanked the wise woman, and thought to himself,
“Those are fine things that she has promised me, if all does but come
true.” And verily when he had walked about a hundred paces, he heard
in the branches above him such a screaming and twittering that he
looked up and saw there a swarm of birds who were tearing a piece of
cloth about with their beaks and claws, and tugging and fighting as
if each wanted to have it all to himself. “Well,” said the huntsman,
“this is amazing, it has really come to pass just as the old crone
foretold,” and he took the gun from his shoulder, aimed and fired
right into the midst of them, so that the feathers flew about. The
birds instantly took to flight with loud outcries, but one dropped
down dead, and the cloak fell at the same time. Then the huntsman
did as the old woman had directed him, cut open the bird, sought the
heart, swallowed it down, and took the cloak home with him.
Next morning, when he awoke, the promise occurred to him, and he
wished to see if it also had been fulfilled. When he lifted up the
pillow, the gold piece shone in his eyes, and next day he found
another, and so it went on, every time he got up. He gathered
together a heap of gold, but at last he thought, “Of what use is all
my gold to me if I stay at home? I will go forth and see the world.”
He then took leave of his parents, buckled on his huntsman’s pouch
and gun, and went out into the world. It came to pass, that one day
he traveled through a dense forest, and when he came to the end of
it, in the plain before him stood a fine castle. An old woman was
standing with a wonderfully beautiful maiden, looking out of one of
the windows. The old woman, however, was a witch and said to the
maiden, “There comes one out of the forest, who has a wonderful
treasure in his body. We must filch it from him, daughter of my
heart, it is more suitable for us than for him. He has a bird’s
heart about him, by means of which a gold piece lies every morning
under his pillow.” She told her what she was to do to get it, and
what part she had to play, and finally threatened her, and said with
angry eyes, “And if you do not attend to what I say, it will be the
worse for you.” Now when the huntsman came nearer he noticed the
maiden, and said to himself, “I have traveled about for such a long
time, I will take a rest for once, and enter that beautiful castle.
I have certainly money enough.” Nevertheless, the real reason was
that he had caught sight of the beautiful picture.
He entered the house, and was well received and courteously
entertained. Before long he was so much in love with the young witch
that he no longer thought of anything else, and only saw things as
she saw them, and liked to do what she desired. The old woman then
said, “Now we must have the bird’s heart, he will never miss it.” She
brewed a potion, and when it was ready, poured it into a goblet and
gave it to the maiden, who was to present it to the huntsman. She
did so, saying, “Now, my dearest, drink to me.”
So he took the goblet, and when he had swallowed the draught, he
brought up the heart of the bird. The girl had to take it away
secretly and swallow it herself, for the old woman would have it so.
Thenceforward he found no more gold under his pillow, but it lay
instead under that of the maiden, from whence the old woman fetched
it away every morning, but he was so much in love and so befooled,
that he thought of nothing else but of passing his time with the
Then the old witch said, “We have the bird’s heart, but we must also
take the wishing-cloak away from him.” The girl answered, “We will
leave him that, he has lost his wealth.” The old woman was angry and
said, “Such a mantle is a wonderful thing, and is seldom to be found
in this world. I must and will have it.” She gave the girl several
blows, and said that if she did not obey, it should fare ill with
her. So she did the old woman’s bidding, placed herself at the
window and looked on the distant country, as if she were very
sorrowful. The huntsman asked, “Why do you stand there so
sorrowfully?” “Ah, my beloved,” was her answer, “over yonder lies the
garnet mountain, where the precious stones grow. I long for them so
much that when I think of them, I feel quite sad, but who can get
them. Only the birds, they fly and can reach them, but a man never.”
“Have you nothing else to complain of?” said the huntsman. “I will
soon remove that burden from your heart.” With that he drew her under
his mantle, wished himself on the garnet mountain, and in the
twinkling of an eye they were sitting on it together. Precious
stones were glistening on every side so that it was a joy to see
them, and together they gathered the finest and costliest of them.
Now, the old woman had, through her sorceries, contrived that the
eyes of the huntsman should become heavy. He said to the maiden, “We
will sit down and rest awhile, I am so tired that I can no longer
stand on my feet.” Then they sat down, and he laid his head in her
lap, and fell asleep. When he was asleep, she unfastened the mantle
from his shoulders, and wrapped herself in it, picked up the garnets
and stones, and wished herself back at home with them.
But when the huntsman had slept his fill and awoke, and perceived
that his sweetheart had betrayed him, and left him alone on the wild
mountain, he said, “Oh, what treachery there is in the world,” and
sat down there in trouble and sorrow, not knowing what to do. But
the mountain belonged to some wild and monstrous giants who dwelt
thereon and lived their lives there, and he had not sat long before
he saw three of them coming towards him, so he lay down as if he were
sunk in a deep sleep.
Then the giants came up, and the first kicked him with his foot and
said, “What sort of an earth-worm is this, lying here contemplating
his inside?” The second said, “Step upon him and kill him.” But the
third said, contemptuously, “That would indeed be worth your while,
just let him live, he cannot remain here, and when he climbs higher,
toward the summit of of the mountain, the clouds will lay hold of him
and bear him away.” So saying they passed by. But the huntsman had
paid heed to their words, and as soon as they were gone, he rose and
climbed up to the summit of the mountain, and when he had sat there a
while, a cloud floated towards him, caught him up, carried him away,
and traveled about for a long time in the heavens. Then it sank
lower, and let itself down on a great cabbage-garden, girt round by
walls, so that he came softly to the ground on cabbages and
Then the huntsman looked about him and said, “If I had but something
to eat. I am so hungry, and to proceed on my way from here will be
difficult. I see here neither apples nor pears, nor any other sort
of fruit, everywhere nothing but cabbages, but at length he thought,
at a pinch I can eat some of the leaves, they do not taste
particularly good, but they will refresh me.” With that he picked
himself out a fine head of cabbage, and ate it, but scarcely had he
swallowed a couple of mouthfuls than he felt very strange and quite
Four legs grew on him, a thick head and two long ears, and he saw
with horror that he was changed into an ass. Still as his hunger
increased every minute, and as the juicy leaves were suitable to his
present nature, he went on eating with great zest. At last he
arrived at a different kind of cabbage, but as soon as he had
swallowed it, he again felt a change, and resumed his former human
Then the huntsman lay down and slept off his fatigue. When he awoke
next morning, he broke off one head of the bad cabbages and another
of the good ones, and thought to himself, this shall help me to get
my own again and punish treachery. Then he took the cabbages with
him, climbed over the wall, and went forth to look for the castle of
his sweetheart. After wandering about for a couple of days he was
lucky enough to find it again. He dyed his face brown, so that his
own mother would not have known him, and begged for shelter, “I am so
tired,” said he, “that I can go no further.” The witch asked, “Who
are you, countryman, and what is your business?” “I am a king’s
messenger, and was sent out to seek the most delicious salad which
grows beneath the sun. I have even been so fortunate as to find it,
and am carrying it about with me, but the heat of the sun is so
intense that the delicate cabbage threatens to wither, and I do not
know if I can carry it any further.”
When the old woman heard of the exquisite salad, she was greedy, and
said, “Dear countryman, let me just try this wonderful salad.” “Why
not?” answered he. “I have brought two heads with me, and will give
you one of them,” and he opened his pouch and handed her the bad
cabbage. The witch suspected nothing amiss, and her mouth watered so
for this new dish that she herself went into the kitchen and dressed
it. When it was prepared she could not wait until it was set on the
table, but took a couple of leaves at once, and put them in her
mouth, but hardly had she swallowed them than she was deprived of her
human shape, and she ran out into the courtyard in the form of an
Presently the maid-servant entered the kitchen, saw the salad
standing there ready prepared, and was about to carry it up, but on
the way, according to habit, she was seized by the desire to taste,
and she ate a couple of leaves. Instantly the magic power showed
itself, and she likewise became an ass and ran out to the old woman,
and the dish of salad fell to the ground.
Meantime the messenger sat beside the beautiful girl, and as no one
came with the salad and she also was longing for it, she said, “I
don’t know what has become of the salad.” The huntsman thought, the
salad must have already taken effect, and said, “I will go to the
kitchen and inquire about it.” As he went down he saw the two asses
running about in the courtyard, the salad, however, was lying on the
ground. “All right,” said he, “the two have taken their portion,” and
he picked up the other leaves, laid them on the dish, and carried
them to the maiden. “I bring you the delicate food myself,” said he,
“in order that you may not have to wait longer.” Then she ate of it,
and was, like the others, immediately deprived of her human form, and
ran out into the courtyard in the shape of an ass.
After the huntsman had washed his face, so that the transformed ones
could recognize him, he went down into the courtyard, and said, “Now
you shall receive the wages of your treachery,” and bound them
together, all three with one rope, and drove them along until he came
to a mill. He knocked at the window, the miller put out his head,
and asked what he wanted. “I have three unmanageable beasts,
answered he, which I don’t want to keep any longer. Will you take
them in, and give them food and stable room, and manage them as I
tell you, and then I will pay you what you ask?” The miller said,
“Why not? But how am I to manage them?” The huntsman then said that
he was to give three beatings and one meal daily to the old donkey,
and that was the witch, one beating and three meals to the younger
one, which was the servant-girl, and to the youngest, which was the
maiden, no beatings and three meals, for he could not bring himself
to have the maiden beaten. After that he went back into the castle,
and found therein everything he needed.
After a couple of days, the miller came and said he must inform him
that the old ass which had received three beatings and only one meal
daily was dead. The two others, he continued, are certainly not
dead, and are fed three times daily, but they are so sad that they
cannot last much longer. The huntsman was moved to pity, put away
his anger, and told the miller to drive them back again to him. And
when they came, he gave them some of the good salad, so that they
became human again. The beautiful girl fell on her knees before him,
and said, “Ah, my beloved, forgive me for the evil I have done you,
my mother drove me to it. It was done against my will, for I love
you dearly. Your wishing-cloak hangs in a cupboard, and as for the
bird’s-heart I will take a vomiting potion.” But he thought
otherwise, and said, “Keep it. It is all the same, for I will take
you for my true wife.” So the wedding was celebrated, and they lived
happily together until their death.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(ideal for first Grade)
A king had a daughter who was beautiful beyond all measure,
but so proud and haughty withal that no suitor was good
enough for her. She sent away one after the other, and
ridiculed them as well.
Once the king made a great feast and invited thereto, from far
and near, all the young men likely to marry. They were all
marshalled in a row according to their rank and standing. First
came the kings, then the grand-dukes, then the princes, the
earls, the barons, and the gentry. Then the king’s daughter was
led through the ranks, but to each one she had some objection
to make. One was too fat, the wine-barrel, she said. Another
was too tall, long and thin has little in. The third was too
short, short and thick is never quick. The fourth was too
pale, as pale as death. The fifth too red, a fighting cock.
The sixth was not straight enough, a green log dried behind
So she had something to say against each one, but she made
herself especially merry over a good king who stood quite
high up in the row, and whose chin had grown a little crooked.
Look, she cried and laughed, he has a chin like a thrush’s
beak. And from that time he got the name of king thrushbeard.
But the old king, when he saw that his daugher did nothing
but mock the people, and despised all the suitors who were
gathered there, was very angry, and swore that she should have
for her husband the very first beggar that came to his doors.
A few days afterwards a fiddler came and sang beneath the
windows, trying to earn a few pennies. When the king heard him
he said, let him come up. So the fiddler came in, in his dirty,
ragged clothes, and sang before the king and his daughter, and
when he had ended he asked for a trifling gift. The king said,
your song has pleased me so well that I will give you my
daughter there, to wife.
The king’s daughter shuddered, but the king said, I have taken
an oath to give you to the very first beggar-man and I will keep
it. All she could say was in vain. The priest was brought,
and she had to let herself be wedded to the fiddler on the
spot. When that was done the king said, now it is not proper
for you, a beggar-woman, to stay any longer in my palace, you may
just go away with your husband.
The beggar-man led her out by the hand, and she was obliged to
walk away on foot with him. When they came to a large forest
she asked, to whom does that beautiful forest belong. It
belongs to king thrushbeard. If you had taken him, it would
have been yours. Ah, unhappy girl that I am, if I had but taken
Afterwards they came to a meadow, and she asked again, to whom
does this beautiful green meadow belong. It belongs to king
thrushbeard. If you had taken him, it would have been
yours. Ah, unhappy girl that I am, if I had but taken king
Then they came to a large town, and she asked again, to whom
does this fine large town belong. It belongs to king thrushbeard.
If you had taken him, it would have been yours. Ah, unhappy
girl that I am, if I had but taken king thrushbeard.
It does not please me, said the fiddler, to hear you always
wishing for another husband. Am I not good enough for you.
At last they came to a very little hut, and she said, oh
goodness. What a small house. To whom does this miserable,
tiny hovel belong. The fiddler answered, that is my house and
yours, where we shall live together.
She had to stoop in order to go in at the low door. Where are
the servants, said the king’s daughter. What servants, answered
the beggar-man. You must yourself do what you wish to have done.
Just make a fire at once, and set on water to cook my supper,
I am quite tired. But the king’s daughter knew nothing about
lighting fires or cooking, and the beggar-man had to lend a
hand himself to get anything fairly done. When they had
finished their scanty meal they went to bed. But he forced
her to get up quite early in the morning in order to look after
For a few days they lived in this way as well as might be, and
came to the end of all their provisions. Then the man said,
wife, we cannot go on any longer eating and drinking here and
earning nothing. You must make baskets. He went out, cut some
willows, and brought them home. Then she began to make baskets,
but the tough willows wounded her delicate hands.
I see that this will not do, said the man. You had better spin,
perhaps you can do that better. She sat down and tried to spin,
but the hard thread soon cut her soft fingers so that the blood
ran down. See, said the man, you are fit for no sort of work.
I have made a bad bargain with you. Now I will try to make a
business with pots and earthenware. You must sit in the
market-place and sell the ware. Alas, thought she, if any of
the people from my father’s kingdom come to the market and see
me sitting there, selling, how they will mock me. But it was
of no use, she had to yield unless she chose to die of hunger.
For the first time she succeeded well, for the people were glad
to buy the woman’s wares because she was good-looking, and
they paid her what she asked. Many even gave her the money and
left the pots with her as well. So they lived on what she had
earned as long as it lasted, then the husband bought a lot of
new crockery. With this she sat down at the corner of the
market-place, and set it out round about her ready for sale.
But suddenly there came a drunken hussar galloping along, and
he rode right amongst the pots so that they were all broken into
a thousand bits. She began
to weep, and did now know what to do for fear. Alas, what will
happen to me, cried she. What will my husband say to this.
She ran home and told him of the misfortune. Who would seat
herself at a corner of the market-place with crockery, said
the man. Leave off crying, I see very well that you cannot
do any ordinary work, so I have been to our king’s palace and
have asked whether they cannot find a place for a kitchen-maid,
and they have promised me to take you. In that way you will
get your food for nothing.
The king’s daughter was now a kitchen-maid, and had to be at
the cook’s beck and call, and do the dirtiest work. In both her
pockets she fastened a little jar, in which she took home her
share of the leavings, and upon this they lived.
It happened that the wedding of the king’s eldest son was to be
celebrated, so the poor woman went up and placed herself by
the door of the hall to look on. When all the candles were lit,
and people, each more beautiful than the other, entered, and
all was full of pomp and splendor, she thought of her lot with
a sad heart, and cursed the pride and haughtiness which had
humbled her and brought her to so great poverty.
The smell of the delicious dishes which were being taken in
and out reached her, and now and then the servants threw her
a few morsels of them. These she put in her jars to take home.
All at once the king’s son entered, clothed in velvet and silk,
with gold chains about his neck. And when he saw the
beautiful woman standing by the door he seized her by the hand,
and would have danced with her. But she refused and shrank
with fear, for she saw that it was king thrushbeard, her
suitor whom she had driven away with scorn. Her struggles
were of no avail, he drew her into the hall. But the string
by which her pockets were hung broke, the pots fell down, the
soup ran out, and the scraps were scattered all about. And
when the people saw it, there arose general laughter and
derision, and she was so ashamed that she would rather have
been a thousand fathoms below the ground. She sprang to the
door and would have run away, but on the stairs a man caught
her and brought her back. And when she looked at him it was
king thrushbeard again. He said to her kindly, do not be
afraid, I and the fiddler who has been living with you in that
wretched hovel are one. For love of you I disguised myself
so. And I also was the hussar who rode through your crockery.
This was all done to humble your proud spirit, and to punish
you for the insolence with which you mocked me.
Then she wept bitterly and said, I have done great wrong, and
am not worthy to be your wife. But he said, be comforted,
the evil days are past. Now we will celebrate our wedding.
Then the maids-in-waiting came and put on her the most splendid
clothing, and her father and his whole court came and wished
her happiness in her marriage with king thrushbeard, and
the joy now began in earnest. I wish you and I had been there
The Poor Miller’s Boy and the Cat
In a certain mill lived an old miller who had neither wife nor child,
and three apprentices served under him. As they had been with him
several years, he one day said to them, “I am old, and want to sit
behind the stove. Go out, and whichsoever of you brings me the best
horse home, to him will I give the mill, and in return for it he
shall take care of me till my death.”
The third of the boys, however, was the dunce, who was looked on as
foolish by the others, they begrudged the mill to him, and afterwards
he would not even have it. Then all three went out together, and
when they came to the village, the two said to stupid Hans, “You may
just as well stay here, as long as you live you will never get a
horse.” Hans, however, went with them, and when it was night they
came to a cave in which they lay down to sleep. The two smart ones
waited until Hans had fallen asleep, then they got up, and went away
leaving him where he was. And they thought they had done a very
clever thing, but it was certain to turn out ill for them.
When the sun rose, and Hans woke up, he was lying in a deep cavern.
He looked around on every side and exclaimed, “Oh, heavens, where am
I?” Then he got up and clambered out of the cave, went into the
forest, and thought, “Here I am quite alone and deserted, how shall I
obtain a horse now?” Whilst he was thus walking full of thought, he
met a small tabby-cat which said quite kindly, “Hans, where are you
going?” “Alas, you can not help me.” “I well know your desire,” said
the cat. “You wish to have a beautiful horse. Come with me, and be
my faithful servant for seven years long, and then I will give you
one more beautiful than any you have ever seen in your whole life.”
“Well, this is a strange cat,” thought Hans, “But I am determined to
see if she is telling the truth.”
So she took him with her into her enchanted castle, where there were
nothing but kittens who were her servants. They leapt nimbly
upstairs and downstairs, and were merry and happy. In the evening
when they sat down to dinner, three of them had to make music. One
played the bass viol, the other the fiddle, and the third put the
trumpet to his lips, and blew out his cheeks as much as he possibly
could. When they had dined, the table was carried away, and the cat
said, “Now, Hans, come and dance with me.” “No,” said he, “I won’t
dance with a pussy cat. I have never done that yet.” “Then take him
to bed,” said she to the cats. So one of them lighted him to his
bed-room, one pulled his shoes off, one his stockings, and at last
one of them blew out the candle. Next morning they returned and
helped him out of bed, one put his stockings on for him, one tied his
garters, one brought his shoes, one washed him, and one dried his
face with her tail. “That feels very soft,” said Hans.
He, however, had to serve the cat, and chop some wood every day, and
to do that, he had an axe of silver, and the wedge and saw were of
silver and the mallet of copper. So he chopped the wood small,
stayed there in the house and had good meat and drink, but never saw
anyone but the tabby-cat and her servants. Once she said to him, “Go
and mow my meadow, and dry the grass,” and gave him a scythe of
silver, and a whetstone of gold, but bade him deliver them up again
carefully. So Hans went thither, and did what he was bidden, and
when he had finished the work, he carried the scythe, whetstone, and
hay to the house, and asked if it was not yet time for her to give
him his reward. “No,” said the cat, “you must first do something
more for me of the same kind. There is timber of silver, carpenter’s
axe, square, and everything that is needful, all of silver – with
these build me a small house.” Then Hans built the small house, and
said that he had now done everything, and still he had no horse.
Nevertheless the seven years had gone by with him as if they were six
months. The cat asked him if he would like to see her horses. “Yes,”
said Hans. Then she opened the door of the small house, and when she
had opened it, there stood twelve horses, – such horses, so bright
and shining, that his heart rejoiced at the sight of them. And now
she gave him to eat and drink, and said, “Go home, I will not give
you your horse now, but in three days, time I will follow you and
bring it.” So Hans set out, and she showed him the way to the mill.
She, however, had never once given him a new coat, and he had been
obliged to keep on his dirty old smock, which he had brought with
him, and which during the seven years had everywhere become too small
for him. When he reached home, the two other apprentices were there
again as well, and each of them certainly had brought a horse with
him, but one of them was a blind one, and the other lame. They asked
Hans where his horse was. “It will follow me in three days, time.”
Then they laughed and said, “Indeed, stupid Hans, where will you get
a horse?” “It will be a fine one.” Hans went into the parlor, but the
miller said he should not sit down to table, for he was so ragged and
torn, that they would all be ashamed of him if any one came in. So
they gave him a mouthful of food outside, and at night, when they
went to rest, the two others would not let him have a bed, and at
last he was forced to creep into the goose-house, and lie down on a
little hard straw.
In the morning when he awoke, the three days had passed, and a coach
came with six horses and they shone so bright that it was delightful
to see them – and a servant brought a seventh as well, which was for
the poor miller’s boy. And a magnificent princess alighted from the
coach and went into the mill, and this princess was the little
tabby-cat whom poor Hans had served for seven years. She asked the
miller where the miller’s boy and dunce was. Then the miller said,
“We cannot have him here in the mill, for he is so ragged, he is
lying in the goose-house.” Then the king’s daughter said that they
were to bring him immediately. So they brought him out, and he had
to hold his little smock together to cover himself. The servants
unpacked splendid garments, and washed him and dressed him, and when
that was done, no king could have looked more handsome. Then the
maiden desired to see the horses which the other apprentices had
brought home with them, and one of them was blind and the other lame.
So she ordered the servant to bring the seventh horse, and when the
miller saw it, he said that such a horse as that had never yet
entered his yard. “And that is for the third miller’s boy,” said she.
“Then he must have the mill,” said the miller, but the king’s
daughter said that the horse was there, and that he was to keep his
mill as well, and took her faithful Hans and set him in the coach,
and drove away with him.
They first drove to the little house which he had built with the
silver tools, and behold it was a great castle, and everything inside
it was of silver and gold, and then she married him, and he was rich,
so rich that he had enough for all the rest of his life. After this,
let no one ever say that anyone who is silly can never become a
person of importance.
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 5-6 Year Olds)
Two kings’ sons once went out in search of adventures, and fell into
a wild, disorderly way of living, so that they never came home again.
The youngest, who was called simpleton, set out to seek his brothers,
but when at length he found them they mocked him for thinking that he
with his simplicity could get through the world, when they two could
not make their way, and yet were so much cleverer.
They all three traveled away together, and came to an ant-hill. The
two elder wanted to destroy it, to see the little ants creeping about
in their terror, and carrying their eggs away, but simpleton said,
leave the creatures in peace, I will not allow you to disturb them.
Then they went onwards and came to a lake, on which a great number of
ducks were swimming. The two brothers wanted to catch a couple and
roast them, but simpleton would not permit it, and said, leave the
creatures in peace, I will not suffer you to kill them.
At length they came to a bee’s nest, in which there was so much honey
that it ran out of the trunk of the tree where it was. The two
wanted to make a fire beneath the tree, and suffocate the bees in
order to take away the honey, but simpleton again stopped them and
said, leave the creatures in peace, I will not allow you to burn
At length the three brothers arrived at a castle where stone horses
were standing in the stables, and no human being was to be seen, and
they went through all the halls until, quite at the end, they came to
a door in which were three locks. In the middle of the door,
however, there was a little pane, through which they could see into
the room. There they saw a little grey man, who was sitting at a
table. They called him, once, twice, but he did not hear, at last
they called him for the third time, when he got up, opened the locks,
and came out. He said nothing, however, but conducted them to a
handsomely-spread table, and when they had eaten and drunk, he took
each of them to a bedroom.
Next morning the little grey man came to the eldest, beckoned to him,
and conducted him to a stone table, on which were inscribed three
tasks, by the performance of which the castle could be delivered from
The first was that in the forest, beneath the moss, lay the
princess’s pearls, a thousand in number, which must be picked up, and
if by sunset one single pearl was missing, he who had looked for them
would be turned into stone. The eldest went thither, and sought the
whole day, but when it came to an end, he had only found one hundred,
and what was written on the table came true, and he was turned into
stone. Next day, the second brother undertook the adventure, but it
did not fare much better with him than with the eldest, he did not
find more than two hundred pearls, and was changed to stone. At last
it was simpleton’s turn to seek in the moss, but it was so difficult
for him to find the pearls, and he got on so slowly, that he seated
himself on a stone, and wept. And while he was thus sitting, the
king of the ants whose life he had once saved, came with five
thousand ants, and before long the little creatures had got all the
pearls together, and laid them in a heap.
The second task, however, was to fetch out of the lake the key of the
king’s daughter’s bed-chamber. When simpleton came to the lake, the
ducks which he had saved, swam up to him, dived down, and brought the
key out of the water.
But the third task was the most difficult, from amongst the three
sleeping daughters of the king was the youngest and dearest to be
sought out. They, however, resembled each other exactly, and were
only to be distinguished by their having eaten different sweetmeats
before they fell asleep, the eldest a bit of sugar, the second a
little syrup, and the youngest a spoonful of honey.
Then the queen of the bees, whom simpleton had protected from the
fire, came and tasted the lips of all three, and at last she remained
sitting on the mouth which had eaten honey, and thus the king’s son
recognized the right princess. Then the enchantment was at an end,
everything was delivered from sleep, and those who had been turned to
stone received once more their natural forms.
Simpleton married the youngest and sweetest princess, and after her
father’s death became king, and his two brothers received the two