The Beetle who went on his Travels
There was once an Emperor who had a horse
shod with gold. He had a golden shoe on each
foot, and why was this? He was a beautiful
creature, with slender legs, bright, intelligent
eyes, and a mane that hung down over his
neck like a veil. He had carried his master
through fire and smoke in the battle-field, with
the bullets whistling round him; he had kicked
and bitten, and taken part in the fight, when
the enemy advanced; and, with his master on
his back, he had dashed over the fallen foe,
and saved the golden crown and the Emperor's
life, which was of more value than the
brightest gold. This is the reason of the
Emperor's horse wearing golden shoes.
A beetle came creeping forth from the stable,
where the farrier had been shoeing the horse.
"Great ones, first, of course," said he, "and
then the little ones; but size is not always a
proof of greatness." He stretched out his thin
leg as he spoke.
"And pray what do you want?" asked
"Golden shoes," replied the beetle.
"Why, you must be out of your senses,"
cried the farrier. "Golden shoes for you,
"Yes, certainly; golden shoes," replied
the beetle. "Am I not just as good as that great
creature yonder, who is waited upon and
brushed, and has food and drink placed before
him? And don't I belong to the royal stables?"
"But why does the horse have golden
shoes?" asked the farrier; "of course you
understand the reason?"
"Understand! Well, I understand that it
is a personal slight to me," cried the beetle. "It
is done to annoy me, so I intend to go out into
the world and seek my fortune."
"Go along with you," said the farrier.
"You're a rude fellow," cried the beetle,
as he walked out of the stable; and then he
flew for a short distance, till he found himself
in a beautiful flower garden, all fragrant with
roses and lavender. The lady-birds, with red
and black shells on their backs, and delicate
wings, were flying about, and one of them
said, "Is it not sweet and lovely here? Oh, how
beautiful everything is."
"I am accustomed to better things," said
the beetle. "Do you call this beautiful? Why,
there is not even a dung heap." Then he went
on, and under the shadow of a large haystack
he found a caterpillar crawling along. "How
beautiful this world is!" said the caterpillar.
"The sun is so warm, I quite enjoy it. And
soon I shall go to sleep, and die as they call it,
but I shall wake up with beautiful wings to fly
with, like a butterfly."
"How conceited you are!" exclaimed
the beetle. "Fly about as a butterfly, indeed!
what of that. I have come out of the Emperor's
stable, and no one there, not even the
Emperor's horse, who, in fact, wears my
cast-off golden shoes, has any idea of flying,
excepting myself. To have wings and fly! why,
I can do that already;" and so saying, he
spread his wings and flew away. "I don't want
to be disgusted," he said to himself, "and yet I
can't help it." Soon after, he fell down upon an
extensive lawn, and for a time pretended to
sleep, but at last fell asleep in earnest.
Suddenly a heavy shower of rain came
falling from the clouds. The beetle woke up
with the noise and would have been glad to
creep into the earth for shelter, but he could
not. He was tumbled over and over with the
rain, sometimes swimming on his stomach
and sometimes on his back; and as for flying,
that was out of the question. He began to
doubt whether he should escape with his life,
so he remained, quietly lying where he was.
After a while the weather cleared up a little,
and the beetle was able to rub the water from
his eyes, and look about him. He saw
something gleaming, and he managed to make
his way up to it. It was linen which had been
laid to bleach on the grass.
He crept into a fold of the damp linen,
which certainly was not so comfortable a
place to lie in as the warm stable, but there
was nothing better, so he remained lying there
for a whole day and night, and the rain kept on
all the time. Towards morning he crept out of
his hiding place, feeling in a very bad temper
with the climate. Two frogs were sitting on the
linen, and their bright eyes actually glistened
"Wonderful weather this," cried one of
them, "and so refreshing. This linen holds the
water together so beautifully, that my hind
legs quiver as if I were going to swim."
"I should like to know," said another, "If
the swallow who flies so far in her many
journeys to foreign lands, ever met with a
better climate than this. What delicious
moisture! It is as pleasant as lying in a wet
ditch. I am sure any one who does not enjoy
this has no love for his fatherland."
"Have you ever been in the Emperor's
stable?" asked the beetle. "There the moisture
is warm and refreshing; that's the climate for
me, but I could not take it with me on my
travels. Is there not even a dunghill here in
this garden, where a person of rank, like
myself, could take up his abode and feel at
home?" But the frogs either did not or would
not understand him.
"I never ask a question twice," said the
beetle, after he had asked this one three times,
and received no answer. Then he went on a
little farther and stumbled against a piece of
broken crockery ware, which certainly ought
not to have been lying there. But as it was
there, it formed a good shelter against wind
and weather to several families of earwigs
who dwelt in it. Their requirements were not
many, they were very sociable, and full of
affection for their children, so much so that
each mother considered her own child the
most beautiful and clever of them all.
"Our dear son has engaged himself,"
said one mother, "dear innocent boy; his
greatest ambition is that he may one day creep
into a clergyman's ear. That is a very artless
and lovable wish; and being engaged will
keep him steady. What happiness for a
"Our son," said another, "had scarcely
crept out of the egg, when he was off on his
travels. He is all life and spirits, I expect he
will wear out his horns with running. How
charming this is for a mother, is it not Mr.
Beetle?" for she knew the stranger by his
"You are both quite right," said he; so
they begged him to walk in, that is to come as
far as he could under the broken piece of
"Now you shall also see my little
earwigs," said a third and a fourth mother,
"they are lovely little things, and highly
amusing. They are never ill-behaved, except
when they are uncomfortable in their inside,
which unfortunately often happens at their
Thus each mother spoke of her baby,
and their babies talked after their own fashion,
and made use of the little nippers they have in
their tails to nip the beard of the beetle.
"They are always busy about something,
the little rogues," said the mother, beaming
with maternal pride; but the beetle felt it a
bore, and he therefore inquired the way to the
nearest dung heap.
"That is quite out in the great world, on
the other side of the ditch," answered an
earwig, "I hope none of my children will ever
go so far, it would be the death of me."
"But I shall try to get so far," said the
beetle, and he walked off without taking any
formal leave, which is considered a polite
thing to do.
When he arrived at the ditch, he met
several friends, all them beetles; "We live
here," they said, "and we are very comfortable.
May we ask you to step down into this rich
mud, you must be fatigued after your
"Certainly," said the beetle, "I shall be
most happy; I have been exposed to the rain,
and have had to lie upon linen, and cleanliness
is a thing that greatly exhausts me; I have also
pains in one of my wings from standing in the
draught under a piece of broken crockery. It is
really quite refreshing to be with one's own
"Perhaps you came from a dunghill,"
observed the oldest of them.
"No, indeed, I came from a much
grander place," replied the beetle; "I came
from the emperor's stable, where I was born,
with golden shoes on my feet. I am traveling
on a secret embassy, but you must not ask me
any questions, for I cannot betray my secret."
Then the beetle stepped down into the
rich mud, where sat three young lady beetles,
who tittered, because they did not know what
"None of them are engaged yet," said
their mother, and the beetle maidens tittered
again, this time quite in confusion.
"I have never seen greater beauties,
even in the royal stables," exclaimed the
beetle, who was now resting himself.
"Don't spoil my girls," said the mother;
"and don't talk to them, pray, unless you have
But of course the beetle's intentions were
serious, and after a while our friend was
engaged. The mother gave them her blessing,
and all the other beetles cried "hurrah."
Immediately after the betrothal came
the marriage, for there was no reason to delay.
The following day passed very pleasantly, and
the next was tolerably comfortable; but on the
third it became necessary for him to think of
getting food for his wife, and, perhaps, for
"I have allowed myself to be taken in,"
said our beetle to himself, "and now there's
nothing to be done but to take them in, in
No sooner said than done. Away he
went, and stayed away all day and all night,
and his wife remained behind a forsaken
"Oh," said the other beetles, "this fellow
that we have received into our family is
nothing but a complete vagabond. He has
gone away and left his wife a burden upon our
"Well, she can be unmarried again, and
remain here with my other daughters," said
the mother. "Fie on the villain that forsook
In the mean time the beetle, who had
sailed across the ditch on a cabbage leaf, had
been journeying on the other side. In the
morning two persons came up to the ditch.
When they saw him they took him up and
turned him over and over, looking very
learned all the time, especially one, who was a
boy. "Allah sees the black beetle in the black
stone, and the black rock. Is not that written in
the Koran?" he asked.
Then he translated the beetle's name
into Latin, and said a great deal upon the
creature's nature and history. The second
person, who was older and a scholar, proposed
to carry the beetle home, as they wanted just
such good specimens as this. Our beetle
considered this speech a great insult, so he
flew suddenly out of the speaker's hand. His
wings were dry now, so they carried him to a
great distance, till at last he reached a
hothouse, where a sash of the glass roof was
partly open, so he quietly slipped in and
buried himself in the warm earth. "It is very
comfortable here," he said to himself, and
soon after fell asleep. Then he dreamed that
the emperor's horse was dying, and had left
him his golden shoes, and also promised that
he should have two more. All this was very
delightful, and when the beetle woke up he
crept forth and looked around him.
What a splendid place the hothouse was!
At the back, large palm trees were growing;
and the sunlight made the leaves- look quite
glossy; and beneath them what a profusion of
luxuriant green, and of flowers red like flame,
yellow as amber, or white as new fallen snow!
"What a wonderful quantity of plants," cried
the beetle; "how good they will taste when
they are decayed! This is a capital store-room.
There must certainly be some relations of
mine living here; I will just see if I can find
any one with whom I can associate. I'm proud,
certainly; but I'm also proud of being so.
Then he prowled about in the earth, and
thought what a pleasant dream that was about
the dying horse, and the golden shoes he had
inherited. Suddenly a hand seized the beetle,
and squeezed him, and turned him round and
round. The gardener's little son and his
playfellow had come into the hothouse, and,
seeing the beetle, wanted to have some fun
with him. First, he was wrapped, in a vine leaf,
and put into a warm trousers' pocket. He
twisted and turned about with all his might,
but he got a good squeeze from the boy's hand,
as a hint for him to keep quiet.
Then the boy went quickly towards a
lake that lay at the end of the garden. Here the
beetle was put into an old broken wooden
shoe, in which a little stick had been fastened
upright for a mast, and to this mast the beetle
was bound with a piece of worsted. Now he
was a sailor, and had to sail away. The lake
was not very large, but to the beetle it seemed
an ocean, and he was so astonished at its size
that he fell over on his back, and kicked out
Then the little ship sailed away;
sometimes the current of the water seized it,
but whenever it went too far from the shore
one of the boys turned up his trousers, and
went in after it, and brought it back to land.
But at last, just as it went merrily out again,
the two boys were called, and so angrily, that
they hastened to obey, and ran away as fast as
they could from the pond, so that the little ship
was left to its fate. It was carried away farther
and farther from the shore, till it reached the
open sea. This was a terrible prospect for the
beetle, for he could not escape in consequence
of being bound to the mast. Then a fly came
and paid him a visit. "What beautiful
weather," said the fly; "I shall rest here and
sun myself. You must have a pleasant time of
"You speak without knowing the facts,"
replied the beetle; "don't you see that I am a
"Ah, but I'm not a prisoner," remarked
the fly, and away he flew.
"Well, now I know the world," said the
beetle to himself; "it's an abominable world;
I'm the only respectable person in it. First,
they refuse me my golden shoes; then I have
to lie on damp linen, and to stand in a draught;
and to crown all, they fasten a wife upon me.
Then, when I have made a step forward in the
world, and found out a comfortable position,
just as I could wish it to be, one of these
human boys comes and ties me up, and leaves
me to the mercy of the wild waves, while the
emperor's favorite horse goes prancing about
proudly on his golden shoes.
This vexes me more than anything. But
it is useless to look for sympathy in this world.
My career has been very interesting, but
what's the use of that if nobody knows
anything about it? The world does not deserve
to be made acquainted with my adventures,
for it ought to have given me golden shoes
when the emperor's horse was shod, and I
stretched out my feet to be shod, too. If I had
received golden shoes I should have been an
ornament to the stable; now I am lost to the
stable and to the world. It is all over with me."
But all was not yet over. A boat, in
which were a few young girls, came rowing
up. "Look, yonder is an old wooden shoe
sailing along," said one of the younger girls.
"And there's a poor little creature bound
fast in it," said another.
The boat now came close to our beetle's
ship, and the young girls fished it out of the
water. One of them drew a small pair of
scissors from her pocket, and cut the worsted
without hurting the beetle, and when she
stepped on shore she placed him on the grass.
"There," she said, "creep away, or fly, if thou
canst. It is a splendid thing to have thy
liberty." Away flew the beetle, straight through
the open window of a large building; there he
sank down, tired and exhausted, exactly on
the mane of the emperor's favorite horse, who
was standing in his stable; and the beetle
found himself at home again.
For some time he clung to the mane,
that he might recover himself. "Well," he said,
"here I am, seated on the emperor's favorite
horse, sitting upon him as if I were the
emperor himself. But what was it the farrier
asked me? Ah, I remember now, that's a good
thought,- he asked me why the golden shoes
were given to the horse. The answer is quite
clear to me, now. They were given to the horse
on my account." And this reflection put the
beetle into a good temper. The sun's rays also
came streaming into the stable, and shone
upon him, and made the place lively and
bright. "Traveling expands the mind very
much," said the beetle. "The world is not so
bad after all, if you know how to take things
as they come.
The Emperor's New Clothes
Many years ago, there was an Emperor, who
was so excessively fond of new clothes, that
he spent all his money in dress. He did not
trouble himself in the least about his soldiers;
nor did he care to go either to the theater or
the chase, except for the opportunities then
afforded him for displaying his new clothes.
He had a different suit for each hour of the
day; and as of any other king or emperor, one
is accustomed to say, "he is sitting in council,"
it was always said of him, "The Emperor is
sitting in his wardrobe."
Time passed merrily in the large town which
was his capital; strangers arrived every day at
One day, two rogues, calling themselves
weavers, made their appearance. They gave
out that they knew how to weave stuffs of the
most beautiful colors and elaborate patterns,
the clothes manufactured from which should
have the wonderful property of remaining
invisible to everyone who was unfit for the
office he held, or who was extraordinarily
simple in character.
"These must, indeed, be splendid
clothes!" thought the Emperor. "Had I such a
suit, I might at once find out what men in my
realms are unfit for their office, and also be
able to distinguish the wise from the foolish!
This stuff must be woven for me
immediately." And he caused large sums of
money to be given to both the weavers in
order that they might begin their work
So the two pretended weavers set up
two looms, and affected to work very busily,
though in reality they did nothing at all. They
asked for the most delicate silk and the purest
gold thread; put both into their own knapsacks;
and then continued their pretended work at the
empty looms until late at night.
"I should like to know how the weavers
are getting on with my cloth," said the
Emperor to himself, after some little time had
elapsed; he was, however, rather embarrassed,
when he remembered that a simpleton, or one
unfit for his office, would be unable to see the
manufacture. To be sure, he thought he had
nothing to risk in his own person; but yet, he
would prefer sending somebody else, to bring
him intelligence about the weavers, and their
work, before he troubled himself in the affair.
All the people throughout the city had heard
of the wonderful property the cloth was to
possess; and all were anxious to learn how
wise, or how ignorant, their neighbors might
prove to be.
"I will send my faithful old minister to
the weavers," said the Emperor at last, after
some deliberation, "he will be best able to see
how the cloth looks; for he is a man of sense,
and no one can be more suitable for his office
than be is."
So the faithful old minister went into
the hall, where the knaves were working with
all their might, at their empty looms. "What
can be the meaning of this?" thought the old
man, opening his eyes very wide. "I cannot
discover the least bit of thread on the looms."
However, he did not express his thoughts
The impostors requested him very
courteously to be so good as to come nearer
their looms; and then asked him whether the
design pleased him, and whether the colors
were not very beautiful; at the same time
pointing to the empty frames. The poor old
minister looked and looked, he could not
discover anything on the looms, for a very
good reason, viz: there was nothing there.
"What!" thought he again. "Is it possible that I
am a simpleton? I have never thought so
myself; and no one must know it now if I am
so. Can it be, that I am unfit for my office? No,
that must not be said either. I will never
confess that I could not see the stuff."
"Well, Sir Minister!" said one of the
knaves, still pretending to work. "You do not
say whether the stuff pleases you."
"Oh, it is excellent!" replied the old
minister, looking at the loom through his
spectacles. "This pattern, and the colors, yes, I
will tell the Emperor without delay, how very
beautiful I think them."
"We shall be much obliged to you," said
the impostors, and then they named the
different colors and described the pattern of
the pretended stuff. The old minister listened
attentively to their words, in order that he
might repeat them to the Emperor; and then
the knaves asked for more silk and gold,
saying that it was necessary to complete what
they had begun. However, they put all that
was given them into their knapsacks; and
continued to work with as much apparent
diligence as before at their empty looms.
The Emperor now sent another officer
of his court to see how the men were getting
on, and to ascertain whether the cloth would
soon be ready. It was just the same with this
gentleman as with the minister; he surveyed
the looms on all sides, but could see nothing at
all but the empty frames.
"Does not the stuff appear as beautiful
to you, as it did to my lord the minister?"
asked the impostors of the Emperor's second
ambassador; at the same time making the
same gestures as before, and talking of the
design and colors which were not there.
"I certainly am not stupid!" thought the
messenger. "It must be, that I am not fit for
my good, profitable office! That is very odd;
however, no one shall know anything about
it." And accordingly he praised the stuff he
could not see, and declared that he was
delighted with both colors and patterns.
"Indeed, please your Imperial Majesty," said
he to his sovereign when he returned, "the
cloth which the weavers are preparing is
The whole city was talking of the
splendid cloth which the Emperor had ordered
to be woven at his own expense.
And now the Emperor himself wished to
see the costly manufacture, while it was still
in the loom. Accompanied by a select number
of officers of the court, among whom were the
two honest men who had already admired the
cloth, he went to the crafty impostors, who, as
soon as they were aware of the Emperor's
approach, went on working more diligently
than ever; although they still did not pass a
single thread through the looms.
magnificent?" said the two officers of the
crown, already mentioned. "If your Majesty
will only be pleased to look at it! What a
splendid design! What glorious colors!" and at
the same time they pointed to the empty
frames; for they imagined that everyone else
could see this exquisite piece of workmanship.
"How is this?" said the Emperor to
himself. "I can see nothing! This is indeed a
terrible affair! Am I a simpleton, or am I unfit
to be an Emperor? That would be the worst
thing that could happen--Oh! The cloth is
charming," said he, aloud. "It has my
complete approbation." And he smiled most
graciously, and looked closely at the empty
looms; for on no account would he say that he
could not see what two of the officers of his
court had praised so much. All his retinue now
strained their eyes, hoping to discover
something on the looms, but they could see no
more than the others; nevertheless, they all
exclaimed, "Oh, how beautiful!" and advised
his majesty to have some new clothes made
from this splendid material, for the
Charming! Excellent!" resounded on all sides;
and everyone was uncommonly gay. The
Emperor shared in the general satisfaction;
and presented the impostors with the riband of
an order of knighthood, to be worn in their
button-holes, and the title of "Gentlemen
The rogues sat up the whole of the night
before the day on which the procession was to
take place, and had sixteen lights burning, so
that everyone might see how anxious they
were to finish the Emperor's new suit. They
pretended to roll the cloth off the looms; cut
the air with their scissors; and sewed with
needles without any thread in them. "See!"
cried they, at last. "The Emperor's new clothes
And now the Emperor, with all the
grandees of his court, came to the weavers;
and the rogues raised their arms, as if in the
act of holding something up, saying, "Here are
your Majesty's trousers! Here is the scarf!
Here is the mantle! The whole suit is as light
as a cobweb; one might fancy one has nothing
at all on, when dressed in it; that, however, is
the great virtue of this delicate cloth."
"Yes indeed!" said all the courtiers,
although not one of them could see anything
of this exquisite manufacture.
"If your Imperial Majesty will be
graciously pleased to take off your clothes, we
will fit on the new suit, in front of the looking
undressed, and the rogues pretended to array
him in his new suit; the Emperor turning
round, from side to side, before the looking
"How splendid his Majesty looks in his
new clothes, and how well they fit!" everyone
cried out. "What a design! What colors! These
are indeed royal robes!"
"The canopy which is to be borne over
your Majesty, in the procession, is waiting,"
announced the chief master of the ceremonies.
"I am quite ready," answered the
Emperor. "Do my new clothes fit well?" asked
he, turning himself round again before the
looking glass, in order that he might appear to
be examining his handsome suit.
The lords of the bedchamber, who were
to carry his Majesty's train felt about on the
ground, as if they were lifting up the ends of
the mantle; and pretended to be carrying
something; for they would by no means betray
anything like simplicity, or unfitness for their
So now the Emperor walked under his
high canopy in the midst of the procession,
through the streets of his capital; and all the
people standing by, and those at the windows,
cried out, "Oh! How beautiful are our
Emperor's new clothes! What a magnificent
train there is to the mantle; and how gracefully
the scarf hangs!" in short, no one would allow
that he could not see these much-admired
clothes; because, in doing so, he would have
declared himself either a simpleton or unfit for
his office. Certainly, none of the Emperor's
various suits, had ever made so great an
impression, as these invisible ones.
"But the Emperor has nothing at all on!"
said a little child.
"Listen to the voice of innocence!"
exclaimed his father; and what the child had
said was whispered from one to another.
"But he has nothing at all on!" at last
cried out all the people. The Emperor was
vexed, for he knew that the people were right;
but he thought the procession must go on now!
And the lords of the bedchamber took greater
pains than ever, to appear holding up a train,
although, in reality, there was no train to hold.
Beauty and the Beast
Once upon a time as a merchant set off for
market, he asked each of his three daughters
what she would like as a present on his return.
The first daughter wanted a brocade dress, the
second a pearl necklace, but the third, whose
name was Beauty, the youngest, prettiest and
sweetest of them all, said to her father:
"All I'd like is a rose you've picked
specially for me!"
When the merchant had finished his business,
he set off for home. However, a sudden storm
blew up, and his horse could hardly make
headway in the howling gale. Cold and weary,
the merchant had lost all hope of reaching an
inn when he suddenly noticed a bright light
shining in the middle of a wood. As he drew
near, he saw that it was a castle, bathed in
"I hope I'll find shelter there for the
night," he said to himself. When he reached
the door, he saw it was open, but though he
shouted, nobody came to greet him. Plucking
up courage, he went inside, still calling out to
attract attention. On a table in the main hall, a
splendid dinner lay already served. The
merchant lingered, still shouting for the owner
of the castle. But no one came, and so the
starving merchant sat down to a hearty meal.
Overcome by curiosity, he ventured
upstairs, where the corridor led into
magnificent rooms and halls. A fire crackled
in the first room and a soft bed looked very
inviting. It was now late, and the merchant
could not resist. He lay down on the bed and
fell fast asleep. When he woke next morning,
an unknown hand had placed a mug of
steaming coffee and some fruit by his bedside.
The merchant had breakfast and after
tidying himself up, went downstairs to thank
his generous host. But, as on the evening
before, there was nobody in sight. Shaking his
head in wonder at the strangeness of it all, he
went towards the garden where he had left his
horse, tethered to a tree. Suddenly, a large rose
bush caught his eye.
Remembering his promise to Beauty, he
bent down to pick a rose. Instantly, out of the
rose garden, sprang a horrible beast, wearing
splendid clothes. Two bloodshot eyes,
gleaming angrily, glared at him and a deep,
terrifying voice growled: "Ungrateful man! I
gave you shelter, you ate at my table and slept
in my own bed, but now all the thanks I get is
the theft of my favorite flowers! I shall put
you to death for this slight!" Trembling with
fear, the merchant fell on his knees before the
"Forgive me! Forgive me! Don't kill me!
I'll do anything you say! The rose wasn't for
me, it was for my daughter Beauty. I promised
to bring her back a rose from my journey!"
The Beast dropped the paw it had clamped on
the unhappy merchant.
"I shall spare your life, but on one
condition, that you bring me your daughter!"
The terror-stricken merchant, faced with
certain death if he did not obey, promised that
he would do so. When he reached home in
tears, his three daughters ran to greet him.
After he had told them of his dreadful
adventure, Beauty put his mind at rest
"Dear father, I'd do anything for you!
Don't worry, you'll be able to keep your
promise and save your life! Take me to the
castle. I'll stay there in your place!" The
merchant hugged his daughter.
"I never did doubt your love for me. For
the moment I can only thank you for saving
my life." So Beauty was led to the castle. The
Beast, however, had quite an unexpected
greeting for the girl. Instead of menacing
doom as it had done with her father, it was
In the beginning, Beauty was frightened
of the Beast, and shuddered at the sight of it.
Then she found that, in spite of the monster's
awful head, her horror of it was gradually
fading as time went by. She had one of the
finest rooms in the Castle, and sat for hours,
embroidering in front of the fire. And the
Beast would sit, for hours on end, only a short
distance away, silently gazing at her. Then it
started to say a few kind words, till in the end,
Beauty was amazed to discover that she was
actually enjoying its conversation. The days
passed, and Beauty and the Beast became
good friends. Then one day, the Beast asked
the girl to be his wife.
Taken by surprise, Beauty did not know
what to say. Marry such an ugly monster? She
would rather die! But she did not want to
hurt the feelings of one who, after all, had
been kind to her. And she remembered too that
she owed it her own life as well as her father's.
"I really can't say yes," she began shakily.
"I'd so much like to..." The Beast interrupted
her with an abrupt gesture.
"I quite understand! And I'm not
offended by your refusal!" Life went on as
usual, and nothing further was said. One day,
the Beast presented Beauty with a magnificent
magic mirror. When Beauty peeped into it, she
could see her family, far away.
"You won't feel so lonely now," were the
words that accompanied the gift. Beauty
stared for hours at her distant family. Then she
began to feel worried. One day, the Beast
found her weeping beside the magic mirror.
"What's wrong?" he asked, kindly as
"My father is gravely ill and close to dying!
Oh, how I wish I could see him again, before
it's too late!" But the Beast only shook its
"No! You will never leave this castle!"
And off it stalked in a rage. However, a little
later, it returned and spoke solemnly to the
"If you swear that you will return here in
seven days time, I'll let you go and visit your
father!" Beauty threw herself at the Beast's
feet in delight.
"I swear! I swear I will! How kind you
are! You've made a loving daughter so
happy!" In reality, the merchant had fallen ill
from a broken heart at knowing his daughter
was being kept prisoner. When he embraced
her again, he was soon on the road to recovery.
Beauty stayed beside him for hours on end,
describing her life at the Castle, and
explaining that the Beast was really good and
kind. The days flashed past, and at last the
merchant was able to leave his bed. He was
completely well again. Beauty was happy at
last. However, she had failed to notice that
seven days had gone by.
Then one night she woke from a terrible
nightmare. She had dreamt that the Beast was
dying and calling for her, twisting in agony.
"Come back! Come back to me!" it was
pleading. The solemn promise she had made
drove her to leave home immediately.
whipping her steed onwards towards the castle,
afraid that she might arrive too late. She
rushed up the stairs, calling, but there was no
reply. Her heart in her mouth, Beauty ran into
the garden and there crouched the Beast, its
eyes shut, as though dead. Beauty threw
herself at it and hugged it tightly.
"Don't die! Don't die! I'll marry you . . ."
At these words, a miracle took place. The
Beast's ugly snout turned magically into the
face of a handsome young man.
"How I've been longing for this
moment!" he said. "I was suffering in silence,
and couldn't tell my frightful secret. An evil
witch turned me into a monster and only the
love of a maiden willing to accept me as I was,
could transform me back into my real self. My
dearest! I'll be so happy if you'll marry me."
The wedding took place shortly after and,
from that day on, the young Prince would
have nothing but roses in his gardens. And
that's why, to this day, the castle is known as
the Castle of the Rose.
"Hurry! Hurry, good horse!" she said,
Once upon a time... there lived an unhappy
young girl. Unhappy she was, for her mother
was dead, her father had married another
woman, a widow with two daughters, and her
stepmother didn't like her one little bit. All the
nice things, kind thoughts and loving touches
were for her own daughters. And not just the
kind thoughts and love, but also dresses, shoes,
shawls, delicious food, comfy beds, as well as
every home comfort. All this was laid on for
her daughters. But, for the poor unhappy girl,
there was nothing at all. No dresses, only her
stepsisters' hand-me-downs. No lovely dishes,
nothing but scraps. No nice rests and comfort.
For she had to work hard all day, and only
when evening came was she allowed to sit for
a while by the fire, near the cinders. That is
how she got her nickname, for everybody
called her Cinderella. Cinderella used to spend
long hours all alone talking to the cat. The cat
said, "Miaow", which really meant, "Cheer up!
You have something neither of your
stepsisters have and that is beauty."
It was quite true. Cinderella, even
dressed in rags with a dusty gray face from the
cinders, was a lovely girl. While her
stepsisters, no matter how splendid and
elegant their clothes, were still clumsy, lumpy
and ugly and always would be.
One day, beautiful new dresses arrived
at the house. A ball was to be held at Court
and the stepsisters were getting ready to go to
it. Cinderella, didn't even dare ask, "What
about me?" for she knew very well what the
answer to that would be:
"You? My dear girl, you're staying at
home to wash the dishes, scrub the floors and
turn down the beds for your stepsisters. They
will come home tired and very sleepy."
Cinderella sighed at the cat.
"Oh dear, I'm so unhappy!" and the cat
Suddenly something amazing happened.
In the kitchen, where Cinderella was sitting all
by herself, there was a burst of light and a
"Don't be alarmed, Cinderella," said the
fairy. "The wind blew me your sighs. I know
you would love to go to the ball. And so you
"How can I, dressed in rags?"
Cinderella replied. "The servants will turn me
away!" The fairy smiled. With a flick of her
magic wand... Cinderella found herself
wearing the most beautiful dress, the loveliest
ever seen in the realm.
"Now that we have settled the matter of
the dress," said the fairy, "we'll need to get
you a coach. A real lady would never go to a
ball on foot!"
"Quick! Get me a pumpkin!" she
"Oh of course," said Cinderella,
rushing away. Then the fairy turned to the cat.
"You, bring me seven mice!"
"Seven mice!" said the cat. "I didn't
know fairies ate mice too!"
"They're not for eating, silly! Do as you
are told!... and, remember they must be alive!"
Cinderella soon returned with a fine
pumpkin and the cat with seven mice he had
caught in the cellar.
"Good!" exclaimed the fairy. With a
flick of her magic wand... wonder of wonders!
The pumpkin turned into a sparkling coach
and the mice became six white horses, while
the seventh mouse turned into a coachman, in
a smart uniform and carrying a whip.
Cinderella could hardly believe her eyes.
"I shall present you at Court. You will
soon see that the Prince, in whose honor the
ball is being held, will be enchanted by your
loveliness. But remember! You must leave the
ball at midnight and come home. For that is
when the spell ends. Your coach will turn back
into a pumpkin, the horses will become mice
again and the coachman will turn back into a
mouse... and you will be dressed again in rags
and wearing clogs instead of these dainty little
slippers! Do you understand?" Cinderella
smiled and said,
"Yes, I understand!"
When Cinderella entered the ballroom
at the palace, a hush fell. Everyone stopped in
mid-sentence to admire her elegance, her
beauty and grace.
"Who can that be?" people asked each
other. The two stepsisters also wondered who
the newcomer was, for never in a month of
Sundays, would they ever have guessed that
the beautiful girl was really poor Cinderella
who talked to the cat!
When the prince set eyes on Cinderella,
he was struck by her beauty. Walking over to
her, he bowed deeply and asked her to dance.
And to the great disappointment of all the
young ladies, he danced with Cinderella all
"Who are you, fair maiden?" the Prince
kept asking her. But Cinderella only replied:
"What does it matter who I am! You
will never see me again anyway."
"Oh, but I shall, I'm quite certain!" he
Cinderella had a wonderful time at the
ball... But, all of a sudden, she heard the sound
of a clock: the first stroke of midnight! She
remembered what the fairy had said, and
without a word of goodbye she slipped from
the Prince's arms and ran down the steps. As
she ran she lost one of her slippers, but not for
a moment did she dream of stopping to pick it
up! If the last stroke of midnight were to
sound... oh... what a disaster that would be!
Out she fled and vanished into the night.
The Prince, who was now madly in love
with her, picked up her slipper and said to his
"Go and search everywhere for the girl
whose foot this slipper fits. I will never be
content until I find her!" So the ministers tried
the slipper on the foot of all the girls... and on
Cinderella's foot as well... Surprise! The
slipper fitted perfectly.
"That awful untidy girl simply cannot
have been at the ball," snapped the stepmother.
"Tell the Prince he ought to marry one of my
two daughters! Can't you see how ugly
Cinderella is! Can't you see?"
Suddenly she broke off, for the fairy
"That's enough!" she exclaimed, raising
her magic wand. In a flash, Cinderella
appeared in a splendid dress, shining with
youth and beauty. Her stepmother and
stepsisters gaped at her in amazement, and the
"Come with us, fair maiden! The Prince
awaits to present you with his engagement
ring!" So Cinderella joyfully went with them,
and lived happily ever after with her Prince.
And as for the cat, he just said "Miaow"!
A long time ago there were a king and queen
who said every day, "Ah, if only we had a
child," but they never had one.
But it happened that once when the queen was
bathing, a frog crept out of the water on to the
land, and said to her, "Your wish shall be
fulfilled, before a year has gone by, you shall
have a daughter."
What the frog had said came true, and the
queen had a little girl who was so pretty that
the king could not contain himself for joy, and
ordered a great feast. He invited not only his
kindred, friends and acquaintances, but also
the wise women, in order that they might be
kind and well disposed towards the child.
There were thirteen of them in his kingdom,
but, as he had only twelve golden plates for
them to eat out of, one of them had to be left
The feast was held with all manner of
splendor and when it came to an end the wise
women bestowed their magic gifts upon the
baby - one gave virtue, another beauty, a third
riches, and so on with everything in the world
that one can wish for.
When eleven of them had made their
promises, suddenly the thirteenth came in. She
wished to avenge herself for not having been
invited, and without greeting, or even looking
at anyone, she cried with a loud voice, "The
king's daughter shall in her fifteenth year prick
herself with a spindle, and fall down dead."
And, without saying a word more, she turned
round and left the room.
They were all shocked, but the twelfth,
whose good wish still remained unspoken,
came forward, and as she could not undo the
evil sentence, but only soften it, she said, it
shall not be death, but a deep sleep of a
hundred years, into which the princess shall
The king, who would fain keep his dear
child from the misfortune, gave orders that
every spindle in the whole kingdom should be
burnt. Meanwhile the gifts of the wise women
were plenteously fulfilled on the young girl,
for she was so beautiful, modest, good-natured,
and wise, that everyone who saw her was
bound to love her.
It happened that on the very day when she
was fifteen years old, the king and queen were
not at home, and the maiden was left in the
palace quite alone. So she went round into all
sorts of places, looked into rooms and
bed-chambers just as she liked, and at last
came to an old tower. She climbed up the
narrow winding staircase, and reached a little
door. A rusty key was in the lock, and when
she turned it the door sprang open, and there
in a little room sat an old woman with a
spindle, busily spinning her flax.
"Good day, old mother," said the king's
daughter, "what are you doing there?"
"I am spinning," said the old woman, and
nodded her head.
"What sort of thing is that, that rattles
round so merrily," said the girl, and she took
the spindle and wanted to spin too. But
scarcely had she touched the spindle when the
magic decree was fulfilled, and she pricked
her finger with it.
And, in the very moment when she felt the
prick, she fell down upon the bed that stood
there, and lay in a deep sleep. And this sleep
extended over the whole palace, the king and
queen who had just come home, and had
entered the great hall, began to go to sleep,
and the whole of the court with them. The
horses, too, went to sleep in the stable, the
dogs in the yard, the pigeons upon the roof,
the flies on the wall, even the fire that was
flaming on the hearth became quiet and slept,
the roast meat left off frizzling, and the cook,
who was just going to pull the hair of the
scullery boy, because he had forgotten
something, let him go, and went to sleep. And
the wind fell, and on the trees before the castle
not a leaf moved again.
But round about the castle there began to
grow a hedge of thorns, which every year
became higher, and at last grew close up
round the castle and all over it, so that there
was nothing of it to be seen, not even the flag
upon the roof. But the story of the beautiful
sleeping Briar Rose, for so the princess was
named, went about the country, so that from
time to time kings' sons came and tried to get
through the thorny hedge into the castle. But
they found it impossible, for the thorns held
fast together, as if they had hands, and the
youths were caught in them, could not get
loose again, and died a miserable death.
After long, long years a king's son came
again to that country, and heard an old man
talking about the thorn hedge, and that a castle
was said to stand behind it in which a
wonderfully beautiful princess, named Briar
Rose, had been asleep for a hundred years,
and that the king and queen and the whole
court were asleep likewise. He had heard, too,
from his grandfather, that many kings, sons
had already come, and had tried to get through
the thorny hedge, but they had remained
sticking fast in it, and had died a pitiful death.
Then the youth said, "I am not afraid, I
will go and see the beautiful Briar Rose." The
good old man might dissuade him as he would,
he did not listen to his words.
But by this time the hundred years had just
passed, and the day had come when Briar
Rose was to awake again. When the king's son
came near to the thorn hedge, it was nothing
but large and beautiful flowers, which parted
from each other of their own accord, and let
him pass unhurt, then they closed again
behind him like a hedge. In the castle yard he
saw the horses and the spotted hounds lying
asleep, on the roof sat the pigeons with their
heads under their wings. And when he entered
the house, the flies were asleep upon the wall,
the cook in the kitchen was still holding out
his hand to seize the boy, and the maid was
sitting by the black hen which she was going
He went on farther, and in the great hall he
saw the whole of the court lying asleep, and
up by the throne lay the king and queen. Then
he went on still farther, and all was so quiet
that a breath could be heard, and at last he
came to the tower, and opened the door into
the little room where Briar Rose was sleeping.
There she lay, so beautiful that he could
not turn his eyes away, and he stooped down
and gave her a kiss. But as soon as he kissed
her, Briar Rose opened her eyes and awoke,
and looked at him quite sweetly.
Then they went down together, and the
king awoke, and the queen, and the whole
court, and looked at each other in great
astonishment. And the horses in the courtyard
stood up and shook themselves, the hounds
jumped up and wagged their tails, the pigeons
upon the roof pulled out their heads from
under their wings, looked round, and flew into
the open country, the flies on the wall crept
again, the fire in the kitchen burned up and
flickered and cooked the meat, the joint began
to turn and sizzle again, and the cook gave the
boy such a box on the ear that he screamed,
and the maid finished plucking the fowl.
And then the marriage of the king's son
with Briar Rose was celebrated with all
splendor, and they lived contented to the end
of their days.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Once upon a time in a great castle, a Prince's
daughter grew up happy and contented, in
spite of a jealous stepmother. She was very
pretty, with blue eyes and long black hair. Her
skin was delicate and fair, and so she was
called Snow White. Everyone was quite sure
she would become very beautiful. Though her
stepmother was a wicked woman, she too was
very beautiful, and the magic mirror told her
this every day, whenever she asked it.
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the
loveliest lady in the land?" The reply was
always; "You are, your Majesty," until the
dreadful day when she heard it say, "Snow
White is the loveliest in the land."
The stepmother was furious and, wild with
jealousy, began plotting to get rid of her rival.
Calling one of her trusty servants, she bribed
him with a rich reward to take Snow White
into the forest, far away from the Castle. Then,
unseen, he was to put her to death. The greedy
servant, attracted to the reward, agreed to do
this deed, and he led the innocent little girl
away. However, when they came to the fatal
spot, the man's courage failed him and,
leaving Snow White sitting beside a tree, he
mumbled an excuse and ran off. Snow White
was all alone in the forest.
Night came, but the servant did not
return. Snow White, alone in the dark forest,
began to cry bitterly. She thought she could
feel terrible eyes spying on her, and she heard
strange sounds and rustlings that made her
heart thump. At last, overcome by tiredness,
she fell asleep curled under a tree.
Snow White slept fitfully, wakening
from time to time with a start and staring into
the darkness round her. Several times, she
thought she felt something, or somebody
touch her as she slept.
At last, dawn woke the forest to the
song of the birds, and Snow White too, awoke.
A whole world was stirring to life and the
little girl was glad to see how silly her fears
had been. However, the thick trees were like a
wall round her, and as she tried to find out
where she was, she came upon a path. She
walked along it, hopefully. On she walked till
she came to a clearing. There stood a strange
cottage, with a tiny door, tiny windows and a
tiny chimney pot. Everything about the
cottage was much tinier than it ought to be.
Snow White pushed the door open.
"l wonder who lives here?" she said to
herself, peeping round the kitchen. "What tiny
plates! And spoons! There must be seven of
them, the table's laid for seven people."
Upstairs was a bedroom with seven neat little
beds. Going back to the kitchen, Snow White
had an idea.
"I'll make them something to eat. When
they come home, they'll be glad to find a meal
ready." Towards dusk, seven tiny men
marched homewards singing. But when they
opened the door, to their surprise they found a
bowl of hot steaming soup on the table, and
the whole house spick and span. Upstairs was
Snow White, fast asleep on one of the beds.
The chief dwarf prodded her gently.
"Who are you?" he asked. Snow White
told them her sad story, and tears sprang to the
dwarfs' eyes. Then one of them said, as he
noisily blew his nose:
"Stay here with us!"
"Hooray! Hooray!" they cheered,
dancing joyfully round the little girl. The
dwarfs said to Snow White:
"You can live here and tend to the house
while we're down the mine. Don't worry about
your stepmother leaving you in the forest. We
love you and we'll take care of you!" Snow
White gratefully accepted their hospitality,
and next morning the dwarfs set off for work.
But they warned Snow White not to open the
door to strangers.
Meanwhile, the servant had returned to
the castle, with the heart of a roe deer. He
gave it to the cruel stepmother, telling her it
belonged to Snow White, so that he could
claim the reward. Highly pleased, the
stepmother turned again to the magic mirror.
But her hopes were dashed, for the mirror
replied: "The loveliest in the land is still Snow
White, who lives in the seven dwarfs' cottage,
down in the forest." The stepmother was
beside herself with rage.
"She must die! She must die!" she
screamed. Disguising herself as an old peasant
woman, she put a poisoned apple with the
others in her basket. Then, taking the quickest
way into the forest, she crossed the swamp at
the edge of the trees. She reached the bank
unseen, just as Snow White stood waving
goodbye to the seven dwarfs on their way to
Snow White was in the kitchen when
she heard the sound at the door: KNOCK!
"Who's there?" she called suspiciously,
remembering the dwarfs advice.
"I'm an old peasant woman selling
apples," came the reply.
"I don't need any apples, thank you,"
"But they are beautiful apples and ever
so juicy!" said the velvety voice from outside
"I'm not supposed to open the door to
anyone," said the little girl, who was reluctant
to disobey her friends.
Now chuckling evilly, the wicked
stepmother hurried off. But as she ran back
across the swamp, she tripped and fell into the
quicksand. No one heard her cries for help,
and she disappeared without a trace.
Meanwhile, the dwarfs came out of the
mine to find the sky had grown dark and
stormy. Loud thunder echoed through the
valleys and streaks of lightning ripped the sky.
Worried about Snow White they ran as
quickly as they could down the mountain to
There they found Snow White, lying
still and lifeless, the poisoned apple by her
side. They did their best to bring her around,
but it was no use.
They wept and wept for a long time.
Then they laid her on a bed of rose petals,
carried her into the forest and put her in a
Each day they laid a flower there.
Then one evening, they discovered a
strange young man admiring Snow White's
lovely face through the glass. After listening
to the story, the Prince (for he was a prince!)
made a suggestion.
being good, I'm
of one of my
a tiny crack, to
"If you allow me to take her to the
Castle, I'll call in famous doctors to waken her
from this peculiar sleep. She's so lovely I'd
love to kiss her!" He did, and as though by
magic, the Prince's kiss broke the spell. To
everyone's astonishment, Snow White opened
her eyes. She had amazingly come back to life!
Now in love, the Prince asked Snow White to
marry him, and the dwarfs reluctantly had to
say good bye to Snow White.
"There! Now isn't that a nice apple?"
Snow White bit into the fruit, and as she did,
fell to the ground in a faint: the effect of the
terrible poison left her lifeless instantaneously.
From that day on, Snow White lived
happily in a great castle. But from time to time,
she was drawn back to visit the little cottage
down in the forest.
"And quite right too! Good girl! If you
promised not to open up to strangers, then of
course you can't buy. You are a good girl
indeed!" Then the old woman went on.
"And as a reward for
going to make you a gift
apples!" Without a further
White opened the door just
take the apple.
Hansel and Gretel
Once upon a time a very poor woodcutter
lived in a tiny cottage in the forest with his
two children, Hansel and Gretel. His second
wife often ill-treated the children and was
forever nagging the woodcutter.
"There is not enough food in the house
for us all. There are too many mouths to feed!
We must get rid of the two brats," she declared.
And she kept on trying to persuade her
husband to abandon his children in the forest.
"Take them miles from home, so far that they
can never find their way back! Maybe
someone will find them and give them a
The downcast woodcutter didn't know what to
do. Hansel who, one evening, had overheard
his parents' conversation, comforted Gretel.
"Don't worry! If they do leave us in the
forest, we'll find the way home," he said. And
slipping out of the house he filled his pockets
with little white pebbles, then went back to
All night long, the woodcutter's wife
harped on and on at her husband till, at dawn,
he led Hansel and Gretel away into the forest.
But as they went into the depths of the trees,
Hansel dropped a little white pebble here and
there on the mossy green ground. At a certain
point, the two children found they really were
alone: the woodcutter had plucked up enough
courage to desert
them, had mumbled an excuse and was gone.
Night fell but the woodcutter did not
return. Gretel began to sob bitterly. Hansel too
felt scared but he tried to hide his feelings and
comfort his sister.
"Don't cry, trust me! I swear I'll take you
home even if Father doesn't come back for
us!" Luckily the moon was full that night and
Hansel waited till its cold light filtered
through the trees.
"Now give me your hand!" he said.
"We'll get home safely, you'll see!" The tiny
white pebbles gleamed in the moonlight, and
the children found their way home. They crept
through a half open window, without
wakening their parents. Cold, tired but
thankful to be home again, they slipped into
Next day, when their stepmother
discovered that Hansel and Gretel had
returned, she went into a rage. Stifling her
anger in front of the children, she locked her
bedroom door, reproaching her husband for
failing to carry out her orders. The weak
woodcutter protested, torn as he was between
shame and fear of disobeying his cruel wife.
The wicked stepmother kept Hansel and
Gretel under lock and key all day with nothing
for supper but a sip of water and some hard
bread. All night, husband and wife quarreled,
and when dawn came, the woodcutter led the
children out into the forest.
Hansel, however, had not eaten his bread,
and as he walked through the trees, he left a
trail of crumbs behind him to mark the way.
But the little boy had forgotten about the
hungry birds that lived in the forest. When
they saw him, they flew along behind and in
no time at all, had eaten all the crumbs. Again,
with a lame excuse, the woodcutter left his
two children by themselves.
"I've left a trail, like last time!" Hansel
whispered to Gretel, consolingly. But when
night fell, they saw to their horror, that all the
crumbs had gone.
"I'm frightened!" wept Gretel bitterly.
"I'm cold and hungry and I want to go home!"
"Don't be afraid. I'm here to look after
you!" Hansel tried to encourage his sister, but
he too shivered when he glimpsed frightening
shadows and evil eyes around them in the
darkness. All night the two children huddled
together for warmth at the foot of a large tree.
When dawn broke, they started to wander
about the forest, seeking a path, but all hope
soon faded. They were well and truly lost. On
they walked and walked, till suddenly they
came upon a strange cottage in the middle of a
"This is chocolate!" gasped Hansel as he
broke a lump of plaster from the wall.
complained. When will you become plump?"
One day the witch grew tired of waiting.
"And this is icing!" exclaimed Gretel,
putting another piece of wall in her mouth.
Starving but delighted, the children began to
eat pieces of candy broken off the cottage.
"Light the oven," she told Gretel. "We're
going to have a tasty roasted boy today!" A
little later, hungry and impatient, she went on:
"Run and see if the oven is hot enough."
Gretel returned, whimpering: "I can't tell if it
is hot enough or not." Angrily, the witch
screamed at the little girl: "Useless child! All
right, I'll see for myself." But when the witch
bent down to peer inside the oven and check
the heat, Gretel gave her a tremendous push
and slammed the oven door shut. The witch
had come to a fit and proper end. Gretel ran to
set her brother free and they made quite sure
that the oven door was tightly shut behind the
witch. Indeed, just to be on the safe side, they
fastened it firmly with a large padlock. Then
they stayed for several days to eat some more
of the house, till they discovered amongst the
witch's belongings, a huge chocolate egg.
Inside lay a casket of gold coins.
"Isn't this delicious?" said Gretel, with
her mouth full. She had never tasted anything
"We'll stay here," Hansel declared,
munching a bit of nougat. They were just
about to try a piece of the biscuit door when it
quietly swung open.
"Well, well!" said an old woman, peering
out with a crafty look. "And haven't you
children a sweet tooth?"
"Come in! Come in, you've nothing to
fear!" went on the old woman. Unluckily for
Hansel and Gretel, however, the sugar candy
cottage belonged to an old witch, her trap for
catching unwary victims. The two children
had come to a really nasty place.
"You're nothing but skin and bones!" said
the witch, locking Hansel into a cage. I shall
fatten you up and eat you!"
"You can do the housework," she told
Gretel grimly, "then I'll make a meal of you
too!" As luck would have it, the witch had
very bad eyesight, an when Gretel smeared
butter on her glasses, she could see even less.
"Let me feel your finger!" said the witch
to Hansel every day to check if he was getting
any fatter. Now, Gretel had brought her
brother a chicken bone, and when the witch
went to touch his finger, Hansel held out the
"The witch is now burnt to a cinder," said
Hansel, "so we'll take this treasure with us."
They filled a large basket with food and set off
into the forest to search for the way home.
This time, luck was with them, and on the
second day, they saw their father come out of
the house towards them, weeping.
"Your stepmother is dead. Come home
with me now, my dear children!" The two
children hugged the woodcutter.
"Promise you'll never ever desert us
again," said Gretel, throwing her arms round
her father's neck. Hansel opened the casket.
"Look, Father! We're rich now . . . You'll
never have to chop wood again."
And they all lived happily together ever
The Three Little Pigs
Once upon a time there were three little pigs,
who left their mummy and daddy to see the
All summer long, they roamed through
the woods and over the plains, playing games
and having fun. None were happier than the
three little pigs, and they easily made friends
with everyone. Wherever they went, they were
given a warm welcome, but as summer drew
to a close, they realized that folk were drifting
back to their usual jobs, and preparing for
winter. Autumn came and it began to rain.
The three little pigs started to feel they needed
a real home. Sadly they knew that the fun was
over now and they must set to work like the
others, or they'd be left in the cold and rain,
with no roof over their heads. They talked
about what to do, but each decided for himself.
The laziest little pig said he'd build a straw
"It will only take a day,' he said. The
"It's too fragile," they said disapprovingly,
but he refused to listen. Not quite so lazy, the
second little pig went in search of planks of
"Clunk! Clunk! Clunk!" It took him two
days to nail them together. But the third little
pig did not like the wooden house.
"That's not the way to build a house!" he
said. "It takes time, patience and hard work to
build a house that is strong enough to stand up
to wind, rain, and snow, and most of all,
protect us from the wolf!"
The days went by, and the wisest little
pig's house took shape, brick by brick. From
time to time, his brothers visited him, saying
with a chuckle.
"Why are you working so hard? Why
don't you come and play?" But the stubborn
bricklayer pig just said "no".
"I shall finish my house first. It must be
solid and sturdy. And then I'll come and play!"
he said. "I shall not be foolish like you! For he
who laughs last, laughs longest!"
It was the wisest little pig that found the
tracks of a big wolf in the neighborhood.
The little pigs rushed home in alarm.
Along came the wolf, scowling fiercely at the
laziest pig's straw hut.
"Come out!" ordered the wolf, his mouth
watering. I want to speak to you!"
"I'd rather stay where I am!" replied the
little pig in a tiny voice.
"I'll make you come out!" growled the
wolf angrily, and puffing out his chest, he took
a very deep breath. Then he blew with all his
might, right onto the house. And all the straw
the silly pig had heaped against some thin
poles, fell down in the great blast. Excited by
his own cleverness, the wolf did not notice
that the little pig had slithered out from
underneath the heap of straw, and was dashing
towards his brother's wooden house. When he
realized that the little pig was escaping, the
wolf grew wild with rage.
"Come back!" he roared, trying to catch
the pig as he ran into the wooden house. The
other little pig greeted his brother, shaking
like a leaf.
"I hope this house won't fall down! Let's
lean against the door so he can't break in!"
Outside, the wolf could hear the little
pigs' words. Starving as he was, at the idea of
a two course meal, he rained blows on the
"Open up! Open up! I only want to speak
Inside, the two brothers wept in fear and
did their best to hold the door fast against the
blows. Then the furious wolf braced himself a
new effort: he drew in a really enormous
breath, and went ... WHOOOOO! The wooden
house collapsed like a pack of cards.
Luckily, the wisest little pig had been
watching the scene from the window of his
own brick house, and he rapidly opened the
door to his fleeing brothers. And not a
moment too soon, for the wolf was already
hammering furiously on the door. This time,
the wolf had grave doubts. This house had a
much more solid air than the others. He blew
once, he blew again and then for a third time.
But all was in vain. For the house did not
budge an inch. The three little pigs watched
him and their fear began to fade. Quite
exhausted by his efforts, the wolf decided to
try one of his tricks. He scrambled up a nearby
ladder, on to the roof to have a look at the
chimney. However, the wisest little pig had
seen this ploy, and he quickly said.
The flames licked his hairy coat and his
tail became a flaring torch.
"Quick! Light the fire!" With his long
legs thrust down the chimney, the wolf was
not sure if he should slide down the black hole.
It wouldn't be easy to get in, but the sound of
the little pigs' voices below only made him
From that terrible day on, the wisest little
pig's brothers set to work with a will. In less
than no time, up went the two new brick
houses. The wolf did return once to roam in
the neighborhood, but when he caught sight of
three chimneys, he remembered the terrible
pain of a burnt tail, and he left for good.
"I'm dying of hunger! I'm going to try
and get down." And he let himself drop. But
landing was rather hot, too hot! The wolf
landed in the fire, stunned by his fall.
"Never again! Never again will I go
down a chimney" he squealed, as he tried to
put out the flames in his tail. Then he ran
away as fast as he could.
The three happy little pigs, dancing
round and round the yard, began to sing.
"Tra-la-la! Tra-la-la! The wicked black wolf
will never come back...!"
Now safe and happy, the wisest little pig
called to his brothers. "No more work! Come
on, let's go and play!"