Изображения страниц


[ocr errors]

called him “Wallface.” The fifth was too red, so she called him “Cockscomb.” The sixth was not straight enough, so she said he was like a green stick that had been laid to dry over a baker's

And thus she had some joke to crack upon every one ; but she laughed more than all at a good king who was there. “Look at him," she said ; “his beard is like an old mop;

he shall be called Grisly-beard.” So the king got the nickname of Grisly-beard.

But the old king was very angry when he saw how his daughter behaved, and how she ill-treated all his guests; and he vowed that, willing or unwilling, she should marry the first beggar that came to the door.

Two days after, there came by a travelling musician, who began to sing under the window, and beg alms ; and when the king heard him, he said, “Let him come in.” So they brought in a dirty-looking fellow; and when he had sung before the king and the princess, he begged a boon. Then the king said, “You have sung so well that I will give you my daughter for your

wife." The princess begged and prayed; but the king said, “I have sworn to give you to the first beggar, and I will keep my word;" so words and tears were of no avail. The parson was sent for, and she was married to the musician. When this was over, the king said, “Now, get ready to go; you must not stay here—you must travel on with your husband.”

Then the beggar departed, and took her with him ; and they soon came to a great wood. "Pray,” said she, “whose is this wood ?”

“It belongs to King Grisly-beard," answered he. "Hadst thou taken him, all had been thine.” 6 Ah ! unlucky wretch that I am !” sighed she, “would that I had married King Grisly-beard !” Next they came to some fine meadows.

“Whose are these beautiful green meadows ?” said she. . “They belong to King Grisly-beard ; had’st thou taken him, they had all been thine.” “Ah! unlucky wretch that I am!” said she, “would that I had married King Grisly-beard !” They then came to a great city. “Whose is this noble city ?

“It belongs to King Grisly-beard ; had'st thou taken him, it had all been thine.” “Ah! miserable wretch that I am !” sighed she; “why did I not marry King Grisly-beard ?” “ That is po business of mine,” said the musician : “why should


said she.

you wish for another husband ? am not I good enough for


[ocr errors]

At last they came to a small cottage. “What a paltry place !" said she ; “ to whom does this dirty little place belong ?” The musician answered, “ That is your and my house, where we are to live.” “Where are your servants ?” cried she. “ What do we want with servants ?” said he ; "you must do for yourself whatever is to be done. Now make the fire, and put on water, and cook my supper, for I am very tired.” But the princess knew nothing of making fires and cooking, and the beggar was forced to help her. When they had eaten a very scanty meal, they went to bed ; but the musician called her up very early in the morning to clean the house. Thus they lived for two days; and when they had eaten up all that there was in the cottage the man said, “Wife, we cannot go on thus, spending money and earning nothing. You must learn to weave baskets." "Then he went out, and cut willows, and brought them home; and she began to weave, but it made her fingers very sore. " I see this work won't do,” said he: “try and spin; perhaps you will do that better.” So she sat down, and tried to spin ; but the thread cut her tender fingers till the blood ran. “See now," said the musician, “you are good for nothing; you can do no work. What a bargain I have got! However, I'll try and set up a trade in pots and pans, and you shall stand in the market and sell them." “Alas !” sighed she, “when I stand in the market, and my father's court pass by and see me there, how they will laugh at me !” But the beggar did not care for that, and said she must work, if she did not wish to die of hunger. At first the trade went well, for many people, seeing such a beautiful woman, went to buy her wares, and paid her money without thinking of taking the goods. They lived on this as long as it lasted, and then her husband bought a fresh lot of ware, and she sat herself down with it in the corner of the market ; but a drunken soldier soon came by, and rode his horse against her stall, and broke all her goods into a thousand pieces. Then she began to weep, and knew not what to do. “ Ah ! what will become of me !” said she ; “what will my husband say ?” So she ran home, and told him all. “Who would have thought you would have been so silly,” said he, “as to put an earthenware stall in the

any of


corner of the market where everybody passes ? But let us have no more crying : I see you are not fit for this sort of work; so I have been to the king's palace, and asked if they did not want a kitchen-maid, and they have promised to take you, and there you will have plenty to eat.”

Thus the princess became a kitchen-maid, and helped the cook to do all the dirtiest work. She was allowed to carry home some of the meat that was left ; and on this she and her husband lived.

She had not been there long before she heard that the king's eldest son was passing by, going to be married ; and she went to one of the windows and looked out. Everything was ready, and all the pomp and splendour of the court was there. Then she thought with an aching heart of her own sad fate, and bitterly grieved for the pride and folly which had brought her so low. And the servants gave her some of the rich meats, which she put into her basket to take home.

All on a sudden, as she was going out, in came the king's son in golden clothes ; and when he saw a beautiful woman at the door, he took her by the hand and said she should be his partner in the dance ; but she trembled for fear, for she saw that it was King Grisly-beard who was making sport of her. However, he kept fast hold, and led her in ; and the cover of the basket came off, so that the meats in it fell all about. Then everybody laughed and jeered at her ; and she was so abashed that she wished herself a thousand feet deep in the earth. She sprang to the door to run away ; but on the steps King Grisly-beard overtook her, and brought her back, and said—“Fear me not! I am the musician who has lived with you in the hut: I brought you there because I loved you. I am also the soldier who overset your stall. I have done all this only to cure you of pride, and to punish you for the ill-treatment you bestowed on me. Now all is over

-you have learnt wisdom ; and it is time to celebrate our marriage feast !”

Then the chamberlains came and brought her the most beautiful robes ; and her father and his whole court were there already, and congratulated her on her marriage. Joy was in every face. The feast was grand, and all were merry; and I wish you and I had been of the party.


Good-natured Little Boy.

LITTLE boy went out one morning, to walk to a village about five miles from the place where he lived, and carried with him in a basket the provision that was to serve him the whole day. As he was walking along, a poor half-starved dog came up to him, wagging his tail, and seeming to entreat him to take

compassion on him. The little boy at first took no notice of him, but at length remarking how lean and famished the creature seemed to be, he said, “This animal is certainly in very great necessity; if I give him part of my provision, I shall

; be compelled to go home hungry myself; however, as he seems to want it more than I do, he shall partake with me.” Saying this, he gave the dog part of what he had in the basket, who ate as if he had not tasted victuals for a fortnight.

The little boy then went on a little further, his dog still following him, and fawning upon him with the greatest gratitude and affection ; when he saw a poor old horse lying upon the ground, and groaning as if he was very ill. He went up to him, and saw that he was almost starved, and so weak that he was unable to rise. “I am very much afraid," said the little boy, “ if I stay to assist this horse, that it will be dark before I can return, and I have heard that there are several thieves in the neighbourhood. However, I will try; it is doing a good action to attempt to relieve him; and God Almighty will take care of me.” He then

; went and gathered some grass, which he carried to the horse's mouth, who immediately began to eat with as much relish as if his chief disease was hunger. He then fetched some water in his hat, which the animal drank up, and seemed immediately so much refreshed, that, after a few trials, he got up, and began grazing.

The little boy then went on a little further, and saw a man wading about in a pond of water, without being able to get out of it, in spite of all his endeavours. “What is the matter, good man ?” said the little boy to him; “can't you

find of this pond ?” No, God bless you, my worthy master, or miss," said the man," for such I take you to be by your voice ;

your way out


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

I have fallen into this pond, and know not how to get out again, as I am quite blind; and I am almost afraid to move, for fear of being drowned.” “Well,” said the boy, “ though I shall be wetted to the skin, if you will throw me your stick I will try to help you out of it." The blind man then threw the stick to that side on which he heard the voice ; the little boy caught it. Feeling very carefully before him, lest he should unguardedly go beyond his depth, at length he reached the blind man, took him very carefully by the hand, and led him out. The blind man then gave him a thousand blessings, and told him he could grope out his way home; and the little boy ran as hard as he could to prevent being benighted.

But he had not proceeded far before he saw a poor sailor, who had lost both his legs in an engagement by sea, hopping along on crutches. “God bless you, my little master,” said the sailor ; "I have fought many a battle with the French to defend poor Old England; but now I am crippled, as you see, and have neither victuals nor money, although I am almost famished.” The little boy could not resist the inclination to relieve him, so he gave

him all his remaining victuals, and said, “ God help you, poor man! this is all I have, otherwise you should have more. He then ran along, and presently arrived at the town he was going to, did his business, and returned towards his own home with all the expedition he was able.

But he had not got much more than half way before the night shut in extremely dark, without either moon or stars to light him. The poor little boy used his utmost endeavours to find his way, but unfortunately missed it in turning down a lane, which brought him into a wood, where he wandered about a great while without being able to find any path to lead him out. Tired out at last and hungry, he felt himself so feeble that he could go no further, but sat himself down upon the ground, crying most bitterly. In this situation he remained for some time, till at last the little dog, who had never forsaken him, came up to him wagging his tail, and holding something in his mouth. The little boy took it from him, and saw it was a handkerchief nicely pinned together, which somebody had dropped, and the dog had picked up; and on opening it he found several slices of bread and meat, which he ate with great satisfaction, and felt himself

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »