Once a little girl was told by her mother to bring some bread and
to her grandmother. As the girl was walking through the forest, a
wolf came up to her and asked where she was going.
"To grandmother's house," she replied.
"Which path are you taking, the path of the pins or the path of the needles?"
"The path of the needles."
So the wolf took the path of the pins and arrived first at the house. He killed grandmother, poured her blood into a bottle, and sliced her flesh onto a platter. Then he got into her nightclothes and waited in bed.
"Come in, my dear."
"Hello, grandmother. I've brought you some bread and milk."
"Have something yourself, my dear. There is meat and wine in the pantry."
So the little girl ate what was offered and as she did, a little cat said, "Slut! To eat the flesh and drink the blood of your grandmother!"
Then the wolf said, "Undress and get into bed with me."
"Where shall I put my apron?"
"Throw it on the fire; you won't need it any more."
For each garment--bodice, skirt, petticoat, and stockings--the girl asked the same question; and each time the wolf answered, "Throw it on the fire; you won't need it any more."
When the girl got in bed, she said, "Oh grandmother! How hairy you are!"
"It's to keep me warmer, my dear."
"Oh, grandmother! What big shoulders you have!"
"I'ts for better carrying firewood, my dear."
"Oh, grandmother! What long nails you have!"
"It's for scratching myself better, my dear."
"Oh, grandmother! What big teeth you have!"
"It's for eating you better, my dear."
"And he ate her."
2. The Master Cat; or, Puss in Boots
There was a miller whose only inheritance to his three sons was his mill, his donkey, and his cat. The division was soon made. They hired neither a clerk nor an attorney, for they would have eaten up all the poor patrimony. The eldest took the mill, the second the donkey, and the youngest nothing but the cat.
The poor young fellow was quite comfortless for having received so little. "My brothers," said he, "may make a handsome living by joining their shares together; but, for my part, after I have eaten up my cat, and made myself a muff from his skin, I must then die of hunger."
The cat, who heard all this, but pretended otherwise, said to him with a grave and serious air, "Do not be so concerned, my good master. If you will but give me a bag, and have a pair of boots made for me, that I may scamper through the dirt and the brambles, then you shall see that you are not so poorly off with me as you imagine."
The cat's master did not build very much upon what he said. However, he had often seen him play a great many cunning tricks to catch rats and mice, such as hanging by his heels, or hiding himself in the meal, and pretending to be dead; so he did take some hope that he might give him some help in his miserable condition.
After receiving what he had asked for, the cat gallantly pulled on the boots and slung the bag about his neck. Holding its drawstrings in his forepaws, he went to a place where there was a great abundance of rabbits. He put some bran and greens into his bag, then stretched himself out as if he were dead. He thus waited for some young rabbits, not yet acquainted with the deceits of the world, to come and look into his bag.
He had scarcely lain down before he had what he wanted. A rash and foolish young rabbit jumped into his bag, and the master cat, immediately closed the strings, then took and killed him without pity.
Proud of his prey, he went with it to the palace, and asked to speak with his majesty. He was shown upstairs into the king's apartment, and, making a low bow, said to him, "Sir, I have brought you a rabbit from my noble lord, the Master of Carabas" (for that was the title which the cat was pleased to give his master).
"Tell your master," said the king, "that I thank him, and that I am very pleased with his gift."
Another time he went and hid himself in a grain field. He again held his bag open, and when a brace of partridges ran into it, he drew the strings, and caught them both. He presented these to the king, as he had done before with the rabbit. The king, in like manner, received the partridges with great pleasure, and gave him a tip. The cat continued, from time to time for two or three months, to take game to his majesty from his master.
One day, when he knew for certain that the king would be taking a drive along the riverside with his daughter, the most beautiful princess in the world, he said to his master, "If you will follow my advice your fortune is made. All you must do is to go and bathe yourself in the river at the place I show you, then leave the rest to me."
The Marquis of Carabas did what the cat advised him to, without knowing why. While he was bathing the king passed by, and the cat began to cry out, "Help! Help! My Lord Marquis of Carabas is going to be drowned."
At this noise the king put his head out of the coach window, and, finding it was the cat who had so often brought him such good game, he commanded his guards to run immediately to the assistance of his lordship the Marquis of Carabas. While they were drawing the poor Marquis out of the river, the cat came up to the coach and told the king that, while his master was bathing, some rogues had come by and stolen his clothes, even though he had cried out, "Thieves! Thieves!" several times, as loud as he could. In truth, the cunning cat had hidden the clothes under a large stone.
The king immediately commanded the officers of his wardrobe to run and fetch one of his best suits for the Lord Marquis of Carabas.
The king received him very courteously. And, because the king's fine clothes gave him a striking appearance (for he was very handsome and well proportioned), the king's daughter took a secret inclination to him. The Marquis of Carabas had only to cast two or three respectful and somewhat tender glances at her but she fell head over heels in love with him. The king asked him to enter the coach and join them on their drive.
The cat, quite overjoyed to see how his project was succeeding, ran on ahead. Meeting some countrymen who were mowing a meadow, he said to them, "My good fellows, if you do not tell the king that the meadow you are mowing belongs to my Lord Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped up like mincemeat."
The king did not fail to ask the mowers whose meadow it was that they were mowing.
"It belongs to my Lord Marquis of Carabas," they answered altogether, for the cat's threats had frightened them.
"You see, sir," said the Marquis, "this is a meadow which never fails to yield a plentiful harvest every year."
The master cat, still running on ahead, met with some reapers, and said to them, "My good fellows, if you do not tell the king that all this grain belongs to the Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped up like mincemeat."
The king, who passed by a moment later, asked them whose grain it was that they were reaping.
"It belongs to my Lord Marquis of Carabas," replied the reapers, which pleased both the king and the marquis. The king congratulated him for his fine harvest. The master cat continued to run ahead and said the same words to all he met. The king was astonished at the vast estates of the Lord Marquis of Carabas.
The master cat came at last to a stately castle, the lord of which was an ogre, the richest that had ever been known. All the lands which the king had just passed by belonged to this castle. The cat, who had taken care to inform himself who this ogre was and what he could do, asked to speak with him, saying he could not pass so near his castle without having the honor of paying his respects to him.
The ogre received him as civilly as an ogre could do, and invited him to sit down. "I have heard," said the cat, "that you are able to change yourself into any kind of creature that you have a mind to. You can, for example, transform yourself into a lion, an elephant, or the like."
"That is true," answered the ogre very briskly; "and to convince you, I shall now become a lion."
The cat was so terrified at the sight of a lion so near him that he leaped onto the roof, which caused him even more difficulty, because his boots were of no use at all to him in walking on the tiles. However, the ogre resumed his natural form, and the cat came down, saying that he had been very frightened indeed.
"I have further been told," said the cat, "that you can also transform yourself into the smallest of animals, for example, a rat or a mouse. But I can scarcely believe that. I must admit to you that I think that that would be quite impossible."
"Impossible!" cried the ogre. "You shall see!"
He immediately changed himself into a mouse and began to run about the floor. As soon as the cat saw this, he fell upon him and ate him up.
Meanwhile the king, who saw this fine castle of the ogre's as he passed, decided to go inside. The cat, who heard the noise of his majesty's coach running over the drawbridge, ran out and said to the king, "Your majesty is welcome to this castle of my Lord Marquis of Carabas."
"What! my Lord Marquis," cried the king, "and does this castle also belong to you? There can be nothing finer than this court and all the stately buildings which surround it. Let us go inside, if you don't mind."
The marquis gave his hand to the princess, and followed the king, who went first. They passed into a spacious hall, where they found a magnificent feast, which the ogre had prepared for his friends, who were coming to visit him that very day, but dared not to enter, knowing the king was there.
His majesty was perfectly charmed with the good qualities of my Lord Marquis of Carabas, as was his daughter, who had fallen violently in love with him, and, seeing the vast estate he possessed, said to him, after having drunk five or six glasses, "It will be your own fault, my Lord Marquis, if you do not become my son-in-law."
The marquis, making several low bows, accepted the honor which his majesty conferred upon him, and forthwith, that very same day, married the princess.
The cat became a great lord, and never again ran after mice, except
3. The Witches' Revenge
Germany, J. G. Th. Grässe
Many years ago a night watchman in Schwerte was courting two sisters at the same time, but without being serious about marriage. Each of them asked him about this several times, but to no avail. Therefore at last they got together and swore revenge against him. Now both of these sisters were witches. One night when the night watchman was lying in bed there came a knock at his window. When he opened it, the two of them took hold of him, picked him up, and carried him high into the air. At first they wanted to throw him into the Ruhr River, but they reconsidered and set him, entirely naked, at the top of a tall tree where he was found half dead the next day.
4. Frau Trude
Germany, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Once upon a time there was a small girl who was strong willed and forward, and whenever her parents said anything to her, she disobeyed them. How could anything go well with her?
One day she said to her parents: "I have heard so much about Frau Trude. Someday I want to go to her place. People say such amazing things are seen there, and such strange things happen there, that I have become very curious.
Her parents strictly forbade her, saying: "Frau Trude is a wicked woman who commits godless acts. If you go there, you will no longer be our child.
But the girl paid no attention to her parents and went to Frau Trude's place anyway.
When she arrived there, Frau Trude asked: "Why are you so pale?"
"Oh," she answered, trembling all over, "I saw something that frightened me."
"What did you see?"
"I saw a black man on your steps."
"That was a charcoal burner."
"Then I saw a green man."
"That was a huntsman."
"Then I saw a blood-red man."
"That was a butcher."
"Oh, Frau Trude, it frightened me when I looked through your window and could not see you, but instead saw the devil with a head of fire."
"Aha!" she said. "So you saw the witch properly outfitted. I have been waiting for you and wanting you for a long time. Light the way for me now!"
With that she turned to girl into a block of wood and threw it into
the fire. When it was thoroughly aglow she sat down next to it, and
warmed herself by it, saying: "It gives such a bright light!
5. Two Eyes Too Many
Germany, Carl and Theodor Colshorn
In Hiddestorf, not too long ago, there lived a widow who every Sunday was miraculously able to cook the most delicious meals. By the time that the servant girls had gone to church in the morning, she had not yet made a fire, had not cleaned the vegetables, and had not even fetched any meat. But by the time church was finished, the best meal was on the table.
Because that was not possible with ordinary powers, one Sunday a servant hid himself behind a large barrel in the kitchen in order to spy on the woman.
Just about the time the sermon was beginning there was a commotion in the chimney, and the devil came down and began to caress the woman. Afterward he started to fill the pots for her, but he suddenly stood still and said, "Woman, there are two eyes too many in here!" She denied it. "There are two eyes too many in here!" he said again, but when the woman began to make fun of him, he filled the pots and disappeared up the chimney.
At noon when everyone was seated at the table, the servant said, "I don't want to eat, because I know that it came from the devil!"
He had scarcely spoken when the Black One came in through the window, grabbed the woman by her braid, wrung her neck, and flew out the window with her.