The children took all the pains they could to pull the Dwarf's beard out; but without success. "I will run and fetch some help," cried Rose-Red at length.
"Crack-brained sheep's head that you are!" snarled the Dwarf; "what are you going to call other people for? You are two too many now for me; can you think of nothing else?"
"Don't be impatient," replied Snow-White; "I have thought of something;" and pulling her scissors out of her pocket she cut off the end of the beard. As soon as the Dwarf found himself at liberty, he snatched up his sack, which lay between the roots of the tree, filled with gold, and throwing it over his shoulder marched off, grumbling and groaning and crying: "Stupid people! to cut off a piece of my beautiful beard. Plague take you!" and away he went without once looking at the children.
Some time afterward Snow-White and Rose-Red went a-fishing, and as they neared the pond they saw something like a great locust hopping about on the bank, as if going to jump into the water. They ran up and recognized the Dwarf. "What are you after?" asked Rose-Red; "you will fall into the water." "I am not quite such a simpleton as that,"
replied the Dwarf: "but do you not see this fish will pull me in?" The little man had been sitting there angling, and unfortunately the wind had entangled his beard with the fishing line; and so, when a great fish bit at the bait, the strength of the weak little fellow was not able to draw it out, and the fish had the best of the struggle. The Dwarf held on by the reeds and rushes which grew near; but to no purpose, for the fish pulled him where it liked, and he must soon have been drawn into the pond. Luckily just then the two Maidens arrived, and tried to release the beard of the Dwarf from the fishing line; but both were too closely entangled for it to be done. So the Maiden pulled out her scissors again and cut off another piece of the beard.
When the Dwarf saw this done he was in a great rage, and exclaimed: "You donkey! that is the way to disfigure my face. Was it not enough to cut it once, but you must now take away the best part of my fine beard? I dare not show myself again now to my own people. I wish you had run the soles off your boots before you had come here!" So saying, he took up a bag of pearls which lay among the rushes, and without speaking another word, slipped off and disappeared behind a stone.
Not many days after this adventure, it chanced that the Mother sent the two Maidens to the next town to buy thread, needles and pins, laces and ribbons. Their road passed over a common, on which here and there great pieces of rock were lying about. Just over their heads they saw a great bird flying round and round, and every now and then, dropping lower and lower, till at last it flew down behind a rock. Immediately afterward they heard a piercing shriek, and running up they saw with affright that the eagle had caught their old acquaintance. the Dwarf, and was trying to carry him off. The compassionate children thereupon laid hold of the little man, and held him fast till the bird gave up the struggle and flew off. As soon then as the Dwarf had recovered from his fright, he exclaimed in his squeaking voice: "Could you not hold me more gently? You have seized my fine brown coat in such a manner that it is all torn and full of holes, meddling and interfering rubbish that you are!" With these words he shouldered a bag filled with precious stones, and slipped away to his cave among the rocks.
The maidens were now accustomed to his ingratitude, and so they walked on to the town and transacted their business there. Coming home, they returned over the same common, and unawares walked up to a certain clean spot on which the Dwarf had shaken out his bag of precious stones, thinking nobody was near. The sun was shining, and the bright stones glittered in its beams and displayed such a variety of colors that the two Maidens stopped to admire them.
"What are you standing there gaping for?" asked the Dwarf, while his face grew as red as copper with rage; he was continuing to abuse the poor Maidens, when a loud roaring noise was heard, and presently a great black Bear came rolling out of the forest. The Dwarf jumped up terrified, but he could not gain his retreat before the Bear overtook him. Thereupon, he cried out: "Spare me, my dear Lord Bear! I will give you all my treasures. See these beautiful precious stones which lie here; only give me my life; for what have you to fear from a little weak fellow like me? you could not touch me with your big teeth.
There are two wicked girls, take them; they would make nice morsels, as fat as young quails; eat them for heaven's sake."
The Bear, however, without troubling himself to speak, gave the bad- hearted Dwarf a single blow with his paw, and he never stirred after.
The Maidens were then going to run away, but the Bear called after them: "Snow-White and Rose-Red, fear not! wait a bit and I will accompany you." They recognized his voice and stopped; and when the Bear came, his rough coat suddenly fell off, and he stood up a tall man, dressed entirely in gold. "I am a king's son," he said, "and was condemned by the wicked Dwarf, who stole all my treasures, to wander about in this forest, in the form of a bear, till his death released me. Now he has received his well-deserved punishment."
Then they went home, and Snow-White was married to the prince, and Rose-Red to his brother, with whom they shared the immense treasure which the Dwarf had collected. The old Mother also lived for many years happily with her two children, and the rose trees which had stood before the cottage were planted now before the palace, and produced every year beautiful red and white roses.
THE UGLY DUCKLING
By Hans Christian Andersen
IT was so glorious out in the country; it was summer; the cornfields were yellow, the oats were green, the hay had been put up in stacks in the green meadows, and the stork went about on his long red legs, and chattered Egyptian, for this was the language he had learned from his good mother. All around the fields and meadows were great forests, and in the midst of these forests lay deep lakes. Yes, it was right glorious out in the country. In the midst of the sunshine there lay an old farm, with deep canals about it, and from the wall down to the water grew great burdocks, so high that little children could stand upright under the loftiest of them. It was just as wild there as in the deepest wood, and here sat a Duck upon her nest; she had to hatch her ducklings; but she was almost tired out before the little ones came; and then she so seldom had visitors. The other ducks liked better to swim about in the canals than to run up to sit down under a burdock, and cackle with her.
At last one egg-shell after another burst open. "Piep! piep!" it cried, and in all the eggs there were little creatures that stuck out their heads.
"Quack! quack!" they said; and they all came quacking out as fast as they could, looking all round them under the green leaves; and the mother let them look as much as they chose, for green is good for the eye.
"How wide the world is!" said all the young ones, for they certainly had much more room now than when they were in the eggs.
"D'ye think this is all the world?" said the mother. "That stretches far across the other side of the garden, quite into the parson's field; but I have never been there yet. I hope you are all together," and she stood up. "No, I have not all. The largest egg still lies there. How long is that to last? I am really tired of it." And she sat down again.
"Well, how goes it?" asked an old Duck who had come to pay her a visit.
"It lasts a long time with that one egg," said the Duck who sat there.
"It will not burst. Now, only look at the others; are they not the prettiest little ducks one could possibly see? They are all like their father: the rogue, he never comes to see me."
"Let me see the egg which will not burst," said the old visitor. "You may be sure it is a turkey's egg. I was once cheated in that way, and had much anxiety and trouble with the young ones, for they are afraid of the water. Must I say it to you, I could not get them to venture in. I quacked and I clacked, but it was no use. Let me see the egg.
Yes, that's a turkey's egg. Let it lie there, and teach the other children to swim."
"I think I will sit on it a little longer," said the Duck. "I've sat so long now that I can sit a few days more."
"Just as you please," said the old Duck; and she went away.
At last the great egg burst. "Piep! piep!" said the little one, and crept forth, it was very large and very ugly. The Duck looked at it.
"It's a very large duckling," said she; "none of the others look like that: can it really be a turkey chick? Well, we shall soon find out.
It must go into the water, even if I have to thrust it in myself."
The next day, it was bright, beautiful weather; the sun shone on all the green trees. The Mother Duck went down to the canal with all her family. Splash! she jumped into the water. "Quack! quack!" she said, and one duckling after another plunged in. The water closed over their heads, but they came up in an instant, and swam capitally; their legs went of themselves, and they were all in the water. The ugly gray Duckling swam with them.
"No, it's not a turkey," said she; "look how well it can use its legs, and how straight it holds itself. It is my own child! On the whole it's quite pretty, if one looks at it rightly. Quack! quack! come with me, and I'll lead you out into the great world, and present you in the duckyard; but keep close to me, so that no one may tread on you, and take care of the cats!"
And so they came into the duckyard. There was a terrible riot, going on in there, for two families were quarreling about an eel's head, and the cat got it after all.
"See, that's how it goes in the world!" said the Mother Duck; and she whetted her beak, for she too wanted the eel's head. "Only use your legs," she said. "See that you can bustle about, and bow your heads before the old Duck yonder. She's the grandest of all here; she's of Spanish blood-that's why she's so fat; and d'ye see she has a red rag round her leg; that's something particularly fine, and the greatest distinction a duck can enjoy; it signifies that one does not want to lose her, and that she's to be known by the animals and by men too.
Shake yourselves-don't turn in your toes; a well-brought-up duck turns its toes quite out, just like father and mother-so! Now bend your necks and say 'Quack!'"
And they did so: but the other ducks round about looked at them, and said quite boldly:
"Look there! now we're to have these hanging on, as if there were not enough of us already! And- fie!-how that Duckling yonder looks; we won't stand that!" And one duck flew up at it, and bit it in the neck.
"Let it alone," said the mother: "it does no harm to anyone."
"Yes, but it's too large and peculiar," said the Duck who had bitten it; "and therefore it must be put down."
"Those are pretty children that the mother has there," said the old Duck with the rag round her leg. They're all pretty but that one; that was rather unlucky. I wish she could bear it over again."
"That cannot be done, my lady," replied the Mother Duck. "It is not pretty, but it has a really good disposition, and swims as well as any other; yes, I may even say it, swims better. I think it will grow up pretty, and become smaller in time; it has lain too long in the egg, and therefore is not properly shaped." And then she pinched it in the neck, and smoothed its feathers. Moreover it is a drake," she said, "and therefore it is not so much consequence. I think he will be very strong: he makes his way already."
"The other duckling's are graceful enough," said the old Duck. "Make yourself at home; and if you find an eel's head, you may bring it to me."
And now they were at home. But the poor Duckling which had crept last out of the egg, and looked so ugly, was bitten and pushed and jeered, as much by the ducks as by the chickens.
"It is too big!" they all said. And the turkey cock, who had been born with spurs, and therefore thought himself an emperor, blew himself up like a ship in full sail, and bore straight down upon it; then he gobbled and grew quite red in the face. The poor Duckling did not know where it should stand or walk; it was quite melancholy because it looked ugly, and was the butt of the whole duckyard.
So it went on the first day; and afterward it became worse and worse.
The poor Duckling was hunted about by everyone: even its brothers and sisters were quite angry with it, and said: "If the cat would only catch you, you ugly creature!" And the mother said: "If you were only far away!" And the ducks hit it, and the chickens beat it, and the girl who had to feed the poultry kicked at it with her foot.
Then it ran and flew over the fence, and the little birds in the bushes flew up in fear.
"That is because I am so ugly!" thought the Duckling; and it shut its eyes, but flew on further; and so it came out into the great moor, where the wild ducks lived. Here it lay the whole night long; and it was weary and downcast.
Toward morning the wild chicks flew up, and looked at their new companion.
"What sort of a one are you?" they asked; and the Duckling turned in every direction, and bowed as well as it could. You are remarkably ugly!" said the Wild Ducks. "But that is nothing to us, so long as you do not marry into our family."
Poor thing! it certainly did not think of marrying, and only hoped to obtain leave to lie among the reeds and drink some of the swamp water.
Thus it lay two whole days; then came thither two wild geese, or, properly speaking, two wild ganders. It was not long since each had crept out of an egg, and that's why they were so saucy.
"Listen, comrade," said one of them. "You're so ugly that I like you.
Will you go with us, and become a bird of passage? Near here, in another moor, there are a few sweet lovely geese, all unmarried, and all able to say 'Rap?' You've a chance of' making your fortune, ugly as you are."
"Piff! paff!" resounded through the air; and the two ganders fell down dead in the swamp, and the water became blood red. "Piff paff!" it sounded again, and the whole flock of wild geese rose up from the reeds. And then there was another report. A great hunt was going on.