The Blue Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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need. I had successfully driven in the wedge, and all was going well, but the cursed wood was so slippery that it suddenly sprang out, and the tree closed up so rapidly that I had no time to take my beautiful white beard out, so here I am stuck fast, and I can't get away; and you silly, smooth-faced, milk-and-water girls just stand and laugh ! Ugh ! what wretches you are !'
The children did all in their power, but they couldn't get the beard out; it was wedged in far too firmly. ' I will run and fetch somebody,' said Rose-red. '.Crazy blockheads!' snapped the dwarf; ' what's the good of calling anyone else ? you're already two too many for me. Does nothing better occur to you than that ? ' ' Don't be so impatient,' said Snow-white,' I'll see you get help;' and taking her scissors out'of her pocket she cut the end off his beard. As ,«oon as the dwarf felt himself free he seized a bag full of gold which was hidden among the roots of the tree, lifted it up, and mut­tered aloud: ' Curse these rude wretches, cutting off a piece of my splendid beard! ' With these words he swung the bag over his back, and disappeared without as much as looking at the children' Again.
Shortly after this Snow-white and Rose-red went out to get a dish of fish. As they approached the stream they saw something which looked like an enormous grasshopper, springing towards the water as if it were going to jump in. They ran forward and recog­nised their old friend the dwarf. ' Where are'you going to ? ' asked Rose-red; ' you're surely not going to jump into the water ? ' ' I'm not such a fool,' screamed the dwarf. ' Don't you see that cursed fish is trying to drag me in ? ' The little man had been sitting on the bank fishing, when unfortunately the wind had entangled his beard in the line ; and when immediately afterwards a big fish bit, the feeble little creature had no strength to pull it out; the fish had the upper fin, and dragged the dwarf towards him. He clung on with all his might to every rush and blade of grass, but it didn't help him much; he had to follow every movement of the fish, and was in great danger of being drawn into the water. The girls came up just at the right moment, held him firm, and did all they could to disen­tangle his beard from the line; but in vain, beard and line were in a hopeless muddle. Nothing remained but to produce the scissors and cut the beard, by which a small part of it was sacrificed.
When the dwarf perceived what they were about he yelled to them: ' Do you call that manners, you toadstools! to disfigure a fellow's face ? it wasn't enough that you shortened my beard before,
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