The Grey Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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138 HERR LAZARUS AND THE DRAKEN
But the Draken called out: ' On no account, Herr Lazarus, else we shall all die of thirst; rather will we carry the water ourselves in turns, and you alone shall be exempt.'
Next it comes to be Lazarus's turn to bring the wood. Now the Draken, when they fetched the wood, always took an entire tree on their shoulder, and so carried it home. Because Lazarus could not imitate them in this, he went to the forest, tied all the trees together with a thick rope, and remained in the forest till evening. Again the Draken sent one of them after him to see what had become of him, and when this one asked what he was about, Lazarus answered: ' I will bring the entire forest home at once, so that after that we may have rest.'
But the Draken called out: ' By no means, Herr Lazarus, else we shall all die of cold; rather will we go ourselves to bring wood, and let you be free.' And then the Draken tore up one tree, threw it over his shoulder, and so carried it home.
"When they had lived together some time, the Draken became weary of Lazarus, and agreed among them­selves to kill him; each Draken, in the night while Lazarus slept, should strike him a blow with a hatchet. But Lazarus heard of this scheme, and when the evening came, he took a log of wood, covered it with his cloak, laid it in the place where he usually slept, and then hid himself. In the night the Draken came, and each one hit the log a blow with his hatchet, till it flew in pieces.
Then they believed their object was gained, and they lay down again.
Thereupon Lazarus took the log, threw it away, and laid himself down in its stead. Towards dawn, he began to groan, and when the Draken heard that, they asked what ailed him, to which he made answer: ' The gnats have stung me horribly.'
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