GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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Immediately there came tumbling down the chimney nine more of these horrid men, one after the other; each of them held a human thigh bone in his hand, and the first who appeared brought out two skulls, and presently they set up the nine bones like skittles, and began to play, with the skulls for balls.
"Shall I play with you?" asked Hans, after he had looked on for some time.
"Yes, willingly," they replied, "if you have any money?"
"Plenty," he said; "but your balls are not quite round." So he took the skulls and turned them on his lathe. " Now they will roll better; come on, let us set to work."
The strange men played with great spirit, and won a few of his dollars; but all at once the cock crew, and they vanished from his eyes. After they were gone he laid himself down and slept peacefully till the king arrived, and asked him what had hap­pened, and how it had fared with him during the night.
"Well," said Hans, "I played a game of skittles with some horrid looking fellows who had bones and skulls for skittles and balls; I won sometimes, and I lost a couple of dollars."
"Did you not shiver and shake?" asked the king, in surprise.
"Not I, indeed! I wish I could ! Oh ! if I only knew how to shiver and shake."
The third night came, and found our hero once more seated on his bench by the fire, and saying quite mournfully, " When shall I ever learn to shiver and shake ?"
As he spoke there came into the room six tall men, bearing a coffin containing a dead man.
"Ah!" said Hans, "I know what you have there, it is the body of my cousin. He has been dead two days. Then he beck­oned with his finger and said, " Come here, little cousin, I should like to see you !"
The men placed the coffin on the ground before him, and took off the lid. Hans touched the face, and it felt as cold as ice. "Wait," he said, "I will soon warm it!" so he went to the fire, and warming his hand, laid it on the face of the dead man, which remained as cold as ever.
At last he took him out of the coffin, carried him to the fire, and placed him on his lap, while he rubbed the hands and chest that he might cause the blood to circulate, but all to no purpose j