GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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i4o               THE THREE GOLDEN HAIRS.
Then she turned him into an ant, and said, " Creep into the folds of my gown, there you will be safe."
" Yes," he replied, " that is all very good; but I have three things besides that I want to know; first, why a well, from which formerly wine used to flow, should be dry now, so that not even water can be got from it ? Secondly, why a tree that once bore golden apples, should now produce nothing but leaves ? And thirdly, why a ferryman is obliged to row forward and back every day, without ever leaving off?"
" These are difficult questions," said the old woman; " but keep still and quiet, and when the Demon comes in pay great attention to what he says, while I pull the golden hairs out of his head."
Late in the evening the Demon came home, and as soon as he entered he declared that the air was not clear. " I smell the flesh of man," he said, " and I am sure that there is some one here." So he peeped into all the corners, and searched everywhere, but could find nothing.
Then his old mother scolded him well, and said, "Just as I have been sweeping, and dusting, and putting everything in order, then you come home and give me all the work to do over again. You have always the smell of something in your nose; do sit down and eat your supper."
The Demon did as she told him, and when he had eaten and drank enough, he complained of being tired. So his mother made him lie down, so that she could place his head in her lap, and he was soon so comfortable that he fell fast asleep and snored.
Then the old woman lifted up a golden hair, twitched it out, and laid it by her side.
"Oh !" screamed the Demon, waking up, "what was that for?"
"I have had a bad dream," answered she, "and it made me catch hold of your hair."
" What did you dream about ?" asked the Demon.
" Oh, I dreamt of a well in a market-place from which wine once used to flow, but now it is dried up, and they can't even get water from it. Whose fault is that ?"
"Ah, they ought to know that there sits a toad under a stone in the well, and if he were dead wine would again flow."
Then the old woman combed his hairagaintill he slept and snored so loud that the windows rattled and she pulled out the second hair*