GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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THE THREE LANGUAGES.
At first he hesitated to reply, for he could scarcely believe he was suitable for such a high station; but the doves, whose language he understood, whispered that it was right to do as the people wished, so at last he said "Yes."
Then was he anointed and consecrated, and so was fulfilled the prophecy which he had heard in the frogs' croak, and which had made him so unhappy, namely, that before a month had passed he would be a priest.
Of course, after this, he had to be present at high mass, and sing the parts, although he could not read a word of the Latin. However, the two doves who again perched themselves on his shoulders, whispered the words into his ears; and so, after all, his acquaintance with the languages of dogs, frogs, and birds was of as much use to him as if he had been a man of great learning.
There was once a man and woman who had an only daughter, and they thought her so wonderfully clever that they gave her the name of "the clever Elfe." One day her father said to his wife, " Our daughter is now grown up and we must get her married soon."
" Yes," replied the mother, "if we find any one who will have her."
Not long after this a young man named Hans came to ask these good people for their daughter, yet he made one decided condition, that if he did not find her as clever as they said, he could not marry her.
" Oh," exclaimed the father, " she has a good headpiece, you may be sure of that."
" Yes," said the mother, " and she can even see the wind running through the streets and hear the footsteps of the flies on the ceiling."
But they did not tell him how much she disliked trouble or work, and how often she was idle—however, they sat down to supper together, and seemed very happy. Presently her mother said, " Elfe, go into the cellar, and draw some beer."
The clever Elfe took the jug from the nail and went into the cellar, taking off the lid as she walked to save time. When she reached the cellar she fetched a chair and placed it in front of the cask that she might not have to stoop and hurt her back. Then