GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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The clever elfe.                155
she stood the jug upon it under the tap, from which the beer ran slowly, and waited impatiently for it to fill.
But her eyes were not idle, and while looking round the cellar, she observed upon the wall above her a crossbar which the mason had by an oversight forgotten to remove.
Then the clever Elfe began to weep and to say that she was quite sure if she married Hans that one of them would be killed by a crossbar, and there she sat, weeping and wailing over this superstitious fear till her strength was almost gone. Those above at supper waited for the beer but none came, and at last they sent for the maiden and said to heró" Go and see why the Elfe is staying so long."
Then went the maiden and found her sitting before the cask, weeping bitterly.
" Elfe," she said, "why do you weep ?"
"Ah," she replied, " shall I not weep when I can foresee that a crossbar will cause my death if I marry 'Hans?'" and she pointed to the wall as she spoke.
" What a clever Elfe you must be to find this out," said the maidservant, beginning to weep and mourn over this misfortune.
The maiden remained so long in the cellar that her master sent the boy after her. He also began to cry and mourn when he heard what the clever Elfe had found out. At last the father and mother came themselves, and on hearing the clever Elfe's story they both joined in the crying and howling, and the noise became so loud that Hans went himself to discover what was the matter.
When he reached the cellar and heard them all screaming and crying one louder than the other, as if they were trying who could weep the loudest, he exclaimed, " What dreadful misfortune has happened ?"
" Oh, dear Hans," said the Elfe, " look at that crossbar, I have a presentiment that if we are married you will be killed by it, for if it remains here, it may fall on your head when you come to draw the beer; no wonder we all weep."
" Now," said Hans, whose self-love was gratified, " I believe that you are a clever Elfe to weep and make every body else weep on my account, and I want nothing else to make my household complete but a clever wife."
So he took her by the hand and led her away from the cellar to