156 THE CLEVER ELFE.
the supper table, the evening passed pleasantly, and very soon after the marriage took place.
But the clever Elfe did not like work. After they had spent a few weeks in idleness, Hans said one day, " Dear wife, I must go to work and earn money for a living, don't you think you could go into our little cornfield and cut down the corn that we may have some flour to make bread ?"
" Yes, my dear Hans," she replied, " I will if you wish it."
So the next morning Hans went off to his daily work. As soon as he was gone, his wife made some nice broth for herself and took it with her into the field ; but when she arrived there she sat down and said to herself, "What shall I do, shall I nap first, or eat first? Ah, I will eat first."
So she ate up the whole pot full of broth, and then feeling heavy and stuffed with what she had eaten, she asked herself, " Now, shall I cut the corn or sleep first? Ah, I know, I will have a nap before I begin my work."
Then she laid herself down in the corn and was soon fast asleep. Hans returned home expecting his dinner, but no one was there, nor anything ready. He waited a long time, but the Elfe did not come.
"Whata clever Elfe she is to be sure," he said; " so industrious that she cannot even come home to her dinner."
But as the evening came on, and she still remained away, Hans went out to look for her, and to see how much corn she had cut. On reaching the field he found that none had been touched, and after searching some time for his clever Elfe, he found her fast asleep amongst the corn.
Hans went away in great haste and fetched a fowler's net covered with little bells which he spread over her, but she continued to sleep as soundly as before. Then he returned home, locked the cottage door, and seated himself to work on a chair as coolly as if no clever Elfe had ever been his wife.
At last when the clever Elfe awoke out of her long sleep and found it quite dark, she recollected where she was, and rose to go home, while the bells which hung round her tinkled at every step she took. This alarmed her so much that she began to feel puzzled and could scarcely tell whether she really was the clever Elfe or not.
" Oh dear," she said, " am I myself, or am I some one else ?"