GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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THE LITTLE GREY MAN.                  361
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"Oh," he exclaimed, "I suffer such dreadful thirst that nothing seems able to quench it, and cold water I cannot endure. I have emptied two casks of wine already, but they were just like a drop of water on a hot stone."
" I can help you," cried the young man ; " come with me, and you shall have your fill, I promise you."
Upon this he led the man into the king's cellar, where he opened the casks one after another, and drank and drank till his back ached, and before the day closed he had quite emptied the king's cellar.
Again the young man asked for his bride, but the king was annoyed at the thought of giving his daughter to such a common fellow, and to get rid of him he made another condition. He said that no man should have his daughter who could not find some one able to eat up a whole mountain of bread.
Away went the simpleton to the forest as before, and there in the same place sat a man binding himself round tightly with a belt, and making the most horrible faces. As the youth ap­proached, he cried, " I have eaten a whole oven-full of rolls, but it has not satisfied me a bit; I am as hungry as ever, and my stomach feels so empty that I am obliged to bind it round tightly, or I should die of hunger."
The simpleton could hardly contain himself for joy when he heard this. " Get up." he exclaimed, " and come with me, and I will give you plenty to eat, I'll warrant."
So he led him to the king's court, where his majesty had ordered all the flour in the kingdom to be made into bread, and piled up in a huge mountain. The hungry man placed himself before the bread, and began to eat, and before evening the whole pile had disappeared.
Then the simpleton went a third time to the king, and asked for his bride, but the king made several excuses, and at last said that if he could bring him a ship that would travel as well by land as by water, then he should, without any further conditions, marry his daughter.
The youth went at once straight to the forest, and saw the same old grey man, to whom he had given his cake. "Ah," he said, as the youth approached, " it was I who sent the men to eat and drink, and I will also give you a ship that can travel by land