GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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398         THE HATCHET AND THE FLAIL.
There seemed, however, nothing better than to take a piece of cord which lay near the heaps of chaff, and let himself down by it. But before he did so he laid hold of a hatchet and a flail which the angels had left behind them, and tying them both to the rope, slid gently down from the tree. When he reached the earth, however, he sunk into a hole so deep that it was fortunate he had a hatchet with him, for with it he was able to cut steps in the side of the hole, and climb once more into daylight.
He took care to carry the hatchet and the flail with him, that no one might doubt his story when he related it.
There once lived a soldier who had served the king faithfully for many years; but when the war ceased, and the soldier, who had many wounds, was disabled, the king said to him, " You can go home now, I do not want you any more; you have had all your pay, and only those can receive a pension who have served me longer than you have."
The soldier on hearing this went away, feeling very sad; he knew not how he should get his living, and he wandered about for a whole day, full of care.
As evening came on he entered a wood, and as soon as it grew quite dark he saw at a distance a blue light, and on going towards it, he found a house in which dwelt an old witch. " Give me a night's lodging," he said to her, " and something to eat and drink \ I am almost starved."
" Ah !" she cried, " who ever gives anything to a run-away soldier ? but I will take pity on you if you will do as I wish to­morrow."
"What do you want me to do?" asked the soldier.
" First I want you to dig my garden."
To this the soldier readily agreed, and worked all the following day as hard as he could; but though he exerted all his strength, it was not finished by the evening.
uAh, I see plainly," said the witch, "that you cannot do any