GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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H The dream cottld not possibly have been true," said the king; "however, to make sure, I will advise you what to do. Fill your pocket full of peas, and make a little hole in it, so that if you are really carried away in the night, they will fall out and leave a trace behind you in the street."
While the king spoke the little man, who was invisible, stood by him, and heard all he said.
That night, when he carried the sleeping princess through the streets, the peas fell out of her pocket; but they left no trace, for the cunning little man had strewed peas beforehand in all the streets. And she was obliged, therefore, again to be servant to the soldier till the cock crowed.
The following morning the king sent his servants out to find the track; but it was quite impossible, for the streets were crowded with poor children gathering up cans full of peas, and saying : " It has been raining peas all night!"
" We must think of something else," said the king. " You had better keep on your shoes when you go to bed, and before you come back, if you are carried away, leave one of them behind wherever you are, then I am sure to find it.v
The little man heard of the king's plan, and in the evening, when the soldier desired him to fetch the princess, he advised him not to do so again.
"Against this contrivance there is no way to avoid discovery," he said, "and, if the shoe is found here, the king can do you great injury."
" Do as I tell you !" cried the soldier, and so the princess was for the third night brought to work as a servant-maid. Before she was carried back, however, she took off her shoe, and placed it under the soldier's bed.
The next morning the king ordered search to be made all over the town for his daughter's shoe, and it was found in the soldier's room. The soldier, who had begged the little man not to let them open the door, was seized and carried off to prison. In his fright he forgot to take with him his best and most valuable possessions, the blue light and the gold, and he had, therefore, only a ducat in his pocket. As he stood loaded with chains at the window of his prison, he saw one of his old comrades pass by, and he tapped on the window-pane, and beckoned him over.