GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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THE WONDERFUL PLANT.              41 i
A young hunter went once into a forest, which he had heard was full of witchcraft, without hesitation, for he was brave and light-hearted, and went on his way whistling, and picking a leaf here and there, with careless good-humour.
Presently, an ugly little old woman met him, and said, " Good day, dear hunter; you are full of health and contentment, but I am suffering from hunger and thirst; pray give me something to buy food."
The hunter did not delay to help the poor old woman; he put his hand in his pocket, and pulled out as much as he could afford and gave it to her.
He would have passed on, but the old woman held him by the coat, "Stay, dear hunter," said she; "hear what I have to say to you \ for your kind good-nature, I will give you some information as a reward. Go on for a little way, and you will come to a tree, on which are perched nine birds, with a cloak in their claws, about which they are quarrelling. Take aim amongst them with your gun, and shoot; the cloak will then fall, and one of the birds drop dead at your feet. Take up the cloak, for it possesses a wonderful power, and if you place it on your shoulders and wish yourself in any place, there you will be in that moment. You must also carry the dead bird with you, open it, and take out the heart, which you must carry in your pocket carefully; for while it is there, you will find a piece of gold under your pillow every morning."
* The hunter thanked the wise woman, and went away full of joy at the good fortune she had promised him should happen. And he did not exult in vain, for he had not walked a hundred steps, when he heard in a tree above him a screaming and twittering. He looked up, and saw a whole host of birds tearing a cloth to pieces with their beaks and talons, and chirping, screaming, and pecking each other, as each wanted to have it. r "Well," cried the hunter, "this is wonderful; it has just hap­pened as the old mother said." So he levelled his gun, and shot in amongst them. Oh, what a screaming and fluttering there was,