GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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488             SNOW-WHITE AND RED-ROSE.
Some time after this, Snow-white and Red-rose went out one day to catch fish. As they sat fishing on the banks of the stream they saw something like a large grasshopper jumping about as if it were going to jump into the water. They ran forward, and recognised the dwarf.
" What are you doing here ?" asked Red-rose; " why do you wish to jump into the water ?"
"Do you think I am such a fool as that?" he cried; "don't you see how this dreadful fish is dragging me ?"
" The little man had been angling, but unfortunately the wind caught his beard, and entangled it in the line so that when a large fish came up and swallowed the bait he had not strength to extricate himself, and the fish, in its efforts to escape, was dragging the dwarf into the water. He held tightly by the reeds and rushes that grew on the bank, but with very little use, and the children were only just in time to save him from being dragged in by the fish. They both pulled him back with all their might, but as long as the beard remained entangled in the line, their efforts were useless, and they could not disentangle it. There remained no other means of saving him than by cutting off his beard, and this time so much of it, that only a short piece remained.
Although by so doing they saved his life, the dwarf was in a dreadful rage ; he screamed out, " Is it your custom, you wretches ! to disfigure people's faces in this way ?—not satisfied with cutting off a large piece the other day, you must now deprive me of nearly all. I dare not show myself such a fright as this. I wish you were obliged to run till you had lost the soles off your shoes."
He lifted a bag of pearls which he had hidden among the rushes, and throwing it on his shoulder without another word, slunk away and disappeared behind a stone. It happened on another occa­sion, that the mother of the two maidens sent them to the town to purchase needles, thread, and ribbon. Their way lay across a heath, on which here and there great rocks lay scattered. Pre sently they saw a large bird hovering over a certain spot on the heath, till at last he pounced down suddenly to the earth, and at the same moment they heard terrible cries and piteous lamenta­tions close to them. The children ran to the place, and saw with great alarm that a large eagle had got their old acquaintance the dwarf in his talons, and was carrying him away. The good-