GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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THE WATER-SPRITE.
on dry ground, they each resumed their proper shapes, but neither of them knew what had become of the other.
They found themselves among strange people, in a foreign country, and separated from their own home by high mountains and deep valleys which lay between them. To support themselves, they were both obliged to keep sheep, and for many years they tended their herds and flocks in field and meadow, weighed down with sorrow and regret at being separated from each other.
Time passed on, and the sweet flowers bloomed at the breath ot spring, when one day the two sad ones were tending their flocks, and the husband seeing a flock of sheep grazing on the hill-side, in a pleasant green spot, led his own flock towards it, and very soon the two flocks were feeding together; but their keepers did not recognise each other, still they were each pleased to find a companion in their loneliness. From that day they led their sheep to the pasture side by side, and although they did not talk much, there was consolation in each other's society.
One evening, when the full moon was shining in the sky, and the sheep at rest around them, the shepherd took a flute out of his pocket and played a charming though mournful air upon it. When he had finished, he looked at the shepherdess, and saw that che was weeping bitterly.
" Why do you weep so ?'v he asked.
" Ah," she replied, " the full moon was shining as brightly in the sky the last time I played that air on my flute, and my dearest one appeared to me above the water."
He looked at her earnestly as she spoke; a veil seemed to fall from his eyes, and he recognised his dear and long-lost wife ; and the moon, as he looked at her, shone brightly on his face, causing her to recognise him at the same moment. They instantly fell into each other's arms, and kissed each other with joy, and from that happy moment neither of them wanted nor asked any greater good fortune.