GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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wept so much when she found she must go, that the whole way she went was strewn with pearls, which fell from her eyes. The king soon regretted his cruel harshness, and had the whole forest searched to find her, but she has never been heard of since. When I think she may have been devoured by wild animals, I am overwhelmed with grief, and I can only console myself by the hope that I am wrong, and that she is living concealed in some cavern, or that she has been protected under the care of some charitable person who took pity on her.
" When I opened the emerald casket which you presented to me, you may imagine my surprise at seeing within it one of the pearls which used to fall from my daughter's eyes when she wept; and you will understand how the sight moved my heart. You must now tell me how that pearl came into your possession."
On this the young count related what had happened in the wood, and described the old woman who had met him, and who had given him the casket. He said this old woman appeared to be a witch, who held the forest under her enchantments; but of the king's daughter he had heard or seen nothing.
On heaiing all this the king and queen decided to go and seek the old woman. They thought that where the pearl had been found they should be sure to hear news of their daughter, and find her.
The old woman sat by the door of the cottage, spinning at her wheel. It was growing dark, and a burning fagot on the hearth gave but a feeble light. All at once a noise was heard outside : the geese were coming home from the meadows, cackling as loudly as they could. The daughter took them to their roosting place, and then stepped into the cottage; but her mother scarcely thanked her, only nodded her head. She seated herself, however, without a word, to her spinning-wheel, and spun away as fast as any young girl could have done.
They both sat like this for two hours, without speaking a word to each other. At length something rushed against the window, and the fiery eyes of a night owl appeared, and presently screamed her weird note three times.
The old woman slightly raised her head at the sound, and said, " Now is the time, my daughter, for you to go out and do youj work,"