GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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558                     THE ROBBERS' CAVE.
the good-natured Hans gave him some a second time, and said: a That is a beautiful piece, and you must be contented with it."
But the dwarf asked for a third supply, and, when Hans refused, the wicked little wretch was just going to spring upon him and serve him as he had served the other two, but he was mistaken this time. Hans without much exertion gave him two such severe cuts, that he rushed down the steps of the castle in surprise and fright. Hans, in his haste to run after him, fell down and rolled over and over, so that he lost time, and, when he had recovered himself, the dwarf was far away. Hans followed him, however, quickly, and saw him slip into a rocky cave; so, after taking particular notice of the place, he returned home.
The other two, when they reached the castle, were astonished to see Hans quite well and unhurt; but he told them all that had happened, and then they could not any longer be silent about the dwarf's visits, and how he had treated them.
Hans laughed, and said : " It served you right; why should you have been so greedy with your meat? but still it is too bad to think that such great fellows as you should have been thrashed by a dwarf.
However, they all determined to punish the little wretch now they knew where to find him. So they took a large basket and a strong cord, and went to the cave in the rocks, into which the dwarf had slipped. They first let Hans down by a rope in a basket, with his club-staff, and, when he reached the ground, he saw a door, which he opened, and in a kind of room sat a most beautiful young lady, more beautiful than Hans had ever seen, and near her stood the dwarf, grinning at him like a baboon.
The poor young lady was bound with fetters, and she looked at Hans so sadly, that he was touched with pity for her, and thought: " I must free her from the power of this wicked dwarf."
He turned quickly, and with one stroke of his heavy walkipg-staff the little wretch fell to the ground dead. Immediately the fetters dropped from the maiden, and Hans was enraptured with her beauty.
She told him that she was a king's daughter, who had been stolen from her home by a wicked count, and by him made a prisoner in this rocky cave, with the dwarf to keep guard over her; and ter­ribly he had oppressed and tormented her. Upon hearing this,