THE THREE LITTLE MEN IN THE WOOD. 79
" Give us some of that," cried the little men, but she answered,
u I've not enough for myself; how can I give away any ?"
Now when she had done with her eating, they said,
" Here is a broom, go and sweep all clean by the back door."
" Oh, go and do it yourselves," answered she; " I am not your housemaid."
But when she saw that they were not going to give her anything, she went out to the door. Then the three little men said among themselves,
" What shall we do to her, because she is so unpleasant, and has such a wicked jealous heart, grudging everybody everything?" The first said,
" She shall grow uglier every day." The second said,
" Each time she speaks a toad shall jump out of her mouth at every word." The third said,
" She shall die a miserable death."
The girl was looking outside for strawberries, but as she
.found none, she went sulkily home. And directly she opened
her mouth to tell her mother what had happened to her in the
wood a toad sprang out of her mouth at each word, so that
every one who came near her was quite disgusted.
The step-mother became more and more set against the man's daughter, whose beauty increased day by day, and her only thought was how to do her some injury. So at last she took a kettle, set it on the fire, and scalded some yarn in it. When it was ready she hung it over the poor girl's shoulder, and gave her an axe, and she was to go to the frozen river and break a hole in the ice, and there to rinse the yarn. She obeyed, and went and hewed a hole in the ice, and as she was about it there came by a splendid coach, in which the King sat. The coach stood still, and the King said,
" My child, who art thou, and what art thou doing there ? " She answered,
" I am a poor girl, and am rinsing yarn."
Then the King felt pity for her, and as he saw that she , was very beautiful, he said,
" Will you go with me ? "
" Oh yes, with all my heart," answered she; and she felt very glad to be out of the way of her mother and sister.