HOUSEHOLD STORIES from The BROTHERS GRIMM

51 Tales translated to English by Lucy Crane & Illustrated by Walter Crane

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CLEVER ELSE.
147
" Our Else is clever indeed !" and, sitting down, she wept with the rest.
Upstairs the husband waited a little while, but as his wife did not return, and as his thirst constantly increased, he said,
" I must go down to the cellar myself, and see what has become of Else." And when he came into the cellar, and found them all sitting and weeping together, he was told that it was all owing to the child that Else might possibly have, and the possibility of its being killed by the pickaxe so happening to fall just at the time the child might be sitting underneath it drawing beer; and when he heard all this, he cried,
" How clever is our Else !" and sitting down, he joined his tears to theirs.
The intended bridegroom stayed upstairs by himself a long time, but as nobody came back to him, he thought he would go himself and see what they were all about. And there he found all five lamenting and crying most pitifully, each one louder than the other.
" What misfortune has happened ? " cried he.
" O my dear Hans," said Else, " if we marry and have a child, and it grows big, and we send it down here to draw beer, perhaps that pickaxe which has been left sticking up there might fall down on the child's head and kill it; and how can we help crying at that!"
" Now," said Hans, " I cannot think that greater sense than that could be wanted in my household; so as you are so clever, Else, I will have you for my wife," and taking her by the hand he led her upstairs, and they had the wedding at once.
A little while after they were married, Hans said to his wife,
" I am going out to work, in order to get money; you go into the field and cut the corn, so that we may have bread."
" Very well, I will do so, dear Hans," said she. And after Hans was gone she cooked herself some nice stew, and took it with her into the field. And when she got there, she said to herself,
"Now, what shall I do? shall I reap first, or eat first? All right, I will eat first." Then she ate her fill of stew, and when she could eat no more, she said to herself,
" Now, what shall I do ? shall I reap first, or sleep first ? All right, I will sleep first." Then she lay down in the corn