GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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ai6                  THE FORTUNE SEEKERS.
himself before the table, he fell to with a great appetite, stuffing large pieces into his black mouth till he had eaten as much as he could. Then, with a grin of satisfaction, he said, " Listen, friend: thy table has my approval, and it would be the very thing for me here alone in this wood, with no one to cook for me. I will make an exchange with you. Yonder in the corner hangs a soldier's knapsack ; it is old and unsightly, but it possesses a wonderful power, and. as it is of no more use to me, I will give it to you in return for your table."
"First, I must know what this wonderful power is," said the young fortune seeker.
" I will tell you," replied the charcoal-burner. " If you knock upon it with your hand there will instantly appear before you a corporal with six men, all in full uniform, and whatever you order them to do, they will perform it."
" It's all the same to me," replied the youth; " I don't mind which I have, so we will make the exchange."
He gave him the table as he spoke, slung the knapsack on his back, wished the charcoal-burner farewell, and went on his journey. He had not gone far, however, before he had a strong desire to try what this wonderful knapsack could do, so he put his hand over his shoulder and knocked.
In a moment there stood before him seven great warriors, and the corporal, with a military salute, said, " What is my lord and master's pleasure ? "
" Quick step, march ! to the charcoal-burner in the forest," he replied, " and demand my wish-table back."
They put their best foot foremost, and in a very short time re­turned with what he required, which they had obtained from the chai coal-burner without much difficulty. Then he told them to march off, as he wanted nothing more at present, and continued his way, hoping that such good fortune would still continue to shine upon him.
At sunset, next day, he came up to another charcoal-burner, who sat by his charcoal fire preparing his evening meal.
" Will you eat with me ?" said the sooty fellow; " potatoes and salt are wholesome food; so seat yourself by me."
"No," answered the other; "for this once you must be my guest." And without waiting for a reply, he arranged his table,