GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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sleepy, laid himself on the ground, for there was no bed, and was soon asleep.
In the night, however, he was awoke by a terrible noise, and when he roused himself he saw nine hideous imps in the room, dancing round a pole, which they held in their hands. " Dance away," he cried, "as long as you will, but don't come near me." The imps, however, disregarded his orders; nearer and nearer they approached as they danced, till one of them trod on his face, with his heavy foot. " Keep away, you wretches," he cried, but still hey came nearer. Then was Brother Frolick in a rage, he started up, seized a chair, and struck with the legs right and left. But nine imps against one soldier is rather too much, and if he struck one before him, another behind would pull his hair most unmerci­fully. " You demons," he cried, all at once, " I will serve you out; wait a bit,—now then, all nine of you into my knapsack," whisk ! and they were all in; quick as lightning he fastened the bag and threw it into a corner.
Then all was quiet, and Brother Frolick laid himself down again and slept till broad daylight, when the arrival of the landlord of the inn and the nobleman to whom the castle belonged, woke him. They were astonished to find him alive and full of spirits, and said to him, " Have you not seen any ghosts during the night, and did they not try to hurt you ?"
"Well, not very much," answered Brother Frolick; "I have them all nine quite safe in my knapsack there," and he pointed to the corner. " You can dwell in your castle in peace now," he said to the nobleman, " they will never trouble you again."
The nobleman thanked the soldier and loaded him with pre­sents ; he also begged him to remain in his service, and promised to take care of him for the remainder of his life.
But the soldier said, " No; I have a roving disposition ; I could never rest in one place, I will go and travel farther."
Then Brother Frolick went to a smith's, and laying the knap­sack containing the imps on the anvil, asked the smith and his man to strike it with their great hammers, with all their strength. The imps set up a loud screech, and when at last all was quiet, the knapsack was opened. Eight oi them were found quite dead, but the ninth, who had laid himself in a told, was still living. He sapped out when the knapsack was opened and escaped.