GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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degrees, and now his daughters must starve. He had not, he said, even money enough to pay the landlord; and supposed he should be sent to prison.
" If you have no other trouble," replied Bearskin, " I can help you, for I have plenty of money." Then he sent for the landlord, paid the old man's bill, and gave him a purse full of gold to put in his pocket.
When the old man found himself so quickly relieved from his present anxieties, he knew not how sufficiently to express his thanks. But at length he thought of his daughters. " Come home with me," he said, " I will introduce you to my three daughters; they are wonders of beauty, and you shall have one of them, if you like, for a wife. When they hear all you have done for me, they will not refuse you. You are certainly a strange-looking man, but that is easily got over."
Bearskin was very much pleased with this invitation, and went home with the old man quite readily. No sooner, however, did the eldest daughter catch sight of him, than with a scream of terror she rushed away. The second stood still and looked at him from head to foot.
" How could I accept such a man for a husband ?" she said ; " why he has not the slightest resemblance to a human being. Why the grizzly bear who came to see us once, and called himself a man, pleased me much better; for he did wear a Hussar's cap and white gloves. If he were only ugly I might get iwed to him, but not as he is."
1 The youngest, however, spoke gently, and said, "Dear father, that must be a good man, if he has helped you so generously out of your trouble; and if you have promised him a bride, you must keep your word."
It was a pity that Bearskin's face was so covered with dirt and hair, or she would have seen how happy he looked at these words. However, he took a ring from his finger, broke it in half, gave her one half, and kept the other for himself. On one half he wrote her name, and on the other his own, and begging her to take care of it, he said, " For three years longer I must travel about, but at the end of that time I will return ; if I do not you will be free, for I shall be dead. But pray to God every day that my life may be preserved." Thea he said fare\r?3l, and left her.