GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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Once upon a time, there lived seven wise men together, and they all had different names. After much consultation, they decided to travel together through the world to seek adventures and to per­form great deeds. When they first started, each walked separately, but as they considered it best to keep all together, they procured a long spear, which was very strong. This spear kept them all seven together, as they each clasped it with one hand. The cleverest and manliest, who was of course the eldest, walked first, and the others followed in a row, the youngest last.
Now it happened that they began their travels in the hay­making month, and one day, after walking a long distance, they found themselves still some leagues from the town in which they intended to pass the night. Twilight was coming on as they crossed a meadow, and sometimes a cockchafer or a hornet would fly from behind a shrub or a bush and buzz or hum round their heads. The gentleman who walked first was terribly afraid of these intruders, and when one of them buzzed close to his face he let fall the end of the lance, while the perspiration broke out all over him from fear. " Listen," he cried to his companions, " listen, I hear a drum."
The second, who held the spear behind him, and had a very keen nose, exclaimed : " Something is without doubt near us, for I smell powder and matches."
At these words, the foremost of the wise men prepared to fly, and springing forward, quickly jumped over a hedge, and unfor­tunately over the prongs of a rake which the haymakers had left there, and the steel prong struck him an ugly blow in his face. "Oh dear, oh dear r he cried; "take me prisoner, I give myse up ! I give myself up !"
The other six, running after him in confusion, one over the other, screamed out, " If you give yourself up so do we ! if you give yourself up so do we!"
And after all, no enemy was there to bind them or carry them away, and at last they discovered that they had made a great mistake In their fear of being laughed at and called fools by the