GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

Home Main Menu Order Support About Search

Share page  

Previous Contents Next

and offering it to him, said : " Now go, for your first task, and scoop out the water from the fish-pond outside with this thimble, and the work must be finished before night; all the fish, also, that are in the water must be laid together according to their size and species !"
" That is a strange task," said the drummer. However, he went out to the pond, and commenced his work.
He scooped industriously for the whole morning; but how can a man empty a large quantity of water with only a thimble to dip with at a time? Why, it would occupy a thousand years.
When noontide came, he thought to himself: " All I am doing is quite useless; it will be just the same whether I work or not." So he gave it up, and seated himself.
Presently, he saw a young maiden coming towards him from the house. She had a basket in her hand containing some dinner for him, and she said : i% Why are you sitting here and looking so sad ? What is the matter?"
He looked up at her, and saw that she was very handsome. "Ah," he exclaimed, "I cannot perform the first task which has been given me, and how shall I succeed with the other two ? I have come to seek for a king's daughter who dwells here, but I have not found her, so I may as well go away."
" No; stay hre," she replied, " I will help you out of your trouble. You are tired now, so lay your head in my lap, and go to sleep. When you awake again, your work will be done."
The drummer did not require to be told twice, and, as soon as his eyes were closed, the maiden turned a wish ring on her finger, and said : " Water, rise out; fish, come out."
In a moment the water rose in the air like a white mist, and floated away to the clouds above the mountain, while the fish came springing and jumping on the bank, and laid themselves down near each other, each according to its size and species. When the drummer awoke, he saw with astonishment that all had been done for him.
" It is not quite right now," said t e maiden, " one of the fish is lying away from its own species, quite alone. When the old woman comes this evening to see if all is done as she desired, she will ask why that little fish is left out. Then throw it in her face. and say, i that is left for you, old witch !"'