GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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Near the castle of a king stood once a large forest, inhabited by wild beasts of every kind. One day, the king sent a hunter into the forest to hunt a stag and kill him and bring him to the castle, but the hunter was never seen or heard of again. " He has met with some accident," said the king, and sent two hunters to search for him, but they remained absent also. On this, the king sum­moned his staff of hunters and said : " Go and search through the wood in every direction, and do not give up till you find the three men who are missing."
But of all this number none returned, and not one of the pack of hounds who went with them was ever seen again. After this, no one would venture into the wood, or even near it. The still and lonely place seemed uninhabited by any living creature, for excepting that sometimes an eagle or a hawk would fly over the tree tops, nothing could be seen.
Many years had passed when a foreign hunter made himself known to the king, and stated his wish to go into the dangerouswood. He only asked to be provided with the necessary means to support him during the enterprise. The king, however, was very unwilling to grant him permission, and said: " The wood is no doubt haunted, and I fear you will not fare better than those who have gone before—if you go you will never come back."
" My lord king," he replied, " I will venture at all risks, and I know not what fear is."
The hunter, true to his determination, started on his expedition, taking with him one hound. They had not gone far into the wood, when the hound became suddenly wild, and turned to run back. He had, however, scarcely taken two steps when a dark pool rose before him, a naked arm was stretched out of the water, and the dog was seized and quickly drawn under.
On seeing this, the hunter went back quickly and fetched three men, whom he told to bring pails and buckets, to empty the pool. They were not long in performing this task, and, when they reached the bottom, there lay a wild-looking man, whose body was brown,