GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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SNOW-WHITE AND RED-ROSE.              487
like gold under the skin, but she was not sure, for the bear trotted away very quickly and was soon lost to sight amongst the trees. Some time after this the mother sent the children into the forest to gather brushwood, and they found a large tree which had fallen to the ground. As they stood looking at it they saw something jumping up and down on the other side of the trunk, but they could not think what it was till they went nearer, and then they saw a little dwarf with a shrivelled face, whose long white beard had been caught in the cleft of the tree. The dwarf was jumping about like a puppy at the end of a string, but he could not get free. He glared at the children with his red fiery eyes and cried :
" Why are you standing there, staring, instead of offering to assist me."                                                 
" Poor little man," said Red-rose, "how did you do this ?"
"You stupid goose," he replied, angrily, " I wanted to split up the tree that I might get some shavings for our cooking. A great coal fire burns up our little dinners and suppers, we don't cram ourselves with food as your greedy people do. I drove my wedge into the tree and it seemed all right, but the horrid thing was so slippery that it sprung out again suddenly, and the tree closed so quickly that it caught my long white beard, and now holds it so fast that I cannot extricate it. See how the white milkfaced creatures laugh," he shouted. " Oh, but you are ugly."
Notwithstanding his spiteful words and looks, the children wished to help him, and they went up to him and tried to pull out the beard, but all to no purpose.
" I will run home and call somebody," said Red-rose.
"What!" snarled the dwarf, " send for more people ! why there are two too many here already, you sheepheaded madcaps,"
"Don't be impatient," said Snow-white, "I think we can manage to release you."
She took her scissors out of her pocket as she spoke and cut the dwarfs beard off close to the trunk of the tree. No sooner was he at liberty than he caught hold of a bag full of gold which was lying among the roots, grumbling all the time about the dreadful children who had cut off his magnificent beard, a loss which nothing could repay him. He then swung the bag across his shoulders and went away without one word of thanks to the children for helping him.