GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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508                    THE COFFIN OF GLASS.
saw tears flowing from the large eyes of the poor animal, I ex­claimed : ( Have you changed him to this stag ?' Instead of an­swering me, he burst into a loud laugh,
" On this I became angry, drew a pistol, and fired at the mon­ster ; but the ball rebounded from his breast, struck my horse in the head and killed him, while I fell to the ground, and the stranger, murmuring a few words, deprived me of my senses.
"When I recovered consciousness, I found myself here in this underground tomb, shut up in a glass coffin. The wretch appeared to me once more, and said that he had changed my brother into a stag. My castle, with all belonging to it, had shrunk to a small size, and was now locked up in another glass case, and my servants and people had been changed into vapour or smoke, and were confined in vessels of glass. If, however, even now, I would ac­cept his offer, he said, it would be very easy for him to put every­thing back into its former position. It was only for him to open the vessels, and we should all return to our natural form. I made no reply, but remained as silent as before.
"He then vanished, and left me in my prison, and presently I fell into a deep sleep. Among the pictures which have passed before my imagination, whether dreaming or waking I know not, was one which consoled me. I dreamed that a young man would come and set me free, and, when I opened my eyes and saw you, I knew that my dream was accomplished. Help me now to com­plete the change by doing as I ask you. And first, to open the glass chest in which the castle is confined, we must place it on this stone, and stand by it ourselves.,,
The moment the stone felt the weight, it raised itself with all upon it, and the young man and the lady were lifted through the opening in the ceiling to the upper hall, and out into the open air. Here they had space to set the castle free, and, as the young lady opened the cover of the glass chest, what followed was wonderful to see, for castle, houses, and courts expanded, and spread swiftly, till they resumed their proper shape and size.
They then returned to the underground hall, and placed on the stone the vessels containing spirits and smoke, and no sooner had the young lady opened them, than the vapour and smoke arose, and in a few moments were changed into living men, in whom the voung lady recognised her servants, and the people of her house­hold.