GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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Her joy was complete when her brother, who, while a stag, had killed the sorcerer in the form of a bull, came out of the forest in his own manly form, and embraced his sister. And on the very same day the young lady, according to her promise, gave her hand and heart to the lucky tailor at the altar.
In olden times once lived a miller and his wife in great happiness; they had money enough and to spare, for it went on increasing year after year. But misfortune often comes at night, or, as the proverb means, when we least expect it; and so it was with the miller. He gradually lost all he had gained, and at last became so poor that he could scarcely call his mill his own.
He was so full of sorrow, that although he worked hard all day, he would lie tossing on his bed all night unable to sleep.
One morning Ire rose at daybreak, and went out, thinking that the fresh air of the morning would lighten his heart As he passed along by the mill-dam, the first ray of sunlight glittered upon it, and he heard behind him a strange ripple of the water.
He turned quickly, and saw a beautiful woman rising gently out of the stream. Her long hair hung over her shoulders, and she put it back from her face with her delicate hands, and allowed it to fall over her like a veil. The miller saw at once that it was the water-sprite of the lake, and knew not whether to stay or fly in his fright.
But the fair vision called him by name in her soft voice, and enquired why he looked so sad. The miller had at first been almost stunned; but on hearing her speak so kindly, he took cou­rage, and told her that after having lived in wealth and honour for many years, he was now so poor that he knew not how to help himself.
" Be at rest, then," said the water-sprite, " I will make you richer and happier than you have ever been before, if you will promise to give me the first young thing that is born in your house."