GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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people vanished, and the hill side lay calm and still in the moon­light.
The two travellers found after a time a road-side inn, but there was no accommodation for them excepting a bundle of straw, on which they laid themselves down, dressed as they were, too fa­tigued to think of removing the coals from their pockets. But to­wards morning the heavy weight awoke them earlier than usual, and on putting their hands into their pockets, they could scarcely believe their eyes when they saw that, instead of coals, their hands were full of pure gold !
Their surprise was as great at finding that their beards had grown again, and that their heads were covered with hair. They had suddenly become very rich ; but the blacksmith, who had a greedy disposition, had filled both pockets with coals, so that he possessed twice as much gold as the tailor.
Yet he was not satisfied, and he proposed to his companion that they should stay till the next day, go again in the evening, and get more treasures out of the little old man.
The tailor, however, refused. " I have enough," he said, " and I am quite contented. I only wish to be master of a business of my own, and to marry the charming maiden whom I love, and then I am a happy man."
However, to oblige his friend, he stayed another day at the inn, and in the evening the blacksmith took two sacks on his shoulders, and went alone to the hill side. He found the little people dancing and singing as on the previous night.
They received him into the ring, and the old man again shaved him, and made a sign as before that he should take as much coal as he liked. He did not hesitate to fill not only his pockets, but the two sacks, and returned home, congratulating himself on his good fortune.
Although he had a bed for this night, he laid himself down in his clothes, saying : " I shall know when the gold becomes heavy, for it will wake me f and at last he fell asleep with the pleasant expectation of awaking in the morning a very rich man.
As soon as he opened his eyes, he started up, and began to dive into his pockets; but what was his astonishment at finding they contained nothing but black coals ! Handful after handful he pulled out, but no gold.