A Foolish Chicken
Christmas was coming .Mr Smith had no money to buy any presents for his children .His wife was ill and he spent a lot of money on her medicine .And the harvest was bad and all his family were going go be hungry the next spring .He was quite worried about it .
“We had only a cock ,”said Mrs Smith one day .“You’d better take it to the town .Sell it there and buy some cakes and sweets for our children .”
“It’s a good idea ！”the man said and caught the cock the next morning and put it into a box .It was difficult to walk on the road covered with thick snow .Two hours later he was very tied and wanted to have a rest .He put the box to the ground and sat down .
“The air in the box must be close ,”the man said to himself .“I’d better let the cock walk outside for a while ,or it’ll die .”
So he put the cock to the ground .When he started again ,he couldn’t catch it any longer .
“How foolish you are ！”Mr Smith called out angrily .“You can herald the break of day at night but you cann’t find the way to the town in the daytime ！”
a soldier came marching along the high road: “left, right—left, right.” he had his knapsack on his back, and a sword at his side; he had been to the wars, and was now returning home.
as he walked on, he met a very frightful-looking old witch in the road. her under-lip hung quite down on her breast, and she stopped and said, “good evening, soldier; you have a very fine sword, and a large knapsack, and you are a real soldier; so you shall have as much money as ever you like.”
“thank you, old witch,” said the soldier.
“do you see that large tree,” said the witch, pointing to a tree which stood beside them. “well, it is quite hollow inside, and you must climb to the top, when you will see a hole, through which you can let yourself down into the tree to a great depth. i will tie a rope round your body, so that i can pull you up again when you call out to me.”
“but what am i to do, down there in the tree？” asked the soldier.
“get money,” she replied; “for you must know that when you reach the ground under the tree, you will find yourself in a large hall, lighted up by three hundred lamps; you will then see three doors, which can be easily opened, for the keys are in all the locks. on entering the first of the chambers, to which these doors lead, you will see a large chest, standing in the middle of the floor, and upon it a dog seated, with a pair of eyes as large as teacups.
but you need not be at all afraid of him; i will give you my blue checked apron, which you must spread upon the floor, and then boldly seize hold of the dog, and place him upon it. you can then open the chest, and take from it as many pence as you please, they are only copper pence; but if you would rather have silver money, you must go into the second chamber. here you will find another dog, with eyes as big as mill-wheels; but do not let that trouble you. place him upon my apron, and then take what money you please.
if, however, you like gold best, enter the third chamber, where there is another chest full of it. the dog who sits on this chest is very dreadful; his eyes are as big as a tower, but do not mind him. if he also is placed upon my apron, he cannot hurt you, and you may take from the chest what gold you will.”
once upon a time there was a prince who wanted to marry a princess; but she would have to be a real princess. he travelled all over the world to find one, but nowhere could he get what he wanted. there were princesses enough, but it was difficult to find out whether they were real ones. there was always something about them that was not as it should be. so he came home again and was sad, for he would have liked very much to have a real princess.
one evening a terrible storm came on; there was thunder and lightning, and the rain poured down in torrents. suddenly a knocking was heard at the city gate, and the old king went to open it.
it was a princess standing out there in front of the gate. but, good gracious！ what a sight the rain and the wind had made her look. the water ran down from her hair and clothes; it ran down into the toes of her shoes and out again at the heels. and yet she said that she was a real princess.
“well, we’ll soon find that out,” thought the old queen. but she said nothing, went into the bed-room, took all the bedding off the bedstead, and laid a pea on the bottom; then she took twenty mattresses and laid them on the pea, and then twenty eider-down beds on top of the mattresses.
on this the princess had to lie all night. in the morning she was asked how she had slept.
“oh, very badly！” said she. “i have scarcely closed my eyes all night. heaven only knows what was in the bed, but i was lying on something hard, so that i am black and blue all over my body. it’s horrible！”
Near the grass-covered rampart which encircles copenhagen lies a great red house. balsams and other flowers greet us from the long rows of windows in the house, whose interior is sufficiently poverty-stricken; and poor and old are the people who inhabit it. the building is the warton almshouse.
Look！ at the window there leans an old maid. she plucks the withered leaf from the balsam, and looks at the grass-covered rampart, on which many children are playing. what is the old maid thinking of？ a whole life drama is unfolding itself before her inward gaze.
"the poor little children, how happy they are- how merrily they play and romp together！ what red cheeks and what angels` eyes！ but they have no shoes nor stockings. they dance on the green rampart, just on the place where, according to the old story, the ground always sank in, and where a sportive, frolicsome child had been lured by means of flowers, toys and sweetmeats into an open grave ready dug for it, and which was afterwards closed over the child; and from that moment, the old story says, the ground gave way no longer, the mound remained firm and fast, and was quickly covered with the green turf.
The little people who now play on that spot know nothing of the old tale, else would they fancy they heard a child crying deep below the earth, and the dewdrops on each blade of grass would be to them tears of woe. nor do they know anything of the danish king who here, in the face of the coming foe, took an oath before all his trembling courtiers that he would hold out with the citizens of his capital, and die here in his nest; they know nothing of the men who have fought here, or of the women who from here have drenched with boiling water the enemy, clad in white, and `biding in the snow to surprise the city.