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Jack and his golden snuff box.
From English Fairy Tales, by Joseph Jacobs (coll. & ed.)
Start of Story
Jack had hardly time to bring the words out of his mouth, to tell the
little men what to do, but what it struck eight o'clock, when Bang,
bang went one of the largest man-of-war vessels; and it made Jack jump
out of bed to look through the window; and I can assure you it was a
wonderful sight for him to see, after being so long with his father
and mother living in a wood.
By this time Jack dressed himself, and said his prayers, and came down
laughing; for he was proud, he was, because the thing was done so
well. The gentleman comes to him, and says to him: "Well, my young
man, I must say that you are very clever indeed. Come and have some
breakfast." And the gentleman tells him, "Now there are two more
things you have to do, and then you shall have my daughter in
marriage." Jack gets his breakfast, and has a good squint at the
young lady, and also she at him.
The other thing that the gentleman told him to do was to fell all the
great trees for miles around by eight o'clock in the morning; and, to
make my long story short, it was done, and it pleased the gentleman
well The gentleman said to him: "The other thing you have to do"--(and
it was the last thing)--"you must get me a great castle standing on
twelve golden pillars; and there must come regiments of soldiers and
go through their drill. At eight o'clock the commanding officer must
say, 'Shoulder up.'" "All right," said Jack; when the third and last
morning came the third great feat was finished, and he had the young
daughter in marriage. But, oh dear! there is worse to come yet.
The gentleman now makes a large hunting party, and invites all the
gentlemen around the country to it, and to see the castle as well. And
by this time Jack has a beautiful horse and a scarlet dress to go with
them. On that morning his valet, when putting Jack's clothes by, after
changing them to go a hunting, put his hand in one of Jack's
waistcoat-pockets, and pulled out the little golden snuffbox, as poor
Jack left behind in a mistake. And that man opened the little box, and
there hopped the three little red men out, and asked him what he
wanted with them. "Well," said the valet to them, "I want this castle
to be moved from this place far and far across the sea." "All right,"
said the little red men to him; "do you wish to go with it?" "Yes,"
said he. "Well, get up," said they to him; and away they went far and
far over the great sea.
Now the grand hunting party comes back, and the castle upon the twelve
golden pillars had disappeared, to the great disappointment of those
gentlemen as did not see it before. That poor silly Jack is threatened
by taking his beautiful young wife from him, for taking them in in the
way he did. But the gentleman at last made an agreement with him, and
he is to have a twelvemonths and a day to look for it; and off he goes
with a good horse and money in his pocket.
Now poor Jack goes in search of his missing castle, over hills, dales,
valleys, and mountains, through woolly woods and sheepwalks, further
than I can tell you or ever intend to tell you. Until at last he comes
up to the place where lives the King of all the little mice in the
world. There was one of the little mice on sentry at the front gate
going up to the palace, and did try to stop Jack from going in. He
asked the little mouse: "Where does the King live? I should like to
see him." This one sent another with him to show him the place; and
when the King saw him, he called him in.
And the King questioned him,
and asked him where he was going that way. Well, Jack told him all the
truth, that he had lost the great castle, and was going to look for
it, and he had a whole twelvemonths and a day to find it out. And Jack
asked him whether he knew anything about it; and the King said: "No,
but I am the King of all the little mice in the world, and I will call
them all up in the morning, and maybe they have seen something of it."
Then Jack got a good meal and bed, and in the morning he and the King
went on to the fields; and the King called all the mice together, and
asked them whether they had seen the great beautiful castle standing
on golden pillars. And all the little mice said, No, there was none of
them had seen it. The old King said to him that he had two other
brothers: "One is the King of all the frogs; and my other brother, who
is the oldest, he is the King of all the birds in the world. And if
you go there, may be they know something about the missing castle.