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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.

       



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