Select the desired text size
From The The blue fairy book by Andrew lang
Press F5 to hear again
Start of Story
Next day the giant took him to the Master-maid. "Now you shall kill him,
and boil him in the great big cauldron you know of, and when you have
got the broth ready give me a call," said the giant; then he lay down
on the bench to sleep, and almost immediately began to snore so that it
sounded like thunder among the hills.
So the Master-maid took a knife, and cut the Prince's little finger, and
dropped three drops of blood upon a wooden stool; then she took all the
old rags, and shoe-soles, and all the rubbish she could lay hands on,
and put them in the cauldron; and then she filled a chest with gold
dust, and a lump of salt, and a water-flask which was hanging by the
door, and she also took with her a golden apple, and two gold chickens;
and then she and the Prince went away with all the speed they could,
and when they had gone a little way they came to the sea, and then
they sailed, but where they got the ship from I have never been able to
Now, when the giant had slept a good long time, he began to stretch
himself on the bench on which he was lying. "Will it soon boil?" said
"It is just beginning," said the first drop of blood on the stool.
So the giant lay down to sleep again, and slept for a long, long time.
Then he began to move about a little again. "Will it soon be ready now?"
said he, but he did not look up this time any more than he had done the
first time, for he was still half asleep.
"Half done!" said the second drop of blood, and the giant believed it
was the Master-maid again, and turned himself on the bench, and lay down
to sleep once more. When he had slept again for many hours, he began to
move and stretch himself. "Is it not done yet?" said he.
"It is quite ready," said the third drop of blood. Then the giant began
to sit up and rub his eyes, but he could not see who it was who had
spoken to him, so he asked for the Master-maid, and called her. But
there was no one to give him an answer.
"Ah! well, she has just stolen out for a little," thought the giant, and
he took a spoon, and went off to the cauldron to have a taste; but there
was nothing in it but shoe-soles, and rags, and such trumpery as that,
and all was boiled up together, so that he could not tell whether it
was porridge or milk pottage. When he saw this, he understood what had
happened, and fell into such a rage that he hardly knew what he was
doing. Away he went after the Prince and the Master-maid so fast that
the wind whistled behind him, and it was not long before he came to the
water, but he could not get over it. "Well, well, I will soon find a
cure for that; I have only to call my river-sucker," said the giant, and
he did call him. So his river-sucker came and lay down, and drank one,
two, three draughts, and with that the water in the sea fell so low that
the giant saw the Master-maid and the Prince out on the sea in their
"Now you must throw out the lump of salt," said the Master-maid,
and the Prince did so, and it grew up into such a great high mountain
right across the sea that the giant could not come over it, and the
river-sucker could not drink any more water. "Well, well, I will soon
find a cure for that," said the giant, so he called to his hill-borer
to come and bore through the mountain so that the river-sucker might be
able to drink up the water again. But just as the hole was made, and the
river-sucker was beginning to drink, the Master-maid told the Prince to
throw one or two drops out of the flask, and when he did this the sea
instantly became full of water again, and before the river-sucker
could take one drink they reached the land and were in safety. So they
determined to go home to the Prince's father, but the Prince would on no
account permit the Master-maid to walk there, for he thought that it was
unbecoming either for her or for him to go on foot.
"Wait here the least little bit of time, while I go home for the seven
horses which stand in my father's stable," said he; "it is not far off,
and I shall not be long away, but I will not let my betrothed bride go
on foot to the palace."
"Oh! no, do not go, for if you go home to the King's palace you will
forget me, I foresee that."
"How could I forget you? We have suffered so much evil together, and
love each other so much," said the Prince; and he insisted on going home
for the coach with the seven horses, and she was to wait for him there,
by the sea-shore. So at last the Master-maid had to yield, for he was
so absolutely determined to do it. "But when you get there you must
not even give yourself time to greet anyone, but go straight into the
stable, and take the horses, and put them in the coach, and drive back
as quickly as you can. For they will all come round about you; but you
must behave just as if you did not see them, and on no account must you
taste anything, for if you do it will cause great misery both to you and
to me," said she; and this he promised.
But when he got home to the King's palace one of his brothers was just
going to be married, and the bride and all her kith and kin had come
to the palace; so they all thronged round him, and questioned him about
this and that, and wanted him to go in with them; but he behaved as if
he did not see them, and went straight to the stable, and got out the
horses and began to harness them. When they saw that they could not by
any means prevail on him to go in with them, they came out to him with
meat and drink, and the best of everything that they had prepared for
the wedding; but the Prince refused to touch anything, and would do
nothing but put the horses in as quickly as he could. At last, however,
the bride's sister rolled an apple across the yard to him, and said: "As
you won't eat anything else, you may like to take a bite of that, for
you must be both hungry and thirsty after your long journey." And he
took up the apple and bit a piece out of it. But no sooner had he got
the piece of apple in his mouth than he forgot the Master-maid and that
he was to go back in the coach to fetch her.