Select the desired text size
Princess on the glass.
From The The blue fairy book by Andrew lang
Start of Story
Once upon a time there was a man who had a meadow which lay on the side
of a mountain, and in the meadow there was a barn in which he stored
hay. But there had not been much hay in the barn for the last two years,
for every St. John's eve, when the grass was in the height of its vigor,
it was all eaten clean up, just as if a whole flock of sheep had gnawed
it down to the ground during the night. This happened once, and it
happened twice, but then the man got tired of losing his crop, and
said to his sons--he had three of them, and the third was called
Cinderlad--that one of them must go and sleep in the barn on St. John's
night, for it was absurd to let the grass be eaten up again, blade and
stalk, as it had been the last two years, and the one who went to watch
must keep a sharp look-out, the man said.
The eldest was quite willing to go to the meadow; he would watch the
grass, he said, and he would do it so well that neither man, nor beast,
nor even the devil himself should have any of it. So when evening came
he went to the barn, and lay down to sleep, but when night was drawing
near there was such a rumbling and such an earthquake that the walls and
roof shook again, and the lad jumped up and took to his heels as fast as
he could, and never even looked back, and the barn remained empty that
year just as it had been for the last two.
Next St. John's eve the man again said that he could not go on in this
way, losing all the grass in the outlying field year after year, and
that one of his sons must just go there and watch it, and watch well
too. So the next oldest son was willing to show what he could do. He
went to the barn and lay down to sleep, as his brother had done; but
when night was drawing near there was a great rumbling, and then an
earthquake, which was even worse than that on the former St. John's
night, and when the youth heard it he was terrified, and went off,
running as if for a wager.
The year after, it was Cinderlad's turn, but when he made ready to go
the others laughed at him, and mocked him. "Well, you are just the right
one to watch the hay, you who have never learned anything but how to sit
among the ashes and bake yourself!" said they. Cinderlad, however, did
not trouble himself about what they said, but when evening drew near
rambled away to the outlying field. When he got there he went into the
barn and lay down, but in about an hour's time the rumbling and creaking
began, and it was frightful to hear it.
"Well, if it gets no worse than
that, I can manage to stand it," thought Cinderlad. In a little time
the creaking began again, and the earth quaked so that all the hay flew
about the boy. "Oh! if it gets no worse than that I can manage to stand
it," thought Cinderlad. But then came a third rumbling, and a third
earthquake, so violent that the boy thought the walls and roof had
fallen down, but when that was over everything suddenly grew as still
as death around him. "I am pretty sure that it will come again," thought
Cinderlad; but no, it did not. Everything was quiet, and everything
stayed quiet, and when he had lain still a short time he heard something
that sounded as if a horse were standing chewing just outside the barn
door. He stole away to the door, which was ajar, to see what was there,
and a horse was standing eating. It was so big, and fat, and fine a
horse that Cinderlad had never seen one like it before, and a saddle
and bridle lay upon it, and a complete suit of armor for a knight, and
everything was of copper, and so bright that it shone again. "Ha, ha! it
is thou who eatest up our hay then," thought the boy; "but I will stop
that." So he made haste, and took out his steel for striking fire, and
threw it over the horse, and then it had no power to stir from the spot,
and became so tame that the boy could do what he liked with it.
mounted it and rode away to a place which no one knew of but himself,
and there he tied it up. When he went home again his brothers laughed
and asked how he had got on.
"You didn't lie long in the barn, if even you have been so far as the
field!" said they.
"I lay in the barn till the sun rose, but I saw nothing and heard
nothing, not I," said the boy. "God knows what there was to make you two
"Well, we shall soon see whether you have watched the meadow or not,"
answered the brothers, but when they got there the grass was all
standing just as long and as thick as it had been the night before.