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Snow white and Rose red.
From The The blue fairy book by Andrew lang
Start of Story
The children did all in their power, but they couldn't get the beard
out; it was wedged in far too firmly. "I will run and fetch somebody,"
said Rose-red. "Crazy blockheads!" snapped the dwarf; "what's the good
of calling anyone else? You're already two too many for me. Does
nothing better occur to you than that?" "Don't be so impatient," said
Snow-white, "I'll see you get help," and taking her scissors out of
her pocket she cut off the end of his beard. As soon as the dwarf felt
himself free he seized a bag full of gold which was hidden among the
roots of the tree, lifted it up, and muttered aloud: "Curse these rude
wretches, cutting off a piece of my splendid beard!" With these words he
swung the bag over his back, and disappeared without as much as looking
at the children again.
Shortly after this Snow-white and Rose-red went out to get a dish of
fish. As they approached the stream they saw something which looked like
an enormous grasshopper springing toward the water as if it were going
to jump in. They ran forward and recognized their old friend the dwarf.
"Where are you going to?" asked Rose-red; "you're surely not going to
jump into the water?" "I'm not such a fool," screamed the dwarf. "Don't
you see that cursed fish is trying to drag me in?" The little man
had been sitting on the bank fishing, when unfortunately the wind had
entangled his beard in the line; and when immediately afterward a big
fish bit, the feeble little creature had no strength to pull it out; the
fish had the upper fin, and dragged the dwarf toward him.
He clung on
with all his might to every rush and blade of grass, but it didn't help
him much; he had to follow every movement of the fish, and was in great
danger of being drawn into the water. The girls came up just at the
right moment, held him firm, and did all they could to disentangle his
beard from the line; but in vain, beard and line were in a hopeless
muddle. Nothing remained but to produce the scissors and cut the beard,
by which a small part of it was sacrificed.
When the dwarf perceived what they were about he yelled to them: "Do
you call that manners, you toad-stools! to disfigure a fellow's face? It
wasn't enough that you shortened my beard before, but you must now
needs cut off the best bit of it. I can't appear like this before my own
people. I wish you'd been in Jericho first." Then he fetched a sack of
pearls that lay among the rushes, and without saying another word he
dragged it away and disappeared behind a stone.
It happened that soon after this the mother sent the two girls to the
town to buy needles, thread, laces, and ribbons. Their road led over a
heath where huge boulders of rock lay scattered here and there. While
trudging along they saw a big bird hovering in the air, circling slowly
above them, but always descending lower, till at last it settled on
a rock not far from them. Immediately afterward they heard a sharp,
piercing cry. They ran forward, and saw with horror that the eagle had
pounced on their old friend the dwarf, and was about to carry him off.
The tender-hearted children seized hold of the little man, and struggled
so long with the bird that at last he let go his prey.
When the dwarf
had recovered from the first shock he screamed in his screeching voice:
"Couldn't you have treated me more carefully? You have torn my thin
little coat all to shreds, useless, awkward hussies that you are!" Then
he took a bag of precious stones and vanished under the rocks into his
cave. The girls were accustomed to his ingratitude, and went on their
way and did their business in town. On their way home, as they were
again passing the heath, they surprised the dwarf pouring out his
precious stones on an open space, for he had thought no one would pass
by at so late an hour. The evening sun shone on the glittering stones,
and they glanced and gleamed so beautifully that the children stood
still and gazed on them. "What are you standing there gaping for?"
screamed the dwarf, and his ashen-gray face became scarlet with rage.
He was about to go off with these angry words when a sudden growl was
heard, and a black bear trotted out of the wood. The dwarf jumped up in
great fright, but he hadn't time to reach his place of retreat, for the
bear was already close to him. Then he cried in terror: "Dear Mr.
Bear, spare me! I'll give you all my treasure. Look at those beautiful
precious stones lying there. Spare my life! what pleasure would you get
from a poor feeble little fellow like me? You won't feel me between your
teeth. There, lay hold of these two wicked girls, they will be a tender
morsel for you, as fat as young quails; eat them up, for heaven's sake."
But the bear, paying no attention to his words, gave the evil little
creature one blow with his paw, and he never moved again.
The girls had run away, but the bear called after them: "Snow-white
and Rose-red, don't be afraid; wait, and I'll come with you." Then they
recognized his voice and stood still, and when the bear was quite close
to them his skin suddenly fell off, and a beautiful man stood beside
them, all dressed in gold. "I am a king's son," he said, "and have been
doomed by that unholy little dwarf, who had stolen my treasure, to roam
about the woods as a wild bear till his death should set me free. Now he
has got his well-merited punishment."
Snow-white married him, and Rose-red his brother, and they divided the
great treasure the dwarf had collected in his cave between them. The
old mother lived for many years peacefully with her children; and she
carried the two rose trees with her, and they stood in front of her
window, and every year they bore the finest red and white roses.(1)