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A Story for children age 4 to 6.
White snake.By The Brothers Grimm.
Start of Story
A long time ago there lived a King whose wisdom was celebrated far and
wide. Nothing was unknown to him, and news of the most secret
transactions seemed to reach him through the air.
Now he had one very odd habit. Every day at dinner, when the courtiers
had withdrawn, and he was quite alone, a trusted Servant had to bring
in another dish. It was always covered, and even the Servant did not
know what it contained, nor any one else, for the King never uncovered
it till he was alone. This had gone on for a long time, when one day
the Servant who carried the dish was overcome by his curiosity, and
took the dish to his own room.
When he had carefully locked the door, he took the dish-cover off, and
saw a White Snake lying on the dish.
At the sight of it, he could not resist tasting it; so he cut a piece
off, and put it into his mouth.
Hardly had he tasted it, however, when he heard a wonderful whispering
of delicate voices.
He went to the window and listened, and he noticed that the whispers
came from the sparrows outside. They were chattering away, and telling
each other all kinds of things that they had heard in the woods and
fields. Eating the Snake had given him the power of understanding the
language of birds and animals.
Now it happened on this day that the Queen lost her most precious
ring, and suspicion fell upon this trusted Servant who went about
The King sent for him, and threatened that if it was not found by the
next day, he would be sent to prison.
In vain he protested his innocence; he was not believed.
In his grief and anxiety he went down into the courtyard and wondered
how he should get out of his difficulty.
A number of Ducks were lying peaceably together by a stream, stroking
down their feathers with their bills, while they chattered gaily.
The Servant stood still to listen to them. They were telling each
other of their morning's walks and experiences.
Then one of them said somewhat fretfully: 'I have something lying
heavy on my stomach. In my haste I swallowed the Queen's ring this
The Servant quickly seized it by the neck, carried it off into the
kitchen, and said to the Cook: 'Here's a fine fat Duck. You had better
kill it at once.'
'Yes, indeed,' said the Cook, weighing it in her hand. 'It has spared
no pains in stuffing itself; it should have been roasted long ago.'
So she killed it, and cut it open, and there, sure enough, was the
The Servant had now no difficulty in proving his innocence, and the
King, to make up for his injustice, gave the Servant leave to ask any
favour he liked, and promised him the highest post about the Court
which he might desire.
The Servant, however, declined everything but a horse, and some money
to travel with, as he wanted to wander about for a while, to see the
His request being granted, he set off on his travels, and one day came
to a pond, where he saw three Fishes caught among the reeds, and
gasping for breath. Although it is said that fishes are dumb, he
understood their complaint at perishing thus miserably. As he had a
compassionate heart, he got off his horse and put the three captives
back into the water. They wriggled in their joy, stretched up their
heads above the water, and cried--
'We will remember that you saved us, and reward you for it.'