KING OF ROOT VALLEY
AND HIS CURIOUS DAUGHTER.
M&itb igbt JEUuotratino0, b b TYn Otr anb 3b. U, ciuick.
CHAPMAN AND HALL, 193, PICCADILLY.
JOHN EDWARD TAYLOR, LITTLE QUEEN SIHrFT;
LINCOLN ; INN FIELDS.
CHAPTER THE FIRST.
THE ROOT-VALLEY AND ITS INHABITANTS.-THE STORY-TELLING
GUESTS. THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY AND HIS CURIOUS
DAUGHTER.-THE AERIAL CHARIOT.-FESTIVITIES IN THE TOWN.
-RETURN THROUGH THE AIR FROM THE ROOF OF THE TOWN-
HOUSE.-WHIMS OF THE PRINCESS .
CHAPTER THE SECOND.
THE SPRING FESTIVAL IN ROOT-VALLEY.-THE NUT-FIELD.-THE
MIGRATING BIRDS.-A STRANGE PEOPLE MAKE THEIR APPEAR-
ANCE.-NUTCRACKER AND HARLEQUIN.-THE PRINCESS FALLS
INTO RAPTURES .
CHAPTER THE THIRD.
THE WONDERFUL BROOK.-THE OVERTURNED CARRIER'S WAGGON.
-NUTCRACKER AND HARLEQUIN COME TO LIFE.-THE THREE
WISHES.-THE BOX OF NUREMBERG TOYS.-THE WANDERING
RATS.-HOW HARLEQUIN BRINGS TO LIFE A WHOLE NATION
AND ARMY.-BATTLE WITH THE RATS.-HOMAGE.-PROCESSION
TO THE ROOT-VALLEY 11
CHAPTER THE FOURTH.
NUTCRACKER IS BETROTHED TO THE PRINCESS OF ROOT-VALLEY, AND
TAKES POSSESSION OF THE NUTFIELD.-THE BIRDS DEPART.--
WHAT ILL COMES OF IT.-WEDDING AND PARTING 19
CHAPTER THE FIFTH.
THE PUPPET-KINGDOM IS SET IN ORDER.-HAUGHTINESS OF NUT-
CRACKER, HIS WIFE, AND SUBJECTS.-ANTIPATHY OF THE TWO
PEOPLES. THE ROOT-KING ABDICATES HIS CROWN. NUT-
CRACKER A TYRANT.-PREPARATIONS FOR WAR IN ROOT-VALLEY.
-THE WAR.-HARLEQUIN'S DEATH.-FLIGHT AND DESTRUCTION
OF THE PUPPET-KINGDOM.-NUTCRACKER'S DEATH.-THE PRIN-
CESS SAVED 22
CHAPTER THE SIXTH.
THE BIRDCATCHER AND HIS FAMILY.-HOW THE CHILDREN RE-
TURN HOME WITH RARE TREASURES.-NUTCRACKER'S DEAD
BODY.-THE LITTLE MAIDEN IN THE STORK'S NEST, AND WHO'
SHE WAS.-AFFECTING RECONCILIATION ON THE NUTFIELD.-
THREATENING DANGER TO THE ROOTMEN. EMIGRATION OF
THE ROOTMEN 28
CHAPTER THE FIRST.
S THE ROOT-VALLEY AND ITS INHABITANTS.-THE STORY-TELLING GUESTS.-
THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY AND HIS CURIOUS DAUGHTER.-THE AERIAL
CHARIOT.-FESTIVITIES IN THE TOWN.-RETURN THROUGH THE AIR FROM
THE ROOF OF THE TOWN-HOUSE.-WHIMS OF THE PRINCESS.
THE road between Nuremberg and Leipsic ran in former times,
S in one part, along the edge of a dark forest, which stretched into
the country far over the mountains. In the middle of this forest
the rocks enclosed a deep green valley, bordered by almost impene-
trable hedges, so that neither man nor beast could enter it. Here
dwelt at that time the merry little people of the Rootmen. They
were pretty little creatures, in form and look like human beings,-
the tallest about six inches high, and the smallest as long as your
little finger. In summer they lived in mossy bowers and under
2 THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY
the leaves of the tall fern; in winter they nestled among the roots
of frees, in the holes of some gnarled old trunk, and crept into
the clefts in the rocks. Their dress was fine and elegant: the
little men wore coats and hose of moss, and the little women
dresses of pretty variegated flowers, leaves, and gossamer, according
as the weather was warm or cold. They never felt the time long,
having always plenty of employment; they had to keep their
roads in order, gather in their stores, and the like; their favourite
pastimes were climbing and jumping, and arranging grand water-
parties in nutshells upon the brook which ran through their
country. At other times they would play at Hunt-the-hare with
the Grasshoppers and May-beetles, and dance the most graceful
dances to the song of the Birds: nor must it be forgotten that
they understood the language of all living creatures.
Two festivals in the year gave the little Rootmen especial de-
light. On certain days in Spring and Autumn there arrived large
troops of merry guests, who were hospitably welcomed and enter-
tained, and who in return used to tell the inquisitive little people
what was passing in the world without.
These guests were no other than the thousands and thousands
of Birds of Passage, who in Spring came from the South, and in
Autumn from the North. The Storks told their village stories,
the Swallows twittered their fairy-tales, and the Nightingales
brought with them new and beautiful songs. There came fre-
AND HIS CURIOUS DAUGHTER. 3
quently too a troop of migrating Rats, who gave descriptions of
their travels, while Magpies and Ravens told legends and tales of
marvel that made one shudder. In this manner the little Root-
men received constantly news of the whole wide world. Such
stories of course filled them with curiosity to make acquaintance
with Men, but an innate feeling of dread prevented the little
beings from quitting their peaceful Valley.
Now one time there reigned over this people a dear good old
King, who had one daughter, a very beautiful Princess; she was
however more full of curiosity than all other maidens in the world,
nay even more so indeed than her own little countrywomen. Her
longing to see Men and Women in the world without, of whom
she had heard so many wonderful things, had grown very strong.
The good old King did all in his power to dissuade her from this
wish, representing Men as fierce and selfish giants: "No living
creature," said he, "is secure from their mastery; the biggest ele-
phant is obliged to dance to their will, as well as the smallest
flea." But all was of no avail; his daughter had taken it into
her head to visit the world, and go she would. The thought of
this preyed upon her mind, and she grew more and more melan-
choly and thin; until at length the King resolved to grant her
wish, in the hope that the sight would frighten her for ever, and
drive away her curiosity.
A beautiful new Birds'-nest was therefore immediately selected,
-,. 4 THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY
cushioned with feathers and moss, and over this was fixed a
shadowy roof of leaves, as a shelter from the sun. In this car
the Root-King seated himself with the Princess; nor was it for-
gotten to place in it also a delicate repast of juicy berries, honey,
and tender young buds. Two Cranes, who had practised their
task for a week previously, took up the nest with their bills, and
flew with it through the air to the nearest large Town inhabited
In a few hours the two birds were hovering with the nest over
the houses of the town. With a gentle flight they descended, and
deposited the royal aerial chariot carefully upon the tower of the
Townhouse, whence there was a view over all the streets, without
any fear of being seen. That was indeed a sight! Even the King
himself had never imagined that a city of Men could be so splen-
did. The Princess too shouted and jumped with joy, until she
nearly fell out of the nest, had not one of the Cranes with his
long bill suddenly caught her by her little leg.
Now, as chance would have it, on this same day the Prince of
that country was celebrating his wedding with the daughter of a
foreign King, so that the whole city was in one blaze of splendour.
What shows and sights were there to be seen! processions, fairs,
reviews of a thousand regiments, theatres in the open air, rope-
dancers, races,-in short, it is impossible to describe them all.
But first and foremost the Prince and his young wife! how
AND HIS CURIOUS DAUGHTER. 5
splendid he looked in his scarlet uniform, with the star upon his
breast, moustachios, and large blue eyes; and she, in a red velvet
dress, covered with pearls and precious stones, which sparkled
and sent their light high up to the very gallery of the Townhouse,
Wherever you looked there was something new and strange, and
so it went on from early in the morning until the sun disappeared
behind the mountains.
However much all these marvellous sights delighted the old
King, his opinion of Mankind remained unaltered, and he was
sorry that his daughter should just have chosen this day to wit-
ness the most brilliant side of Men's doings. He was however
too weak to deny himself a view of the scene; nay, he would
even have remained up there still longer, but that, as night fell
and darkness came on, some men suddenly appeared on the gal-
lery, to illuminate the building and let off the fireworks. The
men approached the nest. How the Princess started with affright
at the sight of such gigantic forms The King too lost his speech
from terror; and had not the Cranes, of themselves, lifted up the
stork's nest into the air and borne it quickly off, there would have
been an end of the King and his daughter, and of our story too.
However fortunately they were just in time: and still from afar off
the aerial travellers saw the fireworks fly into the air, whizzing
and fizzing, and crackling and sparkling, from the tower of the
Townhouse, which was certainly all very splendid at a distance,
6 THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY.
but close by would have been certain death. So the King and his
daughter returned safe and sound to their own Root-Valley.
The little Princess of course now saw well that Men were too
big for her to be able to share in their grand doings; still her old
fancies and longing returned, and even stronger than ever, although
in a somewhat altered form. She was firmly convinced that there
must be upon earth yet another race of beings as small as her own
little countrymen, but as clever and wise as Men; and so she re-
solved never in her life to marry, unless a Prince of her own size
should take her for his wife; but then too he must have exactly
such an hussar's jacket, and exactly such a star on his breast, and
just the same large blue eyes, as the Man-Prince in the city; and
he must also rule over a little People, who possessed exactly the
same peculiarities as they.
These whims and fancies of his daughter made the gbod old
King quite sad. Right gladly would he have had a son-in-law,--
but such a one! where in the wide world was he to be found ? He
indeed did all in his power to form and teach his People ac-
cording to the rules and laws of Men, but nothing came of it,-
they were not a whit the cleverer. The little fellows were never
tired of Aearing of Men and their doings, but to become like them
-no indeed! They would remain for ever and aye what they
were,-free, merry little Rootmen The end of it was that the
Princess got no husband, and the ing no son-in-law.
CHAPTER THE SECOND.
THE SPRING FESTIVAL IN ROOT-VALLEY.-THE NUT-FIELD.-THE MIGRATING
BIRDS.-A STRANGE PEOPLE MAKE THEIR APPEARANCE.-NUTORACKER
AND HARLEQUIN.-THE PRINCESS FALLS INTO RAPTURES.
SEVERAL years had passed, and the Spring Festival was returning.
All was green and blooming; the trees and hedges were already
in full leaf, and rock, vale, hill and dale were clothed with their
new dress. The Rootmen had already quitted their dark winter-
quarters, and betaken themselves to their summer abodes by the
cool brook, which now once more ran purling merrily along. All
awaited with eager expectation the appearance of the winged
At length the important day arrived. It was a fine May morn-
ing; through the young foliage of the nut-trees the sunshine played
and sparkled on flowers and turf, on pebbles and rippling waters.
Early in the morning the little Heralds, decked out in new coats of
moss, were seen riding through the Valley upon grasshoppers, and
crying aloud with a clear voice,-
8 THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY
Come forth, ye Rootmen, all come out!
For the Spring is come, and the birds are about."
The summons was no sooner heard, than the whole of the little
People came pouring from all sides into the Nut-field, which was
set apart for such festivals, and was on this occasion decked out
in the most beautiful manner. In the middle, upon a molehill
prettily covered with small pebbles, stood the throne for the good
King and his fair daughter; it was made of snail-shells and mussel-
S shells, and cushioned with feathers. A long alley of lilies-of-the
valley, six deep, led up to the throne; and when the royal proces-
sion galloped up on squirrels, all the little lily-bells rang with a
lovely melody; for at each lily was stationed a spider, to pull the
bells with a thread of its cobweb.
A solemn silence followed. The Birds had not yet made their
appearance. They had probably alighted somewhere in the neigh-
bourhood, to smooth and arrange their feathers, ruffled by their
long flight; they must of course show themselves to their kind
hosts in decent attire! On a sudden was heard from afar a sound,
which drew nearer and nearer, the usual sign that the guests were
approaching; and soon there was a great rustling in the air. First
came a flock of birds flying over the forest, then more and more,
until at last the whole field was quite overshadowed by the winged
guests, who alighted in large flocks upon the ground.
A general shout of joy resounded on all sides. The newly-
d)^ ^^ ^ -^ ^^ *^^ .^^
AND HIS CURIOUS DAUGHTER. 9
arrived guests were speedily refreshed with food and drink, and
then an old Stork, the most famous story-teller of his time,
mounted upon a large stone, which served him for a rostrum.
He had just put on that pleasant look with which he used to
begin all his stories, he had just cleared his throat and opened
his long red bill, when on a sudden he was interrupted by a loud
murmur from the crowd, and a strange sound, as of many car-
riages and horses, was heard in the distance. The Heralds of the
Root-King instantly hastened to ascertain the cause, and presently
returned announcing that a new and strange People were coming
through the forest in innumerable troops, led by a Prince in a
scarlet hussar's uniform, with large blue eyes, and a star upon his
breast: his name was Prince Nutcracker and with his councillor
Harlequin he sought a gracious audience of the Root-King and
At this news the Princess turned red as scarlet, and the King
pale as death, with affright. The Princess imagined that the
Man-Prince in the town had perceived her on the gallery of the
Townhouse, and was now coming to marry her; but the King
feared that the giant race of Men were come to destroy his
subjects and conquer his country. When however they heard
that Prince Nutcracker and his followers were not bigger than
the Rootmen, the Princess's fear was changed into such joy, that
she fell on her father's neck, and kissed his hands again and
THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY.
again; then the King commanded the Stork to cease his story-
telling, and the Prince with his followers to be conducted imme-
diately to his presence.
How Prince Nutcracker and his councillor Harlequin happened
to come hither the following Chapter will tell.
CHAPTER THE THIRD.
THE WONDERFUL BROOK.-THE OVERTURNED CARRIER'S WAGGON.-NUT-
CRACKER AND HARLEQUIN COME TO LIFE.-THE THREE WISHES.-THE
BOX OF NUREMBERG TOYS.-THE WANDERING RATS.-HOW HARLEQUIN
BRINGS TO LIFE A WHOLE NATION AND ARMY.-BATTLE WITH THE
STAR.-HOMAGE.--PROCESSION TO THE ROOT-VALLEY.
THE road from Nuremberg to Leipsic, at the time of our story,
ran in one part close to a deep hollow, through which a clear
brook wound its way. The stream flowed directly from Root-
Valley, and had the marvellous property, that whatever fell into it
instantly became alive, provided only that it had previously had
the form of some living thing.
It chanced one day that a carrier's waggon was passing this spot
on its way to the Leipsic Fair, packed full of boxes, when on a
sudden a wheel came off, and the waggon rolled over into a
hollow. Now in the boxes were Nuremberg toys of all kinds,
enough to fit out a whole fair. When the poor carrier saw his
waggon overthrown into the hollow, where he could not get at it,
off he ran in despair, and nobody ever after heard what became of
4^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ _^^ ^^ ^ ^ ^^ __ \>
~ r,\B a\
12 THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY
him. Certain it is that by the upset of the waggon some of the
boxes were broken, and, of the puppets which they contained, a
Nutcracker and a Harlequin rolled into the brook. No sooner
were they touched by the water, than instantly a marvellous ani-
mation darted through their limbs. Slowly they raised them-
selves, and stared at one another with amazement. There stood
Nutcracker, upon his stiff legs, like a post, beautifully varnished
over, with his bright blue eyes, his wooden pigtail, and the star
upon his breast; while Harlequin, in his particoloured jacket, with
his laughing face, clapped together his hands and legs over his
head for very joy, and hopped about like a magpie.
When these first signs of animation subsided into more tranquil
reflection, Harlequin opened his lips, and said, "Great Prince! that
you are a Prince, and I your merry councillor, is clear enough,
for otherwise you would have no star on your breast, and I no
merry-andrew's jacket; but what shall we do first?"
S"That is a question for you to answer, not for me," replied
Nutcracker, whom the consciousness of his high birth had already
made grave and haughty. Muttering in his beard, he kept on
moving his under jaw up and down, and continued, "Dear Har-
lequin that I am, as you rightly say, born to be a great man, is
proved, not only by my star, but also by three wishes which have
just come into my head. The first wish is to have a dishfull of
the finest nuts, for which I have a marvellous appetite; the
AND HIS CURIOUS DAUGHTER. 13
second is to have a faithful people and a brilliant army, for
unquestionably I am born to govern; the third and last wish
is to marry a rich and beautiful Princess, who shall bring me as
her dowry a pretty portion of land, where I may live with your
assistance in all possible ease and comfort, eat nuts, govern my
people, and pass the time merrily. Your duty is now to advise
me how these wishes may be fulfilled."
"Better do than advise," cried Harlequin: "only trust, my
Prince, to my merriment. Before the sun goes down, you shall
be in possession of all these trifles, or my name is not Harle-
quin, and my legs will never more dance and clatter over my
So saying, in a twinkling he climbed up the nearest nut-tree,
and shook it with all his might. The large nuts fell like a shower
of hail, and the hungry Prince began to crack and eat them with
all speed; and he did not feel quite revived until he had eaten his
The second wish it was far more difficult to accomplish; never-
theless Harlequin found ways and means to counsel in this case
likewise. The contents of the waggon, which lay scattered about,
contained people and soldiers enough; he had only to open
the boxes, and bring to life all the thousands of puppets which
were shut up in them; but unluckily the lids of the boxes were
fastened down so tight, that the united strength of the two little
14 THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY
men was unable to force them open. They toiled and moiled till
they were quite exhausted, but all in vain. In this perplexity a
word of advice was worth something. Nutcracker's big blue eyes
started out of his head from the mere effort of considering and
contriving, till they looked like those of a crayfish; Harlequin,
on the contrary, never lost heart or ceased his merriment for an
instant. He twirled round and round like a top, looking for help
on all sides; and before he himself thought of it, indeed an unex-
pected aid came in a marvellous way.
Afar off the brown fields which bordered the forest-glen ap-
peared all at once to become alive. An immense host of migrating
Rats, on their journey from the South to the North, were advan-
cing this way, and by chance fell directly upon the scattered heap
SOut of the way, my Prince !" cried Harlequin, "if we would
not let ourselves be devoured like hazelnuts."
They both sprang on one side. The Rats, which, as every one
knows, never turn out of their road, but always go straight for-
ward, through field and wood, over hedge and ditch; gnawing
their way through stick and stone, fell without ado upon the chests
and boxes. The fresh young pine-wood boards were a welcome
prize to their sharp teeth, and so too the strong hempen ropes.
Speedily off fell the box-lids, one here, one there,-crack went a
rope on this side, another on that! The most splendid toys
AND HIS CURIOUS DAUGHTER. 15
presently lay scattered about in confusion on the road, and some of
the Rats fell to gratifying their nibbling propensity upon them.
When Harlequin beheld this, he cried aloud to the Rats, "A
good appetite to you, ye board-eaters! have you enough?" And
so saying he jumped into the brook, and flung his legs and arms
about him, till the water splashed over all the other little Nut-
S crackers, Harlequins, and tin and wooden soldiers, who instantly
became alive and jumped upon their legs.
"Follow me !" cried Harlequin: "one fool makes many,-one
wise man many wise !" And he was right. Fresh puppets kept
continually rising up and coming to life; the regiments formed
themselves, the little horses were soon harnessed to the cannons
and drew them, the tin Generals put themselves at the head of
their troops, and the order of battle was arranged against the
Rats. It was indeed high time, for many of the puppets had
already fallen under the sharp teeth of their assailants. At the
sight of this, Nutcracker's spirit and heroic courage were aroused;
his eyes rolled, his jaws chattered with very thirst of fight, his
wooden pigtail accompanied all the motions of his mouth with
rapid twitchings. Impatiently he drew his sword, and at the head
of his Body-guard (who were also Nutcrackers, but without the
star, and therefore no princes) he led his army to battle.
And now he gave the signal to fire! Instantly all the firearms
and cannons of the innumerable regiments were discharged at the
16 THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY
Rats, who, terrified by the strange noise, took to flight in all haste.
Thus a brilliant victory was gained, and in place of the late con-
fusion of overturned boxes, there was now to be seen quite a new
world, glittering in all the colours of the rainbow. Towns and
villages, fortresses and country-houses, kitchens and drawing-
rooms, lay scattered one upon another, whilst thousands of little
men and animals were running about. The first thing now was,
of course, that Prince Nutcracker should receive the homage of
S his subjects as their ruler.
But there still remained the third task to be accomplished,-to
find a Princess, and with her hand to obtain a piece of land upon
which the new colony might settle. Here again Harlequin's inge-
nuity soon suggested advice and aid. Some of the wounded and
captured Rats were commanded to give a description of all the
Princesses whom they had met with in the course of their travels.
When they came to tell of the beauty of the Princess of Root-
Valley, the wooden heart of Prince Nutcracker, as he listened to
their description, warmed so, that a sound shot through it as if a
deal board were cracking and splitting in a room suddenly heated.
This sound he regarded as an omen; this and no other Princess
was to be his Queen. He therefore resolved instantly to go with
all his People to where the Princess lived, and sue for her hand.
The procession was forthwith marshalled in due order; the Rat
prisoners served as pioneers and guides; after these followed the
AND HIS CURIOUS DAUGHTER. 17
cavalry, then the Prince with all his Court, and behind him the
cannons and infantry. Now came rocking-horses, heavily laden
with band-boxes, in which were towns, villages, theatres, fortresses,
kitchens, and so forth, and all the furniture and cooking utensils;
behind these followed the little baggage-waggons, and tin and
wooden coaches crammed full of passengers; then people on foot,
of all sorts, in every fashion of dress from the time of Adam to the
present day. After all these came long droves of animals, large
and small, out of all the Noah's-arks and menageries which had
been in the waggon,-first the tame and then the wild animals,
the latter accompanied by tin Bedouins and Circassians, who had
to watch lest the little roaring beasts should devour each other or
any other harmless beings. And all the while Harlequins, Sca-
ramouches, and Pantaloons kept jumping and skipping about in
the procession, and by their tricks and merriment kept all the
people in good heart and humour on the long and arduous march.
Meanwhile a large fleet of magnetic ships, with tin swans, ducks,
and fishes swimming around them, floated in state on the won-
derful brook, along the bank of which the procession marched.
'Now let the Reader picture to himself this interminable multitude
advancing in the beautiful green woods, all amidst lilies-of-the-
valley, violets and buttercups, lettuce-leaves, nettles, and ferns,
marching over hill and dale, in a sparkling sunshine, and with a
blue sky overhead,-and withal the toil and efforts of the little
18 THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY.
wights, the creaking of wheels, the cracking of whips, the word of
command resounding through the ranks, the music and singing
when the path was smooth and easy, and the cries and shrieks
upon the bad roads,-how pretty and animated and merry the
whole scene must have been! No wonder indeed that, along the
whole way which the procession journeyed, the birds came out of
the trees and hedges, the beetles crept out of the flowers, even
the worms and snails came out of their hiding-places, all full of
curiosity to see the sight; and no wonder too that they were all
impressed with great admiration for Prince Nutcracker, who ruled
over such a splendid people, and even made long travels with them !
After long and arduous toil, and incredible efforts, the Colony
arrived at the large Nutfield, of which we have before heard.
" D 1 19'
CHAPTER THE FOURTH.
NUTCRACKER IS BETROTHED TO THE PRINCESS OF ROOT-VALLEY, AND TAKES
POSSESSION OF THE NUTFIELD.-THE BIRDS DEPART.-WHAT ILL COMES
1 OF IT.-WEDDING AND PARTING.
PRINCE NUTCRACKER and his followers were received in the most
friendly manner by the good King of Root-Valley. The Princess
was in a sea of rapture at the brilliant appearance of the bright,
varnished, wooden Prince, who in a formal and well-turned speech
declared his love for her, together with his other wishes, in a
pleasing and appropriate manner. The old King even was so
moved by his words, that without more ado he gave him his
daughter to wife, and the whole Nutfield as her dowry. And
now, when the old man tenderly embraced his future son-in-law,
all the people around shouted with joy, and all the thousands
of little birds joined in the general jubilee, piping and singing,
and clapping their wings, amidst shouts of "Long live Prince
Nutcracker and his Bride !" Then it was arranged that the whole
procession of the Puppet-people should take possession of their
20 THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY
new land, the Nutfield, before the eyes of the assembled Root-
men, which immediately took place.
As often happens in life, that dear old friends are forgotten and
put aside for new ones, so it fell out in this instance. The mi-
grating Birds, who had formerly been treated with the greatest
attention and respect, and who on this occasion testified their
sympathy and joy at the union of the two Peoples, had in the
course of this day to experience the mortification of seeing their
old friends turn their backs upon them. The little Root-man-
nikins, in eager curiosity, pushed them back on all sides, and gave
them pretty clearly to understand that they might take to flight,
and remain away for ever.
Indignant at such treatment, the Birds rose all together upon
the wing, like one, hovered an instant over the heads of the two
Peoples with a loud noise, and then disappeared with rapid flight
in the blue distance.
Oh horror and alarm! What happened then? The sudden
flight of these thousands of Birds created such a rush of air, like
a whirlwind, that scarcely a man of the newly-arrived guests could
keep himself on his feet. Whole ranks of tin soldiers fell one
upon another; the cardpaper heroes, actors, and huntsmen were
swept far away over the fields; and even Prince Nutcracker him-
self, who was at that instant just going in a polite manner to kiss
the hand of his beloved Princess, was so shaken that he staggered
AND HIS CURIOUS DAUGHTER. 21
and fell, rolled down the molehill, and lay sprawling at the foot of
it with open mouth.
An ill omen this for the power of the new Government! The
great admiration which the Rootmen had hitherto felt for their
new friends quickly turned into disdain at this catastrophe. The
good King and the fair Princess alone did not allow themselves to
be carried away by their astonishment; they instantly descended
from their throne, and helped the fallen Prince to regain his legs.
But Nutcracker broke out into bitter reproaches; he called the
Birds, who had upset him, silly high-flying fools, who set them-
selves above the whole world, and overturned all rule and order.
His anger was not to be softened, until his future father-in-law
promised that, to prevent the recurrence of any similar disaster,
he would allow nothing flying to enter his kingdom, not even
One by one all the little people got up on their legs again, and
the rest of the day was passed in merriment and feasting. On
the morrow the wedding of Prince Nutcracker and his fair Bride
was celebrated with the grandest solemnities; after which the
two Peoples took leave of one another in the most friendly man-
ner; the Root-mannikins returned to their own Valley, and the
Puppet-folks remained on the Nutfield.
CHAPTER THE FIFTH.
THE PUPPET-KINGDOM IS SET IN ORDER.-HAUGHTINESS OF NUTCRACKER,
HIS WIFE, AND SUBJECTS.-ANTIPATHY OF THE TWO PEOPLES.-THE
ROOT-KING ABDICATES HIS CROWN.-NUTCRACKER A TYRANT.-PREPA-
RATIONS FOR WAR IN ROOT-VALLEY.-THE WAR.-HARLEQUIN'S DEATH.
-FLIGHT AND DESTRUCTION OF THE PUPPET-KINGDOM.-NUTCRACKER'S
DEATH.-THE PRINCESS SAVED.
IT took Prince Nutcracker a full week to put his State in order, to
erect towns, fortresses, and villages on their proper spots, and to
assign to his subjects their places and sphere of activity. All this
was admirably executed with the aid of his indefatigable councillor
Harlequin, who was the soul of the whole undertaking. Every-
thing too seemed to favour the new State, for as yet there had
been no cloud in the sky, no gust of wind to overthrow a com-
pany of soldiers, no rain to wash off the beautiful colours of the
castles, or to wet the princely decorations of the great theatre.
Thus lived the young Princess for some days with her husband
in joy and splendour. She had laid aside her old dresses of leaves,
flowers, and gossamer, and was arrayed like the most elegant State
THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY. 23
Puppet, after the newest Paris fashions. She left off her na-
tural lively movements, and assumed the stiff and stately deport-
ment of her husband and the ladies of the Court, who considered
it unbecoming to turn their head ever so little on one side. She
almost wholly forgot how to walk, while she was constantly driving
to balls, concerts, and parades, to cockchafer-hunts and fly-chases.
Her chief delight was in finery: every day she put on a new
dress, and before her windows were shops of all the newest
fashions, so that her first glance fell upon them when she got up
in the morning.
Her husband too, and his subjects, grew continually more and
more haughty. They looked down with contempt upon every-
thing that was not a Puppet, or so finely painted and varnished
as they. Every bird that flew past, or came near them, was pur-
sued with the greatest cruelty.
Even the Rootmen, who came from time to time for their plea-
sure, were received with more and more coldness, insomuch that
they soon ceased coming at all. Nay the good King himself was
compelled to witness how his son-in-law and his own daughter
came in time to treat him with indifference. Naturally the former
friendship of the two Peoples was soon turned into bitter hatred.
Before a month had elapsed Prince Nutcracker's arrogance be-
came so great, that he demanded of the Rootmen a monthly tri-c
bute of two thousand of the finest hazelnuts: at the same time
I k.- ^, _, j~)
24 THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY
he assembled his troops and planted his fortresses in a line on the
frontier of the Root-kingdom, resolving, in case of refusal, to invade
with his army the territory of his father-in-law.
Such a violation of all right naturally filled the gentle spirit
S of the good old King with indignation. One whole day long he
wept tears of bitterness into his mossy beard; he then publicly
renounced his ungrateful daughter, and forbade her ever to come
into his sight again. At length he retired from all affairs of go-
vernment; he felt that he was too tender-hearted for such arduous
The tidings of this soon reached his daughter. Her eyes were
now at once opened, and she saw how unworthily she had given
away her hand, how from vanity she had violated her duty to her
father, and to all those who had once been dear to her. Alas, it
was too late! She tried all means to dissuade her husband from
S his unjust demands, but he was resolute; and when she continued
unceasingly her entreaties, his anger turned against her likewise;
he shut her up in her room, and would not hear a word more from
her. Instead of joy and peace, her constant companions now were
sorrow and repentance.
Meanwhile in the Root-kingdom a young and vigorous King
was elected, who shared the hostility of his people against the in-
solent intruders, and forthwith declared war upon them. He re-
solved by a decisive battle either to annihilate or drive them away,
1^^^j1'^^^ ^^^l.^ ^^w1^^^'_S ^gg~.|l'^
SAND HIS CURIOUS DAUGHTER. 25
and to this end he summoned his Allies from all sides to his aid.
Rabbits and moles, lizards and worms, were to invade Nutcracker's
country by an underground attack, and overthrow towns and vil-
lages; locusts, bees, and cockchafers were to fall upon the enemy
from the air; whilst on the ground the Rootmen themselves should
assail the foe with sharp rush-lances and two-edged blades of
The morning of the fatal battle dawned gloomily; the sky was
covered with black clouds. Clad in their green and brown moss
coats the Rootmen marched toward the Nutfield, so that the
enemy did not observe them until they were close under his for-
tresses. Suddenly there burst forth a cannonade and firing from
all the loopholes; but the balls remained sticking in the moss of
the assailants, who answered the terrific discharge with loud laugh-
ter. Quickly the army of the Rootmen pressed onward into the
Nutfield: Prince Nutcracker threw himself upon them with his
Body-guard, but was driven back; whereupon he fled into the
palace, and made Harlequin his Fieldmarshal. With wild leaps
of despair Harlequin led the main army to the field.
But soon a general panic seized upon all. The subterranean
Allies of the enemy had already undermined the ground along
which the army of Puppets were marching, and with it the fort-
resses, towns, and villages on the Nutfield; at the same time
almost all the buildings round about tumbled one upon another
S 26 THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY
with a loud crash. Fieldmarshal Harlequin himself was seized by
the leg by a fierce old Mole, who dragged him down into the earth,
in spite of the most heroic struggles: he was never seen again!
This was the signal for a general and wild flight of Nutcracker's
brilliant army, who fled to the royal palace with the cry of Save
yourselves as you can!" The palace consisted of strongly-built
wooden saloons, and longest withstood the labours of the under-
mining animals. Here Nutcracker had already put the horses to
S his State-carriage; then quickly jumping into it with his wife, he
holloa'd to the coachman, Off and away, far out of this Valley,
as fast as you can, and as far as possible !" And all his people
crowded round the coach in wild confusion to find a refuge, for
on every side insects came flying and buzzing around in the air,
and with their wings overthrew everything that was not firmly
Away went the fugitives, rolling over the field like a great ball.
Although hard pressed by the enemy, and with the loss of many
killed, they succeeded in creeping through the great hedge which
surrounded the Valley, and escaping into the forest.
The reverses of the insolent Prince and his subjects now reached
their height: the very sky waged war against them, and poured
down upon them torrents of rain. Nutcracker and his Princess
saw with grief, from the windows of their coach, the torrent in-
creasing and overflowing the road,-their subjects, houses, and
AND HIS CURIOUS DAUGHTER. 27
furniture swept past in the whirlpool, one after another falling
under the toils of the march, tumbling over precipices or getting
entangled in roots, nettles, and heaps of fallen leaves, and perishing
S miserably. Nutcracker's whole People were speedily destroyed:
he too had not gone many yards, when the water unglued the
joints of his coach, and the princely pair were carried away by
the flood. But the natural strong and active spirit of the Princess
was now re-awakened by the danger. How had she once used to
skip about exultingly, and swim upon the waves in such weather!
With one hand she seized her husband's pigtail, and with the
other a twig. She tried with a spring to reach the root of a
tree; but alas! the hair of the terrified Prince was not strong
enough: the pigtail remained in her hand, and she saw her hus-
band carried away by the torrent and vanish from her sight.
At first she called sorrowfully after him, but presently her na-
tural spirit became only the more daring. She threw off her silly
fashionable dress, soaked with the rain, which cramped her slender
limbs; and quickly clothing herself in the first leaves she could
find, climbed up like a squirrel into an old tree, and in a hole in
its branches sought shelter from the storm and the approaching
CHAPTER THE SIXTH.
THE BIRDCATCHER AND HIS FAMILY.-HOW THE CHILDREN RETURN HOME
WITH RARE TREASURES.-NUTCRACKER'S DEAD BODY.-THE LITTLE
MAIDEN IN THE STORK'S NEST, AND WHO SHE WAS.-AFFECTING RECON-
CILIATION ON THE NUTFIELD.-THREATENING DANGER TO THE ROOT-
MEN.-EMIGRATION OF THE ROOTMEN.
AT the time when all these wonderful occurrences happened, there
lived at the entrance of this forest an old Birdcatcher and his
family. During the two years since he had'settled here, his busi-
ness had prospered remarkably; and, especially in the Spring
and Autumn, so many birds had been taken in his nets, that
he had earned many a bright dollar, and had laid by many a spare
Now once on a Spring day a heavy rain had fallen, and, strange
to say, ever since that time not a bird was longer to be seen
there: every morning the Birdcatcher found his nets torn, his limed
twigs destroyed, and even his screech-owl and other decoy-birds
THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY. 29
had vanished from their cages and perches. And yet he knew well
enough there lived no other man in the whole forest who could
have done all this.
One day he had sent his children with the cart deep into the
forest, to fetch brushwood. Evening came on, and they did not
return. It already began to grow dark, and as they still had not
come back, his anxiety increased, and he determined to go in search
of them. He had just crossed the threshold, when suddenly he
heard a shouting and singing at a distance in the wood. Joyous
sounds! it was his dear children, who were dragging and pushing
along the little cart, piled up and closely packed.
"You good-for-nothing little brats, where have you been all
this time?" he exclaimed, half angrily, though overjoyed. But
they laughed, and removing the green brushwood with which
they had covered the loaded cart, they exclaimed, quite red in
the face with delight, Only see, father, what we have here !" And,
lo and behold, the cart was filled from top to bottom with broken,
bent, and gnaw'd playthings!
And now they went on to tell the whole story of their treasures;
and amidst a Babel of voices, all speaking together, one louder
than another, the sum and substance of the story was this. After
losing their way, they had wandered about till they came to a
narrow, smooth dale, which lost itself like a footpath in the wood.
The ground was all wet and miry from the rain. Suddenly, to
30 THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY
their amazement, they found all these splendid things scattered
about in radiant confusion; and, had not the sun already sunk
behind the pine-trees, they would have followed the path still
further. It seemed to have no end, but disappeared deep in the
thicket, and, as far as they could see, it was all bestrewn with
S similar treasures.
The story seemed strange to their father, and he resolved to
follow the path they spoke of the next day, hoping in his own
mind to discover a track of the culprit who had decoyed away the
birds and torn his nets.
The next morning, as soon as the dawn glimmered through the
still forest, the Birdcatcher's whole family were on their way with
the wood-cart to the dale; and, truly enough, there they found
everything as the children had described.
"Look, look, father! there is another splendid little wooden
fellow!" exclaimed the youngest child, raking out of the mire a
little Nutcracker, bedaubed with mud, his colours all washed off,
and his pedestal lost.
S"Heyday! what a face the fellow has, and what a mouth, and
what goggling eyes !" cried all the children in one voice.
"Silly nonsense! stupid toy!" exclaimed the old man angrily,
as he snatched the Nutcracker from them, and flung it far away
into the wood.
But now a wonderful sight presented itself to his view.
AND HIS CURIOUS DAUGHTER. 31
Out of a Crane's nest, high up on an old oak-tree, there rose a
little maiden of human form, quite enveloped in gossamer. She
climbed down from the tree like a squirrel, ran with all speed to
the spot where Nutcracker lay, dug him a grave with her hands,
and, with the aid of the two Cranes, laid him in it, and raked the
earth over the spot; after which she climbed again up the tree,
and into the nest.
The Birdcatcher and his family stood open-mouthed, in silent
astonishment; they feared to frighten away the little maiden, but
this strange sight made them hesitate what to do.
"So, so, then, you are the little witch who robs me of my
bread!" at last exclaimed the Birdcatcher, giving vent to his
repressed anger. "Wait there awhile, my pretty little bird: to-
morrow morning we will come again with axe and nets; we will
then cut down your tree in a trice and catch you. For the pre-
sent let us see where this path leads, and whether there are not
more of you here."
Before he had finished speaking, he espied the little maiden
peeping anxiously from under her white veil out of the nest, and
making a sign. And instantly the Cranes came flying to her,
took up the nest with their bills, raised it from the branches, and
bore it swiftly through the air.
Who other could the little maiden be than our Princess of Root-
S 32 THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY .
Fear of her father and her countrypeople had prevented her re-
turning to her native Valley. At the same time a feeling of sorrow
for the haughtiness with which she had treated the Birds whom
she had once loved, had grown so strong in her heart, that she re-
solved to make amends for her former ill-conduct to these good-
natured creatures. Since the fatal day when her husband and his
people had been all destroyed, she had made her abode in this
tree, and taken under her tender care all the young birds whose
parents had died. Indeed she it really was who, in spite of her
fear of Men, had every night destroyed the Birdcatcher's nets, and
had warned the birds against venturing near him.
At this instant however she saw the danger which threatened
her countrymen, if these selfish people should discover the Root-
kingdom. All other considerations therefore must yield. With-
out delay she desired the Cranes to convey her straight to her own
Valley, where she was resolved to alight, happen what might.
In the Nutfield, which had so recently been the scene of her
false splendour and her follies, the Rootmen happened on this very
day to be assembled. Notwithstanding her wrong conduct, they
had not yet given up the Princess, and, at the entreaties of her
father, they were met to consider what steps could be taken to
search for her.
The Cranes alighted with the nest. In an instant the re-
pentant daughter fell on the neck of her overjoyed father, and all
AND HIS CURIOUS DAUGHTER. 33
the People compassionate her, and forgave her from the bottom
of their hearts. In their delight at seeing her again, all were
ready to give themselves up to unrestrained rejoicing, but the
Princess checked their merriment. She told her People the danger
which threatened them of being discovered by Men. Anxiety
and terror seized the Rootmen at this news: it was no longer
S possible to remain in the forest. They at once resolved to leave
Root-Valley, and to emigrate by subterranean passages to distant
The whole body put themselves forthwith in motion, when just
at that instant there appeared upon the rocky heights, behind
the thick hedge, the Birdcatcher with his family. If these folks
had been astonished at the first instant, how much more so were
they now, when they saw all the little Rootmen disappear in the
Angry and impatient at not being able to get at them, the Bird-
catcher tried all he could to break through the hedge, but in vain,
-he only came off with scratched and bleeding hands.
"Ill-luck !" he exclaimed; "had I but my axe and nets, to
catch those tiny little creatures, I might sell them in the town, or
make a show of them, and become the richest man in the world !"
And thereupon he took his whistle, and began to whistle an allur-
ing melody, thinking by this means to entice the little People like
birds; but this attempt was likewise in vain. All the little Root-
THE KING OF ROOT-VALLEY.
men passed before his eyes into the rock, actually laughing and
making faces at him; and when the very last little elf vanished in
the rock, the opening closed. Since that time no one has ever
again seen the little Rootmen.