SOME VERY OLD FRIENDS.
SOME VERY OLD FRIENDS.
DOROTHY S. SINCLAIR,
Author of "Sugar Plums for Children;" "The 1i' ..
Prince & the Goblin;" Sayings & Doings
in -', Land ;" etc.
T. M. BOWLES.
BIGGS & Co.,
139-140, SALISBURY COURT, FLEET STREET,
DEDICATED BY PERMISSION TO
YOUNGEST GRANDCHILD OF THE
RIGHT HONOURABLE, W. E. GLADSTONE, M.P.
THE CAT AND THE FIDDLE ... ... ... ... 9
TOMMY TITTLEMOUSE ... ... .. ... 58
BELL HORSES ... ... ... ... ... 82
'HUMPTY DTMPTY ... ... ... ... ... 119
THE OLD WOMAN AND HER BASKET ... ... 143
IFS AND SUPPOSINGS ... ..... 169
FOUR AND TWENTY TAILORS... ... ... ... 189
'TOM, TOM, THE PIPER'S SON ... ... ... 209
.MY FATHER S A KING AND MY MOTHER'S A QUEEN 232
BO-PEEP AND LITTLE BOY BLUE ... 252
THE CAT & THE FIDDLE.
I ... .. .. .
., i t l , ,, .
I -. ar- i "
,. NC.E 1 tiii- t.: -thers
, .... i ,ii .nt.. r. .- i1. t- seek
t)',l" t '-'-- "i 'iin. ;. --tit tw ins,
and loved each other very dearly,
The Cat and the Fiddle.
though their characters and ideas were altogether
True, both were kind-hearted, generous and
truthful, but here all resemblance ended. Karl
was tall, strong and handsome, and loved adven-
tures, especially when some danger was to be
encountered, or some powerful enemy overcome;
but Fritz, who was neither so good-looking nor so
healthy as his brother, preferred a quiet life,
and would have been glad to end his days
in the humble cottage where they had been
But this was impossible. Their father and
mother were both dead, and the lord of that part
of the country wishing to make some great im-
provements upon his estate, it was necessary that
the poor dwelling should be pulled down. He
was not a cruel man, so he had waited till the old
people were dead before he said anything of his
plans. Therefore Karl and Fritz had no right to
complain, especially as he gave each of them a
pocketful of money to make up for turning them
adrift upon the world.
Nevertheless they both felt a little heavy-hearted
as they bade farewell to the quiet, tiny village
which they had never left before for more than a
day at a time. Of course Karl was the first to recover
his spirits, and he soon began to whistle a'lively air.
Strange Adventures. II
"You are merry to-day said his brother, half
"Melancholy does not pay, dear Fritz," ans-
wered Karl; See, if we pull long faces like this,"
and here he looked so doleful that Fritz was
obliged to smile, "we shall get no one to befriend
us. No, no, no!
'A merry heart goes all the way,
A sad tires in a mile-a'
For my part, I hope we shall soon meet with
something stirring that will show what metal we
are made of."
Oh, dear Karl, you do not think we shall get
into any dangers in this forest we are entering?"
"Who knows, dear brother? And for that mat-
ter, who cares either?"
Fritz sighed and trembled; he did not like to
make much of his fears, for he dreaded being
called a coward, but the thick wood looked so
gloomy and forbidding that he would gladly have
turned back or gone some other way.
But Karl marched gaily on, whistling and
singing, so he needs must follow.
Evening closed in before they had reached the
,other side of the forest, and they were obliged to
lie down on the ground to sleep, for it was useless
to attempt to go on until daybreak, as they would
be certain to lose their way.
The Cat and the Fiddle.
They had not slept very long when Karl was
startled by a fearful roar, and before he was-
sufficiently awake to knowv what was happening,.
a huge bear was upon him. He seized the knife
which hung by his side, and a fierce and terrible
battle began. Fritz awoke, but was at first quite.
paralyzed by terror and could not move hand nor
Climb the nearest tree i" shouted Karl, think-
ing in the midst of his own danger first of his dear
brother. And Fritz, directly he could summon
courage to move, followed his advice and was soon
safely perched up out of harm's way.
His heart beat so loudly that he could hear
every throb, and it was some time before he could
make up his mind to give a glance below. At last;
however, he parted the branches, and peered
down. What was his horror to see his beloved
Karl motionless and apparently dead, while the
terrible bear stood over him growling with savage.
All his cowardice vanished as if by magic, and
he slid down the tree far more quickly than he:
had mounted it.
The huge animal did not notice the fresh foe,
who was creeping noiselessly up behind him, and
in less than a moment Fritz had buried a long
knife in his heart. The bear fell heavily to the
ground, considerably bruising Karl who lay be-
neath. He however managed to free himself from
the weight, and looked round in wonder to see
who had delivered him.
What! was it indeed you, brother?" cried he.
W" hy did you not climb the tree as I told you to
"I did, I did! coward that I am!" replied
Fritz, "but when I saw your danger (and indeed
thought you to be dead) I cared no more for my
"Dear brother!" exclaimed Karl embracing
him, "you are no coward, and you have most
likely saved my life, though I was only shamming
-death then, because bears will not touch a dead
body. But now let us skin the brute, his hide
will make us warm coats for the winter."
Poor Fritz however had fainted away, and it
was long before Karl could revive him.
When at last he came to, his brother said : "It
is plainly to be seen that you are not fit for a life
of adventure, so we will try to get you some quiet
place as soon as possible, where the work is
regular and not dangerous. Such another alarm
as this would be enough to kill you, and yet look
here-I am covered with wounds from that
.creature's claws and feel not one whit the worse."
For a long time Fritz declared that nothing
The Cat and the Fiddle.
should,induce him to part company with his
brother, but finally they agreed that whatever they
found to do they would contrive to meet at least
once a year and tell each other how they were
Morning came at last, finding them both very
tired, for they had not dared to go to sleep again,
However they walked on bravely and in a few
hours reached the end of the forest.
By this time Fritz was quite exhausted, and.
Karl insisted on asking shelter for the night at a
small house which appeared before them in the
They were most kindly received by the inmates
-an old man and his lovely daughter-who did all
in their power to make the brothers comfortable
and to refresh poor tired Fritz.
"Who are you my lads ?" said the master of
the house, and where are you going?"
"We are on the look out for whatever may turn
up," answered Karl, for we have our own living
to get, and are anxious to find work. We are not
penniless, for we both have money in our pockets,
but we are not stupid enough to wait until all that
is spent before trying to get more."
Well if you are indeed willing to work I could
perhaps find something for you both to do. The.
lad who used to be our servant has just gone off to
the wars, and I was wondering where I could get
another to fill his place."
But that would be only for one of us, master,"
"Nay, I do not like to separate two such loving
brothers," answered the old man kindly, and I
daresay I can find employment for both."
So it then had to be explained to him, that such
a quiet life would not suit our Karl, but that Fritz
would be only too thankful to accept the offer,
An easy place and a good master and mistress-
what more could he desire?
And it was thus arranged. Karl should remain
there that night and start the next day upon his
travels in search of adventure, while Fritz would
settle down with a grateful heart and try his best
to do his duty.
The farewell between the brothers was very sad,
for they had never been parted before. Neverthe-
less both knew that it was all for the best, and
with renewed promises to meet again in a year's
time, they at last said farewell.
Days and weeks flew swiftly by and Fritz loved
his new friends more and more dearly. The old
man was a very clever musician and, when the
day's work was over, he would let Fritz sit with
Shim and listen to the sweet melodies which he
would draw from the strings of his violin. And
The Cat and the Fiddle.
surely never did maiden sing so sweetly as the
gentle Margaret; songs which made Fritz fancy
himself back in the old home with the green trees
waving over his head and his mother's loving eyes
bent upon him. And then the strain would change,
and he was out upon the field of battle, his golden
armour glistening in the sunlight, and his sword
flashing in his strong right hand as he hewed
down his enemies on all sides. And then he
would awake from his dream, and behold he was a
plain country lad once more, who had never
handled a sword nor worn a breastplate in his life;
and truth to tell he would have felt far from com-
fortable with either.
By degrees the master left off treating him as a
servant and let him share all their simple pleasures,
but never did the lad forget his duty and take
liberties because of this indulgence. He did his
work faithfully and well, and a whole year glided
by in quiet happiness. How he looked forward to
the day when he should again behold his dear
brother; and when the morning dawned, he was
told that he might have a whole holiday in order
to meet Karl upon the road.
When they met, the first greetings were:
"Why, Fritz, you have not changed one bit!
Still the some gentle looking face !" while Fritz
Surely you cannot be brother Karl, grown so
tall, stately and gallant! Where did you get this
armour, and the sword in your hand? "
And fine tales of adventure Karl had to tell-
how he had offered his services to the king of a
-So y, and gallant-
" So tall, stately, and gallant."
distant land and how he had greatly distinguished
himself in the wars, and had hopes of becoming a
captain some day.
Fritz sighed, and for a moment half repented of
The Cat and the Fiddle.
his choice, but the next instant he smiled brightly,
"Well, you will deserve all the honours you
may get, dear brother, and I know you will always
love me as of old."
"Yes, indeed! New friends may be pleasant,
but the old ones are dearer far."
They spent a very happy day together and in
the evening Karl again set forth. Fritz felt very
melancholy at his departure, and the kind master,
perceiving this, offered to relate the story of his
life in order to drive away his sadness.
The lad had often wondered why such a clever
musician should choose to live far away from the
town, in a lonely and almost uninhabited part of
the country, when his talents would certainly have
gained him a position at the king's court, had he
cared to try for it. So he sat down to listen to
the narrative with feelings of the most lively
"Many years ago," began the old man, "when
I was young and ambitious, my greatest desire was
to make a name for myself in the world, and as I
loved music better than anything else, I studied it
hard night and day until I had attained the highest
perfection in the art. Still I remained unknown,
for I dwelt with "my parents in a country village
where there was no chance of distinguishing my-
self. Often I contemplated leaving home and
seeking my fortune in some great town, but my
dear mother so dreaded the idea of letting me go
away, alone and friendless, that, for her sake, I
gave up the thought.
'Dear boy,' she would say to me, 'we know
how clever you are with your violin in your hand,
and we feel sure that nowhere can your equal be
found. But what do you know of the ways of the
wicked world, the jealousy you would meet with,
the coldness and hardness of strangers to one so
young and innocent as yourself? All our friends
and relations are, like ourselves, country born and
bred, so there is no one to whose care I could con-
fide you in the great, bustling town. No, no, I
cannot bear to part from you, my son. Wait at
least until I am dead and gone before you talk of
leaving your native village.'
Now, in my boyish pride, I was rather offended
at this style of talk. Did my mother consider me
a baby, not fit to be out of her sight ? She could
not expect to keep me at her side for ever, and
besides, I should like to be earning my own living.
But when I hinted at this to her, she would
reply that there was no need for me to think of
such a thing, that she had plenty of money for us
both, and at her death I should find myself a tol-
erably rich man.
The Cat and the Fiddle.
Although I fretted and fumed inwardly at not
getting my own way, yet I loved my mother too
much to disobey her wishes, until alas! a great
temptation fell in my way which I was unable to
One Christmas time the great man of the
village had his house filled with visitors, some of
whom came from the king's own court, and
amongst these latter was a most beautiful lady
named Ella. Ah! How I wish that I had never
seen her face!
Of course the whole place was gay with feasting
and carousing to do honour to the noble guests,
and the squire once or twice invited me to the
hall to entertain them with my violin.
I noticed at these times that the fair Ella kept
her eyes fixed upon me as if she thoroughly
enjoyed and understood my beloved art, and at
last it seemed that I played to her alone. The
others appeared dull and stupid, but to her I always
looked for approval and I felt scarcely surprised
when she one day called at my mother's house on
purpose to offer to introduce me to the king.
'It will be the making of your fortune,' said
she, 'for his Majesty thoroughly understands
music and is always only too glad of an oppor-
tunity to give a helping hand to such genius as
My eyes sparkled with delight at the splendid
prospect opening before me, but still I hesitated
lest my mother should object even now to my
leaving her. But she, seeing how eager I was,
had not the heart to stand in my way, and with
many tears and blessings let me go.
I was too excited to feel anything but pleasure
when the day of my departure arrived, and I have
never ceased to blame myself for my anxiety to
get away. I never saw my dear mother again, for
she died a few months afterwards, and I shall
always think that my desertion hastened her death.
However, I became happy in my new circum-
stances. The king was very gracious and praised
my performances most highly-in fact there was
never a court concert without my assisting at it.
The beautiful Ella, I discovered, was the favourite
singer of the day and she soon insisted on my
playing for her every time she sang. This I was
only too ready to do for I felt truly grateful to-
wards her for what she had done for me.
When I had been at the court about three
years, I fell in love with a charming Lady-in-
waiting who had come in the train of the new
queen, and, her Majesty, approving of the match we
were shortly afterwards married and lived in the
But I gradually perceived that I was no longer
The Cat and the Fiddle.
in favour with Lady Ella. She would hardly
speak to me when we met, and now would never
let me play for her. I was puzzled to account for
this change in her behaviour, not having the least
idea how I could have offended her, but my wife
at last hit upon the right solution of the mystery
or was told it by one of her friends. Ella had
believed me to be in love with herself, and had
fully made up her mind to marry me, and she
considered that she had been scorned and set
aside for a stranger.
However, by degrees she became more amiable
again, and I began to believe that I was forgiven.
Alas! little did I think that her anger was only
biding its time, ready to take a most fearful
Soon we had a little daughter and then we were
happier than ever. The little cherub could sing
almost before she could talk, and delighted us with
her lovely melodies. By the time she was six years
old her voice was the wonder of the whole court.
About this time we began first to notice a dread-
ful looking woman who was constantly haunting
the neighbourhood, and had once or twice been
seen in close conversation with the Lady Ella.
We were much surprised that so haughty a dame
should choose such a mean companion, nor was
our amazement lessened when on returning one
Strange Adventures. 23
night very late from rowing upon the lake, my
wife and I saw the two together in the church-
yard, so intent upon what they were about that
they never even heard our footsteps.
I know now that the old hag was a witch, and
that she was instructing Ella in her own vile
After this, troubles began to fall upon us. We
had now four children, and first one, then another
fell ill, and after lingering for months in torture,
died, until only our sweet singer Margaret re-
mained. The king and queen were greatly moved
by our distress, and did all they could to comfort
us, but my dear wife drooped more and more, and
at last died too, of a broken heart.
Life at court after this became unendurable to
me. Still, what could I do? If I went back to
my native village I should be no happier, and it
seemed a shame to conceal such talents as my
daughter possessed, the more especially as I re-
membered what my own feelings had been under
the like circumstances.
A few years passed by without further sorrow,
and I began to hope that life might yet be bright,
spent with my darling Margaret.
But one evening a grand concert was given, and
it was announced that the Lady Ella was to sing
her best songs. Her voice was, if anything, finer
The Cat and the Fiddle.
than when first I had heard her, but it was as
nothing compared with my daughter's.
At least so thought I, and so thought some one
of far more importance than my humble self,
namely the king's eldest son.
The concert had been arranged in honour of his
coming of age, and when a list of the principal
performers was handed to him, His Royal High-
ness crossed out the Lady Ella's name and com-
manded that Margaret should sing in her place.
The king and queen, knowing how jealous Ella
would be, tried to persuade their son and heir to
listen to her with patience, but he insisted that as
it was his birthday, he ought to have his own way,
and so it was finally decided. A messenger was
sent off post haste to tell Lady Ella that she need
not appear that evening, and another was dis-
patched to command Margaret to sing.
I was much troubled, for I felt a presentiment
of coming evil. However, the concert passed off
very well, and everyone declared that never had
Margaret sung so splendidly. Their Majesties
were charmed, and appointed her chief singer on
the spot. The prince came to see us the next day
and informed me that if his parents would give
their consent, he intended to make my daughter
I was quite overcome by the honour, and seeing
that she felt the greatest affection for her royal
lover, I readily promised to do all I could to
further their happiness.
The prince was handsome, brave, and a good,
true man, or I would never have thought of giving
him my daughter [in spite of his rank and riches.
We made up our minds that it would be better
to delay for a time saying anything about the mat-
ter to the king and queen, as they were then very
busy preparing for the visit of a neighboring king,
but that when the visit was over, the prince should
at once make known his wishes.
Of course concerts were to form part of the en-
tertainment-for the royal guest, and of course my
daughter and I were expected to perform.
Alas The very first evening showed that our
enemy was again at work. The music began and
Margaret stepped upon the platform, but when
she opened her mouth the most horrible sounds
came forth. Her voice was harsh as the cry of a
raven, and, overwhelmed with confusion, she
rushed from the room.
We could in no way account for this extra-
ordinary misfortune; not half an hour before the
concert my poor girl had been singing like a
nightingale and when we reached home at night,
her voice had returned in all its sweetness.
And now for the :t time, the thought of
The Cat and the Fiddle.
magic crossed my mind, and the remembrance of
the look of triumph which Lady Ella had cast
upon me as we quitted the concert room seemed
to haunt me. She had been standing in the porch
as if afraid to enter, and even in the midst of my
own trouble I felt full of compassion for her, but
one glance at her face showed me that she needed
no pity. No one could have imagined that she
had been scorned and slighted, and I could have
declared that I heard her mutter: 'It is my turn
However, I tried to get rid of these thoughts,
and to make ready to play on the following evening.
As for poor Margaret she was ill from the shock,
and could not possibly perform. I did not like
leaving her alone, but was forced to go and hoped
to play my best. But, at the first stroke of my
bow, an invisible hand seized my arm, and forced
me against my will to make the most excruciating
discords. Not one note was correct, and my mor-
tification was complete when I overheard the
stranger monarch say to our king: 'I am sorry
that cannot compliment your Majesty upon your
He, for his part, was in a rage, and sent a
messenger instantly to fetch Ella, who came in
obedience to the summons and sang magnificently.
I, of course retired in disgrace, but could not tear
myself away from the room. From an unperceived
corner I observed all that passed and saw how
the two kings vied with each other in applauding
Ella. She curtseyed and smiled and looked so
bewitching that the royal guest summoned her to
his side and presented her with a costly jewel,
saying at the same time to our king:
'It is a marvel to me, how your majesty can
have kept this splendid songstress in the back
ground in order to favour the screecher whom we
heard last night.'
Upon this Ella begged to be allowed to speak,
and, upon permission being given her, ex-
'I can explain the seeming mystery to your
Majesty. This violinist and his artful daughter
have bewitched everyone by their enchantments
and only now are beginning to be found out.
Alas! I fear me it is too late for his Royal
Highnesstheprince. Margaret has him completely
in her power.'
'Have a care, madam, what you are saying,
thundered the king, 'and remember that you are
slandering our son and heir !'
'Nay, Sire, if I am in the wrong I humbly beg
for pardon. But where is our noble prince at
this moment? If you seek him you will find him
The Cat and the Fiddle.
And now, I noticed for the first time that the
prince was indeed absent. I darted from the
room and hurried home in order to warn him, in
case I should find him there; but I was too late.
The king, all eagerness to see for himself if there
was any truth in the matter, had followed close
upon my footsteps and discovered his son holding
Margaret's hand and endeavouring to comfort her
in her troubles.
At the sight, his majesty fell into a violent rage
and ordered the prince to quit the house instantly,
but he, in a firm voice informed his father that
the lady was his promised wife and that he would
never desert her.
At any other time the king, I am sure, would
have made no great objection to the match, for he
had always declared his intention of allowing all his
children to marry according to their own choice;
but, having listened to Ella's falsehoods, he at once
believed his son to be bewitched-the more
especially as the stranger monarch had been
offering his own daughter as a wife for the
So his majesty stormed and raged until his fury
was something frightful to behold, and ended by
ordering Margaret and myself to quit his kingdom
before the next day should dawn, on pain of in-
stant execution. The prince in vain endeavoured
Strange Adventures. 29
to calm his father, and at last was himself seized
by the guards at the king's command.
What happened to him afterwards, we have never
heard, but I feel sure that he would soon be for-
given, for his father was always loving to his
As for ourselves wefledin the darkness of the night
and, after many many days of weary wandering,
came to this lonely place where we have lived in
peace ever since; but I know that my daughter
weeps daily for her noble lover, though she would
not return to the court on any account lest she
should again bring trouble upon him. And
indeed we could not find our way thither how-
ever much we might be inclined to run the
risk, for we know not how far we journeyed
during that dreadful time, nor in whose country
we are now living. We found this house in
a state of ruin, having evidently been de-
serted years ago by the tenants, and with the
assistance of a country lad like yourself, we
managed to put it in something like decent
And now, Fritz, what think you of my
"I think sir that you have been most badly
treated, and I trust that some day all may come
The Cat and the Fiddle.
"How dare you be living in my house?"
The old man sighed, but said nothing, and for
a few days seemed so sad that Fritz almost wished
he had not told him his history.
Weeks passed by and soon another year would
be gone, and the brothers were already looking
forward to meeting again.
One day Fritz was attending to the animals
in the yard when he saw a strange woman
coming towards the house driving a cow before
her. She paused on catching sight of the
lad and demanded in an angry voice to see his
master. Upon the old man appearing, she
"How dare you be living in my house? I order
you all to turn out at once."
But Margaret was close at hand and, addressing
Strange Adventures. 31
herself to the stranger, asked what proofs she could
give of the house being hers.
Proof! screamed the woman, how dare you
talk to me of proofs ? If you do not at once yield
up the house and everything it contains, I will
have you all punished most severely."
Margaret and her father had gone through so
much trouble that I verily believe they would,
through fear, have done everything that the
woman required; but Fritz, bravely coming to the
rescue, assured her that they would do nothing of
the kind, and that they should consider the house
their own until she could prove she had a right to
it. Upon this she quieted down considerably,
and at last simply asked them to give her and her
cow food and shelter for the night, saying that
they had come from far.
Fritz was all against this. She is a wicked
creature I feel sure," said he to his master, and
we shall do well to have nothing to do with her."
But the old musician was too kindhearted to
refuse shelter to any living thing, and said to
"How would you have fared, my son, had we
not taken pity upon you when you were weak and
tired?" And to this the lad could answer nothing,
so was at last obliged to consent to the woman's
taking up her abode there for the night.
The Cat and the Fiddle.
The cow made the most extraordinary noises
all through the hours of darkness, and several
times Fritz got up to see if anything was the
matter, but she was only capering about like a
mad thing and tossing her horns hither and
No wonder she is
so thin!" thought he,
as he crept back into
The next day the
stranger made ready
to go upon her way,
but begged permis-
sion to leave the cow
behind her until she
could find a dwelling-
You three are "Fritz got up."
stronger than I am "
said she in a melancholy voice, therefore I cannot
compel you to give up my house, and I must seek
a home elsewhere."
The musician upon hearing this felt again
almost ready to turn out, but the thought of his
dear daughter prevented him from doing so. He
remembered how greatly she had suffered during
their wanderings, and would not subject her to
Strage Adventures. 33
such trials a second time. Besides why should
he believe this strange woman's tale? She would
not tell him where she came from, nor why she
had forsaken her home, if indeed it ever had been
hers. And then he thought what a ruin it was
when first he had taken up his abode there, and
felt that he had a right to live in it, because of the
labour he had spent in making it habitable.
"The Prince Himself."
However, he readily promised to take care of
the cow, :Flt!i.?.'uh Fritz shook his head at the
prospect and muttered something about its being
" an evil beast."
When the woman had at last taken her depar-
ture, the -en i1 Margaret observed half reprovingly:
The Cat and the Fiddle.
"You see, Fritz, she has done us no harm."
But still Fritz shook his head and said nothing,
and in three days' time something happened
which drove all dismal thoughts from his mind,
He was walking through the garden and reckoning
the hours until he should again meet his brother,
when he saw riding up to the gate-whom do you
think? The prince himself, who enquired if he
knew anything about a musician with a fair
daughter named Margaret.
It would be impossible to describe the joy which
reigned in that humble home when the prince
announced that his father had given his consent
to the marriage, provided Margaret could be
The king had never really believed the wicked
charge of witchcraft which had been brought
against her, but had been in such a passion that
he had not stopped to consider what he was say-
ing and doing when he drove the unfortunate pair
from his kingdom.
Ella's wickedness too had been brought to light.
She could not conceal her joy at having succeeded
in putting down her rival, and one of the courtiers
happening to overhear a conversation between her
and the witch, it was found out what mischief she
had caused by her magical arts.
The king would have had her beheaded, but she
had managed to escape and had never been heard
When the prince's tale was ended he wanted to
set off instantly for his father's kingdom.
"His Majesty will be so anxious about me,"
said he, for I have been absent nearly a year.
I fell ill when I lost my Margaret, and the doctors
said nothing would be so likely to do me good as
travelling in search of her. And if I had not
S found you, my dearest," he went on, "I am sure
I should have died."
So they decided to start on the morrow, as it
was already late in the day, but when Fritz heard
S of it he begged to be left behind, as he could not
bear the idea of not meeting his brother.
"Nay, then we will all stay together," said his
master, that is, if His Royal Highness will con-
sent. It is but two days more to wait, and you
have been such a faithful friend, dear Fritz, that
you must share our joy."
The prince readily agreed when he heard all the
circumstances of the case, feeling quite happy so
long as he was with his dear Margaret.
Of course they soon told him the history of the
strange woman who had wanted to turn them out,
and the musician said that he hoped the poor thing
would come back again soon, for that now she could
have the house whether it belonged to her or not.
7 ..." Cat and the Fiddle.
When the prince saw the cow he shook his
head as Fritz had done, and remarked that he
liked not her looks; but Margaret smiled at his
doubts, and he soon forgot everything but her.
On the evening of the second day the lovers
were sitting by the open window, when Margaret
suddenly began to shiver as if with cold.
Let me shut the window, my love," said the
No, I am not cold, but oh! I am so terrified.
What can be the matter? Is my father safe?
Yes, he is here. I cannot account for this strange
"Alas! alas! cried the prince, "who is that
.coming towards the house? It is the Lady Ella
Nay, but it is the strange woman come to
look after her cow," said the musician, gazing out
in his turn.
"Indeed it is Ella! Ella herself!" And now
they all recognized her, though her face was
:somewhat altered from the days when she had
sung at court. Doubtless she had cast a spell
over Margaret and her father when she had come
before, so that they did not know her.
She came nearer and nearer, and the three sat
motionless, unable to stir hand or foot.
"At last I have you in my power," hissed she.
"You, madam, with your charming voice," (here
she made a mocking bow to Margaret) "your
princely lover, and your father! Ha, ha! I owe
you all a grudge, and now is the time to pay it in
As she uttered these words she threw some
powder in the air, and turning to the old musician
You, who think so much of your music,
become a cat, and startle the night air with
unearthly screechings! But as for you two,"
(here she became purple with rage) "you shall
have neither voice nor movement! I hate you,
I hate you both! Keep your human feelings, but
become the one a dish and the other a spoon upon
my table! "
Before the words were ended the enchantment
was complete. Where the musician had been
seated there was now to be seen only a magnificent
tabby cat, which with a despairing mew bounded
across the room out at the window and past Ella.
As for the prince and Margaret they had altogether
disappeared, for they had been instantly trans-
ported into the dining-room, where dinner was.
now smoking upon the table. Ella would have
kept them apart had she been able, but she had
been too clever for herself, and they so exactly
resembled the other silver and crockery that she
The Cat and the Fiddle.
could never distinguish them; so they often had
the pleasure of being near to each other, and
though they could not speak nor move, yet each
Fritz, meanwhile, had been out for a long
ramble in the woods, and on coming back could
discover no signs of his master or mistress or the
prince. He searched high and low, and at last
went into the farmyard where he saw Ella talking
to the cow. He at once went up to her and asked
if she could tell him what had become of them all.
That indeed I can, ha, ha! laughed she, I
and my friend here" (patting the cow) "have
punished them well for all their conceit. The old
man is over yonder," '"-;, .i,_ ,: to a cat on the wall)
and as for your mistress and her lover, seek them
-in my pantry."
At first Fritz stormed and raved and would not
believe a word of it, but he ended by falling on
his knees and imploring Ella to release them from
"A likely matter indeed," laughed she scorn-
fully. Revenge is sweet, and your prayers to me
Fritz, overcome with despair, seized a huge stick
and, rushing forward, would have killed the wicked
Ella, but suddenly his arm fell powerless by his
side, and his feet refused to stir. The cow at the
Strange Adventures. 39
,same instance disappeared, and in its stead he
beheld a frightful old woman-the witch who
had been Ella's friend at court, and who had
taken the shape of a beast in order to be less
observed; for her own face was so hideous that
no one could help remarking her.
She now waved her hand and cried in a threaten-
ing voice to Fritz :
"Become a dog, and so remain until morning
light! Then resume your own form in order to
work for us. Each night a dog, each day a man!"
Fritz fell down on his hands and discovered
that they were covered with shaggy brown hair.
He tried to speak but could only utter a melan-
choly Bow, wow, wow!" Full of terror he
rushed away into the woods, where he lay all
night pondering on how he might deliver his dear
friends from this cruel spell. But he could think
of n.:.thii. and resolved to cast himself again at
Ella's feet and offer to become her slave for ever
if only she would let them go free.
On the first streak of dawn appearing he was
a man once more and straightway went to the
wicked woman to implore her compassion. But
to all his entreaties she turned a deaf ear, only
ordering him to be about his work.
"Ah, lady, tell me," he pleaded. "Will their
enchantment never come to an end ?"
The Cat and the Fiddle.
"Never Unless my old cow there should jump
over the moon !"
This she said with another laugh, for she
naturally imagined such a thing to be impossible.
"And now go!" she cried. "And trouble me
no more! This morning you can employ your-
self in gathering wood in the forest; and let me
have no idling I shall expect to see a huge stack
by dinner time."
Fritz would have disobeyed had he dared, but
he was afraid that some worse evil might happen
to him and those he loved so dearly.
As he was going along the forest path he
suddenly bethought himself that this was the day
on which Karl would come.
"I must not let him approach too near,"
thought he, "or he may likewise fall into trouble."
So he.ran for two or three miles, and while he
is running we must see what Karl has been doing
for this last year.
It will be remembered that it was getting dark
when he had parted from his brother, who had
begged him to remain until morning. But this
he could not be persuaded to do as he had prom-
ised to rejoin the army on the following day, and
would not willingly break his word.
So he plunged into the depths of the forest
feeling quite sure that he could not lose his way
as he knew that the moon would rise very
But soon he found that he was stumbling
through tangled bushes and over broken stones,
which proved that he had indeed strayed from the
right path. Instead of waiting sensibly until it
should be light enough for him to see where he
was, he went l-.iun_.lrii,. on, scratching his face
and hands and bruising his feet at every step. He
at last became so exhausted that he was forced to
rest, and before very long he beheld the first faint
rays of the moon rising in the distant sky. To
his great surprise no branches were above his
head and looking back he saw that he had left all
the trees behind him.
This is indeed a short way through the forest;"
thought he, "but where can I be?"
In front stretched a level greensward, and
disporting t.h i.i-l-. .: upon this, he beheld a
number of grotesque and horrible animals. There
were pigs with human hands and feet, men with
elephants trunks, tigers heads on the bodies of
women-in short, no creature complete of its kind.
All were a mixture of two or three species, each
more horrible than another. He gazed spell-
bound, even his bold spirit being overcome with
At length he accidentally made a slight rustling
The Cat and the Fiddle.
amongst the bushes, and instantly he was
surrounded by the whole herd.
"Tear him to pieces," roared the tiger-like
brutes; "Is he good to eat? grunted the pigs;
"Let us trample upon him trumpeted the
elephants. Altogether there was such a hubbub
and confusion that Karl could not distinguish what.
they said, but he gave himself up for lost, and tried
to feel resigned to his fate. He closed his eyes,
hoping only that they would kill him at once
without torturing him first. Had he not been so
tired out he might perhaps have made a brave:
fight, though indeed he could have had no chance
against so many foes.
But at the very moment when he was expecting
to feel them rush at him, a sudden silence fell
upon the whole assembly. Karl gained courage
to open his eyes, and saw that they had fallen
back into two ranks, while sailing down their
midst came a creature so strange, so weird, and
yet so beautiful that he was more than ever filled
with amazement. The head was that of a perfectly
lovely woman, the shoulders and paws those of a
lion, while the lower part of the body was covered
with gorgeous peacock's feathers, bright with all
the colours of the rainbow.
Have your natures so little altered," cried this
strange apparition that you can thus fall upon a
Strange A dventu es.
thoo ;i11 tf -C
" Karl gained courage."
The Cat and the Fiddle.
much as do I your mistress, you would seek
to hide your frightful forms instead of flaunting
them abroad in this unseemly fashion. From my
quiet turret-room I heard your clamour and came
to see its cause. Shame upon you true brutes
that you are! Get you back to your dens, and
there repent of your crimes "
One by one the horrid creatures slunk away
saying no word in their own defence, and Karl
and his protector were left alone.
"Fair being," exclaimed he, "what is the
meaning of the extraordinary sights I have this
night witnessed? Are my senses deserting me?
Who and what art thou? "
"Alas! Alas! Once I was the fairest lady in
the whole world, but my own folly has brought
me to this pass. I am the elder daughter of the
powerful giant Stupendo, and was brought up to-
gether with my sister in the midst of all delights.
Our dear father, who never used his strength save
for the good of others, had gathered round him
hundreds of ill-used and afflicted people from all
kingdoms and protected them against their enemies.
But alas! he was too trustful, too confiding, and
believed every tale of distress that was poured into
his ears. So it came to pass, that amongst those
who put themselves under his protection, were
many vicious and evil disposed persons, and these,
seeing that I was of a vain and jealous mind, per-
suaded me that my father did not love me as he
loved my sister, and that I ought to insist upon
his allowing me a grand house for myself, with
bags full of money and numbers of servants.
Though he grieved bitterly at my undutiful be-
haviour he yet granted all my desires, but even
then I was not satisfied. I wished to become
more powerful than himself, and in all my base
longings I was encouraged by the wretches who
surrounded me and whom you have this night
seen. At last one day there came to my palace
a poor old woman, hideous as a baboon, who
begged a mouthful of bread. I was always proud
of showing off my generosity so ordered a splendid
feast to be prepared for her.
She appeared quite overcome by gratitude and
when she had eaten her fill, announced that, as a
reward for my bounty, she would grant me three
wishes. Without a moment's hesitation I wished
for beauty, power, and magnificent dress.
Hardly were the words spoken than I became
the monster you now behold.
What dress can be more magnificent than these
peacock's feathers? What beast is so powerful
as the lion whose body I now possess ? And as
for my face, that was not changed, for I know that
the witch had no power to make me more beauti-
The Cat and the Fiddle.
ful than I was. I do not say this from vanity, for
of what avail is a lovely face, with such a form
as now is mine. Alas Alas! My punishment is
indeed bitter, but I deserve it all!
At the moment of my transformation my
wicked advisers were likewise compelled to assume
some part of the shape of the beasts they most
resembled, thus the gluttons are now partly pigs,
the cruel and bloodthirsty, tigers, and so on in
endless variety. My palace was also trans-
ported into the depths of this gloomy forest, where
only on one night in all the year are we visible to
mortal eye. This happens to be that night, and I
am thankful to think that I have met a human
being to whom I can relate the story of my woes."
As the lady finished her tale Karl felt his eyes
fill with tears, and in an eager voice he begged to
know if there was no way in which he could aid
None that I dare tell you," she answered sadly.
"Indeed, lady, you need not think that I would
shrink from any task however difficult, however
dangerous. Pray, pray let me help you!"
For a long time the poor creature refused to
explain her meaning, but at last confessed that
the witch had told her that none could release her
from this spell but a young man who would be
willing to marry her in her present shape.
Karl could not help shuddering as he glanced
at the huge hairy paws which looked able to crush
him to death with one blow. The poor monster
saw the shudder and went on:
"I do not wonder that such a thought should
affright you, and worse still I know not what the
bold man who could marry me would have to
suffer, after he became my husband, before I should
be released. The witch's words were simply
these: 'No hand but that of your husband can set
"And would all these wicked creatures regain
their human forms at the same moment ?"
That I cannot tell, but I fear their hearts too
much resemble their present terrible shapes. But
come, you are terribly fatigued and, if you can
trust yourself to the care of such a being as my-
self, you shall sleep on a bed of down until day-
break. Then we shall disappear and you will
find yourself upon the path which you missed this
Karl followed her in silence thinking over all he
had heard. She led him into a beautiful room in
the palace which stood before them and, wishing
him good night, left him.
He lay down upon the bed but could not sleep.
He tossed from side to side trying to make up his
mind as to what he should do. Could he marry
The Cat and the Fiddle.
the monster? And if so how could he get Iback
to his army? How could he tell what might
befall him afterwards? And need he do this
great thing for one who was a complete stranger
to him and who suffered through her own fault ?
But he was such a generous, kindhearted man
that he had almost made up his mind to risk all
and marry her when he fell into a deep sleep.
As he slept he dreamt that the fair lady stood
by him in her own form, beautiful as the sun,
graceful as a fawn, and gazing at him with loving
eyes. He woke with a start and cried out, "I
will marry you, I am ready and willing at once."
He jumped from the bed and rushed out of the
room in search of the enchanted lady, whom he:
beheld standing at the foot of the stairs in the
He told her that his mind was made up and
that he would marry her instantly if she was,
willing. A look of joy passed over her lovely
face, but then she sighed deeply and said:
"No indeed, I will not allow you to run so great.
a risk for one so unworthy as myself. How can
I tell what pain you may have to suffer before I
can be finally released from this spell? I love you
too well to permit such a sacrifice."
"Ah then if you love me you must not refuse
to be my wife," said Karl with a gay laugh. His
Strange Adventures. 49
heart felt so light that he could not doubt but that
all would turn out well, and, now that he was
refreshed by a short sleep, all his natural bravery
had come back to him.
For a long time however he pleaded in vain,
but at last he urged her so vehemently saying that
daybreak was close at hand and then it would be
too late, that at last she gave her consent.
Now in those days a wedding was. not such a
difficult matter to arrange as now. Karl and his
bride summoned all the monsters into the great
hall, and in their presence promised to take each
other for husband and wife and the whole cere-
mony was concluded.
As the last words were uttered Karl glanced at
his bride and beheld that her hideous deformity
had already vanished!. She was now a slender,
graceful woman, clad in rich robes, and even more
beautiful than the form he had seen in his dream.
She fell on her knees at his feet, calling him
her noble brave deliverer, and kissing his hands
while she shed tears of joy. He was almost as
deeply moved, and, in the midst of their happiness
they hardly noticed what was going on around
them. Presently, however, some ladies and gentle-
men advanced to offer their congratulations, and
the bride recognized them as former friends who
had been transformed at the same moment as
The Cat and the Fiddle.
herself, having likewise repented of their evil deeds.
But a shrieking and frightful roaring arose from
the lower end of the hall where many of them re-
mained monsters still, gazing with furious envy
at those who had regained their human forms.
"Drive them forth," cried Karl to the attend-
ants, and let us rid our home of their evil pres-
The. doors were accordingly thrown open and
the wicked creatures rushed forth into the forest
and have never been heard of since.
The marriage feast was spread, and Karl and his
bride, together with their faithful friends, spent the
remainder of the night in merrymaking and re-
At daybreak the lady looked out of the window,
and uttered a cry of delight.
"See, see !" she exclaimed, there is my
father's castle, and there is he himself coming
towards us! "
Karl looked, and could hardly refrain from a
cry of fear. He beheld an enormous giant, taller
than the tallest tree he had ever seen, and broad
as a house. But he remembered that this was the
father of his bride, and resolved to put a bold face
And certainly he had no cause for fright, for
when Stupendo heard of what he had done for his
daughter he was full of gratitude, and vowed that
he would do anything in his power to repay him
for breaking the spell. Then turning to the bride
he said, Your sister and I have been nearly
brokenhearted since the day on which the vile
witch carried you off. This morning when I
beheld your house again in the distance I could
hardly believe my eyes, so came at once to see if
you really were here. We have sought you high
and low, through all the kingdoms of the world,
and I had vowed a deadly vow of vengeance
against the witch if ever I should find her."
"Indeed, Father, I am 1b.-c iniii: to think she
was no witch, but a good fairy, for she has taught
me to distinguish between false friends and true,
and to live happy and contented; besides which,
she has been the means of giving me my dear
The meeting between the two sisters was most
tender, and there were such rejoicings and happi-
ness that Karl actually forgot all about his king
and the army for three whole days. H-e then
blamed himself most bitterly for having thus
neglected his duty, especially as the soldiers were
engaged against a most dangerous and powerful
enemy who, there was every reason to fear, would
get the upper hand of them.
But when Stupendo knew of his son-in-law's
The Cat and the Fiddle.
trouble, he offered at once to go with him to the
king and explain matters.
This he did, and then marching with the army
into the field, he so completely frightened the
king of the enemies by his enormous height and
huge strength, that he offered to make peace at
once, to pay Karl's king a large sum of money and
to go home and never enter that kingdom again.
Karl upon this was made general and was
granted a whole year's holiday.
During this year he learnt to love his beautiful
wife more and more dearly every day, and he never
ceased to be thankful that his luck had caused him
to lose his way on that dark evening in the
And this brings us to the time when he again
set forth to meet his brother. Early in the
morning he mounted a splendid horse given to
him by the giant, and, seating his bride upon
another, he went upon his way, thinking with
great glee how surprised Fritz would be on seeing
the lovely lady by his side.
But poor Fritz never even noticed her; hurrying
up, panting and frightened, he told Karl in very few
words all the dreadful misfortunes which had
fallen upon his master and the others.
Karl was thunderstruck. While he had been
wandering about going through such strange
adventures, he had always pictured Fritz to him-
self as leading a quiet, peaceful, uneventful life,
and behold, here he was in the greatest depth of
misery. What could be done? In spite of his
courage he felt powerless to help.
"Is there no means of breaking the spell? he
asked in distress.
"Alas, none!" answered Fritz. "The lady
told me mockingly that never should we be
released until her old cow should jump over the
moon-and of course that can never happen."
But here the bride spoke.
"Let us lose no time," she cried, "but hasten
home to my father. If anyone can help us, it is
Yes yes, do not linger!" said Fritz; not that
he thought of what he was saying, but only
because he was anxious for his brother to get far
away lest mischief should befall him.
Accordingly, the two again turned their horses'
heads homewards, where they arrived late in the
When the giant Stupendo heard what they had
to relate, and how the enchantment might be
dissolved, he remained for a time quite silent,
thinking deeply. But at length he said:
You two, my son and daughter, must remain at
home while I go and see what I can do. Only
The Cat and the Fiddle.
direct me to the place, and I will try my best to
aid these poor creatures."
But Karl and his wife entreated him not to go.
"Those wicked women are so powerful with
their magic arts, that some dreadful trouble will
surely happen to you, and what shall we do if we
lose our dear father?"
The giant seemed pleased at this proof of his
children's love, but was not to be shaken in his
resolution; so, directly the moon was up, he set off,
walking with such huge strides that he arrived
at Ella's house in less than half an hour.
He heard a great noise of scuffling feet going on
inside, and presently a large tabby cat jumped from
one of the windows.
At the same moment a woman cried out:
" Take your fiddle with you, vile creature, and do
not dare again to come in hither !" and, so saying,
she flung -the instrument far out into the
The poor musician, in spite of his transformation
could not bear to be parted from his beloved
music, and had crept softly into the house when
he believed Ella to be away.
And now the giant called out in a loud voice:
"Come forth you wicked woman."
Ella was 2 :.. l. alarmed at the dreadful sound
and came out tremblingly to see what was the
matter. We may imagine that her fear was in no
wise lessened on beholding the enormous figure
of Stupendo towering high in the air above
"What have you done with my friends?" he
asked angrily. I command you to release them
from this vile spell."
But Ella began to recover courage, and ans-
"Indeed I will do no such thing. Revenge is
"Then beware my vengeance !" thundered the
giant, and with one stride he stood in the middle
of the meadow where the witch-cow was feeding.
Gathering all his strength for one immense effort
he kicked her with all his might.
Up, up, up she rose, far, far into the air, while
Ella shrieked in fright. Still higher and higher
went the cow until she reached the other side of
Fritz, who had run up barking on hearing the
commotion, laughed aloud with joy, and the
witch fell plump down out of the sky stone
Ella, on seeing her companion's fate, rushed
into the house and locked and bolted the doors,
but Stupendo, again raising his foot, stamped upon
the dwelling and crushed it into the earth beneath
The Cat and the Fiddle.
his heel, as if it had been no thicker than an egg-
shell. Fritz, who had become a man once more
at the instant of the witch's death, now uttered a
cry of anguish.
Oh my dear mistress," he exclaimed, "and
the prince Alas! They must have perished, for
they were both in the house !"
The good giant wrung his hands and bewailed
his thoughtlessness until Fritz was obliged to try
and comfort him.
"You did not know that they were there;" he
said, so you must not blame yourself so hardly."
"Yes, yes I did know," groaned Stupendo,
"Karl told me. Oh why did I not stop to think,
instead of giving way to my rage in this manner ?
What can we say to the poor father when he
And here he began to shed tears, such huge
drops, that if he had continued long there would
certainly have been a flood in that neigh-
But suddenly in the midst of his woe Fritz said:
Look, look! I see the prince. He is there by
the forest. Let us go and meet him."
But the giant preferred to remain where he was,
for truth to tell he was ashamed of being caught
crying, so Fritz ran on alone.
His eyes must have been very sharp, for the
Strange Adventures. 57
prince was a long way off hiding among some
bushes, and, better still, Margaret was with him!
They stated that a few minutes before, they had
suddenly regained their human shapes, and with-
out stopping an instant to reflect, they had darted
through one of the windows and rushed towards
the forest, not knowing how their deliverance had
come about, but feeling that they had better make
good their escape at once.
And it was well indeed that they had done so,
for had they stayed one minute it would have been
too late, and they would have been ground to
powder under Stupendo's heel. They had in-
tended to hide among the bushes until the moon
should go down, and then to make their way
through the forest in the darkness.
The good old musician now made his appear-
ance, and we may imagine how thankful all of
them were to the giant who had saved them by
his strength. He insisted on carrying them to
the king's court, which he did by taking up the
prince and Margaret in one hand, and Fritz and
his master in the other.
They were not long upon the journey, and by
daybreak the whole court had learnt the joyful
Stupendo remained for the wedding and then
bade the king goodbye, at the same time offering
58 The Cat and the Fiddle.
to come to his assistance at any time when he
might need help against his enemies.
He took Fritz back with him to his castle,
where the brothers spent many happy days, and
Fritz aft.elw-:.ias 'married the giant's younger
daughter and lived in peace and prosperity all his
Little Tommy Tittlemouse
Lived in a little house.
He caught fishes
In other men's ditches."
"There was an old woman
Called 'Nothing-at-all; '
She lived in a dwelling
A man opened his mouth
To its utmost extent
And down at one gulp
House and old woman went."
i OBODY knows how happy all
the little people were who
lived in the dwarf country of
I '.,.'. )j Tynitoes. They were always
busy, always contented, having
i no poor people among them,
and none very rich. Certainly
the king had a fine palace and a treasure house full
of gold and jewels, but he only used his money in
doing good, therefore no one grudged him it.
(59) a 2
60 Tommy Tittlemouse.
Some of his subjects worked in the fields, and
many in the mines, which yielded rich stores of
gems and ore, and with these they traded with
other lands, receiving in return corn and fruit and
wool, and many useful things.
One day there came to their chief city a very odd
couple-odd even in that country of oddities.
These were a tiny, tiny man, who gave the name
of Tommy Tittlemouse, and a still tinier woman,
The native dwarfs, who were all quite eighteen
inches high, looked with pity and wonder at these
two-neither of whom stood a foot in his or her
stockings. The woman in fact was so very small,
that they had much ado to see her, and as she re-
fused to say what her name was, they called her
At first she seemed inclined to grumble at this,
but everyone was so kind to her and her brother,
giving them all they wanted without even enquiring
whence they came or why, that she feared to show
her displeasure, lest their kindness should cease.
A house was given her to live in, and the
neighbours daily brought presents of food or
clothing, saying: She is so tiny that what she eats
can cost us next to nothing; and poor little
Tommy looks too weak to work in the fields or
mines yet. When we have fed him up and made
'A Council of his wise men."
him strong and healthy, then we can think about
what to give him to do."
I And he, being a lazy, good-for-nothing creature,
was in no way anxious to begin his labours. An
idle life was just what he liked, and he spent the
greater part of his time in quarrelling with his sister.
By degrees the pair of them began to grow dis-
contented. They complained of the food, saying
that it was so rough and plain, and different to
what they had been accustomed to.
The gentle little natives bore all this in patience
and strove harder than ever to make the strangers
happy, and even the king, instead of being angry,
opened his treasure house in order to take. money
from it to pay for fresh luxuries for Tommy
Tittlemouse and his sister.
But what was His Majesty's dismay to find half
his gold and jewels gone le hastily summoned
a council of his wise men to consider over this
strange and terrible disappearance. To the good
monarch it was indeed terrible, for it showed that
he had thieves among his subjects.
Hitherto he had trusted them all implicitly, and
never before had his trust been betrayed. True,
the treasure house door was kept locked as a mat-
ter of form, but the key hung on a nail by the side
so that anybody could enter who chose.
But up till now, no one had dreamed of thus
trespassing, and robbery had been a thing unknown
in the kingdom.
So the king wept and wrung his hands and
grieved so bitterly, that the councillors were all
afraid he would make himself ill.
SAt last one of them suggested that every house
in the city should be searched, and that if the
missing property should be found anywhere, all
the inmates of that house should be hanged.
Oh, no cried the king, That would be too
horrible! Bather would I lose every penny I
But, your Majesty, evil doers must be pun-
ished, or we shall never be safe."
"Yes, I suppose so-but I could not consent to
Strange Adventures. 63
Imprisonment for life then;" urged another.
"No, no, no !" groaned the king.
Well," said a third, "it is clear, at all events,
that something must first be done to find out the
guilty persons, and it will then be time enough to
consider their punishment."
"Yes," said His Majesty, only too glad to put off
the dreadful moment. "Let people be sent at
once to search all the houses "
But the inhabitants of the land of Tynitoes were
so little used to affairs of this sort that if the
thieves had not lived so close to the court that
their house was nearly the first to be searched,
they would have had plenty of opportunity for
hiding, or running away with the stolen goods.
Instead of acting in a quiet, cunning way, as
policemen might do in our own less-favoured land,
these open hearted, unsuspicious little beings went
about, loudly proclaiming what was the matter,
and telling everyone they met that perhaps his or
her dwelling would be the next to be searched.
On entering the tiny abode of Tommy Tittle-
mouse, they beheld Mrs. Nothing-at-all scurrying
upstairs with a box under her arm. They, of
course, went after her and opened the box-and in
it they found a quantity of the missing gold !
The brother seemed to have disappeared; but
after a time they discovered him concealed in a
cupboard which also contained all the rest of the
The miserable little couple were marched along
the street, their hands tied behind their backs,
their heads drooping with shame and fear.
S,] And well mibht they dread.
S i ma thed a l ,e .: e .e :. ;.id
c ori e a tha o n ,' -o tve 't e.I c e.,-
o r t fr, th t. e k
S -I i, '"-' l c i.. .
""l- A11' ,.-i A,|
Marched along the Btreet."
crime. They had that once contrived to escape,
but this time they felt sure they would meet with.
the punishment they deserved.
Fortunately for them, however, the king was
Strange Adventures. 65
too merciful to allow severe justice to be measured
out. He felt so thankful that none of his own
subjects had been guilty, so thankful indeed, that
he wished to let the two miserable little creatures
off entirely, but his ministers showed him how bad
it would be to allow them still to remain among
the honest people of the land.
It was therefore at length decided that they
should be banished for life.
. But even this the kind king thought too hard a
fate. "They are so tiny" he said, "and will
never be able to get their own living. I will tell
you what shall be done for them. We will build
them a house, long past the boundaries of our
kingdom, for the good mortals who live there will,
I am sure, let us have a small piece of ground.
Then every week we will send them bread to keep
them alive, and a little money to buy clothes and
But this will be no punishment at all," mur-
mured some of the courtiers.
"Well, for my part I should think it a terrible
punishment to have to leave this dear country,"
replied the king. "And you see, Master Tommy
Tittlemouse will not care to have nothing but
bread to eat, so he must work instead of leading
the idle life he has done here. I cannot help
thinking that all this sad business is partly our
own fault for not having given him some work to
do, however slight, for then he would not have
had time to plot such wickedness."
Tommy could not hear this conversation, which
was carried on in very low tones; but Nothing-at-
all, whose ears were amazingly sharp, could catch
enough of it to understand that they were tolerably
safe, and whispered to her brother that if only he
would pretend to be very sorry for what he had
done, matters might not turn out so badly after all.
So the deceitful couple fell on their little knees
and vowed and declared they would never be
wicked any more, and professed such great sorrow
for what they had done, that at last the whole
assembly agreed to their monarch's kind plan.
SAccordingly, by that time next day the two.
thieves were far away from the Land of Tynitoes,
grieving only because of the good living they had
left behind them.
SFour of the king's wisest councillors accom-
panied them on their journey, and at parting gave.
them these words of advice:
"Let your banishment be a lesson to you to be
honest before all things As long as you do your:
duty, and work hard, we will watch over you and
see that no evil happens to you; but if you again.
fall into wicked ways, we shall leave you to your
Of course they promised to behave well, but not
in the least did they intend to keep their vow.
No sooner were the councillors gone, leaving
behind them bread and money, than the brother
and sister began to try to make out what sort of a,
country they were in, and what they could find to
Close by their house they discovered a sparkling
brook, in which hundreds of fish swam and played.
"Ah! here are
some provisions for
S. us !" cried Tommy,
S "' These fish will
make a welcome
.- addition to our dry
"but you will have
"A Notice Board." to be careful, for
look there is a
notice board which says that no one is allowed to
catch these fish but the lord of the castle
Greedy thing he is Just as if we would pay
any attention to his notice! Why shouldn't we
have the fish?"
"Ah, why indeed? We'll both go directly it
begins to get dusk, and see how many we can
Accordingly they made themselves some rods
and lines, and a fine dish of fish they caught for
supper. How they chuckled at the idea. Work
indeed! cried Tommy. "You don't expect me
to-work while I can get bread and money and fish
without doing anything! "
The following week messengers arrived from
Tynitoe's land, bringing the promised supplies.
They came just as Nothing-at-all" was cooking
a. fine fish which her brother had caught early
The visitors looked grave
-hope you did not get that out of the brook
down there ?" said one.
"Oh no, indeed!" answered Tommy. "My:
master gave it to me."
'" And who is your master ? "
"A good farmer who lives over the hill yonder,
and who is very kind to me."
That is well! We thought it best to enquire
because the Lord of the Castle is very fond of his
fish, and never forgives anyone who steals them.
Not only that, but some of the fish belong to a
strange and wonderful breed, and are said to be
able to talk, but this we have never proved for
ourselves. Be sure dear friends be careful "
. "Can you doubt us?" exclaimed brother and
sister together. You have been so kind to us
that we will never be dishonest again."
AtI this the good messengers from Tynitoes were
,,. ~- -_
=-- _.__ -
,. ._ -t_ .- -- :-
' T i. 1, 1-1 -oi I bitn.
farewell, but no sooner had
they departed, than Tommy
burst into a fit of laughter, in which Nothing-at-all
How stupid those people are! exclaimed he.
"It's easy enough to deceive them."
"Yes, they are indeed silly, and we should be
sillier still if we paid any attention to what they
But the Lord of the Castle was beginning to
Every morning he went down to the bank of
the rivulet, -and whistled, and at the sound, every
fish in the water came hastily swimming towards
him. Then he would count them, and lately he
had found that two or three were missing. They
were for the most part tiny little gold and silver
creatures, hardly so long as a baby's finger, but
just a few were large and fierce, with great rows
of teeth. These, however, lived farther down the
stream, and rarely came up to where the water
was shallow and narrow.
They were the guardians of the others, and took
care that no mischief should befall them.
Calling these to him, the Lord of the Castle told
them to be on the look out and see who or what
it was that had been destroying their little
"And if you find out the culprit" said he, let
me know, so that I may punish him as he
The great fish kissed their fins in token of
obedience, and departed on their errand. All day
they swam about without seeing anything unusual,
but towards evening the largest of them, hap-
pening to be near the dwelling of Tommy
Tittlemouse, saw that gentleman come out at his
door, bearing a rod and line, and closely followed
.by his sister.
"I wonder what that little man is about;"
thought the fish. As I have nothing better to
do, I will just stay and watch him, for I have
never seen anyone so small and so odd looking.
Our master could put him in his pocket."
Accordingly he waited, and presently Tommy
reached the edge of the brook.
"Can that be a whip in his hand?" thought
the fish. "He must need a very little horse."
But no horse was in sight, and by and bye
Tommy took a worm from the box which his sis-
ter held, and stuck it on to the hook.
"What a cruel little man! thought the fish;
"I will hide and see what he is going to do next."
And next the worm was thrown into the water.
Hardly had it fallen when Goldiscales, the chief
pet of the Lord of the Castle, rushed from under
the opposite bank, and seized it in her mouth.
Alas, poor creature! The sharp hook stuck
into her throat, and in an instant she was flung
out, quivering and panting, on to dry land, while
Nothing-at-all clapped her hands, crying: What
It .was Tommy Tittlemouse's last crime. The
great fish, filled with fury at his little companion's
sad fate, gave a sudden leap and seized the cruel
dwarf, who was standing too close to the edge.
Scrunch! Gulp! He was gone-swallowed-
and Nothing-at-all, screaming with terror, ran
back to the house as fast as her little legs could go.
The following week, when the messengers again
,came with the bread and money, they were shocked
and horrified at hearing of what had befallen
Tommy, but the artful sister pretended that she
had done everything in her power to prevent his
.fishing, and that it was entirely owing to his own
obstinacy and folly that he had come to his un-
She soon made the simple people believe her,
and they promised to go on assisting her as much
as they could.
Some days went by, and she ate her dry bread,
.grumbling all the time, not daring to catch
any more fish, yet being too lazy to work so that
she might get better food. Certainly she had
plenty, though it was only bread, for this week
there was Tommy's share as well as her own.
One day a knock was heard at the door, and on
opening it, she beheld there an ugly old woman,
who begged for a morsel of food.
"No, indeed!" cried Nothing-at-all. Go
away! I want no beggars here, and have not a
scrap to give you."
That is false," answered the woman, for I
know that you have more than you can possibly
"I tell you I have nothing. Go away And
she tried to shut the door in the stranger s face,
but her little strength was of no avail; the woman
pushed past her, walked calmly in, and seated
herself by the fire,
"Now do as I bid you," she exclaimed. Get
me some bread, or it will be the worse for you."
Nothing-at-all was too frightened to disobey; so
immediately set all she had upon the table.
While the stranger was eating, she said: Long
have I been searching for such a being as your-
self, but hitherto I have never met one with so
hard a heart. You must know that I hate mortals,
and long to do them all the harm in my power,
but I want someone to aid me. You will be just
the right person, you are hard and cruel, and. will
not care what you do, so long as you are well paid
Nothing-at-all laughed as if she thought this a
"What do you wish me to do ?" she asked.
"Simply this. Take this cap and wear it. As
long as you have it on, you will be invisible, and
you can go into people's houses without anyone
being the wiser. Smash their crockery, burn
their food, pinch the children, stick pins into the
chairs and sofas, lame the horses, kill the dogs and
cats, in short, do everything you can to make
everyone around you unhappy."
"What rare fun!" cried Nothing-at-all. "But,"
suddenly recollecting herself, I won't do it unless
you pay me well."
"What do you like best? You can have any-
thing you choose, for I am a witch and can do
what I please."
"Then I choose plenty of money, and lots of
good things to eat."
Very well. Every morning, so long as you
do the things I have told you, a gold piece will be
under .your pillow; and see! as for your other
wish, it is fulfilled already."
Nothing-at-all looked round in bewilderment.
The walls of her cottage had all changed into
cake, and the pattern of the paper was nothing
but currants, raisins, and candied peel, while the
paper itself was almond paste. The tables and
chairs were barley sugar and toffee, and even the
windows were made of lemon ice. It seemed too
good to be true, so she bit a piece off the table.
Oh, how good it was and, more surprising than
all, the piece instantly grew again, so, however
much she might eat, there was still plenty and to
"Are you satisfied?" asked the witch; "and
will you obey?"
"I should think so, indeed," cried the little
wretch, with her mouth full of toffee. No more
dry bread for me t"
"Then here is the cap, and don't forget to use
it. Good day!"
And, with these words, the wicked witch
For some time afterwards Nothing-at-all was
so busy stuffing herself that she thought of nothing
else, but presently she heard a voice saying:
If you don't begin your work these goodies
will be taken away."
"Oh dear! must I leave off eating already?"
But just at that moment she beheld through
the lemon ice window, the messengers from Tyni-
"Capital thought she. "I can begin upon
them. They deserve it for banishing us from
When they came nearer and knocked at the
door she took no notice, and at last they walked
in, thinking she was away from home. By this
time she had put on the cap, and instantly began
to torment the good people in every possible way.
* She poked her fingers into the eyes of one, making
him scream with pain; she stuck pins into an-
other's limbs; dashed water into the face of a
third; and, in short, played so many wicked tricks,
that the poor messengers rushed out of the, place,
-leaving their gifts behind them.
But when they reached the gate, Nothing-at-all
-opened the window and flung the loaves out after
them, crying, Take your bread with you, and do
not insult me by bringing such rubbish again !'".
The good people were altogether bewildered,
nor was their astonishment lessened by hearing a
loud Ha, ha, ha !" above them in the air. They
were not accustomed to such strange goings-on in
Strange Adventures. 77
the Land of Tynitoes, so hurried back to their
peaceful homes as fast as they could.
The-moment they were out of sight, the witch
again entered the house.
".You have done well, my friend," said she; "for
those people whom you have just driven away
are myi greatest enemies. They are constantly
working against me, though I doubt if they are:
even aware of my existence. They do good to:
mortals whom I wish to harm, and nothing.
could please me better than to see them treated
as they were just now. To-morrow you shall find:
two gold pieces under your pillow, instead of the:
one Ipromised you."
Nothing-at-all, we may well imagine, was de-
lighted to hear this, and determined to serve the
poor messengers even worse when they should
come next time. But they did not return. She-
waited indoors all day, and still they came not.
They had been so completely terrified that they
dare not venture into the neighbourhood again.
But the wicked little woman was determined
to make them suffer still more. She hated all
the inhabitants of the Land of Tynitoes because
they had banished her, besides which, the prospect
of her- money being doubled every day was an
extra reason for giving way to her malice .
SSo-' she got up very early each morning, and
walked all the way to the court of the dear people
who had treated her so kindly.
I cannot tell you of half the mischievous things
she did there. She would hop on to the table at
meal times and steal the food from the plates;
often, when a person was about to put anything in
his mouth, she would violently push his hand and
make the fork stick into his throat; she would
splash hot gravy in the king's eyes, and upset all
the salt into his wine when he was looking another
way. In short, there was no end to her evil doings,
and the unfortunate people were nearly driven
mad with terror, for you must own it was very
trying to have all these strange things happening
without any visible cause; besides which, there
was hardly one courtier who was not severely
wounded in some way or other by the little
SShe constantly laughed to herself, saying:
"Ha, they called me 'Nothing-at-all,' but I
will make them feel that I am Something, and
Something to be afraid of too."
At last the king called a council, to consider
what was to be done.
. Some advised one thing and some another; but
at last the oldest and wisest of the councillors
".May it please your Majesty, I suppose it is
universally agreed amongst us that there is magic
Alas, yes, I fear so was the reply.
"Then I think I can proposed remedy. When
I was a very small boy, living at home in the
country, I remember my father telling me of a
wonderful man who dwelt on the shore of the
Green Sea. He had a very long nose, and this
enabled him to scent out witchcraft and magic of
every kind, and he could always trace it to the
"But is he alive still?"
Ah, that I do not know, but it would be easy
to send messengers to enquire. It is but a five
"And must we endure five days more of this
anxiety and torture ?"
"Indeed your Majesty, I know of no other
chance of ever finding a remedy."
"Then I will send at once. But will not this
man require a great reward ? "
"I used to hear, Sire, that he cared not for
money, but that he had a mouth as big in pro-
portion as his nose, and needed a great deal
of food to fill it. Indeed the man is a giant, and
always hungry, though very good-natured."
At this the dwarfs trembled. They feared to in-
vite a giant to come among them, yet they could
see no other way out of their difficulty. So
messengers were dispatched, and in about ten days
returned, bringing the great magic smeller with
Truly he had a nose, and a mouth which looked
like a small oven but such good-natured, honest
blue eyes which filled with tears when he heard
all the troubles that the Tynitoeslanders had
undergone; These last ten days had been the
worst of all, and every person in the country,
from the highest to the lowest, was in a pitiable
Sniff Sniff! Sniff! !" went the great nose.
"Yes, there is magic about!" said the huge
mouth, and though not very near at hand, I hope
soon to scent it out."
It was true that the wicked Nothing-at-all was
now far away on her road homewards, for evening
was closing in, and she was quite tired with her
Soon she was eating her supper-plum cake and
barley sugar as usual-and then off she went to
bed, little dreaming what lay in store for her.
Meanwhile Mr. L._,_-. :,- was sniffing about
up one street and down another, following exactly
in the path which the malicious little wretch had
Soon his nose led him out into the open country-;
Strange AdVentures. 81
Many of the courtiers offered to accompany-him,
but he- said he preferred to be alone, as talking
distracted his attention. So they left him in
peace, and he pursued his way by moonlight.
Sniff, Sniff, Sniff! Neither to the right nor
left, but straight on.
Soon another odour was perceptible.
".I smell plum cake said he to himself, "and
that reminds me that I am dreadfully hungry."
Presently he beheld Nothing-at-all's house.
Why, here is the cake! he cried. "What a
very odd place to put it! Perhaps someone
dropped it out of their basket. Anyhow, here
goes, for I am hungry! "
So saying, he opened his mouth to its utmost
extent, and at one gulp house and old woman
But something remained in his throat which he
could not swallow. It was the witch's cap of
darkness, and now that his hunger was partly
satisfied, Longnose at once perceived this cap to
be the magical thing which had caused all the mis-
chief. He took it back to the court, and described
how and where he had found it, and the good
dwarfs could not help guessing then that it was
the ungrateful little ,woman 'to whom they had
been so kind, who had caused them so much
82 Tommy Tittlemouse.,
When they explained to Longnose that it was
her house which he had eaten, with most probably
herself inside it, the great man laughed long and
- "Well, all I can say is, that it was the very
best plum cake I ever tasted; and now the wisest
thing we can do is to burn the cap."
And so they did, and were troubled no more.
"d_' 1 ^'j
-:: *^- r ^ -,iM. f
.. t :' ." ,, llV
"I am hungry,'
"Bell Horses, Bell Horse
What time of day
One o'clock. Two o'clock
Three-and away "
: **'.1, ', / *.
ir y GOOD King named Garth,
Married a beautiful princess
S who had a fairy godmother.
This fairy was of great use in
S the kingdom, for she gave help
and advice in every difficult
matter, and by her magic powe
was often able to protect the innocent and to find
out and punish the guilty. She loved the queen very
dearly, but on one point she was obliged to find
fault both with her and with the king. They had
three sons, tall, handsome lads, but so terribly
spoilt that they were growing up lazy, conceited,
selfish and quarrelsome.
Often would the good godmother shake her head
gravely as she watched their childish tempers, and
would say to the parents:
"Mark my words, you will live to repent
your folly A little proper punishment now,
would save much greater suffering in the fu-
But the king and queen only smiled at her
earnestness, saying that the boys were too young
yet to be corrected, and that doubtless they would
improve as they got older.
How can they improve asked the fairy indig-
nantly, "if they are never taught that they re-
quire it? At present you seem bent on making
them believe themselves perfect, and thus they
are not likely to alter."
So time passed away until the eldest prince was
twenty years old, and neither he nor his brothers
had changed their conduct, except for the worse.
Their evil doings were known all over the king-
dom, and ,the people sadly looked forward to the
Strange A dventures.
time when one of them should reign in the stead
of good King Garth,
A. A length, one .day, the .fairy- saw .Prince
Guthrum, the eldest son, cruelly ill-treating a pet
.dog which had accidentally offended him -
SFull of anger at such behaviour, she commanded
him to leave off, but he answered most rudely, and
beat'the poor animal more violently than before,
while his brothers stood by, laughing and urging
The fairy could restrain herself no longer, but
casting a spell over Guthrum, caused him to
.become motionless as a statue, while the dog, thus
released, ran away at full speed.
The other princes were struck dumb with terror,
for the fairy's power had never been used against
_them before and so they had almost forgotten
that she possessed it; but presently, plucking up
.courage, they ran off to the palace to tell. their
parents what had happened.
The king and queen came rushing out to see
.their eldest son, who was .still standing in the
.court, powerless to move.hand or foot.
":-Wicked fairy, what have you done?" cried
S" I have not harmed your boy," she answered,
"but only prevented an act of cruelty."
'" You [always do prevent our doing anything
we like," grumbled the second prince, growing
bold enough to be rude again.
I wish we had never seen you," muttered the
third. "You are not our godmother."
Hereupon the fairy turned to the queen, and
seeing that she did not reprove her sons, said in a
sad voice :
"Alas! I fear that in spite of all my services I
am indeed unwelcome here. Have you nothing
to say to me, my child?"
The queen only sobbed out: "How could you
treat my dear Guthrum so? Poor boy, he is so
frightened, and he is so young, and knows no
"And whose fault is it that he knows no
better?" began the fairy. But checking herself
she went on gently: Tell me, my dear, shall I
leave you or shall I stay ? "
Will you promise not to be unkind to my dear
boys any more?" sobbed the queen.
Alas, that is sufficient answer I see you do
not wish me to stay, foi you know that I cannot
allow such cruelty as I have to-day witnessed.
Good-bye, my child, and may you never miss
me too greatly in time of need. I cannot return
when once I have left you by your own desire.
It will be farewell for ever !"
"Nay, do not go!" cried the king, suddenly
realizing what a loss she would be. But she
It is for my godchild to decide."
Still the queen only sulked and cried, so after
waiting some time for her to speak, the fairy
spread her bright wings and vanished from their
At the same instant Guthrum recovered the
use of his limbs, and the first thing he did was to
clap his hands and shout :
Hurrah! The old witch has gone! Now we
shall be free indeed 1"
The queen, who now began to feel alarmed at
the effect of her own temper, reproved her son for
these words, but he only laughed and said :
"I hope you are not going to turn as strict as
she was." He then walked off whistling, to find
the poor dog, but it had fortunately disappeared,
nor was it ever seen again.
Strange to say, both the king and queen began
from this day to see more clearly how wrong they
had been in so spoiling their sons, who grew worse
and worse, scorning all advice, neglecting all duties,
and caring for nothing but their own selfish
Guthrum at last went so far as to raise a
rebellion against his father, with the hope of
making himself king. He was joined by his
lbri:t.h-r': and all the bad people in the country, for
they fancied that if they could have a ruler as
wicked as themselves, they would be allowed to
do as they' pleased and that no judges would
*- But-King Garth's faithful soldiers made short
work of the rebels, who were almost cut to pieces,
and their leaders, the three princes, taken prisoner.
The king was so overcome with grief, that he
could find no words in which to reproach them,.
and as for the queen, she could only sigh:." Oh,
that we had listened to my fairy godmother "
She passed three days in weeping and lamenting,
and then she died, broken hearted at the result of
her own folly.
The brothers were really overcome with remorse
for a time, on hearing of their mother's death, and
King Garth, believing them to be truly penitent,
forgave them and set them free.
He was sitting mournfully beside his dead wife
when he heard a movement in the room, and,
looking up, beheld the fairy godmother. Her face
was very sad and she gazed at him with eyes full
"Alas Why did we let you go? he .groaned.
Had you been here all this sorrow would have
been spared us."
"Nay, who can tell?" she answered gently.
"The Fairy Godmother."
"All must die sooner or later, but truly I would
have done my best to prevent her end being like
"You will stay with us now?" implored the
king. Oh, pray do not forsake us again "
The fairy shook her head. "I lived with you
so long because your queen was my godchild, but
now I have other duties given me which I must
perform. In two days I must depart."
The poor king sighed deeply and felt utterly
wretched. He had loved his wife with his whole
heart, and dreaded looking forward to life without
The fairy tried to comfort him, and, on leaving
the court, presented him with three small silver
bells, telling him that if ever he needed her assis-
tance very urgently, he had but to ring them and
she would appear.
"They must all three be rung together," said
she, shaking them as she spoke and i.l:duciri a
lovely peal of melody, "and I will come to your
aid as quickly as I can; but do not summon me
for every trivial matter or my visits will have to.
The king thanked her earnestly, and said fare-
well with a somewhat lighter heart.
A few days -afterwards Prince Guthrum, being
in his father's room, caught sight of the
bells, and at once asked to have them given
"No indeed!" answered King G.rtlb, "they
are my most precious .'-:'-,--i..n. and more valu-
able to me than my crown."
This was quite .--'oiiuL to make the prince .I.'-
more earnestly to have them. His repentance
had been of short duration, and he was already
tired of being good as he called it.
But the king locked the bells up safely and
fastened his keys to his girdle, for he could not
help fearing lest Guthrum, not used to being
denied anything, should try to get these treasures.
And this was indeed what the prince had deter-
mined to do. He was much vexed at seeing that
he did not get his own way so easily as usual, and
that very night, when his father lay asleep, he
stole softly into the room, and, taking the keys,
opened the drawer, and seized one bell.
It instantly began to ring so violently that
Guthrum rushed out of the room in a fiihLt.
without waiting to take the others.
But the king did not wake. His eyes were
heavy with weeping, and he was tired and worn
out with sorrow, so not until the morning did he
discover his loss.
By that time Guthrum was far away. The bell
had so frightened him by its incessant rilJ'iji.L'
that he dared not stay. He was too ashamed to
give the thing back to his father even had he felt
inclined to do so, and it seemed impossible to him
to hide the fact of his having stolen it.
If he had only known that no one could hear
the ringing but himself he would not have fled.
He walked on for many miles, examining the
bell and wondering why his father valued it so
At last he began to feel tired and hbmiuy,
and to think how foolish he had been to leave
home just for the sake of possessing a mere toy.
He hated the -i l-i- of the thing now, and made up
his mind to throw it away, and go back to the
court as if u,-ljthli.- had happened.
So he took the bell from his pocket and rfuIi.
it into a deep pond.
"Now I have got rid of the horrid thiuf-."
thought he, "and if my father should ask any
questions I shall say I know nothing about it."
So saying he took the nearest road home, and,
by walking briskly, arrived there before darkness
He found everyl..:.1y and .-.lthi-i- in a state
of commotion, and on enquiring the cause, was
informed that the king had lost a valuable
treasure, and had .f .L'.Ti1 a reward of a hundred
Ih.:',.i:n, crowns to the person who should find
and bring it back.
Indeed And what may this wonderful treasure
be ? asked the prince.
The courtier to whom he was s ,..Liiu replied:
A small silver bell."
"A small silver bell?" echoed the prince.
"Surely that cannot be a '-i. valuable thb!n,.
No one would care to steal ,-i-, thi!. so S .rt.lr,-.
and most lil-.1 the king my F.. t-l.- has mislaid it,
and makes all this fu .. for i,...iin-,."
But before the courtier could reply, Guthrum
again heard the bell 1ini, i.: loudly in his pocket
Half out of his wits with fright he took to his
heels and ran off as fast as he could, nor did he
once stop until he was fully three miles away from
the court. Then again he took the bell from his
pocket and threw it away, but in less than five
minutes it was with him once -more ringing as
loudly as before.
In perfect despair he wandered on and on until
he had completely lost his way, then, throwing
himself down on the grass, he soon fell fast asleep.
Meanwhile, the courtier was of opinion that the
prince had gone mad, for he had heard no ringing
and could not understand the cause of this sudden
flight. However, he did not trouble himself much
about the matter, for he was one of those who
bore no goodwill to Guthrum, and there was so
much to occupy every one in the way of searching
for the missing treasure, that he had plenty of
excuse for his carelessness.
Every house, every c~ i-.l. every room in the
whole city was ransacked, but of course all in
vain. The king, full of rage and grief, vowed dire
vengeance on the thief and doubled the reward
offered for the recovery of his bell.
The two other ir tl: .-,. liihnli- out from what
their father said, that there were still two bells
left, made up their minds to steal them, for they
too felt convinced that there must be something
wonderful about them which caused them to be
so highly prized.
They very soon found an opportunity of putting
their evil design into execution, for the whole palace
was in such a state of confusion that no one took
any heed of their comings and goings. The king
had actually left the key in the drawer, and the
two naughty boys each took a bell and walked off
together to a quiet spot, where they might exam-
ine them at their leisure.
They rang them-at first gently-but nothing
happened; then louder and louder and louder-
still nothing !
They turned them round and round, to see if
by chance there might be precious stones set in
No, they were simple, plain silver, and not
worth one tenth part as much as the meanest ring
on the princes' fingers.
They could not understand it at all. Why
should the king make such a fuss about losing
a paltry bit of silver ? He had money enough to
buy a million such bells.
Suddenly the thought struck them that perhaps
it was only the lost bell that was so valuable. If
so they would also join in the pursuit of the thief,
and see if they could not get this one too for their
So off they went, and as it happened took
exactly the same road as their eldest brother had
followed. They peered about hither and thither
as they went, and presently the second prince
"I see a man lying under the hedge yonder!
Perhaps he is the thief! "
If so, the bell shall be mine," said the other.
"No, indeed, for I saw him first."
But I shall reach him first! and the youngest
prince set off like an arrow from a bow and soon
arrived at the spot where the sleeping man lay;
leaving his brother toiling and panting along, for
he was stout and short of breath.
They were both dreadfully disappointed when
they found the man was only Guthrum, but he,
hearing voices, woke, and'started up in the great-
est alarm, crying, Why are you come after me?
What is the matter?"
At this moment all three of the bells began
ringing violently. The youths gazed at each other
in bewilderment, not daring to say a word, when
suddenly the fairy godmother appeared.
Wicked, wicked boys she cried; you are all
a disgrace to your unfortunate parents. Not con-
tent with driving your poor mother to her grave,
you now steal from your father that which you
know he prizes so highly."
The princes, in alarm, cast themselves at the
r, fairy's feet pretending
S',, to be very sorry for what
thi-y had done, and be-
.ching her not to pun-
-- I_, -" '
'; i --:----_. ~- _- =- \1.
Cast themselves at the Fairy's feet."
Return at once to the court and confess all,"
said she, then, if you truly endeavour to lead better
lives I will be your friend, but if not-your evil
deeds will bring their own punishment. I will
tell you now why your father prized these bells.
It was because by ringing them he could summon
me to his aid in time of need. You would cer-
tainly not care to do the same, so until they are
again in the king's possession I shall pay no heed
to their ringing. If you obey me and return, all
will go well; your father loves you too much to
punish you severely. But I warn you that if you
proceed on your way, terrible trouble will overtake
you. For your mother's sake I would willingly
protect you still, but we fairies cannot help those
who persist in evil courses. Farewell, and try to
deserve my help! "
So saying, she vanished from their gaze, leaving
them much relieved to think that they had escaped
with nothing worse than reproof.
Guthrum was the first to speak. He had been
so much frightened by all he had gone through
that he would willingly have returned home, but
the others would not hear of such a thing.
"You can go if you choose;" said the second;
"but as for me, I shall certainly proceed."
"But remember the fairy's warning! urged
"Who cares for that?" cried the rude boy.
"Hasn't she always been giving us -.-.:o. clo _-.s ever
since we were babies, and nothing has ever come
of them! "
Then the third brother, who was the most cun-
ning of all, put in his word.
If we return now we shall certainly be severely
punished," he said; whereas if we stay away for
some days our father will think we are lost, or
,even ,dead, and then, when we do make up our
minds to go back, he will be so overjoyed to see us
that all thoughts of punishment will go out of his
Capital! cried the second, but Guthrum re-
mained silent. He knew it was wrong to give way
to his brothers, yet he was too much of a coward
to return alone, so it ended by their all going for-
ward once more.
Foolish boys They had been so well taken care
of all their lives that they had no idea of what
hardships meant. It seemed to them that they
must always be able to get plenty to eat and
drink and that fine clothes grew of them-
They soon found out their mistake. For a
whole day they wandered on, and by the end of
that time could not have found their way home
however much they had wished. They were hope-
Never had they been an hour's ride away from
home before, without plenty of attendants at hand
to see that they came to no harm, but now here
they were, hungry, thirsty and tired; their gay
clothes torn by briers and bushes, and their smart
shoes cut to pieces by sharp stones.
They all began to wish that they had taken the
Strange Adventures. 99
fairy's advice, and indeed they tried hard next day
to do so, but it was too late. For hours they
walked, hoping that they were on the road home,
when to their dismay, as night approached, they
found themselves at precisely the same spot from
which they had started in the morning. They
had strayed on to enchanted ground, and if help
did not come, could never be set free, but must
either wander round and round, or get into fresh
and worse trouble.
By the evening of the third day they were too
overcome to move. They would have given any-
thing for a slice of dry bread and a cup of water,
but nothing was to be seen far and near on the hot,
sandy plain save one solitary, barren rock, so high
that its top seemed to pierce the clouds.
Presently the moon rose, and as its light streamed
over them, Prince Guthrum said feebly:
Dear brothers, I feel that I shall not live to see
another day, for this thirst must kill me. If you
ever get safely home, tell our good father that I
did really and truly repent of my wickedness, and
that I begged his pardon before I died."
The others could only weep, for they also were
worn out and penitent.
Suddenly they beheld a strange sight. The rock
split open, and out of it came the most hideous
man they had ever beheld. The most appalling
I~ ~ o -