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Old Sultan

Old Sultan

A farmer once had a faithful dog called Sultan, who had grown old, and lost all his teeth, so that he could no longer bite. One day the farmer was standing with his wife before the house-door, and said, “To-morrow I intend to shoot Old Sultan, he is no longer of any use.”

His wife, who felt pity for the faithful beast, answered, “He has served us so long, and been so faithful, that we might well keep him.”

“Eh! what?” said the man. “You are not very sharp. He has not a tooth left in his mouth, and no thief is afraid of him; now he may be off. If he has served us, he has had good feeding for it.”

The poor dog, who was lying stretched out in the sun not far off, had heard everything, and was sorry that the morrow was to be his last day. He had a good friend, the wolf, and he crept out in the evening into the forest to him, and complained of the fate that awaited him. “Listen well,” said the wolf, ” and Don’t be sad. I will help you out of your trouble. I have thought of something. To-morrow, early in the morning, your master is going with his wife to make hay, and they will take their little child with them, for no one will be left behind in the house. As usual, during work-time, they will lay the child under the hedge in the shade; you lie there too, just as if you wished to guard it. Then I will come out of the wood, and carry off the child. You must rush swiftly after me. I will let it fall, and you will take it back to its parents, who will think that you have saved it, and will be far too grateful to do you any harm; quite the opposite; you will dear to their hearts, and they will never let you lack for anything again.”

The plan pleased the dog, and it was carried out just as it was arranged. The father screamed when he saw the Wolf running across the field with his child, but when Old Sultan brought it back, then he was full of joy, and stroked him and said, “Not a hair of yours shall be hurt, you shall eat my bread free as long as you live.” And to his wife he said, “Go home at once and make Old Sultan some soggy bread that he will not have to bite, and bring the pillow out of my bed, I will give it to him to lie upon.”

From that time on, Old Sultan was as well off as he could wish to be.

Soon afterwards the wolf visited him, and was pleased that everything had succeeded so well. “But, listen well,” said he, “you will just wink an eye when I carry off one of your master’s fat sheep.”
“Do not reckon upon that,” answered the dog; “I will remain true to my master; I cannot agree to that.” The wolf, who thought that this could not be spoken in earnest, came creeping about in the night and was going to take away the sheep. But faithful old Sultan barked, and the farmer chased after the wolf with a big stick. The wolf had to pack off, but he cried out to the dog, “Wait a bit, you scoundrel, you shall pay for this.”

The next morning the wolf sent the wild boar to challenge the dog to come out into the forest so that they might settle the affair. Old Sultan could find no one to stand by him but a cat with only three legs, and as they went out together the poor cat limped along, and at the same time stretched out her tail into the air with pain.

The wolf and his friend were already on the spot appointed, but when they saw their enemy coming they thought that he was bringing a sabre with him, for they mistook the outstretched tail of the cat for one. And when the poor beast hopped on its three legs, they could only think every time that it was picking up a stone to throw at them. So they were both afraid; the wild boar crept into the under-wood and the wolf jumped up a tree.

The dog and the cat, when they came up, wondered that there was no one to be seen. The wild boar, however, had not been able to hide himself altogether; and one of his ears was still to be seen. Whilst the cat was looking carefully about, the boar moved his ear; the cat, who thought it was a mouse moving there, jumped upon it and bit it hard. The boar made a fearful noise and ran away, crying out, “The guilty one is up in the tree !” The dog and cat looked up and saw the wolf, who was ashamed of having proved himself to be so afraid, and made friends with the dog

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Little Tiny or Thumbelina

Little Tiny or Thumbelina

One was once a woman who wished very much to have a little child, but she could not obtain her wish. At last she went to a fairy, and said, “I should so very much like to have a little child; can you tell me where I can find one?” “Oh, that can be easily managed,” said the fairy. “Here is a barleycorn of a different kind to those which grow in the farmer’s fields, and which the chickens eat; put it into a flower-pot, and see what will happen.” “Thank you,” said the woman, and she gave the fairy twelve shillings, which was the price of the barleycorn. Then she went home and planted it, and immediately there grew up a large handsome flower, something like a tulip in appearance, but with its leaves tightly closed as if it were still a bud. “It is a beautiful flower,” said the woman, and she kissed the red and golden-colored leaves, and while she did so the flower opened, and she could see that it was a real tulip. Within the flower, upon the green velvet stamens, sat a very delicate and graceful little maiden. She was scarcely half as long as a thumb, and they gave her the name of “Thumbelina,” or Tiny, because she was so small. A walnut-shell, elegantly polished, served her for a cradle; her bed was formed of blue violet-leaves, with a rose-leaf for a counterpane. Here she slept at night, but during the day she amused herself on a table, where the woman had placed a plateful of water. Round this plate were wreaths of flowers with their stems in the water, and upon it floated a large tulip-leaf, which served Tiny for a boat. Here the little maiden sat and rowed herself from side to side, with two oars made of white horse-hair. It really was a very pretty sight. Tiny could, also, sing so softly and sweetly that nothing like her singing had ever before been heard. One night, while she lay in her pretty bed, a large, ugly, wet toad crept through a broken pane of glass in the window, and leaped right upon the table where Tiny lay sleeping under her rose-leaf quilt. “What a pretty little wife this would make for my son,” said the toad, and she took up the walnut-shell in which little Tiny lay asleep, and jumped through the window with it into the garden. In the swampy margin of a broad stream in the garden lived the toad, with her son. He was uglier even than his mother, and when he saw the pretty little maiden in her elegant bed, he could only cry, “Croak, croak, croak.” “Don’t speak so loud, or she will wake,” said the toad, “and then she might run away, for she is as light as swan’s down. We will place her on one of the water-lily leaves out in the stream; it will be like an island to her, she is so light and small, and then she cannot escape; and, while she is away, we will make haste and prepare the state-room under the marsh, in which you are to live when you are married.” Far out in the stream grew a number of water-lilies, with broad green leaves, which seemed to float on the top of the water. The largest of these leaves appeared farther off than the rest, and the old toad swam out to it with the walnut-shell, in which little Tiny lay still asleep. The tiny little creature woke very early in the morning, and began to cry bitterly when she found where she was, for she could see nothing but water on every side of the large green leaf, and no way of reaching the land. Meanwhile the old toad was very busy under the marsh, decking her room with rushes and wild yellow flowers, to make it look pretty for her new daughter-in-law. Then she swam out with her ugly son to the leaf on which she had placed poor little Tiny. She wanted to fetch the pretty bed, that she might put it in the bridal chamber to be ready for her. The old toad bowed low to her in the water, and said, “Here is my son, he will be your husband, and you will live happily in the marsh by the stream.” “Croak, croak, croak,” was all her son could say for himself; so the toad took up the elegant little bed, and swam away with it, leaving Tiny all alone on the green leaf, where she sat and wept. She could not bear to think of living with the old toad, and having her ugly son for a husband.

The little fishes, who swam about in the water beneath, had seen the toad, and heard what she said, so they lifted their heads above the water to look at the little maiden. As soon as they caught sight of her, they saw she was very pretty, and it made them very sorry to think that she must go and live with the ugly toads. “No, it must never be!” so they assembled together in the water, round the green stalk which held the leaf on which the little maiden stood, and gnawed it away at the root with their teeth. Then the leaf floated down the stream, carrying Tiny far away out of reach of land. Tiny sailed past many towns, and the little birds in the bushes saw her, and sang, “What a lovely little creature;” so the leaf swam away with her farther and farther, till it brought her to other lands. A graceful little white butterfly constantly fluttered round her, and at last alighted on the leaf. Tiny pleased him, and she was glad of it, for now the toad could not possibly reach her, and the country through which she sailed was beautiful, and the sun shone upon the water, till it glittered like liquid gold. She took off her girdle and tied one end of it round the butterfly, and the other end of the ribbon she fastened to the leaf, which now glided on much faster than ever, taking little Tiny with it as she stood. Presently a large cockchafer flew by; the moment he caught sight of her, he seized her round her delicate waist with his claws, and flew with her into a tree. The green leaf floated away on the brook, and the butterfly flew with it, for he was fastened to it, and could not get away. Oh, how frightened little Tiny felt when the cockchafer flew with her to the tree! But especially was she sorry for the beautiful white butterfly which she had fastened to the leaf, for if he could not free himself he would die of hunger. But the cockchafer did not trouble himself at all about the matter. He seated himself by her side on a large green leaf, gave her some honey from the flowers to eat, and told her she was very pretty, though not in the least like a cockchafer. After a time, all the cockchafers turned up their feelers, and said, “She has only two legs! how ugly that looks.” “She has no feelers,” said another. “Her waist is quite slim. Pooh! she is like a human being.” “Oh! she is ugly,” said all the lady cockchafers, although Tiny was very pretty. Then the cockchafer who had run away with her, believed all the others when they said she was ugly, and would have nothing more to say to her, and told her she might go where she liked. Then he flew down with her from the tree, and placed her on a daisy, and she wept at the thought that she was so ugly that even the cockchafers would have nothing to say to her. And all the while she was really the loveliest creature that one could imagine, and as tender and delicate as a beautiful rose-leaf. During the whole summer poor little Tiny lived quite alone in the wide forest. She wove herself a bed with blades of grass, and hung it up under a broad leaf, to protect herself from the rain. She sucked the honey from the flowers for food, and drank the dew from their leaves every morning. So passed away the summer and the autumn, and then came the winter,— the long, cold winter. All the birds who had sung to her so sweetly were flown away, and the trees and the flowers had withered. The large clover leaf under the shelter of which she had lived, was now rolled together and shrivelled up, nothing remained but a yellow withered stalk. She felt dreadfully cold, for her clothes were torn, and she was herself so frail and delicate, that poor little Tiny was nearly frozen to death. It began to snow too; and the snow-flakes, as they fell upon her, were like a whole shovelful falling upon one of us, for we are tall, but she was only an inch high. Then she wrapped herself up in a dry leaf, but it cracked in the middle and could not keep her warm, and she shivered with cold. Near the wood in which she had been living lay a corn-field, but the corn had been cut a long time; nothing remained but the bare dry stubble standing up out of the frozen ground. It was to her like struggling through a large wood. Oh! how she shivered with the cold. She came at last to the door of a field-mouse, who had a little den under the corn-stubble. There dwelt the field-mouse in warmth and comfort, with a whole roomful of corn, a kitchen, and a beautiful dining room. Poor little Tiny stood before the door just like a little beggar-girl, and begged for a small piece of barley-corn, for she had been without a morsel to eat for two days. “You poor little creature,” said the field-mouse, who was really a good old field-mouse, “come into my warm room and dine with me.” She was very pleased with Tiny, so she said, “You are quite welcome to stay with me all the winter, if you like; but you must keep my rooms clean and neat, and tell me stories, for I shall like to hear them very much.” And Tiny did all the field-mouse asked her, and found herself very comfortable. “We shall have a visitor soon,” said the field-mouse one day; “my neighbor pays me a visit once a week. He is better off than I am; he has large rooms, and wears a beautiful black velvet coat. If you could only have him for a husband, you would be well provided for indeed. But he is blind, so you must tell him some of your prettiest stories.” But Tiny did not feel at all interested about this neighbor, for he was a mole. However, he came and paid his visit dressed in his black velvet coat. “He is very rich and learned, and his house is twenty times larger than mine,” said the field-mouse. He was rich and learned, no doubt, but he always spoke slightingly of the sun and the pretty flowers, because he had never seen them. Tiny was obliged to sing to him, “Lady-bird, lady-bird, fly away home,” and many other pretty songs. And the mole fell in love with her because she had such a sweet voice; but he said nothing yet, for he was very cautious. A short time before, the mole had dug a long passage under the earth, which led from the dwelling of the field-mouse to his own, and here she had permission to walk with Tiny whenever she liked. But he warned them not to be alarmed at the sight of a dead bird which lay in the passage. It was a perfect bird, with a beak and feathers, and could not have been dead long, and was lying just where the mole had made his passage. The mole took a piece of phosphorescent wood in his mouth, and it glittered like fire in the dark; then he went before them to light them through the long, dark passage. When they came to the spot where lay the dead bird, the mole pushed his broad nose through the ceiling, the earth gave way, so that there was a large hole, and the daylight shone into the passage. In the middle of the floor lay a dead swallow, his beautiful wings pulled close to his sides, his feet and his head drawn up under his feathers; the poor bird had evidently died of the cold. It made little Tiny very sad to see it, she did so love the little birds; all the summer they had sung and twittered for her so beautifully. But the mole pushed it aside with his crooked legs, and said, “He will sing no more now. How miserable it must be to be born a little bird! I am thankful that none of my children will ever be birds, for they can do nothing but cry, ‘Tweet, tweet,’ and always die of hunger in the winter.” “Yes, you may well say that, as a clever man!” exclaimed the field-mouse, “What is the use of his twittering, for when winter comes he must either starve or be frozen to death. Still birds are very high bred.” Tiny said nothing; but when the two others had turned their backs on the bird, she stooped down and stroked aside the soft feathers which covered the head, and kissed the closed eyelids. “Perhaps this was the one who sang to me so sweetly in the summer,” she said; “and how much pleasure it gave me, you dear, pretty bird.” The mole now stopped up the hole through which the daylight shone, and then accompanied the lady home. But during the night Tiny could not sleep; so she got out o
f bed and wove a large, beautiful carpet of hay; then she carried it to the dead bird, and spread it over him; with some down from the flowers which she had found in the field-mouse’s room. It was as soft as wool, and she spread some of it on each side of the bird, so that he might lie warmly in the cold earth. “Farewell, you pretty little bird,” said she, “farewell; thank you for your delightful singing during the summer, when all the trees were green, and the warm sun shone upon us.” Then she laid her head on the bird’s breast, but she was alarmed immediately, for it seemed as if something inside the bird went “thump, thump.” It was the bird’s heart; he was not really dead, only benumbed with the cold, and the warmth had restored him to life. In autumn, all the swallows fly away into warm countries, but if one happens to linger, the cold seizes it, it becomes frozen, and falls down as if dead; it remains where it fell, and the cold snow covers it. Tiny trembled very much; she was quite frightened, for the bird was large, a great deal larger than herself,—she was only an inch high. But she took courage, laid the wool more thickly over the poor swallow, and then took a leaf which she had used for her own counterpane, and laid it over the head of the poor bird.

The next morning she again stole out to see him. He was alive but very weak; he could only open his eyes for a moment to look at Tiny, who stood by holding a piece of decayed wood in her hand, for she had no other lantern. “Thank you, pretty little maiden,” said the sick swallow; “I have been so nicely warmed, that I shall soon regain my strength, and be able to fly about again in the warm sunshine.” “Oh,” said she, “it is cold out of doors now; it snows and freezes. Stay in your warm bed; I will take care of you.” Then she brought the swallow some water in a flower-leaf, and after he had drank, he told her that he had wounded one of his wings in a thorn-bush, and could not fly as fast as the others, who were soon far away on their journey to warm countries. Then at last he had fallen to the earth, and could remember no more, nor how he came to be where she had found him. The whole winter the swallow remained underground, and Tiny nursed him with care and love. Neither the mole nor the field-mouse knew anything about it, for they did not like swallows. Very soon the spring time came, and the sun warmed the earth. Then the swallow bade farewell to Tiny, and she opened the hole in the ceiling which the mole had made. The sun shone in upon them so beautifully, that the swallow asked her if she would go with him; she could sit on his back, he said, and he would fly away with her into the green woods. But Tiny knew it would make the field-mouse very grieved if she left her in that manner, so she said, “No, I cannot.” “Farewell, then, farewell, you good, pretty little maiden,” said the swallow; and he flew out into the sunshine. Tiny looked after him, and the tears rose in her eyes. She was very fond of the poor swallow. “Tweet, tweet,” sang the bird, as he flew out into the green woods, and Tiny felt very sad. She was not allowed to go out into the warm sunshine. The corn which had been sown in the field over the house of the field-mouse had grown up high into the air, and formed a thick wood to Tiny, who was only an inch in height. “You are going to be married, Tiny,” said the field-mouse. “My neighbor has asked for you. What good fortune for a poor child like you. Now we will prepare your wedding clothes. They must be both woollen and linen. Nothing must be wanting when you are the mole’s wife.” Tiny had to turn the spindle, and the field-mouse hired four spiders, who were to weave day and night. Every evening the mole visited her, and was continually speaking of the time when the summer would be over. Then he would keep his wedding-day with Tiny; but now the heat of the sun was so great that it burned the earth, and made it quite hard, like a stone. As soon, as the summer was over, the wedding should take place. But Tiny was not at all pleased; for she did not like the tiresome mole. Every morning when the sun rose, and every evening when it went down, she would creep out at the door, and as the wind blew aside the ears of corn, so that she could see the blue sky, she thought how beautiful and bright it seemed out there, and wished so much to see her dear swallow again. But he never returned; for by this time he had flown far away into the lovely green forest. When autumn arrived, Tiny had her outfit quite ready; and the field-mouse said to her, “In four weeks the wedding must take place.” Then Tiny wept, and said she would not marry the disagreeable mole. “Nonsense,” replied the field-mouse. “Now don’t be obstinate, or I shall bite you with my white teeth. He is a very handsome mole; the queen herself does not wear more beautiful velvets and furs. His kitchen and cellars are quite full. You ought to be very thankful for such good fortune.” So the wedding-day was fixed, on which the mole was to fetch Tiny away to live with him, deep under the earth, and never again to see the warm sun, because he did not like it. The poor child was very unhappy at the thought of saying farewell to the beautiful sun, and as the field-mouse had given her permission to stand at the door, she went to look at it once more. “Farewell bright sun,” she cried, stretching out her arm towards it; and then she walked a short distance from the house; for the corn had been cut, and only the dry stubble remained in the fields. “Farewell, farewell,” she repeated, twining her arm round a little red flower that grew just by her side. “Greet the little swallow from me, if you should see him again.” “Tweet, tweet,” sounded over her head suddenly. She looked up, and there was the swallow himself flying close by. As soon as he spied Tiny, he was delighted; and then she told him how unwilling she felt to marry the ugly mole, and to live always beneath the earth, and never to see the bright sun any more. And as she told him she wept. “Cold winter is coming,” said the swallow, “and I am going to fly away into warmer countries. Will you go with me? You can sit on my back, and fasten yourself on with your sash. Then we can fly away from the ugly mole and his gloomy rooms,—far away, over the mountains, into warmer countries, where the sun shines more brightly—than here; where it is always summer, and the flowers bloom in greater beauty. Fly now with me, dear little Tiny; you saved my life when I lay frozen in that dark passage.” “Yes, I will go with you,” said Tiny; and she seated herself on the bird’s back, with her feet on his outstretched wings, and tied her girdle to one of his strongest feathers. Then the swallow rose in the air, and flew over forest and over sea, high above the highest mountains, covered with eternal snow. Tiny would have been frozen in the cold air, but she crept under the bird’s warm feathers, keeping her little head uncovered, so that she might admire the beautiful lands over which they passed. At length they reached the warm countries, where the sun shines brightly, and the sky seems so much higher above the earth. Here, on the hedges, and by the wayside, grew purple, green, and white grapes; lemons and oranges hung from trees in the woods; and the air was fragrant with myrtles and orange blossoms. Beautiful children ran along the country lanes, playing with large gay butterflies; and as the swallow flew farther and farther, every place appeared still more lovely. At last they came to a blue lake, and by the side of it, shaded by trees of the deepest green, stood a palace of dazzling white marble, built in the olden times. Vines clustered round its lofty pillars, and at the top were many swallows’ nests, and one of these was the home of the swallow who carried Tiny. “This is my house,” said the swallow; “but it would not do for you to live there—you would not be comfortable. You must choose for yourself one of those lovely flowers, and I will put you down upon it, and then you shall have everything that you can wish to make you happy.” “That will be delightful,” she said, and clapped her little hands for joy. A large marble pillar lay on the ground, which, in falling, had been broken into three pieces. Between these pieces grew the most beautiful large white flowers; so the swallow flew down with Tiny, and placed her on one of the broad leaves. But how surprised she was to see in the middle of the flower, a tiny little man, as white and transparent as if he had been made of crystal! He had a gold crown on his head, and delicate wings at his shoulders, and was not much larger than Tiny herself. He was the angel of the flower; for a tiny man and a tiny woman dwell in every flower; and this was the king of them all. “Oh, how beautiful he is!” whispered Tiny to the swallow. The little prince was at first quite frightened at the bird, who was like a giant, compared to such a delicate little creature as himself; but when he saw Tiny, he was delighted, and thought her the prettiest little maiden he had ever seen. He took the gold crown from his head, and placed it on hers, and asked her name, and if she would be his wife, and queen over all the flowers. This certainly was a very different sort of husband to the son of a toad, or the mole, with my black ve
lvet and fur; so she said, “Yes,” to the handsome prince. Then all the flowers opened, and out of each came a little lady or a tiny lord, all so pretty it was quite a pleasure to look at them. Each of them brought Tiny a present; but the best gift was a pair of beautiful wings, which had belonged to a large white fly and they fastened them to Tiny’s shoulders, so that she might fly from flower to flower. Then there was much rejoicing, and the little swallow who sat above them, in his nest, was asked to sing a wedding song, which he did as well as he could; but in his heart he felt sad for he was very fond of Tiny, and would have liked never to part from her again. “You must not be called Tiny any more,” said the spirit of the flowers to her. “It is an ugly name, and you are so very pretty. We will call you Maia.” “Farewell, farewell,” said the swallow, with a heavy heart as he left the warm countries to fly back into Denmark. There he had a nest over the window of a house in which dwelt the writer of fairy tales. The swallow sang, “Tweet, tweet,” and from his song came the whole story.

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THE DONKEY AND THE LAPDOG

THE DONKEY AND THE LAPDOG

Let’s not force our talent,
As nothing would be performed gracefully:
Never has a dolt, no matter how much he tries,
Could ever be taken for a gentleman.
Few people blessed by the Heavens,
Possess the inborn gift to seduce in life.
‘This a matter one has to allow them,
So as not resemble the Donkey in the Fable,
Who in order to ingratiate himself to his master,
Went over to caress him. “How come? in his soul said he,
This pup, because of his cute ways,
Will continue to live as a companion
With Milord and Milady;
And I will get blows with a stick?
What does he do? he gives his paw;
At once he is kissed;
If need be, I’ll act the same way to be petted,
It is not difficult at all.”
With such a tender thought in mind,
Seeing his master in a jovial mood, he comes up clumsily,
Raises a very battered paw,
Puts it on his master’s chin lovingly,
Adding as an extra expression of love,
His most gracious braying to this bold action.
“Oh ! oh ! what a caress ! and what a melody !
Said the Master at once. Hey there, *Martin stick!”
Martin stick comes running; the donkey changes his tune.
Thus ended the little comic drama.

Beware, another’s talent may not necessarily be yours.

*Martin bâton: Stickmartin, type-name for a donkey drover.

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Little Red Riding Hood

Little Red Riding Hood

Once upon a time in the middle of a thick forest stood a small cottage, the home of a pretty little girl known to everyone as Little Red Riding Hood. One day, her Mummy waved her goodbye at the garden gate, saying: “Grandma is ill. Take her this basket of cakes, but be very careful. Keep to the path through the wood and don’t ever stop. That way, you will come to no harm.”
Little Red Riding Hood kissed her mother and ran off. “Don’t worry,” she said, “I’ll run all the way to Grandma’s without stopping.”
Full of good intentions, the little girl made her way through the wood, but she was soon to forget her mother’s wise words. “What lovely strawberries! And so red.”
Laying her basket on the ground, Little Red Riding Hood bent over the strawberry plants. “They’re nice and ripe, and so big! Yummy! Delicious! Just another one. And one more. This is the last. Well, this one Mmmm.”
The red fruit peeped invitingly through the leaves in the grassy glade, and Little Red Riding Hood ran back and forth popping strawberries into her mouth. Suddenly she remembered her mother, her promise, Grandma and the basket and hurried back towards the path. The basket was still in the grass and, humming to herself, Little Red Riding Hood walked on.
The wood became thicker and thicker. Suddenly a yellow butterfly fluttered down through the trees. Little Red Riding Hood started to chase the butterfly.
“I’ll catch you! I’ll catch you!” she called. Suddenly she saw some large daisies in the grass.
“Oh, how sweet!” she exclaimed and, thinking of Grandma, she picked a large bunch of flowers.
In the meantime, two wicked eyes were spying on her from behind a tree. A strange rustling in the woods made Little Red Riding Hood’s heart thump.
Now quite afraid she said to herself. “I must find the path and run away from here!”
At last she reached the path again but her heart leapt into her mouth at the sound of a gruff voice which said: “Where are you going, my pretty girl, all alone in the woods?”
“I’m taking Grandma some cakes. She lives at the end of the path,” said Little Riding Hood in a faint voice.
When he heard this, the wolf (for it was the big bad wolf himself) politely asked: “Does Grandma live by herself?”
“Oh, yes,” replied Little Red Riding Hood, “and she never opens the door to strangers!”
“Goodbye. Perhaps we’ll meet again,” replied the wolf. Then he loped away thinking to himself “I’ll gobble the grandmother first, then lie in wait for the grandchild!” At last, the cottage came in sight. Knock! Knock! The wolf rapped on the door.
“Who’s there?” cried Grandma from her bed.
“It’s me, Little Red Riding Hood. I’ve brought you some cakes because you’re ill,” replied the wolf, trying hard to hide his gruff voice.
“Lift the latch and come in,” said Grandma, unaware of anything amiss, till a horrible shadow appeared on the wall. Poor Grandma! For in one bound, the wolf leapt across the room and, in a single mouthful, swallowed the old lady. Soon after, Little Red Riding Hood tapped on the door.
“Grandma, can I come in?” she called.
Now, the wolf had put on the old lady’s shawl and cap and slipped into the bed. Trying to imitate Grandma’s quavering little voice, he replied: “Open the latch and come in!
“What a deep voice you have,” said the little girl in surprise.
“The better to greet you with,” said the wolf.
“Goodness, what big eyes you have.”
“The better to see you with.”
“And what big hands you have!” exclaimed Little Red Riding Hood, stepping over to the bed.
“The better to hug you with,” said the wolf.
“What a big mouth you have,” the little girl murmured in a weak voice.
“The better to eat you with!” growled the wolf, and jumping out of bed, he swallowed her up too. Then, with a fat full tummy, he fell fast asleep.
In the meantime, a hunter had emerged from the wood, and on noticing the cottage, he decided to stop and ask for a drink. He had spent a lot of time trying to catch a large wolf that had been terrorizing the neighborhood, but had lost its tracks. The hunter could hear a strange whistling sound; it seemed to be coming from inside the cottage. He peered through the window and saw the large wolf himself, with a fat full tummy, snoring away in Grandma’s bed.
“The wolf! He won’t get away this time!”
Without making a sound, the hunter carefully loaded his gun and gently opened the window. He pointed the barrel straight at the wolf’s head and BANG! The wolf was dead.
“Got you at last!” shouted the hunter in glee. “You’ll never frighten anyone again.
He cut open the wolf’s stomach and to his amazement, out popped Grandma and Little Red Riding Hood, safe and unharmed.
“You arrived just in time,” murmured the old lady, quite overcome by all the excitement.
“It’s safe to go home now,” the hunter told Little Red Riding Hood. “The big bad wolf is dead and gone, and there is no danger on the path.
Still scared, the little girl hugged her grandmother.
Much later, Little Red Riding Hood’s mother arrived, all out of breath, worried because her little girl had not come home. And when she saw Little Red Riding Hood, safe and sound, she burst into tears of joy.
After thanking the hunter again, Little Red Riding Hood and her mother set off towards the wood. As they walked quickly through the trees, the little girl told her mother: “We must always keep to the path and never stop. That way, we come to no harm!”

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THE THREE WISHES

THE THREE WISHES

Once upon a time…

a woodcutter lived happily with his wife in a pretty little log cabin in the middle of a thick forest. Each morning he set off singing to work, and when he came home in the evening, a plate of hot steaming soup was always waiting for him.

One day, however, he had a strange surprise. He came upon a big fir tree with strange open holes on the trunk. It looked somehow different from the other trees,

and just as he was about to chop it down, the alarmed face of an elf popped out of a hole.

“What’s all this banging?” asked the elf. “You’re not thinking of cutting down this tree, are you? It’s my home. I live here!” The woodcutter dropped his axe in astonishment.

“Well, I . . .” he stammered.

“With all the other trees there are in this forest, you have to pick this one. Lucky I was in, or I would have found myself homeless.”

Taken aback at these words, the

woodcutter quickly recovered, for after all the elf was quite tiny, while he himself was a big hefty chap, and he boldly replied: “I’ll cut down any tree I like, so . . .”

“All right! All right!” broke in the elf. “Shall we put it this way: if you don’t cut down this tree, I grant you three wishes. Agreed?” The woodcutter scratched his head.

“Three wishes, you say? Yes, I agree.” And he began to hack at another tree. As he worked and sweated at his task, the woodcutter kept thinking about the magic wishes.

“I’ll see what my wife thinks…”

The woodcutter’s wife was busily cleaning a pot outside the house when her husband arrived. Grabbing her round the waist, he twirled her in delight.

“Hooray! Hooray! Our luck is in!”

The woman could not understand why her husband was so pleased with himself and she shrugged herself free. Later, however, over a glass of fine wine at the table, the woodcutter told his wife of his meeting with the elf, and she too began to picture the wonderful things that the elf’s three wishes might give them.

The woodcutter’s wife took a first sip of wine from her husband’s glass.

“Nice,” she said, smacking her lips. “I wish I had a string of sausages to go with it, though…”

Instantly she bit her tongue, but too late. Out of the air appeared the sausages while the woodcutter stuttered with rage.

“. . . what have you done! Sausages . . . What a stupid waste of a wish! You foolish woman. I wish they would stick up your nose!” No sooner said than done. For the sausages leapt up and stuck fast to the end of the woman’s nose. This

ime, the woodcutter’s wife flew into a rage.”You idiot, what have you done? With all the things we could have wished for . . .” The mortified woodcutter, who had just repeated his wife’s own mistake, exclaimed:

“I’d chop . . .” Luckily he stopped himself in time, realizing with horror that he’d been on the point of having his tongue chopped off. As his wife complained and blamed him, the poor man burst out laughing.

“If only you knew how funny you

look with those sausages on the end of your nose!” Now that really upset the woodcutter’s wife. She hadn’t thought of her looks. She tried to tug away the sausages but they would not budge. She pulled again and again, but in vain. The sausages were firmly attached to her nose. Terrified, she exclaimed:

“They’ll be there for the rest of my life!”

Feeling sorry for his wife and wondering how he could ever put up with a woman with such an awkward nose, the woodcutter said: “I’ll try.” Grasping the string of sausages, he tugged with all his

might. But he simply pulled his wife over on top of him. The pair sat on the floor, gazing sadly at each other.

“What shall we do now?” they said, each thinking the same thought.

“There’s only one thing we can do . . .” ventured the woodcutter’s wife timidly.

“Yes, I’m afraid so . . .” her husband sighed, remembering their dreams of riches, and he bravely wished the third and last wish “I wish the sausages would leave my wife’s nose.”

And they did. Instantly, husband and wife hugged each other tearfully, saying

“Maybe we’ll be poor, but we’ll be happy again!”

That evening, the only reminder of the woodcutter’s meeting with the elf was the string of sausages. So the couple fried them, gloomily thinking of what that meal had cost them. ..

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ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES

ALI BABA AND THE FORTY THIEVES

Once upon a time…

in a distant Persian city lived two brothers called Ali Baba and Kasim. Ali Baba was terribly poor, and he lived with his wife in a mud hut. He picked up sticks in the woods and sold them in bundles at the market.

Kasim., however, had a rich wife, and he lived in a big fine house and sold carpets. He became richer than ever. One day, as Ali Baba was gathering sticks in a

rocky mountain nearby. Throwing wide his arms he suddenly shouted:

“Open sesame!”

Ali Baba could hardly believe his eyes. For at the robber’s words, the rock face swung open to become the entrance to a deep, dark cave. The robbers trooped inside, dragging their sacks. Ali Baba was struck dumb by this amazing sight, and he crouched in his tree, without moving a muscle. He could hear the robbers’ voices echo in the cave, then out they came. Again opening his arms, the leader exclaimed loudly:

“Close sesame!” And the rock swung tightly shut, as they leapt onto their horses and galloped away. Trembling with fear, Ali Baba climbed down the tree. He had just had the biggest shock of his life. Hardly aware of what he was doing, he muttered:

“Open sesame,” But the mountain stood still. Ali Baba said the words again, but this time he shouted them. Suddenly, the rock began to move. Ali Baba lit a flare and entered the cave. In front of his bulging eyes lay vast piles of treasure: pots of silver gold, precious vases, weapons studded with rubies and

emeralds, diadems, carved plates and carpets, all heaped together.

The poverty- stricken stick- gatherer rubbed his eyes in disbelief. His hand was shaking like a leaf, as he picked up a gold coin.

“It’s real!” he said in awe. Jabbering with excitement and stunned at the sight of such untold wealth, he told himself:

“I’ll take some coins. Nobody will ever know!” And he filled four bags full. The second he reached home, Ali Baba locked the door and emptied the sacks in front of his astounded wife.

“Count them,” he ordered her triumphantly, before telling her what had happened. But there were far too many coins for these poor people to count.

“We can’t count them all. Run to my brother’s house and ask him for a corn measure. We’ll use that,” said Ali Baba. When Kasim’s wife heard this strange request, her curiosity was aroused.

“][ wonder what they want to measure. It can’t be corn, they’re far too poor.” And she quickly brushed a touch of tar across the bottom of the measuring pail. And when she got the pail back there was something stuck to it- as the clever

woman had known there would be. It was a gold coin.

“A gold coin. Where did that come from? They’re the poorest of the poor!”

And she rushed off to tell her husband. Kasim. was most annoyed.

“How dare my brother have gold coins without telling me about it,” he snapped. And off he marched to ask Ali Baba for an explanation. Ali Baba innocently told Kasim. his strange story, but asked him to keep it a secret. Of course, Kasim. promised, but he quickly told his wife about it and ordered the

servants to saddle ten sturdy mules for next morning.

“I’ll be richer than ever. Incredibly rich!” he said to himself as he went to bed. But he didn’t sleep a wink for thinking of the treasure. It was still dark when Kasim. and his mule train set out. When he reached the mountain, beyond the forest, he pronounced the magic words and entered the cave. With a beating heart, he crammed as much as he could into the saddle bags. But Kasim’s greed led to his downfall, for the bags were so stuffed with treasure that they became too heavy to lift. Kasim. realized,

with a sinking feeling, that he would have to leave behind some of his precious burden. But it took him a long time, and he was still picking over what to keep and what to abandon, when…

…as fate would have it, the robber band returned. When they saw that the entrance to the cave was open, they rushed inside with drawn swords. Unlucky Kasim. was quickly discovered and killed. And the robbers were so fierce that they chopped him into four and left the pieces at the entrance.

“That will warn any other snooper of the end that awaits him!” shouted the

leader.

Kasim’s wife waited in vain for two days, then in desperation, she ran to Ali Baba and told him where her husband had gone, asking for help. Ali Baba was dismayed.

“He promised he would never . .” However, Ali Baba was fond of his brother, so he saddled a mule and rode to the mountain. When he saw, to his horror, the remains of Kasim., he broke down and wept. Then he plucked up enough courage to wrap them in a rug, which he tied to the mule’s back. But Kasim’s wife, when she saw what had happened to her

husband, died of a broken heart. Ali Baba and his family went to live in Kasim’s palace. There he met Morgantina, a clever young slave girl who had long been a servant in the palace. It was she who told Ali Baba that his brother’s remains could be put together again before being buried. Mustapha, the cobbler, would do the job, for a good reward.

“I have to blindfold you,” Morgantina told the cobbler, “so you can’t see where you’re going, then there won’t be any gossip.” The cobbler did his work well and was led, still blindfolded, back to his shop, with a bag of gold for his trouble.

In the meantime, when the robber leader saw that the body had been removed, he knew that someone else had found the treasure trove. Angry and alarmed, he ordered one of his men to sneak into the city and find out what he could. Well, by sheer chance, the spy had a hole in the sole of his boot and he went into the cobblers. Mustapha was bursting to tell someone all about his luck…

“…and they gave me a bag of gold for stitching the body together again.”

“If you take me to the place, I’ll give you another bag of gold,” said the robber immediately. The robber nearly danced

for joy. Then his heart sank. How was he to find the house he had never seen.

“I’ll blindfold you again,” said the robber, “then you take your time and try to remember which way you went!” As it turned out the robber was lucky, for Mustapha had an excellent sense of direction. What’s more, he had counted his footsteps. So he counted them again.

“…five hundred and ten, five hundred and eleven, five hundred and twelve. Here!” The cobbler wrenched the cloth from his eyes and found himself in front of Ali Baba’s palace. The robber handed over the bag of gold and, unseen,

drew a red cross on the door. Then he hurried away to give his leader the news.

Dusk fell and, as Morgantina was about to enter the palace, she noticed the strange mark. Her suspicions aroused, she quickly drew red cross on all the other doors in the street. At dead of night the wicked band arrived to take revenge, but at the sight of all the red crosses, they stopped in their tracks. Which was the right door? Morgantina had unknowingly saved her master from death, and the leader of the gang put his man to the sword for giving him a false lead.

“You fools. Can’t you do anything

properly? I’ll go to the city myself.”

Disguised as a merchant, he went to Mustapha. Delighted at the idea of earning more money, the cobbler took the robber to Ali Baba’s palace. And the wicked man fixed in his mind the exact place and street. Back in his hideout, he ordered two of his men to buy a cart and thirty nine giant jars. Now, after the murder of the messenger, there were only thirty eight robbers left, and each one hid in a jar. The last jar was fi!led with oil, and loaded with the others onto the cart pulled by four horses. The robbers set off for the city. It was late when they reached

he palace and Ali Baba himself came out.”What can I do for you?” he said.

“I’m an oil merchant,” replied the leader, “and I must be at market tomorrow. It’s late an we’re weary. Can you give us a bed for the night?”

Pleased at being able to help, Ali Baba, who had known what it meant to be poor, warmly welcomed the merchant and his men and had the cart taken into the courtyard.

After a good meal, the leader of the band went back to the courtyard. He said

he was going to make sure than none of the jars had been damaged during the journey, but in fact, he warned his men to be ready, at a signal, to leap from the jars and kill everyone in the palace. As the household slept, Morgantina lingered in the kitchen to tidy up. Suddenly, she thought she would have a sip of the merchant’s oil to see if it was as tasty as her own. But when she lifted the lid from the first jar, to her horror, a gruff voice growled:

“Is it time?”

“No, not yet,” muttered Morgantina hastily. At every jar, exactly the same thing happened, but the last one was filled with oil, which she dragged back into the kitchen. She then tipped the contents into a huge cauldron and heated it over the fire. Then, taking a jugful of boiling oil, Morgantina poured it over the head of a robber. She then poured the oil over every one of the robbers and, in this way, wiped out the whole band. Then she hid in a corner. A little later, the leader of the robber band hurried into the courtyard to give the signal to attack. But when he raised the lids, he found to his terror that every one of his men was dead. Horrified, he could not fathom what trap he had fallen into. The robber fled into the night.

Next morning, Morgantina told Ali Baba of her adventure.

“I’ll never be able to thank you enough!” exclaimed Ali Baba. “You are an amazing girl. From this second you are no longer a slave, but a free member of this household.” The dead men were buried under cover of darkness, and Ali Baba was sure he had nothing more to fear. The leader of the robber band, however, had recovered from his shock and was eager for revenge. So he shaved off his beard, changed his looks and disguised himself as a carpet seller. At the market, he met Tabit, Ali Baba s son, who took a liking to him.

“Sooner or later this silly chap will invite me home,” said the false carpet seller, “then I can murder them all.”

“That merchant has sold you some fine carpets very cheaply, remarked Ali Baba to his son. “Ask him to come to the house.” When Morgantina saw the guest, she felt sure his face was familiar. Then she remembered. The carpet seller and the leader of the band were one and the same person. Without saying a word, she went back to the kitchen, but later she asked All Baba if she might dance for the guest.

“If you like,” said Ali Baba. When coffee was served, Morgantina entered in

D a swirl of veils to the beat of her tambourine. In her right hand she held a knife. As she stopped dancing, she thrust the knife into the carpet seller’s heart.

“He’s one of the robbers!” she cried. “I know his face. He would have killed us all.” Morgantina had once more saved their lives! Tabit hugged her, little knowing that his joy would soon turn to love and that they would marry. Ali Baba was the only person left who knew the secret of the treasure. He made wise use of it for many years, but he never told anyone the magic words that would open the cave of the Forty Thieves.

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Pied Piper of Hamelin

Pied Piper of Hamelin

Once upon a time…

on the banks of a great river in the north of Germany lay a town called Hamelin. The citizens of Hamelin were honest folk who lived contentedly in their Grey stone houses. The years went by, and the town grew very rich.

Then one day, an extraordinary thing happened to disturb the peace.

Hamelin had always had rats, and a lot too. But they had never been a danger,

for the cats had always solved the rat problem in the usual way- by killing them. All at once, however, the rats began to multiply.

In the end, a black sea of rats swarmed over the whole town. First, they attacked the barns and storehouses, then, for lack of anything better, they gnawed the wood, cloth or anything at all. The one thing they didn’t eat was metal. The terrified citizens flocked to plead with the town councilors to free them from the plague of rats. But the council had, for a long time, been sitting in the Mayor’s room, trying to think of a plan.

“What we need is an army of cats!”

But all the cats were dead.

“We’ll put down poisoned food then . . .”

But most of the food was already gone and even poison did not stop the rats.

“It just can’t be done without help!” said the Mayor sadly.

Just then, while the citizens milled around outside, there was a loud knock at the door. “Who can that be?” the city fathers wondered uneasily, mindful of the angry crowds. They gingerly opened the

door. And to their surprise, there stood a tall thin man dressed in brightly colored clothes, with a long feather in his hat, and waving a gold pipe at them.

“I’ve freed other towns of beetles and bats,” the stranger announced, “and for a thousand florins, I’ll rid you of your rats!”

“A thousand florins!” exclaimed the Mayor. “We’ll give you fifty thousand if you succeed!” At once the stranger hurried away, saying:

“It’s late now, but at dawn tomorrow, there won’t be a rat left in Hamelin!”

The sun was still below the horizon, when the sound of a pipe wafted through the streets of Hamelin. The pied piper slowly made his way through the houses and behind him flocked the rats. Out they scampered from doors, windows and gutters, rats of every size, all after the piper. And as he played, the stranger marched down to the river and straight into the water, up to his middle. Behind him swarmed the rats and every one was drowned and swept away by the current.

By the time the sun was high in the sky, there was not a single rat in the town. There was even greater delight at the

town hall, until the piper tried to claim his payment.

“Fifty thousand florins?” exclaimed the councilors,

“Never…”

” A thousand florins at least!” cried the pied piper angrily. But the Mayor broke in. “The rats are all dead now and they can never come back. So be grateful for fifty florins, or you’ll not get even that . . .”

His eyes flashing with rage, the pied piper pointed a threatening finger at the Mayor.

You’ll bitterly regret ever breaking your promise,” he said, and vanished.A shiver of fear ran through the councilors, but the Mayor shrugged and said excitedly: “We’ve saved fifty thousand florins!”

That night, freed from the nightmare of the rats, the citizens of Hamelin slept more soundly than ever. And when the strange sound of piping wafted through the streets at dawn, only the children heard it. Drawn as by magic, they hurried out of their homes. Again, the pied piper paced through the town, this time, it was children of all sizes that flocked at his

heels to the sound of his strange piping.

The long procession soon left the town and made its way through the wood and across the forest till it reached the foot of a huge mountain. When the piper came to the dark rock, he played his pipe even louder still and a great door creaked open. Beyond lay a cave. In trooped the children behind the pied piper, and when the last child had gone into the darkness, the door creaked shut.

A great landslide came down the mountain blocking the entrance to the cave forever. Only one little lame boy escaped this fate. It was he who told the

anxious citizens, searching for their children, what had happened. And no matter what people did, the mountain never gave up its victims.

Many years were to pass before the merry voices of other children would ring through the streets of Hamelin but the memory of the harsh lesson lingered in everyone’s heart and was passed down from father to son through the centuries.

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THE MUSICIANS OF BREMEN

bremen mızıkacıları

THE MUSICIANS OF BREMEN

Once upon a time…

an old donkey was ill- treated by his master. Tired of such unkindness, he decided to run away, and when he heard that Bremen was looking for singers with the town band, he decided that someone with a fine braying voice like his might be accepted.

As he went along the road, the donkey met a skinny dog, covered with sores.

“Come with me. If you have a good bark, you’ll find a job with the band too. Just wait and see!”

A little later, a stray cat, no longer able to catch

mice, joined them and the trio trotted hopefully on towards the town. As they passed a farmyard, they stopped to admire an elderly rooster who, with outstretched wings, was crowing to the skies.

“You sing well,” they told him. “What are you so happy about?”

“Happy?” muttered the rooster with tears in his eyes. “They want to put me in the pot and make broth of me. I’m singing as hard as I can today, for tomorrow I’ll be gone.” But the donkey told him, “Run away with us. With a voice like yours, you’ll be famous in Bremen!”

Now there were four of them. The way was long, night fell, and very frightened, the four creatures found themselves in a thick forest.

They scarcely knew whether to press on or to hide in some caves and rest. Suddenly, in the distance they saw a light amongst the trees. It came from a little cottage and they crept up to the window. The donkey placed his front hoofs on the window ledge. Anxious to see, the dog jumped on the donkey’s back, the cat climbed onto the dog and the rooster flew on top of the cat to watch what was going on inside.

Now, the cottage was the hideaway of a gang of bandits who were busily celebrating their latest robbery. The hungry donkey and his friends became excited when they saw the food on the table. Upset by the Jittery crew on his back, the donkey stuck his head through the window and toppled his three companions

on to the lamp. The light went out and the room rang with the braying of the donkey who had cut his nose on the glass, the barking of the dog and the snarling of the cat. The rooster screeched along with the others.

Taken completely by surprise, the terrified bandits fled screaming: “The Devil! The Devil!” And their abandoned meal ended up in the four friends’ stomachs.

Later, however, just as the donkey and his companions were dropping off to sleep, one of the bandits crept back to the now quiet house and went in to find out what had taken place. He opened the door, and with his pistol in his hand, he stepped trembling towards the fire. However, mistaking the glow of the cat’s eyes for burning coals, he thrust a candle between

them and instantly the furious cat sank its claws into the bandit’s face. The man fell backwards on to the dog, dropping his gun, which went off, and the animal’s sharp teeth sank into his leg. When the donkey saw the bandit’s figure at the door, he gave a tremendous kick, sending the man flying right through the doorway. The rooster greeted this feat with a grim crowing sound.

“Run!” screamed the bandit. “Run! A horrible witch in there scratched my face, a demon bit me on the leg and a monster beat me with a stick! And . . .” But the other bandits were no longer listening, for they had taken to their heels and fled.

And so the donkey, the dog, the cat and the rooster took over the house without any trouble and, with the booty left behind by the bandits, always had food on the table, and lived happy and contented for many years.

By Grimm

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illustrated fairy tales

illustrated fairy tales

Boy and Foxes

Zebras and Zithers

Fox and Rabbit

Marisol’s Serape

Unicorn

The Quail Concert

Walrus Waiter

Picnic

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Pinocchio

Pinocchio

Once upon a time… a carpenter, picked up a strange lump of wood one day while mending a table. When he began to chip it, the wood started to moan. This frightened the carpenter and he decided to get rid of it at once, so he gave it to a friend called Geppetto, who wanted to make a puppet. Geppetto, a cobbler, took his lump of wood home, thinking about the name he would give his puppet.

“I’ll call him Pinocchio,” he told himself. “It’s a lucky name.” Back in his humble basement home and workshop, Geppetto started to carve the wood. Suddenly a voice squealed:

“Ooh! That hurt!” Geppeto was astonished to find that the wood was alive. Excitedly he carved a head, hair and eyes, which immediately stared right at the cobbler. But the second Geppetto carved out the nose, it grew longer and longer, and no matter how often the cobbler cut it down to size, it just stayed a long nose. The newly cut mouth began to chuckle and when Geppetto angrily complained, the puppet stuck out his tongue at him. That was nothing, however! When the cobbler shaped the hands, they snatched the good man’s wig, and the newly carved legs gave him a hearty kick. His eyes brimming with tears, Geppetto scolded the puppet.

“You naughty boy! I haven’t even finished making you, yet you’ve no respect for your father!” Then he picked up the puppet and, a step at a time, taught him to walk. But the minute Pinocchio stood upright, he started to run about the room, with Geppetto after him, then he opened the door and dashed into the street. Now, Pinocchio ran faster than Geppetto and though the poor cobbler shouted “Stop him! Stop him!” none of the onlookers, watching in amusement, moved a finger. Luckily, a policeman heard the cobbler’s shouts and strode quickly down the street. Grabbing the runaway, he handed him over to his father.

“I’ll box your ears,” gasped Geppetto, still out of breath. Then he realised that was impossible, for in his haste to carve the puppet, he had forgotten to make his ears. Pinocchio had got a fright at being in the clutches of the police, so he apologised and Geppetto forgave his son.

Indeed, the minute they reached home, the cobbler made Pinocchio a suit out of flowered paper, a pair of bark shoes and a soft bread hat. The puppet hugged his father.

“I’d like to go to school,” he said, “to become clever and help you when you’re old!” Geppetto was touched by this kind thought.

“I’m very grateful,” he replied, “but we haven’t enough money even to buy you the first reading book!” Pinocchio looked downcast, then Geppetto suddenly rose to his feet, put on his old tweed coat and went out of the house. Not long after he returned carrying a first reader, but minus his coat. It was snowing outside.

“Where’s your coat, father?”

“I sold it.”

“Why did you sell it?”

“It kept me too warm!”

Pinocchio threw his arms round Geppetto’s neck and kissed the kindly old man.

It had stopped snowing and Pinocchio set out for school with his first reading book under his arm. He was full of good intentions. “Today I want to learn to read. Tomorrow I’ll learn to write and the day after to count. Then I’ll earn some money and buy Geppetto a fine new coat. He deserves it, for . . .” The sudden sound of a brass band broke into the puppet’s daydream and he soon forgot all about school. He ended up in a crowded square where people were clustering round a brightly coloured booth.

“What’s that?” he asked a boy.

“Can’t you read? It’s the Great Puppet Show!”

“How much do you pay to go inside?”

“Fourpence.’

“Who’ll give me fourpence for this brand new book?” Pinocchio cried. A nearby junk seller bought the reading book and Pinocchio hurried into the booth. Poor Geppetto. His sacrifice had been quite in vain. Hardly had Pinocchio got inside, when he was seen by one of the puppets on the stage who cried out:

“There’s Pinocchio! There’s Pinocchio!”

“Come, along. Come up here with us. Hurrah for brother Pinocchio!” cried the puppets. Pinocchio weent onstage with his new friends, while the spectators below began to mutter about uproar. Then out strode Giovanni, the puppet-master, a frightful looking man with fierce bloodshot eyes.

“What’s going on here? Stop that noise! Get in line, or you’ll hear about it later!”

That evening, Giovanni sat down to his meal, but when he found that more wood was needed to finish cooking his nice chunk of meat, he remembered the intruder who had upset his show.

“Come here, Pinocchio! You’ll make good firewood!” The poor puppet started to weep and plead.

“Save me, father! I don’t want to die . . . I don’t want to die!” When Giovanni heard Pinocchio’s cries, he was surprised.

“Are your parents still alive?” he asked.

“My father is, but I’ve never known my mother,” said the puppet in a low voice. The big man’s heart melted.

“It would be beastly for your father if I did throw you into the fire . . . but I must finish roasting the mutton. I’ll just have to burn another puppet. Men! Bring me Harlequin, trussed!” When Pinocchio saw that another puppet was going to be burned in his place, he wept harder than ever.

“Please don’t, sir! Oh, sir, please don’t! Don’t burn Harlequin!”

“That’s enough!” boomed Giovanni in a rage. “I want my meat well cooked!”

“In that case,” cried Pinocchio defiantly, rising to his feet, “burn me! It’s not right that Harlequin should be burnt instead of me!”

Giovanni was taken aback. “Well, well!” he said. “I’ve never met a puppet hero before!” Then he went on in a milder tone. “You really are a good lad. I might indeed . . .” Hope flooded Pinocchio’s heart as the puppet-master stared at him, then at last the man said: “All right! I’ll eat half-raw mutton tonight, but next time, somebody will find himself in a pickle.” All the puppets were delighted at being saved. Giovanni asked Pinocchio to tell him the whole tale, and feeling sorry for kindhearted Geppetto, he gave the puppet five gold pieces.

“Take these to your father,” he said. “Tell him to buy himself a new coat, and give him my regards.”

Pinocchio cheerfully left the puppet booth after thanking Giovanni for being so generous. He was hurrying homewards when he met a half-blind cat and a lame fox. He couldn’t help but tell them all about his good fortune, and when the pair set eyes on the gold coins, they hatched a plot, saying to Pinocchio:

“If you would really like to please your father, you ought to take him a lot more coins. Now, we know of a magic meadow where you can sow these five coins. The next day, you will find they have become ten times as many!”

“How can that happen?” asked Pinocchio in amazement.

“I’ll tell you how!” exclaimed the fox. “In the land of Owls lies a meadow known as Miracle Meadow. If you plant one gold coin in a little hole, next day you will find a whole tree dripping with gold coins!” Pinocchio drank in every word his two “friends” uttered and off they all went to the Red Shrimp Inn to drink to their meeting and future wealth.

After food and a short rest, they made plans to leave at midnight for Miracle Meadow. However, when Pinocchio was wakened by the innkeeper at the time arranged, he found that the fox and the cat had already left. All the puppet could do then was pay for the dinner, using one of his gold coins, and set off alone along the path through the woods to the magic meadow. Suddenly… “Your money or your life!” snarled two hooded bandits. Now, Pinocchio had hidden the coins under his tongue, so he could not say a word, and nothing the bandits could do would make Pinocchio tell where the coins were hidden. Still mute, even when the wicked pair tied a noose round the poor puppet’s neck and pulled it tighter and tighter, Pinocchio’s last thought was “Father, help me!”

Of course, the hooded bandits were the fox and the cat. “You’ll hang there,” they said, “till you decide to talk. We’ll be back soon to see if you have changed your mind!” And away they went.

However, a fairy who lived nearby had overheard everything . . . From the castle window, the Turquoise Fairy saw a kicking puppet dangling from an oak tree in the wood. Taking pity on him, she clapped her hands three times and suddenly a hawk and a dog appeared.

“Quickly!” said the fairy to the hawk. “Fly to that oak tree and with your beak snip away the rope round the poor lad’s neck!”

To the dog she said: “Fetch the carriage and gently bring him to me!”

In no time at all, Pinocchio, looking quite dead, was lying in a cosy bed in the castle, while the fairy called three famous doctors, crow, owl and cricket. A very bitter medicine, prescribed by these three doctors quickly cured the puppet, then as she caressed him, the fairy said: “Tell me what happened!”

Pinocchio told her his story, leaving out the bit about selling his first reading book, but when the fairy asked him where the gold coins were, the puppet replied that he had lost them. In fact, they were hidden in one of his pockets. All at once, Pinocchio’s nose began to stretch, while the fairy laughed.

“You’ve just told a lie! I know you have, because your nose is growing longer!” Blushing with shame, Pinocchio had no idea what to do with such an ungainly nose and he began to weep. However, again feeling sorry for him, the fairy clapped her hands and a flock of woodpeckers appeared to peck his nose back to its proper length.

“Now, don’t tell any more lies,” the fairy warned him,” or your nose will grow again! Go home and take these coins to your father.”

Pinocchio gratefully hugged the fairy and ran off homewards. But near the oak tree in the forest, he bumped into the cat and the fox. Breaking his promise, he foolishly let himself be talked into burying the coins in the magic meadow. Full of hope, he returned next day, but the coins had gone. Pinocchio sadly trudged home without the coins Giovanni had given him for his father.

After scolding the puppet for his long absence, Geppetto forgave him and off he went to school. Pinocchio seemed to have calmed down a bit. But someone else was about to cross his path and lead him astray. This time, it was Carlo, the lazy bones of the class.

“Why don’t you come to Toyland with me?” he said. “Nobody ever studies there and you can play all day long!”

“Does such a place really exist?” asked Pinocchio in amazement.

“The wagon comes by this evening to take me there,” said Carlo. “Would you like to come?”

Forgetting all his promises to his father and the fairy, Pinocchio was again heading for trouble. Midnight struck, and the wagon arrived to pick up the two friends, along with some other lads who could hardly wait to reach a place where schoolbooks and teachers had never been heard of. Twelve pairs of donkeys pulled the wagon, and they were all shod with white leather boots. The boys clambered into the wagon. Pinocchio, the most excited of them all, jumped on to a donkey. Toyland, here we come!

Now Toyland was just as Carlo had described it: the boys all had great fun and there were no lessons. You weren’t even allowed to whisper the word “school”, and Pinocchio could hardly believe he was able to play all the time.

“This is the life!” he said each time he met Carlo.

“I was right, wasn’t I?” exclaimed his friend, pleased with himself.

“Oh, yes Carlo! Thanks to you I’m enjoying myself. And just think: teacher told me to keep well away from you.”

One day, however, Pinocchio awoke to a nasty surprise. When he raised a hand to his head, he found he had sprouted a long pair of hairy ears, in place of the sketchy ears that Geppetto had never got round to finishing. And that wasn’t all! The next day, they had grown longer than ever. Pinocchio shamefully pulled on a large cotton cap and went off to search for Carlo. He too was wearing a hat, pulled right down to his nose. With the same thought in their heads, the boys stared at each other, then snatching off their hats, they began to laugh at the funny sight of long hairy ears. But as they screamed with laughter, Carlo suddenly went pale and began to stagger. “Pinocchio, help! Help!” But Pinocchio himself was stumbling about and he burst into tears. For their faces were growing into the shape of a donkey’s head and they felt themselves go down on all foursf. Pinocchio and Carlo were turning into a pair of donkeys. And when they tried to groan with fear, they brayed loudly instead. When the Toyland wagon driver heard the braying of his new donkeys, he rubbed his hands in glee.

“There are two fine new donkeys to take to market. I’ll get at least four gold pieces for them!” For such was the awful fate that awaited naughty little boys that played truant from school to spend all their time playing games.

Carlo was sold to a farmer, and a circus man bought Pinocchio to teach him to do tricks like his other performing animals. It was a hard life for a donkey! Nothing to eat but hay, and when that was gone, nothing but straw. And the beatings! Pinocchio was beaten every day till he had mastered the difficult circus tricks. One day, as he was jumping through the hoop, he stumbled and went lame. The circus man called the stable boy.

“A lame donkey is no use to me,” he said. “Take it to market and get rid of it at any price!” But nobody wanted to buy a useless donkey. Then along came a little man who said: “I’ll take it for the skin. It will make a good drum for the village band!”

And so, for a few pennies, Pinocchio changed hands and he brayed sorrowfully when he heard what his awful fate was to be. The puppet’s new owner led him to the edge of the sea, tied a large stone to his neck, and a long rope round Pinocchio’s legs and pushed hlm into the water. Clutching the end of the rope, the man sat down to wait for Pinocchio to drown. Then he would flay off the donkey’s skin.

Pinocchio struggled for breath at the bottom of the sea, and in a flash, remembered all the bother he had given Geppetto, his broken promises too, and he called on the fairy.

The fairy heard Pinocchio’s call and when she saw he was about to drown, she sent a shoal of big fish. They ate away all the donkey flesh, leaving the wooden Pinocchio. Just then, as the fish stopped nibbling, Pinocchio felt himself hauled out of the water. And the man gaped in astonishment at the living puppet, twisting and turning like an eel, which appeared in place of the dead donkey. When he recovered his wits, he babbled, almost in tears: “Where’s the donkey I threw into the sea?”

“I’m that donkey”, giggled Pinocchio.

“You!” gasped the man. “Don’t try pulling my leg. If I get angry . . .”

However, Pinocchio told the man the whole story . . . “and that’s how you come to have a live puppet on the end of the rope instead of a dead donkey!”

“I don’t give a whit for your story,” shouted the man in a rage. “All I know is that I paid twenty coins for you and I want my money back! Since there’s no donkey, I’ll take you to market and sell you as firewood!”

By then free of the rope, Pinocchio made a face at the man and dived into the sea. Thankful to be a wooden puppet again, Pinocchio swam happily out to sea and was soon just a dot on the horizon. But his adventures were far from over. Out of the water behind him loomed a terrible giant shark! A horrified Pinocchio sawits wide open jaws and tried to swim away as fast as he could, but the monster only glided closer. Then the puppet tried to escape by going in the other direction, but in vain. He could never escape the shark, for as the water rushed into its cavern-like mouth, he was sucked in with it. And in an instant Pinocchio had been swallowed along with shoals of fish unlucky enough to be in the fierce creature’s path. Down he went, tossed in the torrent of water as it poured down the shark’s throat, till he felt dizy. When Pinocchio came to his senses, he was in darkness. Over his head, he could hear the loud heave of the shark’s gills. On his hands and knees, the puppet crept down what felt like a sloping path, crying as he went:

“Help! Help! Won’t anybody save me?”

Suddenly, he noticed a pale light and, as he crept towards it, he saw it was a flame in the distance. On he went, till: “Father! It can’t be you! . . .”

“Pinocchio! Son! It really is you . . .”

Weeping for joy, they hugged each other and, between sobs, told their adventures. Geppetto stroked the puppet’s head and told him how he came to be in the shark’s stomach.

“I was looking for you everywhere. When I couldn’t find you on dry land, I made a boat to search for you on the sea. But the boat capsized in a storm, then the shark gulped me down. Lucklly, it also swallowed bits of ships wrecked in the tempest, so I’ve managed to survive by gettlng what I could from these!”

“Well, we’re still alive!” remarked Pinocchio, when they had finished recounting their adventures. “We must get out of here!” Taking Geppetto’s hand, the pair started to climb up the shark’s stomach, using a candle to light their way. When they got as far as its jaws, they took fright, but as so happened, this shark slept with its mouth open, for it suffered from asthma.

As luck would have it, the shark had been basking in shallow waters since the day before, and Pinocchio soon reached the beach. Dawn was just breaking, and Geppetto, soaked to the skin, was half dead with cold and fright.

“Lean on me, father.” said Pinocchio. “I don’t know where we are, but we’ll soon find our way home!”

Beside the sands stood an old hut made of branches, and there they took shelter. Geppetto was running a temperature, but Pinocchio went out, saying, “I’m going to get you some milk.” The bleating of goats led the puppet in the right direction, and he soon came upon a farmer. Of course, he had no money to pay for the milk.

“My donkey’s dead,” said the farmer. “If you work the treadmill from dawn to noon, then you can have some milk.” And so, for days on end, Pinocchio rose early each morning to earn Geppetto’s food.

At long last, Pinocchio and Geppetto reached home. The puppet worked late into the night weaving reed baskets to make money for his father and himself. One day, he heard that the fairy after a wave of bad luck, was ill in hospital. So instead of buying himself a new suit of clothes, Pinocchio sent the fairy the money to pay for her treatment.

One night, in a wonderful dream, the fairy appeared to reward Pinocchio for his kindness. When the puppet looked in the mirror next morning, he found he had turned into somebody else. For there in the mirror, was a handsome young lad with blue eyes and brown hair. Geppetto hugged him happily.

“Where’s the old wooden Pinocchio?” the young lad asked in astonishment. “There!” exclaimed Geppetto, pointing at him. “When bad boys become good, their looks change along with their lives!”

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