When People told themselves their past with stories,
explained their present with stories,
foretold the future with stories,
the best place by the fire was kept for ...

~The Dog and the Sparrow

A shepherd’s dog had a master who took no care of him,
but often let him suffer the greatest hunger.
At last he could bear it no longer; so he took to his heels, and off he ran in a very sad and sorrowful mood.
On the road he met a sparrow that said to him, “Why are you so sad, my friend?” - “Because,” said the dog, “I am very very hungry, and have nothing to eat.” -
“If that be all,” answered the sparrow, “come with me into the next town, and I will soon find you plenty of food.”
So on they went together into the town: and as they passed by a butcher’s shop, the sparrow said to the dog, “Stand there a little while till I peck you down a piece of meat.”

So the sparrow perched upon the shelf: and having first looked carefully about her to see if anyone was watching her, she pecked and scratched at a steak that lay upon the edge of the shelf, till at last down it fell. Then the dog snapped it up, and scrambled away with it into a corner, where he soon ate it all up.
“Well,” said the sparrow, “you shall have some more if you will; so come with me to the next shop, and I will peck you down another steak.” When the dog had eaten this too, the sparrow said to him, “Well, my good friend, have you had enough now?” -
“I have had plenty of meat,” answered he, “but I should like to have a piece of bread to eat after it.” - “Come with me then,” said the sparrow, “and you shall soon have that too.”
So she took him to a baker’s shop, and pecked at two rolls that lay in the window, till they fell down: and as the dog still wished for more, she took him to another shop and pecked down some more for him. When that was eaten, the sparrow asked him whether he had had enough now. “Yes,” said he; “and now let us take a walk a little way out of the town.”
So they both went out upon the high road; but as the weather was warm, they had not gone far before the dog said, “I am very much tired, I should like to take a nap.” -

“Very well,” answered the sparrow, “do so, and in the meantime
I will perch upon that bush.” So the dog stretched himself out on the road, and fell fast asleep. Whilst he slept, there came by a carter with a cart drawn by three horses, and loaded with two casks of wine. The sparrow, seeing that the carter did not turn out of the way, but would go on in the track in which the dog lay, so as to drive over him, called out, “Stop! Stop! Mr Carter, or it shall be the worse for you.” But the carter, grumbling to himself,
“You make it the worse for me, indeed! What can you do?” cracked his whip, and drove his cart over the poor dog, so that the wheels crushed him to death. “There,” cried the sparrow, “thou cruel villain, thou hast killed my friend the dog. Now mind what I say. This deed of thine shall cost thee all thou art worth.” - “Do your worst, and welcome,” said the brute, “what harm can you do me?” and passed on.
But the sparrow crept under the tilt of the cart, and pecked at the bung of one of the casks till she loosened it; and than all the wine ran out, without the carter seeing it.
At last he looked round, and saw that the cart was dripping, and the cask quite empty.

“What an unlucky wretch I am!” cried he. “Not wretch enough yet!” said the sparrow, as she alighted upon the head of one of the horses, and pecked at him till he reared up and kicked.
When the carter saw this, he drew out his hatchet and aimed a blow at the sparrow, meaning to kill her; but she flew away, and the blow fell upon the poor horse’s head with such force, that he fell down dead. “Unlucky wretch that I am!” cried he.
“Not wretch enough yet!” said the sparrow.
And as the carter went on with the other two horses, she again crept under the tilt of the cart, and pecked out the bung of the second cask, so that all the wine ran out.
When the carter saw this, he again cried out, “Miserable wretch that I am!” But the sparrow answered, “Not wretch enough yet!” and perched on the head of the second horse, and pecked at him too. The carter ran up and struck at her again with his hatchet; but away she flew, and the blow fell upon the second horse and killed him on the spot. “Unlucky wretch that I am!” said he.
“Not wretch enough yet!” said the sparrow; and perching upon the third horse, she began to peck him too.
The carter was mad with fury; and without looking about him, or caring what he was about, struck again at the sparrow; but killed his third horse as he done the other two.
“Alas! miserable wretch that I am!” cried he. “Not wretch enough yet!” answered the sparrow as she flew away; “now will I plague and punish thee at thy own house.”
The carter was forced at last to leave his cart behind him, and to go home overflowing with rage and vexation.
“Alas!” said he to his wife, “what ill luck has befallen me! my wine is all spilt, and my horses all three dead.” -
“Alas! husband,” replied she, “and a wicked bird has come into the house, and has brought with her all the birds in the world,
I am sure, and they have fallen upon our corn in the loft, and are eating it up at such a rate!” Away ran the husband upstairs, and saw thousands of birds sitting upon the floor eating up his corn, with the sparrow in the midst of them. “Unlucky wretch that
I am!” cried the carter; for he saw that the corn was almost all gone. “Not wretch enough yet!” said the sparrow; “thy cruelty shall cost thee they life yet!” and away she flew.

The carter seeing that he had thus lost all that he had, went down into his kitchen; and was still not sorry for what he had done, but sat himself angrily and sulkily in the chimney corner.
But the sparrow sat on the outside of the window, and cried “Carter! Thy cruelty shall cost thee thy life!”
With that he jumped up in a rage, seized his hatchet, and threw it at the sparrow; but it missed her, and only broke the window.
The sparrow now hopped in, perched upon the window- seat, and cried, “Carter! It shall cost thee thy life!”
Then he became mad and blind with rage, and struck the window-seat with such force that he cleft it in two: and as the sparrow flew from place to place, the carter and his wife were so furious, that they broke all their furniture, glasses, chairs, benches, the table, and at last the walls, without touching the bird at all.

In the end, however, they caught her: and the wife said,
“Shall I kill her at once?” - “No,” cried he, “that is letting her off too easily: she shall die a much more cruel death;
I will eat her.” But the sparrow began to flutter about,
and stretch out her neck and cried, “Carter! it shall cost
thee thy life yet!” With that he could wait no longer: so
he gave his wife the hatchet, and cried, “Wife, strike at
the bird and kill her in my hand.” And the wife struck;
but she missed her aim, and hit her husband on the head
so that he fell down dead, and the sparrow flew quietly
home to her nest.

by The brothers Grimm


There was once a miller who was poor, but he had one
beautiful daughter. It happened one day that he came
to speak with the king, and, to give himself consequence,
he told him that he had a daughter who could spin gold out of straw. The king said to the miller, “That is an art that pleases me well; if thy daughter is as clever as you say, bring her to my castle to-morrow, that I may put her to the proof.”

When the girl was brought to him, he led her into a room that was quite full of straw, and gave her a wheel and spindle, and said, “Now set to work, and if by the early morning thou hast not spun this straw to gold thou shalt die.” And he shut the door himself, and left her there alone. And so the poor miller's daughter was left there sitting, and could not think what to do for her life: she had no notion how to set to work to spin gold from straw, and her distress grew so great that she began to weep.
Then all at once the door opened, and in came a little man,
who said, “Good evening, miller's daughter; why are you crying?”
“Oh!” answered the girl, “I have got to spin gold out of straw, and I don't understand the business.” Then the little man said,
“What will you give me if I spin it for you?”
“My necklace,” said the girl. The little man took the necklace, seated himself before the wheel, and whirr, whirr, whirr!
three times round and the bobbin was full; then he took up another, and whirr, whirr, whirr! three times round, and that was full; and so he went on till the morning, when all the straw had been spun, and all the bobbins were full of gold.
At sunrise came the king, and when he saw the gold he was astonished and very much rejoiced, for he was very avaricious.

He had the miller's daughter taken into another room filled with straw, much bigger than the last, and told her that as she valued her life she must spin it all in one night.
The girl did not know what to do, so she began to cry, and then the door opened, and the little man appeared and said,
“What will you give me if I spin all this straw into gold?”
“The ring from my finger,” answered the girl.
So the little man took the ring, and began again to send the wheel whirring round, and by the next morning all the straw was spun into glistening gold. The king was rejoiced beyond measure at the sight, but as he could never have enough of gold, he had the miller's daughter taken into a still larger room full of straw, and said, “This, too, must be spun in one night, and if you accomplish it you shall be my wife.” For he thought, “Although she is but a miller's daughter, I am not likely to find any one richer in the whole world.” As soon as the girl was left alone, the little man appeared for the third time and said, “What will you give me if I spin the straw for you this time?” “I have nothing left to give,” answered the girl. “Then you must promise me the first child you have after you are queen,” said the little man.

“But who knows whether that will happen?” thought the girl; but as she did not know what else to do in her necessity, she promised the little man what he desired, upon which he began to spin,
until all the straw was gold. And when in the morning the king came and found all done according to his wish, he caused the wedding to be held at once, and the miller's pretty daughter became a queen.
In a year's time she brought a fine child into the world, and thought no more of the little man ; but one day he came suddenly into her room, and said, “Now give me what you promised me.” The queen was terrified greatly, and offered the little man all the riches of the kingdom if he would only leave the child; but the little man said, “No, I would rather have something living than all the treasures of the world.” Then the queen began to lament and to weep, so that the little man had pity upon her.

“I will give you three days,” said he, “and if at the end of that time you cannot tell my name, you must give up the child to me.”
Then the queen spent the whole night in thinking over all the names that she had ever heard, and sent a messenger through the land to ask far and wide for all the names that could be found.
And when the little man came next day, (beginning with Caspar, Melchior, Balthazar) she repeated all she knew, and went through the whole list, but after each the little man said, “That is not my name.” The second day the queen sent to inquire of all the neighbours what the servants were called, and told the little man all the most unusual and singular names, saying, “Perhaps you are called Roast-ribs, or Sheepshanks, or Spindleshanks?”
But he answered nothing but “That is not my name.”

The third day the messenger came back again, and said, “I have not been able to find one single new name; but as I passed through the woods I came to a high hill, and near it was a little house, and before the house burned a fire, and round the fire danced a comical little man, and he hopped on one leg and cried,
“To-day do I bake, to-morrow I brew,
The day after that the queen's child comes in;
And oh! I am glad that nobody knew
That the name I am called is Rumpelstiltskin!”
You cannot think how pleased the queen was to hear that name, and soon afterwards, when the little man walked in and said, “Now, Mrs. Queen, what is my name?” she said at first, “Are you called Jack?” “No,” answered he. “Are you called Harry?”
she asked again. “No,” answered he. And then she said, “Then perhaps your name is Rumpelstiltskin?”
“The devil told you that! the devil told you that!” cried the little man, and in his anger he stamped with his right foot so hard that it went into the ground above his knee ; then he seized his left foot with both his hands in such a fury that he split in two, and there was an end of him.

by The brothers Grimm

~The Gnome

There was once upon a time a rich King who had three daughters, who daily went to walk in the palace garden, and the King was a great lover of all kinds of fine trees, but there was one for which he had such an affection, that if anyone gathered an apple from it he wished him a hundred fathoms underground.
And when harvest time came, the apples on this tree were all as red as blood. The three daughters went every day beneath the tree, and looked to see if the wind had not blown down an apple, but they never by any chance found one, and the tree was so loaded with them that it was almost breaking, and the branches hung down to the ground. Then the King's youngest child had a great desire for an apple, and said to her sisters, "Our father loves us far too much to wish us underground, it is my belief that he would only do that to people who were strangers."

gnome ~ LINK ~

And while she was speaking, the child plucked off quite a large apple, and ran to her sisters, saying, "Just taste, my dear little sisters, for never in my life have I tasted anything so delightful." Then the two other sisters also ate some of the apple, whereupon all three sank deep down into the earth, where they could hear no cock crow.
When mid-day came, the King wished to call them to come to dinner, but they were nowhere to be found.
He sought them everywhere in the palace and garden, but could not find them. Then he was much troubled, and made known to the whole land that whosoever brought his daughters back again should have one of them to wife. Hereupon so many young men went about the country in search, that there was no counting them, for every one loved the three children because they were so kind to all, and so fair of face.
Three young huntsmen also went out, and when they had travelled about for eight days, they arrived at a great castle, in which were beautiful apartments, and in one room a table was laid on which were delicate dishes which were still so warm that they were smoking, but in the whole of the castle no human being was either to be seen or heard. They waited there for half a day, and the food still remained warm and smoking, and at length they were so hungry that they sat down and ate, and agreed with each other that they would stay and live in that castle, and that one of them, who should be chosen by casting lots, should remain in the house, and the two others seek the King's daughters.

They cast lots, and the lot fell on the eldest; so next day the two younger went out to seek, and the eldest had to stay home.
At mid-day came a small, small mannikin and begged for a piece of bread, then the huntsman took the bread which he had found there, and cut a round off the loaf and was about to give it to him, but whilst he was giving it to the mannikin, the latter let it fall,
and asked the huntsman to be so good as to give him that piece again. The huntsman was about to do so and stooped, on which the mannikin took a stick, seized him by the hair, and gave him a good beating. Next day, the second stayed at home, and he fared no better. When the two others returned in the evening,
the eldest said, "Well, how have you got on?"

"Oh, very badly," said he, and then they lamented their misfortune together, but they said nothing about it to the youngest, for they did not like him at all, and always called him Stupid Hans,
because he did not exactly belong to the forest.
On the third day, the youngest stayed at home, and again the little mannikin came and begged for a piece of bread.
When the youth gave it to him, the elf let it fall as before, and asked him to be so good as to give him that piece again.
Then said Hans to the little mannikin, "What! canst thou not pick up that piece thyself? If thou wilt not take as much trouble as that for thy daily bread, thou dost not deserve to have it."
Then the mannikin grew very angry and said he was to do it,
but the huntsman would not, and took my dear mannikin, and gave him a thorough beating. Then the mannikin screamed terribly, and cried, "Stop, stop, and let me go, and I will tell thee where the King's daughters are." When Hans heard that, he left off beating him and the mannikin told him that he was an earth mannikin, and that there were more than a thousand like him,
and that if he would go with him he would show him where the King's daughters were. Then he showed him a deep well,
but there was no water in it. And the elf said that he knew well that the companions Hans had with him did not intend to deal honourably with him, therefore if he wished to deliver the King's children, he must do it alone. The two other brothers would also be very glad to recover the King's daughters, but they did not want to have any trouble or danger.
Hans was therefore to take a large basket, and he must seat himself in it with his hanger and a bell, and be let down.
Below were three rooms, and in each of them was a princess, with a many-headed dragon, whose heads she was to comb and trim, but he must cut them off.

And having said all this, the elf vanished. When it was evening the two brothers came and asked how he had got on, and he said, "pretty well so far," and that he had seen no one except at mid-day when a little mannikin had come and begged for a piece of bread, that he had given some to him, but that the mannikin had let it fall and had asked him to pick it up again; but as he did not choose to do that, the elf had begun to lose his temper, and that he had done what he ought not, and had given the elf a beating, on which he had told him where the King's daughters were. Then the two were so angry at this that they grew green and yellow. Next morning they went to the well together, and drew lots who should first seat himself in the basket, and again the lot fell on the eldest, and he was to seat himself in it, and take the bell with him. Then he said, "If I ring, you must draw me up again immediately." When he had gone down for a short distance, he rang, and they at once drew him up again.
Then the second seated himself in the basket, but he did just the same as the first, and then it was the turn of the youngest, but he let himself be lowered quite to the bottom.
When he had got out of the basket, he took his hanger, and went and stood outside the first door and listened, and heard the dragon snoring quite loudly. He opened the door slowly, and one of the princesses was sitting there, and had nine dragon's heads lying upon her lap, and was combing them.

Then he took his hanger and hewed at them, and the nine fell off. The princess sprang up, threw her arms round his neck, embraced and kissed him repeatedly, and took her stomacher, which was made of pure gold, and hung it round his neck.
Then he went to the second princess, who had a dragon with five heads to comb, and delivered her also, and to the youngest,
who had a dragon with four heads, he went likewise.
And they all rejoiced, and embraced him and kissed him without stopping. Then he rang very loud, so that those above heard him, and he placed the princesses one after the other in the basket,
and had them all drawn up, but when it came to his own turn he remembered the words of the elf, who had told him that his comrades did not mean well by him. So he took a great stone which was lying there, and placed it in the basket, and when it was about half way up, his false brothers above cut the rope, so that the basket with the stone fell to the ground, and they thought
that he was dead, and ran away with the three princesses,
making them promise to tell their father that it was they who
had delivered them, and then they went to the King, and each demanded a princess in marriage.
In the meantime the youngest huntsman was wandering about the three chambers in great trouble, fully expecting to have to end his days there, when he saw, hanging on the wall, a flute; then said he, "Why dost thou hang there, no one can be merry here?"
He looked at the dragons, heads likewise and said, "You too cannot help me now." He walked backwards and forwards for such a long time that he made the surface of the ground quite smooth. But at last other thoughts came to his mind, and he took the flute from the wall, and played a few notes on it, and suddenly a number of elves appeared, and with every note that he sounded one more came. Then he played until the room was entirely filled. They all asked what he desired, so he said he wished to get above ground back to daylight, on which they seized him by every hair that grew on his head, and thus they flew with him onto the earth again. When he was above ground, he at once went to the King's palace, just as the wedding of one princess was about to be celebrated, and he went to the room where the King and his
three daughters were. When the princesses saw him they fainted.

Hereupon the King was angry, and ordered him to be put in prison at once, because he thought he must have done some injury to the children. When the princesses came to themselves, however, they entreated the King to set him free again.
The King asked why, and they said that they were not allowed to tell that, but their father said that they were to tell it to the stove. And he went out, listened at the door, and heard everything.
Then he caused the two brothers to be hanged on the gallows, and to the third he gave his youngest daughter, and on that occasion
I wore a pair of glass shoes, and I struck them against a stone,
and they said, "Klink," and were broken.

by The brothers Grimm