ENGLISH

The old woman in the wood

DANSK

Den gamle i skoven


A poor servant-girl was once travelling with the family with which she was in service, through a great forest, and when they were in the midst of it, robbers came out of the thicket, and murdered all they found. All perished together except the girl, who had jumped out of the carriage in a fright, and hidden herself behind a tree. When the robbers had gone away with their booty, she came out and beheld the great disaster. Then she began to weep bitterly, and said, "What can a poor girl like me do now? I do not know how to get out of the forest, no human being lives in it, so I must certainly starve." She walked about and looked for a road, but could find none. When it was evening she seated herself under a tree, gave herself into God's keeping, and resolved to sit waiting there and not go away, let what might happen. When, however, she had sat there for a while, a white dove came flying to her with a little golden key in its mouth. It put the little key in her hand, and said, "Dost thou see that great tree, therein is a little lock, it opens with the tiny key, and there thou wilt find food enough, and suffer no more hunger." Then she went to the tree and opened it, and found milk in a little dish, and white bread to break into it, so that she could eat her fill. When she was satisfied, she said, "It is now the time when the hens at home go to roost, I am so tired I could go to bed too." Then the dove flew to her again, and brought another golden key in its bill, and said, "Open that tree there, and thou willt find a bed." So she opened it, and found a beautiful white bed, and she prayed God to protect her during the night, and lay down and slept. In the morning the dove came for the third time, and again brought a little key, and said, "Open that tree there, and thou wilt find clothes." And when she opened it, she found garments beset with gold and with jewels, more splendid than those of any king's daughter. So she lived there for some time, and the dove came every day and provided her with all she needed, and it was a quiet good life.
Once, however, the dove came and said, "Wilt thou do something for my sake?" - "With all my heart," said the girl. Then said the little dove, "I will guide thee to a small house; enter it, and inside it, an old woman will be sitting by the fire and will say, 'Good-day.' But on thy life give her no answer, let her do what she will, but pass by her on the right side; further on, there is a door, which open, and thou wilt enter into a room where a quantity of rings of all kinds are lying, amongst which are some magnificent ones with shining stones; leave them, however, where they are, and seek out a plain one, which must likewise be amongst them, and bring it here to me as quickly as thou canst." The girl went to the little house, and came to the door. There sat an old woman who stared when she saw her, and said, "Good-day my child." The girl gave her no answer, and opened the door. "Whither away," cried the old woman, and seized her by the gown, and wanted to hold her fast, saying, "That is my house; no one can go in there if I choose not to allow it." But the girl was silent, got away from her, and went straight into the room. Now there lay on the table an enormous quantity of rings, which gleamed and glittered before her eyes. She turned them over and looked for the plain one, but could not find it. While she was seeking, she saw the old woman and how she was stealing away, and wanting to get off with a bird-cage which she had in her hand. So she went after her and took the cage out of her hand, and when she raised it up and looked into it, a bird was inside which had the plain ring in its bill. Then she took the ring, and ran quite joyously home with it, and thought the little white dove would come and get the ring, but it did not. Then she leant against a tree and determined to wait for the dove, and, as she thus stood, it seemed just as if the tree was soft and pliant, and was letting its branches down. And suddenly the branches twined around her, and were two arms, and when she looked round, the tree was a handsome man, who embraced and kissed her heartily, and said, "Thou hast delivered me from the power of the old woman, who is a wicked witch. She had changed me into a tree, and every day for two hours I was a white dove, and so long as she possessed the ring I could not regain my human form." Then his servants and his horses, who had likewise been changed into trees, were freed from the enchantment also, and stood beside him. And he led them forth to his kingdom, for he was a King's son, and they married, and lived happily.
Der var engang en fattig tjenestepige, som kørte med sit herskab gennem en stor skov. Da de var kommet midt i den, styrtede nogle røvere frem og myrdede, hvem de kunne få fat på. Den eneste, der slap fra det med livet, var pigen. I sin angst var hun sprunget ud af vognen og havde gemt sig bag et træ. Da røverne var gået igen med deres bytte, kom hun frem igen og græd og græd. "Hvad skal jeg stakkels pige dog gøre," sagde hun, "jeg kan ikke finde ud af skoven, og her bor vel ikke en levende sjæl. Jeg dør nok af sult." Hun gik nu rundt og søgte at finde vejen, men det var umuligt. Om aftenen satte hun sig under et træ, bad til Gud, og bestemte, at her ville hun blive siddende, uden at røre sig, hvad der så skete. Da hun havde siddet der lidt, kom en hvid due flyvende med en lille guldnøgle i næbbet. Den lagde nøglen i pigens hånd og sagde: "I det store træ derhenne er der en lille lås. Gå hen og luk den op med denne nøgle, så vil du finde mad nok og ikke behøve at sulte." Pigen gik hen til træet, lukkede det op, og fandt en lille skål med mælk og hvedebrød. Da hun var mæt, sagde hun: "På denne tid flyver hønsene op og sætter sig på deres pinde. Jeg er så træt, bare jeg lå i min seng." Duen kom nu flyvende med en anden guldnøgle og sagde: "Luk det træ derhenne op, der er en lille seng." Pigen fandt virkelig en blød, hvid seng, bad Gud holde sin hånd over hende om natten, lagde sig i sengen og faldt i søvn. Om morgenen kom duen for tredie gang, bragte igen en nøgle og sagde: "Luk det træ der op, der er klæder." Da hun gjorde det, fandt hun kjoler, besat med guld og ædelstene, så prægtige, som om de var til en prinsesse. Sådan gik det i nogen tid. Duen kom hver dag og sørgede for alt, hvad hun behøvede. Ellers var hun ganske alene, men hun havde det stille og godt.

En dag, da duen kom, spurgte den: "Vil du gøre mig en tjeneste?" - "Ja, det vil jeg," svarede pigen. "Jeg vil føre dig hen til et lille hus," sagde den, "der skal du gå ind. Ved skorstenen sidder der en gammel kone. Hun siger goddag, men du må endelig ikke sige noget, hvad hun så gør. Til højre for hende er der en dør, og når du går igennem den, kommer du til en stue, hvor der ligger en mængde forskellige ringe på bordet. Der er mange med prægtige, strålende stene, men dem skal du lade ligge. Der må også være en ganske tarvelig, mat en, den skal du tage og bringe med så hurtigt, du kan." Pigen gik hen til huset og trådte ind. Den gamle kone gjorde store øjne, da hun så hende. "Goddag, mit barn," sagde hun. Pigen svarede ikke, men gik hen til døren. "Hvor skal du hen?" råbte den gamle og greb fat i hendes kjole, "det er mit hus. Ingen må komme ind, uden jeg vil have det." Pigen svarede ikke, rev sig løs og gik lige ind i stuen. På bordet lå der et væld af ringe, som strålede og funklede. Hun kastede dem imellem hverandre og ledte og ledte, men kunne ikke finde den, hun ville have. Mens hun stod der, så hun, at den gamle ville liste sig af sted med et fuglebur i hånden. Hun skyndte sig at tage buret, og da hun kiggede ind i det, så hun, at fuglen havde den matte ring i næbbet. Hun tog den, løb glad hjem, og tænkte, at den hvide due ville komme og hente den, men den kom ikke. Hun stod og lænede sig op til et træ for at vente på den, men på en gang var det, som om træet bøjede sig og sænkede sine grene ned. Pludselig slyngede grenene sig om hende som to arme, og da hun vendte sig om, var træet blevet til en smuk mand, som omfavnede og kyssede hende. "Du har frelst mig," sagde han, "den gamle kone var en ond heks, som havde forvandlet mig til et træ. Kun et par timer hver dag var jeg en hvid due, og så længe hun havde ringen, kunne jeg ikke blive menneske igen." Alle træerne ved siden af blev nu også løst af trolddommen og forvandlet til heste og tjenere. Den unge mand var en kongesøn, og de kørte nu hjem til hans rige. Brylluppet blev fejret, og de levede længe og lykkeligt sammen.




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