The three little men in the wood



There was once a man, whose wife was dead, and a woman, whose husband was dead; and the man had a daughter, and so had the woman. The girls were acquainted with each other, and used to play together sometimes in the woman's house. So the woman said to the man's daughter, "Listen to me, tell your father that I will marry him, and then you shall have milk to wash in every morning and wine to drink, and my daughter shall have water to wash in and water to drink." The girl went home and told her father what the woman had said.

The man said, "What shall I do! Marriage is a joy, and also a torment." At last, as he could come to no conclusion, he took off his boot, and said to his daughter, "Take this boot, it has a hole in the sole; go up with it into the loft, hang it on the big nail and pour water in it. If it holds water, I will once more take to me a wife; if it lets out the water, so will I not."

The girl did as she was told, but the water held the hole together, and the boot was full up to the top. So she went and told her father how it was. And he went up to see with his own eyes, and as there was no mistake about it, he went to the widow and courted her, and then they had the wedding.

The next morning, when the two girls awoke, there stood by the bedside of the man's daughter milk to wash in and wine to drink, and by the bedside of the woman's daughter there stood water to wash in and water to drink. On the second morning there stood water to wash in and water to drink for both of them alike. On the third morning there stood water to wash in and water to drink for the man's daughter, and milk to wash in and wine to drink for the woman's daughter; and so it remained ever after. The woman hated her stepdaughter, and never knew how to treat her badly enough from one day to another. And she was jealous because her stepdaughter was pleasant and pretty, and her real daughter was ugly and hateful.

Once in winter, when it was freezing hard, and snow lay deep on hill and valley, the woman made a frock out of paper, called her stepdaughter, and said, "Here, put on this frock, go out into the wood and fetch me a basket of strawberries; I have a great wish for some."

"Oh dear," said the girl, "there are no strawberries to be found in winter; the ground is frozen, and the snow covers everything. And why should I go in the paper frock? it is so cold out of doors that one's breath is frozen; the wind will blow through it, and the thorns will tear it off my back!"

"How dare you contradict me!" cried the stepmother, "be off, and don't let me see you again till you bring me a basket of strawberries." Then she gave her a little piece of hard bread, and said, "That will do for you to eat during the day," and she thought to herself, "She is sure to be frozen or starved to death out of doors, and I shall never set eyes on her again."

So the girl went obediently, put on the paper frock, and started out with the basket. The snow was lying everywhere, far and wide, and there was not a blade of green to be seen. When she entered the wood she saw a little house with three little men peeping out of it. She wished them good day, and knocked modestly at the door. They called her in, and she came into the room and sat down by the side of the oven to warm herself and eat her breakfast. The little men said, "Give us some of it."

"Willingly," answered she, breaking her little piece of bread in two, and giving them half. They then said, "What are you doing here in the wood this winter time in your little thin frock?"

"Oh," answered she, "I have to get a basket of strawberries, and I must not go home without them." When she had eaten her bread they gave her a broom, and told her to go and sweep the snow away from the back door. When she had gone outside to do it the little men talked among themselves about what they should do for her, as she was so good and pretty, and had shared her bread with them. Then the first one said, "She shall grow prettier every day." The second said, "Each time she speaks a piece of gold shall fall from her mouth." The third said, "A king shall come and take her for his wife."

In the meanwhile the girl was doing as the little men had told her, and had cleared the snow from the back of the little house, and what do you suppose she found? fine ripe strawberries, showing dark red against the snow! Then she joyfully filled her little basket full, thanked the little men, shook hands with them all, and ran home in haste to bring her stepmother the thing she longed for. As she went in and said, "Good evening," a piece of gold fell from her mouth at once. Then she related all that had happened to her in the wood, and at each word that she spoke gold pieces fell out of her mouth, so that soon they were scattered all over the room.

"Just look at her pride and conceit!" cried the stepsister, "throwing money about in this way!" but in her heart she was jealous because of it, and wanted to go too into the wood to fetch strawberries. But the mother said, "No, my dear little daughter, it is too cold, you will be frozen to death." But she left her no peace, so at last the mother gave in, got her a splendid fur coat to put on, and gave her bread and butter and cakes to eat on the way.

The girl went into the wood and walked straight up to the little house. The three little men peeped out again, but she gave them no greeting, and without looking round or taking any notice of them she came stumping into the room, sat herself down by the oven, and began to eat her bread and butter and cakes.

"Give us some of that," cried the little men, but she answered, "I've not enough for myself; how can I give away any?" Now when she had done with her eating, they said, "Here is a broom, go and sweep all clean by the back door."

"Oh, go and do it yourselves," answered she; "I am not your housemaid." But when she saw that they were not going to give her anything, she went out to the door. Then the three little men said among themselves, "What shall we do to her, because she is so unpleasant, and has such a wicked jealous heart, grudging everybody everything?" The first said, "She shall grow uglier every day." The second said, "Each time she speaks a toad shall jump out of her mouth at every word." The third said, "She shall die a miserable death."

The girl was looking outside for strawberries, but as she found none, she went sulkily home. And directly she opened her mouth to tell her mother what had happened to her in the wood a toad sprang out of her mouth at each word, so that every one who came near her was quite disgusted.

The stepmother became more and more set against the man's daughter, whose beauty increased day by day, and her only thought was how to do her some injury. So at last she took a kettle, set it on the fire, and scalded some yarn in it. When it was ready she hung it over the poor girl's shoulder, and gave her an axe, and she was to go to the frozen river and break a hole in the ice, and there to rinse the yarn. She obeyed, and went and hewed a hole in the ice, and as she was about it there came by a splendid coach, in which the King sat. The coach stood still, and the King said, "My child, who art thou, and what art thou doing there?"

She answered, "I am a poor girl, and am rinsing yarn." Then the King felt pity for her, and as he saw that she was very beautiful, he said, "Will you go with me?"

"Oh yes, with all my heart," answered she; and she felt very glad to be out of the way of her mother and sister.

So she stepped into the coach and went off with the King; and when they reached his castle the wedding was celebrated with great splendour, as the little men in the wood had foretold.
At the end of a year the young Queen had a son; and as the stepmother had heard of her great good fortune she came with her daughter to the castle, as if merely to pay the King and Queen a visit. One day, when the King had gone out, and when nobody was about, the bad woman took the Queen by the head, and her daughter took her by the heels, and dragged her out of bed, and threw her out of the window into a stream that flowed beneath it. Then the old woman put her ugly daughter in the bed, and covered her up to her chin.

When the King came back, and wanted to talk to his wife a little, the old woman cried, "Stop, stop! she is sleeping nicely; she must be kept quiet to day." The King dreamt of nothing wrong, and came again the next morning; and as he spoke to his wife, and she answered him, there jumped each time out of her mouth a toad instead of the piece of gold as heretofore. Then he asked why that should be, and the old woman said it was because of her great weakness, and that it would pass away.

But in the night, the boy who slept in the kitchen saw how something in the likeness of a duck swam up the gutter, and said,

"My King, what mak'st thou?
Sleepest thou, or wak'st thou?"

But there was no answer. Then it said,

"What cheer my two guests keep they?"

So the kitchen-boy answered,

"In bed all soundly sleep they."

It asked again,

"And my little baby, how does he?"

And he answered,

"He sleeps in his cradle quietly."

Then the duck took the shape of the Queen and went to the child, and gave him to drink, smoothed his little bed, covered him up again, and then, in the likeness of a duck, swam back down the gutter. In this way she came two nights, and on the third she said to the kitchen-boy, "Go and tell the King to brandish his sword three times over me on the threshold!" Then the kitchen-boy ran and told the King, and he came with his sword and brandished it three times over the duck, and at the third time his wife stood before him living, and hearty, and sound, as she had been before.

The King was greatly rejoiced, but he hid the Queen in a chamber until the Sunday came when the child was to be baptized. And after the baptism he said, "What does that person deserve who drags another out of; bed and throws him in the water?"

And the old woman answered, "No better than to be put into a cask with iron nails in it, and to be rolled in it down the hill into the water." Then said the King, "You have spoken your own sentence;"and he ordered a cask to be fetched, and the old woman and her daughter were put into it, and the top hammered down, and the cask was rolled down the hill into the river.
从前,有个男人死了妻子,有个女人死了丈夫。 这个男人有个女儿,这个女人也有个女儿。 两个小姑娘互相认识,经常一起出去散步。 有一天,她们散完步后一起来到女人的家里,女人对男人的女儿说:"听着,告诉你爸爸,说我愿意嫁给他,从此你天天早晨都能用牛奶洗脸,还能喝上葡萄酒,而我自己的女儿只能用水洗脸,也只能喝清水。"小姑娘回到家中,把女人的话告诉了她爸爸。 男人说:"我该怎么办呢?结婚是喜事,可也会带来痛苦。"他迟迟拿不定主意,最后脱下一只靴子,说:"这只靴子的底上有个洞。你把它拎到阁楼上去,把它挂在一根大钉子上,然后往里面灌些水。要是水没有漏出来,我就再娶个妻子;可要是水漏了出来,我就不娶。"姑娘按她父亲所说的办了。 可是水使得洞胀拢了,靴子里灌满了水也没有漏出来。 她把结果告诉了她父亲,父亲又亲自上来察看,看到情况果然如此,便去向那寡妇求婚,然后举行了婚礼。
第一天早晨,两个姑娘起来后,在男人的女儿的面前果然放着洗脸的牛奶和喝的葡萄酒,而在女人的女儿的面前放着的只有洗脸的清水和喝的清水。 第二天早晨,男人的女儿和女人的女儿的面前都放着洗脸的清水和喝的清水。 到了第三天早晨,男人的女儿的面前放着洗脸用的清水和喝的清水,而女人的女儿的面前却放着洗脸用的牛奶和喝的葡萄酒。 以后天天都是这样。 那女人成了她继女的死敌,对她一天坏似一天,她还万分嫉妒她的继女,因为她的继女美丽可爱,而她自己的女儿又丑又令人讨厌。
冬天到了,一切都冻得像石头一样硬,山顶和山谷都被大雪覆盖着。 一天,女人用纸做了件衣服,把她的继女叫过来,说:"听着,你穿上这件衣服,到森林里去给我采一篮草莓,我很想吃。""天哪!"姑娘说,"冬天怎么会有草莓呢?地上都结了冰,大雪把一切都盖住了,再说,我怎么能穿着这身纸衣服出去呢?外面冷得连呼出的气都能冻起来。风会往这衣服里面吹,荆棘也会把它挂破的。""你敢跟我顶嘴?"继母说,"你快给我去!要是没有采到一篮草莓,你就别想回来!"然后她又给姑娘一小块硬梆梆的面包,说:"这是你一天的口粮,"心里却在想:"你在外面不会冻死也会饿死的,别想再回来烦我。"
姑娘只好顺从地穿上纸衣服,提着篮子走了出去。 外面一片冰天雪地,连一棵绿草都找不到。 她来到森林里后,看到一座小房子,里面有三个小矮人在向外张望。 她向他们问好 ,然后轻轻地敲了敲门。 他们叫"进来",她便走进屋,坐在炉子旁的长凳上烤火,吃她的早饭。 小矮人们说:"也分一点给我们吧。""好的,"她说着便把面包掰成两半,给了他们一半。 他们问:"你大冬天穿着这身薄薄的衣服到森林里来干吗?""唉,"她回答,"我得采一篮草莓,否则我就回不了家了。"等她吃完面包后,他们递给她一把扫帚,说:"去帮我们把后门的雪扫掉吧。"可等她出去后,三个小矮人却商量了起来:"她这么可爱,又把面包分给了我们,我们送她什么好呢?"第一个矮人说:"我送给她的礼物是:她一天比一天更美丽。"第二个矮人说:"我送给她的礼物是:她一开口说话就吐出金子来。"第三个矮人说:"我送给她的礼物是:一个国王娶她当王后。"
姑娘这时正按照他们的吩咐,用扫帚把小屋后面的雪扫掉。 她看到了什么? 雪下面露出了红彤彤的草莓! 她高兴极了,赶紧装了满满一篮子,谢了小矮人,还和他们一一握手道别,然后带着她继母垂涎的东西跑回家去了。 谁知,她进门刚说了声"晚上好",嘴里就掉出来一块金子! 于是,她把自己在森林里遇到的事情讲了出来,而且每讲一句,嘴里就掉出来一块金子,弄得家里很快就堆满了金子。 "瞧她那副德行!"继母的女儿嚷道,"就这样乱扔金子!"她心里嫉妒得要命,也渴望着到森林里去采草莓。 她母亲却说:"不行,我的好女儿,外面太冷了,你会冻死的。"可是她女儿缠着不放,她最后只好让步。 她给女儿缝了件皮袄,硬要她穿上;然后又给她抹了黄油的面包和蛋糕,让她带着路上吃。
这个姑娘进了森林之后,径直向小屋走去。 三个小矮人又在屋里向外张望,可是她根本不和他们打招呼,既不看他们,也不和他们说话,大摇大摆地走进屋,一屁股坐到炉子旁,吃起自己的面包和蛋糕来。 "分一点给我们吧,"小矮人们说;可是她却回答:"这都不够我自己吃的,怎么能分给别人呢?"等她吃完,他们又说:"这里有把扫帚,把后门的雪扫干净。"她回答:"我又不是你们的佣人。"看到他们不会给她任何礼物了,她便自己冲出了屋子。 三个小矮人商量道:"像她这种坏心肠的小懒鬼,又不肯施舍给别人东西,我们该送她什么呢?"第一个矮人说:"我让她长得一天比一天丑!"第二个矮人说:"我让她一开口说话就从嘴里跳出一只癞蛤蟆!"第三个矮人说:"我让她不得好死!"姑娘在屋外找草莓,可一个也找不到,只好气鼓鼓地回家去了。 她开口给母亲讲自己在森林里的遭遇,可是,她每讲一句话,嘴里就跳出来一只癞蛤蟆,把大家都吓坏了。
这一来继母更是气坏了,千方百计地盘算着怎么折磨丈夫的女儿,可是这姑娘却长得一天比一天更美。 终于,继母取出一只锅子,架在火堆上 ,在里面煮线团。 线团煮过之后,她把它捞出来,搭在姑娘的肩膀上,然后又给姑娘一把斧头,让她去结冰的小河,在冰面上凿一个洞,在洞里漂洗线团。 姑娘顺从地来到河边,走到河中央凿冰。 她正凿着,岸上驶来了一辆华丽的马车,里面坐着国王。 马车停了下来,国王问:"姑娘,你是谁?在这里干什么?""我是个可怜的女孩,在这里漂洗线团。"国王很同情她,而且又看到她长得这么美丽,便对她说:"你愿意和我一起走吗?""当然愿意啦。"她回答,因为她非常高兴能离开继母和继母的女儿。 姑娘坐到国王的马车上,和国王一起回到宫中。 他俩立刻就举行了婚礼,正像三个小矮人许诺过的一样。 一年后,年轻的王后生下了一个儿子。 她的继母早已听说她交上了好运,这时也带着亲生女儿来到王宫,假装是来看王后的。 可是看到国王刚出去,而且旁边又没有别人,这坏心肠的女人就抓住王后的头,她的女儿抓住王后的脚,把她从床上抬下来,从窗口把她扔进了外面的大河里。 然后,继母的丑女儿躺在床上,老婆子从头到脚把她盖了起来。 当国王回到房间,想和他的妻子说话的时候,老婆子叫了起来:"嘘,唬,不要打搅她,她现在正在发汗。今天不要打搅她。"国王丝毫没有怀疑,一直等到第二天早晨才过来。 他和妻子说话,谁知她刚开口,嘴里就跳出来一只癞蛤蟆,而不像从前那样掉出金子来。 国王问这是怎么回事,老婆子便说这是发汗发出来的,很快就会好的。 但是当天夜里,王宫里的小帮工看见一只鸭子从下水道里游了出来,而且听见它说:
你是睡着了还是醒着? "
鸭子变成了王后的模样,上去给孩子喂奶,摇着他的小床,给他盖好被子,然后又变成鸭子,从下水道游走了。 她这样一连来了两个晚上,第三天晚上,她对小帮工说:"你去告诉国王,让他带上他的宝剑,站在门槛上,在我的头上挥舞三下。"小帮工赶紧跑去告诉国王,国王提着宝剑来了,在那幽灵的头顶上挥舞了三下。 他刚舞到第三下,她的妻子就站在了他的面前,像以前一样健康强壮。 国王高兴极了,可他仍然把王后藏进密室,等着礼拜天婴儿受洗的日子到来。 洗礼结束之后,他说:"要是有人把别人从床上拖下来,并且扔进河里,这个人该受到什么样的惩罚?"老婆子说:"对这样坏心肠的人,最好的惩罚是把他装进里面插满了钉子的木桶,从山坡上滚到河里去。""那么,"国王说,"你已经为自己做出了判决。"国王命令搬来一只这样的木桶,把老婆子和她的女儿装进去,并且把桶盖钉死,把桶从山坡上滚了下去,一直滚到河心。

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