|Norwegian Fairy tales
THE LASSIE AND HER GODMOTHER
on a time a poor couple lived far, far away in a great wood. The wife
was brought to bed, and had a pretty girl, but they were so poor they
did not know how to get the babe christened, for they had no money to
pay the parson's fees. So one day the father went out to see if he
could find any one who was willing to stand for the child and pay the
fees; but though he walked about the whole day from one house to
another, and though all said they were willing enough to stand, no one
thought himself bound to pay the fees. Now, when he was going home
again, a lovely lady met him, dressed so fine, and who looked so
thoroughly good and kind; she offered to get the babe christened, but
after that, she said, she must keep it for her own. The husband
answered, he must first ask his wife what she wished to do; but when he
got home and told his story, the wife said, right out, 'No!'
day the man went out again, but no one would stand if they had to pay
the fees; and though he begged and prayed, he could get no help. And
again as he went home, towards evening the same lovely lady met him,
who looked so sweet and good, and she made him the same offer. So he
told his wife again how he had fared, and this time she said, if he
couldn't get any one to stand for his babe next day, they must just let
the lady have her way, since she seemed so kind and good.
third day, the man went about, but he couldn't get any one to stand;
and so when, towards evening, he met the kind lady again, he gave his
word she should have the babe if she would only get it christened at
the font. So next morning she came to the place where the man lived,
followed by two men to stand godfathers, took the babe and carried it
to church, and there it was christened. After that she took it to her
own house, and there the little girl lived with her several years, and
her foster-mother was always kind and friendly to her.
the lassie had grown to be big enough to know right and wrong, her
foster-mother got ready to go on a journey. 'You have my leave', she
said, 'to go all over the house, except those rooms which I shew you';
and when she had said that, away she went.
But the lassie could not forbear just to open one of the doors a little bit, when—POP! out flew a Star.
her foster-mother came back, she was very vexed to find that the star
had flown out, and she got very angry with her foster-daughter, and
threatened to send her away; but the child cried and begged so hard
that she got leave to stay.
Now, after a while, the
foster-mother had to go on another journey; and, before she went, she
forbade the lassie to go into those two rooms into which she had never
been. She promised to beware; but when she was left alone, she began to
think and to wonder what there could be in the second room, and at last
she could not help setting the door a little ajar, just to peep in,
when—POP! out flew the Moon.
When her foster-mother came home
and found the Moon let out, she was very downcast, and said to the
lassie she must go away, she could not stay with her any longer. But
the lassie wept so bitterly, and prayed so heartily for forgiveness,
that this time, too, she got leave to stay.
Some time after, the
foster-mother had to go away again, and she charged the lassie, who by
this time was half grown up, most earnestly that she mustn't try to go
into, or to peep into, the third room. But when her foster-mother had
been gone some time, and the lassie was weary of walking about alone,
all at once she thought, 'Dear me, what fun it would be just to peep a
little into that third room.' Then she thought she mustn't do it for
her foster-mother's sake; but when the bad thought came the second time
she could hold out no longer; come what might, she must and would look
into the room; so she just opened the door a tiny bit, when—POP! out
flew the Sun.
But when her foster-mother came back and saw that
the sun had flown away, she was cut to the heart, and said, 'Now, there
was no help for it, the lassie must and should go away; she couldn't
hear of her staying any longer.' Now the lassie cried her eyes out, and
begged and prayed so prettily; but it was all no good.
I must punish you!' said her foster-mother; 'but you may have your
choice, either to be the loveliest woman in the world, and not to be
able to speak, or to keep your speech, and be the ugliest of all women;
but away from me you must go.'
And the lassie said, 'I would sooner be lovely.' So she became all at once wondrous fair; but from that day forth she was dumb.
when she went away from her foster-mother, she walked and wandered
through a great, great wood; but the farther she went, the farther off
the end seemed to be. So, when the evening came on, she clomb up into a
tall tree, which grew over a spring, and there she made herself up to
sleep that night. Close by lay a castle, and from that castle came
early every morning a maid to draw water to make the Prince's tea, from
the spring over which the lassie was sitting. So the maid looked down
into the spring, saw the lovely face in the water, and thought it was
her own; then she flung away the pitcher, and ran home; and, when she
got there, she tossed up her head and said, 'If I'm so pretty, I'm far
too good to go and fetch water.'
So another maid had to go for
the water, but the same thing happened to her; she went back and said
she was far too pretty and too good to fetch water from the spring for
the Prince. Then the Prince went himself, for he had a mind to see what
all this could mean. So, when he reached the spring, he too saw the
image in the water; but he looked up at once, and became aware of the
lovely lassie who sate there up in the tree. Then he coaxed her down
and took her home; and at last made up his mind to have her for his
queen, because she was so lovely; but his mother, who was still alive,
was against it.
'She can't speak', she said, 'and maybe she's a wicked witch.'
the Prince could not be content till he got her. So after they had
lived together a while, the lassie was to have a child, and when the
child came to be born, the Prince set a strong watch round her; but at
the birth one and all fell into a deep sleep, and her foster- mother
came, cut the babe on its little finger, and smeared the queen's mouth
with the blood; and said:
'Now you shall be as grieved as I was when you let out the star'; and with these words she carried off the babe.
when those who were on the watch woke, they thought the queen had eaten
her own child, and the old queen was all for burning her alive, but the
Prince was so fond of her that at last he begged her off, but he had
hard work to set her free.
So the next time the young queen was
to have a child, twice as strong a watch was set as the first time, but
the same thing happened over again, only this time her foster-mother
'Now you shall be as grieved as I was when you let the moon out.'
And the queen begged and prayed, and wept; for when her foster-mother was there, she could speak—but it was all no good.
now the old queen said she must be burnt, but the Prince found means to
beg her off. But when the third child was to be born, a watch was set
three times as strong as the first, but just the same thing happened.
Her foster-mother came while the watch slept, took the babe, and cut
its little finger, and smeared the queen's mouth with the blood,
telling her now she should be as grieved as she had been when the
lassie let out the sun.
And now the Prince could not save her
any longer. She must and should be burnt. But just as they were leading
her to the stake, all at once they saw her foster-mother, who came with
all three children—two she led by the hand, and the third she had on
her arm; and so she went up to the young queen and said:
are your children; now you shall have them again. I am the Virgin Mary,
and so grieved as you have been, so grieved was I when you let out sun,
and moon, and star. Now you have been punished for what you did, and
henceforth you shall have your speech.'
How glad the Queen and
Prince now were, all may easily think, but no one can tell. After that
they were always happy; and from that day even the Prince's mother was
very fond of the young queen.