The hazel-branch

One afternoon the Christ-child had laid himself in his cradle-bed and had fallen asleep. Then his mother came to him, looked at him full of gladness, and said, “Hast thou laid thyself down to sleep, my child?” Sleep sweetly, and in the meantime I will go into the wood, and fetch thee a handful of strawberries, for I know that thou wilt be pleased with them when thou awakest.” In the wood outside, she found a spot with the most beautiful strawberries; but as she was stooping down to gather one, an adder sprang up out of the grass. She was alarmed, left the strawberries where they were, and hastened away. The adder darted after her; but Our Lady, as you can readily understand, knew what it was best to do. She hid herself behind a hazel-bush, and stood there until the adder had crept away again. Then she gathered the strawberries, and as she set out on her way home she said, “As the hazel-bush has been my protection this time, it shall in future protect others also.” Therefore, from the most remote times, a green hazel-branch has been the safest protection against adders, snakes, and everything else which creeps on the earth.

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Puss in Boots

A miller had three sons, his mill, a donkey and a tom cat; the sons had to grind, the donkey had to get grain and carry flour away and the cat had to catch the mice away. When the miller died, the three brothers divided their inheritance, the oldest received the mill, the second the donkey and the third the tom cat, further was nothing left for him. Thereon he was sad ans spoke to himself: “But I have gotten all the worst, my oldest brother can mill, my second can ride on his donkey, what can I start with the tom cat? Let me make a pair of fur gloves out of his pelt, so it’s over.”

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Death and the goose herder

A poor herder went along the shore of a large and stormy water, herding many white geese. To this on came Death over water, and was asked by the herder, whence he came from, and whence he wanted to go? Death answered, that he came out of the water and wanted to go out of the world. The poor gooseherder asked futher: how does one go forth out of the world? Death said, that one had to go over the water into the new world, which lies beyond. The herder said, that he tired of this life, and asked Death, he should take him over with him. Death said, that it was not yet time, and he had now otherwise to do. But there was unfar from there a greedy-neck, he by night thought in his lair, how he could bring even more money and goods together, this one Death led the to the great water and pushed him in. Because he could no swim, he drowned to bottom, before he could reach the shore. His dogs and cats, who so ran after him, also drowned with him. Several days after that Death came also to the goose herder, found him singing merrily and said to him: “Will you now go with me?” He was willing and came with his white geese well over, which were all transformed into white sheep. The goose herder looked upon the beautiful land and heard, that the herders of the places became kings, and as he rightly looked about him, the chief herders Abraham, Isaac and Jacob came towards him, placed a kingly crown upon him, and led him to the herder’s palace, there he is still to be found.

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The Nightingale and the Blindworm

Once upon a time there was a nightingale and a blindworm, each with one eye. For a long time they lived together peacefully and harmoniously in a house. However, one day the nightingale was invited to a wedding, and she said to the blindworm: “I’ve been invited to a wedding and don’t particularly want to go with one eye. Would you be so kind as to lend me yours? I’ll bring it back to you tomorrow.”

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Princess Mouseskin

Once upon a time, there was a king who had three daughters. He desired to find out which of the three loved him the most. So he called them forth, and posed the question to each: “How much do you love me?” The first said that she loved him more than the whole kingdom. The second that she loved him more than all the jewels and pearls in the world. When the third daughter declared that she loved him more than salt, he flew into a rage. Then he ordered his servant to carry the little girl into the woods and kill her.

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The tinder-box

A soldier came marching along the high road: “Left, right – left, right.” He had his knapsack on his back, and a sword at his side; he had been to the wars, and was now returning home. As he walked on, he met a very frightful-looking old witch in the road. Her under-lip hung quite down on her breast, and she stopped and said, “Good evening, soldier; you have a very fine sword, and a large knapsack, and you are a real soldier; so you shall have as much money as ever you like.”

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