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and drink, for I am very hungry and thirsty.” Dummling said, “I have only dry bread and sour beer; if that will suit you, we will sit down and eat it together.” So they sat down, and when the lad pulled out his bread, behold it was turned into a capital pasty, and his sour beer became delightful wine. They ate and drank heartily; and when they had done, the little man said, “As you have a kind heart, and have been willing to share everything with me, I will send a blessing upon you. There stands an old tree; cut it down, and you will find something at the root.” Then he took his leave and went his way.
Dummling set to work, and cut down the tree; and when it fell, he found in a hollow under the roots a goose with feathers of pure gold. He took it up, and went on
to an inn, where he proposed to sleep for the night. The landlord had three daughters; and when they saw the goose, they were very curious to examine what this wonderful bird could be, and wished very much to pluck one of the feathers out of its tail. At last the eldest said, “I must and will have a feather." So she waited till his back was turned, and then seized the goose by the wing; but to her great surprise there she stuck, for neither hand nor finger could she get away again.
Presently in came the second sister, and thought to have a feather too; but the moment she touched her sister, there she too hung fast. At last came the third, and wanted a feather; but the other two cried out, “Keep away! For heaven's sake, keep away!” However, she did not understand what they meant. “If they are there,” thought she, "I may as well be there too.” So she went up to them; but the moment she touched her sisters she stuck fast, and hung to the goose as they did. And so they kept company with the goose all night.
The next morning Dummling carried off the goose under his arm, and took no notice of the three girls, but went out with them sticking fast behind; and wherever he traveled, they too were obliged to follow, whether they would or no, as fast as their legs could carry them.
In the middle of a field the parson met them; and when he saw the train, he said, “Are you not ashamed of yourselves, you bold girls, to run after the young man in that way over the fields? Is that proper behavior?” Then he took the youngest by the hand to lead her away; but the moment he touched her he too hung fast, and followed in
the train. Presently, up came the clerk; and when he saw his master the parson running after the three girls, he wondered greatly, and said, “Hollo! hollo! your reverence! Whither so fast? There is a christening to-day.” Then he ran up, and took him by the gown, and in a moment he was fast too. As the five were thus trudging along, one behind another, they met two laborers with their mattocks,
coming from work; and the parson cried out to them to set him free. But scarcely had they touched him, when they too fell into the ranks,
and so made seven, all running after Dummling and
At last they arrived at a city, where reigned a king who had an only daughter. The princess was of so thoughtful and serious a turn of mind that no one could make her laugh; and the king had proclaimed to all the world that whoever could made her laugh should have her for his wife. When the young man heard this, he went to her with his goose and all its train; and as soon as she saw the seven all hanging together, and running about, treading on each other's heels, she could not help bursting into a long and loud laugh. Then Dummling claimed her for his wife; the wedding was celebrated, and he was heir to the kingdom, and lived long and happily with his wife.
Pāst'y, a meat pie; cap'i tal (kăp'i tal), first class; trāin, procession of followers; clerk (klûrk), the parson's assistant in the affairs of the parish; măt'tocks (uks), implements for digging and grubbing. STUDY HELPS
What do you learn about Dummling's family from the opening lines?
Tell what happened when the eldest went to the wood to cut fuel. (Be sure to tell (1) what food his mother gave him, (2) whom he met, (3) what the stranger asked for, (4) why the brother refused, (5) what happened when he began to cut down a tree.)
What happened when the second son went to the wood?
Are you surprised that the serious princess laughed when she saw this procession?
Why do you think Dummling deserved all the good fortune that befell him?
THE SONG OF STEAM
GEORGE W. CUTTER
Harness me down with your iron bands,
Be sure of your curb and rein;
As the tempest scorns a chain.
For many a countless hour,
And the pride of human power!
When I saw an army upon the land,
A navy upon the seas,
Or waiting a wayward breeze;