Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics
THE TALKING EGGS
was once a girl named Blanche, and when she was
ten years old her father and mother died, and she went
to live with an aunt who had a daughter Rose. This
daughter was selfish and disagreeable, and yet her
mother did everything she could for her; while she
treated Blanche, who was pleasant and obliging, very
badly. Rose could sit all day lone in a rocking-chair
and do nothing if she chose, but Blanche was kept
constantly at work, and had to eat in the kitchen.
Among other things, she was obliged to go twice a day
to bring water from a well more than a mile and a half
distant from the house.
One morning, when she approached the well with her
bucket, she found an old woman standing beside the well
who said, "Pray, my little one, give me a drink, for I
am very thirsty."
"That I will do gladly," replied Blanche, and she drew
from the well a nice fresh bucketful.
The old woman drank, and then said, "Thank you, my
child, you are a good girl, and I shall not forget your
A few days afterward Blanche was used so roughly by her
aunt that she ran away into the woods. She was afraid
to return home, and she sat down at the foot of a great
tree and cried, and knew not what to do. But pretty
soon she saw the old woman who had spoken to her at the
well coming toward her.
"Ah, my child," said the old woman, "why are you
crying? What has hurt you?"
"My aunt, with whom I live, has beaten me," Blanche
answered, "and I am afraid to go home."
"Well, my dear," the old woman said, "come with me, and
I will give you some supper and a bed; but you must
promise not to laugh at anything you will see."
Blanche promised, and the old woman took her by the
hand and they walked on deeper into the woods until
they arrived at the old woman's cabin. When they went
inside the old woman said, "Now you make a fire, my
child, to cook the supper for us."
While Blanche made the fire the old woman sat down in
her chair beside the hearth and took off her head, and
after adjusting it carefully on her knees she combed
her hair. Blanche thought that very strange, and she
was a little frightened, but she said nothing.
Presently the old woman set her head back on her
shoulders and went to a cupboard and took out a large
bone. "Here," said she, handing the bone to Blanche,
"put this in the pot that hangs on the crane."
Blanche put the bone in the pot, and lo! In a moment
the pot was full of good meat. Then the old woman gave
Blanche a grain of rice and said, "You see that wooden
mortar in the corner with the pestle in it? Put this
grain of rice into the mortar and pound it."
So Blanche put the grain of rice into the mortar and
began to pound it, and
imme-  diately
the mortar was full
of rice, and this they cooked, and had it and the meat
for their supper.
The next morning, after breakfast, the old woman said
to Blanche, "You must now return home, but, as you are
a good girl, I want to make you a present of some
talking eggs. Go to the chicken-house, and all the eggs
which say 'Take me!' you may carry away with you; and
all those which say 'Do not take me!' you must leave.
When you are on your way home throw the eggs behind
your back to break them."
Blanche did just as she was bidden. She went to the
chicken-house, and the eggs in the nests began to
speak, and some said, "Take me!" and some said "Do not
take me!" Those that said "Take me!" she put in her
apron and carried away with her, and when she had
walked to the borders of the forest she stopped and
threw the eggs one by one behind her back.
Many pretty things came out of those eggs—diamonds,
gold, beautiful dresses, and, lastly, a splendid
carriage wit two fine horses and a driver. She put the
dresses and diamonds and gold into the carriage, and
then got in herself and was driven home; and you may be
sure her aunt was very much surprised to see her when
she came with
such riches, and wanted to know where she
So Blanche told how she had met the old woman in the
woods, and how the old woman took her home and kept her
over night, and how in the morning the old woman had
given her the talking eggs that were no sooner broken
than there came forth from them all the wonderful
things she had brought home.
Her aunt was far from pleased that Blanche should have
so much and her own daughter so little, and the next
day she said, "Rose, you must go to the forest, now,
and look for that same old woman, for I want you to
have as many nice things as Blanche has."
The plan suited Rose very well, and she went to the
woods and wandered about until she met the old woman.
It was then late in the afternoon, and Rose said,
"Please, ma'am, will you take me home wit you? It is a
long way to my own home."
"Yes," said the old woman, "you can go with me, for it
is almost dark, but you must not laugh at anything you
So they walked on deeper into the woods until they
arrived at the old woman's cabin. They went inside, and
when the old woman sat down and took
off her head to
comb her hair Rose laughed. Rose laughed, too, at all
the other things she saw that were strange, and tried
to make funny remarks about them.
"Ah! My child," said the old woman, "you are not a good
girl, and I fear you will be punished for your
The next morning the old woman gave Rose her breakfast,
and then told her she must return home. Rose started at
once, but as soon as she was outside the cabin she went
to the old woman's chicken-house, saying to herself, "I
must have some of those talking eggs before I go."
She opened the door, and the eggs in the nests
immediately began to speak, and some said, "Take me!"
and some said, "Do not take me!"
"Oh, yes!" exclaimed Rose, "I understand your tricks,
and I shan't bother myself with you that say "Take me!"
It's the others I want, and you are the very ones I
shall carry away with me."
So she took all the eggs that told her not to take
them, and went off with them in her apron. At the edge
of the forest she threw them behind her back, and out
of them came a lot of snakes, toads, and frogs. Rose
ran and shrieked, and the snakes
and toads and frogs
followed after her all the way home. She reached her
mother's so tired she could hardly speak, and had just
strength left to shut the door behind her and keep out
all the dreadful creatures that had chased her.
"Oh, mercy!" exclaimed her mother, when Rose told her
what had happened; "it is that wretch Blanche who is
the cause of all this, and she shall be punished as she
So she called Blanche, and said to her, "Take your
things and get out of the house. You shall not live
with us any longer."
There was nothing for Blanche to do but to call for her
coach, and put into it the fine dresses and diamonds
and gold she had got from the talking eggs, and then
drive away. She took a road that passed through the
forest, and it happened that the king's son was hunting
there, and she met him on his horse. When he saw the
beautiful girl weeping in the carriage, he asked her
why she cried.
"Alas!" said she, "I have been turned out of the house
that has been my home, and I know not where to go."
The prince tried to console her, and as they talked he
became so charmed with her beauty and innocence that he
asked her to be his wife. Then they went home together
to the king's palace, and there they lived happily ever