|The Fairy Book|
|by Dinah Maria Mulock|
|One of the earliest collections of fairy tales from different countries, first published in 1863. Carefully selected and rendered anew in language close to the oral tradition. Includes old English tales, such as Jack the Giant-killer and Tom Thumb, as well as German stories from Grimm, and French tales of Perrault and Madame d'Aulnoy, and many other delightful and time-honored fairy tales. Numerous black and white illustrations by Louis Rhead complement the text. Ages 6-9 |
THE IRON STOVE
N the days when magic was still of some avail, a
king's son was enchanted by an old witch, and compelled
to spend his life sitting inside a great Iron Stove in
a wood. There he passed many years, and nobody could
Once a king's daughter came into the wood. She had gone
astray, and could not find her father's kingdom again;
and having wandered about for nine days, at last she
stood before the Iron Stove. Then a voice came out of
it, and said, "Whence do you come, and where do you
want to go?"
She answered, "I have wandered from my father's
kingdom, and lost myself, and cannot get home again."
Then the voice spoke out of the Iron Stove: "I will
help you home again, and that, too, in a short time, if
you will promise to do what I desire. I am a greater
prince than you are a princess, and I wish to marry
She was very much frightened, and thought, "Oh, what
shall I do? How can I marry an Iron Stove?"
However, as she wanted very much to go home to her
father, she promised what was demanded of her.
"Very well," said the voice;
 "you must come again, and
bring a knife with you, and scrape a hole in the iron."
And the Iron Stove gave her for a companion something,
or somebody—she was not quite sure what—who walked
by her side and did not speak, but took her safe home
within two hours. Then there was great joy in her
father's palace, and the old king fell on her neck, and
kissed her many times. But she was very sorrowful, and
said: "Dear father, you little know what has happened
to me; I should never have come home again out of the
great wild wood, if I had not passed by an Iron Stove.
But I had to promise faithfully that I would return
back to it, and marry it."
The old king was so terrified that he nearly fell into
a swoon; for he had only this one child. They therefore
consulted together, and decided to send, not the
princess, but a miller's daughter, who was very
beautiful; and leading her out, they gave her a knife,
and told her how she was to scrape the Iron Stove. When
she reached the wood, she scraped away for
four-and-twenty hours, but could not make the slightest
impression. But when day began to break, a voice in the
Iron Stove called out, "It seems to me that it is day
She answered: "It seems so to me too; I think I hear my
father's mill turning."
"Oh, then, you are a miller's daughter; go straight
back and send the king's daughter here!"
Then she returned and told the old king
 that the Iron
Stove would not have her; he wanted the princess only.
The old king was greatly frightened, and the princess
wept. But they had still a swineherd's daughter, who
was still more beautiful than the miller's girl; so
they gave her a piece of gold, in order that she might
be persuaded to go, instead of the king's daughter, to
the Iron Stove. She was taken to the wood as before,
and had also to scrape for four-and-twenty hours; but
she could make no impression.
Now, when dawn broke, a voice called out of the Stove,
"It seems to me it is day out there."
Then she answered, "It seems so to me too; I think I
hear my father's little horn sounding."
"So you are the swineherd's daughter; go away directly,
and bid the king's daughter come, and tell her it shall
happen to her as I forewarned her; if she does not
come, everything in the kingdom shall fall to pieces
and tumble down, and no stone remain upon another."
When the king's daughter heard this, she began to cry;
but there was nothing else to be done—she must keep
her promise. She took leave of her father, put a knife
in her pocket, and went out to the Iron Stove in the
wood. When she arrived there, she began to scrape and
scrape; the iron yielded, and in two hours she had
already scraped a little hole. She looked in and saw a
most beautiful youth: oh! he shone so with gold and
precious stones, that he pleased her to the very bottom
of her heart. She scraped away faster than ever, till
she made the hole so large that he was able to get out.
 Then he said, "You are mine, and I am yours; you have
freed me, and you are my bride."
He wished to take her home to his kingdom, but she
begged that she might go once more to see her father;
and the prince gave her leave, on condition that she
should speak no more than three words with him, and
come back again. So she went home; but, alas! being a
little chatterbox, she spoke more than three words. The
Iron Stove disappeared instantly, and was removed far
away, over glass mountains and sharp swords; but the
king's son, being now freed, was not shut up in it.
The princess took leave of her father, and took some
money with her, but not much, and went again into the
great wood. There she looked everywhere for the Iron
Stove, but it was not to be found.
She sought it for nine days, until her hunger was so
great that she did not know what to do; for she had
eaten all the food she could find, and had nothing left
to keep her alive. At evening-tide she climbed up into
a little tree, and purposed spending the night there,
for fear of the wild beasts. But when midnight came she
saw afar off a little glimmering light, and thinking,
"Oh! there I should be safe," climbed down and went
Then she came to a little old house, overgrown with
grass, with a little heap of wood before the door.
Wondering how it came there, she looked in through the
window, and saw nothing inside but a number of fat
little frogs, and a table
beau-  tifully spread. There
were on it roast meats and wines, and the plates and
cups were all of silver. So she took heart, and
knocked. Immediately the fattest frog called out—
"Maiden sweet and small,
Hutzelbein I call;
Hutzelbein's little dog,
Creep about and see
Who this can be."
Then a little frog came and opened the door for her;
and as soon as she came in, the frogs all bade her
welcome, and persuaded her to sit down. They asked—"Whence
do you come? where do you want to go?"
Then she told them all that had happened to her, and
how, because she had disobeyed the command not to speak
to her father more than three words, the Stove had
disappeared, as well as the king's son; now she was
determined to seek him, and to wander over mountain and
valley till she found him.
The old fat frog said—
"Maiden sweet and small,
Hutzelbein I call;
Hutzelbein's little dog,
Creep about and see;
Bring the great box to me."
Then the little frog went and brought the box.
Afterwards they gave the princess food and drink, and
took her to a beautifully-made bed, all of silk and
velvet; she laid herself in it, and slept peacefully.
When day came she arose, and the old frog gave her
three needles out of the great box, and told her to
take them with her. They would be
 very necessary to
her, for she would have to go over a high glass
mountain, and three sharp swords, and a great sea; if
she passed all those, she would recover her dearest
prince. The frog also gave her, besides the three
needles, other gifts, which she was to take great care
of—namely, a plough-wheel, and three nuts.
With these she set off, and when she came to the
slippery glass mountain, she stuck the three needles
into it as she walked—some before her feet, and some
behind—and so managed to get across. When she was on
the other side, she hid the needles, in a place which
she had noticed particularly, and went on her way.
Afterwards she came to the sharp-cutting swords, but
she set herself on her plough-wheel and rolled safely
over them. At last she came before a great lake, which
she had to sail across, and when she had done so she
saw a great castle. She went in and said she was a poor
maiden, who wished very much to hire herself out, if
she might be taken in there as a servant. For the frogs
had told her that the king's son, whom she had released
out of the Iron Stove in the great wood, dwelt there;
so she was content to be taken as kitchen-maid, for
very small pay.
Now the king's son had thought the princess was dead;
and there was now with him another maiden, whom he had
been persuaded he ought to marry, which grieved the
poor kitchen-maid very much.
In the evening, when she had washed up the dishes, and
had done all her work, she felt in her
 pocket, and
found the three nuts which the old frog had given her.
She bit one open, and was going to eat the kernel,
when, behold, inside it was the most beautiful dress
imaginable—so beautiful that the bride soon heard of
it, came and asked to see it, and wanted to buy it,
saying it was no dress for a kitchen-maid. But the
kitchen-maid thought differently, and refused to sell
it, but offered to give it as a present, if the bride
would grant her one favour—namely, to sleep one night
on the mat outside the bridegroom's door. The bride
gave her leave, because the dress was so beautiful, and
she had none like it.
Now when it was evening, she said to her bridegroom:
"The foolish kitchen-maid wants to sleep on the mat
outside your door."
"If you are content, I am," said he.
But the bride gave him a glass of wine, in which she
had put a sleeping draught; so that he slept so
soundly, nothing could wake him. While, outside the
door, the princess wept the whole night, saying: "I
have released you out of the wild wood—out of an Iron
Stove; in seeking you, I have gone over a glass
mountain, over three sharp swords, and over a great
lake; yet, now that I find you, you will not hear me."
Next evening, when she had washed up everything, she
bit the second nut open; and inside it was a far more
beautiful dress than the first, which, when the bride
saw, she wished to buy also. But the girl again refused
to take money and again begged that she might spend
 outside the bridegroom's door. Once more the
bride gave him a sleeping-draught, and he slept so
soundly, that he could hear nothing. But the
kitchen-maid wept the whole night long, crying, "I have
released you out of a wild wood, and out of an Iron
Stove; and have gone over a glass mountain, over three
sharp swords, and over a great lake, before I found
you; and yet, when I find you, you will not hear me."
The third evening, she bit open the third nut; and
there was in it a still more beautiful dress, which
shone stiff with pure gold. When the bride saw it, she
wished more earnestly than ever to have it; but the
kitchen-maid would only give it to her on condition
that she might sleep, for the third time, on the mat at
the bridegroom's door. But this time the prince was
cautious, and left the sleeping-draught untouched. Now,
when she began to weep, and to call out, "Dearest
treasure, I have released you out of the horrible wild
wood, and out of an Iron Stove," the king's son sprang
up, crying out: "This is my right true love—she is
mine, and I am hers." Then he declared he would not
marry the other bride, whom he did not love; and so,
still in the middle of the night, he got into a
carriage with the kitchen-maid, and drove away.
When they came to the great lake, they sailed over; and
at the three sharp swords, they seated themselves on
the plough-wheel; and at the glass mountain, they found
the three needles, and stuck them in step by step. So
they came at last to the little old house; but, as they
went in, lo! it
 changed to a great castle; the frogs
turned to princes and princesses, all kings' children,
and received them both with great joy. There the
wedding was celebrated, and they remained in the
castle, which was much larger than that which belonged
to the princess's father. But as the old man lamented
very much his daughter's loss, and his own loneliness,
they soon went and fetched him home to themselves. So
they had two kingdoms, instead of one, and lived happily
together all their days.
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