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The Book of Fables and Folk Stories by  Horace E. Scudder

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LITTLE ONE EYE, LITTLE TWO EYES, AND LITTLE THREE EYES

I

THE GOAT

THERE was once a woman who had three daughters. The eldest was called Little One [7] Eye, because she had only one eye in the middle of her forehead. The second was called Little Two Eyes, because she had two eyes like other people. The youngest was called Little Three Eyes, because she had three eyes; the third eye was in the middle of her forehead.

Because Little Two Eyes looked like other people, her sisters and her mother could not bear her. They said:—

"You have two eyes and are no better than anybody else. You do not belong to us." They knocked her about, and gave her shabby clothes, and fed her with food left over from their meals.

One day Little Two Eyes was sent into the fields to look after the goat. She was hungry, because her sisters had given her so little to eat, and she sat down and began to cry. She cried so hard that a little stream of tears ran out of each eye. All at once a wise woman stood near her, and asked:—

"Little Two Eyes, why do you cry?" Little Two Eyes said:—

"Have I not need to cry? Because I have two eyes, like other people, my sisters and my mother cannot bear me. They knock me about and they give me shabby clothes. They feed me [8] only with the food left over from their table. To-day they have given me so little that I am very hungry."

The wise woman said:—

"Little Two Eyes, dry your eyes, and I will tell you what to do. Only say to your goat: 'Little goat, bleat; little table, rise,' and a table will stand before you, covered with food. Eat as much as you like. When you have had all you want, only say: 'Little goat, bleat; little table, away,' and it will be gone." Then the wise woman disappeared. Little Two Eyes thought:

"I must try at once, for I am too hungry to wait." So she said:—

"Little goat, bleat; little table, rise," and there stood before her a little table covered with a white cloth. On it were laid a plate, knife and fork, and silver spoon. The nicest food was on the plate, smoking hot. Then Little Two Eyes began to eat, and found the food very good. When she had had enough, she said:—

"Little goat, bleat; little table, away." In an instant, the table was gone.

"That is a fine way to keep house," thought Little Two Eyes.

At the end of the day Little Two Eyes drove her goat home. She found a dish with some food [9] in it. Her sisters had put it aside for her, but she did not taste it. She did not need it.

The next day she went out again with her goat, and did not take the few crusts which her sisters put aside for her. This went on for several days. At last her sisters said to each other:—

"All is not right with Little Two Eyes. She always leaves her food. She used to eat all that was given her. She must have found some other way to be fed."

They meant to find out what Little Two Eyes did. So the next time that Little Two Eyes set out, Little One Eye came to her and said:—

"I will go with you into the field, and see that the goat is well taken care of, and feeds in the best pasture." But Little Two Eyes saw what Little One Eye had in her mind. So she drove the goat into the long grass, and said:—

"Come, Little One Eye, we will sit down and I will sing to you." Little One Eye sat down. She was tired after her long walk in the hot sun, and Little Two Eyes began to sing:—

"Are you awake, Little One Eye? Are you asleep, Little One Eye? Are you awake, Little One Eye? Are you asleep, Little One Eye? Are you awake? Are you asleep? Awake? [10] Asleep?" By this time Little One Eye had shut her one eye and was fast asleep. When Little Two Eyes saw this, she said softly:—

"Little goat, bleat; little table, rise;" and she sat at the table and ate and drank till she had had enough. Then she said as before:—

"Little goat, bleat; little table, away," and in a twinkling all was gone.

Little Two Eyes now awoke Little One Eye, and said:—

"Little One Eye, why do you not watch? You have been asleep, and the goat could have run all over the world. Come! let us go home."

So home they went, and Little Two Eyes again did not touch the dish. The others asked Little One Eye what Little Two Eyes did in the field. But she could only say:—

"Oh, I fell asleep out there."

II

THE TREE

THE next day, the mother said to Little Three Eyes:—

"This time you  must go with Little Two Eyes, and see if any one brings her food and drink." Then Little Three Eyes said to Little Two Eyes:

[11] "I will go with you into the field, and see that the goat is well taken care of, and feeds in the best pasture." But Little Two Eyes saw what Little Three Eyes had in her mind. So she drove the goat into the long grass, and said:—

"Come, Little Three Eyes, we will sit down, and I will sing to you." Little Three Eyes sat down. She was tired after her long walk in the hot sun, and Little Two Eyes began to sing, as before:—

"Are you awake, Little Three Eyes?" but instead of going on,—

"Are you asleep, Little Three Eyes?" she did not think, and sang:—

"Are you asleep, Little Two Eyes?" and went on:—

"Are you awake, Little Three Eyes? Are you asleep, Little Two Eyes? Are you awake? Are you asleep? Awake? Asleep?" By this time the two eyes of Little Three Eyes fell asleep. But the third eye did not go to sleep, for it was not spoken to by the verse. Little Three Eyes, to be sure, shut it, and made believe that it went to sleep. Then she opened it a little way and watched Little Two Eyes.

When Little Two Eyes thought Little Three Eyes was fast asleep, she said softly:—

[12] "Little goat, bleat; little table, rise;" and she sat at the table and ate and drank till she had had enough. Then she said as before:—

"Little goat, bleat; little table, away." But Little Three Eyes had seen everything. Little Two Eyes now awoke Little Three Eyes, and said:—

"Little Three Eyes, why do you not watch? You have been asleep, and the goat could have run all over the world. Come! let us go home."

So home they went, and Little Two Eyes again did not touch the dish. Then Little Three Eyes said to the mother:—

"I know why the proud thing does not eat. She says to the goat: 'Little goat, bleat; little table, rise,' and there stands a table before her. It is covered with the very best of things to eat, much better than anything we have. When she has had enough to eat, she says: 'Little goat, bleat; little table, away,' and all is gone. I have seen it just as it is. She put two of my eyes to sleep, but the one in my forehead stayed awake." Then the mother cried out:—

"Shall she be better off than we are?" With that she took a knife and killed the goat. Poor Little Two Eyes went to the field, and sat down [13] and began to cry. All at once the wise woman stood near her, and asked:—

"Little Two Eyes, why do you cry?" Little Two Eyes said:—

"Have I not need to cry? My mother has killed the goat. Now I must suffer hunger and thirst again." The wise woman said:—

"Little Two Eyes, dry your eyes, and I will tell you what to do. Beg your sisters to give you the heart of the goat. Then bury it in the ground before the door of your house. All will go well with you." Then the wise woman was gone, and Little Two Eyes went home and said to her sisters:—

"Sisters, give me some part of my goat. I do not ask for anything but the heart." They laughed and said:—

"You can have that, if you do not want anything else."

Little Two Eyes took the heart and buried it in the ground before the door of the house.

Next morning the sisters woke and saw a splendid tree in front of the house. It had leaves of silver and fruit of gold. It was wonderful to behold; and they could not think how the tree had come there in the night. Only Little Two Eyes knew that the tree had grown out of the [14] heart of the goat. Then the mother said to Little One Eye:—

"Climb up, my child, and pluck some fruit from the tree." Little One Eye climbed the tree. She put out her hand to take a golden apple, but the branch sprang back. This took place every single time. Try as hard as she could, she could not get a single apple. Then the mother said:—

"Little Three Eyes, you climb up. You can see better with your three eyes than Little One Eye can." Down came Little One Eye, and Little Three Eyes climbed the tree. She put out her hand, and the branch sprang back as it had from Little One Eye. At last the mother tried, but it was the same with her. She could not get a single apple. Then Little Two Eyes said:—

"Let me try."

"You!" they all cried. "You, with your two eyes like other people! What can you do?" But Little Two Eyes climbed the tree, and the branch did not spring back. The golden apples dropped into her hands, and she brought down her apron full of them. Her mother took them away from her, and her two sisters were angry because they had failed, and they were more cruel than ever to Little Two Eyes.

III

THE PRINCE

[15] WHILE they stood by the tree, the Prince came riding near on a fine horse.

"Quick, Little Two Eyes," said her sisters, "creep under this cask; we are ashamed of you." And they threw an empty cask over her, and pushed the golden apples under it.

The Prince rode up and gazed at the splendid tree. "Is this splendid tree yours?" he asked of the sisters. "If you will give me a branch from it, I will give you anything you wish."

Then Little One Eye and Little Three Eyes said the tree was theirs, and they would break off a branch for him. They put out their hands, but again the branches sprang back. Then the Prince said:—

"This is very strange. The tree is yours, and yet you cannot pluck the fruit."

They kept saying that the tree was theirs, but while they were saying this, Little Two Eyes rolled a few of the apples out from under the cask. The Prince saw them and asked:—

"Why! where did these golden apples come from? Who is under the cask?" Little One [16] Eye and Little Three Eyes told the Prince that they had a sister.

"But she does not show herself," they said. "She is just like other people. She has two eyes." Then the Prince called:—

"Little Two Eyes! come out!" So Little Two Eyes was very glad and crept out from under the cask.

"Can you get me a branch from the tree?"

"Yes," said Little Two Eyes, "I can, for the tree is mine." Then she climbed the tree and broke off a branch. It had silver leaves and golden fruit, and she gave it to the Prince. Then the Prince said:—

"Little Two Eyes, what shall I give you for it?"

"Oh," said Little Two Eyes, "I suffer hunger and thirst all day long. If you would take me with you, I should be happy."

So the Prince lifted Little Two Eyes upon his horse, and they rode away. He took her to his father's house and made her Princess, and she had plenty to eat and drink and good clothes to wear. Best of all, the Prince loved her, and she had no more hard knocks and cross words.

Now, when Little Two Eyes rode away with the Prince, the sisters said:—

[17] "Well, we shall have the tree. We may not pluck the fruit, but every one will stop to see it and come to us and praise it." But the next morning when they went to look at the tree, it was gone.

Little Two Eyes lived long and happily. One day, two poor women came to her, and asked for something to eat. Little Two Eyes looked at their faces and knew them. They were Little One Eye and Little Three Eyes. They were so poor that they were begging bread from door to door. Little Two Eyes brought them into the house and was very good to them. Then they both were sorry for the evil they had once done their sister.


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