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Little One Eye Little Two Eyes And Little Three Eyes

from The Best Popular Stories Selected And Rendered Anew





There was a woman who had three daughters, the eldest of whom was
called Little One Eye, because she had only one eye in the middle of
her forehead; the second, Little Two Eyes, because she had two eyes
like other people; and the youngest, Little Three Eyes, because she
had three eyes, one of them being also in the middle of the forehead.
But because Little Two Eyes looked no different from other people, her
sisters and mother could not bear her. They said, You with your two
eyes are no better than anybody else; you do not belong to us. They
knocked her about, and gave her shabby clothes, and food which was
left over from their own meals; in short, they vexed her whenever they
could.

It happened that Little Two Eyes had to go out into the fields to look
after the goat; but she was still quite hungry, because her sisters
had given her so little to eat. She sat down on a hillock and began to
cry, and cried so much that two little streams ran down out of each
eye. And as she looked up once in her sorrow, a woman stood near her,
who asked, Little Two Eyes, why do you cry?

Little Two Eyes answered, Have I not need to cry? Because I have two
eyes, like other people, my sisters and my mother cannot bear me; they
push me out of one corner into the other, give me shabby clothes, and
nothing to eat but what they leave. To-day they have given me so
little that I am still quite hungry.

The wise woman said, Little Two Eyes, dry your tears, and I will tell
you something which will keep you from ever being hungry more. Only
say to your goat, 'Little goat, bleat; little table, rise,' and a
neatly-laid table will stand before you with the most delicious food
on it, so that you can eat as much as you like. And when you are
satisfied and do not want the table any more, only say, 'Little goat,
bleat; little table, away,' and it will all disappear before your
eyes. Then the wise woman went out of sight.

Little Two Eyes thought, I must try directly if it is true what she
has said, for I am much too hungry to wait. So she said, Little
goat, bleat; little table, rise; and scarcely had she uttered the
words, when there stood before her a little table, covered with a
white cloth, on which was laid a plate, knife and fork, and silver
spoon. The most delicious food was there also, and smoking hot, as if
just come from the kitchen. Then Little Two Eyes said the shortest
grace that she knew, Lord God, be our guest at all times.--Amen,
began to eat, and found it very good. And when she had had enough, she
said as the wise woman had taught her--Little goat, bleat; little
table, away. In an instant the little table, and all that stood on
it, had disappeared again. That is a beautiful, easy way of
housekeeping, thought Little Two Eyes, and was quite happy and merry.

In the evening, when she came home with her goat, she found a little
earthen dish with food, which her sisters had put aside for her, but
she did not touch anything--she had no need. On the next day she went
out again with her goat, and let the few crusts that were given her
remain uneaten. The first time and the second time the sisters took no
notice; but when the same thing happened every day, they remarked it,
and said, All is not right with Little Two Eyes; she always leaves
her food, and she used formerly to eat up everything that was given
her; she must have found other ways of dining.

In order to discover the truth, they resolved that Little One Eye
should go with Little Two Eyes when she drove the goat into the
meadow, and see what she did there, and whether anybody brought her
anything to eat and drink. So when Little Two Eyes set out again,
Little One Eye came to her and said, I will go with you into the
field, and see that the goat is taken proper care of, and driven to
good pasture.

But Little Two Eyes saw what Little One Eye had in her mind, and drove
the goat into long grass, saying, Come, Little One Eye, we will sit
down; I will sing you something. Little One Eye sat down, being tired
from the unusual walk and from the heat of the sun, and Little Two
Eyes kept on singing, Are you awake, Little One Eye? Are you asleep,
Little One Eye? Then Little One Eye shut her one eye, and fell
asleep. And when Little Two Eyes saw that Little One Eye was fast
asleep, and could not betray anything, she said, Little goat, bleat;
little table, rise, and sat herself at her table, and ate and drank
till she was satisfied; then she called out again, Little goat,
bleat; little table, away, and instantly everything disappeared.

Little Two Eyes now woke Little One Eye, and said, Little One Eye,
you pretend to watch, and fall asleep over it, and in the meantime the
goat could have run all over the world; come, we will go home. Then
they went home, and Little Two Eyes let her little dish again stand
untouched; and Little One Eye, who could not tell the mother why her
sister would not eat, said, as an excuse, Oh, I fell asleep out
there.

The next day the mother said to Little Three Eyes, This time you
shall go and see if Little Two Eyes eats out of doors, and if anyone
brings her food and drink, for she must eat and drink secretly.

Then Little Three Eyes went to Little Two Eyes, and said, I will go
with you and see whether the goat is taken proper care of, and driven
to good pasture. But Little Two Eyes saw what Little Three Eyes had
in her mind, and drove the goat into long grass, and said as before,
We will sit down here, Little Three Eyes; I will sing you
something. Little Three Eyes seated herself, being tired from the
walk and the heat of the sun, and Little Two Eyes began the same song
again, and sang, Are you awake, Little Three Eyes? But instead of
singing then as she should, Are you asleep, Little Three Eyes? she
sang, through carelessness, Are you asleep, Little Two Eyes? and
went on singing, Are you awake, Little Three Eyes? Are you asleep,
Little Two Eyes? So the two eyes of Little Three Eyes fell asleep,
but the third did not go to sleep, because it was not spoken to by the
verse. Little Three Eyes, to be sure, shut it, and made believe to go
to sleep, but only through slyness; for she winked with it, and could
see everything quite well. And when Little Two Eyes thought that
Little Three Eyes was fast asleep, she said her little sentence,
Little goat, bleat; little table, rise, ate and drank heartily, and
then told the little table to go away again, Little goat, bleat;
little table away. But Little Three Eyes had seen everything. Then
Little Two Eyes came to her, woke her, and said, Ah! Little Three
Eyes, have you been asleep? you keep watch well! come, we will go
home. And when they got home, Little Two Eyes again did not eat, and
Little Three Eyes said to the mother, I know why the proud thing does
not eat: when she says to the goat out there, 'Little goat, bleat;
little table, rise,' there stands a table before her, which is covered
with the very best food, much better than we have here; and when she
is satisfied, she says, 'Little goat, bleat; little table away,' and
everything is gone again; I have seen it all exactly. She put two of
my eyes to sleep with her little verse, but the one on my forehead
luckily remained awake.

Then the envious mother cried out, Shall she be better off than we
are? fetched a butcher's knife and stuck it into the goat's heart, so
that it fell down dead.

When Little Two Eyes saw that, she went out full of grief, seated
herself on a hillock, and wept bitter tears. All at once the wise
woman stood near her again, and said, Little Two Eyes, why do you
cry?

Shall I not cry? answered she. The goat who every day, when I said
your little verse, laid the table so beautifully, has been killed by
my mother; now I must suffer hunger and thirst again.

The wise woman said, Little Two Eyes, I will give you some good
advice; beg your sisters to give you the heart of the murdered goat,
and bury it in the ground before the house-door, and it will turn out
lucky for you. Then she disappeared, and Little Two Eyes went home
and said to her sisters, Dear sisters, give me some part of my goat;
I don't ask for anything good, only give me the heart.

Then they laughed and said, You can have that, if you do not want
anything else. Little Two Eyes took the heart, and buried it quietly
in the evening before the house-door, after the advice of the wise
woman.

Next morning, when the sisters woke, and went to the house-door
together, there stood a most wonderful splendid tree, with leaves of
silver, and fruit of gold hanging between them. Nothing more beautiful
or charming could be seen in the wide world. But they did not know how
the tree had come there in the night. Little Two Eyes alone noticed
that it had grown out of the heart of the goat, for it stood just
where she had buried it in the ground.

Then the mother said to Little One Eye, Climb up, my child, and
gather us some fruit from the tree.

Little One Eye climbed up, but when she wanted to seize a golden
apple, the branch sprang out of her hand; this happened every time, so
that she could not gather a single apple, though she tried as much as
she could.

Then the mother said, Little Three Eyes, do you climb up; you can see
better about you with your three eyes than Little One Eye can.

Little One Eye scrambled down, and Little Three Eyes climbed up. But
Little Three Eyes was no cleverer, and might look about her as much as
she liked--the golden apples always sprang back from her grasp. At
last the mother became impatient, and climbed up herself, but could
touch the fruit just as little as Little One Eye or Little Three Eyes;
she always grasped the empty air.

Then Little Two Eyes said, I will go up myself; perhaps I shall
prosper better.

You! cried the sisters. With your two eyes, what can you do?

But Little Two Eyes climbed up and the golden apples did not spring
away from her, but dropped of themselves into her hand, so that she
could gather one after the other, and brought down a whole apron full.
Her mother took them from her, and instead of her sisters, Little One
Eye and Little Three Eyes, behaving better to poor Little Two Eyes for
it, they were only envious because she alone could get the fruit, and
behaved still more cruelly to her.

It happened, as they stood together by the tree, one day, that a young
knight came by.

Quick, Little Two Eyes, cried the two sisters, creep under, so that
we may not be ashamed of you, and threw over poor Little Two Eyes, in
a great hurry, an empty cask that stood just by the tree, and pushed
also beside her the golden apples which she had broken off.

Now, as the knight came nearer, he proved to be a handsome prince, who
stood still, admired the beautiful tree of gold and silver, and said
to the two sisters--

To whom does this beautiful tree belong? She who gives me a branch of
it shall have whatever she wishes.

Then Little One Eye and Little Three Eyes answered that the tree was
theirs, and they would break off a branch for him. They both of them
gave themselves a great deal of trouble, but it was no use, for the
branches and fruit sprang back from them every time. Then the knight
said--

It is very wonderful that the tree belongs to you, and yet you have
not the power of gathering anything from it.

They insisted, however, that the tree was their own property. But as
they spoke, Little Two Eyes rolled a few golden apples from under the
cask, so that they ran to the feet of the knight; for Little Two Eyes
was angry that Little One Eye and Little Three Eyes did not tell the
truth.

When the knight saw the apples he was astonished, and asked where they
came from. Little One Eye and Little Three Eyes answered that they had
another sister, who might not, however, show herself, because she had
only two eyes, like other common people. But the knight desired to see
her, and called out, Little Two Eyes, come out. Then Little Two Eyes
came out of the cask quite comforted, and the knight was astonished at
her great beauty, and said--

You, Little Two Eyes, can certainly gather me a branch from the
tree?

Yes, answered Little Two Eyes, I can do that, for the tree belongs
to me. And she climbed up and easily broke off a branch, with its
silver leaves and golden fruit, and handed it to the knight.

Then the knight said, Little Two Eyes, what shall I give you for it?

Oh, answered Little Two Eyes, I suffer hunger and thirst, sorrow
and want, from early morning till late evening; if you would take me
with you and free me, I should be happy.

Then the knight lifted Little Two Eyes on to his horse, and took her
home to his paternal castle; there he gave her beautiful clothes,
food, and drink as much as she wanted, and because he loved her so
much he married her, and the marriage was celebrated with great joy.

Now, when Little Two Eyes was taken away by the handsome knight, the
two sisters envied her very much her happiness. The wonderful tree
remains for us, though, thought they; and even though we cannot
gather any fruit off it, every one will stand still before it, come to
us, and praise it. But the next morning the tree had disappeared, and
all their hopes with it.

Little Two Eyes lived happy a long time. Once two poor women came to
her at the castle and begged alms. Then Little Two Eyes looked in
their faces and recognised her sisters, Little One Eye and Little
Three Eyes, who had fallen into such poverty that they had to wander
about, and seek their bread from door to door. Little Two Eyes,
however, bade them welcome, and was very good to them, and took care
of them; for they both repented from their hearts the evil they had
done to their sister in their youth.





Next: Jack The Giant-killer

Previous: Beauty And The Beast



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