The Little Robber Girl
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES
Animal Sketches And Stories
Blondine Bonne Biche and Beau Minon
BRER RABBIT and HIS NEIGHBORS
CHINESE MOTHER-GOOSE RHYMES
FABLES FOR CHILDREN
FABLES FROM INDIA
FATHER PLAYS AND MOTHER PLAYS
FIRST STORIES FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK
For Classes Ii. And Iii.
For Classes Iv. And V.
For Kindergarten And Class I.
FUN FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK
Good Little Henry
JAPANESE AND OTHER ORIENTAL TALES]
Jean De La Fontaine
King Alexander's Adventures
KINGS AND WARRIORS
LAND AND WATER FAIRIES
Lessons From Nature
LITTLE STORIES that GROW BIG
MODERN FAIRY TALES
MOTHER GOOSE CONTINUED
MOTHER GOOSE JINGLES
MOTHER GOOSE SONGS AND STORIES
Myths And Legends
NEGLECT THE FIRE
ON POPULAR EDUCATION
PLACES AND FAMILIES
Poems Of Nature
RESURRECTION DAY (EASTER)
RHYMES CONCERNING "MOTHER"
RIDING SONGS for FATHER'S KNEE
ROMANCES OF THE MIDDLE AGES
SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY
Selections From The Bible
SLEEPY-TIME SONGS AND STORIES
Some Children's Poets
Songs Of Life
STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS
STORIES FOR CHILDREN
STORIES for LITTLE BOYS
STORIES FROM BOTANY
STORIES FROM GREAT BRITAIN
STORIES FROM IRELAND
STORIES FROM PHYSICS
STORIES FROM SCANDINAVIA
STORIES FROM ZOOLOGY
STORIES _for_ LITTLE GIRLS
THE DAYS OF THE WEEK
The King Of The Golden River; Or, The Black Brothers
The Little Grey Mouse
THE OLD FAIRY TALES
The Princess Rosette
THE THREE HERMITS
THE TWO OLD MEN
UNCLES AND AUNTS AND OTHER RELATIVES
VERSES ABOUT FAIRIES
WHAT MEN LIVE BY
WHERE LOVE IS, THERE GOD IS ALSO
Pinkel The Thief
from The Orange Fairy Book
Long, long ago there lived a widow who had three sons. The two eldest
were grown up, and though they were known to be idle fellows, some of
the neighbours had given them work to do on account of the respect in
which their mother was held. But at the time this story begins they
had both been so careless and idle that their masters declared they
would keep them no longer.
So home they went to their mother and youngest brother, of whom they
thought little, because he made himself useful about the house, and
looked after the hens, and milked the cow. 'Pinkel,' they called him
in scorn, and by-and-by 'Pinkel' became his name throughout the village.
The two young men thought it was much nicer to live at home and be idle
than to be obliged to do a quantity of disagreeable things they did not
like, and they would have stayed by the fire till the end of their
lives had not the widow lost patience with them and said that since
they would not look for work at home they must seek it elsewhere, for
she would not have them under her roof any longer. But she repented
bitterly of her words when Pinkel told her that he too was old enough
to go out into the world, and that when he had made a fortune he would
send for his mother to keep house for him.
The widow wept many tears at parting from her youngest son, but as she
saw that his heart was set upon going with his brothers, she did not
try to keep him. So the young men started off one morning in high
spirits, never doubting that work such as they might be willing to do
would be had for the asking, as soon as their little store of money was
But a very few days of wandering opened their eyes. Nobody seemed to
want them, or, if they did, the young men declared that they were not
able to undertake all that the farmers or millers or woodcutters
required of them. The youngest brother, who was wiser, would gladly
have done some of the work that the others refused, but he was small
and slight, and no one thought of offering him any. Therefore they
went from one place to another, living only on the fruit and nuts they
could find in the woods, and getting hungrier every day.
One night, after they had been walking for many hours and were very
tired, they came to a large lake with an island in the middle of it.
From the island streamed a strong light, by which they could see
everything almost as clearly as if the sun had been shining, and they
perceived that, lying half hidden in the rushes, was a boat.
'Let us take it and row over to the island, where there must be a
house,' said the eldest brother; 'and perhaps they will give us food
and shelter.' And they all got in and rowed across in the direction of
the light. As they drew near the island they saw that it came from a
golden lantern hanging over the door of a hut, while sweet tinkling
music proceeded from some bells attached to the golden horns of a goat
which was feeding near the cottage. The young men's hearts rejoiced as
they thought that at last they would be able to rest their weary limbs,
and they entered the hut, but were amazed to see an ugly old woman
inside, wrapped in a cloak of gold which lighted up the whole house.
They looked at each other uneasily as she came forward with her
daughter, as they knew by the cloak that this was a famous witch.
'What do you want?' asked she, at the same time signing to her daughter
to stir the large pot on the fire.
'We are tired and hungry, and would fain have shelter for the night,'
answered the eldest brother.
'You cannot get it here,' said the witch, 'but you will find both food
and shelter in the palace on the other side of the lake. Take your
boat and go; but leave this boy with me--I can find work for him,
though something tells me he is quick and cunning, and will do me ill.'
'What harm can a poor boy like me do a great Troll like you?' answered
Pinkel. 'Let me go, I pray you, with my brothers. I will promise
never to hurt you.' And at last the witch let him go, and he followed
his brothers to the boat.
The way was further than they thought, and it was morning before they
reached the palace.
Now, at last, their luck seemed to have turned, for while the two
eldest were given places in the king's stables, Pinkel was taken as
page to the little prince. He was a clever and amusing boy, who saw
everything that passed under his eyes, and the king noticed this, and
often employed him in his own service, which made his brothers very
Things went on this way for some time, and Pinkel every day rose in the
royal favour. At length the envy of his brothers became so great that
they could bear it no longer, and consulted together how best they
might ruin his credit with the king. They did not wish to kill
him--though, perhaps, they would not have been sorry if they had heard
he was dead--but merely wished to remind him that he was after all only
a child, not half so old and wise as they.
Their opportunity soon came. It happened to be the king's custom to
visit his stables once a week, so that he might see that his horses
were being properly cared for. The next time he entered the stables
the two brothers managed to be in the way, and when the king praised
the beautiful satin skins of the horses under their charge, and
remarked how different was their condition when his grooms had first
come across the lake, the young men at once began to speak of the
wonderful light which sprang from the lantern over the hut. The king,
who had a passion for collection all the rarest things he could find,
fell into the trap directly, and inquired where he could get this
'Send Pinkel for it, Sire,' said they. 'It belongs to an old witch,
who no doubt came by it in some evil way. But Pinkel has a smooth
tongue, and he can get the better of any woman, old or young.'
'Then bid him go this very night,' cried the king; 'and if he brings me
the lantern I will make him one of the chief men about my person.'
Pinkel was much pleased at the thought of his adventure, and without
more ado he borrowed a little boat which lay moored to the shore, and
rowed over to the island at once. It was late by the time he arrived,
and almost dark, but he knew by the savoury smell that reached him that
the witch was cooking her supper. So he climbed softly on to the roof,
and, peering, watched till the old woman's back was turned, when he
quickly drew a handful of salt from his pocket and threw it into the
pot. Scarcely had he done this when the witch called her daughter and
bade her lift the pot off the fire and put the stew into a dish, as it
had been cooking quite long enough and she was hungry. But no sooner
had she tasted it than she put her spoon down, and declared that her
daughter must have been meddling with it, for it was impossible to eat
anything that was all made of salt.
'Go down to the spring in the valley, and get some fresh water, that I
may prepare a fresh supper,' cried she, 'for I feel half- starved.'
'But, mother,' answered the girl, 'how can I find the well in this
darkness? For you know that the lantern's rays shed no light down
'Well, then, take the lantern with you,' answered the witch, 'for
supper I must have, and there is no water that is nearer.'
So the girl took her pail in one hand and the golden lantern in the
other, and hastened away to the well, followed by Pinkel, who took care
to keep out of the way of the rays. When at last she stooped to fill
her pail at the well Pinkel pushed her into it, and snatching up the
lantern hurried back to his boat and rowed off from the shore.
He was already a long distance from the island when the witch, who
wondered what had become of her daughter, went to the door to look for
her. Close around the hut was thick darkness, but what was that
bobbing light that streamed across the water? The witch's heart sank
as all at once it flashed upon her what had happened.
'Is that you, Pinkel?' cried she; and the youth answered:
'Yes, dear mother, it is I!'
'And are you not a knave for robbing me?' said she.
'Truly, dear mother, I am,' replied Pinkel, rowing faster than ever,
for he was half afraid that the witch might come after him. But she
had no power on the water, and turned angrily into the hut, muttering
to herself all the while:
'Take care! take care! A second time you will not escape so easily!'
The sun had not yet risen when Pinkel returned to the palace, and,
entering the king's chamber, he held up the lantern so that its rays
might fall upon the bed. In an instant the king awoke, and seeing the
golden lantern shedding its light upon him, he sprang up, and embraced
Pinkel with joy.
'O cunning one,' cried he, 'what treasure hast thou brought me!' And
calling for his attendants he ordered that rooms next his own should be
prepared for Pinkel, and that the youth might enter his presence at any
hour. And besides this, he was to have a seat on the council.
It may easily be guessed that all this made the brothers more envious
than they were before; and they cast about in their minds afresh how
best they might destroy him. At length they remembered the goat with
golden horns and the bells, and they rejoiced; 'For,' said they, 'THIS
time the old woman will be on the watch, and let him be as clever as he
likes, the bells on the horns are sure to warn her.' So when, as
before, the king came down to the stables and praised the cleverness of
their brother, the young men told him of that other marvel possessed by
the witch, the goat with the golden horns.
From this moment the king never closed his eyes at night for longing
after this wonderful creature. He understood something of the danger
that there might be in trying to steal it, now that the witch's
suspicions were aroused, and he spent hours in making plans for
outwitting her. But somehow he never could think of anything that
would do, and at last, as the brothers had foreseen, he sent for Pinkel.
'I hear,' he said, 'that the old witch on the island has a goat with
golden horns from which hang bells that tinkle the sweetest music.
That goat I must have! But, tell me, how am I to get it? I would give
the third part of my kingdom to anyone who would bring it to me.'
'I will fetch it myself,' answered Pinkel.
This time it was easier for Pinkel to approach the island unseen, as
there was no golden lantern to thrown its beams over the water. But,
on the other hand, the goat slept inside the hut, and would therefore
have to be taken from under the very eyes of the old woman. How was he
to do it? All the way across the lake he thought and thought, till at
length a plan came into his head which seemed as if it might do, though
he knew it would be very difficult to carry out.
The first thing he did when he reached the shore was to look about for
a piece of wood, and when he had found it he hid himself close to the
hut, till it grew quite dark and near the hour when the witch and her
daughter went to bed. Then he crept up and fixed the wood under the
door, which opened outwards, in such a manner that the more you tried
to shut it the more firmly it stuck. And this was what happened when
the girl went as usual to bolt the door and make all fast for the night.
'What are you doing?' asked the witch, as her daughter kept tugging at
'There is something the matter with the door; it won't shut,' answered
'Well, leave it alone; there is nobody to hurt us,' said the witch, who
was very sleepy; and the girl did as she was bid, and went to bed.
Very soon they both might have been heard snoring, and Pinkel knew that
his time was come. Slipping off his shoes he stole into the hut on
tiptoe, and taking from his pocket some food of which the goat was
particularly fond, he laid it under his nose. Then, while the animal
was eating it, he stuffed each golden bell with wool which he had also
brought with him, stopping every minute to listen, lest the witch
should awaken, and he should find himself changed into some dreadful
bird or beast. But the snoring still continued, and he went on with
his work as quickly as he could. When the last bell was done he drew
another handful of food out of his pocket, and held it out to the goat,
which instantly rose to its feet and followed Pinkel, who backed slowly
to the door, and directly he got outside he seized the goat in his arms
and ran down to the place where he had moored his boat.
As soon as he had reached the middle of the lake, Pinkel took the wool
out of the bells, which began to tinkle loudly. Their sound awoke the
witch, who cried out as before:
'Is that you, Pinkel?'
'Yes, dear mother, it is I,' said Pinkel.
'Have you stolen my golden goat?' asked she.
'Yes, dear mother, I have,' answered Pinkel.
'Are you not a knave, Pinkel?'
'Yes, dear mother, I am,' he replied. And the old witch shouted in a
'Ah! beware how you come hither again, for next time you shall not
But Pinkel laughed and rowed on.
The king was so delighted with the goat that he always kept it by his
side, night and day; and, as he had promised, Pinkel was made ruler
over the third part of the kingdom. As may be supposed, the brothers
were more furious than ever, and grew quite thin with rage.
'How can we get rid of him?' said one to the other. And at length they
remembered the golden cloak.
'He will need to be clever if he is to steal that!' they cried, with a
chuckle. And when next the king came to see his horses they began to
speak of Pinkel and his marvellous cunning, and how he had contrived to
steal the lantern and the goat, which nobody else would have been able
'But as he was there, it is a pity he could not have brought away the
golden cloak,' added they.
'The golden cloak! what is that?' asked the king. And the young men
described its beauties in such glowing words that the king declared he
should never know a day's happiness till he had wrapped the cloak round
his own shoulders.
'And,' added he, 'the man who brings it to me shall wed my daughter,
and shall inherit my throne.'
'None can get it save Pinkel,' said they; for they did not imagine that
the witch, after two warnings, could allow their brother to escape a
third time. So Pinkel was sent for, and with a glad heart he set out.
He passed many hours inventing first one plan and then another, till he
had a scheme ready which he thought might prove successful.
Thrusting a large bag inside his coat, he pushed off from the shore,
taking care this time to reach the island in daylight. Having made his
boat fast to a tree, he walked up to the hut, hanging his head, and
putting on a face that was both sorrowful and ashamed.
'Is that you, Pinkel?' asked the witch when she saw him, her eyes
'Yes, dear mother, it is I,' answered Pinkel.
'So you have dared, after all you have done, to put yourself in my
power!' cried she. 'Well, you sha'n't escape me THIS time!' And she
took down a large knife and began to sharpen it.'
'Oh! dear mother, spare me!' shrieked Pinkel, falling on his knees, and
looking wildly about him.
'Spare you, indeed, you thief! Where are my lantern and my goat? No!
not! there is only one fate for robbers!' And she brandished the knife
in the air so that it glittered in the firelight.
'Then, if I must die,' said Pinkel, who, by this time, was getting
really rather frightened, 'let me at least choose the manner of my
death. I am very hungry, for I have had nothing to eat all day. Put
some poison, if you like, into the porridge, but at least let me have a
good meal before I die.'
'That is not a bad idea,' answered the woman; 'as long as you do die,
it is all one to me.' And ladling out a large bowl of porridge, she
stirred some poisonous herbs into it, and set about work that had to be
done. Then Pinkel hastily poured all the contents of the bowl into his
bag, and make a great noise with his spoon, as if he was scraping up
the last morsel.
'Poisoned or not, the porridge is excellent. I have eaten it, every
scrap; do give me some more,' said Pinkel, turning towards her.
'Well, you have a fine appetite, young man,' answered the witch;
'however, it is the last time you will ever eat it, so I will give you
another bowlful.' And rubbing in the poisonous herbs, she poured him
out half of what remained, and then went to the window to call her cat.
In an instant Pinkel again emptied the porridge into the bag, and the
next minute he rolled on the floor, twisting himself about as if in
agony, uttering loud groans the while. Suddenly he grew silent and lay
'Ah! I thought a second dose of that poison would be too much for you,'
said the witch looking at him. 'I warned you what would happen if you
came back. I wish that all thieves were as dead as you! But why does
not my lazy girl bring the wood I sent her for, it will soon be too
dark for her to find her way? I suppose I must go and search for her.
What a trouble girls are!' And she went to the door to watch if there
were any signs of her daughter. But nothing could be seen of her, and
heavy rain was falling.
'It is no night for my cloak,' she muttered; 'it would be covered with
mud by the time I got back.' So she took it off her shoulders and hung
it carefully up in a cupboard in the room. After that she put on her
clogs and started to seek her daughter. Directly the last sound of the
clogs had ceased, Pinkel jumped up and took down the cloak, and rowed
off as fast as he could.
He had not gone far when a puff of wind unfolded the cloak, and its
brightness shed gleams across the water. The witch, who was just
entering the forest, turned round at that moment and saw the golden
rays. She forgot all about her daughter, and ran down to the shore,
screaming with rage at being outwitted a third time.
'Is that you, Pinkel?' cried she.
'Yes, dear mother, it is I.'
'Have you taken my gold cloak?'
'Yes, dear mother, I have.'
'Are you not a great knave?'
'Yes, truly dear mother, I am.'
And so indeed he was!
But, all the same, he carried the cloak to the king's palace, and in
return he received the hand of the king's daughter in marriage. People
said that it was the bride who ought to have worn the cloak at her
wedding feast; but the king was so pleased with it that he would not
part from it; and to the end of his life was never seen without it.
After his death, Pinkel became king; and let up hope that he gave up
his bad and thievish ways, and ruled his subjects well. As for his
brothers, he did not punish them, but left them in the stables, where
they grumbled all day long.
[Thorpe's Yule-Tide Stories.]
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