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from Old French Fairy Tales - Good Little Henry





Henry walked a long, long time but he walked in vain for he saw that he
was no farther from the foot of the mountain and no nearer to the summit
than he had been when he crossed the river. Any other child would have
retraced his steps but the brave little Henry would not allow himself to
be discouraged. Notwithstanding his extreme fatigue he walked on
twenty-one days without seeming to make any advance. At the end of this
time he was no more discouraged than at the close of the first day.

"If I am obliged to walk a hundred years," he said aloud, "I will go on
till I reach the summit."

"You have then a great desire to arrive there, little boy?" said an old
man, looking at him maliciously and standing just in his path. "What are
you seeking at the top of this mountain?"

"The plant of life, my good sir, to save the life of my dear mother who
is about to die."

The little old man shook his head, rested his little pointed chin on the
top of his gold-headed cane and after having a long time regarded Henry,
he said:

"Your sweet and fresh face pleases me, my boy. I am one of the genii of
this mountain. I will allow you to advance on condition that you will
gather all my wheat, that you will beat it out, make it into flour and
then into bread. When you have gathered, beaten, ground and cooked it,
then call me. You will find all the necessary implements in the ditch
near you. The fields of wheat are before you and cover the mountain."

The old man disappeared and Henry gazed in terror at the immense fields
of wheat which were spread out before him. But he soon mastered this
feeling of discouragement--took off his vest, seized a scythe and
commenced cutting the wheat diligently. This occupied him a hundred and
ninety-five days and nights.

When the wheat was all cut, Henry commenced to beat it with a flail
which he found at hand. This occupied him sixty days.

When the grain was all beaten out he began to grind it in a mill which
rose up suddenly near him. This occupied him seventy days.

When the wheat was all ground he began to knead it and to cook it. He
kneaded and cooked for a hundred and twenty days.

As the bread was cooked he arranged it properly on shelves, like books
in a library.

When all was finished Henry was transported with joy and called the
genius of the mountain who appeared immediately and counted four hundred
and sixty-eight thousand three hundred and twenty-nine new loaves of
bread. He bit and ate a little end off of two or three, drew near to
Henry, tapped him on the cheek and said:

"You are a good boy and I wish to pay you for your work."

He drew from his pocket a little wooden box which he gave to Henry and
said, maliciously:

"When you return home, open this box and you will find in it the most
delicious tobacco you have ever seen."

Now Henry had never used tobacco and the present of the little genius
seemed to him very useless but he was too polite to let this be seen and
he thanked the old man as if satisfied.

The old one smiled, then burst out laughing and disappeared.





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