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The Lassie And Her Godmother

from East Of The Sun And West Of The Moon





Once on a time a poor couple lived far, far away in a great wood. The
wife was brought to bed, and had a pretty girl, but they were so poor
they did not know how to get the babe christened, for they had no
money to pay the parson's fees. So one day the father went out to see
if he could find any one who was willing to stand for the child and
pay the fees; but though he walked about the whole day from one house
to another, and though all said they were willing enough to stand, no
one thought himself bound to pay the fees. Now, when he was going
home again, a lovely lady met him, dressed so fine, and she looked so
thoroughly good and kind; she offered to get the babe christened, but
after that, she said, she must keep it for her own. The husband
answered, he must first ask his wife what she wished to do; but when
he got home and told his story, the wife said, right out, "No!"

Next day the man went out again, but no one would stand if they had to
pay the fees; and though he begged and prayed, he could get no help.
And again as he went home, towards evening the same lovely lady met
him, who looked so sweet and good, and she made him the same offer. So
he told his wife again how he had fared, and this time she said, if he
couldn't get any one to stand for his babe next day, they must just
let the lady have her way, since she seemed so kind and good.

The third day, the man went about, but he couldn't get any one to
stand; and so when, towards evening, he met the kind lady again, he
gave his word she should have the babe if she would only get it
christened at the font. So next morning she came to the place where
the man lived, followed by two men to stand godfathers, took the babe
and carried it to church, and there it was christened. After that she
took it to her own house, and there the little girl lived with her
several years, and her Foster-mother was always kind and friendly to
her.

Now, when the Lassie had grown to be big enough to know right and
wrong, her Foster-mother got ready to go on a journey.

"You have my leave," she said, "to go all over the house, except those
rooms which I shew you;" and when she had said that, away she went.

But the Lassie could not forbear just to open one of the doors a
little bit, when--POP! out flew a Star.

When her Foster-mother came back, she was very vexed to find
that the star had flown out, and she got very angry with her
Foster-daughter, and threatened to send her away; but the child
cried and begged so hard that she got leave to stay.

Now, after a while, the Foster-mother had to go on another journey;
and, before she went, she forbade the Lassie to go into those two
rooms into which she had never been. She promised to beware; but when
she was left alone, she began to think and to wonder what there could
be in the second room, and at last she could not help setting the door
a little ajar, just to peep in, when--POP! out flew the Moon.


peep in, when--Pop! out flew the Moon.]

When her Foster-mother came home and found the moon let out, she was
very downcast, and said to the Lassie she must go away, she could
not stay with her any longer. But the Lassie wept so bitterly, and
prayed so heartily for forgiveness, that this time, too, she got leave
to stay.

Some time after, the Foster-mother had to go away again, and she
charged the Lassie, who by this time was half grown up, most earnestly
that she mustn't try to go into, or to peep into, the third room. But
when her Foster-mother had been gone some time, and the Lassie was
weary of walking about alone, all at once she thought, "Dear me, what
fun it would be just to peep a little into that third room." Then she
thought she mustn't do it for her Foster-mother's sake; but when the
bad thought came the second time she could hold out no longer; come
what might, she must and would look into the room; so she just opened
the door a tiny bit, when--POP! out flew the Sun.

But when her Foster-mother came back and saw that the sun had flown
away, she was cut to the heart, and said, "Now, there was no help for
it, the Lassie must and should go away; she couldn't hear of her
staying any longer." Now the Lassie cried her eyes out, and begged
and prayed so prettily; but it was all no good.

"Nay! but I must punish you!" said her Foster-mother; "but you may
have your choice, either to be the loveliest woman in the world, and
not to be able to speak, or to keep your speech, and to be the ugliest
of all women; but away from me you must go."

And the Lassie said, "I would sooner be lovely." So she became all
at once wondrous fair; but from that day forth she was dumb.

So, when she went away from her Foster-mother, she walked and
wandered through a great, great wood; but the farther she went, the
farther off the end seemed to be. So, when the evening came on, she
clomb up into a tall tree, which grew over a spring, and there she
made herself up to sleep that night. Close by lay a castle, and from
that castle came early every morning a maid to draw water to make the
Prince's tea, from the spring over which the Lassie was sitting. So
the maid looked down into the spring, saw the lovely face in the
water, and thought it was her own; then she flung away the pitcher,
and ran home; and, when she got there, she tossed up her head and
said, "If I'm so pretty, I'm far too good to go and fetch water."

So another maid had to go for the water, but the same thing happened
to her; she went back and said she was far too pretty and too good to
fetch water from the spring for the Prince. Then the Prince went
himself, for he had a mind to see what all this could mean. So, when
he reached the spring, he too saw the image in the water; but he
looked up at once, and became aware of the lovely Lassie who sate
there up in the tree. Then he coaxed her down and took her home; and
at last made up his mind to have her for his queen, because she was so
lovely; but his mother, who was still alive, was against it.



"She can't speak," she said, "and maybe she's a wicked witch."

But the Prince could not be content till he got her. So after they had
lived together a while, the Lassie was to have a child, and when the
child came to be born, the Prince set a strong watch about her; but at
the birth one and all fell into a deep sleep, and her Foster-mother
came, cut the babe on its little finger, and smeared the queen's mouth
with the blood; and said:

"Now you shall be as grieved as I was when you let out the star;" and
with these words she carried off the babe.

But when those who were on the watch woke, they thought the queen had
eaten her own child, and the old queen was all for burning her alive,
but the Prince was so fond of her that at last he begged her off, but
he had hard work to set her free.

So the next time the young queen was to have a child, twice as strong
a watch was set as the first time, but the same thing happened over
again, only this time her Foster-mother said:

"Now you shall be as grieved as I was when you let the moon out."

And the queen begged and prayed, and wept; for when her Foster-mother
was there, she could speak--but it was all no good.

And now the old queen said she must be burnt, but the Prince found
means to beg her off. But when the third child was to be born, a watch
was set three times as strong as the first, but just the same thing
happened. Her Foster-mother came while the watch slept, took the
babe, and cut its little finger, and smeared the queen's mouth with
the blood, telling her now she should be as grieved as she had been
when the Lassie let out the sun.

And now the Prince could not save her any longer. She must and should
be burnt. But just as they were leading her to the stake, all at once
they saw her Foster-mother, who came with all three children--two
she led by the hand, and the third she had on her arm; and so she went
up to the young queen and said:

"Here are your children; now you shall have them again. I am the
Virgin Mary, and so grieved as you have been, so grieved was I when
you let out sun, and moon, and star. Now you have been punished for
what you did, and henceforth you shall have your speech."

How glad the Queen and Prince now were, all may easily think, but no
one can tell. After that they were always happy; and from that day
even the Prince's mother was very fond of the young queen.





Next: The Husband Who Was To Mind The House

Previous: Prince Lindworm



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