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
The Little Gray Man
from The Grey Fairy Book
A nun, a countryman, and a blacksmith were once wandering through
the world together. One day they lost their way in a thick, dark
forest, and were thankful when they saw, in the distance, the
walls of a house, where they hoped they might obtain refuge for
the night. When they got close to the house they found that it
was an old deserted castle, fast falling into ruins, but with
some of the rooms in it still habitable. As they were homeless
they determined to take up their abode in the castle, and they
arranged that one of them should always stay at home and keep
house, while the other two went out into the world to seek their
The lot of remaining at home fell first to the nun, and when the
countryman and the blacksmith had gone out into the wood, she set
to work, tidied up the house, and prepared all the food for the
day. As her companions did not come home for their mid-day meal,
she ate up her own portion and put the rest in the oven to keep
warm. Just as she was sitting down to sew, the door opened and a
little gray man came in, and, standing before her, said: 前h! how
cold I am!'
The nun was very sorry for him, and said at once: 全it down by
the fire and warm yourself.'
The little man did as he was told, and soon called out: 前h! how
hungry I am!'
The nun answered: 禅here is food in the oven, help yourself.'
The little man did not need to be told twice, for he set to work
and ate up everything with the greatest possible despatch. When
the nun saw this she was very angry, and scolded the dwarf
because he had left nothing for her companions.
The little man resented her words, and flew into such a passion
that he seized the nun, beat her, and threw her first against one
wall and then against the other. When he had nearly killed her he
left her lying on the floor, and hastily walked out of the house.
In the evening the countryman and the blacksmith returned home,
and when they found, on demanding their dinner, that there was
nothing left for them, they reproached the nun bitterly, and
refused to believe her when she tried to tell them what had
The next day the countryman asked to be left in charge of the
house, and promised that, if he remained at home, no one should
go hungry to bed. So the other two went out into the forest, and
the countryman having prepared the food for the day, ate up his
own portion, and put the rest in the oven. Just as he had
finished clearing away, the door opened and the little gray man
walked in, and this time he had two heads. He shook and trembled
as before, and exclaimed: 前h! how cold I am.'
The countryman, who was frightened out of his wits, begged him to
draw near the fire and warm himself.
Soon after the dwarf looked greedily round, and said: 前h! how
hungry I am!'
禅here is food in the oven, so you can eat,' replied the
Then the little man fell to with both his heads, and soon
finished the last morsel.
When the countryman scolded him for this proceeding he treated
him exactly as he had done the nun, and left the poor fellow more
dead than alive.
Now when the blacksmith came home with the nun in the evening,
and found nothing for supper, he flew into a passion; and swore
that he would stay at home the following day, and that no one
should go supperless to bed.
When day dawned the countryman and the nun set out into the wood,
and the blacksmith prepared all the food for the day as the
others had done. Again the gray dwarf entered the house without
knocking, and this time he had three heads. When he complained of
cold, the blacksmith told him to sit near the fire; and when he
said he was hungry, the blacksmith put some food on a plate and
gave it to him. The dwarf made short work of what was provided
for him, and then, looking greedily round with his six eyes, he
demanded more. When the blacksmith refused to give him another
morsel, he flew into a terrible rage, and proceeded to treat him
in the same way as he had treated his companions.
But the blacksmith was a match for him, for he seized a huge
hammer and struck off two of the dwarf's heads with it. The
little man yelled with pain and rage, and hastily fled from the
house. The blacksmith ran after him, and pursued him for a long
way; but at last they came to an iron door, and through it the
little creature vanished. The door shut behind him, and the
blacksmith had to give up the pursuit and return home. He found
that the nun and the countryman had come back in the meantime,
and they were much delighted when he placed some food before
them, and showed them the two heads he had struck off with his
hammer. The three companions determined there and then to free
themselves from the power of the gray dwarf, and the very next
day they set to work to find him.
They had to walk a long way, and to search for many hours, before
they found the iron door through which the dwarf had disappeared;
and when they had found it they had the greatest difficulty in
opening it. When at last they succeeded in forcing the lock, they
entered a large hall, in which sat a young and lovely girl,
working at a table. The moment she saw the nun, the blacksmith,
and the countryman, she fell at their feet, thanking them with
tears in her eyes for having set her free. She told them that she
was a king's daughter, who had been shut up in the castle by a
mighty magician. The day before, just about noon, she had
suddenly felt the magic power over her disappear, and ever since
that moment she had eagerly awaited the arrival of her
deliverers. She went on to say that there was yet another
princess shut up in the castle, who had also fallen under the
might of the magician.
They wandered through many halls and rooms till at last they
found the second princess, who was quite as grateful as the
first, and thanked the three companions most warmly for having
set her free.
Then the princesses told their rescuers that a great treasure lay
hidden in the cellars of the castle, but that it was carefully
guarded by a fierce and terrible dog.
Nothing daunted, they all went down below at once, and found the
fierce animal mounting guard over the treasure as the princesses
had said. But one blow from the blacksmith's hammer soon made an
end of the monster, and they found themselves in a vaulted
chamber full of gold and silver and precious stones. Beside the
treasure stood a young and handsome man, who advanced to meet,
them, and thanked the nun, the blacksmith, and the countryman,
for having freed him from the magic spell he was under. He told
them that he was a king's son, who had been banished to this
castle by a wicked magician, and that he had been changed into
the three- headed dwarf. When he had lost two of his heads the
magic power over the two princesses had been removed, and when
the blacksmith had killed the horrible dog, then he too had been
To show his gratitude he begged the three companions to divide
the treasure between them, which they did; but there was so much
of it that it took a very long time.
The princesses, too, were so grateful to their rescuers, that one
married the blacksmith, and the other the countryman.
Then the prince claimed the nun as his bride, and they all lived
happily together till they died.
Next: Herr Lazarus And The Draken
Previous: The Magician's Horse