East Of The Sun And West Of The Moon





Once upon a time there was a poor husbandman who

had many children and little to give them in the way

either of food or clothing. They were all pretty, but the

prettiest of all was the youngest daughter, who was so

beautiful that there were no bounds to her beauty.



So once--it was late on a Thursday evening in autumn,

and wild weather outside, terribly dark, and raining so

heavily and blowing so hard that the walls of the cottage

shook again--they were all sitting together by the fireside,

each of them busy with something or other, when suddenly

some one rapped three times against the window-pane. The

man went out to see what could be the matter, and when he

got out there stood a great big white bear.



"Good-evening to you," said the White Bear.



"Good-evening," said the man.



"Will you give me your youngest daughter?" said the

White Bear; "if you will, you shall be as rich as you are

now poor."



Truly the man would have had no objection to be rich,

but he thought to himself: "I must first ask my daughter

about this," so he went in and told them that there was a

great white bear outside who had faithfully promised to

make them all rich if he might but have the youngest

daughter.



She said no, and would not hear of it; so the man went

out again, and settled with the White Bear that he should

come again next Thursday evening, and get her answer.

Then the man persuaded her, and talked so much to her

about the wealth that they would have, and what a good

thing it would be for herself, that at last she made up her

mind to go, and washed and mended all her rags, made

herself as smart as she could, and held herself in readiness

to set out. Little enough had she to take away with her.



Next Thursday evening the White Bear came to fetch

her. She seated herself on his back with her bundle, and

thus they departed. When they had gone a great part of

the way, the White Bear said: "Are you afraid?"



"No, that I am not," said she.



"Keep tight hold of my fur, and then there is no

danger," said he.



And thus she rode far, far away, until they came to a

great mountain. Then the White Bear knocked on it, and

a door opened, and they went into a castle where there

were many brilliantly lighted rooms which shone with

gold and silver, likewise a large hall in which there was a

well-spread table, and it was so magnificent that it would

be hard to make anyone understand how splendid it was.

The White Bear gave her a silver bell, and told her that

when she needed anything she had but to ring this bell,

and what she wanted would appear. So after she had

eaten, and night was drawing near, she grew sleepy after

her journey, and thought she would like to go to bed.

She rang the bell, and scarcely had she touched it before

she found herself in a chamber where a bed stood ready

made for her, which was as pretty as anyone could wish

to sleep in. It had pillows of silk, and curtains of silk

fringed with gold, and everything that was in the room

was of gold or silver, but when she had lain down and

put out the light a man came and lay down beside her,

and behold it was the White Bear, who cast off the form

of a beast during the night. She never saw him, however,

for he always came after she had put out her light, and

went away before daylight appeared.



So all went well and happily for a time, but then she

began to be very sad and sorrowful, for all day long she

had to go about alone; and she did so wish to go home to

her father and mother and brothers and sisters. Then the

White Bear asked what it was that she wanted, and she

told him that it was so dull there in the mountain, and

that she had to go about all alone, and that in her parents'

house at home there were all her brothers and sisters, and

it was because she could not go to them that she was so

sorrowful.



"There might be a cure for that," said the White Bear,

"if you would but promise me never to talk with your

mother alone, but only when the others are there too; for

she will take hold of your hand," he said, "and will want

to lead you into a room to talk with you alone; but that

you must by no means do, or you will bring great misery

on both of us."



So one Sunday the White Bear came and said that they

could now set out to see her father and mother, and they

journeyed thither, she sitting on his back, and they went

a long, long way, and it took a long, long time; but at last

they came to a large white farmhouse, and her brothers

and sisters were running about outside it, playing, and it

was so pretty that it was a pleasure to look at it.



"Your parents dwell here now," said the White Bear;

"but do not forget what I said to you, or you will do much

harm both to yourself and me."



"No, indeed," said she, "I shall never forget;" and as

soon as she was at home the White Bear turned round and

went back again.



There were such rejoicings when she went in to her

parents that it seemed as if they would never come to an

end. Everyone thought that he could never be sufficiently

grateful to her for all she had done for them all. Now they

had everything that they wanted, and everything was as

good as it could be. They all asked her how she was getting

on where she was. All was well with her too, she said;

and she had everything that she could want. What other

answers she gave I cannot say, but I am pretty sure that

they did not learn much from her. But in the afternoon,

after they had dined at midday, all happened just as the

White Bear had said. Her mother wanted to talk with

her alone in her own chamber. But she remembered what

the White Bear had said, and would on no account go.

"What we have to say can be said at any time," she

answered. But somehow or other her mother at last

persuaded her, and she was forced to tell the whole story. So

she told how every night a man came and lay down beside

her when the lights were all put out, and how she never

saw him, because he always went away before it grew

light in the morning, and how she continually went about

in sadness, thinking how happy she would be if she could

but see him, and how all day long she had to go about

alone, and it was so dull and solitary. "Oh!" cried the

mother, in horror, "you are very likely sleeping with a

troll! But I will teach you a way to see him. You shall

have a bit of one of my candles, which you can take away

with you hidden in your breast. Look at him with that

when he is asleep, but take care not to let any tallow drop

upon him."



So she took the candle, and hid it in her breast, and

when evening drew near the White Bear came to fetch her

away. When they had gone some distance on their way,

the White Bear asked her if everything had not happened

just as he had foretold, and she could not but own that it

had. "Then, if you have done what your mother wished,"

said he, "you have brought great misery on both of us."

"No," she said, "I have not done anything at all." So

when she had reached home and had gone to bed it was

just the same as it had been before, and a man came and

lay down beside her, and late at night, when she could

hear that he was sleeping, she got up and kindled a light,

lit her candle, let her light shine on him, and saw him, and

he was the handsomest prince that eyes had ever beheld,

and she loved him so much that it seemed to her that she

must die if she did not kiss him that very moment. So

she did kiss him; but while she was doing it she let three

drops of hot tallow fall upon his shirt, and he awoke.

"What have you done now?" said he; "you have brought

misery on both of us. If you had but held out for the

space of one year I should have been free. I have a

step-mother who has bewitched me so that I am a white bear

by day and a man by night; but now all is at an end

between you and me, and I must leave you, and go to her.

She lives in a castle which lies east of the sun and west of

the moon, and there too is a princess with a nose which

is three ells long, and she now is the one whom I must

marry."



She wept and lamented, but all in vain, for go he must.

Then she asked him if she could not go with him. But

no, that could not be. "Can you tell me the way then,

and I will seek you--that I may surely be allowed to do!"



"Yes, you may do that," said he; "but there is no way

thither. It lies east of the sun and west of the moon, and

never would you find your way there."



When she awoke in the morning both the Prince and

the castle were gone, and she was lying on a small green

patch in the midst of a dark, thick wood. By her side lay

the self-same bundle of rags which she had brought with

her from her own home. So when she had rubbed the

sleep out of her eyes, and wept till she was weary, she

set out on her way, and thus she walked for many and

many a long day, until at last she came to a great mountain.

Outside it an aged woman was sitting, playing with

a golden apple. The girl asked her if she knew the way

to the Prince who lived with his stepmother in the castle

which lay east of the sun and west of the moon, and who

was to marry a princess with a nose which was three ells

long. "How do you happen to know about him?"

inquired the old woman; "maybe you are she who ought to

have had him." "Yes, indeed, I am," she said. "So it is

you, then?" said the old woman; "I know nothing about

him but that he dwells in a castle which is east of the sun

and west of the moon. You will be a long time in getting

to it, if ever you get to it at all; but you shall have the

loan of my horse, and then you can ride on it to an old

woman who is a neighbor of mine: perhaps she can tell

you about him. When you have got there you must just

strike the horse beneath the left ear and bid it go home

again; but you may take the golden apple with you."



So the girl seated herself on the horse, and rode for a

long, long way, and at last she came to the mountain, where

an aged woman was sitting outside with a gold carding-comb.

The girl asked her if she knew the way to the

castle which lay east of the sun and west of the moon;

but she said what the first old woman had said: "I know

nothing about it, but that it is east of the sun and west

of the moon, and that you will be a long time in getting

to it, if ever you get there at all; but you shall have the

loan of my horse to an old woman who lives the nearest

to me: perhaps she may know where the castle is, and

when you have got to her you may just strike the horse

beneath the left ear and bid it go home again." Then she

gave her the gold carding-comb, for it might, perhaps, be

of use to her, she said.



So the girl seated herself on the horse, and rode a

wearisome long way onward again, and after a very long time

she came to a great mountain, where an aged woman was

sitting, spinning at a golden spinning-wheel. Of this

woman, too, she inquired if she knew the way to the

Prince, and where to find the castle which lay east of the

sun and west of the moon. But it was only the same

thing once again. "Maybe it was you who should have

had the Prince," said the old woman. "Yes, indeed, I

should have been the one," said the girl. But this old

crone knew the way no better than the others--it was

east of the sun and west of the moon, she knew that, "and

you will be a long time in getting to it, if ever you get to

it at all," she said; "but you may have the loan of my

horse, and I think you had better ride to the East Wind,

and ask him: perhaps he may know where the castle is,

and will blow you thither. But when you have got to

him you must just strike the horse beneath the left ear,

and he will come home again." And then she gave her the

golden spinning-wheel, saying: "Perhaps you may find

that you have a use for it."



The girl had to ride for a great many days, and for a

long and wearisome time, before she got there; but at last

she did arrive, and then she asked the East Wind if he

could tell her the way to the Prince who dwelt east of the

sun and west of the moon. "Well," said the East Wind,

"I have heard tell of the Prince, and of his castle, but I

do not know the way to it, for I have never blown so far;

but, if you like, I will go with you to my brother the West

Wind: he may know that, for he is much stronger than I

am. You may sit on my back, and then I can carry you

there." So she seated herself on his back, and they did go

so swiftly! When they got there, the East Wind went in

and said that the girl whom he had brought was the one

who ought to have had the Prince up at the castle which

lay east of the sun and west of the moon, and that now she

was traveling about to find him again, so he had come

there with her, and would like to hear if the West Wind

knew whereabout the castle was. "No," said the West

Wind; "so far as that have I never blown; but if you like

I will go with you to the South Wind, for he is much

stronger than either of us, and he has roamed far and wide,

and perhaps he can tell you what you want to know. You

may seat yourself on my back, and then I will carry you

to him.".



So she did this, and journeyed to the South Wind,

neither was she very long on the way. When they had got

there, the West Wind asked him if he could tell her the

way to the castle that lay east of the sun and west of the

moon, for she was the girl who ought to marry the Prince

who lived there. "Oh, indeed!" said the South Wind, "is

that she? Well," said he, "I have wandered about a great

deal in my time, and in all kinds of places, but I have

never blown so far as that. If you like, however, I will go

with you to my brother, the North Wind; he is the oldest

and strongest of all of us, and if he does not know where

it is no one in the whole world will be able to tell you.

You may sit upon my back, and then I will carry you

there." So she seated herself on his back, and off he went

from his house in great haste, and they were not long on

the way. When they came near the North Wind's dwelling,

he was so wild and frantic that they felt cold gusts a

long while before they got there. "What do you want?"

he roared out from afar, and they froze as they heard.

Said the South Wind: "It is I, and this is she who should

have had the Prince who lives in the castle which lies east

of the sun and west of the moon. And now she wishes to

ask you if you have ever been there, and can tell her the

way, for she would gladly find him again."



"Yes," said the North Wind, "I know where it is. I

once blew an aspen leaf there, but I was so tired that for

many days afterward I was not able to blow at all. However,

if you really are anxious to go there, and are not

afraid to go with me, I will take you on my back, and try

if I can blow you there."



"Get there I must," said she; "and if there is any way

of going I will; and I have no fear, no matter how fast you

go."



"Very well then," said the North Wind; "but you must

sleep here to-night, for if we are ever to get there we must

have the day before us."



The North Wind woke her betimes next morning, and

puffed himself up, and made himself so big and so strong

that it was frightful to see him, and away they went, high

up through the air, as if they would not stop until they

had reached the very end of the world. Down below there

was such a storm! It blew down woods and houses, and

when they were above the sea the ships were wrecked by

hundreds. And thus they tore on and on, and a long time

went by, and then yet more time passed, and still they

were above the sea, and the North Wind grew tired, and

more tired, and at last so utterly weary that he was scarcely

able to blow any longer, and he sank and sank, lower

and lower, until at last he went so low that the waves

dashed against the heels of the poor girl he was carrying.

"Art thou afraid?" said the North Wind. "I have no

fear," said she; and it was true. But they were not very,

very far from land, and there was just enough strength

left in the North Wind to enable him to throw her on to

the shore, immediately under the windows of a castle

which lay east of the sun and west of the moon; but then

he was so weary and worn out that he was forced to rest

for several days before he could go to his own home again.



Next morning she sat down beneath the walls of the

castle to play with the golden apple, and the first person

she saw was the maiden with the long nose, who was to

have the Prince. "How much do you want for that gold

apple of yours, girl?" said she, opening the window. "It

can't be bought either for gold or money," answered the

girl. "If it cannot be bought either for gold or money,

what will buy it? You may say what you please," said

the Princess.



"Well, if I may go to the Prince who is here, and be

with him to-night, you shall have it," said the girl who

had come with the North Wind. "You may do that," said

the Princess, for she had made up her mind what she

would do. So the Princess got the golden apple, but when

the girl went up to the Prince's apartment that night he

was asleep, for the Princess had so contrived it. The poor

girl called to him, and shook him, and between whiles she

wept; but she could not wake him. In the morning, as

soon as day dawned, in came the Princess with the long

nose, and drove her out again. In the daytime she sat

down once more beneath the windows of the castle, and

began to card with her golden carding-comb; and then all

happened as it had happened before. The Princess asked

her what she wanted for it, and she replied that it was not

for sale, either for gold or money, but that if she could get

leave to go to the Prince, and be with him during the

night, she should have it. But when she went up to the

Prince's room he was again asleep, and, let her call him,

or shake him, or weep as she would, he still slept on, and

she could not put any life in him. When daylight came in

the morning, the Princess with the long nose came too,

and once more drove her away. When day had quite

come, the girl seated herself under the castle windows, to

spin with her golden spinning-wheel, and the Princess

with the long nose wanted to have that also. So she

opened the window, and asked what she would take for

it. The girl said what she had said on each of the former

occasions--that it was not for sale either for gold or for

money, but if she could get leave to go to the Prince who

lived there, and be with him during the night, she should

have it.



"Yes," said the Princess, "I will gladly consent to that."



But in that place there were some Christian folk who

had been carried off, and they had been sitting in the

chamber which was next to that of the Prince, and had

heard how a woman had been in there who had wept and

called on him two nights running, and they told the

Prince of this. So that evening, when the Princess came

once more with her sleeping-drink, he pretended to drink,

but threw it away behind him, for he suspected that it

was a sleeping-drink. So, when the girl went into the

Prince's room this time he was awake, and she had to tell

him how she had come there. "You have come just in

time," said the Prince, "for I should have been married

to-morrow; but I will not have the long-nosed Princess,

and you alone can save me. I will say that I want to see

what my bride can do, and bid her wash the shirt which

has the three drops of tallow on it. This she will consent

to do, for she does not know that it is you who let them

fall on it; but no one can wash them out but one born of

Christian folk: it cannot be done by one of a pack of

trolls; and then I will say that no one shall ever be my bride

but the woman who can do this, and I know that you

can." There was great joy and gladness between them all

that night, but the next day, when the wedding was to

take place, the Prince said, "I must see what my bride

can do." "That you may do," said the stepmother.



"I have a fine shirt which I want to wear as my wedding

shirt, but three drops of tallow have got upon it which I

want to have washed off, and I have vowed to marry no

one but the woman who is able to do it. If she cannot do

that, she is not worth having."



Well, that was a very small matter, they thought, and

agreed to do it. The Princess with the long nose began

to wash as well as she could, but, the more she washed and

rubbed, the larger the spots grew. "Ah! you can't wash

at all," said the old troll-hag, who was her mother. "Give

it to me." But she too had not had the shirt very long in

her hands before it looked worse still, and, the more she

washed it and rubbed it, the larger and blacker grew the

spots.



So the other trolls had to come and wash, but, the more

they did, the blacker and uglier grew the shirt, until at

length it was as black as if it had been up the chimney.

"Oh," cried the Prince, "not one of you is good for

anything at all! There is a beggar-girl sitting outside the

window, and I'll be bound that she can wash better than

any of you! Come in, you girl there!" he cried. So she

came in. "Can you wash this shirt clean?" he cried. "Oh!

I don't know," she said; "but I will try." And no sooner

had she taken the shirt and dipped it in the water than

it was white as driven snow, and even whiter than that.

"I will marry you," said the Prince.



Then the old troll-hag flew into such a rage that she

burst, and the Princess with the long nose and all the

little trolls must have burst too, for they have never been

heard of since. The Prince and his bride set free all the

Christian folk who were imprisoned there, and took away

with them all the gold and silver that they could carry,

and moved far away from the castle which lay east of the

sun and west of the moon.





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