Sweep And Little Sweep

: The Green Forest Fairy Book,


Once upon a time, in days long ago, there lived a Chimney Sweep and a

little Crossing Sweeper. This Chimney Sweep was called "Sweep." He had a

very black face, from the soot he swept down tall chimneys, but he had a

kind heart and dearly loved this little Crossing Sweeper, whose name was

Little Sweep. Little Sweep had a grimy, gray face from the ashes she

threw on her muddy crossings, and as for her hea
t,--I suppose it was

kind. Sweep thought it kind, and Little Sweep vowed she loved Sweep


Now Sweep was his own master and owned a smart little donkey cart, all

filled with brooms and brushes; but Little Sweep had a dreadful master,

who beat her often and gave her scarcely enough to eat. Sweep lived in

a snug little garret, and Little Sweep lived in a cold bare attic just

across the way. The street was so narrow that the two could chat quite

easily with one another. On holidays, when Sweep, so black and sooty,

and Little Sweep, so gray and grimy, rode forth in the smart little

donkey cart, the people all stared and vowed it was seldom one could see

a couple so well matched.

Every morning Little Sweep was out with her broom, before the sun was

up. Her master would beat her if she dared lie late abed. Now Sweep had

no need to rise so early. His trade of sweeping down tall chimneys did

not begin until later in the day. Nevertheless this amiable fellow

bought himself a clock with a loud ringing bell, and when this clock

rang out at five each morning, he would throw bread and buns to Little

Sweep just over the way. Little Sweep would eat the bread and buns most

eagerly, for she was always very hungry. Sweep bought her red mittens to

warm her poor hands, and wept when he learned that her cruel master had

taken them from her and sold them.

"Ah, Little Sweep," he would say, "when my golden dollars fill the

stocking, we shall be married, and you will sweep crossings no longer.

Instead, you will sit at home in a neat little cottage and brew me soups

and make strong soaps to wash my black face. Then on holidays we shall

both ride forth, all clean and shining."

"Oh, please hurry then, and sweep ever so many chimneys, that the

stocking may very soon fill with golden dollars!" Little Sweep would

reply. "My master grows crosser every day, and I cannot bear my life."

"But you forget me," answered Sweep. "Is not my garret window just

across from yours, and do I not throw you bread and buns each day?"

"Indeed, if it were not for your bread and buns, I know that I would

die," declared Little Sweep. "My master does not give me food enough to

feed a robin."

"And I would buy you more bread and buns," sighed Sweep, "except that

bread and buns cost pennies, and if I spend too many pennies, the

stocking will never fill with golden dollars."

Now in those olden days, as no doubt you know, kings and queens and

noble folk stored all their gold in great carved chests of oak and

walnut; but humble folk like Sweep hid their savings in a stocking.

One day when Sweep swept down the chimneys of a rich baker, the rich

baker gave him seven tarts and a plum cake, for a present. You may be

sure that Little Sweep enjoyed a feast that night. Her cruel master had

gone off for the day and had locked her in her room with only bread and

water. When Sweep learned that, his kindly heart was touched; he gave

Little Sweep the whole plum cake and kept but one tart for himself. That

was the manner of man Sweep was. Everything for Little Sweep and nothing

for himself. When he swept tall chimneys in the shops of merchants,

Sweep would buy some bits of linen or some ends of lace for Little

Sweep. These Little Sweep would fashion into curtains and tidies for the

little cottage of their dreams.

Now it is a curious thing to tell, but nevertheless quite true, that

though Sweep's stocking filled at last, and there were even two golden

dollars more than it could hold, still Little Sweep lived in her cold

bare attic. And still her master beat her. The reason of it all was

this. Sweep and Little Sweep could not agree upon a cottage. Sweep

wished a cottage with many chimneys, in order that he might work at his

trade. Little Sweep, on the other hand, who hated ashes and everything

to do with chimneys, wished for a house with all glass doors and windows

and no chimneys at all! Plainly the cottage to suit these two could not

be found. Then Sweep decided on a sage plan.

"Now do you be content with a house of fewer glass doors and windows,

Little Sweep," said he, "and likewise I shall content myself with fewer

chimneys." So again they set out, and this time soon found a cottage to

please them. Little Sweep swept the crossings before it; Sweep swept

down the chimneys. Then at the doors and windows Little Sweep hung up

the curtains she had made, and pinned the tidies to the backs of the

chairs. Sweep bought a ham and a bacon, and likewise a loaf of white

bread, and behold, they were ready to be married!

"My brother is after me."--Page 175.]

Sweep was very happy because his darling would sweep no crossings, and

neither would her cruel master beat her any more. Little Sweep rejoiced

because she did not like her trade; she was sure that she would never

again be hungry, for Sweep would buy her all the bread and buns she

could desire. Sweep took the two extra golden dollars and spent them

both on finery for Little Sweep. He bought her a little gray wedding

frock (to match her grimy, gray face, you know), some blue cotton

stockings, and a red ribbon for her hair. For himself he bought only a

gay green feather to wear in his hat and a bottle of oil to polish his

holiday shoes. Always, you will notice, he gave everything to Little


Then the day before their wedding day, some very strange things came to

pass. Little Sweep was standing at her crossing when a tiny little man,

dressed out in green and wearing a bright red cap, flew through the air

and perched upon her broomstick.

"Hide me, Little Sweep," cried Red Cap. "My brother is after me."

"Hide in my pocket," replied Little Sweep, and no sooner had the first

Red Cap crawled into her pocket than a second little creature, larger

than the first, flew through the air and perched upon her broomstick.

"Tell me, Little Sweep," cried the second little creature angrily, "have

you seen my brother flying north or east or south or west?"

Now as Little Sweep had heard that Red Caps often did great things for

those who befriended them, she stood silent.

"Stupid!" cried the second little creature, when she did not speak. Then

off he flew as suddenly as he had appeared, and out from Little Sweep's

pocket crawled the first Red Cap.

"Ugh!" exclaimed Red Cap, brushing his tiny beard and dusting his green

satin suit. "How comes it that your pocket is so very dusty?"

"I must keep ashes in it for my trade of sweeping crossings," replied

Little Sweep. "I hate it."

"Then perhaps I might find you a better trade," said Red Cap, gazing

thoughtfully at Little Sweep's gray grimy face and raggedy garments. "We

Red Caps, although we be very little folk, be very powerful folk, you


"Yes, I have heard that you grant wishes to poor folk sometimes,"

replied Little Sweep; "is that true?"

"It is," said Red Cap, nodding gravely. "Make three wishes now, and I

will grant them for you."

Now fairy lore is filled with tales of folk who had three wishes given

them, and, as you have perhaps remarked, these folk have often wished

too hastily and consequently wished unwisely. The old woman who wished

for black puddings is one, and the man who wished his mill to always

grind salt is another. And there are scores and scores of these unwise

folk that I could name. But Little Sweep was not like one of these. She

leaned upon her broom and paused some time in deepest thought. At last

she spoke.

"First," said she, "I wish to be a beautiful princess, dressed in robes

of satin sewn with gold, my face all clean and shining, and on my head a

coronet of pearls."

"Second, I wish to dwell within a splendid castle by the sea and have a

hundred rooms all filled full of gold and treasures, and a thousand

slaves to do my bidding.

"Third, I wish my old master to sweep crossings in my place. That is


"It is enough!" cried Red Cap in amazement. "To look at you, who would

ever think you would even know enough to wish such powerful wishes! My

store of magic power will be quite gone when all you wish is done; but

even so, I have promised, and we Red Caps always keep our promises. Go

home and wait quietly."

So Little Sweep flung down her broom, although it was but two o'clock in

the afternoon and she had yet to work until sundown, unless she wished a

beating. Her old master was seated in the kitchen, stirring up a bowl of

porridge, when she entered.

"Lazy one! Idle one!" he cried out in anger as she entered. "Is it thus

you leave your work at midday? But I have something to make you lively."

He seized the rope. But for once in her life Little Sweep was not


"You had better not," said she boldly. The old master heeded her not,

however, and raised the rope to strike. Before it fell, he screamed in

amazement! Little Sweep's rags fell from her suddenly, and she stood

before him, a beautiful princess robed in satin, and on her haughty

brow a coronet of pearls.

"Oh! Oh!" cried the old master in dismay. "Had I known you were a

beautiful princess in disguise, never, never would I have beaten you;

neither would I have starved you, you may be sure."

"That makes no difference now," replied the haughty princess with

spirit; "why did you beat me at all?" As she spoke, the old master

screamed again, this time in wildest terror. His garments changed

suddenly to sweeper's rags, and into his hands flew the very broom that

Little Sweep had just flung down! In this poor guise the old master fell

upon his knees and humbly begged a penny of the haughty princess. But

again she would not heed him.

"Out of my way, simpleton!" she exclaimed. "Now go and sweep crossings

in my place, and may your new master beat you even as you beat me!"

With that the new master entered the kitchen, and finding there the old

master dressed in sweeper's rags, sent him off with a cuff to go about

his work. A coach of pearl with silver trimmings drew up before the

door, and away went the haughty princess to her castle by the sea.

There, as she had wished, she found a hundred rooms filled full of gold

and treasures, and likewise found a thousand slaves to do her bidding.

But in the midst of all her glory and magnificence, the beautiful

princess was greatly worried. Can you think what troubled her? It was

exactly this. She had not a name suitable for her fine situation.

"Little Sweep" would never do for a beautiful princess, dwelling in a

splendid castle by the sea; also she was vexed lest her thousand slaves

should perchance learn that she had once swept crossings, and so despise

her. While she sat thinking thus, and greatly troubled, she heard soft

chimes sounding through the castle halls. Presently a servant dressed in

crimson plush and golden lace entered and bowed low before her.

"Will the Princess Cendre be pleased to dine?" asked the servant humbly,

and so it was that the haughty princess learned her new name. From that

time forth she quite forgot that she had ever been called "Little


"Lead the way, slave," she commanded haughtily, "and the Princess Cendre

will follow."

Then down to a great dining hall she went. Upon the walls were many

mirrors, and the table was laid with dishes of beaten gold. The Princess

Cendre (for we may never again call her Little Sweep, unless we wish to

make her very angry) gazed with delight at her image reflected in the

mirrors and ate with greatest satisfaction from the golden dishes. When

at last the meal was done, musicians played sweet airs for her pleasure.

Princess Cendre enjoyed the music, but oh, much more did she enjoy

gazing about the splendid hall wherein she sat! A thousand tapers made

all as bright as day; the walls were hung with silken tapestries, and

curtains made of lace as fine as cobwebs covered all the windows. It was

while she sat gazing thus that Princess Cendre suddenly bethought her of

the little cottage Sweep had furnished for her. Then it came also to her

mind that to-morrow was her wedding day.

"Well, to be sure," thought she, "if all these wondrous things had

never happened, I would have married Sweep. But now that would never do.

Sweep could not expect it. His black face would ill become my splendid

castle by the sea."

The musicians then sang good-night songs, and Princess Cendre sought her

room once more. There on a table she found several books with her title,

"Princess Cendre," stamped in golden letters on the covers. She was more

than pleased to see how it was written; she had been wondering how she

would even manage to spell this fine new name of hers. Before she slept

that night, she took pen and paper and practiced writing "Princess

Cendre" a hundred times, that she might do it gracefully forever after.

(While she had been a wretched little Crossing Sweeper, she had not

learned much in books, you know. So it was that she did not know that

"Princess Cendre" meant naught but "Princess Sweep" in a foreign



Now we must leave this selfish Princess Cendre sweetly sleeping in her

castle by the sea and make our way back to Sweep's snug little garret

once again. On the night of this eventful day Sweep returned home from

his labors very late. There was no light in the attic just across the

way, but he was quite content. He thought, of course, his Little Sweep

was safely tucked up there. Before he ate his bread and cheese, he

tossed three sugar cookies in at her window, and then set about

polishing his shoes and making himself extra smart for the morrow.

Sweep's candle burned very late; but even so, when he lay down to sleep

at last, he dreamed such dreadful dreams that he was glad when morning

came. He dreamed that he had lost his Little Sweep, and that he married

in her stead her broomstick dressed up in the little gray wedding frock.

The clock with the loud ringing bell wakened him at last, and Sweep

dressed himself in all his holiday attire. Then he called softly to the

attic just across the way.

"Wake up, my Little Sweep," said he; "this is your wedding day." He

tossed in a bright red apple, and presently a head was thrust forth from

the attic window opposite. Not Little Sweep's, as of course he had

expected, but the shocking, tousled head of the old master.

"Ah, kind Sweep!" exclaimed the old master, "I do most greatly thank

thee for the sugar cookies and the red apple."

"But those sugar cookies and red apple were not for you, old villain!"

cried Sweep. "They were for my darling Little Sweep. Give them to her at

once, I say."

"Oh, pray, good Sweep! I cannot give the sugar cookies or the red apple

to Little Sweep, because I have already eaten them myself; besides, she

is no longer here, you know," replied the old master, and then began to

tell the tale of wonders he had seen the day before.

Sweep listened in amazement. "Now if I find you have not told me true,"

cried he, "I will surely do you a mischief!" Then down the stairs he

sped, and over across the way. There, as the old master had declared,

Sweep found the new master in the kitchen. The new master was a pleasant

youth, and of amiable manners. He invited Sweep to stay and eat

breakfast with him, but Sweep, as you may suppose, was of no mind to

eat. Instead, he begged for news of Little Sweep.

"Indeed, I have seen no such person here," replied Master Jasper, "but

this I did see, which did most greatly astonish me. Yesterday, as I came

into this kitchen, a beautiful princess robed in shining satin swept

past me, and stepping into a coach of pearl was whirled from sight. That

old villain yonder began to mumble that this lovely princess had once

been his slave. Of course, I heeded him not, but fetched him a sharp

cuff on the ear and bade him go about his work."

Sweep now begged leave to look up in the attic, if the new master would

permit. Master Jasper gave him leave and led the way himself. Sweep

followed him with lagging tread. He now began to fear that this strange

tale might be true after all. Sadly he gazed about the cold, bare little

room. There in one corner he saw the bright-colored pasteboard box that

he had made for Little Sweep's poor treasures, and close by, on a peg,

hung the little gray wedding frock and the red ribbon he had bought


"Alas!" mourned Sweep, "it is all my fault! If my heart had not been

thus so stubbornly set upon a cottage with many chimneys, Little Sweep

and I would have been married long since, and then, of course, all this

magic would never have happened." The honest fellow wept bitter tears

that left great tracks all down his sooty face and made him look the

very picture of woe. Young Master Jasper felt sorry for him. He too had

lost his love, it seemed, and so he sought to comfort Sweep as best he


"Come, Sweep!" cried Master Jasper when he had heard. "All is not yet

lost. If Little Sweep loved you as dearly as you say, then she will only

love you ten times more, now that she is a princess! The thing for you

to do is this. Go seek until you find the castle or the palace wherein

she dwells. Who knows--why, even at this very moment she may be crying

her eyes out, because it is her wedding day, and yet Sweep has not


These words cheered Sweep. His spirits rose, and so he dried his tears

at once and then set out to seek the castle where his Little Sweep in

the guise of some fair princess might be dwelling. But though he sought

the whole day through, he sought in vain. When it was growing late, he

left the crowded city streets and ways and found himself among the open

fields and lanes. Then by and by, at twilight time, Sweep walked beside

the borders of the sea. There he sat down to rest, for he was very

weary. He tossed aside his cap and sighed to think how happy he had been

but last night, when he thrust the gay green feather in it. Then he

became aware of a voice speaking to him.

"I know where Little Sweep is dwelling," said the voice, and peering

down, Sweep saw a tiny Red Cap perched upon his knee. (It was the very

Red Cap that had hidden in Little Sweep's pocket the day before.) "If

you wish, I can take you there," continued Red Cap in a friendly


"Ah, Red Cap, if you only would!" cried Sweep. "My heart is broken

because I cannot find my darling."

"Then close your eyes and do not open them until I say," commanded Red


Sweep closed his eyes and felt himself a-sailing through the air. He

sailed so fast that he had scarcely time to draw a breath before he felt

himself set down upon the earth once more.

"Now look about you," commanded Red Cap.

Sweep obeyed. He found himself within a stately hall of marble; the

walls were carved with gold and coral, all in intricate designs, and

there, upon a throne of ivory set with gleaming sapphires, was seated

Princess Cendre. Her flowing robes of shimmering white seemed made of

moonbeams sewn together, so soft and luminous were they. Her hair, black

as a raven's wing, was bound with ropes of pearls and diamonds. The

Princess Cendre sat so still that Sweep at first believed she was some

lovely carven image he beheld. There was little to make one think of

Little Sweep, save that when the Princess Cendre spoke, her voice was

Little Sweep's.

"What brings you hither, Sweep?" cried Princess Cendre angrily, when she

became aware of him.

Sweep was astonished, but answered mildly, even so.

"Ah, Little Sweep," said he, "now who would think that fine new raiment

and a face all clean and shining would make this wondrous change in you?

But perchance, if you had ever worn the new gray frock I bought you for

our wedding, I would have known about your beauty."

"My name is Little Sweep no longer, but Princess Cendre, I would have

you know," she answered coldly. "And what have I to do with gray wedding

frocks, I should like to know?"

"Why, Little Sweep," began Sweep in great surprise, but she interrupted


"Princess Cendre, if you please!" cried she.

"Well, Princess Cendre, then," said Sweep. "Have you forgot that this is

our wedding day? I thought perhaps you would be grieved as I that we

were parted, and so I came hither to marry thee."

"To marry me!" exclaimed the Princess Cendre in astonishment. "With your

black face, do you suppose that I would marry you? I am the Princess

Cendre, you must not forget. And Sweep, if this be your wedding day, as

you say it is, my advice to you is this: Marry the Crossing Sweeper of

your choice, and if you cannot find her, choose another. The city is

full of such poor wretches; there are two or three at every corner."

Sweep could scarcely believe that he had heard aright. He had not

dreamed his Little Sweep would treat him thus. He was surprised and

pained to hear her use so many harsh words all at once. He had not

thought she knew any. In the old days when she had swept crossings for a

penny she had always been a gentle little creature.

"Surely you are joking, just to try me," cried poor Sweep. "If you had

loved truly, as you did often say, then though you did become empress of

all the world, you would love me still. My face is no blacker to-day

than it was yesterday or the day before that. Do not treat me thus

coldly, Little Sweep, or you will break my heart."

"And if you call me by that name again, I will have my servants cast you

from my topmost turret and break your head," replied the Princess Cendre

in a towering rage.

"When I was naught but a Crossing Sweeper, beaten always and half

starved, you gave me bread and buns and bade me love you. To be sure, I

ate the bread and buns because I was hungry. But now that I am become a

princess and no longer need your gifts, my heart bids me to marry none

but a prince. Moreover, the prince whom I shall wed must be handsome and

charming, and his lands and wealth must be greater than my lands and

wealth, which are very great indeed. So get you gone, now, Sweep. You

see how foolish was your errand."

Poor Sweep stood gazing silently at the haughty princess, so fair to see

and yet so hard of heart. Presently Red Cap bade him close his eyes

again. Sweep closed his eyes and found himself a-sailing through the

air, and once again he found himself upon the borders of the sea.

"Ah, Sweep, I am the cause of all thy misfortune," said Red Cap sadly.

"How so, my little friend?" asked Sweep.

"It is this way," said Red Cap. "If I had not vexed my brother

yesterday, he would not have chased me so fiercely, and I would never

have sought shelter in Little Sweep's pocket. Now, if I had not sought

shelter in Little Sweep's pocket, I would never have given her three

wishes, and she would never have become the Princess Cendre, but would

have married you upon her wedding day."

"But even so, Red Cap," sighed Sweep sadly, "you are not at fault. Had

Little Sweep desired, she might have wished me to be something high

along with her. But though she has been ungrateful and selfish, too, I

love her dearly and cannot bear to say a harsh word of her."

Red Cap was surprised at Sweep's gentle speech. He had expected him to

abuse Little Sweep and say unkind things of the haughty Princess Cendre.

In all his dealings with mortals (and he had many, for Red Cap was

nearly, if not quite, a thousand years of age), he had noticed that

mortals were prone to speak ill of those who had injured them. "Without

doubt this black-faced Sweep is of noble heart," thought Red Cap, "but I

shall try him even further."

Aloud he spoke: "Now, Sweep," said Red Cap, "I have no more magic of the

sort that can raise folk to wealth or high rank and noble station; but

I have still great power to destroy. Say but a word, and in an instant I

will destroy the castle by the sea. The Princess Cendre in a flash will

turn to Little Sweep; the old master will be back in the kitchen, and

young Master Jasper will be in his uncle's house once more. What do you

say to this plan?"

"To that I must say no," said Sweep. "I think it most unworthy."

"Then, Sweep, since you will have none of my plan, I must be off," said

Red Cap. "But hark you; although I have not magic power in great store,

if you desire aid at any time, make but a simple wish, and I will

instantly appear to help you. Now farewell!" he cried, and darted off.


Poor Sweep! Now that his Little Sweep had treated him so cruelly, he

became the saddest man that one could ever know. For days and days he

did nothing, but would sit with his head in his hands, staring at the

wall, thinking only of his Little Sweep. Nothing could arouse him, until

at last Master Jasper stepped across the way and scolded him roundly.

"Now, Sweep, this will not do!" cried Master Jasper. "The bread and

cakes and pies will burn in the ovens all over the land, if the chimneys

be not neatly swept down. Then how the housewives will scold, to be

sure! Likewise will the merchants say that Sweep is become a lazy

fellow, who sits idling all day long." Master Jasper, it will be seen,

was a sensible youth, as well as amiable and agreeable.

So once again Sweep set out with his smart little donkey cart all filled

with brooms and brushes. He found many a housewife angry because he had

delayed her spring house-cleaning; but when these angry housewives

looked at Sweep's black face, so sad and sorrowful, they had not the

heart to upbraid him. Now, strange to say, though Sweep was thus so dull

and disconsolate, his trade of sweeping down tall chimneys thrived as it

never had thrived before. He swept tall chimneys in the north of the

kingdom, and in the south also. Likewise he could often be seen driving

his smart little donkey cart to the east or to the west to sweep tall

chimneys there. The fame of Sweep's skill began to grow; he swept the

chimneys in the halls of dukes and earls. Indeed, the king and queen

commanded Sweep to bring his brooms and brushes and set to work about

the palace. Their majesties, it seemed, had been greatly troubled

because the royal kitchen chimney sent the smoke down instead of up and

made the royal cooks and maidens sneeze and sputter all day long. So

skillfully did Sweep deal with this stubborn chimney that ever afterward

it sent the smoke sky-high, as proper chimneys should. The royal cooks

and maidens sneezed and sputtered no more, and their royal majesties

were grateful as could be. The king with his own hands pinned a royal

decoration on Sweep's sooty sleeve. (But if I am to tell the truth, I

must tell too that from much soot and grime and dust this royal

decoration soon became as black as Sweep's own sooty sleeve and could

not be seen unless one looked quite closely.)

Now that his trade was thriving thus excellently and he had no longer

need to buy bread and buns for Little Sweep, Sweep's pennies grew to

golden dollars very rapidly. The golden dollars in their turn soon

filled the second stocking full, and even filled a third before Sweep

was well aware of it. But even so, he took no pleasure in his wealth;

he sighed instead because he had no longer Little Sweep to share it with

him. Then, lest he become a miser hoarding gold and spending it not,

Sweep at last bethought him of a kindly plan. Throughout the kingdom

there were thousands and thousands of other little Crossing Sweepers,

two or three at every corner waiting for a penny. These wretches, Sweep

knew well, were just as poor and miserable as his own Little Sweep had

been in days gone by. According to his kindly plan, Sweep now began to

change his store of golden dollars back to pennies once again. Then when

he met a little Crossing Sweeper standing broom in hand, Sweep would

fling a handful of pennies to the little creature. Sometimes he filled

his donkey cart with bread and buns and bright red apples to feed these

little Crossing Sweepers, in memory of his own lost Little Sweep. Until

at last from these good practices Sweep became known as the friend of

all Crossing Sweepers, and was greatly loved throughout the land.

So seven years passed by. Meanwhile Sweep and Master Jasper continued

friends. Sometimes Sweep stayed to supper in Master Jasper's comfortable

kitchen; other times Sweep would bid Master Jasper step across and smoke

a pipe or two with him. Then, one evening just at dusk, Sweep returned

from his labors and found young Master Jasper packed and ready for a


"Where are you off?" asked Sweep, and pointed to a musket flung beside a


"Have you not heard the news?" cried Master Jasper eagerly. "A whole

year since, a savage tribe invaded Yelvaland and carried off as prisoner

the young and lovely Empress Yelva. Now as this lovely empress has

neither father nor husband nor brothers to protect her, and her people

cry for aid, all youths who long for noble adventure are urged to fight

beneath her banners. Come join me, Sweep."

But Sweep shook his head. "It is not suitable that I should fight for

Empress Yelva," he replied. "My black face fits me for naught but my

trade of sweeping down tall chimneys."

"But you are wrong, Sweep," argued Master Jasper; "a black face in

battle is no great matter. Stout hearts and strong arms are sorely

needed. Come, and we shall march and fight together as brothers."

Again Sweep shook his head. "Indeed, good Master Jasper," answered he,

"I wish with all my heart that I might fight with thee against this

savage tribe and aid the lovely Empress Yelva; but alas! Who, save thee,

would care to march and fight beside a black-faced sweep?"

"A thousand would! Two thousand would--Nay! ten thousand would be glad

to march with thee, Sweep!" exclaimed a shrill small voice beside them.

On peering down, Sweep beheld a tiny Red Cap perched upon the poker; it

was the same that had befriended him so long ago.

"Ah, Sweep!" continued Red Cap briskly, "I took a fancy to you when we

first met, seven years ago, and had a notion then that I would like to

know you better. However, since in all these years you have not wished a

wish of me, I could not have the joy of your acquaintance. We Red Caps,"

he explained, "although we be such powerful folk, cannot appear to

mortals without they wish for us, you know."

"I had not known that," answered Sweep politely, "or I would have wished

some simple thing just for the pleasure of a chat with thee. But tell

me, how is it that you thus appear before me now?"

"Have you so soon forgot your wish?" asked Red Cap. "Did I not hear you

wish a moment since to fight beneath the banners of the Empress Yelva?

It is to grant that wish that I now come. And mark, since in seven years

you have wished no wish of me, my magic now has grown to power

tremendous. Behold thine army!"

Sweep heard the measured tramp of many feet, and looking through the

gathering gloom, beheld a line of forms that marched by, four and four,

and all were singing gayly as they went. At first Sweep could not tell

what manner of soldiers these might be, but presently his eyes became

accustomed to the dusk, and he perceived that this vast army was

composed of Crossing Sweepers armed with brooms instead of muskets.

Perched atop of every broomstick he could see a tiny creature similar in

looks and dress to the Red Cap perched upon the poker.

"My brothers and my cousins and likewise all my friends and uncles have

come to help thee too, Sweep," said Red Cap. "And thou, good Master

Jasper, throw aside thy musket, for in Sweep's army, muskets and such

like will be useless things."

Good Master Jasper quickly did as Red Cap had commanded and followed

after Sweep. Sweep shouldered his long brush and marched proudly at the

head of his strange army. And thus began the journey into Yelvaland.

Now of that journey there is not much to tell. To be sure, whenever it

was time for breakfast, dinner, or supper, the Red Caps clapped their

hands and there appeared a thousand tables spread with all good fare.

When night fell, or when storms arose, the Red Caps likewise caused a

city of ten thousand tents to spring up on the plains. The Crossing

Sweepers enjoyed the whole march as a holiday. In all their wretched

lives before they had not had such good things to eat. Their hollow

cheeks grew plump and rosy with the winds and sun, and Sweep's heart

rejoiced to see the happy changes that came upon his friends. At night

when they sat grouped about their campfires, the Crossing Sweepers sang

songs loud in praise of Sweep, whom they declared had always been their

friend and who now was the cause of their pleasant holiday.

Now while Sweep and his strange army were marching thus toward

Yelvaland, the people there were plunged in deep despair. The savage

troops had given their soldiers so many drubbings and such bitter

punishments in battle that they had quite lost heart. Judge then of

their great joy when they beheld a friendly force marching to their aid.

But as this horde drew near, and they perceived what manner of army it

really was, their hearts sank again.

"Alas!" sighed these discouraged folk of Yelvaland, "of what avail

against the savage troops will be this ragged rabble that approaches?"

But when Sweep's army entered into Yelvaland and began to lay about them

with their broomsticks, that was another story. Aided by the magic power

of the Red Caps, each broomstick fell with the force of fifty giant

fists and resounded loud as thunder on the mountain tops. The savage

troops stood their ground but a short time and then fled in terror

before these strange and powerful weapons which they had never seen

before. (Savages do not sweep their houses, you know, and so they knew

nothing of the useful broomstick.) Sweep, gallantly leading his vast

army, pursued the flying savages and gave them battle all the while. So

dextrously and well did the little Crossing Sweepers wield their brooms

that on the third night, when both armies had agreed to rest, these

savage troops rose up and stole off. Over the hills and far away they

fled and never again were heard or seen from that day to this. The

glorious part of Sweep's great victory was that he had not lost a single

follower in battle!

"And now to free the young and lovely Empress Yelva," said Sweep to Red

Cap, "and then our work is done."

"In all good time that too will be accomplished," answered Red Cap. "The

Empress Yelva lies hidden deep down in a well of her own tears. This

well lies close beside the gates of Yelvaland, and so you had best face

your army right about and march there."

Then once again the Crossing Sweepers shouldered their brooms and

marched gayly off to Yelvaland. They reached the gates of the kingdom

just as the moon was sinking slowly in the sky, and Sweep gave orders

that they wait until the dawn to enter.

"Come with me, Sweep," whispered Red Cap; "the time has come to seek the

Empress Yelva," and led him to a well within a grove of trees.

"Now, Sweep, attend me closely," warned Red Cap, "for if you do not as I

say, all will be lost. When the moon's last ray will light the waters of

this well, plunge down into its depths and bring the Empress Yelva up

with you. Lose not a second's time, for if the moonbeam leave the well

before you, the lovely Empress Yelva must forever remain prisoner and

yourself likewise. Do you think that you are nimble enough to try?"

"I know not of my nimbleness, but I will try," said Sweep, and plunged

down headlong, as a pale moonbeam shone down and silvered the dark

waters. Before the winking of an eye, it seemed, he rose again, clasping

the Empress Yelva by the hand. The moonbeam tarried long enough for

Sweep to see the lovely maiden he had rescued. Her eyes like two blue

violets shone with kindliness, her golden hair fell rippling like a

cloak about her, and when she spoke her voice was like the chime of

silver bells.

"Ah, sir!" exclaimed the lovely Empress Yelva. "Although from your poor

dress I know that you are naught but a humble Sweep, I honor you for

your brave deed, and I shall wed you."

At this poor Sweep was covered with confusion. He had not dreamed the

lovely Empress Yelva would so much as deign to thank him; had not the

haughty Princess Cendre scorned him? But even so his heart still longed

for his first love, and knowing nothing better to do, the honest fellow

told his sad tale to the empress, as they stood beside the well. She

listened closely all the while.

"You have a noble heart, good Sweep," said she when he had done, "and

though you do not choose to wed me, I bear you no malice, but instead

shall help you win your Little Sweep, who has become the Princess


"Alas, your worship!" said Sweep sadly, "that can never be. The

Princess Cendre would scorn my black face, no matter what my fame or


"Why as to that, Sweep," cried Red Cap, "have no more concern. The

Empress Yelva's tears, it would seem, are magic, for since you have

plunged down the well, your face is become clean and white as though

'twere scrubbed a dozen times. You are now a handsome fellow."

"And when I have rewarded you suitably, the Princess Cendre will be more

than glad to wed you, rest assured, good Sweep," said Empress Yelva.

"But now the dawn is here, so let us hasten that I may see my people and

my own dear Yelvaland once more."

You may imagine that there was wild rejoicing when Sweep and his vast

strange army knocked upon the gates of the kingdom and demanded that

they open wide for Empress Yelva. A holiday that lasted seven days was

set, and there were games and sports and pleasures. The people sang and

danced upon the highways, and oxen were roasted whole upon great

bonfires. Sweep and all the Crossing Sweepers were praised and honored

throughout the length and breadth of Yelvaland, and all was merry as

could be.

When this great holiday was passed, as holidays all do, the business of

the court began again. The Empress Yelva ordered that a cottage and a

piece of ground, as well as two bags filled with gold, be given to each

Crossing Sweeper in reward for their brave deeds. The Crossing Sweepers

were so delighted with their gifts that they never again returned to

their own land but dwelled in Yelvaland for all their days. The Red Caps

likewise were so pleased with lovely Empress Yelva and so admired her

kind heart and sense of gratitude that they decided from that day to

make their home among the forests of her realm.

"And now, Sweep," said the Empress Yelva, when all this was done, "I

have not forgot the promise that I made thee." Accordingly she made him

prince. His title was Prince Sweepmore and his domain of Sweepmost was

twice as great and twice as rich as was the domain of haughty Princess

Cendre. Sweep now was dressed in crimson velvet. The Empress Yelva from

her treasure store gave him a golden sword all set with rubies that

flashed forth flame and fire in the sun. A hundred horses laden all with

bags of gold and pearls were also given him, as well as a like number of

servants to attend him. Then once again Sweep set forth to marry

Princess Cendre.

"I grieve to see thee go, good Sweep," sighed Empress Yelva as they

parted, "but even so I do admire thy faithful heart that bids thee go."

"And I likewise do grieve to go; and I thank thee for thy gifts," Sweep

answered. He bade young Master Jasper farewell too. Young Master Jasper

had fallen deep in love with a noble maiden of the Empress Yelva's court

and was about to marry her.

A royal messenger had been sent before to tell these tidings to the

Princess Cendre. Now, strange to say, though the haughty Princess was

thus beautiful and wealthy, she was still unwed. To be sure, many

princes of small fortunes had sought her hand, but of these the haughty

creature would have none. However, her selfish ways had not pleased

princes whom she had desired to please, and so it was she sat alone

within her splendid castle by the sea. You may be sure that she

rejoiced when she learned that Sweep was now a prince with land and

riches in good store.

"Ah!" she exclaimed, "his face is clean and shining too, I hear, which

is excellent. I could not tolerate him otherwise; but as it is, I shall

delight to wed him." And so the haughty princess sent for milliners and

jewelers and for bootmakers and dressmakers too. She bought such silken

hose and high-heeled shoes as must have cost a fortune, and had her

wedding dress sewn thick with diamonds. When word was brought that the

new prince was come, she donned this sparkling robe and received him

with great courtesy.

"Ah, Sweep!" cried she, "although I know full well that Empress Yelva

hath given thee a fine new title, I love to call thee by the dear old

name I used to know. Tell me of thy life since last we parted. I have

heard the Empress Yelva desired to marry thee herself. The forward

creature! I blush for her that she should be so bold. She must be very

plain of face indeed if she must go a-seeking for a husband."

To these sharp words Sweep made reply: "Indeed, the Empress Yelva is so

fair of face that neither tongue nor pen can well describe her beauty.

Moreover, she is so kind of heart and gentle of manner that though she

were as plain as plain, I still would think her lovely!"

"Indeed!" returned the haughty Princess Cendre and gazed with

satisfaction in her mirror. "However, it is not to chat about this

forward creature that you have come hither; it is to wed me. Come, my

bishops are in readiness; my guests are waiting."

Now, when Sweep at last beheld this haughty Princess after seven years

of longing, he found a curious change had come upon him. He became aware

that he no longer loved her, and that her haughty manner and her

spiteful speech distressed him. At last he saw her as she really was, an

ungrateful, cold-hearted creature who thought of no one but herself.

(Although Sweep knew it not, the waters of the well had wrought this

change in him. You may be sure that Red Cap was aware of it!) So though

his heart was grieved to give another pain, Sweep determined to speak

his mind quite plainly.

"Ah, Princess Cendre," said he, "I fear me you must tell your guests

that you have changed your mind and bid your bishops go. For since my

black face has been changed as though by magic, it would seem my heart

and mind by magic were changed too. I know now that thou art too cold

and proud to be my princess; a princess should delight to make folk

happy, and that I fear me you would never do."

The Princess Cendre was enraged at this talk. We well know that she had

a dreadful temper when it was aroused, and she chose to rouse it now.

She stormed and she scolded; she threatened Sweep and she denounced him;

but she could not move his resolution.

"You have come hither to wed me. This is my wedding day, and you shall

not ride away!" cried she.

"Nay, but I will," returned Sweep. "Once before I came hither to wed

thee on thy wedding day, and once before I rode away. And so farewell!"

Away rode Sweep with all his train, and stopped nor stayed until he

reached the gates of Yelvaland. A herald told the news of his approach,

and Empress Yelva with her noble lords and ladies went forth to welcome

him. Sweep fell upon his knee and humbly begged the lovely maiden's hand

in marriage, and Empress Yelva smilingly consented.

"Indeed, dear Sweep!" declared the Empress Yelva, "I had a notion all

the while that you would soon return, and had our wedding feast

prepared!" (Now could it have been that the Red Caps whispered of the

magic change the well of her own tears had caused?)

Then straightway Sweep and Empress Yelva were married. Young Master

Jasper and the noble maiden were married too; it was a double wedding.

Another feast was held, so bounteous and so magnificent that all

previous feasts seemed poor and mean by comparison. Sports and games

were set, and prizes of great value were awarded. Each nobleman received

a bag of diamonds as a gift, each noble lady a rope of pearls. The

common people, one and all, were given each a bag of golden coins that

they too might make merry. The lords and dukes danced on the highways

with the dairymaids; the Empress Yelva and her ladies trod minuets with

shepherd lads and farmer boys, and all was merry as a marriage feast

should be.

Sweep now was Emperor. He wore a robe of purple bordered deep with

ermine, and held a sceptre clustered thick with diamonds when he sat at

court. With Empress Yelva by his side, he now rode forth in a splendid

chariot of gold and royal enamels. But though he was thus raised to high

rank and great wealth, Sweep was as amiable and as kind of heart as he

had been when he swept down tall chimneys for his living and drove his

donkey cart all filled with brooms and brushes. To tell the truth,

however, Sweep had little opportunity to do kind deeds. There were no

poor folk to be found in Yelvaland. The Empress Yelva governed her realm

too well and wisely for that. Now it happened on one winter's day, when

all the ground was white, Sweep noticed that the frost hung thick and

glistened on the branches of the firs and cedars.

"It seems to me, my dear," said Sweep to Empress Yelva, "that it would

be most suitable if we should build some houses for our little friends,

the Red Caps, who are dwelling in our forest. I fear me that they

suffer greatly from the cold."

The Empress Yelva thought this plan most excellent, and soon the royal

carpenters and joiners were set to making tiny little houses. When these

were made, the royal painters colored them bright green with bright red

roofs, which was quite like the costume of the Red Caps, if you will

remark. The Empress Yelva and her noble lords and ladies then hung these

tiny houses in the branches of the firs and cedars, and they looked like

so many brightly colored bird-houses. When the Red Caps flew home that

night, they were delighted; they guessed at once for whom these tiny

houses were meant. They praised Sweep and complimented him on his kind

heart and his thoughtful ways.

"We Red Caps do many kind things for mortals," they remarked most sagely

to each other, "but it is seldom mortals ever think to do kind things

for us. It is quite fitting that Sweep should be Emperor; he hath a

noble heart, as sovereigns all should have."

It happened then upon another day, while still the snow lay thick upon

the ground, that Princess Cendre and her servants went a-riding through

this forest. The haughty princess marked the tiny brightly colored

houses, and asked what they might be. A forester near by made answer


"Now if your royal highness please," said he, "Sweep, our good Emperor,

hath caused these to be made for our little friends, the Red Caps. They

suffered greatly with the cold, he thought."

"Indeed!" exclaimed the Princess Cendre. "Then your little friends, the

Red Caps, must suffer from the cold again, I fear. I have taken a great

fancy to these pretty toys and mean to hang them in my own forests, that

my goldfinches and nightingales may dwell therein in winter, instead of

flying to the southland." She then desired her servants to cut down the

tiny, brightly colored houses and rode off, little thinking of the

mischief she had done.

That night, when the Red Caps flew home, they were agitated and buzzed

about like so many angry little bees. They missed their tiny comfortable

houses and shivered with the cold. They knew, of course, who had done

this. They knew all things--these Red Caps of the olden days.

"Now this haughty Princess Cendre is impossible!" they declared most

wrathfully. "She cares not though we freeze to death; although we have

done noble things for her, she has quite forgot them. She has been

princess long enough!" they cried. "Let her be Little Sweep again," and

they clapped their hands in anger.

Then in that instant vanished the splendid castle by the sea, and

Princess Cendre's robes of satin fell from her. She found herself

dressed out in sweeper's rags, and once more, broom in hand, standing on

her corner. The old master, back within his comfortable kitchen again,

was disposed to treat her no better than he had before; and so, for all

her days, Little Sweep was forced to dwell within her cold, bare attic.

But there was no kind Sweep to toss her bread and buns each day nor buy

her bright red apples or plum cake.

Sweep, on the other hand, lived long and happily as Emperor. He and the

lovely Empress Yelva, it is said, were blessed with twenty children, all

of whom inherited Sweep's noble nature and his kindly heart.