The Rooster The Hand-mill And The Swarm Of Hornets
: The Swedish Fairy Book
Once upon a time there was a peasant who wanted to go to sell a pig.
After he had gone a while, he met a man who asked him where he was
going with his pig. "I want to sell it," answered the peasant, "but I
do not know what to do to get rid of it." "Go to the devil," said the
man, "he will be the first to rid you of it." So the peasant kept on
along the broad highway.
When he came to the devil's place, the
e stood a man out by the
wood-pile making wood. The peasant went to him and asked whether he
could tell him if they wanted to buy a pig in the devil's place. "I'll
go in and ask," said the man, "if you will make wood in my stead while
I am gone." "Yes, I will do that gladly," said the peasant, took the
ax, stood at the wood-pile and began to make wood. And he worked and
worked until evening came; but the man did not return to tell him
whether they would or would not buy a pig in the devil's place.
At length another man came that way, and the peasant asked him whether
he would make wood in his stead, for it was impossible to lay down the
ax unless another took it up and went on working. So the man took the
ax and stood there making wood, and the peasant went into the devil's
place himself, and asked whether any one wanted to buy a pig.
A crowd as large as that at a fair at once gathered, and all wanted to
buy the pig. Then the peasant thought: "Whoever pays the most, gets
it." And one would overbid another, offering far more than a whole
herd of pigs were worth. But at last a gentleman came along who
whispered something to the peasant, and told him to come along with
him; and he could have all the money he wanted.
So when they had reached the gentleman's house, and the peasant had
given him the pig, he received in payment a rooster who would lay
silver coins as often as he was told to do so. Then the peasant went
his way, well content with his bargain. But on the way home he stayed
overnight at a tavern kept by an old woman. And he was so exceedingly
happy about his splendid rooster, that he had to boast about him to
the old woman, and show her how he went about laying silver coins. And
at night, when the peasant was fast asleep, the old woman came and
took away his rooster, and put another in its place. No sooner did
the peasant awake in the morning than he wanted to set his rooster to
work. "Lay quickly, rooster of mine! Lay big silver coins, my
rooster!" But the rooster could lay no silver coins at all, and only
answered "Kikeriki! Kikeriki! Kikeriki!" Then the peasant fell into a
rage, wandered back to the devil's place, complained about the
rooster, and told how absolutely worthless he was. He was kindly
received, and the same gentleman gave him a hand-mill. When he called
out "Mill grind!" to it, it would grind as much meal as he wanted it
to, and would not stop until he said: "Mill, stop grinding!" And the
mill would grind out every kind of meal for which he asked.
When the peasant set out for home, he reached the same tavern at which
he had already put up in the evening, so he turned in and decided to
stay over night. He was so pleased with the mill that it was
impossible for him to hold his tongue; so he told the old woman what a
valuable mill he had, and showed her how it worked. But during the
night, while he was asleep, the old woman came and stole his mill and
put another in its place.
When the peasant awoke in the morning, he was in a great hurry to test
his mill; but he could not make it obey. "Mill grind!" he cried. But
the mill stood still. Then he said: "Dear mill, grind wheat meal!"
but it had no effect. "Then grind rye meal!" he shouted; but that did
not help, either. "Well, then, grind peas!" But the mill did not seem
to hear; but stood as still as though it had never turned a single
time in all its life. Then the peasant took the road back to the
devil's place again, and at once hunted up the gentleman who had
purchased his pig, and told him the mill would grind no more meal.
"Do not grieve about that," said the gentleman, and gave him a large,
large hornets' nest, full of hornets, who flew out in swarms and stung
any one whom they were told to sting, until one said "stop!" to them.
Now when the peasant again came to the old woman, he told her he had a
swarm of hornets who obeyed his commands. "Heavens above!" cried the
woman, "that's something worth while seeing!" "You may see it without
any trouble," replied the peasant, and at once called: "Out, out, my
hornets and sting the old woman!" And at once the entire swarm fell
upon the old woman, who began to scream pitifully. She begged the
peasant to please call back his hornets, and said she was only too
willing to give back the rooster and the mill she had taken.
The peasant did not object to this; but ordered his hornets to leave
the old woman alone, and fly back into their house. Then he went home
with his rooster, his mill and his hornets, became a rich man and
lived happily until he died. And he was in the habit of saying: "They
have a big fair in the devil's place, and you find real decent people
there, and above all, a liberal gentleman, with whom it is a pleasure
to do business."
In "The Rooster, the Hand-Mill and the Swarm of Hornets" (Mss.
record by Stephens, from Wermland, communicated by Dr. v.
Sydow-Lund) a poor peasant received three splendid gifts in the
devil's place. The rooster who lays gold coins is a widely
known magic bird, and the magic mill is also met with in the