Hansel and Gretel by Jessie Wilcox Smith

Household Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm translated by Margaret Hunt

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs by John Hassall

Grimm's Household Tales with the
Author's Notes
translated by Margaret Hunt

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Old Sultan

A FARMER once had a faithful dog called Sultan, who had grown old, and lost all his teeth, so that he could no longer hold anything fast. One day the farmer was standing with his wife before the house-door, and said, "To-morrow I intend to shoot Old Sultan, he is no longer of any use."

His wife, who felt pity for the faithful beast, answered, "He has served us so long, and been so faithful, that we might well give him his keep."

"Eh! what?" said the man. "You are not very sharp. He has not a tooth left in his mouth, and not a thief is afraid of him; now he may be off. If he has served us, he has had good feeding for it."

The poor dog, who was lying stretched out in the sun not far off, had heard everything, and was sorry that the morrow was to be his last day. He had a good friend, the wolf, and he crept out in the evening into the forest to him, and complained of the fate that awaited him. "Hark ye, gossip," said the wolf, "be of good cheer, I will help you out of your trouble. I have thought of something. To-morrow, early in the morning, your master is going with his wife to make hay, and they will take their little child with them, for no one will be left behind in the house. They are wont, during work-time, to lay the child under the hedge in the shade; you lay yourself there too, just as if you wished to guard it. Then I will come out of the wood, and carry off the child. You must rush swiftly after me, as if you would seize it again from me. I will let it fall, and you will take it back to its parents, who will think that you have saved it, and will be far too grateful to do you any harm; on the contrary, you will be in high favor, and they will never let you want for anything again."

The plan pleased the dog, and it was carried out just as it was arranged. The father screamed when he saw the Wolf running across the field with his child, but when Old Sultan brought it back, then he was full of joy, and stroked him and said, "Not a hair of yours shall be hurt, you shall eat my bread free as long as you live." And to his wife he said, "Go home at once and make Old Sultan some bread-sop that he will not have to bite, and bring the pillow out of my bed, I will give him that to lie upon."

Henceforth Old Sultan was as well off as he could wish to be.

Soon afterwards the wolf visited him, and was pleased that everything had succeeded so well. "But, gossip," said he, "you will just wink an eye if when I have a chance, I carry off one of your master's fat sheep." "Do not reckon upon that," answered the dog; "I will remain true to my master; I cannot agree to that." The wolf, who thought that this could not be spoken in earnest, came creeping about in the night and was going to take away the sheep. But the farmer, to whom the faithful Sultan had told the wolf's plan, caught him and dressed his hide soundly with the flail. The wolf had to pack off, but he cried out to the dog, "Wait a bit, you scoundrel, you shall pay for this."

The next morning the wolf sent the boar to challenge the dog to come out into the forest so that they might settle the affair. Old Sultan could find no one to stand by him but a cat with only three legs, and as they went out together the poor cat limped along, and at the same time stretched out her tail into the air with pain.

The wolf and his friend were already on the spot appointed, but when they saw their enemy coming they thought that he was bringing a sabre with him, for they mistook the outstretched tail of the cat for one. And when the poor beast hopped on its three legs, they could only think every time that it was picking up a stone to throw at them. So they were both afraid; the wild boar crept into the under-wood and the wolf jumped up a tree.

The dog and the cat, when they came up, wondered that there was no one to be seen. The wild boar, however, had not been able to hide himself altogether; and one of his ears was still to be seen. Whilst the cat was looking carefully about, the boar moved his ear; the cat, who thought it was a mouse moving there, jumped upon it and bit it hard. The boar made a fearful noise and ran away, crying out, "The guilty one is up in the tree." The dog and cat looked up and saw the wolf, who was ashamed of having shown himself so timid, and made friends with the dog.

Next Tale:
The Six Swans

Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. Household Tales. Margaret Hunt, translator. London: George Bell, 1884, 1892. 2 volumes.


From two stories which complete each other, one from Lower Hesse, the other from the district of Paderborn. In the latter it is the fox and the bear which are about to have a combat, and the story opens with the tale, so well known from the Reinecke Vos, of the fox luring the bear to the honey, and shutting him fast in a tree. The latter then demands to be set free that he may revenge himself. According to a third story, likewise from the region of Paderborn, the fox has the dog and the bee as well as the cat to support him. The bee gets into the ear of the swine which is on the side of the bear, and stings it; the cat catches a mouse and throws it into the bear's open mouth, it bites his tongue, and the two run screaming away. On the second day they arrange that whichsoever of them can first run up a mountain, shall be lord of the others. The fox has a brother who resembles him so much that they cannot be distinguished from each other; he sends him on in front (as in The Hedgehog and his Wife, No. 187), and then begins the race at the same time as the bear, but remains behind intentionally and conceals himself. When the bear reaches the top the fox is there, and the bear thinks that it is the right fox, and cries angrily, "I wish the storm would overwhelm me." A youth is, however, sitting in the very tree under which the bear is standing, who has fled thither to escape when he saw the animals running towards him, and in his terror he lets his axe fall, and it hits the bear's head and kills him. This incident occurs likewise in a story from Transylvania; see Haltrich, No. 14 and No. 34. In a fourth story also from the district of Paderborn a discourse is inter woven in which the bear describes his meeting with a huntsman (compare No. 72): "I met a man who made a long, long nose at me (aimed his gun) and spat fire out of it, and black seed in my face; then I rushed at him, bat he pulled a white rib out of his side which was sharp, and struck me on the paws, but I broke it in two, and then he fetched out a black rib (the scabbard), but I contrived to get away." In Wendish, see The War of the Wolf and the Fox (No. 8) in Haupt and Schmaler. In Servian, see Reinhart Fuchs, ccxciv. In Esthonian, the same, cclxxxv. The story of The Fox and Horse (No. 32) is allied to this, and so is the Willow Wren and the Bear, (No. 102). Also The War of the Wasps and the Ass, in Barachja Nikdani, in Wolf's Zeitschrift, 1. 1, 2; and lastly, Der kleine Knäpzagel in Haltrich, No. 31. A story of animals in Lassberg's Liedersaal, 1, 291, should also be compared, and the eleventh extravaganza, The Wolf and the Hungry Dog, in Steinhöwel (1487), pp. 56, 57.

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