shepherd-boy, who watched a flock of sheep near a village, brought out the villagers
three or four times by crying out, "Wolf! Wolf!" and when his neighbors
came to help him, laughed at them for their pains.
The Wolf, however, did
truly come at last. The Shepherd-boy, now really alarmed, shouted in an agony
of terror: "Pray, do come and help me; the Wolf is killing the sheep";
but no one paid any heed to his cries, nor rendered any assistance. The Wolf,
having no cause of fear, at his leisure lacerated or destroyed the whole flock.
There is no believing a liar, even when he speaks the truth.
miser sold all that he had and bought a lump of gold, which he buried in a hole
in the ground by the side of an old wall and went to look at daily. One of his
workmen observed his frequent visits to the spot and decided to watch his movements.
He soon discovered the secret of the hidden treasure, and digging down, came to
the lump of gold, and stole it. The Miser, on his next visit, found the hole empty
and began to tear his hair and to make loud lamentations. A neighbor, seeing him
overcome with grief and learning the cause, said, "Pray do not grieve so;
but go and take a stone, and place it in the hole, and fancy that the gold is
still lying there. It will do you quite the same service; for when the gold was
there, you had it not, as you did not make the slightest use of it."
The Snow Queen
by Hans Christian
There is a legend that, once upon a time, a beautiful fairy,
the Snow Queen, lived on the highest, most solitary peaks of the Alps. The mountain
folk and shepherds climbed to the summits to admire her, and everyone fell head
over heels in love with her.
Every man would have given anything, including
his life, to marry her. Indeed, their lives are just what they did give, for Fate
had decided that no mortal would every marry the Snow Queen. But in spite of that,
many brave souls did their best to approach her, hoping always to persuade her.
Each suitor was allowed to enter the great ice palace with the crystal
roof, where the Queen's throne stood. But the second he declared his love and
asked for her hand, thousands of goblins appeared to grasp him and push him over
the rocks, down into bottomless abysses.
Without the slightest emotion,
the Queen would watch the scene, her heart of ice unable to feel anything at all.
The legend of the crystal palace and the beautiful heartless Queen spread as far
as the most distant alpine valley, the home of a fearless chamois hunter. Fascinated
by the tale, he decided to set out and try his luck. Leaving his valley, he journeyed
for days on end, climbing the snowclad mountain faces, scaling icebound peaks
and defying the bitterly cold wind that swept through the alpine gullies.
than once he felt all was lost, but the thought of the lovely Snow Queen gave
him new strength and kept him moving onwards. At last, after many days climbing,
he saw glinting in the sunshine before him, the tall transparent spires of the
Summoning all his courage, the young man entered the Throne
Room. But he was so struck by the Snow Queen's beauty that he could not utter
a word. Shy and timid, he did not dare speak. So he knelt in admiration before
the Queen for hours on end, without opening his mouth. The Queen looked at him
silently, thinking all the while that, provided he did not ask her hand in marriage,
there was no need to call the goblins.
Then, to her great surprise, she
discovered that his behaviour touched her heart. She realised she was becoming
quite fond of this hunter, much younger and more handsome than her other suitors.
Time passed and the Snow Queen dared not admit, not even to herself, that she
would actually like to marry the young man.
In the meantime, the goblins
kept watch over their mistress; first they were astonished, then they became more
and more upset. For they rightly feared that their Queen might be on the point
of breaking the Law and bringing down on the heads of all the Mountain People
the fury of Fate.
Seeing that the Queen was slow to give the order to get
rid of her suitor, the goblins decided to take matters into their own hands. One
night, as dusk fell, they slipped out of the cracks in the rock and clustered
round the young chamois hunter. Then they hurled him into the abyss. The Snow
Queen watched the whole scene from the window, but there was nothing she could
do to stop them. However, her icy heart melted, and the beautiful cruel fairy
suddenly became a woman.
A tear dropped from her eye, the first she had
ever shed. And the Snow Queen's tear fell on to a stone where it turned into a
little silvery star.
This was the first edelweiss ... the flower that grows
only on the highest, most inaccessible peaks in the Alps, on the edge of the abyss
and precipice . . .