one-half his kingdom

Frequently a parent in the home, a teacher in the schoolroom, a
minister, or other child-helper, in dealing with children, wishes
to find a suitable story, at a moment’s notice, that may aptly and
forcibly illustrate some ethical principle that he may wish to
inculcate. Often a story, well selected and aptly told, will hold up
“the mirror to nature” and, indirectly, by the law of suggestion,
impress the mind and heart of the child far more successfully than a
precept, command, or obtrusive moral. The Ethical Index, which will be
found at the end of this book, on page 291, is for this purpose. By a
moment’s reflection upon the moral principle desired to be impressed
or suggested, a story illustrating it may be found. Of course, in many
stories more than one ethical principle may be found, but no more
than one, and that the strongest and most evident lesson, should be
emphasized in one story. In this ethical use of a story great care must
be taken not to overemphasize the moral lesson embedded in it, for that
will be to lose it. In the use of this index the story-teller may well
remember the prayer of Henry Van Dyke, “May I never tag a moral to a
tale or tell a story without a meaning.”


Once upon a time seven hungry children were standing around the
fireside, watching their mother frying a pancake for supper. “Oh, give
me a bit, mother dear, I’m so hungry,” each of the children said.
“Yes,” said the mother, “only wait till it turns, and you shall have
some.” Pancake trembled and tried to jump out of the pan, but its back
was so weak that it fell flat again on the other side. When that side
was cooked, and its back felt stronger, Pancake gave a spring, jumping
right out of the pan upon the floor, and began rolling away like a
wheel, out through the door and down the steep hill. “Stop! Stop!
Pancake!” cried the mother, running after it with the frying-pan in
one hand and the spoon in the other. “Stop! won’t you stop?” all the
children screamed; but Pancake rolled on faster and faster down the
hill. It was a funny sight to see a man, and a hen, and a rooster, and
a duck, and a goose, and a gander, all joining in the chase, trying to
catch Pancake, who slipped by them all and rolled on. At the bottom of
the hill there was a deep river. Just as Pancake rolled near it a Pig
came up and said, “Pancake, roll on my snout, and I’ll take you safely
across.” “Thank you,” said Pancake, rolling right upon Piggy’s nose.
He sat there till they reached the other side in safety. “Ouf! Ouf!”
then grunted the Pig; “what will you pay me for carrying you across?”
When Pancake said, “I haven’t anything to pay you,” the Pig threw back
his head, opened his mouth wide, and down went Pancake, saying, “I wish
I had been eaten by those poor, hungry children, rather than by this
nasty Pig!” And that was the end of Runaway Pancake.


Once there was a Little Red Hen that lived, so neat and tidy, all alone
in her house in the wood. Over the hill and far away in a den in the
rocks lived a bad young Fox. He wanted to eat the Little Red Hen, but
every time he went to her home he could not get her. One morning he
took a big bag and told his mother to have the pot boiling when he got
home so they could cook the Hen for supper that night. Over the hill
he crept, trot, trot, trot, and saw Little Red Hen picking up sticks
in front of her house. The Fox quietly slipped in without being seen,
and hid behind the door. The Little Red Hen came in with her apron
full of sticks, but when she saw the Fox with his bushy tail spread
out on the floor, she became so scared she flew with a great scream to
a high beam under the roof. The tricky Fox began to whirl around and
around after his tail so fast that the Hen got so dizzy she fell to
the floor. Quickly the Fox picked her up, popped her into his bag, and
trotted off for home. Coming to a hill he thought he would stop, to
take a rest, and he put his bag on the ground. Quick as a wink the Hen
pecked a hole in the bag, jumped out, rolled a stone into the bag in
her place, flew away to her home, and locked the door. “The Little Red
Hen is heavy,” said the Fox as he started off again. As soon as he saw
his mother, he cried, “Here is the Hen for our supper. Lift the cover
off the pot, while I pop her in.” When the mother lifted the cover, the
young Fox untied the bag and gave it a shake. Pop! Splash! Splash! Into
the boiling water dropped the heavy stone. Out flew the boiling water,
splashing and scalding the young Fox and his mother to death. So the
Little Red Hen lived happily and tidily in her house after that.


Once a mother lived with her three sons in a house in the woods. One
day the mother said to the oldest son, “Go, and cut wood in the forest,
and here is a good dinner for you.” At dinnertime a queer, little old
man came up and said, “I’m so hungry. Give me some of your dinner.”
“Be off,” said the selfish boy, and he ate all his dinner by himself.
Then he began to chop down a tree, but his axe slipped and cut his
leg, and he went hobbling home without any wood. Next day the mother
said to the next boy, “Go, and cut wood in the forest, and here is a
good dinner for you.” At dinnertime the same queer little old man came
and said, “I’m so hungry. Give me some of your dinner.” “No,” said the
selfish boy, who ate all his dinner by himself. Then he began to chop
a tree, but his axe slipped and cut his foot, and he went hobbling
home without any wood. The next morning the youngest boy, Dummling,
said, “Mother, I’ll get you some wood.” His mother gave him only some
dry crusts, and he went into the woods. The same little old man came,
saying, “I’m so hungry. Give me some of your dinner.” “Yes, gladly, I
will,” said Dummling. In a moment the little old man changed the dry
bread into a rich feast, and they both ate as much as they wanted. Then
the little old man said: “You have been kind to me. Now I will do
something for you. Cut down this tree, and at the roots you will find a
Golden Goose.” Dummling quickly chopped down the tree, and in a hollow
at the roots found a Golden Goose. He picked it up and went to the
nearest stopping-place for the night, where he found three sisters who
wanted some of the golden feathers. So, when Dummling had gone to bed,
the oldest girl went in where the goose was to pluck a feather, but
she stuck fast. The second girl came in later to pluck a feather, and
she stuck fast too. Then the third sister, greedy for a feather too,
put in her hand to get one, and she stuck fast. So the three girls had
to stay with the goose all night. The next morning Dummling came in,
and, not noticing the girls were stuck fast to it, picked up the goose
and started off with it under his arm. The three girls were obliged
to follow as fast as their legs could carry them down the street. A
minister seeing the strange sight called out, “Shame! following a man
like that! Let go!” But as soon as he touched them he stuck fast and
had to follow. Then a policeman ran up, saying to the minister, “For
shame! following girls like that! Let go!” And as soon as he touched
them he stuck fast and had to follow. It was a funny sight to see these
five trudging behind one another. “Help! Help!” cried the policeman.
Then two men going to work with picks and spades ran up, but as soon as
they touched them they stuck fast and had to follow. So these seven,
all in line, treading on one another’s heels, followed Dummling and
his Golden Goose until they reached the gates of the city in which a
King lived who had a daughter so very serious that no one could ever
make her laugh. The King had promised that whoever could make her
smile should have her for a wife, and should be the King’s son. When
Dummling heard that he went at once near the palace window, and when
the Princess looked out and saw such a comical sight she burst into a
hearty laugh. So Dummling became the King’s son, and lived with the
Princess and his Golden Goose, happy ever afterward.


Once there was a mother who lived with her two daughters in a house
in the woods. The elder daughter was very proud and disagreeable; the
younger one was kind, sweet-tempered, and beautiful. The mother was
very fond of the elder daughter because she was more like herself, and
she disliked the younger one and made her work hard all the time in the
kitchen and go twice a day to carry water in a pitcher from the spring
in the woods two miles from home.

One day, when this younger daughter was at the spring, a poor old woman
came to her and asked her for a drink. “Yes,” said the kind, obliging
girl, and she gave her a cool, refreshing drink from her pitcher. The
woman said: “As you have been kind to me, I will give you this gift. At
every word you speak a jewel or a flower shall come from your mouth.”
When she reached home her mother scolded her for being gone so long. “I
beg your pardon, mother dear,” she said, “for not being quicker.” And
as she spoke, out of her mouth dropped two diamonds, two pearls, and
six roses. “What do I see?” exclaimed her mother. When the girl told
her all, the mother said: “I must send my dearest daughter to receive
this gift too. Come, Fanny, see what comes out of your sister’s mouth
when she speaks. All you have to do to get the same gift is to go and
give the poor old woman a drink from the pitcher.” “I won’t go,” said
the ugly-tempered girl; “let sister give me some of her jewels. She
does not need them all.” At last her mother persuaded her to go, and
she went grumbling all the way. When she reached the spring she saw,
not the poor old woman her sister had met, but a beautiful lady, who
asked her for a drink. It was the fairy changed from the old woman
into a princess. “I did not come out to give _you_ a drink,” said the
selfish girl; “you can get water from the spring as well as I.” “You
are not very polite,” said the fairy; “since you are so rude and unkind
I give you this gift: At every word you speak, toads and snakes shall
come out of your mouth.” The girl ran home, and as soon as she spoke
to her mother two snakes and two frogs fell from her mouth. “What is
this I see?” cried her mother. The girl tried to tell, but at every
word toads and snakes dropped from her lips. And so it was forever
after–jewels and flowers fell from the kind girl’s mouth, but only
toads and snakes fell from the mouth of the girl who was rude and
unkind.–_Charles Perrault._


Once there was a king who had a little daughter so beautiful that the
sun had never seen any one so beautiful. Close by the palace there
was a dark wood, and underneath a large tree was a well. One day the
little Princess sat by this well, tossing her golden ball into the air
until at last it fell into the water. She began to cry bitterly. A Frog
peeped out of the water and said, “What will you give me, King’s Little
Daughter, if I get your ball for you?” “I will give you anything,” she
said, “my pearls, my jewels, my golden crown.” “If you will let me be
your playmate and sit by your side at table, and eat out of your golden
plate, and sleep in your little snow-white bed, I will bring your ball
to you again.” “I promise all,” she said, thinking that a Frog could
not live with people. In a moment the Frog plunged into the water head
foremost, caught the ball, and swam back with it in his mouth and
threw it on the grass to her. She picked up her pretty plaything and
ran away with it, heedless of the Frog’s cry, “Wait! Wait!” She did
not listen, but ran home as fast as she could and forgot all about her
promise to the Frog.

The next day as the royal family was seated at dinner, something came
creeping, splish, splash, splish, splash, up the marble staircase.
Then a knock was heard at the door, and a voice said, “King’s Little
Daughter, open the door for me.” When she opened the door she saw the
Frog. She screamed with fright, and slammed the door in his face. When
she told her father of her promise to let the Frog be her playmate,
the King said, “What you have promised you must keep. Go, and let him
in!” She opened the door and the Frog hopped in and followed her step
by step to the chair. “Lift me up!” he cried. She did not like to do
this, but the King said, “What you have promised you must keep.” When
the Frog was on the chair, he wanted to be on the table and eat out of
the golden plate, and when she started to go upstairs he asked her to
let him rest on her snow-white bed. She was afraid of the cold, clammy
Frog, and she began to cry again. But the King said, “What you have
promised you must keep. Ugly though he is, did he not help you when you
were in distress, and will you despise him now?” So the Princess took
hold of him with her fingers, carried him upstairs, and put him in a
corner. When he pleaded again to rest on her snow-white bed, she became
angry and took hold of him and threw him with all her might against the
wall. “Now will you be quiet, hateful Frog?” she said. But when he fell
to the floor suddenly he changed from a frog into a beautiful Prince
with kind and shining eyes looking at her. He told her how he had been
changed into a Frog by a very wicked fairy, and how no one but she
could get him out of the well and change him into a King’s son again,
and that when they grew older they would be married and live together
in his kingdom. The next morning when the sun was up, a carriage
appeared drawn by eight white horses, and when the King and Queen gave
their consent for the Princess to go, she was glad to be the Queen and
live in the Prince’s beautiful kingdom. But she never forgot what her
father had told her, “What you have promised you must keep.”


Once a sweet little girl, named Red Ridinghood, lived with her mother
in a house near a wood, and her loving Grandmother lived on the other
side of the wood. One day her mother said, “Take Grandmother this
basket of fresh eggs, butter, and cakes, for she is ill. Be sure and
not leave the main path.” The little girl said, “Yes, mother, I will
do just what you say.” Then she took the basket and went skipping and
singing happily through the wood, until she saw some beautiful flowers
a little distance from the path. “I will gather just a bunch of these
lovely flowers for Grandmother,” she said to herself; but she had not
gone far when she met a big, gray Wolf, who said, “Good morning, little
girl, where are you going?” “To my Grandmother’s,” she said. Then the
Wolf ran on before and knocked at Grandmother’s door with his paw,
“Thump! Thump!” Grandmother was better and had gone out for a walk.
So the Wolf walked in, put on Grandmother’s nightcap, and jumped into
her bed. Soon Red Ridinghood came up and knocked at the door. “Who’s
there?” said a voice, trying to speak like Grandmother. “It is your
little girl,” she said. “Come in, dear,” said the voice. When she
entered and looked in the bed, she cried out, “O Grandmother, what
big ears you have!” “The better to hear you, dear.” “What big eyes you
have!” “The better to see you, dear.” “What big arms you have!” “The
better to hug you, dear.” “What big teeth you have, Grandmother!” “The
better to eat you!” cried the Wolf, springing up. He was just about to
eat her when the door burst open and in rushed some wood-choppers who
soon killed the big, gray Wolf. Red Ridinghood ran home to her mother
as fast as she could, and said, “Oh, mother dear! it happened because I
disobeyed you, and went in that horrid path where I met the Wolf. But I
will never, never disobey again!”



Three bears lived in a home of their own in the woods–one, a great,
big Bear, the Father, with a great, big voice; a middle-sized Bear,
the Mother, with a middle-sized voice; and Little Baby Bear, with a
little, wee voice. One morning, when the three bears were taking a
walk while waiting for their breakfast of milk and honey to cool, a
naughty, disobedient, runaway girl, named Goldilocks, came along and
peeped into their window. Seeing no one, she walked into the kitchen
and began to taste the breakfast. Father Bear’s was too hot; Mother
Bear’s was too cold; Baby Bear’s was just right, so she ate it all up.
Then she went into the parlor to rest, and saw three chairs. Father
Bear’s was too hard; Mother Bear’s was too soft; Baby Bear’s was just
right, so she sat on it and broke it down. Then Goldilocks went up the
narrow stairs to the bears’ bedroom. She climbed on Father Bear’s bed,
but that was too high for her; the Mother’s was too low; but the Baby
Bear’s bed was just right, so she fell fast asleep. Soon the three
hungry bears came home. Father Bear roared, “SOME ONE HAS BEEN TASTING
MY BREAKFAST AND SITTING ON MY CHAIR!” Mother Bear growled out: “_Some
one has been tasting my breakfast and sitting on my chair!_” Baby Bear
screamed, “Some one has been tasting my breakfast and eaten it all up,
and sitting in my chair and broken it down!” The bears then rushed
upstairs. “SOME ONE HAS BEEN ON MY BED!” roared Father Bear. “_Some one
has been on my bed too!_” growled Mother Bear. “Some one has been in my
bed, and here she is!” screamed Baby Bear. This awoke Goldilocks, who
was so frightened she sprang out on the other side of the bed, jumped
out of the window, and ran home as fast as she could.


Once a good King and Queen were so happy to have a little baby girl
that they gave a great feast in the palace, to which they invited
seven beautiful Fairies, each of whom brought her a rich present. But
one ugly Fairy, named Jealousy, who was angry because she was not
invited, said, “I’ll make the Princess cut her hand with a spindle,
and she shall die!” Everybody began to cry, but one good Fairy said:
“No, she shall not die, but she shall sleep for a hundred years, and
can be awakened only by a good Prince.” The King ordered all spindles
to be put away; but when the Princess was sixteen years of age an
old woman, who had not heard of the King’s command to put away all
spindles, let the young Princess spin. In a moment she had cut her
hand and fell to the ground in a deep sleep. The good Fairy flew at
once to her side and said: “She is not dead, but, as I said, she shall
sleep a hundred years, and can be awakened only by a good Prince.” They
carried the sleeping Princess home, but when the Fairy thought how
lonely she would be on awaking in a hundred years, she touched with
her wand all the maids and servants, even Mopsy, her pet dog, and all
fell asleep and were left in the great room in the palace with the
Sleeping Princess, who lay there dressed in her most beautiful, royal
garments. The King and Queen died of grief soon after, and great trees
grew up around the palace, hiding it from the world, until a hundred
years passed away. One day a Prince, rich, handsome, and good, was
hunting in this thick forest, when suddenly he saw the palace towers,
and asked an officer what the building was. When the officer told him
how the good Fairy had said a Sleeping Princess in the palace could be
awakened only by a good Prince, he determined to try and awaken her.
Quickly entering the strange palace he found the beautiful Princess,
fair as wax, sleeping on her couch, dressed in her royal garments,
which were very beautiful though so strange and old in style. There
too were the maids and servants in their queer clothes, and Mopsy, the
pet dog, sleeping at the side of the Princess. The King’s son quickly
touched one of the fair hands of the Sleeping Beauty and stooped to
kiss it, and in an instant the Princess opened her eyes wide and
smiled at him. At the same moment all the maids and servants, and even
Mopsy, awoke and looked as fresh as though they had been asleep only a
night. The servants at once, helped by the good Fairy, prepared a rich
wedding-feast in the great dining-hall. Then the good Prince took the
beautiful Princess to his own palace, where they were married in great
joy. The palace in the woods disappeared. The ugly old Fairy, Jealousy,
had died years before, but the good Fairy, whose name was Patience,
came often to visit the good Prince and his Beautiful Princess, who had
awaked from her sleep of one hundred years.


Once a poor widow lived alone with her boy, Jack, who was careless
and paid no attention to what his mother said. One day Jack saw her
in tears, for, she said, “We have nothing now in the world but a cow,
which we must sell to get food.” So next morning, taking the cow to
market, Jack met a butcher who showed him some wonderful beans, which
he offered to give for the cow. Jack gave him the cow for the beans,
and ran home very happy, thinking his mother would be happy too over
his good fortune. But his mother was so grieved that she threw the
beans out of the window, and both of them went supperless to bed that
night. Next morning, lo! the beans had grown so tall that the stalks
made a ladder reaching far up into the sky. Unseen by his mother, Jack
began climbing up, up, up, until he reached the top, where he saw a
strange country, and in the distance a great house. This was the castle
of a great Giant who had gone on a journey. The Giant’s wife received
Jack kindly, giving him something to eat, and when the Giant came home
she hid him in the oven. Through a crack Jack peeped and saw the Giant
eat his supper and then place a wonderful hen on the table, and every
time he said “Lay,” she laid a golden egg. When the Giant fell asleep
Jack jumped out of the oven, picked up the hen, ran off with it, and
climbed down the bean-stalk. He found his mother crying, but when Jack
put the wonderful hen on the table and said “Lay,” his mother’s eyes
grew big with surprise, and her tears dried at once. Soon they had as
many golden eggs as they wished to live on. But one day a fox ran off
with the golden hen. Again, unseen by his mother, Jack climbed the
bean-stalk. This time the wife hid him in the lumber closet when the
Giant came roaring home. Through a crack Jack peeped and saw the Giant
eat his supper and then place on the table big bags of gold and silver,
and play with them. When the Giant fell asleep, Jack jumped from the
closet, picked up the bags of money, ran off with them, climbed down
the bean-stalk like lightning, and ran home. He found his mother again
in tears, but when Jack showed her the bags of gold her surprise made
her smile again. Not long after that, again unseen by his mother, Jack
climbed up the bean-stalk. This time the wife hid him in a large kettle
when the Giant came roaring home. Lifting up the lid a little way, Jack
peeped out and saw the Giant eat his supper and then take out a magic
harp and began to play wonderful music. When he fell asleep Jack jumped
out of the kettle, picked up the magic harp, and started off with it.
But the magic harp called out “Master! Master!” so loudly that the
Giant awoke and began running after Jack. But Jack reached the top of
the bean-stalk first. He climbed down it like lightning, picked up his
axe, and chopped down the bean-stalk at its roots, making it fall over
just as the Giant began to climb down. In a moment the wicked old Giant
fell down into the garden, with a loud noise like a falling tree. And
that was the end of the Giant and the Bean-stalk. But Jack never again
caused his mother any sorrow.


Once a poor farmer had a good son named Jack, who was wide-awake and
always ready to help. Far up on the mountain in a great cave lived
a wicked Giant named Carmoran, who was so fierce and frightful that
everybody was afraid of him. Every time he wanted food he came down the
mountain to the valley and carried off oxen on his back, and pigs and
sheep tied around his waist. The people were in despair. One day Jack
heard the town officers say: “All the treasure the Giant has hidden in
his cave shall be given to whoever rids the land of this evil Giant!”
Jack laughed and said to them, “I will try!” So he took his horn and
pick-axe and shovel and began digging a pit, deep and broad, covering
it with sticks and straw. Then he sprinkled earth over it until the
place looked like solid ground. Then he stood on the other side of the
pit, and just at the peep of day he put his horn to his mouth and blew,
“Tan-tivy! Tan-tivy!” The old Giant awoke, rubbed his eyes and rushed
out of his cave, and seeing Jack running away, cried, “You villain,
I’ll pay you for troubling my sleep! I’ll boil you for breakfast!” Just
as he said that down he fell into the pit, and the very foundations of
the mountains trembled at his fall. “O Giant,” laughed Jack, “will no
other food suit you than sweet Jack?” Jack was not long in killing the
wicked old Giant in the pit. Then he went to the cave and brought out
all the treasure. When the town officers heard of this good deed Jack,
the farmer’s son, had done, they called him


They gave him a sword and belt, and in the belt they wrote:

Here’s to the right valiant Cornishman
Who slew the Giant, Carmoran.


Once there was a Chinese boy named Aladdin, who was playing in the
street, when a strange-looking man called to him, “My boy, I am your
uncle! Come with me! I will give you great riches!” He took out of his
pocket a beautiful gold ring, which he gave to the boy, who walked
away with him. After a long time they came to a great stone which had
a ring to lift it up. The man lifted up the stone and showed Aladdin
a deep cave, saying to him: “At the other end of this cave there is a
door leading to a palace and a garden of fruit trees where you will
find a lamp hanging. Bring me this lamp and I will give you great
riches.” This man was not Aladdin’s uncle, but a wicked magician, who
wanted to use the boy to get this lamp for him, for it had power to
make whoever possessed it greater than any prince. Aladdin went down
into the cave and found the lamp and everything just as the man had
said. When he came back to the mouth of the cave he said, “Uncle, help
me up!” “Give me the lamp first,” said the man. “No,” said Aladdin, “I
won’t give it to you until you help me out.” That made the magician
very angry. So, uttering some magic words, he slammed the stone down
over the mouth of the cave, and poor Aladdin was shut up alone in
darkness. The disappointed boy sat a long time thinking what to do. But
suddenly when he happened to rub the ring that the magician had put
on his finger and forgotten, in an instant the Slave of the Ring, a
queer, little old man, stood before him saying he was ready to do for
him whatever he asked. “Then take me out of this cave,” said Aladdin,
and instantly he was out. He ran home and showed his mother the lamp.
“I will polish it, mother,” he said, “and then we can sell it for much
money.” No sooner had he rubbed it than the Slave of the Lamp, a great
strong Giant, stood before him, saying that he was ready to do for him
whatever he asked. “Then, bring us plenty to eat,” said Aladdin, and
instantly richest food on golden plates stood before him. Every time he
rubbed the lamp the Slave of the Lamp came and gave him everything he
asked. One day, when he became older, he fell in love with a beautiful
Princess, and he asked his mother to take several golden vases full of
rich jewels as a present to the King and beg him to let the Princess
become his wife. The King laughed at such an idea, but said: “If your
son will send me forty golden vases like these, full of the richest
jewels, he shall have the Princess.” Aladdin quickly rubbed his lamp
and asked the Slave of the Lamp to bring him forty golden vases filled
with richer jewels than the former ones. The King was so delighted with
them that he gave Aladdin the Princess to be his wife, and Aladdin
asked the Slave of the Lamp for a grander palace to live in than the
King’s. They lived very happily until one day, when Aladdin was away
hunting, a strange-looking man came near the palace calling out,
“Lamps! Lamps! Who will change old lamps for new ones?” A servant ran
to her mistress and said, “Shall I exchange this ugly old lamp I found
in the cupboard for a new one?” Without waiting for an answer she took
it and sold it to the old pedler, who was really the wicked magician in
disguise. So he got the lamp after all. Quickly he rubbed it, and when
the Slave of the Lamp appeared, he said, “Transport Aladdin’s palace
and all in it to Africa.” Instantly the palace was gone. When Aladdin
returned from hunting, the King ordered the poor fellow’s head to be
cut off at once, but Aladdin plead for forty days to find out where his
palace and Princess had gone. Then he remembered his gold ring. This
he quickly rubbed and asked the Slave of the Ring to transport him to
his palace. Instantly Aladdin was transported to Africa, and stood in
his palace before his Princess, who was in tears because of the wicked
magician. Soon after that the Slave of the Ring helped him to get back
his wonderful lamp by killing the wicked magician. Then the Slave of
the Lamp transported him back to his home with his palace and the
beautiful Princess. But Aladdin never again lost his wonderful lamp.


Once there were three brothers, Peter, Paul, and John. Their father
was very poor. One day, being unable to keep them longer, he told them
they must go out into the world to earn their own living. Not far from
their home lived a King, in front of whose palace-windows a great oak
grew, with branches and leaves so thick that the light was shut out of
the palace. The King had promised a great fortune to any one who would
cut the oak down. Many tried, but the strange thing was, for every chip
cut off two new chips took its place, so that the tree grew larger,
rather than smaller, and the palace grew darker. The King had promised
also to give his daughter and half his kingdom to any one who would dig
a well so that he could get pure water for his palace. Many had tried
to do this, but the rocks only grew bigger for all their digging and
shoveling. When the three brothers heard of this, each said, “I will
help the King and get the fortune, the King’s daughter and half the
kingdom.” They started off in great expectation, but they had not gone
far into the fir woods on the side of a steep hill, until they heard
some one hewing and hacking farther up the hill in the wood. “Now, I
wonder what that is?” said Jack. “Why, it’s a woodchopper, of course,”
the two brothers answered; “you are always wondering about something!”
“Still, I’d like to see,” said Jack, and up the hill he went while his
brothers sauntered on. Jack soon saw a strange sight–an axe hacking
and hewing away all by itself at the root of a great fir tree. “Good
morning,” said Jack. “So you stay here all alone and hew, do you?”
“Yes,” said the axe, “and here I’ve hewed and hacked a long, long time
waiting for you!” “Well, here I am at last,” said Jack, and he put
the axe into his bag. When he climbed down the hill and joined his
brothers they laughed at him and said, “Well, what did you see?” “The
axe that we heard,” Jack answered, but he said nothing more. Farther
on they came to a great ridge of rock which ran up the mountainside,
and far off they heard something digging and shoveling. “Now, I wonder
what that is?” said Jack. “Why, it’s a woodpecker, of course,” answered
the brothers; “you are so clever with your wonderings!” “Still, I’d
like to see,” said Jack, and up the rock he climbed while his brothers
sauntered slowly on. At the top of the rock he saw a strange sight–a
spade digging and digging away all by itself. “Good morning,” said
Jack. “So you stay here all by yourself and dig, do you?” “Yes,” said
the spade, “and here I’ve been digging a long, long time waiting for
you.” “Well, here I am at last,” said Jack, and he placed the spade
in his bag, and returned to join his brothers, who laughed and said,
“Well, what did you see?” “The spade that we heard,” said Jack. So
they went along until they came to a brook at which each drank, and
then Jack said, “I wonder now, where this water comes from?” “Why,
water rises from a spring in the earth,” laughed the brothers. “I’ve a
great mind to see where this brook starts from,” said Jack, starting
to climb up. At the tiny source of the brook Jack found a walnut, out
of which the water trickled. The walnut said, “I have trickled and
trickled here many a long day, waiting for you.” “Well, here I am at
last,” said Jack, as he filled the little hole in the walnut with moss
and placed it carefully in the bottom of his bag and ran down to meet
his brothers again. “Well, have you found out where the water comes
from?” they said. “Yes,” said Jack, “out of a hole up there.” So they
kept making fun of him, until at last they reached the King’s palace.
They found the oak bigger and the rock harder than ever, because so
many had tried in vain. The King, in discouragement and despair, had
said, “Whoever tries and fails now shall have both his ears cut off,
and he shall be placed on a desert island.” The three brothers were not
afraid. First Peter, and then Paul, tried to chop down the oak and fill
the well with water, but instead of the fortune, they got both their
ears cut off, and they were sent off to a desert island. Then Jack was
ready to try. “If you want to look like a sheared sheep with your two
ears cut off, we’re ready for you,” said the King’s servants, really
feeling sorry for the young man. But Jack took out the axe and said,
“Hew! Hew!” and soon the great oak fell with a crash and great light
shone in the palace. Then he took out the spade and said, “Dig! Dig!”
and soon the rock broke in two and the well was deeper. Then he pulled
out the walnut, took away the moss from the hole, and put the walnut in
the well, and the water trickled, trickled so fast that very soon pure
water filled the well. So Jack had felled the oak which darkened the
palace, removed the rock, and filled the well in the palace-garden with
water. Then the King gave him the great fortune, his daughter’s hand in
marriage and one-half his kingdom, as he had promised. And the axe, and
the spade, and the walnut said: “Those who have ears and will not use
them must not complain if they are removed; and are we to blame if we
help only those who are ready to use us?”