Read on line
Listen on line
Main > Canada folktales > Fairy tale "Ermine and the Hunter"

Ermine and the Hunter

He alone can save you. You have done well to me. Here is a wand which I will give you. Go to sleep here, soon, on the bank of the river. Wave this wand before you sleep and say what I shall teach you, and when you awake call to you the first animal you see when you open your eyes. He will be the animal of which I speak, and he will rid you of the Bear." She taught him a little rhyme and gave him a wand which she took from the basket on her arm; then she hobbled away, and the old man knew that she was the weird woman of the Fairy Blue Mountain, of whom he had often heard. He marvelled greatly, but he resolved to do as she had told him.

After the old woman had gone, the man waved the little wand three times, and cried:

"Animal, animal, come from your lair, Help me to slaughter the old Brown Bear! Make with my magic a little white dart, To pierce in the centre old Bear's Stony Heart!"

He repeated the rhyme three times. Then he felt himself getting drowsy and sleep soon came upon him. He slept but a short time when the heat woke him up, for the hot sun beat down upon him. He rubbed his eyes and looked about him. Watching him from behind a tree was a little animal with a shaggy brown coat. The old man thought to himself, "Surely the weird fairy woman of the Blue Mountain has played a trick on me. That scraggy little animal with the dirty coat cannot kill the Bear." But he resolved to test her word. He repeated his rhyme again, and the little animal came quickly towards him. "Who are you?" said the man. "I am Ermine," said the little animal. "Are you the animal of which the fairy woman of the Blue Hills has told me?" asked the man. "I am indeed the same," said Ermine. "I have been sent to you to kill the Bear, and here I have the little darts made powerful because of your magic wand." He pointed to his mouth and showed the old man his sharp white teeth. "So now to your task," said the old man in high spirits. "Oh, not so fast," said Ermine, "you must first pay me for my work.

Also read
The cat on the Dovrefell
Category: Norway folktales
Read times: 21