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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Andersen Hans Christian > Fairy tale "Chicken Grethe's Family"

Chicken Grethe's Family

"It's a curious story to hear." We want to hear how it went with Marie Grubbe, but we shall not lose track of Chicken Grethe who sat there in her fine hen house, in our own day. Marie Grubbe sat in this place in her day, but not so contentedly as old Chicken Grethe.

Winter went by. Spring and summer passed, and again came the stormy autumn with its cold and wet fog. It was a dull and dreary life there on the old estate. Marie Grubbe would snatch up her gun and go out on the heath to shoot hares or foxes, and whatever birds she could find. More than once on these excursions she encountered a nobleman, Sir Palle Dyre from Norrebaek with his gun and his dogs. He was a big man, who enjoyed boasting of his strength when he talked with her. He might have been a match for the departed Mr. Brockenhus of Egeskov, at Fyen, whom people still remember as a man of might. Like him, Palle Dyre had fastened a hunting horn to an iron chain over his gateway. When he came home he would catch hold of the chain, lift himself and his horse clear off the ground, and sound the horn.

"You must come to my castle and see that, Lady Marie," he said, "for we have fine fresh air at Norrebaek." We have no record of when she went to Norrebaek, but on the candlesticks at Norrebaek church it is inscribed that they were given by Palle Dyre and Marie Grubbe of Norrebaek Castle. Body and strength had Palle Dyre. He could drink like a sponge. He was like a cask that could never be filled. He snored enough for a whole pig pen, and he looked red and bloated.

"A cunning swine and a nagging fool he is," said Lady Palle Dyre, the daughter of Grubbe. She soon grew weary of the life there, which did not improve matters. At dinner time one day, the food got cold on the table. Palle Dyre was off fox-hunting, and Lady Dyre could not be found. Palle Dyre came home at midnight. Lady Dyre came home neither by midnight nor by morning. She turned her back upon Norrebaek, and rode away without a word of farewell. The weather was cloudy and wet.

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