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Main > Fairy tale > All authors > Brothers Grimm > Fairy tale "Oh, If I Could But Shiver!"

Oh, If I Could But Shiver!

" The father was very glad, because he thought that it would do the boy good; so the sexton took him home to ring the bells. About two days afterward he called him up at midnight to go into the church-tower to toll the bell. "You shall soon learn what shivering means," thought the sexton, and getting up he went out too. As soon as the boy reached the belfry, and turned himself round to seize the rope, he saw upon the stairs, near the sounding-hole, a white figure. "Who's there?" he called out; but the figure gave no answer, and neither stirred nor spoke. "Answer," said the boy, "or make haste off; you have no business here to-night." But the sexton did not stir, so that the boy might think it was a ghost.

The boy called out a second time, "What are you doing here? Speak, if you are an honest fellow, or else I will throw you downstairs."

The sexton said to himself, "That is not a bad thought"; but he remained quiet as if he were a stone. Then the boy called out for the third time, but it produced no effect; so, making a spring, he threw the ghost down the stairs, so that it rolled ten steps, and then lay motionless in a corner. Thereupon he rang the bell, and then going home, he went to bed without saying a word, and fell fast asleep. The sexton's wife waited some time for her husband, but he did not come; so at last she became anxious, woke the boy, and asked him if he knew where her husband was, who had gone before him to the belfry.

"No," answered the boy; "but there was someone standing on the steps who would not give any answer, nor go away, so I took him for a thief and threw him downstairs. Go now and see where he is; perhaps it may be he, but I should be sorry for it." The wife ran off and found her husband lying in a corner, groaning, with one of his ribs broken.

She took him up and ran with loud outcries to the boy's father, and said to him, "Your son has brought a great misfortune on us; he has thrown my husband down and broken his bones.

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