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Oh, If I Could But Shiver!

" So his compassion was excited, and, contriving a ladder, he mounted, and, unloosening them one after another, he brought down all seven. Then he poked and blew the fire, and set them round that they might warm themselves; but as they sat still without moving their clothing caught fire. So he said, "Take care of yourselves, or I will hang all of you up again." The dead heard not, and silently allowed their rags to burn. This made him so angry that he said, "If you will not hear I cannot help you; but I will not burn with you." So he hung them up again in a row, and sitting down by the fire he soon went to sleep. The next morning the man came, expecting to receive his fifty dollars, and asked, "Now do you know what shivering means?" "No," he answered; "how should I know? Those fellows up there have not opened their mouths, and were so stupid that they let the old rags on their bodies be burnt." Then the man saw that he should not carry away the fifty dollars that day, so he went away saying, "I never met with such a one before."

The boy also went on his way and began again to say, "Ah, if only I could but shiver—if I could but shiver!" A wagoner walking behind overheard him, and asked, "Who are you?"

"I do not know," answered the boy.

The wagoner asked again, "What do you here?"

"I know not."

"Who is your father?"

"I dare not say."

"What is it you are continually grumbling about?"

"Oh," replied the youth, "I wish to learn what shivering is, but nobody can teach me."

"Cease your silly talk," said the wagoner. "Come with me, and I will see what I can do for you." So the boy went with the wagoner, and about evening time they arrived at an inn where they put up for the night, and while they were going into the parlor he said, quite aloud, "Oh, if I could but shiver—if I could but shiver!" The host overheard him and said, laughingly, "Oh, if that is all you wish, you shall soon have the opportunity." "Hold your tongue," said his wife; "so many imprudent people have already lost their lives, it were a shame and sin to such beautiful eyes that they should not see the light again.

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