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The Drummer

A young drummer went out quite alone one evening into the country, and came to a lake on the shore of which he perceived three pieces of white linen lying. "What fine linen," said he, and put one piece in his pocket. He returned home, thought no more of what he had found, and went to bed. Just as he was going to sleep, it seemed to him as if some one was saying his name. He listened, and was aware of a soft voice which cried to him, "Drummer, drummer, wake up!" As it was a dark night he could see no one, but it appeared to him that a figure was hovering about his bed. "What do you want?" he asked. "Give me back my dress," answered the voice, "that you took away from me last evening by the lake." "You shall have it back again," said the drummer, "if you will tell me who you are." "Ah," replied the voice, "I am the daughter of a mighty King; but I have fallen into the power of a witch, and am shut up on the glass-mountain. I have to bathe in the lake every day with my two sisters, but I cannot fly back again without my dress. My sisters have gone away, but I have been forced to stay behind. I entreat you to give me my dress back." "Be easy, poor child," said the drummer. "I will willingly give it back to you." He took it out of his pocket, and reached it to her in the dark. She snatched it in haste, and wanted to go away with it. "Stop a moment, perhaps I can help you." "You can only help me by ascending the glass-mountain, and freeing me from the power of the witch. But you cannot come to the glass-mountain, and indeed if you were quite close to it you could not ascend it." "When I want to do a thing I always can do it," said the drummer; "I am sorry for you, and have no fear of anything. But I do not know the way which leads to the glass-mountain." "The road goes through the great forest, in which the man-eaters live," she answered, "and more than that, I dare not tell you." And then he heard her wings quiver, as she flew away.

By daybreak the drummer arose, buckled on his drum, and went without fear straight into the forest.

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