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The Seven Swabians

Then they journeyed onwards. The second danger which they survived cannot be compared with the first. Some days afterwards, their path led them through a fallow-field where a hare was sitting sleeping in the sun. Her ears were standing straight up, and her great glassy eyes were wide open. All of them were alarmed at the sight of the horrible wild beast, and they consulted together as to what it would be the least dangerous to do. For if they were to run away, they knew that the monster would pursue and swallow them whole. So they said, "We must go through a great and dangerous struggle. Boldly ventured, is half won," and all seven grasped the spear, Master Schulz in front, and Veitli behind. Master Schulz was always trying to keep the spear back, but Veitli had become quite brave while behind, and wanted to dash forward and cried,

"Strike home, in every Swabian's name,

Or else I wish ye may be lame."

But Hans knew how to meet this, and said,

"Thunder and lightning, it's fine to prate,

But for dragon-hunting thou'rt aye too late."

Michal cried,

"Nothing is wanting, not even a hair,

Be sure the Devil himself is there."

Then it was Jergli's turn to speak,

"If it be not, it's at least his mother,

Or else it's the Devil's own step-brother."

And now Marli had a bright thought, and said to Veitli,

“Advance, Veitli, advance, advance,

And I behind will hold the lance."

Veitli, however, did not attend to that, and Jackli said,

"Tis Schulz's place the first to be,

No one deserves that honor but he."

Then Master Schulz plucked up his courage, and said, gravely,

"Then let us boldly advance to the fight,

And thus we shall show our valour and might."

Hereupon they all together set on the dragon. Master Schulz crossed himself and prayed for God's assistance, but as all this was of no avail, and he was getting nearer and nearer to the enemy, he screamed "Oho! Oho! ho! ho! ho!" in the greatest anguish. This awakened the hare, which in great alarm darted swiftly away.

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