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Main > German folktales > Fairy tale "The engineer and the dwarfs"

The engineer and the dwarfs

" So saying she stuck a piece of white heather in his buttonhole—real white heather, not the faded flowers which children sometimes mistake for it. Karl treasured the spray carefully.

"And how did you come to be among the dwarfs?" said Norah. But their further conversation was checked by a little brook that ran straight across the path. Now Norah usually took off her shoes and stockings and waded over this stream; but she did not like to do so with Karl looking on. Karl would have liked to pick her up in his arms and carry her across like a true hero of romance; but he was shy of proposing it. So he fetched some large flat stones, placed them dexterously in the stream, and sprang across himself, then he held out a hand to Norah who stepped over as quickly and gracefully as a young deer.

"Now I will tell you how it was you found me in dwarfland," said Karl as they walked on together. "I was at work on the new tunnel——"

"You'll not be telling me that you are a working man?" said Norah.

"No I am an engineer. I was on duty looking after the men, then, somehow or other I fell against the wall of the tunnel and hurt my arm"; he showed her his torn coat as a proof of the story.

"Poor thing," she interrupted, "did you bind it up properly?"

"O, it was a mere nothing," said Karl. "Well—I found myself in a strange winding passage that led right down into the central hall of the dwarfs." He did not wish to say that he had been asleep; he thought that would sound so silly. "Queer little fellows they are, those dwarfs," he continued, "awfully ignorant too. Now will you believe it they had never heard of the Zeppelin airship?"

"We'll really have to give them lessons," said Norah, laughing, "but perhaps they are not so stupid as they make themselves out to be!"

Climbing over boulders and stones, laughing and talking the while like two children just out of school, they reached the bottom of the mountain and saw the village. It could hardly be called a town as yet, though Norah's father hoped that the new railway station would speedily convert it into one.

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