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

The engineer and the dwarfs

On the parchment was written the following:


Karl Hammerstein,

Norah O'Brian,

pledge our solemn oath Christmas Tree, that we will not attempt to visit dwarfland again, or molest the dwarfs in any way, by offering them modern inventions for which they have no use, etc., etc., or by revealing their secret chambers to the glaring light of day.



"We are willing enough to sign," said Karl, "but what are your terms, old man; we want to know that first. You offered us a bribe, you know."

"All in good time," said Mr Query. "Gentlemen of the Committee, display the treasure!" The dwarf men formed themselves into a ring, in the centre of which Norah and Karl could see masses of what looked like solid gold. "You may take as much of this as you like," they said, "and we warrant you on our solemn word of honour Christmas Tree that it is pure, unalloyed gold."

"We'll sign anything you like, dear little men," said Norah, joyfully, "and I invite you all to my wedding!"

"Three weeks from to-day," said Karl.

But Norah was too excited to notice what he was saying.

"I shall always believe in the new moon," she repeated again and again. "How shall we carry it?" she exclaimed suddenly. "I have not even got a basket with me."

"My men shall trundle it along for you in wheelbarrows," said Mr Query. "No please, do not say 'thank you.' I have a great objection to being thanked."

Karl and Norah now signed the document with joyful hearts. Norah professed herself very sorry not to see her dwarf friends again. She had a real affection for the droll little men.

"You may come across us sometime again, who knows," said Mr Query. "We make excursions into your world from time to time. It is improbable but not impossible that we may meet again. Good-bye!" A brilliant flash as of lightning shot from under the ground; the earth trembled and shook. Norah clung to Karl in terror; for she thought that the earth would swallow them up too.

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