Read on line
Listen on line
Main > German folktales > Fairy tale "The old king"

The old king

These firs were covered with a silver lichen that looked like hoar frost.

A little hut made of rough logs of woods stood at this crossing. At the door stood a little old woman. She had neither red eyes nor a hooked nose; so Walter thought to himself: "She cannot be a wicked old witch like the one who caught Hänsel and Gretel." She had a friendly, grandmotherly face, and invited Walter to come into her hut.

"You must be so hungry, you poor little man," she said. "Come in, come in, the coffee is all hot and waiting for you!" Then she turned to the kite which was turning head over heels, and making grimaces on the ground. "Be off with you," she said, "we shall not need you any more!"

"Good-bye, good-bye, dear kite," said Walter, "thank you very much for bringing me here."

The kite grinned and made a funny bow; then he mounted up of his own accord, and sailed away home over the tree-tops.

On a rough wooden table was spread a delicious repast. Rolls and butter, coffee and milk, Streuselkuchen and Butterkuchen such as German children love, and also cakes called Bubenschenkel—or little boy's legs. Walter did not quite like the name of these cakes; it made him think of witches again; but they tasted quite harmless.

Whilst he was eating his cake, there was a knock at the door of the hut, and in came a smart fox, wearing a red cap with green feather, and a jaunty coat and waistcoat.

"Heigho! How fine you are, Mr Fox," said the old woman, "I suppose you are going to the ball to-night?"

"O yes, of course, I am going to be there early. Miss Bushy Tail has promised to be my partner for the Polonaise," he said. "I hope you have a cup of coffee ready for me." He then sat down, and peered at Walter with his bright, inquisitive eyes. Now everyone knows that the foxes dance on the Feldberg on May Day. On one of the biggest fir-trees there hangs a picture of two foxes dancing, and these cross-roads have thence derived their name Fuchstanz. But they do not only dance on May Day, but on many other occasions such as the present.

Also read
The Golden Lads
Category: Andrew Lang
Read times: 3
The White Snake
Category: Andrew Lang
Read times: 8
The Story of a Clever Tailor
Category: Andrew Lang
Read times: 2