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Main > Norway folktales > Fairy tale "The three princesses in the blue mountain"

The three princesses in the blue mountain

That, thought the King, could be easily managed, and so he sent word to all the best and cleverest goldsmiths in the country that they should make these checkers for the Princesses. For all they tried there was no one who could make them. At last all the goldsmiths had been to the palace except one, and he was an old, infirm man who had not done any work for many years except odd jobs, by which he was just able to keep himself alive. To him the soldier went and asked to be apprenticed. The old man was so glad to get him, for he had not had an apprentice for many a day, that he brought out a flask from his chest and sat down to drink with the soldier. Before long the drink got into his head, and when the soldier saw this he persuaded him to go up to the palace and tell the King that he would undertake to make the checkers for the Princesses.

He was ready to do that on the spot; he had made finer and grander things in his day, he said. When the King heard there was some one outside who could make the checkers he was not long in coming out.

“Is it true what you say, that you can make such checkers as my daughters want?” he asked.

“Yes, it is no lie,” said the goldsmith; that he would answer for.

“That’s well!” said the King. “Here is the gold to make them with; but if you do not succeed you will lose your life, since you have come and offered yourself, and they must be finished in three days.”

The next morning when the goldsmith had slept off the effects of the drink, he was not quite so confident about the job. He wailed and wept and blew up his apprentice, who had got him into such a scrape while he was drunk. The best thing would be to make short work of himself at once, he said, for there could be no hope for his life; when the best and grandest goldsmiths could not make such checkers, was it likely that he could do it?

“Don’t fret on that account,” said the soldier, “but let me have the gold and I’ll get the checkers ready in time; but I must have a room to myself to work in,” he said.

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