The Tale of the Silver Saucer and the Transparent Apple
"What is it, sisters?" says she; "and why do you look at me with cruel eyes? And what is the axe for? You are not going to cut berries with an axe."
"No, Little Stupid," says the first, "we are not going to cut berries with the axe."
"No, Little Stupid," says the second; "the axe is here for something else."
The little one begged them not to frighten her.
Says the first, "Give me your transparent apple."
Says the second, "Give me your silver saucer."
"If you don't give them up at once, we shall kill you." That is what the bad ones said.
The poor little one begged them. "O darling sisters, do not kill me! I haven't got the saucer or the apple with me at all."
"What a lie!" say the bad ones. "You never would leave it behind."
And one caught her by the hair, and the other swung the axe, and between them they killed the little pretty one, who was called Little Stupid because she was so good.
Then they looked for the saucer and the apple, and could not find them. But it was too late now. So they made a hole in the ground, and buried the little one under a birch tree.
When the sun went down the bad ones came home, and they wailed with false voices, and rubbed their eyes to make the tears come. They made their eyes red and their noses too, and they did not look any prettier for that.
"What is the matter with you, little pigeons?" said the old merchant and his wife. I would not say "little pigeons" to such bad ones. Black-hearted crows is what I would call them.
And they wail and lament aloud,—
"We are miserable for ever. Our poor little sister is lost. We looked for her everywhere. We heard the wolves howling. They must have eaten her."
The old mother and father cried like rivers in springtime, because they loved the little pretty one, who was called Little Stupid because she was so good.
But before their tears were dry the bad ones began to ask for the silver saucer and the transparent apple.
"No, no," says the old man; "I shall keep them for ever, in memory of my poor little daughter whom God has taken away.