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Main > Scandinavian folktales > Fairy tale "Maiden Swanwhite and Maiden Foxtail"

Maiden Swanwhite and Maiden Foxtail

Wherever the little bird trod the most beautiful roses sprang up. The duck went up to the dog upon the hearth, and said—

"Poor little Snow-white! Once on a time you lay on blue silk cushions. Now you must lie on the grey ashes. Ah! my poor brother, who is in the lions' den! Shame on Maiden Foxtail! she sleeps in my lord's arms."

"Alas, poor me!" continued the duck, "I shall come here only on two more nights. After that I shall see you no more."

Then it caressed the little dog, and the dog returned its caresses. After a little while the door opened of itself and the little bird went its way.

The next morning, when it was daylight, the master-cook took the beautiful roses that lay strewn on the floor and with them decorated the dishes for the king's table. The king so much admired the flowers that he ordered the master-cook to be called to him, and asked him where he had found such magnificent roses. The cook told him all that had happened, and what the duck had said to the little dog. When the king heard it he was much perplexed, and he told the cook to let him know as soon as the bird showed itself again.

The next night the little duck again came to the kitchen, and spoke to the dog as before. The cook sent word to the king, and he came just as the bird went out at the door. However he saw the beautiful roses lying all over the kitchen floor, and from them came such a delightful scent that the like had never been known.

The king made up his mind that if the duck came again he would see it, so he lay in wait for it. He waited a long while, when, at midnight, the little bird, as before, came walking up to the dog which lay on the hearth, and said—

"Poor little Snow-white! once on a time you lay on blue silk cushions. Now you must lie on grey ashes. Ah! my poor brother, who is in the lions' den. Shame on Maiden Foxtail! she sleeps in my lord's arms."

Then it went on—

"Alas! poor me! I shall see thee no more."

Then it caressed the little dog, and the dog returned its caresses.

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