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Main > Scandinavian folktales > Fairy tale "Tales of the Nisses"

Tales of the Nisses

He then went up to the head of the bed, and—

"Short and long don't match," said he again, and then he dragged the boy up to the man's head. Do what he would he could not succeed in making the boy as long as the man, but persisted in dragging him up and down in the bed, and continued at this work the whole night long till it was broad daylight.

By this time he was well tired, so he crept up on the window stool, and sat with his legs dangling down into the yard. The house-dog—for all dogs have a great enmity to the Nis—as soon as he saw him began to bark at him, which afforded him much amusement, as the dog could not get up to him. So he put down first one leg and then the other, and teased the dog, saying—

"Look at my little leg. Look at my little leg!"

In the meantime the boy had awoke, and had stolen up behind him, and, while the Nis was least thinking of it, and was going on with his, "Look at my little leg," the boy tumbled him down into the yard to the dog, crying out at the same time—

"Look at the whole of him now!"

There lived a man in Thyrsting, in Jutland, who had a Nis in his barn. This Nis used to attend to his cattle, and at night he would steal fodder for them from the neighbours, so that this farmer had the best fed and most thriving cattle in the country.

One time the boy went along with the Nis to Fugleriis to steal corn. The Nis took as much as he thought he could well carry, but the boy was more covetous, and said—

"Oh! take more. Sure, we can rest now and then!"

"Rest!" said the Nis. "Rest! and what is rest?"

"Do what I tell you," replied the boy. "Take more, and we shall find rest when we get out of this."

The Nis took more, and they went away with it, but when they came to the lands of Thyrsting, the Nis grew tired, and then the boy said to him—

"Here now is rest!" and they both sat down on the side of a little hill.

"If I had known," said the Nis, as they sat. "If I had known that rest was so good, I'd have carried off all that was in the barn.

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