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Main > Scandinavian folktales > Fairy tale "The little glass shoe"

The little glass shoe

For all that, it was an extraordinary shoe, a valuable shoe, and a dear shoe, and it was not every merchant that could afford to pay for it.

The merchant asked to see it, and when he had examined it—

"Glass shoes," said he, "are not by any means such rare articles, my good friend, as you think here in Rodenkirchen, because you do not happen to go much into the world. However," said he, after humming a little, "I will give you a good price for it, because I happen to have the very fellow of it."

He bid the countryman a thousand dollars for it.

"A thousand dollars are money, my father used to say when he drove fat oxen to market," replied John Wilde, in a mocking tone; "but it will not leave my hands for that shabby price, and, for my own part, it may ornament the foot of my daughter's doll! Hark ye, my friend, I have heard a sort of little song sung about the glass shoe, and it is not for a parcel of dirt it will go out of my hands. Tell me now, my good fellow, should you happen to know the knack of it, how in every furrow I make when I am ploughing I may find a ducat? If not, the shoe is still mine; and you may inquire for glass shoes at those other markets."

The merchant made still a great many attempts, and twisted and turned in every direction to get the shoe; but when he found the farmer inflexible, he agreed to what John desired, and swore to the performance of it. Cunning John believed him, and gave him up the glass shoe, for he knew right well with whom he had to do. So, the business being ended, away went the merchant with his glass shoe.

Without a moment's delay John repaired to his stable, got ready his horses and his plough, and went out to the field. He selected a piece of ground where he would have the shortest turns possible, and began to plough. Hardly had the plough turned up the first sod when up sprang a ducat out of the ground, and it was the same with every fresh furrow he made. There was now no end of his ploughing, and John Wilde soon bought eight new horses, and put them into the stable to the eight he already had, and their mangers were never without plenty of oats in them, that he might be able every two hours to yoke two fresh horses, and so be enabled to drive them the faster.

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