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Main > Scandinavian folktales > Fairy tale "The lost bell"

The lost bell

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"No," replied the boy, quite short; "the bell is not for sale. It is a bell that there is not such another bell in the whole world. I have only to give it a little tinkle, and my sheep run of themselves wherever I would have them go. And what a delightful sound it has! Only listen, mother," said he, ringing it; "is there any weariness in the world that can hold out against this bell? I can ring with it away the longest time, so that it will be gone in a second."

The old woman thought to herself—

"We will see if he can hold out against bright shining money," and she took out no less than three silver dollars and offered them to him, but he still replied—

"No, I will not sell the bell."

She then offered him five dollars.

"The bell is still mine," said he.

She stretched out her hand full of ducats. He replied this third time—

"Gold is dirt, and does not ring."

The old dame then shifted her ground, and turned the discourse another way. She grew mysterious, and began to entice him by talking of secret arts and of charms by which his cattle might be made to thrive prodigiously, relating to him all kinds of wonders of them. It was then the young shepherd began to long, and he lent a willing ear to her tales.

The end of the matter was, that she said to him—

"Hark ye, my child, give me your bell; and see, here is a white stick for you," said she, taking out a little white stick which had Adam and Eve very ingeniously cut upon it as they were feeding their flocks in the Garden, with the fattest sheep and lambs dancing before them. There, too, was the shepherd David, as he stood up with his sling against the giant Goliath. "I will give you," said the woman, "this stick for the bell, and as long as you drive the cattle with it they will be sure to thrive. With this you will become a rich shepherd. Your wethers will be always fat a month sooner than the wethers of other shepherds, and every one of your sheep will have two pounds of wool more than others, and yet no one will ever be able to see it on them.

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