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Main > Scandinavian folktales > Fairy tale "The wonderful plough"

The wonderful plough

The farmer was greatly astounded at this sudden transformation. Still he held his prize fast, and kept calling to him, while he administered to him a few smart slaps—

"Be quiet, be quiet, my little man! If crying was to do the business, we might look for heroes in swaddling-clothes. We'll just take you with us a bit, and see what you are good for."

The little fellow trembled and shook in every limb, and then began to whimper most piteously, and begged of the farmer to let him go.

"No, my lad," replied the farmer, "I will not let you go till you tell me who you are, and how you came here, and what trade you know that enables you to earn your bread in the world."

At this the little man grinned and shook his head, but said not a word in reply, only begging and praying the more to get loose. The farmer thought he must now entreat him if he would coax any information out of him. But it was all to no purpose. He then adopted the contrary method, and whipped and slashed him, but just to as little effect. The little black thing remained as dumb as the grave, for this species is the most malicious and obstinate of all the underground folk.

The farmer now got angry, and said—

"Do but be quiet, my child. I should be a fool to put myself into a passion with such a little brat. Never fear, I shall soon make you tame enough."

So saying, he ran home with him, and clapped him into a black sooty iron pot, and put the iron lid upon it, and laid on the top of the lid a great heavy stone. Then he set the pot in a dark, cold room, and as he was going out, said to him—

"Stay there, now, and freeze till you are black! I'll engage that at last you will answer me civilly."

Twice a week the farmer went regularly into the room and asked his little black captive if he would answer him now, but the little one still obstinately persisted in his silence. The farmer had, without success, pursued this course for six weeks, at the end of which time his prisoner at last gave up. One day, as the farmer was opening the room door, of his own accord he asked him to come and take him out of his dirty, gloomy dungeon, promising that he would now cheerfully do all that was wanted of him.

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Kate Crackernuts
Category: English folktales
Read times: 15