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Main > Scandinavian folktales > Fairy tale "There are such women"

There are such women

There was once upon a time a man and his wife, and they wanted to sow their fields, but they had neither seed nor money to buy it with. However, they had one cow, and so they decided that the man should drive it to the town and sell it, so that they might buy seed with the money. When the time came, however, the woman was afraid to let her husband take the cow, fearing he would spend the money in drink. So she set off herself with the cow, and took a hen with her also.

When she was near the town she met a butcher, who said—

"Do you want to sell the cow, mother?"

"Yes," answered she, "I do."

"How much do you want for it?"

"I want a mark for the cow, and you shall have the hen for sixty marks."

"Well," said he, "I have no need of the hen. You can get rid of that when you come to the town, but I will give you a mark for the cow."

She sold him the cow and got the mark for it, but when she came to the town she could find no one who would give her sixty marks for a tough lean hen. So she went back to the butcher and said—

"I cannot get this hen off, master, so you had better take it also with the cow."

"We will see about it," said the butcher. So he gave her something to eat, and gave her so much brandy that she became tipsy and lost her senses, and fell asleep.

When he saw that, the butcher dipped her in a barrel of tar, and then laid her on a heap of feathers.

When she awoke she found herself feathered all over, and wondered at herself.

"Is it me or some one else?" said she. "No, it cannot be me. It must be a strange bird. How shall I find out whether it is me or not? Oh, I know. When I get home, if the calves lick me, and the dog does not bark at me, then it is me myself."

The dog had no sooner seen her than he began to bark, as if there were thieves and robbers in the yard.

"Now," said she, "I see it is not me."

She went to the cow-house but the calves would not lick her, for they smelt the strong tar.

"No," said she, "I see it cannot be me. It must be some strange bird.

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