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Main > Sweden folktales > Fairy tale "The Lady of Pintorp"

The Lady of Pintorp

Soon it rushed along so swiftly that posts and garden-palings flew out of the way like splinters, and soon they had reached the castle. At the moment the tree-top struck the castle-gate, one of the invisible bearers stumbled, and a voice was heard saying: "What, are you falling on your knees, Svante?"

The Lady of Pintorp, who was standing on the steps, knew well who was helping the man; yet instead of feeling regret, she began to curse and scold, and finally threatened to imprison the farm-hand.

Then the earth quaked so that the walls of the castle shook, and a black coach, drawn by two black horses, stopped before the castle. A fine gentleman, clad in black, descended from the coach, bowed to the lady and bade her make ready and follow him. Trembling—for she knew well who the stranger must be—she begged for a three years' respite; but the black gentleman would not grant her request. Then she asked for three months, and that he refused as well. Finally she begged for three weeks, and then for three days; but only three minutes were allowed her to put her house in order.

When she saw there was no help for it, she begged that at least her chaplain, her chamber-maid, and her valet be allowed to accompany her. This request was granted, and they entered the carriage. The horses at once started off, and the carriage drove away so swiftly, that the people at the castle saw no more than a black streak.

When the woman and her companions had thus driven a while, they came to a splendid castle, and the gentleman in black led them up the steps. Above, in the great hall, the woman laid off her costly garments and put on a coarse coat and wooden shoes. Then he combed her hair three times, till she could no longer bear it, and danced with her three times until she was exhausted.

After the first dance the Lady begged to be allowed to give her golden ring to her valet, and it burned his finger like fire. After the second dance she gave her chamber-maid her bunch of keys, and that seared the girl's hand like red-hot iron.

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