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Main > Sweden folktales > Fairy tale "The Three Dogs"

The Three Dogs

He sat down to the table with the giant; but the king's daughter wept secretly, and the dogs were very restless; though no one paid them any attention.

When the giant and his guest had finished their meal, the youth said: "Now that I have satisfied my hunger, give me something to quench my thirst!" The giant replied: "On the mountain-top is a spring in which bubbles the clearest wine; but I have no one to fetch it." The youth answered: "If that be all that is lacking, one of my dogs can go up." Then the giant laughed in his false heart, for nothing suited him better than to have the youth send away his dogs. The youth ordered "Take Hold!" to go to the spring, and the giant handed him a great tankard. The dog went; yet it was easy to see that he did not go willingly; and the time passed and passed and he did not return.

After a while the giant said: "I wonder why your dog stays away so long? Perhaps you would let another of your dogs go and help him; for the way is long and the tankard is heavy." The youth did not suspect any trickery and agreed. He told "Tear!" to go and see why "Take Hold!" had not yet come. The dog wagged his tail, and did not want to leave his master. But the youth did not notice it and drove him off himself. Then the giant laughed heartily, and the king's daughter wept, yet the youth paid no attention; but was merry and at his ease, played with his sword, and dreamed of no danger.

Thus a long time passed; but nothing was heard of the wine nor of the dogs. Then the giant said: "I can see that your dogs do not do as you bid them, otherwise we should not have to sit here and thirst. I think it would be well if you let 'Hark!' go up and see why they do not come back." The youth agreed, and told his third dog to hurry to the spring. But "Hark!" did not want to, and instead crept whining to his master's feet. Then the youth grew angry and drove him off by force. And when he reached the top of the mountain he shared the fate of the others, a high wall rose round about him, and he was made a prisoner by the giant's magic power.

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