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

The Three Dogs

" And when the old man noticed this, he began: "That is why I have come, for I want to exchange my dog for one of your pigs." The youth was at once willing, and closed the bargain. He received the great dog, and gave up the gray pig in place of it. Then the old man went his way. But as he left he said: "You have reason to be satisfied with our exchange, for that dog is not like other dogs. His name is 'Take Hold!' and whatever you tell him to take hold of he will seize, even though it were the grimmest of trolls." Thereupon they parted, and the youth thought that fortune had indeed favored him.

In the evening he called his dog and drove his pigs home. But when his old mother heard that he had given away the gray pig for a dog, she was angry beyond measure, and gave her son a good drubbing. The youth told her to calm herself; but all in vain, the longer it lasted the more furious she became. Then, since he did not know what else to do, he called out to his dog: "Take hold!" At once the dog ran up, seized the old mother and held her so tightly that she could not move. But otherwise he did her no harm. And now she had to promise her son to make the best of the matter, and then they were friends once more.

The following day the youth went to the wood again, with his dog and the two pigs. After a time he sat down and played his flute as usual, and the dog danced to his playing with such skill, that it was nothing short of a miracle. And as he was sitting there, the old man with the gray beard came out of the wood again, and with him another dog, no smaller than the first. When the youth saw the handsome beast he thought to himself: "If a fellow had that dog to keep him company here where it is so lonely, he need have no fear." When the old man noticed this, he began: "That is why I have come, for I want to exchange my dog for one of your pigs." The youth did not lose any time, but agreed to close the bargain. He received the great dog, and gave up one of his pigs in place of it.

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