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

The Three Dogs

Then the old man went his way. Yet before he left he added: "You have reason to be well satisfied with your purchase, for this dog is not like the other dogs. His name is 'Tear!' and if you give him something to tear, he will tear it to pieces, even though it were the grimmest of trolls." Then they parted. But the youth was happy in the idea that he had made a capital exchange; although he knew that his old mother would not be content with it. And when evening came, and the youth went home, his old mother was no less angry than she had been before. But this time she did not venture to beat her son, because she was afraid of the great dogs. Yet, as is usual, when women have scolded long enough, they stop of their own accord—and that is what happened in this case. The youth and his mother made peace with each other; though the mother thought to herself that the damage done could not well be repaired.

On the third day the youth went into the wood again with his pig and two dogs. He felt very happy, seated himself on a tree-stump and played his flute as usual. And the dogs danced to his playing with such skill that it was a pleasure to watch them. As the youth was sitting there in peace and quiet, the old gray-beard once more came out of the wood. This time he had a third dog with him, who was as large as both the others together. When the youth saw the handsome animal he could not help but think: "If a fellow had this dog to keep him company in the wilderness, he would have no cause for complaint." The old man at once began: "That is why I have come, in order to sell my dog, for I can see you would like to have him." The youth was at once willing and agreed to close the bargain. So he received the great dog and gave up his last pig in place of it. Then the old man went his way. Yet before he went he said: "You will be satisfied with your exchange, for this dog is not like other dogs. His name is 'Hark!' and his hearing is so keen that he hears everything that happens, though it be happening many miles away.

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