The Pink Fairy Book
I Know What I Have Learned
There was once a man who had three daughters, and they were all married to trolls, who
lived underground. One day the man thought that he would pay them a visit, and his wife
gave him some dry bread to eat by the way. After he had walked some distance he grew
both tired and hungry, so he sat down on the east side of a mound and began to eat his
dry bread. The mound then opened, and his youngest daughter came out of it, and said,
'Why, father! why are you not coming in to see me?'
'Oh,' said he, 'if I had known that you lived here, and had seen any entrance, I would have
Then he entered the mound along with her.
The troll came home soon after this, and his wife told him that her father was come, and
asked him to go and buy some beef to make broth with.
'We can get it easier than that!' said the troll.
He fixed an iron spike into one of the beams of the roof, and ran his head against this till
he had knocked several large pieces off his head. He was just as well as ever after doing
this, and they got their broth without further trouble.
The troll then gave the old man a sackful of money, and laden with this he betook himself
homewards. When he came near his home he remembered that he had a cow about to
calve, so he laid down the money on the ground, ran home as fast as he could, and asked
his wife whether the cow had calved yet.
'What kind of a hurry is this to come home in?' said she. 'No, the cow has not calved yet.'
'Then you must come out and help me in with a sackful of money,' said the man.
'A sackful of money?' cried his wife.
'Yes, a sackful of money,' said he. 'Is that so very wonderful?'
His wife did not believe very much what he told her, but she humoured him, and went out
When they came to the spot where he had left it there was no money there; a thief had
come along and stolen it. His wife then grew angry and scolded him heartily.
'Well, well!' said he, 'hang the money! I know what I have learned.'
'What have you learned?' said she.
'Ah! I know that,' said the man.