The Blue Fairy Book HTML version

The Master-Maid
ONCE upon a time there was a king who had many sons. I do not exactly know
how many there were, but the youngest of them could not stay quietly at home,
and was determined to go out into the world and try his luck, and after a long
time the King was forced to give him leave to go. When he had traveled about for
several days, he came to a giant's house, and hired himself to the giant as a
servant. In the morning the giant had to go out to pasture his goats, and as he
was leaving the house he told the King's son that he must clean out the stable.
"And after you have done that," he said, "you need not do any more work today,
for you have come to a kind master, and that you shall find. But what I set you to
do must be done both well and thoroughly, and you must on no account go into
any of the rooms which lead out of the room in which you slept last night. If you
do, I will take your life."
"Well to be sure, he is an easy master!" said the Prince to himself as he walked
up and down the room humming and singing, for he thought there would be
plenty of time left to clean out the stable; "but it would be amusing to steal a
glance into his other rooms as well," thought the Prince, "for there must be
something that he is afraid of my seeing, as I am not allowed to enter them." So
he went into the first room. A cauldron was hanging from the walls; it was boiling,
but the Prince could see no fire under it. "I wonder what is inside it," he thought,
and dipped a lock of his hair in, and the hair became just as if it were all made of
copper. "That's a nice kind of soup. If anyone were to taste that his throat would
be gilded," said the youth, and then he went into the next chamber. There, too, a
cauldron was hanging from the wall, bubbling and boiling, but there was no fire
under this either. "I will just try what this is like too," said the Prince, thrusting
another lock of his hair into it, and it came out silvered over. "Such costly soup is
not to be had in my father's palace," said the Prince; "but everything depends on
how it tastes," and then he went into the third room. There, too, a cauldron was