The Crimson Fairy Book HTML version
Once upon a time a shepherd was taking his flock out to pasture, when he found a little
baby lying in a meadow, left there by some wicked person, who thought it was too much
trouble to look after it. The shepherd was fond of children, so he took the baby home with
him and gave it plenty of milk, and by the time the boy was fourteen he could tear up
oaks as if they were weeds. Then Paul, as the shepherd had called him, grew tired of
living at home, and went out into the world to try his luck.
He walked on for many miles, seeing nothing that surprised him, but in an open space of
the wood he was astonished at finding a man combing trees as another man would comb
'Good morning, friend,' said Paul; 'upon my word, you must be a strong man!'
The man stopped his work and laughed. 'I am Tree Comber,' he answered proudly; 'and
the greatest wish of my life is to wrestle with Shepherd Paul.'
'May all your wishes be fulfilled as easily, for I am Shepherd Paul, and can wrestle with
you at once,' replied the lad; and he seized Tree Comber and flung him with such force to
the ground that he sank up to his knees in the earth. However, in a moment he was up
again, and catching hold of Paul, threw him so that he sank up to his waist; but then it
was Paul's turn again, and this time the man was buried up to his neck. 'That is enough,'
cried he; 'I see you are a smart fellow, let us become friends.'
'Very good,' answered Paul, and they continued their journey together.
By-and-by they reached a man who was grinding stones to powder in his hands, as if they
had been nuts.
'Good morning,' said Paul politely; 'upon my word, you must be a strong fellow!'
'I am Stone Crusher,' answered the man, and the greatest wish of my life is to wrestle
with Shepherd Paul.'
'May all your wishes be as easily fulfilled, for I am Shepherd Paul, and will wrestle with
you at once,' and the sport began. After a short time the man declared himself beaten, and
begged leave to go with them; so they all three travelled together.
A little further on they came upon a man who was kneading iron as if it had been dough.
'Good morning,' said Paul, 'you must be a strong fellow.'
'I am Iron Kneader, and should like to fight Shepherd Paul,' answered he.