The Grey Fairy Book HTML version

The Daughter 0f Buk Ettemsuch
Once upon a time there lived a man who had seven daughters. For a long time they dwelt
quite happily at home together, then one morning the father called them all before him
and said:
'Your mother and I are going on a journey, and as we do not know how long we may be
away, you will find enough provisions in the house to last you three years. But see you do
not open the door to anyone till we come home again.'
'Very well, dear father,' replied the girls.
For two years they never left the house or unlocked the door; but one day, when they had
washed their clothes, and were spreading them out on the roof to dry, the girls looked
down into the street where people were walking to and fro, and across to the market, with
its stalls of fresh meat, vegetables, and other nice things.
'Come here,' cried one. 'It makes me quite hungry! Why should not we have our share?
Let one of us go to the market, and buy meat and vegetables.'
'Oh, we mustn't do that!' said the youngest. 'You know our father forbade us to open the
door till he came home again.'
Then the eldest sister sprang at her and struck her, the second spit at her, the third abused
her, the fourth pushed her, the fifth flung her to the ground, and the sixth tore her clothes.
Then they left her lying on the floor, and went out with a basket.
In about an hour they came back with the basket full of meat and vegetables, which they
put in a pot, and set on the fire, quite forgetting that the house door stood wide open. The
youngest sister, however, took no part in all this, and when dinner was ready and the
table laid, she stole softly out to the entrance hall, and hid herself behind a great cask
which stood in one corner.
Now, while the other sisters were enjoying their feast, a witch passed by, and catching
sight of the open door, she walked in. She went up to the eldest girl, and said: 'Where
shall I begin on you, you fat bolster?'
'You must begin,' answered she, 'with the hand which struck my little sister.'
So the witch gobbled her up, and when the last scrap had disappeared, she came to the
second and asked: 'Where shall I begin on you, my fat bolster?'
And the second answered, 'You must begin on my mouth, which spat on my sister.'