The Yellow Fairy Book HTML version

The Donkey Cabbage
There was once a young Hunter who went boldly into the forest. He had a merry
and light heart, and as he went whistling along there came an ugly old woman,
who said to him, 'Good-day, dear hunter! You are very merry and contented, but I
suffer hunger and thirst, so give me a trifle.' The Hunter was sorry for the poor old
woman, and he felt in his pocket and gave her all he could spare. He was going
on then, but the old woman stopped him and said, 'Listen, dear hunter, to what I
say. Because of your kind heart I will make you a present. Go on your way, and
in a short time you will come to a tree on which sit nine birds who have a cloak in
their claws and are quarrelling over it. Then take aim with your gun and shoot in
the middle of them; they will let the cloak fall, but one of the birds will be hit and
will drop down dead. Take the cloak with you; it is a wishing-cloak, and when you
throw it on your shoulders you have only to wish yourself at a certain place, and
in the twinkling of an eye you are there. Take the heart out of the dead bird and
swallow it whole, and early every morning when you get up you will find a gold
piece under your pillow.'
The Hunter thanked the wise woman, and thought to himself 'These are splendid
things she has promised me, if only they come to pass!' So he walked on about a
hundred yards, and then he heard above him in the branches such a screaming
and chirping that he looked up, and there he saw a heap of birds tearing a cloth
with their beaks and feet, shrieking, tugging, and fighting, as if each wanted it for
himself. 'Well,' said the Hunter, 'this is wonderful! It is just as the old woman said';
and he took his gun on his shoulder, pulled the trigger, and shot into the midst of
them, so that their feathers flew about. Then the flock took flight with much
screaming, but one fell dead, and the cloak fluttered down. Then the Hunter did
as the old woman had told him: he cut open the bird, found its heart, swallowed
it, and took the cloak home with him. The next morning when he awoke he
remembered the promise, and wanted to see if it had come true. But when he
lifted up his pillow, there sparkled the gold piece, and the next morning he found
another, and so on every time he got up. He collected a heap of gold, but at last