back to part one
to pass that on his way home, he came one evening to an inn which
was filled with guests. They bade him welcome, and invited him to
sit and eat with them, for otherwise he would have difficulty in
getting anything. "No," answered the joiner, "I shall not take the few
morsels out of
your mouths. Rather than that, you shall be my guests." They
laughed, and thought he was jesting with them. He but placed his
wooden table in the middle of the room, and said, "Little table,
spread yourself." Instantly it was covered with food, so good that
the host could never have procured it, and the smell of it
ascended pleasantly to the nostrils of the guests. "Fall to, dear
friends," said the joiner, and the guests when they saw that he
meant it, did not need to be asked twice, but drew near, pulled out
their knives and attacked it valiantly. And what surprised them the
most was that when a dish became empty, a full one instantly took
its place of its own accord. The innkeeper stood in one corner and
watched the affair. He did not at all know what to say, but
thought, "You could easily find a use for such a cook as that in your
household." The joiner and his comrades made merry until late
into the night.
At length they lay down to sleep, and the young
apprentice also went to bed, and set his magic table against the
wall. The host's thoughts, however, let him have no rest. It
occurred to him that there was a little old table in his lumber-room
which looked just like the apprentice's and he brought it out,
and carefully exchanged it for the wishing table. Next morning
the joiner paid for his bed, took up his table, never thinking
that he had got a false one, and went his way. At mid-day he
reached his father, who received him with great joy. "Well, my dear
son, what have you learnt?" said he to him.
"Father, I have become
"A good trade," replied the old man, "but what have you brought
back with you from your apprenticeship?"
"Father, the best thing
which I have brought back with me is this little table."
tailor inspected it on all sides and said, "you did not make a
masterpiece when you made that. It is a bad old table."
is a table which furnishes itself," replied the son. "When I set it
out, and tell it to spread itself, the most beautiful dishes stand
on it, and a wine also, which gladdens the heart. Just invite all
our relations and friends, they shall refresh and enjoy themselves
for once, for the table will give them all they require."
company was assembled, he put his table in the middle of the room and
said, "Little table,
spread yourself," but the little table did not bestir itself, and
remained just as bare as any other table which does not understand
language. Then the poor apprentice became aware that his table
had been changed, and was ashamed at having to stand there like a
liar. The relations, however, mocked him, and were forced to go
home without having eaten or drunk. The father brought out his
patches again, and went on tailoring, but the son went to a
master in the craft.
The second son had gone to a miller and had apprenticed himself
to him. When his years were over, the master said, "As you
have conducted yourself so well, I give you an ass of a peculiar
kind, which neither draws a cart nor carries a sack."
"What good is
he, then?" asked the young apprentice.
"He spews forth gold," answered
the miller. "If you set him on a cloth and say bricklebrit,
the good animal will spew forth gold pieces for you from back and
"That is a fine thing," said the apprentice, and thanked the
master, and went out into the world. When he had need of gold,
he had only to say bricklebrit to his ass, and it rained gold
pieces, and he had nothing to do but pick them off the ground.
Wheresoever he went, the best of everything was good enough for
him, and the dearer the better, for he had always a full purse.
When he had looked about the world for some time, he thought, "you
must seek out your father. If you go to him with the gold-ass he
will forget his anger, and receive you well." It came to pass
that he came to the same inn in which his brother's table had been
exchanged. He led his ass by the bridle, and the host was about
to take the animal from him and tie him up, but the young
apprentice said, "Don't trouble yourself, I shall take my grey
horse into the stable, and tie him up myself too, for I must know
where he stands." This struck the host as odd, and he thought
that a man who was forced to look after his ass himself, could not
have much to spend. But when the stranger put his hand in his
pocket and brought out two gold pieces, and said he was to
provide something good for him, the host opened his eyes wide, and
ran and sought out the best he could muster.
After dinner the
guest asked what he owed. The host did
not see why he should not double the reckoning, and said, "The
apprentice must give two more gold pieces." He felt in his pocket,
but his gold was just at an end. "Wait an instant, sir host," said
he, "I shall go and fetch some money." But he took the table-cloth
with him. The host could not imagine what this could mean, and
being curious, stole after him, and as the guest bolted the stable
door, he peeped through a hole left by a knot in the wood. The
stranger spread out the cloth under the animal and cried,
bricklebrit, and immediately the beast began to let gold pieces fall
from back and front, so that it fairly rained down money on the
ground. "Eh, my word," said the host, "ducats are quickly coined
there. A purse like that is not to be sniffed at." The guest
paid his score, and went to bed, but in the night the host stole
down into the stable, led away the master of the mint, and tied up
another ass in his place.
Early next morning the apprentice travelled away with his ass,
and thought that he had his gold-ass. At mid-day he reached his
father, who rejoiced to see him again, and gladly took him in.
"What have you made of yourself, my son?" asked the old man.
"A miller, dear father," he answered.
"What have you brought back
with you from your travels?"
"Nothing else but an ass."
asses enough here," said the father, "I would rather have had a good
"Yes," replied the son, "but it is no common ass, but a
gold-ass When I say bricklebrit, the good beast spews forth a whole
sheetful of gold pieces. Just summon all our relations hither,
and I shall make them rich folks."
"That suits me well," said the
tailor, "for then I shall have no need to torment myself any longer
with the needle," and ran out himself and called the relations
together. As soon as they were assembled, the miller bade them
make way, spread out his cloth, and brought the ass into the room.
"Now watch," said he, and cried, "bricklebrit," but what fell were not
gold pieces, and it was clear that the animal knew nothing of the
art, for every ass does not attain such perfection. Then the poor
miller pulled a long face, saw that he was betrayed, and begged
pardon of the relatives, who went home as poor as they came. There
was no help for it, the old man had to betake him to his needle once
more, and the youth hired himself to a miller.
The third brother had apprenticed himself to a turner, and as that
is skilled labour, he was the longest in learning. His brothers,
however, told him in a letter how badly things had gone with them,
and how the innkeeper had cheated them of ther beautiful
wishing-gifts on the last evening before they reached home. When
the turner had served his time, and had to set out on his travels,
as he had conducted himself so well, his master presented him with a
sack and said, "There is a cudgel in it."
"I can put on the sack," said
he, "and it may be of good service to me, but why should the cudgel
be in it? It only makes it heavy."
"I shall tell you why," replied
the master. "If anyone has done anything to injure you, do but say,
out of the sack, 'cudgel'. And the cudgel will leap forth among the
people, and play such a dance on their backs that they will not be
able to stir or move for a week, and it will not leave off until
you say, into the sack, 'cudgel'." The apprentice thanked him, and
put the sack on his back, and when anyone came too near him, and
wished to attack him, he said, out of the sack, "cudgel", and
instantly the cudgel sprang out, and dusted the coat or jacket of
one after the other on their backs, and never stopped until it had
stripped it off them, and it was done so quickly, that before anyone
was aware, it was already his own turn.
In the evening the
young turner reached the inn where his brothers had been cheated.
He laid his sack on the table before him, and began to talk of all
the wonderful things which he had seen in the world.
he, "people may easily find a table which will spread itself, a
gold-ass, and things of that kind - extremely good things which
I by no means despise - but these are nothing in comparison with
the treasure which I have won for myself, and am carrying about
with me in my sack there." The innkeeper pricked up his ears.
"What in the world can that be?" thought he. "The sack must be filled
with nothing but jewels. I ought to get them cheap too, for all
good things go in threes." When it was time for sleep, the guest
stretched himself on the bench, and laid his sack beneath him
for a pillow. When the innkeeper thought his guest
was lying in a sound sleep, he went to him and pushed and pulled
quite gently and carefully at the sack to see if he could possibly
draw it away and lay another in its place.
The turner, however, had been waiting for this for a long time, and
now just as the inn-keeper was about to give a hearty tug, he cried,
out of the sack, "cudgel". Instantly the little cudgel came forth,
and fell on the inn-keeper and gave him a sound thrashing.
The host cried for mercy. But the louder he cried, the harder the
cudgel beat the time on his back, until at length he fell to the
ground exhausted. Then the turner said, "If you do not give back
the table which spreads itself, and the gold-ass, the dance shall
"Oh, no," cried the host, quite humbly, "I shall gladly
produce everything, only make the accursed kobold creep back into
Then said the apprentice, "I shall let mercy take the
place of justice, but beware of getting into mischief again." So he
cried, into the sack, "cudgel", and let him have rest.
Next morning the turner went home to his father with the
wishing-table, and the gold-ass. The tailor rejoiced when he saw
him once more, and asked him likewise what he had learned in foreign
"Dear father," said he, "I have become a turner."
trade," said the father. "What have you brought back with you from
"A precious thing, dear father," replied the son, "a cudgel in the
"What?" cried the father, "a cudgel! That's certainly worth your
trouble. From every tree you can cut yourself one."
"But not one
like this, dear father. If I say, out of the sack, 'cudgel', the
cudgel springs out and leads anyone ill-disposed toward me a weary
dance, and never stops until he lies on the ground and prays for
fair weather. Look you, with this cudgel have I rescued the
wishing-table and the gold-ass which the thievish innkeeper took
away from my brothers. Now let them both be sent for, and invite
all our kinsmen. I shall give them to eat and to drink, and will
fill their pockets with gold into the bargain." The old tailor
had not much confidence. Nevertheless he summoned the relatives
together. Then the turner spread a cloth in the room and led in the
gold-ass, and said to his brother, "Now, dear brother, speak to him."
The miller said, "bricklebrit", and instantly the gold pices rained
down on the cloth like a thunder-shower, and the ass did not stop
until every one of them had so much that he could carry no more.
- I can see by your face that you also would have liked to be
Then the turner brought the little table, and said, "Now dear
brother, speak to it." And scarcely had the carpenter said, "Table,
spread yourself," than it was spread and amply covered with the
most exquisite dishes. Then such a meal took place as the good
tailor had never yet known in his house, and the whole party of
kinsmen stayed together till far in the night, and were all merry
and glad. The tailor locked away needle and thread, yard-measure
and goose, in a closet, and lived with his three sons in joy and
What, however, happened to the goat who was to blame for the
tailor driving out his three sons? That I shall tell you. She
was ashamed that she had a bald head, and ran to a fox's hole and
crept into it. When the fox came home, he was met by two great
eyes shining out of the darkness, and was terrified and ran away.
A bear met him, and as the fox looked quite disturbed, he said,
"What is the matter with you, brother fox, why do you look like
"Ah," answered redskin, "a fierce beast is in my cave and stared
at me with its fiery eyes."
"We shall soon drive him out," said
the bear, and went with him to the cave and looked in, but when
he saw the fiery eyes, fear seized on him likewise. He would have
nothing to do with the furious beast, and took to his heels. The
bee met him, and as she saw that he was ill at ease, she said,
"Bear, you are really pulling a very pitiful face. What has become
of all your gaiety?"
"It is all very well for you to talk," replied
the bear, "a furious beast with staring eyes is in redskin's house,
and we can't drive him out."
The bee said, "Bear, I pity you, I am
a poor weak creature whom you would not turn aside to look at, but
still, I believe, I can help you." She flew into the fox's cave,
lighted on the goat's smoothly-shorn head, and stung her so
violently, that she sprang up, crying "meh, meh," and ran forth
into the world as if mad, and to this hour no one knows where she