“On the tenth day…” The Twelve Grimm Days of Christmas

We are delighted to share these stories from The Complete First Edition of The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm with our readers. This series will run for 12 days and each story is accompanied by original art from Andrea Dezsö.

longnose

The Long Nose

Once there were three old discharged soldiers who were so old that they could no longer eat even milk pudding. The king sent them away and didn’t give them a pension. Consequently, they had nothing to live on and had to go begging. One day they began walking through a large forest and were unable to reach the end. When night arrived, two of them lay down to sleep, and the third kept watch so that the wild animals wouldn’t tear them to pieces. After the two soldiers had fallen asleep and while the third was standing guard, a little dwarf in a red outfit appeared and cried out, “Who’s there?”

“Good friends,” said the soldier. “What kind of good friends?”

“Three old discharged soldiers who have nothing to live on.”

The dwarf then called him over, saying that he wanted to give him something. If the soldier took care of it, the dwarf explained, he would have enough to live on for the rest of his life. So the soldier went over to him, and the dwarf gave him an old cloak that would grant every wish made by the person wearing it. But the soldier was not to tell his comrades about it until daylight. When day finally came and they woke up, he told them what had happened. They continued to walk deeper into the forest until the second night. When they lay down to sleep, the second soldier had to keep watch and stood guard over the others. Then the red dwarf came and cried out, “Who’s there?”

“Good friends.”

“What kind of good friends?”

“Three old discharged soldiers.”

Then the dwarf gave him an old little pouch that would always remain full of money no matter how much he took from it. However, he was not to tell his comrades about it until daylight. Once again they continued their walk through the forest for a third day, and that night the third soldier had to keep watch. The red dwarf came to him too and cried out, “Who’s there?”

“Good friends.”

“What kind of good friends?”

“Three old discharged soldiers.”

The red dwarf gave him a horn, and whenever anyone blew it, all the soldiers from all over would gather together. The next morning, when each one now had a gift, the first soldier put on the cloak and wished that they were out of the forest. Immediately they were outside. They then went into an inn and ordered food and drink, the best that the innkeeper could provide. When they had finished, the soldier with the little pouch paid everything and was very generous to the innkeeper.

Soon they became tired from traveling, and the soldier with the pouch said to the one with the cloak, “I’d like you to wish for a castle for us. We’ve got money enough. Now we can live like kings.”

So the soldier with the cloak wished for a castle, and quick as a wink it was standing there with everything that went with a castle. After they had lived there for some time, he wished for a coach with three white horses.

They wanted to travel from one kingdom to the next and pass themselves off as three princes. So they drove off with a great retinue of servants, who looked quite regal, and went to a king who had only one daughter. When they arrived, they had themselves announced. Immediately, they were asked to dinner and to spend the night there. They had a merry old time, and after they had eaten and drunk, they began to play cards, which was the princess’s favorite game. She played with the soldier who had the pouch, and she saw that no matter how much she won, his pouch never became empty, and she realized that it must be some sort of a magical thing. So she said to him then that since he had become so warm from playing, he should have something to drink. She gave him a glass but put a sleeping potion into the wine. No sooner had he drunk the wine than he fell asleep, and she took his pouch. Then she went into her chamber and sewed another pouch that looked just like the old one. Finally, she stuck some money inside it and put it back in place of the old one.

The next morning the three soldiers resumed their journey, and when the one with the pouch spent the little money that was left and reached inside the pouch for some more, he found it was empty and remained empty. Then he exclaimed, “That deceitful princess has switched my pouch. Now we’re poor people!”

But the soldier with the cloak said, “Don’t get gray hairs over this. I’ll have it back in no time.”

He put on the cloak and wished himself to be transported to the princess’s chamber. Within seconds he was there, and she was sitting and counting money, which she continually took from the pouch. When she saw him, she screamed that a robber was there. And she screamed so loudly that the entire court came running and tried to catch him. Hastily he jumped through a window and left the cloak hanging there, so that this, too, was lost.

When the three soldiers came together again, they had nothing left but the horn. The soldier with the horn said, “I’ll get help now. Let’s start a war!” And he blew together so many hussar and cavalry regiments that they were impossible to count. Next he sent a messenger to the king to let him know that if the king didn’t return the pouch and the cloak, not a single stone from his castle would be left standing. The king tried to persuade his daughter to return the cloak and pouch before they suffered a great misfortune. But she wouldn’t listen to him and said that she wanted to try something first. So she disguised herself as a poor maiden, carried a basket on her arm, and went out to the soldiers’ camp to sell all kinds of drinks. Her chambermaid had to go along with her. When the princess reached the middle of the camp, she began to sing, and her voice was so beautiful that all the soldiers ran out of their tents, and the one with the horn ran out too and listened. When the princess saw him, she gave her chambermaid a signal to crawl into his tent, where the chambermaid took the horn and ran back with it to the castle. Then the princess also went home and now had everything. Once again the three comrades had to go begging. So they moved on, and the one who had possessed the pouch said, “You know, we can’t stay together anymore. You two go in that direction, and I’ll take this path.”

He set out alone and entered a forest, and since he was tired, he lay down beneath a tree to sleep awhile. When he awoke and looked up, he became aware that he had been sleeping under a beautiful apple tree with splendid apples hanging from the branches. Out of hunger he took one, ate it, and then another. Suddenly his nose began to grow and grow and became so long that he could no longer stand up. His nose grew through the forest and sixty miles beyond. Meanwhile, his comrades were traveling about in the world and looking for him because they felt it was better to be together. However, they had been unable to find him. Suddenly, one of them tripped over something and stepped on it. He thought, “My, what was that?” Then it moved, and he saw that it was a nose. The two soldiers decided to follow the nose, and eventually they reached their comrade in the forest. He was lying there and couldn’t stir nor budge. So they took a pole and wrapped the nose around it. They wanted to lift it in the air and carry him away, but the nose was too heavy. Then they looked in the forest for a donkey, and they set their friend and the long nose on two poles and had the donkey carry him away in this manner. They dragged him a short distance, but they found him so heavy that they had to rest. While they were resting, they saw a tree nearby with beautiful pears hanging from the branches. Then the little red dwarf came out from behind the tree and said to the soldier with the long nose that, if he ate one of the beautiful pears, the nose would fall off. So he ate a pear, and right away the long nose fell off, and his nose was exactly the size it had been before. Thereupon the dwarf said, “Break off some apples and pears and make some powder out of them. Whenever you give someone the apple powder, the nose will grow, and whenever you give someone the pear powder, the nose will fall off again. Now, go as a doctor and give the princess some of the apples and also the powder. Then her nose will grow even twenty times longer than yours. But brace yourself for anything that might happen!”

So the soldier took some of the apples and went to the king’s court, where he at first pretended to be a gardener’s helper. He said he had special apples that couldn’t be found anywhere in the region, and when the princess heard about this, she asked her father if she could buy some of the apples. The king replied, “Buy as many as you wish.”

So she bought the apples and ate one. It tasted so good that she was convinced that she had never tasted an apple like it in her entire life. Then she ate another one, and once she did this, the gardener’s helper departed, and her nose began to grow. It grew so tremendously that she couldn’t get up out of her chair and fell over. Her nose grew sixty yards around the table, sixty around the closet, and a hundred yards through the window and around the castle and another twenty miles out toward the city. There she lay. She couldn’t stir nor budge, and none of the doctors could help her. The old king issued a proclamation that any man who could help his daughter would receive a great deal of money.

The old soldier had waited for this moment and announced himself as a doctor. He promised to save her with God’s help. Thereupon he gave her powder from the apples, and her nose began to grow once more and became even longer. That evening he gave her powder from the pears, and the nose became somewhat smaller, but not much. The next day he gave her powder from the apples again in order to scare her soundly and punish her. The nose grew again, but not more than had fallen off the day before. Finally, he said to her, “Your Royal Highness, you must have stolen something at one time. If you don’t give it up, there’ll be no help for you.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said.

“You must,” he responded. “Otherwise, my powder won’t help, and if you don’t give up what you’ve stolen, you’ll die from the long nose.”

Then the old king said, “Give up the pouch, the cloak, and the horn that you’ve stolen. Otherwise, your nose will never become small again.”

So the chambermaid had to fetch all three things and put them down. Now the doctor gave the princess powder from the pears. Her nose fell off, and two hundred and fifty men had to come and chop the nose into pieces. Meanwhile, the soldier went away with the pouch, the cloak, and the horn and returned to his comrades. Then they wished to be back in their castle, where they are probably still sitting and keeping house.


bookjacket

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm:
The Complete First Edition
Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm, Translated and edited by Jack Zipes
Illustrated by Andrea Dezsö


Art credit: Andrea Dezsö
This post is part of a series, explore additional posts here<< “On the ninth day…” The Twelve Grimm Days of Christmas“On the eleventh day…” The Twelve Grimm Days of Christmas >>