||BOOTS WHO MADE THE PRINCESS SAY "THAT'S A STORY"
By Sir George Webbe Dasent
ONCE upon a time there was a King who had a daughter, and she
a dreadful storyteller that the like of her was not to be found
near. So the King gave out, that if anyone could tell such a string
lies as would get her to say, "That's a story," he should
have her to
wife, and half the kingdom besides. Well, many came, as you may
to try their luck, for everyone would have been very glad to have
Princess, to say nothing of the kingdom; but they all cut a sorry
figure, for the Princess was so given to storytelling, that all
lies went in at one ear and out of the other. Among the rest came
three brothers to try their luck, and the two elder went first,
they fared no better than those that had gone before them. Last
all, the third, Boots, set off and found the Princess in the farmyard.
"Good morning," he said, "and thank you for nothing."
said she, "and the same to you." Then she went on-
"You haven't such a fine farmyard as ours, I'll be bound;
for when two
shepherds stand, one at each end of it, and blow their ram's horns,
one can't hear the other."
"Haven't we though!" answered Boots; "ours is
far bigger; for when a
calf starts to cross a field, it is a full-grown cow when it reaches
the other end."
"I dare say," said the Princess. "Well, but you
haven't such a big ox,
after all, as ours yonder; for when two men sit, one on each horn,
can't touch each other with a tweny-foot rule."
"Stuff!" said Boots; "is that all? Why, we have
an ox who is so big,
that when two men sit, one on each horn, and each blows his great
mountain-trumpet, they can't hear one another."
"I dare say," said the Princess; "but you haven't
so much milk as we,
I'll be bound; for we milk our cows into great pails, and carry
indoors, and empty them into great tubs, and so we make great,
"Oh! you do, do you?" said Boots. "Well, we milk
ours into great
tubs, and then we put them in carts and drive them indoors, and
turn them out into great brewing vats, and so we make cheeses
as big as
a great house. We had, too, a dun mare to tread the cheese well
together when it was making; but once she tumbled down into the
and we lost her; and after we had eaten at this cheese seven years,
came upon a great dun mare, alive and kicking. Well, once after
was going to drive this mare to the mill, and her backbone snapped
two; but I wasn't put out, not I; for I took a spruce sapling,
it into her for a backbone, and she had no other backbone all
we had her. But the sapling grew up into such a tall tree, that
climbed right up to the sky by it, and when I got there I saw
sitting and spinning the foam of the sea into pigs'-bristle ropes;
just then the spruce-fir broke short off, and I couldn't get down
again; so the lady let me down by one of the ropes, and down I
straight into a fox's hole, and who should sit there but my mother
your father cobbling shoes; and just as I stepped in, my mother
your father such a box on the ear that it made his whiskers curl."
"That's a story!" said the Princess, "my father
never did any such
thing in all his born days!"
So Boots got the Princess to wife, and half the kingdom besides.