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162 The Mare’s Head 99. So then there lived this old man and his wife, and they had two daughters : One was the old man’s, the other his wife’s. Now, the old man’s wife was the kind that always got up early and did everything, but it was as if his wife’s daughter did nothing at all! So once the woman sent them spinning .“Go,” she said,“and spin a lot for me.” The old man’s daughter got up before dawn and spun and spun, but the woman’s daughter by evening had only spun a little. She hadn’t spun any more. In the morning, when it got light, they came home. In one place, they had to crawl over a stile. The woman’s daughter went over it first and said, “Sister, give me your spindle, and I’ll hold it while you come across.” She gave it to her sister, but that sister, when she had taken it, ran off home and said,“Just look, Mama, see how much I’ve spun. But my sister just lay there from evening on and didn’t get up until dawn!” And when the old man’s daughter came, no matter how much she swore to it (that the full spindle was hers), the woman wouldn’t listen to her. And from that point on she didn’t like her and constantly complained to the old man:“Whatever you like, get rid of your daughter. I don’t want to have her eating our bread here for nothing.” So the old man hitched up the mare and put his daughter in the cart, and sat down himself and they set off. They were riding through the forest , and there stood a hut on cock’s legs. The old man took his daughter and led her into the hut, which was open. And then he said, “Stay here, Daughter, and I’ll go and cut some firewood so that you can cook some porridge.” But then he left the hut and rode away, having fastened a knocker to the window frame. The knocker rapped, and the daughter said,“That’s my father cutting wood!”Then there was a knocking and rattling—the mare’s head!“Who’s in my hut, open up!” The girl got up and opened the hut. “Miss, Miss! Lift me over the threshold!”She did so.“Miss, oh Miss, lay me out a bed!” She laid out a bed. “Miss, oh Miss! Put me on the ledge.” She put the mare’s head on the ledge.“Miss, oh Miss! Cover me up!” She covered it up.“Miss, oh Miss, crawl through my right ear and out the left.” The Mare’s Head h 163 So she crawled in one ear and out the other and became more beautiful than anyone else. And then there appeared a servant and horses and a carriage. She sat down in the carriage and rode off to her father. She came to the hut, but her father didn’t recognize her. But afterward she told them what had happened with her. The old man’s wife again went after him:“Take my daughter where you took yours.” So the old man drove the woman’s daughter there, and leaving her at the hut, told her to wait while he chopped some wood for her. She’d waited just a little while before she started to cry for having been left in the forest. And then there was a knocking and rattling—the mare’s head: “Who’s in my hut, open up!”“You’re no great lady; open it yourself,” said the girl. “Miss, Miss! Lift me over the threshold!”“You’re no great lady, come across yourself!”“Miss, Miss! Lay me out a bed!”“You’re no great lady, make your own bed.”“Miss, Miss! Put me on the ledge.”“You’re no great lady! Lie down there yourself.”“Miss, Miss! Cover me up.”“You’re no great lady. Cover yourself up.” Then the mare’s head grabbed and ate the woman’s daughter and hung her bones up in a little bag, and then went away. The dog came running to the peasant’s wife and barked:“Arf-arf! The old man’s daughter is like a young lady, but the woman’s daughter is bones in a sack.” Then the woman chased the dog away, but it came running back again. Then the...


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