Allerleirauh or The Many-Furred Creature part 2
So the Many-furred Creature lived for a long time in greatpoverty. Ah, beautiful King’s daughter, what is going to befallyou now? It happened once when a great feast was being held in the palace,that she said to the cook, ‘Can I go upstairs for a little bit andlook on? I will stand outside the doors.’ The cook replied, ‘Yes,you can go up, but in half-an-hour you must be back here to sweepup the ashes.’ Then she took her little oil-lamp, and went intoher little room, drew off her fur cloak, and washed off the sootfrom her face and hands, so that her beauty shone forth, and itwas as if one sunbeam after another were coming out of a blackcloud. Then she opened the nut, and took out the dress as goldenas the sun. And when she had done this, she went up to the feast,and everyone stepped out of her way, for nobody knew her, and theythought she must be a King’s daughter. But the King came towardsher and gave her his hand, and danced with her, thinking tohimself, ‘My eyes have never beheld anyone so fair!’ When thedance was ended, she curtseyed to him, and when the King lookedround she had disappeared, no one knew whither. The guards whowere standing before the palace were called and questioned, but noone had seen her. She had run to her little room and had quickly taken off herdress, made her face and hands black, put on the fur cloak, andwas once more the Many-furred Creature. When she came into thekitchen and was setting about her work of sweeping the ashestogether, the cook said to her, ‘Let that wait till to-morrow, andjust cook the King’s soup for me; I want to have a little peep atthe company upstairs; but be sure that you do not let a hair fallinto it, otherwise you will get nothing to eat in future!’ So thecook went away, and the Many-furred Creature cooked the soup forthe King. She made a bread-soup as well as she possibly could, andwhen it was done, she fetched her gold ring from her little room,and laid it in the tureen in which the soup was to be served up. When the dance was ended, the King had his soup brought to him andate it, and it was so good that he thought he had never tastedsuch soup in his life. But when he came to the bottom of the dishhe saw a gold ring lying there, and he could not imagine how itgot in. Then he commanded the cook to be brought before him. Thecook was terrified when he heard the command, and said to theMany-furred Creature, ‘You must have let a hair fall into thesoup, and if you have you deserve a good beating!’ When he camebefore the King, the King asked who had cooked the soup. The cookanswered, ‘I cooked it.’ But the King said, ‘That’s not true, forit was quite different and much better soup than you have evercooked.’ Then the cook said, ‘I must confess; _I_ did notcook the soup; the Many-furred Creature did.’ ‘Let her be broughtbefore me,’ said the King. When the Many-furred Creature came, theKing asked her who she was. ‘I am a poor child without father ormother.’ Then he asked her, ‘What do you do in my palace?’ ‘I amof no use except to have boots thrown at my head.’ ‘How did youget the ring which was in the soup?’ he asked. ‘I know nothing atall about the ring,’ she answered. So the King could find outnothing, and was obliged to send her away. After a time there was another feast, and the Many-furred Creaturebegged the cook as at the last one to let her go and look on. Heanswered, ‘Yes, but come back again in half-an-hour and cook theKing the bread-soup that he likes so much.’ So she ran away to herlittle room, washed herself quickly, took out of the nut the dressas silver as the moon and put it on. Then she went upstairslooking just like a King’s daughter, and the King came towardsher, delighted to see her again, and as the dance had just begun,they danced together. But when the dance was ended, shedisappeared again so quickly that the King could not see which wayshe went. She ran to her little room and changed herself once moreinto the Many-furred Creature, and went into the kitchen to cookthe bread-soup. When the cook was upstairs, she fetched the goldenspinning-wheel and put it in the dish so that the soup was pouredover it. It was brought to the King, who ate it, and liked it asmuch as the last time. He had the cook sent to him, and again hehad to confess that the Many-furred Creature had cooked the soup.Then the Many-furred Creature came before the King, but she saidagain that she was of no use except to have boots thrown at herhead, and that she knew nothing at all of the golden spinning-wheel. When the King had a feast for the third time, things did not turnout quite the same as at the other two. The cook said, ‘You mustbe a witch, Many-furred Creature, for you always put something inthe soup, so that it is much better and tastes nicer to the Kingthan any that I cook.’ But because she begged hard, he let her goup for the usual time. Now she put on the dress as shining as thestars, and stepped into the hall in it. The King danced again with the beautiful maiden, and thought shehad never looked so beautiful. And while he was dancing, he put agold ring on her finger without her seeing it, and he commandedthat the dance should last longer than usual. When it was finishedhe wanted to keep her hands in his, but she broke from him, andsprang so quickly away among the people that she vanished from hissight. She ran as fast as she could to her little room under thestairs, but because she had stayed too long beyond the half-hour,she could not stop to take off the beautiful dress, but only threwthe fur cloak over it, and in her haste she did not make herselfquite black with the soot, one finger remaining white. The Many-furred Creature now ran into the kitchen, cooked the King’s bread-soup, and when the cook had gone, she laid the gold reel in thedish. When the King found the reel at the bottom, he had the Many-furred Creature brought to him, and then he saw the white finger,and the ring which he had put on her hand in the dance. Then hetook her hand and held her tightly, and as she was trying to getaway, she undid the fur-cloak a little bit and the star-dressshone out. The King seized the cloak and tore it off her. Hergolden hair came down, and she stood there in her full splendour,and could not hide herself away any more. And when the soot andashes had been washed from her face, she looked more beautifulthan anyone in the world. But the King said, ‘You are my dearbride, and we will never be separated from one another.’ So thewedding was celebrated and they lived happily ever after.