had sufficient presence of mind to keep a firm hold of his
prize, and said : “Wait a bit, my little man, I'll teach
you better manners.' And with that he gave him a
thrashing, when the little fellow began to whimper, and to
beg the peasant to let him go. “No, no, my little master,'
quoth the peasant, 'you shall not stir till you have told
me who you are, and how you came here, and what you
can do to earn an honest penny. The mannikin grinned
and shook his head, but would not speak a word.
· Hoho ! cried the peasant; “I see I must dust your
jacket a little more.' And thereupon he beat him till
his arm ached, but all to no purpose ; the little black elf
remained as mute as the grave, for this species is the most
mischievous of all the underground spirits. Seeing there
was no getting a word out of him, the peasant took him
home, and put him into an iron trap, which he placed in
a cold dark chamber, and laying a heavy stone on the
top of the lid, so that he should not get out, he said :
• There, my

man, there you

shall remain and freeze till you are black in the face, unless you learn better manners !!

And the peasant went into the chamber twice a week, to see if his prisoner had come to his senses; but the little fellow remained dumb. This lasted for about six weeks, when the black elf grew tame, and at last cried out to the peasant, that if he would but let him out of his nasty prison, he would do whatever he wished. The peasant bade him first tell how he had come into his power. “That you know as well as I do,' replied the black elf, or you would not have caught me as you

did. You

see, I came too near the cross, which we little people are not allowed to do, under pain of being held fast, and becoming visible. Therefore I changed myself into a

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worm, in the hope of not being recognised by any mortal man. Still, we never can get away, unless a human being takes us off. Therefore we must choose between two evils : for if it is disagreeable to be detained, it is scarcely less so to be handled by mortals, of whom we have a natural abhorrence.'

Nay, then,' exclaimed the peasant, there is not much love lost between us; and if you come to that, I am sure I have as great a horror of you, my black friend, as you can possibly entertain of me. So, let us make our bargain at once, and we have done.'

“Say what you require,' returned the elf ; gold, or silver, or precious stones shall be yours in a moment !

No,' replied the peasant; "these things only turn people's heads, and make them grow idle and fretful, so I'll have none of them. But as you are such clever smiths, you must swear you will make me an iron plough that the smallest colt will be able to draw without ever getting tired, and then you may take to your heels as fast


as you like!'

The black elf took the oath that was required of him, and the peasant immediately set him free.

On the following morning, before dawn, there stood an iron plough in the peasant's farmyard. It looked the same size as an ordinary plough ; but when he put his dog to it, the animal drew it with the utmost ease through the moist clayey soil, and the furrows it traced were very deep ones. The peasant used this plough for many years, and the smallest colt or the poorest donkey could draw it without turning a hair, to the surprise of all his neighbours. In time, the plough enriched the peasant, as it scarcely cost him anything in horse-flesh; and he married, and lived very comfortably, and brought up his sons in habits of industry, often repeating to them his favourite maxim, that those who are moderate in their wishes are sure to grow rich enough to be happy.

On his death-bed, the peasant revealed the secret of the plough to his children; but it served them nothing, for the breath was no sooner out of their father's body, than it lost all its virtues, and became just the same as an ordinary plough. The elder son, Kanz, murmured very much at this, and often observed to his brother, that he wished their father had been a little less moderate in his wishes, and had asked for gold or precious stones, as something would then have remained for them; and he generally concluded by observing, that if he ever met with a similar piece of luck, he should know how to turn it to far greater advantage. And from that time, nothing ran in Kanz's head but the wish to get either a black or a brown elf into his power, and become a wealthy man. So, while his younger brother, Fritz, was toiling from morning till night to improve his share of the estate their father had left them, Kanz was generally asleep all day under a hay-stack—the natural consequence of spending his nights in searching for some token belonging to the little underground people, or such a worm as his father had met with. Kanz never found a worm, but he managed at length to pick up a glass shoe belonging to a brown elf, which was every bit as good. No sooner had he secured this prize, than he went towards midnight to the nine mountains, near Rambin, and called out lustily : Kanz of Rodenkirchen has found a glass shoe. Who'll buy? Who'll buy?'

Accordingly, as soon as the time came round when the owner of the shoe was allowed to come out by daylight,


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he came in the disguise of a merchant, and knocked at Kanz's door, and inquired whether he had glass shoes to sell, as there was just now a great demand for them.

Kanz answered, that he had a glass shoe, but so small and so elegant that it was not everybody's money that would purchase it.

The merchant having asked to see it, observed, that there was nothing very particular about the shoe, yet he was willing to give a thousand dollars for it.

But Kanz laughed contemptuously, and informed the merchant, that unless he could manage so that he should find a ducat in every furrow he turned up, he might een go and seek another market for glass shoes.

So when the merchant found that all his twisting and turning was of no avail, he at length gave way-the bargain was effected, and Kanz gave up the shoe on his swearing to do his bidding. The moment the merchant was gone, Kanz ran to the stable, and putting his horses to the plough, went to the nearest piece of land, and no sooner had he broken the ground, than out jumped a ducat ; and this was repeated every time he traced a fresh furrow. From that day there was no end to Kanz's ploughing. He bought eight new horses besides the eight he already possessed, and their mangers were always full of oats, in order that two fresh horses might be in readiness every two hours. Thus would he plough from dawn till past midnight, both summer and winter, except, indeed, when the earth was quite frozen. And as, in order to keep his own secret, he had never allowed anybody to help him, he was much more jaded than his horses, who had plenty of rest and fodder; he grew pale and morose, and scarcely took




any notice of either his wife or his children ; for instead of leading a pleasant life with his newly-acquired wealth, he only thought of obtaining more, and of counting over what he already possessed. His wife and his neighbours pitied him for having become so silent and so sad, and thought he must be half out of his wits, and that he would ruin himself with keeping so many horses; but his brother Fritz suspected what had happened, and some times he could not refrain from observing to him : 6“ Moderate wishes make a man prosper,” as our father used to say.' But all advice was lost upon him, and the ill-fated Kanz, after leading this strange life for a couple of years, withered and died of his thirst for gold, in the prime of manhood. After his death, his wife searched the cellar, at her brother-in-law's suggestion, and found two large chests full of new ducats ; so that the children were well provided for, and became rich landed proprietors; but what gratification did Master Kanz ever derive from his hard-earned wealth ?

Fritz, though a much younger, was a far wiser man than Kanz. He did not lose his time in seeking for bright worms or glass shoes, and this was, perhaps, just the reason why fortune, of her own accord, threw in his way a minute silver bell, belonging to the cap of a brown elf, one day as he was pasturing his flock at Patsig, half a mile distant from the mountains. The elf took successively the shape of different birds and beasts, to look for his bell; but as it happened that Fritz had taken away his herd the very next day to another district, his search proved vain. At last, however, after ransacking all the magpies' nests, the elf flew, as a bird, over the water near Unruh, where Fritz's flock was grazing, and where he heard the tinkling of a number of bells

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