Page:Fairy tales and other stories (Andersen, Craigie).djvu/24

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12
GREAT CLAUS AND LITTLE CLAUS

his wife had hidden there, but which, as he thought, the wizard had conjured forth. The woman dared not say anything, but put the things at once on the table; and so they both ate of the meat, the fish, and the cake. Now Little Claus again trod on his sack, and made the hide creak.

'What does he say now?' said the farmer.

'He says,' replied Claus, 'that he has conjured three bottles of wine for us, too, and that they are also standing there in the oven.'

Now the woman was obliged to bring out the wine which she had hidden, and the farmer drank it and became very merry. He would have been very glad to own such a conjuror as Little Claus had there in the sack,

'Can he conjure the demon forth?' asked the farmer. 'I should like to see him, for now I am merry.'

'Oh, yes,' said Little Claus, 'my conjuror can do anything that I ask of him.—Can you not?' he added, and trod on the hide, so that it crackled. 'He says "Yes." But the demon is very ugly to look at: we had better not see him.'

'Oh, I'm not at all afraid. Pray, what will he look like?'

'Why, he'll look the very image of a parish-clerk.'

'Ha!' said the farmer, 'that is ugly! You must know, I can't bear the sight of a clerk. But it doesn't matter now, for I know that he's a demon, so I shall easily stand it. Now I have courage, but he must not come too near me.'

'Now I will ask my conjuror,' said Little Claus; and he trod on the sack and held his ear down.

'What does he say?'

'He says you may go and open the chest that stands in the corner, and you will see the demon crouching in it; but you must hold the lid so that he doesn't slip out,'

'Will you help me to hold him?' asked the farmer. And he went to the chest where the wife had hidden the real clerk, who sat in there and was very much afraid. The farmer opened the lid a little way and peeped in underneath it.

'Ugh!' he cried, and sprang backward. 'Yes, now I've