Page:Fairy tales and other stories (Andersen, Craigie).djvu/28

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16
GREAT CLAUS AND LITTLE CLAUS

Now, at Little Claus's the old grandmother had died. She had been very harsh and unkind to him, but yet he was very sorry, and took the dead woman and laid her in his warm bed, to see if she would not come to life again. There he intended she should remain all through the night, and he himself would sit in the corner and sleep on a chair, as he had often done before. As he sat there, in the night the door opened, and Great Claus came in with his axe. He knew where Little Claus's bed stood; and, going straight up to it, he hit the old grandmother on the head, thinking she was Little Claus.

'D'ye see,' said he, 'you shall not make a fool of me again.' And then he went home.

'That's a bad fellow, that man,' said Little Claus. 'He wanted to kill me. It was a good thing for my old grandmother that she was dead already. He would have taken her life.'

And he dressed his grandmother in her Sunday clothes, borrowed a horse of his neighbour, harnessed it to a car, and put the old lady on the back seat, so that she could not fall out when he drove. And so they trundled through the wood. When the sun rose they were in front of an inn; there Little Claus pulled up, and went in to have some refreshment.

The host had very, very much money; he was also a very good man, but exceedingly hot-tempered, as if he had pepper and tobacco in him.

'Good morning,' said he to Little Claus. 'You've put on your Sunday clothes early to-day.'

'Yes,' answered Little Claus; 'I'm going to town with my old grandmother: she's sitting there on the car without. I can't bring her into the room—will you give her a glass of mead? But you must speak very loud, for she can't hear well.'

'Yes, that I will,' said the host. And he poured out a great glass of mead, and went out with it to the dead grandmother, who had been placed upright in the carriage.

'Here's a glass of mead from your son,' quoth mine host. But the dead woman replied not a word, but sat quite still. 'Don't you hear?' cried the host, as loud as he could, 'here is a glass of mead from your son!'