Page:Grimm's household tales, volume 2 (1884).djvu/219

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Tale 141.]
205
THE LAMBIKIN AND THE LITTLE FISH.

strangers came as visitors to the castle. The false stepmother thought, "This is a good opportunity," and called the cook and said to him, "Go and fetch the lamb from the meadow and kill it, we have nothing else for the visitors." Then the cook went away and got the lamb and took it into the kitchen and tied its feet, and all this it bore patiently. When he had drawn out his knife and was whetting it on the door-step to kill the lamb, he noticed a little fish swimming backwards and forwards m the water, in front of the kitchen-sink and looking up at him. This, however, was the brother, for when the fish saw the cook take the lamb away, it followed them and swam along the pond to the house; then the lamb cried down to it,

" Ah, brother, in the pond so deep,
 How sad is my poor heart!
 Even now the cook he whets his knife
 To take away my tender life."

The little fish answered,

" Ah, little sister, up on hig
 How sad is my poor heart
 While in this pond I lie."

When the cook heard that the lambkin could speak and said such sad words to the fish down below, he was terrified and thought this could be no common lamb, but must be bewitched by the wicked woman in the house Then said he, "Be easy, I will not kill thee," and took another sheep and made it ready for the guests, and conveyed the lambkin to a good peasant woman, to whom he related all that he had seen and heard.

The peasant was, however, the very woman who had been foster-mother to the little sister, and she suspected at once who the lamb was, and went with it to a wise woman. Then the wise woman pronounced a blessing; over the lambkin and the little fish, by means of which they regained their human forms, and after this she took them both into a little hut in a great forest, where they lived alone, but were contented and happy.