“One of every kind of toy in the whole world.”
“Go, little brother, it shall be as she wishes,” said the fox.
Now there were so many of the toys that they filled the whole house, and it took days and days just to look at them. At last, however, Marleen had seen and touched every one, and she cried:
“These things are dull and stupid. I must have something to amuse me. Go, brother, and tell the fox that these toys are all ugly and useless; but that there is one thing that I would like above all else, one thing that would make me quite happy. Tell him I must have the great silvery ball that hangs at night above us in the sky,”
“Be satisfied, dear sister,” said Ludwig. “We are quite happy as we are.”
“No, no, I will not be satisfied!” said Marleen. “You must do as I tell you;” and she gave her brother no peace until he went again into the forest.
“How now, little brother!” said the fox, when he saw Ludwig coming toward him through the trees; “is it not well with you?”
“Alas, my sister is not satisfied with the toys.”
“What would she, little brother?”
“That the great silvery moon that hangs high in the heavens at night should be her plaything.”
Very slowly the fox answered:—
“Go, little brother, it shall not be as she wishes.”
Now when Ludwig reached home once more, in place of the stately house, there stood their little old hut again. Marleen sat weeping in the doorway, her fine silk dress was gone, her beautiful doll was nowhere to be seen, all the lovely toys had vanished.
“Do not cry, dear sister,” said Ludwig. “We are quite happy as we are. Come, let us have supper, for I am very hungry.” But alas, when they went to the cupboard it was quite empty; and ever afterwards, when they were hungry, Ludwig and Marleen were forced to seek for nuts and berries in the forest. The great silvery moon still looked down upon their little hut at night; but though Ludwig sought through the whole forest, far and wide, he never saw his friend the fox again.
“Knee-deep! Knee-deep! Knee-deep!” came a shrill cry from the middle of the pond.
“Better-go-round! Better-go-round! Better-go-round!” croaked a hoarse voice from the bank.
Now all the little frogs, when they heard their mother call, turned back, and, swimming far around the deep place, got safely to the shore.
Did I say all? No, one little frog failed to hear his mother’s voice and, piping in his little shrill tone: “Who’s afraid! Who’s afraid! Who’s afraid!” he swam straight on. Suddenly one of his hind legs got tangled among the weeds at the bottom of the pond; and, though he pulled and jerked with all his little might, he could not free himself. At last, after a long struggle, he gave it up and called loudly: “Help-me-out! Help-me-out! Help-me-out!”