“Now for the feather-bed,” said Molly. “I’ll sew up the ticking, and when the old woman plucks her geese, I’ll let you know.”
When it snows, they say the old woman up yonder is plucking her geese, and so at the first snowstorm Molly sent for the Ogre.
“Now you see the feathers falling,” said she, “so fill the bed.”
“How am I to catch them?” cried the Ogre.
“Stupid! don’t you see them lying there in a heap?” cried Molly; “get a shovel, and set to work.”
The Ogre accordingly carried in shovelfuls of snow to the bed, but as it melted as fast as he put it in, his labour never seemed done. Towards night the room got so cold that the snow would not melt, and now the bed was soon filled.
Molly hastily covered it with sheets and blankets, and said: “Pray rest here to-night, and tell me if the bed is not comfort itself. To-morrow we will be married.”
So the tired Ogre lay down on the bed he had filled, but, do what he would, he could not get warm.
“The sheets must be damp,” said he, and in the morning he woke with such horrible pains in his bones that he could hardly move, and half the bed had melted away. “It’s no use,” he groaned, “she’s a very managing woman, but to sleep on such a bed would be the death of me.” And he went off home as quickly as he could, before Managing Molly could call upon him to be married; for she was so managing that he was more than half afraid of her already.
When Molly found that he had gone, she sent the farmer after him.
“What does he want?” cried the Ogre, when they told him the farmer was at the door.
“He says the bride is waiting for you,” was the reply.
“Tell him I’m too ill to be married,” said the Ogre.
But the messenger soon returned:
“He says she wants to know what you will give her to make up for the disappointment.”
“She’s got the dowry, and the farm, and the feather-bed,” groaned the Ogre; “what more does she want?”
But again the messenger returned:
“She says you’ve pressed the feather-bed flat, and she wants some more goose feathers.”
“There are geese enough in the yard,” yelled the Ogre, “Let him drive them home; and if he has another word to say, put him down to roast.”
The farmer, who overheard this order, lost no time in taking his leave, and as he passed through the yard he drove home as fine a flock of geese as you will see on a common.
It is said that the Ogre never recovered from the effects of sleeping on the old woman’s goose feathers, and was less powerful than before.
As for Managing Molly, being now well dowered, she had no lack of offers of marriage, and was soon mated to her mind.
There was once a king in whose dominions lived no less than three magicians.