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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 414 pages of information about The Blue Fairy Book.

After a long, long time came also a skipper who wished to see the mill.  He asked if it could make salt.  “Yes, it could make salt,” said he who owned it, and when the skipper heard that, he wished with all his might and main to have the mill, let it cost what it might, for, he thought, if he had it, he would get off having to sail far away over the perilous sea for freights of salt.  At first the man would not hear of parting with it, but the skipper begged and prayed, and at last the man sold it to him, and got many, many thousand dollars for it.  When the skipper had got the mill on his back he did not stay there long, for he was so afraid that the man would change his mind, and he had no time to ask how he was to stop it grinding, but got on board his ship as fast as he could.

When he had gone a little way out to sea he took the mill on deck.  “Grind salt, and grind both quickly and well,” said the skipper.  So the mill began to grind salt, till it spouted out like water, and when the skipper had got the ship filled he wanted to stop the mill, but whichsoever way he turned it, and how much soever he tried, it went on grinding, and the heap of salt grew higher and higher, until at last the ship sank.  There lies the mill at the bottom of the sea, and still, day by day, it grinds on; and that is why the sea is salt.[1]

[1] Asbjornsen and Moe.

THE MASTER CAT; OR, PUSS IN BOOTS

There was a miller who left no more estate to the three sons he had than his mill, his ass, and his cat.  The partition was soon made.  Neither scrivener nor attorney was sent for.  They would soon have eaten up all the poor patrimony.  The eldest had the mill, the second the ass, and the youngest nothing but the cat.  The poor young fellow was quite comfortless at having so poor a lot.

“My brothers,” said he, “may get their living handsomely enough by joining their stocks together; but for my part, when I have eaten up my cat, and made me a muff of his skin, I must die of hunger.”

The Cat, who heard all this, but made as if he did not, said to him with a grave and serious air: 

“Do not thus afflict yourself, my good master.  You have nothing else to do but to give me a bag and get a pair of boots made for me that I may scamper through the dirt and the brambles, and you shall see that you have not so bad a portion in me as you imagine.”

The Cat’s master did not build very much upon what he said.  He had often seen him play a great many cunning tricks to catch rats and mice, as when he used to hang by the heels, or hide himself in the meal, and make as if he were dead; so that he did not altogether despair of his affording him some help in his miserable condition.  When the Cat had what he asked for he booted himself very gallantly, and putting his bag about his neck, he held the strings of it in his two forepaws and went into a warren where was great abundance of rabbits.  He put bran and sow-thistle into his bag, and stretching out at length, as if he had been dead, he waited for some young rabbits, not yet acquainted with the deceits of the world, to come and rummage his bag for what he had put into it.

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