The Elfin Hill 8

Then her youngest sister whispered to the old goblin, “That is only because she has heard, in a Norwegian song, that when the world shall decay, the cliffs of Norway will remain standing like monuments; and she wants to get there, that she may be safe; for she is so afraid of sinking.”

 

“Ho! ho!” said the old goblin, “is that what she means? Well, what can the seventh and last do?”

 

“The sixth comes before the seventh,” said the elf king, for he could reckon; but the sixth would not come forward.

 

“I can only tell people the truth,” said she. “No one cares for me, nor troubles himself about me; and I have enough to do to sew my grave clothes.”

 

So the seventh and last came; and what could she do? Why, she could tell stories, as many as you liked, on any subject.

 

“Here are my five fingers,” said the old goblin; “now tell me a story for each of them.”

 

So she took him by the wrist, and he laughed till he nearly choked; and when she came to the fourth finger, there was a gold ring on it, as if it knew there was to be a betrothal. Then the old goblin said, “Hold fast what you have: this hand is yours; for I will have you for a wife myself.”

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