Stir until Done
Peas -n- Carrots
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This fairytale was written by Hans Christian Andersen
Away in the country, in an old manor house, lived an old squire. He had two
sons who were so clever that - well, the fact is they were too clever by
half. They made up their minds to go and propose to the King's daughter; and
they had a perfect right to do this, because she had announced that she
would marry the man who she thought was best able to speak up for himself.
The two sons now spent a week in preparation. A week was all they were
allowed; but it was quite long enough, for they had had a good education,
and that is such a help. One of them knew the whole Latin dictionary by
heart, and also the local newspaper for the last three years, both backwards
and forwards. The other son had learned all the by-laws of the city
companies and the things every alderman is supposed to know; he thought this
would help him to talk politics with the Princess; and, besides, he knew how
to embroider braces, he was so very clever with his fingers.
"I shall win the Princess!" cried both of them; and so their father gave
them each a beautiful horse. The brother who had learnt off the dictionary
and the newspapers got a coal-black horse; and the one who knew all about
aldermen and could do embroidery got a milk-white horse; and then they
smeared the corners of their mouths with cod-liver oil, so that the words
would come out pat. All the servants were down in the courtyard to see them
mount their horses, when just at that moment up came the third brother; for
there were three of them, though nobody ever took count of the third,
because he wasn't a scholar like the other two. They called him Simple
"Where are you two off to in that get up?" he asked.
"We're going to Court, to talk our way into favor with the Princess. Haven't
you heard the proclamation that's been read out all over the country?" And
then they told him all about it.
"I mustn't miss this!" cried Simple Simon. But his brothers laughed at him
and rode away.
"Dad, let me have a horse!" cried Simple Simon. "I do so feel like getting
married. If she'll have me, she'll have me; and if she won't, then I'll
marry her all the same."
"What nonsense!" said the father. "I've no horse for you. Why, you never
open your mouth. But look at your brothers - they are splendid fellows."
"If I can't have a horse," said the boy, "then I'll ride the Billy-goat.
It's my own, and it'll carry me all right, I know." Then he got astride the
Billy-goat, dug his heels into its sides and dashed off down the road. Phew!
What a rate they went! "Look out! Here we come!" yelled Simple Simon, and
his cries went echoing after him.
But his brothers rode on ahead in complete silence. They never said a word,
because they had to turn over in their minds all the clever remarks they
were going to make. It had to be most cunningly worked out, I can tell you.
"Tally-ho!" shouted Simple Simon, "here we are! Look what I found on the
road," and he showed them a dead crow he had picked up.
"You simpleton!" they said. "What are you going to do with that?"
"I shall give it to the Princess."
"Yes, do!" they answered, laughing as they rode on.
"Tally ho! Here we are! Now look what I've found. You don't find that on the
road every day."
The brothers turned round again to see what it was. "You simpleton!" they
said. "Why that's an old clog with the vamp missing. Is the Princess to have
that as well?"
"Yes, of course," said Simple Simon; and his brothers only laughed at him
and rode on till they were a long way ahead.
"Tally-ho! Here we are!" shouted Simon. "This is getting better and better.
Tally-ho! This is grand!"
"What have you found this time?" asked the brothers.
"Oh, it's too good for anything," said Simple Simon. "Won't she be pleased,
"Ugh!" said the brothers. "Why, it's mud straight out of the ditch."
"Yes, that's just what it is," said Simple Simon, "and the very finest sort,
too; it slips right through your fingers." And he filled his pocket with the
But his two brothers rode on as hard as they could go, and the result was
that they drew up at the city gate a whole hour ahead of him and found the
suitors being given numbers in the order of their arrival. They were made to
stand in rows, six in each file, and so close together that they couldn't
move their arms. This was just as well, for otherwise they might have
stabbed each other in the back, just because one was in front of the other.
The rest of the inhabitants all crowded round the castle, right up against
the windows, so as to watch the Princess receiving her suitors; but as soon
as ever one of them came into her presence, he was completely tongue-tied.
"No good!" the Princess kept saying. "Skedaddle!"
Now it was the turn of the brother who knew the dictionary by heart. But he
had clean forgotten it while he was standing in the queue; and the floor
creaked under him, and the ceiling was all covered with mirrors, so that he
saw himself standing on his head. At the window stood three clerks and an
alderman, who all wrote down every word that was spoken, so that it could go
straight into the newspaper and be sold for a penny at the street-corner. It
was dreadful; and what's more, they had made up such a fire that the stove
"It's very warm in here," said the suitor.
"That's because my father's roasting cockerels to-day," said the Princess.
"O-o-oh!" was all he could say, as he stood there. He hadn't expected a
remark like that, and he was hoping to say something witty. "O-o-oh!"
"No good!" said the Princess. "Skedaddle!" and away he had to go. After that
the second brother came in.
"It's dreadfully hot in here," he said.
"Yes, we're roasting cockerels for dinner," said the Princess.
"I b-beg your - b-beg you -" he stuttered; and the clerks all wrote down, "I
b-beg your - b-beg your -"
"No good!" said the Princess. "Skedaddle!"
Now it was Simple Simon's turn. He came trotting in on the Billy-goat, right
into the palace-room. "Why, it's as hot as blazes in here!" he said.
"That's because I'm roasting cockerels," said the Princess.
"Oh, I say, that's lucky," said Simple Simon. "So I suppose I can have a
crow roasted, can't I!"
"Of course you can, quite easily," said the Princess; "but have you got
anything to roast it in, for I've neither pot nor pan."
"But I have," said Simon. "Here's a cooker with a tin handle!" And he
produced the old clog and popped the crow straight into it.
"It will make quite a meal," said the Princess. "But what shall we do for
"I've got that in my pocket," said Simon. "I've enough and to spare." And he
tipped a little mud out of his pocket.
"I do like that!" said the Princess. "You know how to answer; you can speak
up for yourself, and you're the one I'm going to marry! But do you realize
that every word we've been saying has been written down and will be in the
Look there by the window - three clerks and an old alderman; and the
alderman is the worst, because he doesn't understand a thing." Of course she
said this just to frighten him. And the clerks all guffawed and made a great
blot of ink on the floor.
"So these are the gentry?" said Simon. "Well, here's one for the alderman!"
And he turned out his pocket and let him have the mud full in the face.
"Well done!" cried the Princess. "I could never have done that, but I'll
soon learn." So in the end Simple Simon became King with a wife of his own
and a crown and a throne. And all this comes straight out of the alderman's
newspaper; so it may not be perfectly true!
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