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Molly Whuppie

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The Red Ettin
The History of Tom Thumb
The Adventures of Jack the Giant-Killer

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Molly Whuppie

ONCE upon a time a man and his wife had too many children. They could not feed them all, so they took the three youngest and gave each of them a piece of bread and left them in the forest.

The three girls ate their bread and then they walked and walked till they were completely lost. 1 Soon it became dark, and they were hungry, too.

At last the girls saw a light between the trees. It came from a window of a house. They went up to the house and knocked at the door. A woman came and said, "What do you want?"

"Please let us in and give us something to eat. We are so tired and hungry."

The woman answered, "I can't do that. My husband is a giant. He will kill you when he comes home."

"Let us stop for a little while," they begged, "we shall go away before he comes."

The girls begged so hard that she let them in. She set them down before the fire and gave them bread and milk. While they were eating, a great knock came at the door, and a dreadful voice said:

"Fee, fi, fo, fum,

I smell the blood of some earthly one. 2

Who is there, wife?"

"It's three poor little girls, cold and hungry," said his wife. "They'll go away. Don't touch them. I've got a good supper ready for you."

The giant said nothing. He ate up a big supper, and told the girls they could stay all night. He had three daughters of his own, 3 and his wife put them and the three strangers to sleep in the same bed.

The youngest of the three strangers was called Molly Whuppie, and she was very clever. Before the six girls went to bed the giant put gold chains round his daughters' necks and put straw ropes round Molly's neck and her sisters' necks. Molly wondered why he did that. So she did not fall asleep, but waited till everybody was sleeping sound. 4 Then she slipped out of bed. She took the straw ropes off her own and her sisters' necks, and took the gold chains off the giant's daughters. Then she put the straw ropes on the giant's daughters and the gold ones on herself and her sisters, and lay down again.

In the middle of the night, when it was quite dark, the giant crept into the room and felt round the necks of the six children. He took the three girls with the straw ropes, carried them downstairs, and locked them in the cellar. Then he lay down again and fell asleep. Soon he was snoring again.

Then Molly woke her sisters and told them to be very quiet. They slipped out of the house and they ran and ran till morning, when they saw a great beautiful house before them. It turned out to be a king's palace, 5 so Molly went in and told her story to the king. The king said:

"Molly Whuppie, you have done well and you will do even better if you go back and bring me the giant's sword that hangs on the wall over his bed. Then I'll let my eldest son marry your eldest sister." Molly said she would try.

So Molly went back. She slipped into the giant's house and hid under the giant's bed.

The giant came home, ate up a great supper, and went to bed. Molly waited until he was asleep and snoring. Then she crept out and reached over 6 the giant and got down the sword. But just as she got it over the bed the sword gave a rattle. 7 The giant jumped up and tried to catch Molly.

 

 

 

Molly ran out the door with the sword in her hands. She ran, and he ran, till they came to the "Bridge of One Hair". 8 Molly ran lightly over, 9 but the giant was too heavy and he couldn't, and he shouted:

"There will be trouble for you, Molly Whuppie, if you come back again!"

But Molly answered, "Twice again will I come to see you." 10

So Molly took the sword to the king, and her eldest sister was married to his eldest son. Then the king said:

"Molly Whuppie, you have done well and you will do even better if you go back and bring me the giant's purse that lies under his pillow. Then I'll marry my second son to your second sister." And Molly said she would try.

So Molly went back. She slipped into the giant's house and again hid under his bed. She waited till the giant had eaten a great supper, and was sound asleep and snoring.

She crept out then. She slipped her hand under the pillow, and got out the purse. But, just as she was leaving, the giant woke and ran after her.

She ran, and he ran, till they came to the "Bridge of One Hair". She ran lightly over, but he couldn't, and he shouted:

"There will be trouble for you, Molly Whuppie, if you come back again."

But Molly answered, "Once again will I come to see you."

So Molly took the purse to the king, and her second sister was married to the king's second son. Then the king said:

"Molly Whuppie, you have done well and you will do even better if you go back and bring me the giant's gold ring that he wears on his thumb. Then you'll marry my youngest son yourself." Molly said she would try.

So back Molly went to the giant's house and hid under the bed. Soon the giant came home. After he had eaten a great supper, he went to his bed, and soon was sound asleep and snoring.

Molly crept out and reached over the bed. She took hold of the giant's hand. 11 She pulled and she pulled at the ring on his thumb. But just as it slipped off, the giant woke with a roar, and caught her by the hand.

"Now I've caught you, Molly Whuppie," he said. "If I had done all the bad things to you that you have done to me, what would you do to me?" 12

Molly answered quickly, "I'd put you into a sack 13 and I'd put the cat and the dog inside with you, and a needle and thread and scissors. Then I'd hang the sack on the wall and go into the wood and choose a thick stick. Then I'd come home and take you down and beat you. That's what I'd do."

"Well, Molly," said the giant, "I'll do just that to you."

He got a sack and put Molly in it with the cat and the dog and a needle and thread and scissors. He hung the sack upon the wall. Then he went into the wood to choose a thick stick.

"Oh," sang Molly from inside the sack, "oh, if you saw 14 what I see!"

"What do you see?" asked the giant's wife. But Molly only sang again and again: "Oh, if you saw what I see!"

The giant's wife was not a clever woman, and she begged and begged Molly to let her get up into the sack to see what Molly saw. So Molly took the scissors and cut a hole in the sack. She took the needle and thread out with her, and jumped down. Then the giant's wife climbed in, and Molly sewed up the hole with the needle and thread.

Of course the giant's wife saw nothing, and began to beg Molly to let her get down again out of the bag. Molly hid behind the door, and soon the giant came in with a thick stick in his hand. He took down the sack and began to hit it.

"It's me, man, stop hitting me!" his wife cried out. But the dog barked so, and the cat mewed so, that the giant did not hear his wife's voice. Then Molly came out from behind the door. The giant saw her and ran after her. She ran, and he ran, till they came to the "Bridge of One Hair". She ran lightly over, but he couldn't, and he shouted:

"There will be trouble for you, Molly Whuppie, if you come back again."

But Molly answered, "Never more will I come to see you!" 15

So Molly ran off to the king with the gold ring. She was married to his youngest son, and she never saw the giant again.

 

1 They were completely lost - Они совсем заблудились

2 Фи-фай-фо-фам,

Дух человека чую там.

(Перевод М. Клягиной-Кондратъевой)

Здесь и далее в сносках дается не дословный, а литературный перевод стихов. Английский текст в сносках не повторяется.

3 He had three daughters of his own — У него было три собственные дочери

4 everybody was sleeping sound — все крепко заснули

5 It turned out to be a king's palace — Оказалось, что это королевский дворец

6 reached over — перелезла через

7 the sword gave a rattle — меч зазвенел

8 "Bridge of One Hair" — «Мост-тонкий-как-волосок»

9 Molly ran lightly over — Молли легко перебежала (через мост)

10 Twice again will I come to see you.— Еще два раза я к тебе приду.

11 She took hold of the giant's hand.— Она взяла великана за руку.

12 If I had done. . . what would you do to me? — Если бы я совершил ... что бы ты сделала со мной?

13 I'd (I should) put you into a sack — Я посадила бы тебя в мешок

14 if you saw — если бы вы только видели

15 Never more will I come to see you! — Никогда больше я не приду к тебе!

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