ONCE on a time there was a King and Queen in Ireland, and they had one son named Jack, and when Jack grew up to be man big, he rose up one day and said to his father and mother that he would go off and push his fortune.
All his father and mother could say to Jack, they could not keep him from going. So with his staff in his hand and his father's and mother's blessing on his head, off he started, and he traveled away far, farther than I could tell you, and twice as far as you could tell me. At length one day, coming up to a big wood, he met a gray-haired old man. The old man asked him, "Jack, where are you going?"
He says, "I am going to push my fortune."
"Well," says the old man, says he, "if 'tis looking for service you are, there is a Giant who lives at the other side of that wood that they call the Giant of the Hundred Hills, and I believe he wants a fine, strong, able, clever young fellow like you.
"Very well," says Jack, "I will push on to him."
Push on Jack did, away through the wood, until he got to the other side, and then he saw a big castle, and going up he knocked at the door, and a big Giant came out.
"Welcome, Jack," says he, "the King of Ireland's Son! Where are you going and what do you want?"
"I come," says Jack, "to push my fortune, and am looking for honest service. I have been told," he says to the Giant of the Hundred Hills, "that you wanted a clean, clever boy like me."
"Well," says the Giant, "I am the Giant of the Hundred Hills, and do want such a fine fellow as you. I have to go away every day," he says, "to battle with another giant at the other end of the world, and when I am away, I want somebody to look after my house and place. If you will be of good, faithful service to me, and do everything I tell you, I will give you a bag of gold at the end of the time."
Jack promised he would do all that. The Giant then gave him a hearty supper and a good bed, and well he slept that night. In the morning the Giant had him called up before the first lark was in the sky.
"Jack, my brave boy," says he, "I have got to be off to the other end of the world to-day to fight the Giant of the Four Winds, and it is time you were up and looking after your business. You have got to put this house in order, and look after everything in it until I come back tonight. To every room in the house and to every place about the house you can go, except the stable. My stable door is closed, and on the peril of your life, don't open it or go into the stable. Keep that in mind."
Jack said he certainly would. Then the Giant visited the stable, and started off; and as soon as he was gone, Jack went fixing and arranging the house and setting everything in order. And a wonderful house it was to Jack, so big and so great; and after that he went to the castle yard and into every house and building there, except the stable: and when he had visited all the rest of them, he stood before the stable and looked at it a long time. "And I wonder," says Jack, says he, "I wonder what can be in there, and what is the reason he wants me on the peril of my life not to go into it? I would like to go and peep in, and there certainly would be no harm."
Every door in and about the Giant's place was opened by a little ring turning on a pivot in the middle of the door. Forward to the stable door Jack then steps, turns the little ring, and the door flew open. Inside what does Jack see but a mare and a bear standing by the manger, and neither of them eating. There was hay before the bear and meat before the mare.
"Well," says Jack, "it is no wonder, poor creatures, you are not eatin'. That was a nice blunder of the Giant," and he stepped in and changed their food, putting hay before the mare and meat before the bear, and at once both of them fell to it and Jack went out and closed the stable door. As he did so his finger stuck in the ring, and he pulled and struggled to get it away, but he could not.
That was a fix for poor Jack, "And by this and by that," says he, "the Giant will be back and find me stuck here;" so he whips out his knife, and cuts off his finger, and leaves it there.
And when the Giant came home that night, says he to Jack, "Well, Jack, what sort of a day have you had this day, and how did you get along?
"I had a fine day," says Jack, "and got along very well indeed."
"Jack," says he, "show me your two hands;" and when Jack held out his two hands, the Giant saw one of his fingers gone. He got black in the face with rage when he saw this, and he said, "Jack, did I not warn you on the peril of your life not to go into that stable?"
Poor Jack pleaded all he could, and said he did not mean to, but curiosity got the best of him, and he thought he would open the door and peep in.
Says the Giant, "No man before ever opened that stable door and lived to tell it, and you, too, would be a dead man this minute only for one thing. Your father's father did my father a great service once. I am the man who never forgets a good thing, and for that service," says he, "I give you your life and pardon this time; but if you ever do the like again, you won't live."
Jack, he promised that surely and surely he would never do the like again. His supper he got that night, and to bed. And at early morning again the Giant had him up, and, "Jack," says he, "I must be off to the other end of the world again and fight the Giant of the Four Winds. You know your duty is -- look after this house and place and set everything in order about it, and go everywhere you like, only don't open the stable door or go into the stable, on the peril of your life."
"I will mind all that," says Jack.
Then that morning again the Giant visited the stable before he went away. And after the Giant had gone, to his work went Jack, wandering through the house, cleaning and setting everything in order about it, and out into the yard he went, and fixed and arranged everything out there, except the stable. He stood before the stable door a good while this day, and says he to himself, "I wonder how the bear and the mare are doing, and what the Giant did when he went in to see them? I would give a great deal to know," says he. "I will take a peep in."
Into the ring of the door he put his finger, and turned it, and looked in, and there he saw the mare and the bear standing as on the day before and neither of them eating. In Jack steps. "And no wonder, poor creatures," says he,."you don't eat, when that is the way the Giant blundered," he says, after he saw the meat before the mare and the hay before the bear this time also.
Jack then changed the food, putting the hay before the mare and the meat before the bear as it should be, and very soon both the mare and the bear were eating heartily; and then Jack went out. He closed the door, and when he did so, his finger stuck in the ring; and pull and struggle though Jack did, he could not get it out.
"Och, och, och," says Jack, says he, "I am a dead man to-day surely."
He whips out his knife, and cuts off his finger, and leaves it there, and 'twas there when the Giant came home that night.
"Well, Jack, my fine boy," says he, "how have you got on to-day?"
"Oh, finely, finely," says Jack, says he, holding his hands behind his back all the same.
"Show me your hands, Jack," says the Giant, "till I see if you wash them and keep them clean always." And when Jack showed his hands, the Giant got black in the face with rage, and says he. "Didn't I forgive you your life yesterday for going into that stable, and you promised never to do it again, and here I find you out, once more?"
The Giant ranted and raged for a long time, and then says he, "Because your father's father did my father such a good turn, I suppose I will have to spare your life this second time; but, Jack," says he, "if you should live for a hundred years, and spend them all in my service, and it you should then again open that door and put your foot into my stable, that day," says he, you will be a dead man as sure as there is a head on you. Mind that!"
Jack, he thanked the Giant very much for sparing his life, and promised that he never, never would again disobey him.
The next morning the Giant had Jack up early, and told him he was going off this day to fight the Giant at the other end of the world, and gave Jack his directions, and warned him just as on the other days. Then he went into the stable before he went away. And when he was gone, Jack went through all the house, and through the whole yard, setting everything in order, and when everything was done, he stood before the stable door.
"I wonder," says Jack, "how the poor mare and the poor bear are getting along and what the Giant of the Hundred Hills was doing here to-day? I should very much like," says he, "to take one wee, wee peep in," and he opened the door.
Jack peeped in, and there the mare and the bear stood looking at each other again, and neither of them taking a morsel. And there was the meat before the mare and the hay before the bear, just as on the other days.
"Poor creatures," says Jack, "it is no wonder you are not eating, and hungry and hungry you must be." And forward he steps, and changes the food, putting it as it should be, the hay before the mare and the meat before the bear, and to it both of them fell.
And when he had done this, up speaks the mare, and "Poor Jack," says she, "I am sorry for you. This night you will be killed surely; and sorry for us, too, I am, for we will be killed as well as you."
"Oh, Oh, Oh!" says Jack, says he, "that is terrible. Is there nothing we can do?"
"Only one thing," says the mare.
"What is that ?" says Jack.
"It's this," says the mare; "put that saddle and bridle on me, and let us start off and be away, far, far from this country, when the Giant comes back." And soon Jack had the saddle and bridle on the mare, and on her back he got to start off.
"Oh!" says the bear, speaking up, "both of you are going away to leave me in for all the trouble."
"No," says the mare, "we will not do that. Jack," says she, "take the chains and tie me to the bear."
Jack tied the mare to the bear with chains that were hanging by, and then the three of them, the mare and the bear and Jack, started, and on and on they went, as fast as they could gallop.
After a long time, says the mare: "Jack, look behind you, and see what you can see."
Jack looked behind him, and "Oh!" says he, "I see the Giant of the Hundred Hills coming like a raging storm. Very soon he will be on us, and we will all three be murdered."
Says the mare, says she, "We have a chance yet. Look in my left ear, and see what you can see;" and in her left ear Jack looked, and saw a little chestnut.
"Throw it over your left shoulder," says the mare.
Jack threw it over his left shoulder, and that minute there arose behind them a chestnut wood ten miles wide. On and on they went that day and that night; and till middle of the next day, "Jack," says the mare, "look behind you, and see what you can see."
Jack looked behind him, and "Oh!" says he, "I see the Giant of the Hundred Hills coming tearing after us like a harvest hurricane."
"Do you see anything strange about him, Jack?" says the mare.
"Yes," says Jack, says he, "there are as many bushes on the top of his head, and as much fowl stuck about his feet and legs as will keep him in fire-wood and flesh for years to come. We are done for this time, entirely," says poor Jack.
"Not yet," says the mare; "there is another chance. Look into my right ear, and see what you can see."
In the mare's right ear Jack looked, and found a drop of water.
"Throw it over your left shoulder, Jack," says the mare, "and see what will happen."
Over his left shoulder Jack threw it, and all at once a lough sprung up between them and the Giant that was one hundred miles wide every way and one hundred miles deep.
"Now," says the mare, "he cannot reach us until he drinks his way through the lough, and very likely he will drink until he bursts, and then we shall be rid of him altogether."
Jack thanked God, and on he went. It was not long now until he reached the borders of Scotland, and there he saw a great wood.
"Now," says the mare and the bear, "this wood must be our hiding-place."
"And what about me?" says Jack.
"For you, Jack," says the mare, "you must push on and look for employment. The castle of the King of Scotland is near by, and I think you will be likely to get employment there; but first I must change you into an ugly little hookedy-crookedy fellow, because the King of Scotland has three beautiful daughters, and he won't take into his service a handsome fellow as you, for fear his daughters would fall in love with you."
Then the mare put her nostrils to Jack's breast and blew her breath over him, and Jack was turned into an ugly little hookedy-crookedy fellow.
"Jack," says the mare, "before you go, look into my left ear, and take what you see there."
Out of the mare's left ear Jack took a little cap.
"Jack," says she, "that is a wishing-cap, and every time you put it on and wish to have anything done, it will be done. Whenever you are in any trouble," the mare says, "come back to me, and I will do what I can for you, and now good-bye."
So Jack said good-bye to the mare and to the bear, and set off. When he got out of the wood, he soon saw a castle, and walked up to it and went in by the kitchen. A servant was employed scouring knives. He told her he wanted employment. She said the King of Scotland would employ no man in his house, so he might as well push on. But Jack insisted that the King would employ him, and at length the girl consented to go and let the King know.
When the girl had gone away, Jack put on his wishing-cap and wished the knives and forks scoured, and all at once the knives and forks, that were piled in a stack ten yards high, were scoured as brightly as new pins; and though the King of Scotland did not want to employ him, when he found how quickly Jack had scoured all the big stack of knives and forks, he agreed to keep him. But first he brought down his three daughters to see Jack, so that he could observe what impression Jack made upon them. When they came into the kitchen and saw the ugly little fellow, every one of the three fainted and had to be carried out.
"It is all right," says the King; "we will surely keep you," and Jack was employed, and sent out into the garden to work there.
Now at this time the King of the East declared war on the King of Scotland. The King of the East had a mighty army entirely, and he threatened to wipe the King of Scotland off the face of the earth.
The King of Scotland was very much troubled and he consulted with his Grand Adviser what was best to be done, and his Grand Adviser counseled that he should at once give his three daughters in marriage to sons of kings, and in that way get great help for the war. The King said this was a grand idea.
So he sent out messengers to all parts of the world to say that his three beautiful daughters were open for marriage. In a very short time the son of the King of Spain came and married the eldest daughter, and the son of the King of France came and married the second, and a whole lot of princes came looking for the youngest, who was the most beautiful of the three and whose name was Yellow Rose; but she would not take one of them, and for this the King ordered her never to come into his sight, nor into company, again.
Yellow Rose got very downhearted, and spent almost all her time now wandering in the garden, where the Hookedy-Crookedy was looking after the flowers, and she used to come around again and again, chatting to Hookedy-Crookedy. And so it was not long until Hookedy-Crookedy saw that the Yellow Rose was in love with him, and he got just as deeply in love with her, for she was a beautiful and charming girl.
The next thing the Grand Adviser counseled the King was that he should send his two new sons-in-law, the Prince of Spain and the Prince of France, to the Well of the World's End for bottles of loca to take to battle with them, that they might cure the wounded and dead men. Loca was a liquid that cured all wounds and restored the dead to life. So the King ordered his sons-in-law to go to the Well of the World's End and bring him back two bottles of loca.
The Yellow Rose told Hookedy-Crookedy all about this, and when he had turned it over in his mind, he said to himself, "I will go and have a chat with the mare and the bear about this."
So off to the woods he went, and right glad the mare and the bear were to see him. He told them all that had happened, and then he told them how the King's two sons-in-law were to start to the Well of the World's End the next day, and asked the mare's advice about it.
"Well, Jack," says the mare, "I want you to go with them. Take an old hunter in the King's stable, an old bony, skinny animal that is past all work, and put an old straw saddle on him, and dress yourself in the most ragged dress you can get, and join the two men on the road, and say that you are going with them. They will be heartily ashamed of you, Jack, and your old horse, and they will do everything to get rid of you. When you come to the cross-roads, one of them will propose to go in and have a drink; and while you are chatting over your drink, they will propose that the three of you separate and every one take a road by himself to go to the Well of the World's End, and that all three shall meet at the cross-roads again, and whoever is back first with the bottle of water is to be the greatest hero of them all. You agree to this. When they start on their roads, they will not go many miles till they fill their bottles from spring wells by the roadside and hurry back to the meeting-place, and then continue on home to the King of Scotland and give him these bottles as bottles of loca from the Well of the World's End. But you will be before them. After you have set out on the road, and when you have gone around the first bend, put on your wishing-cap and wish for two bottles of loca from the Well of the World's End, and at once you will have them." And then the mare directed Jack fully all that he was to do after.
Jack thanked the mare, and bade goodby to her, and went away.
The next day, when the King's two sons-in-law set out on their grand steeds to go to the Well of the World's End, they had not gone far when Jack, in a ragged old suit and sitting on a straw saddle on an old white skinny horse, joined them and told them he too was going with them for a bottle of loca. Right heartily ashamed were they of Jack and ready to do anything to get rid of him.
By and by, when they came to where the road divided into three, they proposed to have a drink, and as they set off to drink they proposed that each take a road for himself, and whoever got back first with a bottle of loca would be the greatest hero. All agreed, and each chose his own road and set out.
When Jack had got around the first bend, he put on his wishing-cap and wished for two bottles of loca from the Well of the World's End, and no sooner had he wished than he had them; and back again he came, and when the other two came riding up, surprised the were to find Jack there before them. They said that Jack had not been to the Well of the World's End and it was no loca he had with him, but some water from the roadside.
Said Jack, "Take care that is not your own story. Just test them; when the servant comes in, you cut off his head and then cure him with water from your bottles."
But both refused to do this, for they knew the water in their bottles could not cure anything, and they defied Jack to do it.
"Very soon I will do it," said Jack.
So when the servant came in with the bottles of loca, Jack drew his sword and whipped his head off him, and in a minute's time, with two drops from one of his bottles, he had the head on again.
Says they to Hookedy-Crookedy, "What will you take for your two bottles?"
Says Jack, "I will take the golden balls of your marriage pledge, and also you shall allow me to write something on your backs."
And they agreed to this. They handed over to Jack the two golden balls that were their marriage tokens, and they let Jack write on their bare backs; and what Jack wrote on each of them was, "This is an unlawfully married man." Then he gave them the bottles of loca, and they brought them to the King, and Jack returned to his garden again.
He did not tell the Yellow Rose where he had been and what doing, only said he was away on a message for her father. As soon as the King got the bottles of loca, he gave orders that his army should move to battle the next day.
The next morning early Jack was over to the wood to consult the mare. He told her what was going to happen that day. Says the mare, "Look in my left ear, Jack, and see what you will see."
Jack looked in the mare's left ear, and took out of it a grand soldier's dress. The mare told him to put it on and get on her back. On he put the dress, and at once Hookedy-Crookedy was transformed into a very handsome, dashing young fellow, and off went Jack and the mare and the bear, the three of them, away to the war. Every one saw them, and they admired Jack very much, he was such a handsome, clever-looking fellow, and word was passed on to the King about the great Prince who was riding to the war -- himself, the mare, and the bear. The King came to see him, too, and asked him on which side he was going to fight.
"I will strike no stroke this day," says Jack, "except on the side of the King of Scotland."
The King thanked him very heartily, and said he was sure they would win. So they went into the battle with Jack at their head, and Jack struck east and west and in all directions, and at every blow of his sword the wind of his stroke tossed houses on the other side of the world, and in a very short time the King of the East ran off, with all his army that were still left alive. Then the King of Scotland invited Jack to come home with him, as he was going to give a great feast in his honor; but Jack said no, he could not go.
"They don't know at home," said Jack, "where I am at all" -- and neither they did -- "so I must be off to them as quickly as possible."
"Then," says the King, "the least I can do is to give you a present. Here is a table-cloth," says he, "and every time you spread it out you will have it covered with eating and drinking of all sorts."
Jack took it, and thanked him, and rode away. He left the mare and the bear in their own wood, and became Hookedy-Crookedy again, and ran back to his garden. The Yellow Rose told him of the brave soldier that had won her father's battle that day.
"Well, well," says Jack, says he, "he must have been a grand fellow entirely. It is a pity I was not there, but I had to go on a message for the King."
"Poor Hookedy-Crookedy," says she, "what could you do if you were there yourself?"
Jack went to the wood again next morning, and consulted with the mare.
"Jack," said the mare, "look in the inside of my left ear, and see what you will see," and Jack took out of her left ear a soldier's suit, done off with silver, the grandest ever seen, and at the mare's advice he put the suit on, and mounted on her back, and the three of them went off to the battle. Every one was admiring the beautiful, dashing fellow that was riding to the battle this day, and word came to the King, and the King came to speak to him and welcomed him heartily.
He said, "Your brother came with us the last day we went into the battle. Your brother is a very handsome, fine-looking fellow. What side are you going to fight on?"
Says Jack, "I will strike no stroke on any side but yours this day."
The King thanked him very heartily, and into the battle they went with Jack at their head, and Jack struck east and west and in all directions, and the wind of the strokes blew down forests in the other end of the world, and very soon the King of the East, with all his army that were still alive, drew off from the battle.
Then the King thanked Jack and invited him to his castle, where he would give a feast in his honor. But Jack said he could not go, for they did not know at home where he was, and they would be uneasy about him until he reached home again.
"Then," says the King, "the least I can do for you is to give you a present. Here is a purse, and no matter how often and how much you pay out of it, it will never be empty."
Jack took it, and thanked him, and rode away. In the wood he left the mare and the bear, and was again changed into Hookedy-Crookedy, and went home to his garden. The Yellow Rose came out, and told him about the great victory a brave and beautiful soldier, brother to the fine fellow of the day before, had won for her father.
"Well, well," says Jack, says he, "that was very wonderful entirely. I am sorry I was not there, but I had to be away on a message for your father."
"But, my poor Hookedy-Crookedy," says she, "it was better so, for what could you do?"
Three days after that the King of the East took courage to come to battle again. The morning of the battle Jack went to the wood to consult the mare.
"Look into my left ear, Jack, and see what you will see," and from the mare's left ear Jack drew out a most gorgeous soldier's suit, done off with gold braiding and ornaments of every sort. By the mare's advice he put it on, and himself, the mare, and the bear went off to the war.
The King soon heard of the wonderfully grand fellow that was riding to the war to-day with the mare and the bear, and he came to Jack and welcomed him and told him how his two brothers had won the last two victories for him. He asked Jack on what side he was going to fight.
"I will strike no stroke this day," says Jack, only on the King of Scotland's side."
The King thanked him heartily, and said, "We will surely win the victory," and then into the battle they rode with Jack at their head, and Jack struck east and west and in all directions, and the wind of the strokes tumbled mountains at the other end of the world, and very soon the King of the East with all his army that were left alive took to their heels and never stopped running until they went as far as the world would let them.
Then the King came to Jack and thanked him over and over again, and said he would never be able to repay him. He then invited him to come to his castle, where he would give a little feast in his honor, but Jack said they didn't know at home where he was and they would be uneasy about him, and so he could not go with the King.
"But," says he, "I and my brothers will come to feast with you at any other time."
"What day will the three of you come?" said the King.
"Only one of us can leave home in one day," said Jack. "I will come to feast with you tomorrow, and my second brother the day after, and my third brother the day after that."
The King agreed to this and thanked him. "And now," said the King, "let me give you a present," and he gave him a comb, such that every time he combed his hair with it he would comb out of it bushels of gold and silver, and it would transform the ugliest man that ever was into the nicest and handsomest. Jack took it and thanked the King and rode away.
On this day, as on the other two days after the battle, they cured the dead and the wounded with the bottles of loca, and all were well again. When Jack went to the wood, he left the mare and the bear in it and became Hookedy-Crookedy again, and went home and to his garden. The Yellow Rose came to him and had wonderful news for him this day about the terrible grand fellow entirely, who had won the battle for her father that day; brother to the two brave fellows who had won the battles on the other two days.
"Well," says Jack, says he, "those must be wonderful chaps. I wish I had been there; but I had to be away on a message for your father all day."
"Oh, my poor Hookedy-Crookedy," says she, "it was better so, for what could you do?"
The next day, when it was near dinner time, he went off to the wood to the mare and the bear and got on the suit he had worn the day before in the battle, and mounted the mare and rode for the castle, and when he came there all the gates happened to be closed, but he put the mare at the walls, which were nine miles high, and leapt them.
The King scolded the gate-keepers, but Jack said a trifle like that didn't harm him or his mare. After dinner the King asked him what he thought of his two daughters and their husbands. Jack said they were very good and asked him if he had any more daughters in his family.
The King said he used to have another, the youngest, but she would not consent to marry as he wished, and he had banished her out of his sight.
Jack said he would like to see her.
The King said he never wished to let her enter company again, but he could not refuse Jack; so the Yellow Rose was sent for.
Jack fell a-chatting with her and used all his arts to win her, and of course, in this handsome Jack she did not recognize ugly little Hookedy-Crookedy. He told her he had heard that she had the very bad taste to fall in love with an ugly, crooked, wee fellow in her father's garden.
"I am a handsome fellow, and a rich prince," says Jack, "and I will give you myself and all I possess if you will only say you will accept me."
She was highly insulted, and she showed him that very quickly. She said, "I won't sit here and hear the man I love abused;" and she got up to leave.
"Well," says Jack, "I admire your spirit; but before you go," says he," let me make you a little present," and he handed her a tablecloth. "There," says he, "if you marry Hookedy-Crookedy, as long as you have this tablecloth, you will never want eating and drinking of the best." The other two sisters grabbed to get the tablecloth from her, but Jack put out his hands and pushed them back.
At dinner-time the next day Jack came in the dress in which he had gone into the second battle, and with the mare he cleared the walls as on the day before.
The King was enraged at the gate-keepers and began to scold them, but Jack laughed at them and said a trifle like that was nothing to him or his mare.
After dinner was over the King asked what he thought of his two daughters and their husbands.
Jack said they were very good, and asked him if he had any more daughters in his family.
The King said, "I have no more except one who won't do as I wish and who has fallen in love with an ugly, crooked, wee fellow in my garden, and I ordered her never to come into my sight."
But Jack said he would very much like to see her.
The King said that on Jack's account he would break his vow and let her come in. So the Yellow Rose was brought in, and Jack fell to chatting with her. He did all he could to make her fall in love with him, and told her of all his great wealth and possessions and offered himself to her, and said if she only would marry him she should live in ease and luxury and happiness all the days of her life, as she never could do with Hookedy-Crookedy.
But Yellow Rose got very angry, and said: "I won't sit here and listen to such things," and she got up to leave the room.
"Well," says Jack, "I admire your spirit, and before you go let me make you a little present."
So he handed her a purse. "Here," says he, "is a purse, and all the days yourself and Hookedy-Crookedy live you will never want for money, for that purse will never be empty."
Her sisters made a grab to snatch it from her, but Jack shoved them back, and went out. And Jack rode away with the mare after dinner and left her in the wood.
When he came back to his garden he always came in the Hookedy-Crookedy shape and always pretended he had been off on a message for the King.
The third day he went to the wood again. He dressed in the suit in which he had gone to the first battle, and when he came back he went to the castle and cleared the walls, and when the King scolded the gate-keepers Jack told him never to mind, as that was a small trifle to him and his mare.
A very grand dinner indeed Jack had this day, and when they chatted after dinner the King asked him how he liked his two daughters and their husbands.
He said he liked them very well, and asked him if he had any more daughters in his family.
The King said no, except one foolish one who wouldn't do as he wished, and who had fallen in love with an ugly, crooked, wee fellow in his garden, and she was never to come within his sight again.
Says Jack, "I would like to see that girl."
The King said he could not refuse Jack any request he made, so he sent for the Yellow Rose. When she came in, Jack fell into chat with her, and did his very, very best to make her fall in love with him. But it was of no use. He told her of all his wealth and all his grand possessions, and said if she would marry him she should own all these, and all the days she should live she should be the happiest woman in the wide world, but if she married Hookedy-Crookedy, he said, she would never be free from want and hardships, besides having an ugly husband.
If the Yellow Rose was in a rage on the two days before, she was in a far greater rage now. She said she wouldn't sit there to listen. She told Jack that Hookedy-Crookedy was in her eyes a far more handsome and beautiful man than he or than any king's son she had ever seen. She said to Jack, that if he were ten times as handsome and a hundred times as wealthy, she wouldn't give Hookedy-Crookedy's little finger for himself, or for all his wealth and possessions, and then she got up to leave the room.
"Well," says Jack, says he, "I admire your spirit very much, and," says he, "I would like to make you a little present. Here is a comb," he said, "and it will comb out of your hair a bushel of gold and a bushel of silver every time you comb with it, and, besides," says he, "it will make handsome the ugliest man that ever was."
When the other sisters heard this they rushed to snatch the comb from her, but Jack threw them backwards so very roughly that their husbands sprang at him. With a back switch of his two hands Jack knocked the husbands down senseless. The King flew into a rage, and said, "How dare you do that to the two finest and bravest men of this world ?"
"Fine and brave, indeed!" said Jack. "One and the other they are worthless creatures, and not even your lawful sons-in-law."
"How dare you say that ?" says the King.
"Strip their backs where they lie and see far yourself." And there the King saw written, "An unlawfully married man."
"What is the meaning of this?" says the King. "They were lawfully married to my two daughters, and they have the golden tokens of the marriage."
Jack drew out from his pocket the golden balls and handed them to the King, and said, "It is I who have the tokens."
The Yellow Rose had gone off to the garden in the middle of all this. Jack made the King sit down, and told him all his story, and how he came by the golden balls. He told him how he was Hookedy-Crookedy, and that it reflected a great deal of honor on his youngest daughter that she whom the King thought so worthless should refuse to give up Hookedy-Crookedy for the one she thought a wealthy prince. The King, you may be sure, was now highly delighted to grant him all he desired. A couple of drops of loca brought the King's two sons to their senses again, and at Jack's request, they were ordered to go and live elsewhere. Jack went off, left his mare in the wood, and came into the garden as Hookedy-Crookedy. He told the Yellow Rose he had been gathering bilberries.
"Oh," says she, "I have something grand for you. Let me comb your hair with this comb."
Hookedy-Crookedy put his head in her lap, and she combed out a bushel of gold and silver and when he stood up again, she saw Hookedy-Crookedy no more, but instead the beautiful prince that had been trying to win her in her father's drawing-room for the last three days; and then and there to her Jack told his whole story, and it's Yellow Rose who is the delighted girl.
With little delay they were married. The wedding lasted a year and a day, and there were five hundred fiddlers, five hundred fluters and a thousand fifers at it, and the last day was better than the first.
Shortly after the marriage, Jack and his bride were out walking one day. A beautiful young woman crossed their path. Jack addressed her, but she gave him a very curt reply.
"Your manners are not so handsome as your looks," said Jack to her.
"And bad as they are, they are better than your memory, Hookedy-Crookedy," says she.
"What do you mean?" says Jack.
She led Jack aside, and she told him, "I am the mare who was so good to you. I was condemned to that shape for a number of years, and now my enchantment is over. I had a brother who was enchanted into a bear, and whose enchantment is over now also. I had hopes," she says, "that some day you would be my husband, but I see," she says, "that you quickly forgot all about me. No matter now," she says; "I couldn't wish you a better and handsomer wife than you have got. Go home to your castle, and be happy and live prosperous. I shall never see you, and you will never see me again."
<< ======= >>