|Widow had two daughters; one was pretty and industrious and the other was ugly and lazy.|
As the ugly one was her own daughter, the pretty one was made to do all the work. Every day the poor girl had to sit by a well and spin until her fingers bled. As the spindle was bloody, she dipped it into the well to wash it; but it slipped out of her hand and fell in. Her stepmother scolded her without mercy.
Then the girl went back again, and in despair jumped down in to the well. After that she knew nothing; and when she came to herself she was in a beautiful meadow. And she walked on through the meadow until she came to a baker's oven that was full of bread; and the bread called out to her:
"Oh, take me out, take me out; I am baked enough already!"
Then she took out all the loaves one after the other. And she went on till she cam to a tree weighted down with apples, and it called out to her, "Oh shake me, shake me, we apples are all ripe!"
Then she shook the tree until there were no more apples to fall; and gathered them in a heap, and went on further. At least she came to a little house, and an old woman was peeping out of it, but she had such great teeth that the girl was terrified and about to run away, only the old woman said.
"Come and live with me, and if you do the housework well, things shall go well with you. You must make my bed well, and shake it up so that the feathers fly about, and then in the world it snows, for I am Mother Hulda."
As the old woman spoke so kindly, the girl took courage, and went to her work. She did everything to the old woman's satisfaction, and shook the bed with such a will that the feathers flew aoubt like snowflakes; and so she led a good life, had never a cross word, but boiled and roast meat about day. When she had lived a long time with Mother Hulda, she became homesick, although she was a thousand times better off where she was.
So Mother Hulda took her by the hand and led her to a large door standing open, and as she was passing through it there fell upon her a heavy shower of gold, and the gold hung all about her, so that she was covered with it.
"All this is yours because you have been so industrious," said Mother Hulda. And then the door was shut again, and the girl found herself not far from her mother's house; and as she passed through the yard the cock cried:
"Cock-a-doodle doo! Our golden girl has come home too!"
As she had returned covered with gold she was well received. So the girl told what had happened to her, and when the mother heard of it she began to wish that her idle daughter might have the same good fortune. So she sent her to sit by the well and spin; and she threw the spindle into the well, and jumped in herself. She found herself, like her sister, in the beautiful meadow, and when she came ot the baker's oven, the bread cried out:
"Oh, take me out, take me out, or I shall burn; I am quite done already!"
But the lazy bones answered: "I have no desire to black my hands," and went on farther. Soon she came to the apple tree, who called out:
"Oh, shake me, shake me, we apples are all of us ripe!"
But she answered, "Suppose one of you should fall on my head."
When she came to Mother Hulda's house she did not feel afraid, as she knew beforehand of her great teeth, and entered into her service at once. The first day she did everything Mother Hulda bade her, because of the gold she expected; but the second day she began to be idle, and the third day still more so, so that she would not get up in the morning. Neither did she make Mother Hulda's bed as it ought to have been made, and did not shake it for the feathers to fly about. So that Mother Hulda soon grew tired of her, and gave her warning, at which the lazy thing was well pleased, and though that now the shower of gold was coming; so Mother Hulda led her to the door, and instead of the shower of gold a great kettle of pitch was emptied over her.
So the lazy girl came home all covered with pitch, and the cock cried:
"Cock-a-doodle doo! One dirty girl has come home too!"
And the pitch remained sticking to her fast, and it never ever come off.