There was once upon a time a king who had a
daughter, and he caused a glass mountain to be made, and said that whosoever could cross
to the other side of it without falling should have his daughter to wife. Then there was
one who loved the king's daughter, and he asked the king if he might have her. Yes, said
the king, if you can cross the mountain without falling, you shall have her. And the
princess said she would go over it with him, and would hold him if he were about to fall.
So they set out together to go over it, and when they were half way up the princess
slipped and fell, and the glass mountain opened and shut her up inside it, and her
betrothed could not see where she had gone, for the mountain closed immediately. Then he
wept and lamented much, and the king was miserable too, and ordered the mountain to be
broken open where she had been lost, and thought he would be able to get her out again,
but they could not find the place into which she had fallen.
Meanwhile the king's daughter had fallen quite
deep down into the earth into a great cave. An old fellow with a very long gray beard came
to meet her, and told her that if she would be his servant and do everything he bade her,
she might live, if not he would kill her. So she did all he bade her. In the mornings he
took his ladder out of his pocket, and set it up against the mountain and climbed to the
top by its help, and then he drew the ladder after him. The princess had to cook his
dinner, make his bed, and do all his work, and when he came home again he always brought
with him a heap of gold and silver. When she had lived with him for many years, and had
grown quite old, he called her Mother Mansrot, and she had to call him Old Rinkrank. Then
once when he was out, and she had made his bed and washed his dishes, she shut the doors
and windows all fast, and there was one little window through which the light shone in,
and this she left open.
When Old Rinkrank came home, he knocked at his
door, and cried, Mother Mansrot, open the door for me. No, said she, Old Rinkrank, I will
not open the door for you. Then he said, here stand I, poor rinkrank, on my seventeen long
shanks, on my weary, worn-out foot, wash my dishes, Mother Mansrot. I have washed your
dishes already, said she. Then again he said, here stand I, poor rinkrank, on my seventeen
long shanks, on my weary, worn-out foot, make my bed, Mother Mansrot. I have made your bed
already, said she. Then again he said, here stand I, poor rinkrank, on my seventeen long
shanks, on my weary, worn-out foot, open the door, Mother Mansrot. Then he ran all round
his house, and saw that the little window was open, and thought, I will look in and see
what she can be about, and why she will not open the door for me.
He tried to peep in, but could not get his head
through because of his long beard. So he first put his beard through the open window, but
just as he had got it through, Mother Mansrot came by and pulled the window down with a
cord which she had tied to it, and his beard was shut fast in it. Then he began to cry
most piteously, for it hurt him very much, and to entreat her to release him again. But
she said not until he gave her the ladder with which he ascended the mountain. Then,
whether he would or not, he had to tell her where the ladder was. And she fastened a very
long ribbon to the window, and then she set up the ladder, and ascended the mountain, and
when she was at the top of it she opened the window.
She went to her father, and told him all that
had happened to her. The king rejoiced greatly, and her betrothed was still there, and
they went and dug up the mountain, and found Old Rinkrank inside it with all his gold and
silver. Then the king had Old Rinkrank put to death, and took all his gold and silver. The
princess married her betrothed, and lived right happily in great magnificence and joy.