East o' the Sun and West o' the
ONCE on a time there was a poor husbandman who had so
many children that he hadn't much of either food or
clothing to give them. Pretty children they all were,
but the prettiest was the youngest daughter, who was so lovely
that there was no end to all her loveliness.
So one day—'twas on a Thursday evening, late at the fall
of the year, the weather was so wild and rough outside, and
it was so cruelly dark, and rain fell and wind blew till the
walls of the cottage shook again—there they all sat round the
fire, busy with this thing and that. But just then, all at once,
something gave three taps on the windowpane. Then the
father went out to see what was the matter, and when he got
out of doors, what should he see but a great big white bear!
"Good evening to you," said the White Bear.
"The same to you," said the man.
"Will you give me your youngest daughter? If you will,
I'll make you as rich as you are now poor," said the Bear.
Well, the man would not be at all sorry to be rich, but still
he thought he must have a bit of a talk with his daughter first,
so he went in and told them how there was a great white bear
waiting outside, who had given his word to make them rich
if he could only have the youngest daughter.
The lassie said "No" outright. Nothing could get her to
say anything else. So the man went out and settled it with
the White Bear that he should come again the next Thursday
evening and get an answer.
Meantime, he talked his daughter over, and kept on telling
her of all the riches they would get, and how well off she
would be herself; and so at last she thought better of it, and
washed and mended her rags, made herself as smart as she
could, and was ready to start.
Next Thursday evening came the White Bear to fetch her,
and she got upon his back with her bundle, and off they went.
So, when they had gone a bit of the way, the White Bear
"Are you afraid?"
No, she wasn't.
"Well, mind and hold tight to my shaggy coat, and then
there's nothing to fear," said the White Bear.
So she rode a long, long way, until they came to a very
steep hill. There, on the face of it, the White Bear gave a
knock, and a door opened, and they came into a castle where
there were many rooms, all lit up, rooms gleaming with silver
and gold, and there, too, was a table ready laid, and it was all
as grand as grand could be.
Then the White Bear gave her a silver bell, and when she
wanted anything she had only to ring it and she would get it
Well, after she had eaten and drunk, and evening wore on,
she got sleepy after her journey, and thought she would like to
go to bed. So she rang the bell, and she had scarce taken
hold of it before she came into a chamber where there was a
bed made, as fair and white as anyone could wish to sleep in,
with silken pillows and curtains and gold fringe.
She slept quite soundly until morning; then she found her
breakfast waiting in a pretty room. When she had eaten it,
the girl made up her mind to take a walk around, in order to
find out if there were any other people there besides herself.
But she saw nobody but an old woman, whom she took to
be a witch, and as the dame beckoned to her, the girl went
"Little girl," said the Witch, "if you'll promise not to say
a word to anybody, I'll tell you the secret about this place."
Of course, the girl promised at once, so the old dame said:
"In this house there lives a White Bear, but you must know
that he is only a White Bear in the daytime. Every night he
throws off his beast shape and becomes a man, for he is under
the spell of a wicked fairy. Now, be sure and not mention
this to anybody, or misfortune will come," and with these
words she disappeared.
So things went on happily for some time, but at last the
girl began to grow sad and sorrowful, for she went about all
day alone, and she longed to go home to see her father and
mother and brothers and sisters.
"Well, well," said the Bear, "perhaps there's a cure for all
this sorrow. But you must promise me one thing. When
you go home, you mustn't talk about me, except when they are
all present, or, if you do, you will bring bad luck to both of us."
So one Sunday the White Bear came and said now they
would set off to see her father and mother.
Well, off they started, she sitting on his back, and they went
far and long. At last they came to a grand house, and there
her brothers and sisters were running about out of doors at
play, and everything was so pretty 'twas a joy to see.
"This is where your father and mother live now," said the
White Bear; "but don't forget what I told you, or you'll make
us both unlucky."
No—bless her!—she'd not forget, and when they reached
the house the White Bear turned right about and left her.
Then, when she went in to see her father and mother, there
was such joy there was no end to it. None of them could
thank her enough for all the good fortune she had brought
They had everything they wished, as fine as could be, and
they all wanted to know how she got on and where she lived.
Well, she said it was very good to live where she did, and
she had all she wished. What she said besides I don't know,
but I don't believe any of them had the right end of the stick,
or that they got much out of her.
But after dinner her sister called her outside the room, and
asked all manner of questions about the White Bear—whether
he was cross, and whether she ever set eyes on him, and such
like—and the end of it all was that she told her sister the
story of how the White Bear was under a spell.
But the other girl wouldn't listen to the story, for she said
it couldn't be true, and this made the youngest daughter very
In the evening the White Bear came and fetched her away,
and when they had gone a bit of the way he asked her whether
she had done as he had told her and refused to speak about
Then she confessed that she had spoken a few words to her
sister about him, and the Bear was very angry, for he said she
would surely bring bad luck to them both.
When they reached home, she remembered how her sister
had refused to believe the story about the White Bear, so in
the night, when she knew that the Bear was fast asleep, she
stole out of bed, lighted her candle, and crept into his room.
Yes, there he lay fast asleep, but instead of being a White
Bear, he was the handsomest Prince you ever saw. She gave
such a start that she dropped three spots of hot tallow from
the candle on to his pillow, so she ran off in a great fright.
Next morning the White Bear said to her: "I fear you have
found out my secret, for I saw the drops of tallow on my pillow
this morning, and now I know that you spoke to your sister
about me. If you had only kept quiet for a whole year, then
I should have become a man for always, and I should have
made you my wife at once. But now all ties are snapped between
us, and I must go away to a big castle which stands
East o' the sun and West o' the moon, and there, too, lives a
Princess with a nose three ells long, and she's the wife I must
The girl wept, and took it ill, but there was no help for it,
go he must.
Then she asked if she mightn't go with him.
No! she mightn't.
"Tell me the way, then," she said, "and I'll search you
out; that, surely, I may get leave to do."
Yes; she might do that, but there was no way to the place.
It lay East o' the sun and West o' the moon, and thither she'd
never find her way.
So next morning, when she woke, both Prince and castle
were gone, and there she lay on a little green patch, in the
midst of the thick, gloomy wood, and by her side lay the same
bundle of rags that she had brought with her from her old
So when she had rubbed the sleep from her eyes, and wept
till she was tired, she set out on her way and walked many,
many days, till she came to a lofty crag. Under it sat an old
hag, who played with a golden apple, which she tossed about.
The lassie asked her if she knew the way to the Prince who
lived in the castle that lay East o' the sun and West o' the
moon, and who was to marry a Princess with a nose three ells
"How did you come to know about him?" said the old
hag; "but maybe you are the lassie who ought to have had
Yes, she was.
"So, so, it's you, is it?" said the old hag. "Well, all I
know about him is that he lives in the castle that lies East o'
the sun and West o' the moon, and thither you'll come, late
or never; but still you may have the loan of my horse, and on
him you can ride to my next neighbor. Maybe she'll be able
to tell you what you want to know; and when you get there,
just give the horse a switch under the left ear, and beg him
to be off home; and stay, you may take this golden apple
So she got upon the horse and rode a long, long time, till
she came to another crag, under which sat another old hag,
with a golden carding-comb in her hand. The lassie asked
her if she knew the way to the castle that lay East o' the sun
and West o' the moon, and she answered, like the first old hag,
that she knew nothing about it, except that it was East o' the
sun and West o' the moon.
"And thither you'll come, late or never; but you shall have
the loan of my horse to go to my next neighbor; maybe she'll
tell you all about it; and when you get there, just switch the
horse under the left ear and beg him to be off home."
And this old hag gave her the golden carding-comb; it
might be she'd find some use for it, she said. So the lassie got
up on the horse and rode far, far away, and had a weary time;
and so at last she came to another great crag, under which sat
another old hag, spinning with a golden spinning wheel. The
lassie asked her, too, if she knew the way to the Prince and
where the castle was that lay East o' the sun and West o' the
moon. So it was the same thing over again.
"Maybe it's you who ought to have had the Prince?" said
the old hag.
Yes, it was.
But, she, too, didn't know the way a bit better than the other
two. East o' the sun and West o' the moon she knew it was;
that was all.
"And thither you'll come, late or never; but I'll lend you
my horse, and then I think you'd best ride to the East Wind
and ask him; maybe he knows those parts and can blow you
thither. But when you get to him, you need only give the
horse a switch under the left ear, and he'll trot home of
And so, too, she gave the lassie the golden spinning wheel.
"Maybe you'll find a use for it," said the old hag.
Then on she rode a great many weary days before she got
to the East Wind's house; but at last she did reach it, and
then she asked the East Wind if he could tell her the way to
the Prince who dwelt East o' the sun and West o' the moon.
Yes, the East Wind had often heard about them, both the
Prince and the castle, but he couldn't tell her the way, for
he'd never blown so far.
"But, if you will, I'll go with you to my brother, the West
Wind; maybe he's been there, for he's much stronger. So,
if you will just jump on my back, I'll carry you thither."
Yes, she got on his back, and I should just think they went
So, when they reached there, they went into the West
Wind's house, and the East Wind said the lassie he had
brought was the one that ought to have married the Prince
who lived in the castle East o' the sun and West o' the moon,
and that she had set out to seek him. He then said how he
had come with her, and would be glad to know if the West
Wind knew how to get to the castle.
"Nay," said the West Wind, "for I've never blown so far;
but, if you will, I'll go with you to our brother, the South
Wind, for he's much stronger than either of us, and he has
flapped his wings both far and wide. Maybe he'll tell you;
so you can get on my back and I'll carry you to him."
Yes, she got on his back, and so they traveled to the
South Wind, and they weren't so very long on the way, I
When they reached there, the West Wind asked him if he
could tell them the way to the castle that lay East o' the sun
and West o' the moon, for this was the lassie who ought to
have married the Prince who lived there.
"You don't say so! That's she, is it?" said the South
Wind. "Well, I've blustered about in most places in my
time, but so far I have never blown; but, if you will, I'll take
you to my brother, the North Wind; he is the oldest and
strongest of all of us. If he doesn't know where to find the
place, you will never find anybody to tell you where it is.
You can get on my back and I'll carry you thither."
Yes, she got on his back, and away he went from his house
at a very high rate, and this time, too, she wasn't long on
When they got to the North Wind's house, he was so
wild and cross that the puffs came from quite a long way
"WHAT DO YOU WANT?" he roared out to them, in
such a voice that it made them both shiver.
"Well," said the South Wind, "you needn't talk like that,
for here I am, your brother, the South Wind, and here is
the lassie who ought to have had the Prince who dwells at
the castle that lies East o' the sun and West o' the moon,
and now she wants to know if you were ever there, and can
tell her the way, for she would be so glad to find it again."
THE LASSIE RIDING OVER THE SEA ON THE BACK OF THE NORTH WIND
"YES! I KNOW WELL ENOUGH WHERE IT IS,"
said the North Wind. "Once in my life I blew an aspen leaf
there, but I was so tired that I couldn't blow another puff
for days after. But if you really wish to go there, and aren't
afraid to trust yourself to me, I'll take you on my back and
blow you thither."
Yes! with all her heart. She must and would get thither,
if it were possible in any way; and as for fear, however madly
he went, she wouldn't be at all afraid.
"Very well, then," said the North Wind. "But you must
sleep here to-night, for we must have the whole day before
us if we are to get thither at all."
Early next morning the North Wind woke her, and puffed
himself up, and blew himself out, and made himself so stout
and big 'twas fearful to look at him; so off they went, up
through the air, as if they would never stop till they came
to the world's end.
Down below there was such a storm, it threw down long
tracts of wood and many houses, and when it swept over the
great sea, ships foundered by hundreds.
So they tore on and on—nobody can believe how far they
went—and all the while they still went over the sea, and the
North Wind got more and more weary, and so out of breath
he could scarce get out a puff. His wings drooped and
drooped, till at last he sank so low that the crests of the waves
dashed over his heels.
"Are you afraid?" asked the North Wind.
No, she wasn't.
But they weren't very far from land, and the North Wind
had still so much strength in him that he managed to throw
her upon the shore under the windows of the castle which
lay East o' the sun and West o' the moon; but then he was so
weak and worn out that he had to stay there and rest for
many days before he was fit to return home.
Next morning the lassie sat down under the castle window
and began to play with the golden apple; and the first person
she saw was Long-nose, who was to marry the Prince.
"What do you want for your golden apple, lassie?" said
Long-nose; and she threw up the window.
"It's not for sale, for gold or money," said the lassie.
"If it's not for sale for gold or money, what is it that you
will sell it for?" said the Princess. "You may name your
own price for it."
"Well, if you will let me speak a few words alone with the
Prince who lives in the castle, I will give you the apple,"
Yes, she might; that could be done. So the Princess got
the golden apple, and the lassie was shown into the Prince's
room. But when she got inside she found that the Prince
was fast asleep, and although she shook him and called him
loudly, it was no use, for she couldn't wake him, so she had
to go away again.
Next day she sat down under the castle window again, and
began to card with her golden carding-comb; and the same
thing happened. The Princess asked what she wanted for it;
and she said it wasn't for sale for either gold or money, but
that if she might have a few words alone with the Prince,
the Princess should have the comb.
So she was taken up to the Prince's room, and again she
found him fast asleep; and although she wept and shook him
for quite a long time she couldn't get life into him.
So the next morning the lassie sat down under the castle
window and began to spin with her golden spinning wheel;
and that, too, the Princess with the long nose wanted to have.
So she threw up the window and asked what the lassie
wanted for it; and the girl said, as she had said twice before,
that if she might have a few words alone with the Prince
the Princess might have the wheel, and welcome.
Yes, she might do that; and the lassie was shown again into
the Prince's room. This time he was wide awake, and he
was very pleased indeed to see her.
"Ah!" said the Prince, "you've just come in the nick of
time, for to-morrow is to be our wedding day; but now I won't
have Long-nose, and you are the bride for me. I'll just say
that I want to find out what my wife is fit for, and then I'll
beg her to wash the pillow slip which has on it the three spots
of tallow. She will be sure to say 'Yes'; but when she tries
to get out the spots she'll soon find that it is not possible,
for she is a troll, like all the rest of her family, and it is not
possible for a troll to get rid of the marks. Then I'll say that
I won't have any other bride than she who can wash out the
spots of tallow, and I'll call you in to do it."
The wedding was to take place next day, so just before
the ceremony the Prince said:
"First of all, I'd just like to see what my bride is fit
"Yes," said the mother, "I'm quite willing."
"Well, I have a pillow slip which, somehow or other, has got
some spots of grease on it, and I have sworn never to take any
bride but the woman who is able to wash them out for me. If
she can't do that, she is not worth having."
Well, that was no great thing, they said, so they agreed;
and she with the long nose began to wash away as hard as
ever she could; but the more she rubbed and scrubbed the
bigger the spots grew.
"Ah!" said the old hag, her mother, "you can't wash; let
But she hadn't long taken the job in hand before it got
far worse than ever; and with all her rubbing, wringing, and
scrubbing, the spots grew bigger and blacker and darker and
Then all the other trolls began to wash; but the longer it
lasted the blacker and uglier it grew, until at last it looked
as though it had been up the chimney.
"Ah!" said the Prince, "you are none of you worth a
straw; you can't wash. Why, there outside sits a beggar
lassie, and I'll be bound she knows how to wash better than
the whole lot of you."
So he shouted to the lassie to come in, and in she came.
"Can you wash this clean, lassie?" said he.
"I don't know, but I think I can."
And almost before she had taken it and dipped it in the
water, it was white as driven snow, and whiter still.
"Yes, you are the lassie for me," said the Prince.
At that the old hag flew in such a rage that she burst on
the spot, and the Princess with the long nose after her; and
then the whole pack of trolls did the same.
As for the Prince and Princess, they had a grand wedding,
and lived happily at the castle East o' the sun and West o'
the moon until the end of their days.