Fairy tales in English - Dwarfs And The Demoness

Dwarfs And The Demoness 

Long long ago, on the seashore of Malay lived a young man who was poor, but brave. What is more, he was always kind and helpful to others. Close to the sea was a range of hills. The young man was in the habit of roaming about amidst the hills. One day, while doing so, he suddenly came across eight dwarfs who hid behind the rocks the moment they saw him. "Why are you hiding, my friends?" the young man called out to the dwarfs. "Please come out. I want to talk to you!" he added. After some reluctance, the dwarfs came out one by one. The young man greeted them very warmly and then asked, "Why were you hiding from me?" "It is because people laugh at us. They ridicule us!" said the dwarfs. "They are fools. What has one's size to do with one's nature? I have a feeling that you are good people," said the young man. The dwarfs looked at one another. It was clear that they had no idea about what is good and what is bad. One of them said, "We don't know what you mean. But we will help you if ever you need our help," said the dwarfs. The young man thanked them. Thereafter they met from time to time. One day the young man was surprised to see a giant of a man, twice larger than he, appearing on the seashore. "Who are you? What are you looking for?" the young man asked the stranger. 

"I came from an island. We are facing a problem As soon as our queen gives birth to a child, the child disappears mysteriously. I came to this land to find out if the people here are stronger than us so that they could help us in overcoming the danger. But I see the people here are smaller than us!" said the stranger with a sigh of despair. "Size is not the proof of strength or courage," said the young man. But the stranger paid no attention to his observation. He jumped into the sea and disappeared from the young man's sight. The young man kept standing feeling rather gloomy. Suddenly the eight dwarfs came out and surrounded him. "Why are you looking pensive? We can help you!" they said. "We have overheard what the big man said." "What are your qualities?" asked the young man. "My name is Stone-Weight. Nobody can dislodge me from my seat," said one dwarf. "My name is Strange-Ears. I can hear what is being spoken beyond the sea!" said the second dwarf. The third dwarf's name was Far-sight. He could see the smallest things at any place far away. The next one was named Knower. He could know if he wished, anything that is happening anywhere in the world. The fifth one's name was Light-hand. He would take away eggs from under a hen without the hen coming to know about it. The sixth one was Smooth-body. Even a fly sitting on his body would slip off! The seventh one was Archer. He could shoot down a marked fly from a thousand flies. The eighth one was Wood-power. He could do miracles with a piece of timber. 

"Tell me, how long would you take to make a ship?" the young man asked Wood-power. "You close your eyes and recite the name of your deity five times and then look!" said Wood-power. The young man closed his eyes for a few seconds and looked. Lo and behold, there was a ship on the sea. "Let us go to the island of those giant men!" said the young man. The dwarfs accompanied him. The king of the island welcomed him, though he was not sure that the young man's party would help him solve the problem. "My friends, the queen has just been delivered of a child for the third time. Tonight is a critical time. The child may be stolen," the king told the young man. "Don't you worry. We will guard the child," the young man assured him. "Can you tell me who is stealing the king's children?" the young man asked the dwarf Knower. "The king's own sister. She is his foe and she has become a demoness. She comes here in the form of smoke," said the Knower. All of them remained alert. At midnight some smoke entered the palace through the windows and all the inmates of the palace fell asleep. But the smoke did not affect the young man and the party. Then a long hand came down through the chimney. Immediately Stone-weight sat on it. The demoness could not take away her hand however she tried. While all were enjoying the demoness's plight, she kept her other hand, through another chimney, reached for the infant. Seeing the infant being lifted one of the dwarfs shrieked.

Stone-weight stood up. At once the demoness took away her hand and disappeared. "We must go to the castle of the demoness, wherever it is," declared the young man. Then Strange-ear said, "I can hear the demoness telling her assistants to keep the infant, along with the two children stolen earlier, very carefully." Soon they reached the small island occupied by the demoness. The two dwarfs, Smooth-body and Light-hand, managed to enter the castle. Light-hand lifted the three children and handed them over to Smooth-body. The guards woke up and tried to take hold of Smooth-body. But they could not hold him, for his body was so oily that nothing could hold it! Then they boarded the ship and sailed for the king's island. The demoness woke up at the shouts of the guards. She gave a chase to the ship. The dwarf named Far-sight saw her and told the others about her approach. Archer got ready with his bow. When the demoness was close enough, he shot an arrow. The demoness died. The young man's party reached the king's palace with the three little princes. The king was at a loss of words to thank them. However, he gave the young man much money. He returned to his seashore land with the dwarfs. He built a fine house for them. The story of their adventure became widely known. People said, "It is not the size that matters, but talent and merit. The dwarfs proved that." 

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