The boy went on his way as well, and once more began muttering to
himself, " Oh, if only I could shudder! Oh, if only I could shudder!"
A cart driver who was walking along behind him heard this and asked,
"Who are you?"
"I don't know," replied the boy.
Then the cart driver asked, "Where do you come from?"
"I don't know."
"Who is your father?"
"I am not permitted to say."
"What are you always muttering to yourself?"
"Oh," replied the boy, "I want to be able shudder, but no one can teach
"Stop that foolish chatter," said the cart driver. "Come, walk along
with me, and I will see that I get a place for you."
The boy went with the cart driver, and that evening they came to an inn
where they decided to spend the night. On entering the main room, the boy
again said quite loudly, "If only I could shudder! If only I could
Hearing this, the innkeeper laughed and said, "If that is your desire,
there should be a good opportunity for you here."
"Oh, be quiet," said the innkeeper's wife. "Too many meddlesome people
have already lost their lives. It would be a pity and a shame if his
beautiful eyes would never again see the light of day."
But the boy said, "I want to learn to shudder, however difficult it may
be. That is why I left home."
He gave the innkeeper no rest, until the latter told him that there was
a haunted castle not far away where a person could very easily learn how
to shudder, if he would just keep watch there for three nights. The king
had promised that whoever would dare to do this could have his daughter in
marriage, and she was the most beautiful maiden under the sun. Further, in
the castle there were great treasures, guarded by evil spirits. These
treasures would then be freed, and would make a poor man rich enough. Many
had entered the castle, but no one had come out again.
The next morning the boy went to the king and said, "If it be allowed,
I will keep watch three nights in the haunted castle."
The king looked at him, and because the boy pleased him, he said, "You
may ask for three things to take into the castle with you, but they must
be things that are not alive."
To this the boy replied, "Then I ask for a fire, a lathe, and a
woodcarver's bench with a knife."
The king had all these things carried into the castle for him during
the day. When night was approaching, the boy went inside and made himself
a bright fire in one of the rooms, placed the woodcarver's bench and knife
beside it, and sat down at the lathe.
"Oh, if only I could shudder!" he said. "But I won't learn it here
Towards midnight he decided to stir up his fire. He was just blowing
into it when a cry suddenly came from one of the corners, "Au, meow! How
cold we are!"
"You fools," he shouted, "what are you crying about? If you are cold,
come and sit down by the fire and warm yourselves."
When he had said that, two large black cats came with a powerful leap
and sat down on either side of him, looking at him savagely with their
A little while later, after warming themselves, they said, "Comrade,
shall we play a game of cards?"
"Why not?" he replied, "But first show me your paws."
So they stretched out their claws.
"Oh," he said, "what long nails you have. Wait. First I will have to
trim them for you."
With that he seized them by their necks, put them on the woodcarver's
bench, and tightened them into the vice by their feet. "I have been
looking at your fingers," he said, "and my desire to play cards has
disappeared," and he struck them dead and threw them out into the water.
After he had put these two to rest, he was about to sit down again by
his fire, when from every side and every corner there came black cats and
black dogs on red-hot chains. More and more of them appeared until he
could no longer move. They shouted horribly, then jumped into his fire and
pulled it apart, trying to put it out.
He quietly watched them for a little while, but finally it was too much
for him, and he seized his carving-knife, and cried, "Away with you, you
villains!" and hacked away at them. Some of them ran away, the others he
killed, and threw out into the pond. When he came back he blew into the
embers of his fire until they flamed up again, and warmed himself.
As he thus sat there, his eyes would no longer stay open, and he wanted
to fall asleep. Looking around, he saw a large bed in the corner. "That is
just what I wanted," he said, and lay down in it. However, as he was about
to shut his eyes, the bed began to move by itself, going throughout the
"Good," he said, "but let's go faster."
Then the bed rolled on as if six horses were harnessed to it, over
thresholds and stairways, up and down. But then suddenly, hop, hop, it
tipped upside down and lay on him like a mountain. But he threw the covers
and pillows into the air, climbed out, and said, "Now anyone who wants to
may drive." Then he lay down by his fire, and slept until it was day.
In the morning the king came, and when he saw him lying there on the
ground, he thought that the ghosts had killed him and that he was dead.
Then said he, "It is indeed a pity to lose such a handsome person."
The boy heard this, got up, and said, "It hasn't come to that yet."
The king was astonished, but glad, and asked how he had fared.
"Very well," he replied. "One night is past. The two others will pass
When he returned to the innkeeper, the latter looked astonished and
said, "I did not think that I'd see you alive again. Did you learn how to
"No," he said, "it is all in vain. If someone could only tell me how."
The second night he again went up to the old castle, sat down by the
fire, and began his old song once more, "If only I could shudder!"
As midnight was approaching he heard a noise and commotion. At first it
was soft, but then louder and louder. Then it was a little quiet, and
finally, with a loud scream, half of a man came down the chimney and fell
in front of him.
"Hey!" he shouted. "Another half belongs here. This is too little."
Then the noise began again. With roaring and howling the other half
fell down as well.
"Wait," he said. "Let me blow on the fire and make it burn a little
warmer for you."
When he had done that and looked around again. The two pieces had come
together, and a hideous man was sitting in his place.
"That wasn't part of the wager," said the boy. "That bench is mine."
The man wanted to force him aside, but the boy would not let him,
instead pushing him away with force, and then sitting down again in his
Then still more men fell down, one after the other. They brought nine
bones from dead men and two skulls, then set them up and bowled with them.
The boy wanted to play too and said, "Listen, can I bowl with you?"
"Yes, if you have money."
"Money enough," he answered, "but your bowling balls are not quite
round." Then he took the skulls, put them in the lathe and turned them
"There, now they will roll better," he said. "Hey! This will be fun!"
He played with them and lost some of his money, but when the clock
struck twelve, everything disappeared before his eyes. He lay down and
peacefully fell asleep.
The next morning the king came to learn what had happened. "How did you
do this time?" he asked.
"I went bowling," he answered, "and lost a few pennies."
"Did you shudder?"
"How?" he said. "I had great fun, but if I only knew how to shudder."
...To be continued.
Aquí la versión en español.