Siegmar Hamann

A soldier came marching along the high road: „Left, right — left, right.“ He had his knapsack on his back, and a sword at his side; he had been to the wars, and was now returning home.

As he walked on, he met a very frightful-looking old witch in the road. Her under-lip hung quite down on her breast, and she stopped and said,

„Good evening, soldier; you have a very fine sword, and a large knapsack, and you are a real soldier; so you shall have as much money as ever you like.“

„Thank you, old witch,“ said the soldier.

„Do you see that large tree,“ said the witch, pointing to a tree which stood beside them. „Well, it is quite hollow inside, and you must climb to the top, when you will see a hole, through which you can let yourself down into the tree to a great depth. I will tie a rope round your body, so that I can pull you up again when you call out to me.“

„But what am I to do, down there in the tree?“ asked the soldier.

„This is not a bad story,“ said the soldier; „but what am I to give you, you old witch? for, of course, you do not mean to tell me all this for nothing.“