When he had roamed about for some time he came to the King’s palace, where he obtained a place under the coachman; and very brisk and active he was, and the horses that he looked after were so fat and sleek, that they shone again.
But his sister, who was still at home, fared worse and worse. Both her step-mother and her step-sister were always finding fault with her, whatsoever she did and whithersoever she went, and they scolded her and abused her so that she never had an hour’s peace. They made her do all the hard work, and hard words fell to her lot early and late, but little enough food accompanied them.
One day they sent her to the brook to fetch some water home, and an ugly and horrible head rose up out of the water, and said, ‘Wash me, girl!’
‘Yes, I will wash you with pleasure,’ said the girl, and began to wash and scrub the ugly face, but she couldn’t help thinking that it was a very unpleasant piece of work. When she had done it, and done it well, another head rose up out of the water, and this one was uglier still.
‘Brush me, girl!’ said the head.
‘Yes, I will brush you with pleasure,’ said the girl, and set to work with the tangled hair, and, as may be easily imagined, this too was by no means pleasant work.
When she had got it done, another and a much more ugly and horrible-looking head rose up out of the water.
‘Kiss me, girl!’ said the head.
‘Yes, I will kiss you,’’ said the man’s daughter, and she did it, but she thought it was the worst bit of work that she had ever had to do in her life.
So the heads all began to talk to each other, and to ask what they should do for this girl who was so full of kindliness.
‘She shall be the prettiest girl that ever was, and fair and bright as the day,’ said the first head.
‘Gold shall drop from her hair whenever she brushes it,’ said the second.
‘Gold shall drop from her mouth whenever she speaks,’ said the third head.
So when the man’s daughter went home, looking as beautiful and bright as day, the step-mother and her daughter grew much more ill-tempered, and it was worse still when she began to talk, and they saw that golden coins dropped from her mouth. The step-mother fell into such a towering passion that she drove the man’s daughter into the pig-stye — she might stay there with her fine show of gold, the step-mother said, but she should not be permitted to set foot in the house.
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