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The Goat Ogress

2006-07-13 23:47

  Once upon a time, deep inside a forest an ogre lived with his sister in a huge castle. They were entirely cut off from all the nearby villages and survived by eating the forest animals. But the ogress longed for some tasty human flesh. She begged her brother to get her a man for dinner. So the ogre took the form of a man and went to a nearby village.

  In this village, there lived seven jewelers who had the shops right next to each other. The ogreman dressed in rich clothes went to the jewelers and said, “My sister is to be married soon. I want some ornaments made for her. Please come to my house and make the jewellery. I'll pay you well.” He looked so wealthy that the jewelers agreed but when they heard that his house was in the forest, they were afraid. Often enough they had been told that the forest was a dangerous place. The ogreman had to tempt them with a big bag of money and they finally agreed.

  On the appointed day, the seven jewelers set out for the ogre's castle. They walked and walked till night fell but there was no sign of life. Finally in the pale moonlight, they saw the outline of a castle looming eerily before them.

  Tentatively they walked to the great front door and pull the huge bell. At once a great clanging broke out inside and they could hear footsteps approaching the door. It opened with a good deal of creaking and they saw the same gentleman who now welcomed them genially. “Come in, come in,” he said, “you must be very tired. Please rest tonight and you can start work tomorrow. I will show you to your room.”

  He led them through dark passages to a huge hall where a she-goat was tethered to a post. On a table were seven bowls. Seven beds were neatly lined against the wall. “Milk the goat and drink that for your supper,” said the man.

  The jewelers were very tired. Somehow they drank a bowlful of milk each and dropped off to a deep sleep. When they woke the next morning, they found one of their members missing. “He must have felt frightened and run away,” they told each other.

  Now the she goat was actually the ogress. When the jewelers were asleep, she had assumed her huge form and eaten one of the jewelers. Then taking the form of the goat, she had settled down again.

  Soon the ogreman came and assigned to them their work for the day. All day they worked hard and when night fell, they drank a bowl of milk each and fell asleep. Next morning when they awoke, there were only five jewelers left. “Our friend must have run away last night,” they said to each other before settling down to work.

  In this way, the ogress ate a jeweler a day till only two were left. By now one of them had become very suspicious. “Why do I feel so sleepy after drinking the milk,” he thought, “tonight I'll not drink it.”

  So at night, though he filled his fowl and pretended to drink, actually he poured away the milk. He lay quietly beside his sleeping friend.

  At the stroke of midnight, lightning flashed and thunder roared as the she-goat gradually transformed into an enormous ogress. The terrified jeweler lay motionless watching her through slitted eyelids. She picked up his friend and began to suck his blood. Then she chomped the flesh, liked the bones and threw them away. Fully satisfied, she changed back into a she goat and began to nod drowsily.

  The jeweler quickly crept to the window and leaped outside. Then he ran for his life. As he came towards the edge of the forest, he felt the earth shaking beneath his feet. The ogress was pounding behind in hot pursuit. Quickly, he climbed a tall tree and sat there shaking. The ogress roared in anger for she did not know how to climb a tree.

  At this time, day broke and the sun rose. The king of a neighbouring kingdom was out hunting with his friends. He saw the jeweler atop the tree and road up to investigate.

  The ogress quickly transformed into a beautiful woman and starting weeping. When she saw the king, she sobbed, “Your Majesty, this man had promised to marry me but is now turning his back.” “No, no, your Majesty,” cried the jeweler, “don't believe her. She is an ogress. She will eat all of us.”

  The king was smitten by the woman's beauty. He absolutely refused to accept the jeweler's version. He took the woman to his kingdom and married her.

  Now the ogress was delighted. Every night, she would assume her real form and eat the animals in the royal stables. The king became very worried about the mysterious disappearance of the prize animals in his royal stables.

  One day, the king was out riding. He happened to pass the jewelers shop. The jeweler came running out and cried, “Your Majesty, please kill that woman. She is an ogress. She will eat up everyone in your kingdom.”

  The king began to feel a little suspicious, so at night, he pretended to be sleeping through he was actually wide awake. At the stroke of midnight, his beautiful queen gradually became a massive ogress. As she made her way to the stables, the king crept up behind her. Imagine his horror, when he saw her stuffing a whole horse into her mouth.

  He unsheathed his sword and with a single stroke, cut off her head. The ogress was so busy eating that she did not even realize that she was dead.

  The king rewarded the jeweler for warning him. The jeweler lived happily even after with his family members.

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