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The Singing Bone

The Grimm Brothers

The Beam Bearskin The Blue Light The Brave Little Tailor The Bremen Town Musicians Brother and Sister Brother Lustig Cinderella Clever Grethel Clever Hans The Crystal Ball The Death of the Little Hen The Devil's Sooty Brother The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs The Dog and the Sparrow The Duration of Life The Ear of Corn The Elves Eve's Various Children Faithful John The Fisherman and His Wife The Fox and the Geese The Frog-King, or Iron Henry The Girl Without Hands The Glass Coffin The Godfather The Golden Goose The Good Bargain The Grave-Mound The Griffin Hansel and Grethel Hans in Luck Hans Married The Hare and the Hedgehog The Hare's Bride The Hut in the Forest Iron John The Iron Stove The Juniper-Tree King Thrushbeard The Lazy Spinner Little Briar-Rose Little Red-Cap [Little Red Riding Hood] Little Snow-white Maid Maleen The Moon The Nail Old Hildebrand Old Rinkrank Old Sultan Our Lady's Child The Peasant and the Devil The Poor Boy in the Grave The Poor Man and the Rich Man The Queen Bee Rapunzel The Raven The Riddle The Robber Bridegroom Rumpelstiltskin The Shoes That Were Danced to Pieces The Singing Bone The Six Swans The Spindle, The Shuttle, and the Needle The Spirit in the Bottle St. Joseph in the Forest Sweetheart Roland Sweet Porridge The Thief and His Master The Three Brothers The Three Little Men in the Wood The Three Spinners Thumbling The Twelve Brothers The Twelve Huntsmen The Water of Life The White Snake The Wolf and the Man The Wonderful Musician The Young Giant

In a certain country there was once great lamentation over a wild boar that laid waste the farmer's fields, killed the cattle, and ripped up people's bodies with his tusks. The King promised a large reward to anyone who would free the land from this plague; but the beast was so big and strong that no one dared to go near the forest in which it lived. At last the King gave notice that whosoever should capture or kill the wild boar should have his only daughter to wife.

Now there lived in the country two brothers, sons of a poor man, who declared themselves willing to undertake the hazardous enterprise; the elder, who was crafty and shrewd, out of pride; the younger, who was innocent and simple, from a kind heart. The King said, "In order that you may be the more sure of finding the beast, you must go into the forest from opposite sides." So the elder went in on the west side, and the younger on the east.

When the younger had gone a short way, a little man stepped up to him. He held in his hand a black spear and said, "I give you this spear because your heart is pure and good; with this you can boldly attack the wild boar, and it will do you no harm."

He thanked the little man, shouldered the spear, and went on fearlessly.

Before long he saw the beast, which rushed at him; but he held the spear towards it, and in its blind fury it ran so swiftly against it that its heart was cloven in twain. Then he took the monster on his back and went homewards with it to the King.

As he came out at the other side of the wood, there stood at the entrance a house where people were making merry with wine and dancing. His elder brother had gone in here, and, thinking that after all the boar would not run away from him, was going to drink until he felt brave. But when he saw his young brother coming out of the wood laden with his booty, his envious, evil heart gave him no peace. He called out to him, "Come in, dear brother, rest and refresh yourself with a cup of wine."

The youth, who suspected no evil, went in and told him about the good little man who had given him the spear wherewith he had slain the boar.

The elder brother kept him there until the evening, and then they went away together, and when in the darkness they came to a bridge over a brook, the elder brother let the other go first; and when he was half-way across he gave him such a blow from behind that he fell down dead. He buried him beneath the bridge, took the boar, and carried it to the King, pretending that he had killed it; whereupon he obtained the King's daughter in marriage. And when his younger brother did not come back he said, "The boar must have killed him," and every one believed it.

But as nothing remains hidden from God, so this black deed also was to come to light.

Years afterwards a shepherd was driving his herd across the bridge, and saw lying in the sand beneath, a snow-white little bone. He thought that it would make a good mouth-piece, so he clambered down, picked it up, and cut out of it a mouth-piece for his horn. But when he blew through it for the first time, to his great astonishment, the bone began of its own accord to sing:

    "Ah, friend, thou blowest upon my bone!
    Long have I lain beside the water;
    My brother slew me for the boar,
    And took for his wife the King's young daughter." 

"What a wonderful horn!" said the shepherd; "it sings by itself; I must take it to my lord the King." And when he came with it to the King the horn again began to sing its little song. The King understood it all, and caused the ground below the bridge to be dug up, and then the whole skeleton of the murdered man came to light. The wicked brother could not deny the deed, and was sewn up in a sack and drowned. But the bones of the murdered man were laid to rest in a beautiful tomb in the churchyard.

The End

Fables & Tales Nonfiction Poetry Short Stories

Aesop Andersen, H.C. Dickinson, Emily Frost, Robert Grimm Henry, O Kipling, Rudyard Longfellow, Henry Poe, Edgar Allan Shakespeare, William Thoreau, Henry Twain, Mark Wilde, Oscar