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Godmother to the Elves

Once upon a time there was a poor servant girl, who was both industrious and cleanly, for every day she dusted the house and shook out the sweepings on a great heap before the door. One morning, just as she was going to throw them away, she saw a letter lying among them, and, as she could not read, she put her broom by in a corner, and took it to her master.

It contained an invitation from the Elves, asking the girl to stand godmother to one of their children. The girl did not know what to do, but at last, after much consideration, she consented, for the little men will not easily take a refusal.

So there came three Elves, who conducted her to a hollow mountain where they lived. Everything was very small of course, but all more neat and elegant than I can tell you. The mother lay in a bed of ebony studded with pearls, and the coverings were all wrought with gold; the cradle was made of ivory, and the bath was of gold. The girl stood godmother, and afterwards wished to return home, but the little Elves pressed her earnestly to stay three days longer.

So she remained, passing the time in pleasure and play, for the Elves behaved very kindly to her. At the end of the time she prepared to return home, but first they filled her pockets full of gold, and then led her out of the hill.

As soon as she reached the house, she took the broom, which still stood in the corner, and went on with her sweeping; and presently out of the house came some strange people, who asked her who she was and what she was doing there. Then she found out that it was not three days, as she had supposed, but seven years that she had passed with the little Elves in the hill, and that her former master had died in her absence.

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