Thursday, 30 October 2014

A 30 October poem from Klaus Høeck's '1001 poems'

  hints tips and good ad
  vice to a young po
et ‘ ‘it sounds so beautiful’
  i said - ‘does lofty
  poetry but po
etry is only lofty
to the same extent as life
  is denigrated
  and debased’ - i said
‘poetry ought to be more
  like a turnip in
  its fat fertile soil’

Friday, 24 October 2014

One more Thor Sørheim poem

step by step

Step by step I distanced myself from the table lamp
which was transformed into a gleaming circle down there
in the hall, and the black patent leather shoes pointed their noses
open-mouthed towards the doormat. At the top of the stairs
I had come as far up beneath the sky
as it was possible to come. The world fell into place

on the dark ceiling in the shadow of solid tiers of joists
and bent piping, as at a museum
where all the artefacts are marked with labels
that state origin, properties and how long they
have been in use. For many a long year I collected dogmatics
in stiff archive boxes, for I had forgotten

that the world is there to be misunderstood, and that people try
as best they can to act in good doubt. I suddenly yearned
back to the smell of the socks with holes in the wardrobe,
the wet raincoats hung up to dry, the gleaming elegies
of the posters. Step by step I calmly descended
with my hand firmly gripping a perplexed banister.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Alle Menschen müssen sterben


Alle Menschen müssen sterben,
Alles Fleisch vergeht wie Heu;
Was da lebet, muß verderben,
Soll es anders werden neu.
Dieser Leib, der muß verwesen,
Wenn er anders soll genesen
Der so großen Herrlichkeit,
Die den Frommen ist bereit.

All on earth must end by dying,
All of flesh are but as hay;
What lives here must dead be lying,
Shall it rise anew some day.
Only since it has to perish
Can the body hope to cherish
Glory such as is reserved
Those who have devoutly served.

Entry 1000 - the Dutch poet Gerrit Komrij's 'The Ox on the Bell-Tower'

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Poem series by the Dutch writer Frank Koenegracht



FIRST, old-man freshwater guide, first
you stood fairly straight
in your boat with pennies
in post-war light.

Your idiotic brother scratched at night
in vain at the varnish
for no one inside
was allowed to recall

how you could have been.
Well, he’s still alive for
I saw him recently.
Still alive.

Then, old-man freshwater guide, then
a hole was punched
in your stomach as
big as an afternoon’s fishing,

but you rode right through it
on your solex and went on living.
The rest is bread and milk, beef
on Sundays and their collected works.

Now, old-man freshwater guide,
now you’ve got me
but then again not. I’m
not much of an angler

and I snow or rise a bit
and I always see everything small.
As small as you saw things
through your sight-glass of jenever.

Come on, let’s go piking and anyone
seeing us standing there will think:
that son doesn’t fish
far from his father.


LITTLE by little my father’s forgotten
all that he knew just a moment ago.

His brains are birds that go flitting past.
No cows that leave an impression in the earth.

My father was fond of clouds,
but clouds are forgetful mountains

and leave no impression in the sky
and no one will blame them for that.

Blaming won’t help anyway for
clouds do not know what they do.


HE addressed all his colleagues
and all birds alike.
Such is the gentleness of a man.
Starlings, big chickens, sparrows
were all lads.
To a blackbird in the garden he said:
what’s up then me’lad
but it was really to me.


ACROSS the sky sailed sedate mountains.
My father seemed fond of those things
and their strange communications
hanging above the houses, the bridges and the hedges.
And above the stretches of water where the fish were. At times
you had to be on the lookout for it,
just as for managers.


SOMEBODY must have slandered him
otherwise he would not stand so strangely in the room,
so leaden.

The law said that fishing with live bait was prohibited.
My father said: I have always treated
whitefish decently, lad, never a hook
in their back, always in their mouth.

Somebody must have slandered him.


SO THIS is my father.
Slow enough and carelessly protected
wearing trousers of forty-eight guilders
hoisted all the way to his tits
unmessably high and unbearably light.


CLOSE BY two or three feet away hovers
a tiny 14 x 26 cm plane, blue-grey
with red edges round it,
controlled by a helpless little woman
that’s easily put together
out of what’s left from a ball of wool, stockings,
a small necklace.

Although everyone’s asleep and has laid down
their weapons the atmosphere can be cut with a knife.

Against the window trails the yellowed land snail.


I HAVE myself never
wanted to be a doomed poet, but
my father with the gentlest glee would
definitely have forbidden it
He was against any stumbling
into the wrong rented house
but above all against unrecognisedness.

He realised that unrecognisedness
is a way of being mistaken.


AND THE wind took its rest
and the evening fell and the rain
crept gently over the fields.

It’ll be a calm twilight, we said,   
a porcelain evening and old-lady night

will soon be here with her big feet
and her small face.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Another Sørheim poem from the 'Vintereika' collection


Ever since the first cries were heard on earth
we’ve had a thumb in the pie. We drew
bull’s heads in caves before aiming at the heart, grasped
the plough firmly and felt the force we could exploit
when we stuck our palm in the waterfall. The wheel rolled
in time with the terrain, we studied the ice that split
the rock and the atoms that smashed reason. We learnt
to master fire, earth, air, and sent scouts out
on missions beyond the rim of our own atmosphere.
We encompass the whole universe, but have never got
a proper explanation as to why fish
chose to live in the sea.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

A poem by the Afrikaans writer Wilma Stockenström


Eendag toe hou die skepper
sy skepping soos 'n kind 'n skoelapper
op sy hand, en bibberend
spalt die gebrandskilderde vlerke.
Magtig die kleure wat gloei soos godhede

gloei, oop, toe, met groot
vertoon, die vlerke vir dag en nag.
Die skepper voel nog die pootjies
fyntjies op sy vingers en wonder
oor wat hy vermag het: oopvou

van 'n al, goudstofoortrekte lig,
en soos skeppendes maar is, bedink
hy, trots en nederig, nog ene,
nog 'n lieflike ligsinnige vlinder,
herhaaldelik, die ewigheid ter wille.


One day the creator held
his creation like a child a butterfly
in his hand, and quivering
the enamelled wings parted.
Wondrous the colours that glowed as deities

glowed, open, shut, with great
display, the wings for day and night.
The creator still feels the small feet
delicately on his fingers and is astonished
at what he has been capable of: the unfolding

of an everything, gold-dust-covered light,
and as it is with creators, he
conceives, proud and humble, one more
one more such lovely, light-hearted butterfly,
repeatedly, for the sake of eternity.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Another two from Thor Sørheim

the sound crossing-point

East is east, and the first to cross the river
probably had ice under their feet. West is west,
and the sound-man was obliged to ferry people
over to the far side, from east to west,
and from west to east. People passing the thalweg
mid-river felt secure at having
solid ground under their feet on both shores.
For east is east, and west is west,
and we always hear the cry from
the far side.


When I look at the photograph of my father
sitting slightly sprawled out on a bench in the back garden
he grew up in, a place I often visit
so as to walk in the same streets, study the erect
frontages and stroll in the inlaid parks he used to play in,

it strikes me that the young boy with the mop of
blond hair and the bright eyes must have been a dreamer.
A stranger maybe in this neighbourhood where gangs
stood on every street corner ready to intervene
if anyone dared venture across invisible borders.

Borders that I do not know, but he perhaps
did. In the yellowing picture I have seen of him his
gaze betrays nothing of how streetwise he was.
On the contrary, he is looking towards something far off,
perhaps the kitchen window on the third floor, or Ekeberg Hill.

To look at the photo of my father from the time he was a paperboy
reminds me that he was the one who taught me
to cross the street diagonally, at full pelt towards the traffic.
This gave those driving in the next lane a bit more time
to brake, so as not to attack us from behind.

Totgesagt oder totgemacht? The joys of hineininterpretieren.

Am Schluss des Gedichtes steht die Aufforderung, alles Gesammelte "leicht im herbstlichen gesicht" zu "verwinden"(V.12). Denkbar ist, dass die Chiffre "gesicht" (V.12) im Sinne einer Vision zu verstehen ist: Der wahre Künstler - Kranzflechter - versteht es mit seinem geistigen Auge über die gewöhnliche Wirklichkeit hinauszublicken, sie also nicht nur abzubilden. Damit gewänne der letzte Imperativ des Gedichts - "Verwinde" (V.12) - eine interessante Doppeldeutigkeit. Zum einen wäre mit ihm die Fertigstellung des Kunstwerks zum Ausdruck gebracht, zum anderen könnte er auch so verstanden werden, dass der das irdische Dasein belastende Gegensatz von Leben und Vergänglichkeit vom sensiblen Künstler -und nur von ihm- "verwunden" - im Sinne von "ertragen" oder "überwunden" - werden kann.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

A famous poem by Stefan George

In the library at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge - turn right half way up the staircase to Hall (the old library that is, the books are all elsewhere now) - there was what must now be a very valuable complete collection of the poetry of Stefan George, bound in deep indigo volumes and done in a most unusual typescript. Here is one of them:
Even more unusual is the calligraphy of the author:
Over fifty years later, I have come across it again. Here is an attempt to translate it:

Enter the park which they call dead and gaze:
The shimmering of smiling shores beyond ·
The unexpected blue of pure clouds’ haze
Illuminates the patchwork paths and pond.

Take there the deep-toned yellow · the soft grey
Of birch and boxwood · where but warm winds stray ·
The final roses aren’t quite wilted still ·
Select and kiss them, braid the wreath at will.

And these last asters you must not forget ·
The purple round the straying stems of vine
That too which might remain of green life twine
In what is autumn’s countenance as yet.

A Grimm fairytale 'The Riddle'

The riddle

There was once a royal prince who felt an urge to explore the world, and took no one with him but just the one faithful servant. One day he ended up in a forest, and when evening came, he was unable to find an inn and didn’t know where he might spend the night. Then he caught sight of a girl on her way to a small cottage, and when he drew closer, he saw that the girl was young and beautiful. He spoke to her, and said: ‘Dear child, can I and my servant find shelter for the night in the cottage?’ – ‘Oh yes,’ the girl replied sadly, ‘you could of course, but I wouldn’t advise it – don’t go in.’ ‘Why shouldn’t I do that?’ the prince asked. The girl sighed and said ‘my stepmother practises evil arts – and she means strangers no good.’

Then he realised he had come to the house of a witch, but since it was growing dark, he could not journey on and was unafraid, he went in. The old woman was sitting in an armchair by the fire and she looked at the strangers with bloodshot eyes. ‘Good evening,’ she rasped, pretending to be friendly, ‘sit yourselves down and take a rest.’ She fanned the coals, beside which something was being heated in a small cooking pot. The daughter warned both of them to be cautious, to eat and drink nothing, for the old women brewed evil potions.

They slept soundly until the early morning. When they were getting ready to leave and the prince had already mounted his horse, the old woman said ‘Wait a moment, let me just offer you a farewell drink.’ While she was fetching it, the prince rode off, and the servant, who still had to tighten his saddle, was the only one left when the wicked witch came with the drink. ‘Take this to your master,’ she said, but at that very moment the glass broke, and the poison spattered over the horse, and it was so potent that the animal immediately dropped to the ground, dead. The servant ran after his master and told him what had happened, but he didn’t want to leave the saddle behind and returned to fetch it. When he reached the dead horse, however, a raven was already sitting on the corpse, eating from it. ‘Who knows it we’ll find anything better today,’ the servant said, killed the raven and took it with him.

They spent all the next day travelling through the forest, but we unable to get out of it. When night came, they found an inn and went inside. The servant gave the innkeeper the raven, which he was to prepare for the evening meal. However, they had fallen into a murderers’ den, and in the dead of night twelve murderers came to kill and rob the strangers.  But before they started their foul deed, they sat down at the table, and the innkeeper and the witch joined them, and they devoured a tureen of soup together that also contained the chopped flesh of the raven.

But hardly had they swallowed a spoonful or two before they all fell down dead, for the raven had passed on the poison from the horse’s flesh. So now there was no one left in the house but the innkeeper’s daughter, who was an honest person and had not taken any part in any of their wicked deeds. She opened all the doors to the strangers and showed them all the hoarded treasure. The prince, however, said she could keep all of it, he wanted none of it, and he rode off once more with his servant.

After they had travelled around for some while they came to a city where a beautiful but presumptuous king’s daughter lived – she had announced that whoever could present her with a riddle she was unable to solve could claim her as his husband: but should she guess the riddle, he was to be beheaded. She was to have three days to think of the answer, but was so clever that she always managed to guess the riddle by the stipulated time. Nine young men had already lost their lives in this way when the royal prince arrived and, dazzled by her great beauty, was prepared to risk his life to win her.

Then he appeared before her and gave her this riddle to solve: ‘What is it,’ he said’ that killed none yet killed twelve?’ She didn’t know what it was, she racked her brains but couldn’t work it out: she looked it up in her books of riddles, but there was nothing about it in them: in short, her cleverness was exhausted. Since she was unable to solve it herself, she ordered her maid to slip into the prince’s bedchamber where she was to listen to his dreams, for she thought he might talk in his sleep and betray the answer to the riddle. But the wise servant had placed himself in the bed instead of his master, and when the maid drew near, he pulled off the cloak in which she had concealed herself and chased her out with a bundle of switches.

During the second night, the king’s daughter sent her lady-in-waiting, she was so see if was any more successful at listening, but the servant pulled off her cloak as well and chased her away with a bundle of switches. Now the master felt he would be safe during the third night and lay down in his own bed, but then the king’s daughter herself came, had wrapped a mist-grey cloak around her and sat down close to him. And once she thought he was asleep and dreaming, she spoke to him, hoping he would answer her in his dream, as many people do.

But he was awake and heard and understood everything perfectly well. Then she asked ‘One killed none, what is that?’ He answered ‘a raven that has eaten from the poisoned corpse of a horse and then died.’ ‘She also asked ‘and yet killed twelve, what is that?’ – ‘That is twelve murderers who devoured the raven and died of it.’

When she knew the answer to the riddle, she wished to slip away, but he held onto her cloak, so she had to leave it behind. The next morning the king’s daughter announced that she had guessed the riddle and had the twelve judges summoned and solved it for them. But the young man asked to be heard and said ‘she has slid up close to me at night and interrogated me, otherwise she would not have been able to guess it.’ The judges said ‘Bring us proof of this.’ Then the three cloaks were brought in by the servant, and when the judges caught sight of the one that was mist-grey, which the king’s daughter was in the habit of wearing, they said ‘have it embroidered with gold and silver, and it will serve as your wedding cloak.’

Andersen's 'The Tinder-Box'

The tinder-box

A soldier came marching along the highway: left, right! left, right! He had his knapsack on his back and a sword at his side, for he had been out fighting a war, and now he was on his way home. Out on the highway he met with an old witch – she was horribly ugly, her lower lip hung right down on her chest. She said: ‘Good evening, soldier! What a fine sword and a large knapsack you have, you’re a real soldier! And now you’re going to have as much money as you want to own!’
‘Thank you, you old witch!’ the soldier said.
‘Can you see that big tree?’ the witch said, pointing at a tree that stood next to them. ‘It’s completely hollow inside! You’re to clamber up to the top of it and there you’ll see a hole you can let yourself slide down through and get deep inside the tree! I’ll bind a rope round your waist, for then I can haul you up when you give me a shout!’
‘What am I meant to do down in the tree?’ the soldier asked.
‘Fetch money!’ the witch said, ‘now when you get down to the bottom of the tree, you’ll find yourself in a large hallway that is quite bright, for more than a hundred lamps burn there. Then you will see three doors, you can open them, the keys are in the locks. When you go into the first room, you’ll see a large chest in the middle of the floor with a dog sitting on top; it’s got eyes the size of a pair of saucers, but don’t you worry about that! I’ll give you my blue-checked apron, you can spread it out on the floor – then go over quickly and pick up the dog, place him on the apron, open the chest and take as many coins as you like. They are all made of copper, but if you would rather have silver coins, you must go into the next room, but the dog sitting there has a pair of eyes that are as big as mill-wheels, but don’t you worry about that, place him on my apron and help yourself to the money! If gold is more to your liking, though, you can have that, and as much as you’re prepared to carry, when you go into the third room. But the dog sitting on the money chest there has two eyes each of which is a big as the Round Tower. Now that’s a real dog, believe you me! But don’t you worry yourself about that! Just place him on my apron and he won’t do you any harm, and take as much gold as you like out of the chest!’
‘That doesn’t sound at all bad!’ the soldier said. ‘But what am I to give you, you old witch? For you’ll want something for it, I imagine!’
‘No,’ the witch said, ‘I don’t want a single penny! All you need fetch for me is an old tinder-box that my grandmother forgot last time she was down there!’
‘Right, then! Fix the rope round my waist!’ the soldier said.
‘Here it is!’ the witch said, ‘and here is my blue-checked apron.’
Then the soldier clambered up into the tree, let himself tumble down into the hole and now, as the witch had said, he found himself standing in a large hallway where many hundreds of lamps were burning.
He now opened the first door. Uh! There sat the dog with eyes as big as saucers glaring at him.
‘You’re a nice-looking chap!’ the soldier said, placed him on the witch’s apron and took just as many copper coins as would fit into his pockets, closed the chest, put the dog back on it again and went into the second room. Ooh! There sat the dog with eyes as big as mill-wheels.
‘You shouldn’t stare at me so much!’ the soldier said, ‘it might hurt your eyes!’ And he placed the dog on the witch’s apron, butwhen he saw the many silver coins in the chest, he threw away all the copper coins he had and filled his pockets and his knapsack with pure silver. Now he went into the third room! Oh no, how ghastly! The dog there really did have two eyes each as big as the Round Tower. And they spun round in his face, just like wheels!
‘Good evening!’ the soldier said, raising his hand to his peaked cap, for he had never seen a dog like it before; but when he had looked at it for a bit, he thought that enough’s enough, lifted him down onto the floor and opened the chest – goodness gracious! How much gold there was! He could buy all of Copenhagen, and the cake-woman’s sugar-pigs, all the tin-soldiers, whips and rocking horses that existed in the whole world! Yes, this was money all right! Now the soldier threw away all the silver coins he had filled his pockets and his knapsack with and took gold ones instead, yes, he crammed even all his pockets, the knapsack, his cap and his boots full, so he was scarcely able to walk! Now he really had money! He put the dog back on the chest, slammed the door shut and shouted out up the tree: ‘Haul me up now, you old witch!’
‘Have you got the tinder-box with you?’ the witch asked.
‘Oh yes, that’s right,’ the soldier said, ‘I’d completely forgotten about that!’ and he went and took it. The witch hauled him up, and there he was again on the highway, with his pockets, boots, knapsack and cap full of money.
‘What are you going to use that tinder-box for?’ the soldier asked.
‘None of your business!’ the witch said, ‘you’ve got all your money! Just give me the tinder-box!’
‘Stuff and nonsense!’ the soldier said, ‘tell me at once what you’re going to use it for, or I’ll draw my sword and cut off your head!’
‘No!’ the witch said.
Then the soldier cut off her head. There she lay! But he bound up all his money in her apron, took it as a bundle on his back, stuffed the tinder-box into his pocket and went straight off to the town.
It was a fine town, and he put up at the finest inn, ordered the very best rooms and the food he was most fond of, for now he was rich as he had so much money.
The servant who was to polish his boots, admittedly felt that they were a queer old pair of boots for such a rich man to have, but the soldier hadn’t bought himself a new pair yet; the following day he bought himself a proper pair, and splendid clothes as well! Now the soldier had become a fine gentleman, and they told him about all the great doings of the town, about their king, and what a charming princess his daughter was.
‘Where can one get to see her?’ the soldier asked.
‘She can’t be seen at all!’ they all said. ‘she lives in a large copper castle, with so many walls and towers around it! No one except the king dares go in to her, because it has been predicted that she will marry a simple soldier, and the king doesn’t like the idea one bit!’
‘Now she’s someone I wouldn’t mind seeing!’ the soldier thought to himself – but he would never be allowed to do that!
He now led a gay life, went to the theatre, drove in the Royal Gardens and gave the poor lots of money – and that was nobly done! He knew from his own past how terrible it was not to have a penny! now he was rich, had splendid clothes, and gained a great number of friends as well, and all of them said what a fine fellow he was, a real gentleman – and the soldier liked all of this! But since he spent money every day and did not have any money coming in, he finally ended up with only a couple of small coins left and had to move out of the fine rooms where he had been living up into a tiny attic room, polish his own boots and sew them with a darning needle, and none of his friends came to see him, for there were so many stairs to climb.
It was so dark in the evening, and he couldn’t even afford to buy himself a candle, but then he remembered that there was a small stump left in the tinder-box he had taken in the hollow tree that the witch had helped him down inside.
He took out the tinder-box and the candle-stump, but just as he struck a light and the sparks flew off the flintstone, the door burst open, and the dog that had eyes as big as a pair of saucers, and that he had seen down in the tree, stood in front of him and asked: ‘What does my master command!’
‘Good gracious!’ the soldier said, ‘this is a funny tinder-box – can I have whatever I want? Get me some money,’ he said to the dog and whoosh, it was gone! Whoosh, there it was again, and in its jaws it was holding a bag full of coins.
Now the soldier realised what a wonderful tinder-box it was! If he struck it once, the dog that sat on the chest with the copper coins came, if he struck it twice, the one with the silver coins, and if he struck it three times, the one that had gold. Now the soldier moved back into his beautiful rooms, put on his splendid clothes, and immediately all his friends recognised him once more, and were extremely fond of him. Then he thought to himself: It’s really is very odd that there is no way of getting to see the princess! Everyone says that she is so lovely! But what’s the use of that if she has to sit all the time inside the great copper castle with the many towers. Can’t I get to see her at all? Where’s my tinder-box! And he struck a light and whoosh, there was the dog with eyes as big as saucers.
‘I know it’s the middle of the night,’ the soldier said, ‘but I so much wish to see the princess, just for a brief moment!’
The dog was out of the door in no time, and before the soldier had time to think, there it was again with the princess – she lay sleeping on the dog’s back and was so lovely that anyone could see she was a real princess; the soldier couldn’t help himself, he simply had to kiss her, for he was a real soldier.
The dog then ran back with the princess, but when morning came, and the king and queen were pouring out the tea, the princess said that she had dreamt such a strange dream that night about a dog and a soldier. She had ridden on the dog, and the soldier had kissed her.
‘That’s a pretty story, to be sure!’ the queen said.
Now one of the old ladies-in-waiting was to watch beside the princess’s bed the following night, to see if it was a real dream, or what else it could possibly be.
The soldier so longed to see the lovely princess once more, and then the dog came at night, fetched her and ran as fast as it could, but the old lady-in-waiting put waterproof boots on and ran just as fast after it; when she saw that it disappeared into a large house, she thought to herself, now I know where it is, and drew a large chalk cross on the door. Then she went home and lay down, and the dog came once more with the princess; but when it saw that a cross had been drawn on the door where the soldier lived, it took another piece of chalk and drew crosses on all the doors in the whole town, and that was a wise thing to do, for of course the lady-in-waiting couldn’t find the right door, now that there were crosses on all of them.
Early the next morning, the king and queen, the old lady-in-waiting and all the officers came to see where the princess had been!
There it is!’ the king said, when he saw the first door with a cross on it.
No, it’s over there, my dear husband!’ the queen said, who saw another door with a cross on it.
But there’s one there and one there!’ they all said – wherever they looked, there were crosses on the doors. Then they realised that there was no point in looking any further.
But the queen happened to be a very wise woman, one who could do a lot more than just drive around in a carriage. She took her large gold scissors, cut a large piece of silk into small sections, and then sewed a nice little bag out of them; this she filled with small, fine grains of buckwheat, bound it to the back of the princess, and when that was done, she made a small hole in the bag, so the grains could trickle out wherever the princess went.
That night the dog came again, took the princess on its back and ran with her back to the soldier, who was so fond of her, and would dearly have liked to be a prince so he could marry her.
The dog didn’t notice at all that the grains trickled out all the way from the castle to the soldier’s window when he clambered up the wall with the princess. The next morning, the king and queen could clearly see where their daughter had been, and they had the soldier seized and thrown into jail.
There he sat. Uh, how dark and unpleasant it was, and then they said to him: Tomorrow you’re going to be hanged. That was not a nice thing to hear, and he had forgotten his tinder-box back at the inn. When morning came, he could see through the iron bars of the tiny window how people were hurrying out of the town to see him be hanged. He heard the drums and saw the soldiers marching. Everyone hurried off; there was also a cobbler’s boy with a leather apron and clogs on, he ran at such a pace that one of his clogs flew off and struck the wall where the soldier was standing looking out between the bars.
‘Hey, cobbler’s boy! Don’t be in such a hurry!’ the soldier said to him, ‘nothing’s going to happen before I appear on the scene! But if you’re prepared to run over to where I have been living and fetch me my tinder-box, I’ll give you four shillings! But you must be quick about it!’ The cobbler’s boy was eager to get the four shillings, and off he shot to fetch the tinder-box, gave it to the soldier, and  – well now, just hear what happened after that!
Outside the town a large gallows had been raised, around it the soldiers stood along with many hundreds and thousands of people. The king and queen sat on a fine throne opposite the judge and the entire council.
The soldier was already up on the ladder, but when they wanted to put the noose round his neck, he said that it was always the custom to let a sinner have an innocent wish fulfilled before facing his punishment. He would like to smoke a pipeful of tobacco, for that would be the last pipeful he would ever have in this world.
Now the king wouldn’t deny him that, and so the soldier took his tinder-box and struck a light – one, two, three! And there all the dogs stood, the one with eyes as big as saucers, the one with eyes like mill-wheels and the one that had eyes as big as the Round Tower.
‘Save me from being hanged!’ the soldier said, and then the dogs went after the judges and the entire council, took one by the legs and one by the nose and flung them way up into the air, so they fell down and were smashed to pieces.
‘No, no, I won’t!’ the king said, but the biggest dog took both him and the queen, and flung them up after all the others; then the soldiers took fright and everyone shouted: ‘Little soldier, you shall be our king and have the lovely princess!’
Then they placed the soldier in the royal carriage, and all three dogs danced in front of it and shouted ‘Hurrah!’ And the boys whistled through their fingers and the soldiers presented arms. The princess came out of the copper castle and became queen, and she liked that! The wedding lasted for eight days, and the dogs sat there at the table, their eyes open wide.