As soon as the man saw Black Caroline, he mounted his van and drove away at full gallop, because she was so ugly - but she was good all the same.

And her mother could not stand that, so she said:

'White Caroline must die, cost what it will!'

Then she went to an old miller and asked him if he could place the mill against four little sticks, so that whoever touched the mill it would fall on them and crush them. And the old miller said: 'Yes, it can be done very well, and the mill will be placed thus in fourteen days. I will see to it at once.'

Their mother was very pleased, and she showed Black Caroline how the mill would be placed, and said to her:

'Pay attention, Black Caroline: when you go with the sack of flour to the mill, you must let it drag and be overcome, before you arrive near the little sticks that support the mill. White Caroline must take it all alone. As soon as she touches the little sticks she will be crushed by the mill, and then you will be more than ever the pet of your mother!'

And Black Caroline said, 'Very well!'

But the next day, when White Caroline walked near the little sticks, Black Caroline stopped her and said:

'White Caroline, I love you very much, and you must not tell mother; but she intends that you shall die, and she has caused these little sticks to be placed like that, so that the mill will fall on you and crush you. Throw the sack on the sticks - so!'

And White Caroline, full of joy, took Black Caroline in her little arms, and so they went back. And it was well they did, for there were five little rats in that sack of flour, and all those five were killed when the mill fell down.

Then they heard a rat-a-tat, and the voice of their mother calling: 'Here! Black Caroline! Are you there?'

'Yes, little mother, I am here,' answered White Caroline.

And the mother was very cross to find that White Caroline was not dead. And she ran quickly to the mill to see if Black Caroline was alive. And, when she came back and found her, she was crying tears of blood because she ached in every limb and could not walk And her mother could not understand how it was that White Caroline was not dead, and she boiled with rage.

She took Black Caroline home and put her in her little bed. Then she set out to find White Caroline with intent to kill her; but White Caroline had gone far away where her mother could not get at her.

On her journey she came to a great stretch of water and she could not cross over. But suddenly she saw many arms, as black as pitch, held out over the water so that they formed a bridge. White Caroline did not know whether to pass over this bridge or to go back. She began to cry bitterly; then, plucking up courage, she made the sign of the cross and ran upon them.

When she came to the middle, the arms gave way, and White Caroline would have been drowned had she not been held by the heels of her little wooden shoes. And the water-nymphs and vampires were all around her.

Then, suddenly, a beautiful woman all in white came running to her aid. And, though the claws of the Evil Things were now pulling her down by the heels of her little shoes, the White Woman was in time to save her just as she was on the point of being drowned.

Then the White Woman turned to the water-nymphs and vampires:

'Be still, all of you! Down to your dens, and say I sent ye!'

Then she led White Caroline to the other side of the water. And there she looked at her, and kissed her, and loved her as her own, because she was so beautiful.

This White Woman was the Queen of all the water and the woods, and was able, in her domain, to grant anything that any one desired. In her great love for White Caroline, she told her that she could have whatever she wished.

'Would you like to eat some beautiful grapes, White Caroline?' said she. Then with her wand she tapped a vine, and behold, immediately there hung beautiful grapes upon it!

'Would you like a beautiful dress of silk, White Caroline?' And she tapped again with her little wand, and, immediately, from a chrysalis hanging from the vine, a lovely dress of sky-blue silk was unfolded before her, all ready to put on.

And the nymphs and the vampires were more than ever afraid to come near White Caroline, and she was very glad of that indeed.

'Would you like a voyage?' said the White Woman. And, immediately, with a wave of her wand, she pointed it at a little nautilus sailing on the water, and there, in another moment, stood a beautiful barque with all sail set. And so White Caroline had everything she could desire, and was very happy.

But one day a King came by, and the sound of his trumpet rang over the length of the water and through the woods. Quick - so quick - the White Woman ran to White Caroline and said to her:

'White Caroline, the time has come, and we must part; and you will never see me again. But, before I go, you can wish for two things; and whatever you wish, it shall be granted you!'

With that the White Woman vanished.

Then White Caroline wished to have Black Caroline with her. And immediately there was a rustling among the trees, and Black Caroline stood beside her!

The two Carolines were now reunited. But White Caroline was sad because Black Caroline was not as pretty as she herself, and, remembering the White Woman's promise, she resolved to wish that they might both be exactly the same.

Then she wished that both of them should be changed into something exactly alike!

Immediately they began to change. Little white feathers appeared on their shoulders and spread until they were entirely covered; and there they stood together, two beautiful white swans! And ever after they swam up and down on the peaceful water and no one could tell one from the other. And never again did the nymphs and the vampires come near to harm them.

White Caroline And Black Caroline A Flemish Fairy  8