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Flemish fairy tale: White Caroline and Black Caroline
by [?]

Come, come, Caroline,
White, white, child o’ mine!
I hate you, HATE you,
And, at any rate, you
Are no child o’ mine!

Come, come, Caroline,
Black, black, child o’ mine!
I bore you, adore you,
Will give whatever more you
Want, O child o’ mine!

Once upon a time there was a mother who had two daughters, both named Caroline. People called one ‘White Caroline,’ because she was so beautiful. But her mother could not see it, because the child was not really her own. The other was called ‘Black Caroline’ by the people, because she was so ugly. Black Caroline was the favourite of her mother, and received everything she could desire.

Now one day it so happened that an old shepherd was passing by, and with him he had three little lambs; and he smiled on seeing White Caroline, and he caressed her head, and the little lambs came close and rubbed themselves against her little white dress. White Caroline was exceedingly pleased with all this. Now Black Caroline, standing on the winding stairs, also wanted to see; and, coming to the door, she half opened it. But as soon as the old shepherd saw her face, he turned and started on his way, and the three little lambs bleated and beat their heads together, because Black Caroline was so ugly;–but she was good all the same!

And their mother, in her heart, could not stand this, so she said:

White Caroline must die, cost what it will!

And so she thought and thought during seven days how she could get rid of White Caroline. Then, one day, she went behind a hedge and said:

‘Hedge, Thorn-hedge, give me a dozen deadly thorns, each one an inch long!’

And the hedge gave her a dozen deadly thorns, each thorn an inch long. Then their mother returned home, and showed them to Black Caroline.

‘Pay attention, Black Caroline,’ she said; ‘this evening when you go to bed you must sleep at the edge, and the inside place must be for White Caroline; because I am going to conceal all the little thorns in her pillow; and she will die when she puts her head upon her pillow, and then you, alone, shall be more than ever the pet child of your mother!’

And Black Caroline said, ‘Very well!’

But that evening, when White Caroline was about to get into bed, Black Caroline took her by the arm and said:

‘White Caroline, I love you very much; and you must not tell mother; but she is trying to kill you. There are a dozen deadly thorns in your pillow; go to sleep all the same, but we’ll put our heads at the foot of the bed!’

And White Caroline, full of joy, took Black Caroline in her little arms and they slept together!’

The following morning they heard a rat-a-tat on the stairs.

‘Here! Black Caroline! Are you there?’

It was their mother calling from the bottom of the stairs.

‘Yes, my dear little mother, I am here!’ said White Caroline.

Their mother was in a terrible rage because White Caroline was not dead. She at once mounted the stairs to see if Black Caroline was alive. But even then she could not understand how it was that White Caroline was not dead, and once again rage overcame her!

Now it happened that one day a musician was passing by their house: and he had with him three little dogs; and, when he saw White Caroline, he started to play on his organ the most beautiful airs that it was possible to hear, and the three little dogs commenced to dance together. White Caroline was exceedingly pleased! But Black Caroline, who was on the winding stairs, came down and half opened the door because she wanted to see also. But, as soon as the musician saw the face of Black Caroline, he ceased to play, and the three little dogs hid their heads under a sack because Black Caroline was so ugly–but she was also very good.