When the king opened the door the next morning, he could not believe what he saw.
“HOW DID YOU DO THIS?” he yelled. “TELL ME! NOW!”
Sophie shrugged. “I taught myself how to knit last winter…”
The king led Sophie to yet another room in the palace. This room was completely full of hay, from floor to ceiling.
“Here are ONE HUNDRED bundles of hay,” said the king. “And there are ten guards outside the door. This time, nobody can help you. I hope you are not lying, dear Sophie,” the king said quietly. “Remember, ALL liars will be fed to the crocodiles…”
Everyone left. Sophie was alone. And there were ten guards outside the door.
Again, Sophie knew what to do.
She searched the entire room. She looked high and low. She looked under the table. She looked in the closet.
“Little man? Little man? Where are you?”
But the little man wasn’t there.
Sophie sat down and cried. Soon she fell into a deep sleep.
When she woke up, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Every single piece of hay was gone, and there was a HUGE pile of golden clothes on the floor.
The little man was sitting on top of the clothes.
“Oh thank you!” cried Sophie. “I thought I was crocodile food, for sure!”
The little man smiled. “And now, what do you have for me?” he asked.
“This sapphire bracelet?” said Sophie.
“No. I don’t need a bracelet…” said the little man.
“These silver earrings?” suggested Sophie.
“No. I don’t wear earrings…” said the little man.
Sophie grew angry. “I don’t have anything else to give you!” she said.
“Hmmmm. I know what I want,” said the little man. Many years from now, give me your first child.”
“WHAT? NO!” cried Sophie.
“... Or I will tell the king you are a liar...” said the little man.
Sophie had no other choice. She agreed to the little man’s deal.
The king returned. When the king opened the door, he was amazed. There was huge pile of golden clothes, stacked from the floor to the ceiling.
“You really are amazing,” he said to Sophie. “You may go. But maybe, one day, you can teach me how to knit too?”
Sophie agreed. She ran out of the palace as fast as she could.
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