chapter  19
26 Pages

The Twelve Robbers

So one day passed after another, time went by, and soon the little girl was three years old. She was very clever and developed nicely, she grew smarter and smarter.Every time the dog came with the money, she asked: “Mother, whose is this little dog? He is always coming to us.”Out of love the mother told her little girl: “He belongs to your brothers. You have twelve brothers, they are working in the forest and are sending us the money with the little dog.”But the little girl kept asking: “When are my brothers coming home?”“They can’t come home, my child, they have work to do there.”One beautiful summer day it was very warm and the little girl was playing in the sand in the courtyard when the dog came and brought the money. He paid no attention to her and she didn’t bother with him, just looked at him and stayed outside. They removed the money from his neck, gave him something to eat and sent him back.While the dog was inside, the little girl thought that she would go with him to see her brothers. So she stole out after him and followed him. But the dog, rather than going on the road, took to the fields. He didn’t go straight on the path-still the little girl followed him all the way. Her mother knew nothing about this. When they were halfway there, the little girl grew tired and sat down on a furrow, but the little dog ran ahead. She sat there and broke into tears.When the dog looked back he saw that the little girl was weeping. He turned around, sat down next to her and stayed there, without moving an inch forward or backward. The little girl cried and cried until she cried herself to sleep. And the dog didn’t leave her, he kept watch over her. He didn’t leave her side.Meanwhile the bandits grew impatient. Where was the little dog? Other times he didn’t stay away so long.Their leader, the oldest brother, said: “One of you should go and see what is keeping the dog-whether he was caught, whether anything happened to him.”A lad took off who knew where to search for the dog; he knew the way the dog normally followed. Suddenly he caught sight of him. He came closer and saw that there was a beautiful little girl asleep and the dog was keeping watch over her. The lad was concerned not to rouse the little girl, so he waited for her to wake up. She awoke soon, looked around her and began to cry again.The lad took her in his arms and asked her: “Where are you going, little girl? And who are you?”“I am going to my brothers,” she said.“And where are your brothers?”“In the forest.”“What are they doing there?”“They are felling wood.”“And who do you belong to?”“To my father and mother. I belong to my father and mother,” she said.