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 ONCE upon a time there was a man who had a daughter who was called “Clever Alice,” and when she was grown up, her father said, “We must see about her marrying.”  
“Yes,” replied her mother, “whenever a young man shall appear who is worthy1 of her.”
At last a certain youth, by name Hans, came from a distance to make a proposal of marriage; but he required one condition, that the clever Alice should be very prudent2.
“Oh,” said her father, “no fear of that! she has got a head full of brains;” and the mother added, “ah, she can see the wind blow up the street, and hear the flies cough!”
“Very well,” replied Hans; “but remember, if she is not very prudent, I will not take her.” Soon afterward3 they sat down to dinner, and her mother said, “Alice, go down into the cellar and draw some beer.”
So Clever Alice took the jug4 down from the wall, and went into the cellar, jerking the lid up and down on her way, to pass away the time. As soon as she got downstairs she drew a stool and placed it before the cask, in order that she might not have to stoop, for she thought stooping might in some way injure her back and give it an undesirable5 bend. Then she placed the can before her and turned the tap, and while the beer was running, as she did not wish her eyes to be idle, she looked about upon the wall above and below. Presently she perceived, after much peeping into this corner and that corner, a hatchet6, which the bricklayers had left behind? sticking out of the ceiling right above her head. At the sight of this Clever Alice began to cry, saying, “Oh! if I marry Hans, and we have a child, and he grows up, and we send him into the cellar to draw beer, the hatchet will fall upon his head and kill him,” and so she sat there weeping with all her might over the impending7 misfortune.
Meanwhile the good folks upstairs were waiting for the beer, but as Clever Alice did not come, her mother told the maid to go and see what she was stopping for. The maid went down into the cellar and found Alice sitting before the cask crying heartily8, and she asked, “Alice, what are you weeping about?”
“Ah,” she replied, “have I not cause? If I marry Hans, and we have a child, and he grows up, and we send him here to draw beer, that hatchet will fall upon his head and kill him.”
“Oh,” said the maid, “what a clever Alice we have!” And sitting down, she began to weep, too, for the misfortune that was to happen.
After a while, when the servant did not return, the good folks above began to feel very thirsty; so the husband told the boy to go down into the cellar and see what had become of Alice and the maid. The boy went down, and there sat Clever Alice and the maid both crying, so he asked the reason; and Alice told him the same tale, of the hatchet that was to fall on her child, if she married Hans, and if they had a child. When she had finished, the boy exclaimed, “What a clever Alice we have!” and fell weeping and howling with the others.
Upstairs they were still waiting, and the husband said, when the boy did not return, “Do you go down, wife, into the cellar and see why Alice stays so long.” So she went down, and finding all three sitting there crying, asked the reason, and Alice told her about the hatchet which must inevitably9 fall upon the head of her son. Then the mother likewise exclaimed, “Oh, what a clever Alice we have!” and, sitting down, began to weep as much as any of the rest.
Meanwhile the husband waited for his wife's return; but at last he felt so ver............
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