THE SKILLFUL HUNTSMANOnce upon a time there was a lad named Jacob Boehm, who was a practicalhuntsman.One day Jacob said to his mother, 'Mother, I would like to marryGretchen the nice, pretty little daughter of the Herr Mayor.'Jacob's mother thought that he was crazy. 'Marry the daughter of theHerr Mayor, indeed! You want to marry the daughter of the Herr Mayor?Listen; many a man wants and wants, and nothing comes of it!'That was what Jacob Boehm's mother said to him.But Jacob was deaf in that ear; nothing would do but his mother must goto the Herr Mayor, and ask for leave for him to marry Gretchen. AndJacob begged and begged so prettily that at last his mother promised togo and do as he wished. So off she went, though doubt was heavy in hershoes, for she did not know how the Herr Mayor would take it.'So Jacob wants to marry Gretchen, does he?' said the Herr Mayor.Yes; that was what Jacob wanted.'And is he a practical huntsman?' said the Herr Mayor.Oh yes, he was that.'So good,' said the Herr Mayor. 'Then tell Jacob that when he is such aclever huntsman as to be able to shoot the whiskers off from a runninghare without touching the skin, then he can have Gretchen.' Illustration: JACOB'S MOTHER & THE HERR MAYOR Then Jacob's mother went back home again. 'Now,' said she, 'Jacob will,at least, be satisfied.''Yes,' said Jacob, when she had told him all that the Herr Mayor hadsaid to her, 'that is a hard thing to do; but what one man has done,another man can.' So he shouldered his gun, and started away into theworld to learn to be as clever a huntsman as the Herr Mayor had said.He plodded on and on until at last he fell in with a tall strangerdressed all in red.'Where are you going, Jacob?' said the tall stranger, calling him by hisname, just as if he had eaten pottage out of the same dish with him.