Once upon a time, many, many thousands of years ago, there was a terribly old troll called Pomperipossa. It's not exactly a beautiful name, but it's still much more beautiful than she herself was. Can you imagine what she looked like? She had two little red eyes and a big mouth with only three teeth in it. And she was full of warts on her hands and a big hump on her back. But the worst thing was her nose, for it was a full cubit long. You can imagine how much snuff was consumed when she snuffed! One whole bowl pound at a time! But Pomperipossa could afford it, because she was outrageously rich. She lived alone in a little house in the woods, and that house was built of sausages and hams, and instead of bricks there were big pieces of syrup crack. That's how rich Pomperipossa was. But not a single human dared approach her, and hardly any trolls either, because she was so terribly mean.
If anyone came to her, she would instantly charm him into a table or cauldron or something else. She was a very dangerous pack of wizards. Her greatest sorrow was that her nose grew longer and longer every time she cast a spell on someone. That was her punishment!
So there was also a king in that country where Pomperipossa lived, and he had a little prince called Pipi and a little princess called Fifi. One fine day they went for a walk in the park, accompanied by a court marshal, who was so handsome that he could only answer "A!" or “Ha!” to all that was said to him.
- I want to go out into the forest! said Prince Pippi.
- Ah! said the court marshal, and went with them.
After a while they came to a swamp, and the court marshal's feet got wet, for he was wearing silk shoes.
- Ha! he said, immediately turning to pull on a pair of collared boots.
But before he went, he put his finger to his nose and said:
That would mean: Wait here, Prince Pippi and Princess Fifi, until I come back with my big collared boots on! But the cana children didn't understand that, instead they went on in the forest. It was precisely the same forest where Pomperipossa lived. All the birds immediately began to chirp:
- Don't go there!
But Prince Pipi did not understand the birdsong, but said to his sister:
- If we were to go on an adventure? It's so boring at home. I have six cents. How much do you have, princess?
- I only have a single penny, answered Fifi, but I can fry apples.
- Then you can almost cook. You may be my housekeeper, said Prince Pippi.
And so they wandered off on adventures in the dark forest, until they came to Pomperipossa's little house, which was built of sausages and hams and syrup crackers.
- Let's have supper! said Prince Pipi, who felt hungry, and broke a large sausage out of the house.
Then Pomperipossa stuck his long nose out the window and looked at them.
- Come in here! she said immediately. I am your kind godmother. You will get jam pancake from me.
Prince Pipi and little Fifi believed her and went in, although they were terribly afraid.
- Hmm! said Pomperipossa, looking at them. I haven't had roast goose in a long time...
And so she conjured the air, and immediately Prince Pipi and Princess Fifi became two little geese, who looked at each other very startled.
- Court marshal! Prince Pippi wanted to scream in his anguish.
But it just sounded like "Kakaka". He couldn't speak anymore, just cackled.
- Oh! shouted Pomperipossa, clutching his nose.
It had grown another cubit as long as she enchanted Pipi and Fifi into geese.
- It was right for her! cried all the birds in the forest.
- You wait! cried Pomperipossa, clenching his fist at them. I will send my magic cat at you.
- We will get help, sang all the birds and flew their way to ask the stork to come there and give good advice.
The stork is the wisest of all birds, for he travels every winter to Egypt and studies hieroglyphs on the pyramids.
- Now you can swim, my little geese! said Pomperipossa, pushing Pippi and Fifi in front of him with his big stick.
It makes you so good, and so you taste better, when I fry you tonight. And so she drove the poor prince and princess down to the lake.
- Kakaka! they wailed, but they still had to get out into the cold water.
- Do you say cake? asked Pomperipossa. Maybe you mean jam pancake? she mocked them.
The enchanted geese have to eat little black tadpoles and wet grass - it was anything but jam pancake!
Pomperipossa stood on the shore, leaning on her long nose, which was now as long as her legs. At the same time she heard a rustle behind her in the forest and turned around. It was the court marshal, who had been at home for his collared boots and had been anxiously searching for the missing court children ever since.
- Ha! said the court marshal, when he saw the magic pack.
- Pa! he said, drawing his longsword to chop her nose off. But Pomperipossa immediately bewitched him into an old crow, who anxiously hopped about on the beach and said "Crow, Crow"!
- Yes, crack and cackle you guys! Pomperipossa laughed with satisfaction. There is nothing that can free you from the spell, unless you hear the most horrible scream in the world, one can imagine. For then everything that I have bewitched takes its true shape again, and then I myself become a stone. - But let's hope that doesn't happen for a couple of million years yet, said Pomperipossa and sniffed two cupfuls of snuff.
- That would be right for you, shouted all the little birds, who had come back with the wise stork.
- You tease me, so I get hot, Pomperipossa hissed and stuck his nose into the lake to cool it.
But they, she would never have done that. Because down in the lake there was a big crayfish that hadn't had dinner for three days. And that crayfish clung with its claws to Pomperipossa's long snout. And Pomperipossa screamed so horribly that her whole face turned blue as a plum. But the cancer still didn't let go. Then the troll pack screamed even worse, so that it was heard all the way down in Africa.
- It was the most terrifying scream in the world, you can imagine! said the stork.
And he spoke the truth, for no bird can lie. Flux and crux! Then even Pippi and Fifi's enchantment was solved, and the little white geese became prince and princess again. And the old crow, who darted about on the beach, became court marshal at once, with orders and wig and sword and collared boots.
- Huh? Ah! Good! said the court marshal, taking Prince Pipi and Princess Fifi, one in each hand, and ran with them, as hard as he could, through the forest back to the castle, where the king sat waiting for them with a royal rice in his left hand and a large royal apple in it right hand. He was very angry because they had been gone so long.
- Well! said the court marshal soothingly. And the king immediately understood that the court marshal meant that they had been bewitched by Pomperipossa and that they could not help it. Then the king was moved, stuck the national rice in the crotch of the court marshal as an unusually fine award but gave Prince Pipi and Princess Fifi each half of the big national apple.
But Pomperipossa immediately turned into a large stone. You can see her for yourself yet, if you come to that lake, though she is now so overgrown with moss and bushes that she looks like a small mountain. But once a year, on the same day she was petrified, she becomes like before. And then the cancer pinches her nose, and then she screams again so terribly that it echoes in the mountains. But what day it is - well, only I know, and I don't talk about it, so it's no use for you to go out and look, because then your little nose will be as long as Pomperipossa's - and you want that still not!