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There was a laundress who had three daughters. They worked a lot, washing laundry all day long, but they still had it hard to get enough money to eat, so the girls were thinking of leaving home and finding another job. 

One day an old guy, with a silver-nose, elegantly dressed in black, passed by their place and said to the mother: “I have been told you have three hard-working daughters. I have a very big house and I need some help to keep it clean, would you agree to send one of your daughters to work for me?”. The woman was a bit suspicious, especially because of that strange nose, made of silver, but the oldest daughter insisted that she wanted to go try work for him. So, she took her things and followed the man. They walked for many hours, until they reached a big beautiful castle, which was Silver-Nose’s residence. There were more than one hundred rooms, and the man gave the girl the keys to all of them. When they were in front of the last room, he told her: “Even if you have the key, you are not allowed to enter in here. Tomorrow I will have to travel, you can rest and then start cleaning”. The girl went to her luxurious bedroom, but kept thinking about the secret of the forbidden room. She eventually fell asleep, and did not notice that Silver-Nose, had put a flower in her hair,  before leaving. The following morning she immediately went to the forbidden room, and as soon as she opened the door she saw a lot of fire and people screaming with pain, and she thought that it was hell. She quickly closed the door, but the heat of the flames had burnt the flower in her hair. 

When the landlord came back, he noticed that and realised that the girl had disobeyed his order. So he decided to punish her and threw her in that room. 

The following day he went to the laundress and said: “Your daughter is fine and sends you greetings, but my palace is too big and she will need some help to clean it. Can I ask you to let another girl come with me? I am rich and I am gonna pay also her salary, of course!”. The mother hesitated, but the middle daughter, hearing about money, insisted to go, so she left with SIlver-Nose. Once back at the castle, the same situation repeated: he showed her the rooms, forbade to enter the secret room and put a flower in her hair while she was sleeping. And the following day the girl, pushed by curiosity, opened the forbidden room, saw flames and people crying, and her sister was among them. When the man came back he noticed the burnt flower and punished her in the same way. 

The day after he went to the laundress and asked if the third daughter could come help cleaning the palace, and as usual the girl accepted the offer and walked back with him. He showed the whole castle and forbade her to open the secret room. She was a bit worried because she had not seen her sisters, but Silver-Nose told her she would see them the following day. As usual, when the girl was in bed he put a flower in her hair, but she noticed it and put it in water, after he had left. In the morning she started looking for her sisters everywhere, without finding them, and in the end arrived in front of the forbidden door. She thought they had to be there, so she opened the door and was shocked seeing the flames and the people screaming, with her sisters among them, asking for help. The girl, though, was smart and knew that she had to elaborate a plan to set them free. So, she told them: “I will rescue you as soon as possible, don’t worry!” and reclose the door. Then, she re-put the flower in her hair.

When Silver-Nose came back, he was pleasantly surprised seeing the fresh flower in her hair, and promised her to give her a new flower every day. She told him: “Thank you, sir, I am glad to hear that. But I would be even happier if you could go to my place to check my mother’s health, and bring her some laundry to wash”. The man agreed and said he would do that the following day. So, the girl rescued one sister, placed her in a big sack with some clothes on top and gave it to SIlver-Nose the following morning. The sack was very heavy, but he was extremely strong, so he brought it to the laundress and the girl came home safely. The following day the young girl asked him to do the same, saying she had found a lot of dirty clothes in a room. And again he agreed, and the day after he carried the second daughter in a sack, thinking it was just a batch of laundry. When he was back the young girl asked him: “Can you  bring her another batch tomorrow? There are many table-clothes in this house which need washing!”. And of course Silver-Nose agreed, being sure that the sweet diligent girl was respecting his orders, as she always kept the flower fresh in her hair. That night the girl arranged the bedclothes in the shape of a sleeping person, cut her braids and put them on the pillow in the place where the head would be. In this way, the man would not notice anything strange, when coming to put the flower. In the morning, she put some precious stones and golden coins in a sack, she jumped inside it and placed some table-clothes on the top. Then, on Silver-Nose’s back, safely reached her family. 

The evil man left and the girls finally gathered together with their mother. They put a cross in front of their house, to prevent other evil visits, and they lived happily ever after, also thanks to the treasures that the young daughter had brought. 

Tags: Fable; slyness; three sisters. 

Question: Who do you think Silver-Nose really is?

  1. A rich and evil nobleman
  2. The devil
  3. A monster

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