In the morning the stepmother said to Elise, "Go to the field in the north and build me a fine palace by this evening." The poor girl was filled with fear and replied, "But, how can I possibly finish such a feat?" "I will hear no buts," she snapped, "If you can drain a pond with a spoon with a hole in it, you can certainly build a palace. I must have it tonight and should it leave me wanting in even one kitchen or cellar, you will pay a high price." The stepmother shooed Elise out the door and she ran as fast as her feet would carry her, to the north most field.
She pushed and pushed on the largest stones but could not move them as far as one inch. Even if she could move them all, she knew that there were not enough to construct the smallest wall of the smallest palace. Elise knew not what she could do and flung herself to the ground, sobbing hopelessly. Shortly, the little mouse appeared and asked softly, "What troubles are upon you today poor maid?"