The Complete Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales |
This collection of "classics" certainly is a departure from the Disney versions. The tales are mostly very dark and pessimistic, as originally recorded by the Brothers. For the more "colourful" children's stories it is better to buy the specific tales from the bookstore instead of a collective book.
This story is available in the following languages
Hans in Luck
by the Grimm Brothers
Hans had served his master for seven
years, so he said to him, "Master, my time is up, now I should be
glad to go back home to my mother, give me my wages."
The master answered, "You have served me faithfully and honestly,
as the service was so shall the reward be". And he gave Hans a
piece of gold as big as his head.
Hans pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket, wrapped up the
lump in it, put it on his shoulder, and set out on the way home.
As he went on, always putting one foot before the other, he saw a
horseman trotting quickly and merrily by on a lively horse. "Ah,
said Hans quite loud, what a fine thing it is to ride. There you
sit as on a chair, you stumble over no stones, you save your
shoes, and cover the ground, you don't know how."
The rider, who had heard him, stopped and called out, "Hi, there,
Hans, why do you go on foot, then."
"I must," answered he, "for I have this lump to carry home, it is
true that it is gold, but I cannot hold my head straight for it,
and it hurts my shoulder."
"I will tell you what," said the rider, "we will exchange, I will
give you my horse, and you can give me your lump."
"With all my heart," said Hans, "but I can tell you, you will have
to crawl along with it."
The rider got down, took the gold, and helped Hans up, then gave
him the bridle tight in his hands and said, "If you want to go at
a really good pace, you must click your tongue and call out, jup,
Hans was heartily delighted as he sat upon the horse and rode away
so bold and free. After a little while he thought that it ought to
go faster, and he began to click with his tongue and call out,
The horse put himself into a sharp trot, and before Hans knew
where he was, he was thrown off and lying in a ditch which
separated the field from the highway. The horse would have gone
off too if it had not been stopped by a countryman, who was coming
along the road and driving a cow before him. Hans pulled himself
together and stood up on his legs again.
He was vexed, and said to the countryman, "It is a poor joke, this
riding, especially when one gets hold of a mare like this, that
kicks and throws one off, so that one has a chance of breaking
one's neck. Never again will I mount it. Now I like your cow, for
one can walk quietly behind her, and have, over and above, one's
milk, butter and cheese every day without fail. What would I not
give to have such a cow."
"Well," said the countryman, "if it would give you so much
pleasure, I do not mind giving the cow for the horse."
Hans agreed with the greatest delight, the countryman jumped upon
the horse, and rode quickly away.
Hans drove his cow quietly before him, and thought over his lucky
bargain. "If only I have a morsel of bread - and that can hardly
fail me - I can eat butter and cheese with it as often as I like,
if I am thirsty, I can milk my cow and drink the milk. My
goodness, what more can I want."
When he came to an inn he made a halt, and in his great concern
ate up what he had with him - his dinner and supper - and all he
had, and with his last few farthings had half a glass of beer.
Then he drove his cow onwards along the road to his mother's
As it drew nearer mid-day, the heat was more oppressive, and Hans
found himself upon a moor which it took about an hour to cross. He
felt it very hot and his tongue clave to the roof of his mouth
"I can find a cure for this," thought Hans, "I will milk the cow
now and refresh myself with the milk."
He tied her to a withered tree, and as he had no pail he put his
leather cap underneath, but try as he would, not a drop of milk
came. And as he set himself to work in a clumsy way, the impatient
beast at last gave him such a blow on his head with its hind foot,
that he fell on the ground, and for a long time could not think
where he was.
By good fortune a butcher just then came along the road with a
wheel-barrow, in which lay a young pig.
"What sort of a trick is this," cried he, and helped the good Hans
up. Hans told him what had happened. The butcher gave him his
flask and said, "take a drink and refresh yourself. The cow will
certainly give no milk, it is an old beast, at the best it is only
fit for the plough, or for the butcher."
"Well, well," said Hans, as he stroked his hair down on his head,
"who would have thought it. Certainly it is a fine thing when one
can kill a beast like that at home, what meat one has. But I do
not care much for beef, it is not juicy enough for me. A young pig
like that now is the thing to have, it tastes quite different, and
then there are the sausages."
"Listen, Hans," said the butcher, "out of love for you I will
exchange, and will let you have the pig for the cow."
"Heaven repay you for your kindness," said Hans as he gave up the
cow, whilst the pig was unbound from the barrow, and the cord by
which it was tied was put in his hand.
Hans went on, and thought to himself how everything was going just
as he wished, if he did meet with any vexation it was immediately
set right. Presently there joined him a lad who was carrying a
fine white goose under his arm. They said good morning to each
other, and Hans began to tell of his good luck, and how he had
always made such good bargains. The boy told him that he was
taking the goose to a christening-feast.
"Just lift her," added he, "and laid hold of her by the wings, how
heavy she is - she has been fattened up for the last eight weeks.
Whosoever has a bit of her when she is roasted will have to wipe
the fat from both sides of his mouth."
"Yes," said Hans, as he weighed her in one hand, "she is a good
weight, but my pig is no bad one." Meanwhile the lad looked
suspiciously from one side to the other, and shook his head.
"Look here," he said at length, "it may not be all right with your
pig. In the village through which I passed, the mayor himself had
just had one stolen out of its sty. I fear - I fear that you have
got hold of it there. They have sent out some people and it would
be a bad business if they caught you with the pig, at the very
least, you would be shut up in the dark hole."
The good Hans was terrified. "Goodness," he said, "help me out of
this fix, you know more about this place than I do, take my pig
and leave me your goose."
"I shall risk something at that game," answered the lad, "but I
will not be the cause of your getting into trouble."
So he took the cord in his hand, and drove away the pig quickly
along a by-path. The good Hans, free from care, went homewards
with the goose under his arm.
"When I think over it properly," said he to himself, "I have even
gained by the exchange. First there is the good roast meat, then
the quantity of fat which will drip from it, and which will give
me dripping for my bread for a quarter of a year, and lastly the
beautiful white feathers. I will have my pillow stuffed with them,
and then indeed I shall go to sleep without rocking. How glad my
mother will be."
As he was going through the last village, there stood a
scissors-grinder with his barrow, as his wheel whirred he sang,
I sharpen scissors and quickly grind,
My coat blows out in the wind behind.
Hans stood still and looked at him, at last he spoke to him and
said, "All's well with you, as you are so merry with your
"Yes," answered the scissors-grinder, "the trade has a golden
foundation. A real grinder is a man who as often as he puts his
hand into his pocket finds gold in it. But where did you buy that
"I did not buy it, but exchanged my pig for it."
"And the pig?"
"That I got for a cow."
"And the cow?"
"I took that instead of a horse."
"And the horse?"
"For that I gave a lump of gold as big as my head."
"And the gold?"
"Well, that was my wages for seven years of service."
"You have known how to look after yourself each time," said the
grinder. "If you can only get on so far as to hear the money
jingle in your pocket whenever you stand up, you will have made
"How shall I manage that?" said Hans.
"You must be a grinder, as I am, nothing particular is wanted for
it but a grindstone, the rest finds itself. I have one here, it is
certainly a little worn, but you need not give me anything for it
but your goose, will you do it?"
"How can you ask," answered Hans. "I shall be the luckiest fellow
on earth. If I have money whenever I put my hand in my pocket, why
should I ever worry again." And he handed him the goose and
received the grindstone in exchange.
"Now," said the grinder, as he took up an ordinary heavy stone
that lay by him, "here is a strong stone for you into the bargain,
you can hammer well upon it, and straighten your old nails. Take
it with you and keep it carefully."
Hans loaded himself with the stones, and went on with a contented
heart, his eyes shining with joy. "I must have been born with a
caul," he cried, "everything I want happens to me just as if I
were a sunday-child."
Meanwhile, as he had been on his legs since daybreak, he began to
feel tired. Hunger also tormented him, for in his joy at the
bargain by which he got the cow he had eaten up all his store of
food at once. At last he could only go on with great trouble, and
was forced to stop every minute, the stones, too, weighed him down
dreadfully. Then he could not help thinking how nice it would be
if he had not to carry them just then.
He crept like a snail to a well in a field, and there he thought
that he would rest and refresh himself with a cool draught of
water, but in order that he might not injure the stones in sitting
down, he laid them carefully by his side on the edge of the well.
Then he sat down on it, and was to stoop and drink, when he made a
slip, pushed against the stones, and both of them fell into the
When Hans saw them
with his own eyes
sinking to the bottom, he jumped for joy, and then knelt down, and
with tears in his eyes thanked God for having shown him this favor
also, and delivered him in so good a way, and without his having
any need to reproach himself, from those heavy stones which had
been the only things that troubled him.
"There is no man under the sun so fortunate as I," he cried out.
With a light heart and free from every burden he now ran on until
he was with his mother at home.