Jul 112011
 

Fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm

[Editor’s Note: This tale contains elements that by today’s standard would be considered anti-Semitic. Telford, Richard, and the editorial staff do not support Antisemitism; not all tales from this 1884 edition meet today’s standards of propriety and should not be told to the young and impressionable. Nevertheless, they are very interesting historically and have great value to the storyteller in that they exemplify excellence in the development of the tale and its presentation.]

There was once a peasant who had driven his cow to the fair, and sold her for seven thalers. On the way home he had to pass a pond, and already from afar he heard the frogs crying, “Aik, aik, aik, aik.”

“Well,” said he to himself, “they are talking without rhyme or reason, it is seven that I have received, not eight.” When he got to the water, he cried to them, “Stupid animals that you are! Don’t you know better than that? It is seven thalers and not eight.”

The frogs, however, stood to their, “aik, aik, aik, aik.”

“Come, then, if you won’t believe it, I can count it out to you,” and he got his money out of his pocket and counted out the seven thalers, always reckoning four and twenty groschen to a thaler.

The frogs, however, would not pay any attention to his reckoning, but still cried, “aik, aik, aik, aik.”

“What,” cried the peasant, quite angry, “since you are determined to know better than I, count it yourselves,” and threw all the money into the water to them. He stood still and wanted to wait until they were done and had brought him his own again, but the frogs maintained their opinion and cried continually “aik, aik, aik, aik,” and besides that, did not throw the money out again.

He still waited a long while until evening came on and he was forced to go home. Then he abused the frogs and cried, “You water-splashers, you thick-heads, you goggle-eyes, you have great mouths and can screech till you hurt one’s ears, but you cannot count seven thalers! Do you think I’m going to stand here till you get done?”

And with that he went away, but the frogs still cried, “aik, aik, aik, aik,” after him till he went home quite angry.

After a while he bought another cow, which he killed, and he made the calculation that if he sold the meat well he might gain as much as the two cows were worth, and have the skin into the bargain. When therefore he got to the town with the meat, a great troop of dogs were gathered together in front of the gate, with a large greyhound at the head of them, which jumped at the meat, snuffed at it, and barked, “Wow, wow, wow.”

As there was no stopping him, the peasant said to him, “Yes, yes, I know quite well that thou art saying, ‘wow, wow, wow,’ because thou wantest some of the meat; but I should fare badly if I were to give it to thee.”

The dog, however, answered nothing but “wow, wow.”

“Wilt thou promise not to devour it all then, and wilt thou go bail for thy companions?”

“Wow, wow, wow,” said the dog. “Well, if thou insistest on it, I will leave it for thee; I know thee well, and know who is thy master; but this I tell thee, I must have my money in three days or else it will go ill with thee; thou must just bring it out to me.”

Thereupon he unloaded the meat and turned back again, the dogs fell upon it and loudly barked, “wow, wow.”

The countryman, who heard them from afar, said to himself, “Hark, now they all want some, but the big one is responsible to me for it.”

When three days had passed, the countryman thought, “To-night my money will be in my pocket,” and was quite delighted. But no one would come and pay it.

“There is no trusting any one now,” said he; and at last he lost patience, and went into the town to the butcher and demanded his money. The butcher thought it was a joke, but the peasant said, “Jesting apart, I will have my money! Did not the great dog bring you the whole of the slaughtered cow three days ago?”

Then the butcher grew angry, snatched a broom-stick and drove him out.

“Wait a while,” said the peasant, “there is still some justice in the world!” and went to the royal palace and begged for an audience. He was led before the King, who sat there with his daughter, and asked him what injury he had suffered. “Alas!” said he, “the frogs and the dogs have taken from me what is mine, and the butcher has paid me for it with the stick,” and he related at full length all that had happened.

Thereupon the King’s daughter began to laugh heartily, and the King said to him, “I cannot give you justice in this, but you shall have my daughter to wife for it, in her whole life she has never yet laughed as she has just done at thee, and I have promised her to him who could make her laugh. Thou mayst thank God for thy good fortune!”

“Oh,” answered the peasant, “I will not have her; I have a wife already, and she is one too many for me. When I go home, it is just as bad as if I had a wife standing in every corner.”

Then the King grew angry, and said, “Thou art a boor.”

“Ah, Lord King,” replied the peasant, “what can you expect from an ox, but beef?”

“Stop,” answered the King, “thou shalt have another reward. Be off now, but come back in three days, and then thou shalt have five hundred counted out in full.”

When the peasant went out by the gate, the sentry said, “Thou hast made the King’s daughter laugh, so thou wilt certainly receive something good.”

“Yes, that is what I think,” answered the peasant; “five hundred are to be counted out to me.”

“Hark thee,” said the soldier, “give me some of it. What canst thou do with all that money?”

“As it is thou,” said the peasant, “thou shalt have two hundred; present thyself in three days’ time before the King, and let it be paid to thee.”

A Jew, who was standing by and had heard the conversation, ran after the peasant, held him by the coat, and said, “Oh, wonder! what a luck-child thou art! I will change it for thee, I will change it for thee into small coins, what dost thou want with the great thalers?”

“Jew,” said the countryman, “three hundred canst thou still have; give it to me at once in coin, in three days from this, thou wilt be paid for it by the King.”

The Jew was delighted with the profit, and brought the sum in bad groschen, three of which were worth two good ones. After three days had passed, according to the King’s command, the peasant went before the King.

“Pull his coat off,” said the latter, “and he shall have his five hundred.”

“Ah!” said the peasant, “they no longer belong to me; I presented two hundred of them to the sentinel, and three hundred the Jew has changed for me, so by right nothing at all belongs to me.”

In the meantime the soldier and the Jew entered and claimed what they had gained from the peasant, and they received the blows strictly counted out. The soldier bore it patiently and knew already how it tasted; but the Jew said sorrowfully, “Alas, alas, are these the heavy thalers?”

The King could not help laughing at the peasant, and as all his anger was gone, he said, “As thou hast already lost thy reward before it fell to thy lot, I will give thee something in the place of it. Go into my treasure chamber and get some money for thyself, as much as thou wilt.”

The peasant did not need to be told twice, and stuffed into his big pockets whatsoever would go in. Afterwards he went to an inn and counted over his money. The Jew had crept after him and heard how he muttered to himself, “That rogue of a king has cheated me after all, why could he not have given me the money himself, and then I should have known what I had? How can I tell now if what I have had the luck to put in my pockets is right or not?”

“Good heavens!” said the Jew to himself, “that man is speaking disrespectfully of our lord the King, I will run and inform, and then I shall get a reward, and he will be punished as well.”

When the King heard of the peasant’s words he fell into a passion, and commanded the Jew to go and bring the offender to him. The Jew ran to the peasant, “You are to go at once to the lord King in the very clothes you have on.”

“I know what’s right better than that,” answered the peasant, “I shall have a new coat made first. Dost thou think that a man with so much money in his pocket is to go there in his ragged old coat?”

The Jew, as he saw that the peasant would not stir without another coat, and as he feared that if the King’s anger cooled, he himself would lose his reward, and the peasant his punishment, said, “I will out of pure friendship lend thee a coat for the short time. What will people not do for love!”

The peasant was contented with this, put the Jew’s coat on, and went off with him.

The King reproached the countryman because of the evil speaking of which the Jew had informed him. “Ah,” said the peasant, “what a Jew says is always false no true word ever comes out of his mouth! That rascal there is capable of maintaining that I have his coat on.”

“What is that?” shrieked the Jew. “Is the coat not mine? Have I not lent it to thee out of pure friendship, in order that thou mightest appear before the lord King?”

When the King heard that, he said, “The Jew has assuredly deceived one or the other of us, either myself or the peasant,” and again he ordered something to be counted out to him in hard thalers.

The peasant, however, went home in the good coat, with the good money in his pocket, and said to himself, “This time I have hit it!”

From Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Household Tales, trans. Margaret Hunt (London: George Bell, 1884)

Jul 112011
 

Fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm

There was once upon a time an old goat who had seven little kids, and loved them with all the love of a mother for her children. One day she wanted to go into the forest and fetch some food. So she called all seven to her and said, “Dear children, I have to go into the forest; be on your guard against the wolf; if he comes in, he will devour you all skin, hair, and all. The wretch often disguises himself, but you will know him at once by his rough voice and his black feet.”

The kids said, “Dear mother, we will take good care of ourselves; you may go away without any anxiety.” Then the old one bleated, and went on her way with an easy mind.

It was not long before someone knocked at the house-door and cried, “Open the door, dear children; your mother is here, and has brought something back with her for each of you.”

But the little kids knew that it was the wolf, by the rough voice.

“We will not open the door,” cried they, “thou art not our mother. She has a soft, pleasant voice, but thy voice is rough; thou art the wolf!”

Then the wolf went away to a shopkeeper and bought himself a great lump of chalk, ate this and made his voice soft with it. Then he came back, knocked at the door of the house, and cried, “Open the door, dear children, your mother is here and has brought something back with her for each of you.”

But the wolf had laid his black paws against the window, and the children saw them and cried, “We will not open the door, our mother has not black feet like thee: thou art the wolf.”

Then the wolf ran to a baker and said, “I have hurt my feet, rub some dough over them for me.”

And when the baker had rubbed his feet over, he ran to the miller and said, “Strew some white meal over my feet for me.”

The miller thought to himself, “The wolf wants to deceive someone,” and refused; but the wolf said, “If thou wilt not do it, I will devour thee.”

Then the miller was afraid, and made his paws white for him. Truly men are like that.

So now the wretch went for the third time to the house-door, knocked at it and said, “Open the door for me, children, your dear little mother has come home, and has brought every one of you something back from the forest with her.”

The little kids cried, “First show us thy paws that we may know if thou art our dear little mother.”

Then he put his paws in through the window, and when the kids saw that they were white, they believed that all he said was true, and opened the door. But who should come in but the wolf!

They were terrified and wanted to hide themselves. One sprang under the table, the second into the bed, the third into the stove, the fourth into the kitchen, the fifth into the cupboard, the sixth under the washing-bowl, and the seventh into the clock-case. But the wolf found them all, and used no great ceremony; one after the other he swallowed them down his throat. The youngest in the clock-case was the only one he did not find.

When the wolf had satisfied his appetite he took himself off, laid himself down under a tree in the green meadow outside, and began to sleep. Soon afterwards the old goat came home again from the forest.

Ah! what a sight she saw there! The house-door stood wide open. The table, chairs, and benches were thrown down, the washing-bowl lay broken to pieces, and the quilts and pillows were pulled off the bed. She sought her children, but they were nowhere to be found. She called them one after another by name, but no one answered.

At last, when she came to the youngest, a soft voice cried, “Dear mother, I am in the clock-case.” She took the kid out, and it told her that the wolf had come and had eaten all the others. Then you may imagine how she wept over her poor children.

At length in her grief she went out, and the youngest kid ran with her. When they came to the meadow, there lay the wolf by the tree and snored so loud that the branches shook. She looked at him on every side and saw that something was moving and struggling in his gorged body.

“Ah, heavens,” said she, “is it possible that my poor children whom he has swallowed down for his supper, can be still alive?”

Then the kid had to run home and fetch scissors, and a needle and thread, and the goat cut open the monster’s stomach, and hardly had she made one cut, than one little kid thrust its head out, and when she cut farther, all six sprang out one after another, and were all still alive, and had suffered no injury whatever, for in his greediness the monster had swallowed them down whole.

What rejoicing there was! Then they embraced their dear mother, and jumped like a tailor at his wedding. The mother, however, said, “Now go and look for some big stones, and we will fill the wicked beast’s stomach with them while he is still asleep.”

Then the seven kids dragged the stones thither with all speed, and put as many of them into his stomach as they could get in; and the mother sewed him up again in the greatest haste, so that he was not aware of anything and never once stirred.

When the wolf at length had had his sleep out, he got on his legs, and as the stones in his stomach made him very thirsty, he wanted to go to a well to drink. But when he began to walk and to move about, the stones in his stomach knocked against each other and rattled. Then cried he,

“What rumbles and tumbles
Against my poor bones?
I thought t was six kids,
But it’s naught but big stones.”

And when he got to the well and stooped over the water and was just about to drink, the heavy stones made him fall in and there was no help, but he had to drown miserably. When the seven kids saw that, they came running to the spot and cried aloud, “The wolf is dead! The wolf is dead!” and danced for joy round about the well with their mother.

From Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Household Tales, trans. Margaret Hunt (London: George Bell, 1884)