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The two sons answered, "Oh, we'll bring you one, but not with Hansel, for he could spoil the whole catch."
Hansel was very angry at the insult and thought: "Wait, we will see."
Hansel heard where his brothers wanted to og and steal a ram, and ran ahead and told the owner: "Today thieves will try to steal a ram from you. Give me a ram and a hammer, and I will see to it that they do not come back soon."
No sooner said than done. Hansel took his hammer and took it into the ram stall, sat down before the opening, and waited for the thieves. At midnight his brothers came. Michel said of Jackel: "You go in, and I'll wait out here while you take the ram!"
The Jackel crawled into the opening, but no sooner had he stuck his head into the hole when he received a blow on his head. "Alas," he cried, "Michel, Michel, help me back out, or the ram will maim my head!"
Michel gave him a nudge and whispered: "Be quiet, or I'll cut you out, you worthless fool! Let me og inside instead."
However, Michel fared no better, and they had to get away from there empty-handed. But Hansel returned with a ram and thus had inherited the house.
But his brothers let their father have no peace till he gave them another task, namely stealing the finest goose bringing home. The brothers said: "We cannot take Hansel with us."
However, Hansel knew where they wanted to steal the goose. He ran ahead and told the owner of the soose: "Hey, today geese thieves are coming. Give me a big pair of pliers and a goose. Then I'll keep the thieves at bay for you."
The farmer gave Hansel what he asked for, and then Hansel went into the barn. In the evening his brothers came. Michel was first. But no sooner had he put his head in, than Hansel pinched Michel's nose with the tongs so that he cried aloud for help. This time, however, Jackel did not creep in next, but ran away head over heals. So Michel and Jackel came home empty-handed, while Hansel came with a plump goose.
The brothers did not cease to ask the father for a third task. At last he gave in and said, "He who brings home the most money, he will be my heir."
This time the brothers took Hansel with them. Each one took something with him. Michel took a bucket full of water, Jackel a bag full of small stones, and Hansel was dragging a heavy iron door.
When they came into the forest it was already dark. They were afraid of wild animals and climbed up a tall oak. Hansel was at bottom.
At midnight three witches came flying through the air on their broomsticks. They carried big money bags under their arms and sat down under the oak to count the money. Michel, beside himself with fear, happened to let the water in the bucket down on the witches. They believed it rained.
Jackel now thought that the water had betrayed them as they sat up in the treee, and began to throw stones at witches. They said: "Today it hails awfully."
Suddenly Hansel's grip on the the heavy iron slipped, and the door fell on the witches and killed all three. And because Hansel sat at the lowest, he was on the ground with a jump, took all the money and ran home to his father, who gave him the whole estate. Thus Hans got happy and rich, and that was a lot.
It once happened that Theophrastus Philippus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim was walking through a forest when he heard a voice calling the name "Paracelsus" to him. He looked around, and at last discovered that it came from a fir-tree. In the trunk of it there was a spirit enclosed by a small stopper sealed with an emblem.
The spirit begged him to set him free. This he readily promised, on the condition that the Spirit gave him a medicine that could heal all diseases and a tincture that would turn every thing it touched to gold. The spirit agreed. Then Paracelsus took his penknife, and got it out the stopper. A black spider crept out and ran down the trunk of the tree. When the spider reached the ground, it changed into a tall haggard man with squinting red eyes and wrapped in a scarlet mantle.
He led Paracelsus to a high, overhanging craggy mount, and with a hazel twig that he had broken off by the way, he smote the rock. It split with a crash at the blow, divided itself in two, and the spirit disappeared within it for a little while before he returned with two small phials that he handed to Paracelsus. A yellow one contained the tincture that turned all it touched to gold, and a white one contained the medicine which healed all diseases. He then struck the rock a second time, and at once it closed again.
Both now set forth on their return. The spirit headed towards Inspruck to seize on the magician who had banished him from that city. Now Paracelsus trembled for the consequences of releasing the spirit from the tree it had been trapped in, and thought hard of how he might rescue that magician. So when they arriyed once more at the fir-tree, he asked the spirit if he could possibly transform himself once more into a spider, and let him see him creep again into the hole. The spirit said, it was not only possible, but that he should be most happy to grant the favour of showing it to his deliverer.
Accordingly, he once more changed into a spider and crept again into the well-known hole. When he had done so, Paracelsus, who had kept the stopper all ready in his hand for the purpose, clapped it as quick as lightning into the hole, hammered it in firmly with a stone, and with his knife made a fresh emblems on it. The spirit, mad with rage, shook the fir-tree, as though with a whirlwind that he might drive out the stopper that Paracelsus had thrust in. But his fury was of no avail. The stopper held fast and left him there with little hope of escape; for because of the great drifts of snow from the mountains, the forest will never be cut down, and although he should call day and night, nobody in that neighbourhood ever ventures near the spot.
Paracelsus, however, found that the phials were such as he had demanded; and it was by their means that he afterwards became such a celebrated and distinguished man.
The Appenzelian legend about Paracelsus is also quoted by the Grimms, Vol. 3. There the spirit it the devil.
In the old times, when there still was a castle up there on the hill, a count and his wife lived there. They had goods in abundance and could have been the happiest couple if they have not been wanting a child and domestic peace. From early morning till late at night the count and countess were squabbling and wrangling, and he never spoke of his wife other than by "the snake".
It went on like that for many long years, and the count became even worse, till his wife finally became pregnant. Then the cruel count turned friendly and happy at the thought of a future heir. This went on for many weeks, but when his wife finally gave birth, it was to a slippery snake.
The hopes of the count were crushed. He raged like a wild beast and scolded vehemently and much. His wife was a wicked witch, he growled; he called here a beast who was allied with the devil. He also wanted to kill the snake at once, but the countess begged so long and fervently that he let the baby live. But he was cruel and gruff ever since, and did not care for his wife or child, and went his way.
The countess, however, loved the snake as if it were the most beautiful boy, and was day and night by the cradle. The snake grew and grew, and the countess still held him dear and nursed him. This went on for twenty years, and the snake never came out of her chamber.
When he was twenty years old and the countess was sitting in the chamber with him one evening, he suddenly opened its mouth and began to speak.
"Dear mother," he said, "I am now twenty years old and want to get married, so I ask you to get me a bride."
The countess was surprised when she heard her child speak, and even more surprised about what he said. She promised to fulfill his wish, and searched for a bride for her snake. But to find a willing one was not easily done. The snake kept asking for his bride each day, and the countess looked more and more anxiously for a bride for her child, but could not find any.
Then she came to think of the girl who herded their hens. It was a very sweet, obedient child. The countess thought the girl would agree to become a countess, but the hen girl said she would rather remain a poor hen girl and eat dark bread than to live in wealth with a snake for her husband. She did not like the idea of that.
When the countess heard this, she was angry with the girl and said: "If you don't want to be a success, I'll find another."
But every time the countess sought a bride for her snake son, she was disappointed. Then she turned again to the dear, pious hen maid with beautiful, sweet words. "Do not be so stupid that you stand in the way of your happiness," she said to her. "If you marry my child, you will be a countess and wil be provided for all your life. But what do you have to look forward to if you remain a hen shepherd? Then you will have to feed the hens and will always be the lowest servant. But if you take my advice, honour and riches will play laughingly with you."
Thus the countess talked and urged till the poor child did not know what to do. And when the countess saw that the girl was swayed in her helplessness, she pressed on, till the child asked for three days to think things over. The countess was pleased and left the child that day.
Next day she came back, however, and asked what the girl had decided. The second day she did the same thing. Then the child did not know what to do, and thought, "If heaven is not giving me good advice, I do not know what to do. If I do not marry the snake, then I will get no peace because the countess is so pushy, and I have no wish to marry the snake."
With these doubts in her mind she went up to the castle and into the hall. In one corner there was a pretty image of the Madonna. The pious girl said her Hail Mary in front of it, and prayed for advice on what to do in this case.
After some time the painting spoke up: "Marry the child of the countess, for you may redeem it. The sinful life of his parents made their child be born a snake, but you can help it to become a human. Listen, then. On the wedding night when you are alone with the snake in the bridal chamber, he will say: 'Take off your clothes!" Then you must say: 'You undress first!" The snake will then shed his skin. Then he will say again: "Take off your clothes!" And then you have to reply again: 'You undress first!" Then the snake will shed his skin again. This should be done seven times, and when you have said for the seventh time: 'You undress first!" the snake will shed his seventh skin, and will stand before you as a beautiful young man."
When all this had been said, the madonna was silent again. A stone was lifted from the heart of the girl, and she felt light and calm. She thanked heaven for the help and then went to the countess and told her that she wanted to marry the snake.
The countess was delighted and called the hen girl her dear daughter, and then she went with her to her child and presented her as his bride. And because the countess was afraid the girl might change her mind, she would have the couple married the same day. She gave the hen girl jewelry and clothes, and when the girl had washed, clothed and decorated herself, the countess fetched the priest, who wed the couple.
The countess was happy with the outcome and wished the couple good luck. The snake was also merry, and fondled his bride a lot. Evening came, and with it, the stars in the sky. The countess said goodbye to the couple, and left them alone.
When the serpent and his bride were alone in the room, he said, "Take off your clothes!" And the bride answered: "You get undressed first out!"
The snake seemed to be happy about this response, and straightway peeled off his skin. Then she spoke again: "Take off your clothes!" The bride answered: "You get undressed first out," and the snake removed another skin. Then he spoke again: "Take off your clothes", and the bride answered as she had done the first two times. This went on seven times. Then, as the snake took off his seventh and final skin, a wonderful young man was in front of her instead of the snake. She had never seen a more beautiful knight. He hurried to her, hugged her and hugged her and called her his dear, dear bride and redeemer. Then they went to bed together and slept blissfully till morning dawned and the courtyard resounded with many sounds.
When day had broken and the happy couple came out of the chamber, the countess was standing at the door, for she was very curious about what had passed on the wedding night. When she saw a beautiful man instead of the ugly serpent she was astonished and could not believe their eyes. But when the handsome knight called her mother and kissed her hand, she understood it was her son, and so her joy knew no bounds.
Now the time had come to celebrate the wedding, but the happiness did not last long. For when the old countess looked at her son and saw how beautiful he was, it occurred to her that he was too good for the hen girl, and she envied her such a fine husband too. In a short time she tried to persuade her son to leave his wife. The young count, however, loved his wife dearly and had no ears for the advice of his mother, and his wife remained loyal. As the old countess pressed him again and was determined to get rid of his wife, he said: "I owe my wife my salvation, and therefore I will remain grateful and loyal to her for ever."
After that speech, the countess did not try to separate them any more and was quite satisfied. The young couple lived a long, long time quite happily.
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