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Clever Hans
(Der gescheite Hans)

The mother of Hans said, "Where away, Hans?"

Hans answered, "To Grethel."

"Behave well, Hans."

"Oh, I'll behave well. Good-bye, mother."

"Good-bye, Hans."

Hans comes to Grethel, "Good day, Grethel."

"Good day, Hans. What do you bring that is good?"

"I bring nothing, I want to have something given me."

Grethel presents Hans with a needle. Hans says, "Good-bye, Grethel."

"Good-bye, Hans."

Hans takes the needle, sticks it into a hay-cart, and follows the cart home. "Good evening, mother."

"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"

"With Grethel."

"What did you take her?"

"Took nothing; had something given me."

"What did Grethel give you?"

"Gave me a needle."

"Where is the needle, Hans?"

"Stuck it in the hay-cart."

"That was ill done, Hans. You should have stuck the needle in your sleeve."

"Never mind, I'll do better next time."

"Where away, Hans?"

"To Grethel, mother."

"Behave well, Hans."

"Oh, I'll behave well. Good-bye, mother."

"Good-bye, Hans."

Hans comes to Grethel.

"Good day, Grethel."

"Good day, Hans. What do you bring that is good?"

"I bring nothing; I want to have something given to me." Grethel presents Hans with a knife.

"Good-bye, Grethel."

"Good-bye Hans." Hans takes the knife, sticks it in his sleeve, and goes home.

"Good evening, mother."

"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"

"With Grethel."

"What did you take her?"

"Took her nothing, she gave me something."

"What did Grethel give you?"

"Gave me a knife."

"Where is the knife, Hans?"

"Stuck in my sleeve."

"That's ill done, Hans, you should have put the knife in your pocket."

"Never mind, will do better next time."

"Where away, Hans?"

"To Grethel, mother. " "Behave well, Hans."

"Oh, I'll behave well. Good-bye, mother."

"Good-bye, Hans."

Hans comes to Grethel.

"Good day, Grethel."

"Good day, Hans. What good thing do you bring?"

"I bring nothing, I want something given me."

Grethel presents Hans with a young goat.

"Good-bye, Grethel."

"Good-bye, Hans." Hans takes the goat, ties its legs, and puts it in his pocket. When he gets home it is suffocated.

"Good evening, mother."

"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"

"With Grethel."

"What did you take her?"

"Took nothing, she gave me something."

"What did Grethel give you?"

"She gave me a goat."

"Where is the goat, Hans?"

"Put it in my pocket."

"That was ill done, Hans, you should have put a rope round the goat's neck."

"Never mind, will do better next time."

"Where away, Hans,?"

"To Grethel, mother."

"Behave well, Hans."

"Oh, I'll behave well. Good-bye, mother."

"Good-bye, Hans."

Hans comes to Grethel. "Good day, Grethel."

"Good day, Hans. What good thing do you bring?"

"I bring nothing, I want something given me."

Grethel presents Hans with a piece of bacon.

"Good-bye, Grethel."

"Good-bye, Hans."

Hans takes the bacon, ties it to a rope, and drags it away behind him. The dogs come and devour the bacon. When he gets home, he has the rope in his hand, and there is no longer anything hanging to it.

"Good evening, mother."

"Good evening, Hans."

"Where have you been?"

"With Grethel."

What did you take her?"

"I took her nothing, she gave me something."

"What did Grethel give you?"

"Gave me a bit of bacon."

"Where is the bacon, Hans?"

"I tied it to a rope, brought it home, dogs took it."

"That was ill done, Hans, you should have carried the bacon on your head."

"Never mind, will do better next time."

"Where away, Hans?"

"To Grethel, mother."

"Behave well, Hans."

"I'll behave well. Good-bye, mother."

"Good-bye, Hans."

Hans comes to Grethel.

"Good day, Grethel."

"Good day, Hans."

"What good thing do you bring?"

"I bring nothing, but would have something given."

Grethel presents Hans with a calf.

"Good-bye, Grethel."

"Good-bye, Hans."

Hans takes the calf, puts it on his head, and the calf kicks his face. Good evening, mother."

"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"

"With Grethel."

"What did you take her?"

"I took nothing, but had something given me."

"What did Grethel give you?"

"A calf."

"Where have you the calf, Hans?"

"I set it on my head and it kicked my face."

"That was ill done, Hans, you should have led the calf, and put it in the stall."

"Never mind, will do better next time."

"Where away, Hans?"

"To Grethel, mother."

"Behave well, Hans."

"I'll behave well. Good-bye, mother."

"Good-bye, Hans."

Hans comes to Grethel.

"Good day, Grethel."

"Good day, Hans. What good thing do you bring?"

"I bring nothing, but would have something given."

Grethel says to Hans, "I will go with you."

Hans takes Grethel, ties her to a rope, leads her to the rack and binds her fast. Then Hans goes to his mother.

"Good evening, mother."

"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"

"With Grethel."

"What did you take her?"

"I took her nothing."

"What did Grethel give you?"

"She gave me nothing, she came with me."

"Where have you left Grethel?"

"I led her by the rope, tied her to the rack, and scattered some grass for her."

"That was ill done, Hans, you should have cast friendly eyes on her."

"Never mind, will do better."

Hans went into the stable, cut out all the calves', and sheep's eyes, and threw them in Grethel's face. Then Grethel became angry, tore herself loose and ran away, and became the bride of Hans.

To top Notes

The Elves
(Die Wichtelmänner)

1. Staying with the Elves at Length

There was once a poor servant-girl, who was industrious and cleanly, and swept the house every day, and emptied her sweepings on the great heap in front of the door. One morning when she was just going back to her work, she found a letter on this heap, and as she could not read, she put her broom in the corner, and took the letter to her master and mistress, and behold it was an invitation from the elves, who asked the girl to hold a child for them at its christening. The girl did not know what to do, but at length, after much persuasion, and as they told her that it was not right to refuse an invitation of this kind, she consented.

Then three elves came and led her to a hollow mountain, where the little folks lived. Everything there was small, but more elegant and beautiful than can be described. The baby's mother lay in a bed of black ebony ornamented with pearls, the coverlids were embroidered with gold, the cradle was of ivory, the bath of gold. The girl stood as godmother, and then wanted to go home again, but the little elves urgently entreated her to stay three days with them. So she stayed, and passed the time in pleasure and gaiety, and the little folks did all they could to make her happy.

At last she set out on her way home. Then first they filled her pockets quite full of money, and after that they led her out of the mountain again. When she got home, she wanted to begin her work, and took the broom, which was still standing in the corner, in her hand and began to sweep. Then some strangers came out of the house, who asked her who she was, and what business she had there? And she had not, as she thought, been three days with the little men in the mountains, but seven years, and in the meantime her former masters had died.

2. The Changelling

A certain mother's child had been taken away out of its cradle by the elves, and a changeling with a large head and staring eyes, which would do nothing but eat and drink, laid in its place. In her trouble she went to her neighbour, and asked her advice. The neighbour said that she was to carry the changeling into the kitchen, set it down on the hearth, light a fire, and boil some water in two egg-shells, which would make the changeling laugh, and if he laughed, all would be over with him.

The woman did everything that her neighbour bade her. When she put the egg-shells with water on the fire, the imp said, "I am as old now as the Wester forest, but never yet have I seen anyone boil anything in an egg-shell!" And he began to laugh at it. While he was laughing, suddenly came a host of little elves, who brought the right child, set it down on the hearth, and took the changeling away with them.

Notes

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