Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Found Pages #2: Grimms' Fairy Tales by The Brothers Grimm

Another random extract from a public domain text here.

Anyone who, like me, was brought up on the wholesome, sanitised Disney versions of the Brothers Grimm tales really needs to check out the dark and twisted originals. This particular volume features a wide range of familiar and unfamiliar tales. One such story begins like this.


Some men are born to good luck: all they do or try to do comes right--
all that falls to them is so much gain--all their geese are swans--all
their cards are trumps--toss them which way you will, they will
always, like poor puss, alight upon their legs, and only move on so
much the faster. The world may very likely not always think of them as
they think of themselves, but what care they for the world? what can
it know about the matter?

One of these lucky beings was neighbour Hans. Seven long years he had
worked hard for his master. At last he said, 'Master, my time is up; I
must go home and see my poor mother once more: so pray pay me my wages
and let me go.' And the master said, 'You have been a faithful and
good servant, Hans, so your pay shall be handsome.' Then he gave him a
lump of silver as big as his head.

Hans took out his pocket-handkerchief, put the piece of silver into
it, threw it over his shoulder, and jogged off on his road homewards.
As he went lazily on, dragging one foot after another, a man came in
sight, trotting gaily along on a capital horse. 'Ah!' said Hans aloud,
'what a fine thing it is to ride on horseback! There he sits as easy
and happy as if he was at home, in the chair by his fireside; he trips
against no stones, saves shoe-leather, and gets on he hardly knows
how.' Hans did not speak so softly but the horseman heard it all, and
said, 'Well, friend, why do you go on foot then?' 'Ah!' said he, 'I
have this load to carry: to be sure it is silver, but it is so heavy
that I can't hold up my head, and you must know it hurts my shoulder
sadly.' 'What do you say of making an exchange?' said the horseman. 'I
will give you my horse, and you shall give me the silver; which will
save you a great deal of trouble in carrying such a heavy load about
with you.' 'With all my heart,' said Hans: 'but as you are so kind to
me, I must tell you one thing--you will have a weary task to draw that
silver about with you.' However, the horseman got off, took the
silver, helped Hans up, gave him the bridle into one hand and the whip
into the other, and said, 'When you want to go very fast, smack your
lips loudly together, and cry "Jip!"'

Download the full ebook here.

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