古时候，有一个商人的两只船载满了货物，正从海上航行归来。 他的全部财产都投到这两只船上了，希望能赚更多的钱。 但不幸的消息传来说它们都在海上失踪了，所以他一下子由一个有钱的人变成了一个非常贫穷的人，除了剩下的一小块土地，他已一无所有。 商人有一儿一女，两个小孩都还很小，还不能离家到外面去玩耍。 为了排遣心中的忧愁和烦恼，商人经常去那块土地上散心。
一天，他正独自在那儿徘徊，一个毛茸茸的小矮人站在了他面前。 小矮人问他为什么这么悲伤，是什么事使得他心情如此沉重。 商人回答说："要是你能给我一些帮助，我就告诉你。""谁知道呢？说不定只有我能帮助你，"小矮人说道，"告诉我，到底是怎么回事，也许我能为你做点什么。"于是，商人告诉小矮人说他的全部财产都沉到了海底，他现在已成了一个穷光蛋，除了这一小块土地外，他已一无所有了。 听完之后，小矮人说道："嗨！这有什么可烦恼的。你只要答应我，在十二年后，把你今日回家时所遇到的第一件东西送到这里给我，我就送给你许多许多的金子，让你心满意足。"商人心想，这并不是什么大的要求，最有可能遇到的是他的狗，也可能是其它某种东西，却并没有想到可能会遇到自己的小孩，所以他同意了这约定，并按要求签字画押，完成了交易。
但是当商人回家快要进屋时，他的小儿子看到了他，小家伙非常高兴，从房间后面爬上前来，牢牢地抱住了他的腿。 父亲吃了一惊，到这时，他才开始担心起来，才意识到自己做了些什么，才知道自己已经被自己所做的交易给套住了。 不过他并没有得到金子，于是就自己安慰自己，心想这也许只是小矮人戏弄他，不过是与他开了一个玩笑而已。 一个月过去了。 一天，他上楼到一个堆废旧破烂的房子去找一些废铁，准备卖掉换回几个钱来用，可他在楼板上看到的竟是一大堆金子，他欣喜万分，又开始重操旧业，开始经商。 慢慢地他变得越来越富有，成了比以前更有名的商人。
随着岁月的流逝，他的儿子长大了，十二年的期限也快要到了，商人非常忧虑，变得心事重重 ，烦恼和懊悔就像写在脸上一样。 一天，儿子问他出了什么事，父亲闭着嘴不肯吐露真情。 最后，经不住儿子的反复询问，他将一切都告诉了儿子：自己当初与一个丑陋的小矮人订了一个交易，因为没有料到回家首先遇见的是自己的儿子，结果成了用儿子换大量金子的交易。 十二年就要到了，他必须按照协定来执行，但自己又不愿把儿子送去，所以才一天到晚愁眉苦脸。 听了父亲的话，儿子说道："爸爸，你用不着为这件事而烦恼，我自会对小矮人有所交待的。"
到了小矮人约定的日子，父子俩一起前往指定的地方，儿子在地上画了一个圆圈，自己和父亲都站在圆圈中间。 不一会小矮人来了，他对商人说："你答应我的东西带来了吗？"商人没有做声，但他儿子回答道："你要什么东西？"小矮人说："我来这儿是和你父亲谈话，不是与你谈话。"儿子说："你用心计欺骗了我爸爸，你应该放弃你们的协约。"小矮人回答说："不行，我不会放弃我的权力。"他们就这样争辩了很久，最后双方都同意，把这个儿子放进一条敞篷小船里，先让船紧靠在河岸边，由父亲亲手把船推开，任由载着他的船自己去漂流。 商量完毕，儿子向父亲告别，自己上了船，船被推开了，它摇晃着向河中漂去。 由于摇摆幅度太大，船竟翻了过去。 商人认为自己的儿子已经淹死，怀着悲痛的心情回家去了。
但是那条船并没有沉下去，它仍然平稳地漂流在水面上，尽管船翻了，少年躲在船里面同样很安全。 他漂呀！ 漂呀！ 最后船漂到一块陌生的地方搁浅了。 发现船不动了，少年潜出水面，登上河岸，看到眼前是一座漂亮气派的城堡。 他走进去才发现许多房屋都是空的，整座城堡空无一人，显得很凄凉。 然而，他并不知道这是一座被人施了魔法的城堡，最后，他终于在一间房子里发现了一条白蛇。
这条白蛇是一个被施了魔法的公主，她看见他来了非常高兴，说道："我的救星，你终于来了吗？我等你等了十二年之久！因为只有你才能解救我。今天晚上，有十二个人要来 ，这些人脸色漆黑，脖子上带着铁链。 他们会问你到这儿来干什么，你要一声不吭，不管他们如何待你--或打你或折磨你，你都要忍着，千万别说一个字，到十二点钟他们就会离去。 第二天晚上，又会来另外十二个人，第三天晚上又会来二十四个人，他们甚至会砍下你的头，但一到晚上十二点，他们的魔力就会消失，我也就恢复自由了，到那时，我会给你带来生命之水，还你一个活泼健康的身体。 "少年答应了她的要求。接连发生的一切都如白蛇所说的一样。商人的儿子没有说一个字。第三个晚上，公主变回了人形，她来到他面前救活了他，又亲吻着他，整个城堡里便充满了欢声和笑语。他俩举行了隆重的结婚庆典，少年当上了金山王。
结婚后，他们在一起生活非常幸福，王后还生了一个儿子。 八年过去了，金山王想起了自己的父亲，心情不能平静下来，他渴望再次见到他的父亲，可王后不让他去，说道："我知道会有不幸发生的。"可他仍坚持要去，这闹得王后终日寝食不安，王后没办法，只好同意了。 临别之际，王后送给他一只如意戒指说："拿着这个戒指，戴在你的手指上，无论你想要什么时，它都会带给你的。但你要答应我，千万不可用这个戒指把我带到你父亲面前。"金山王答应了她的要求，将戒指戴在手指上，接着他发愿希望自己能马上到父亲生活的城市附近，一刹那间，他发现自己已经站在了老家的城门口。 卫兵见他穿着非常奇怪的衣裳，不让他进城，他只好爬上附近的一座山头，找到一户牧羊人，向房东借了一件旧外套穿在身上，才顺利地进了城。
他来到父亲的家里见到了父亲，并向他说明自己是他的儿子，商人却不相信他的话。 他说他确实有过一个儿子，但儿子在多年前已经死去。 看见他的衣着就像是一个贫穷的牧羊人，商人甚至连一点东西也不拿给他吃。 金山王坚持称自己是他的儿子，说道："如果我没有你儿子身上你们所熟悉的特有标记，你们不认我也不迟嘛。"他母亲插上来说："对，对！我儿子的右臂下有一块像山莓样的胎记。"于是，金山王马上把右臂下的胎记给他们看，他们这才相信他所说的是实话。 接着他告诉父母自己现在是金山王，并和一位公主结了婚，还有了一个七岁的儿子。 他父亲却说道："这不可能是真的，一个英俊的国王是不可能穿着牧羊人的外套外出旅行的。"听到这话，儿子很气恼，竟忘了他对王后的承诺，转过戒指，发愿希望自己的王后和儿子都来这儿。 一刹那间，他们都站在了他的面前，但王后却哭泣着说他违背了自己的诺言，不幸很快就会降临。 他尽量地安慰她，劝了一会儿，王后表面看起来似乎已经平静下来，但实际上她已心存芥蒂，而且正考虑着如何采取报复的手段。
一天，金山王带着王后一起出城到了商人的那块地头。 他指给她看那块地，看翻船的地方，看船漂流的宽阔水面。 走着走着，他在岸边坐了下来 ，说道："我太累了，挨着我坐下吧，让我的头枕在你的腿上休息一下，睡一会儿觉。"公主依言坐下，他很快就睡着了。 但这时公主却趁机把他手指上的戒指取了下来，又慢慢地抽出身来。 接着，她发愿希望自己和儿子马上都回到自己王国的家里，她如愿以偿了。
金山王醒来后，发现只有自己一人孤零零地躺在地上，妻子不见了，手指上的戒指也已不知去向。 他自言自语说道："我还有什么脸面回去见我父亲呢？他们会说我是一个巫师，看来我只有向前走了，我要回到自己的王国去。"说罢，他直接动身上路了。 他走呀，不停地走呀！ 一天来到了一座山边，看见有三个巨人正在分遗产。 巨人们看到他走过去，忙叫住他说道："小人儿头脑灵活聪明，请你来为我们分配这遗产吧。"他一了解，原来他们的遗产是三样宝物：第一件是一把宝刀，拿着这把宝刀只要说一声"砍下他的头！"敌人的头就会被砍下来；第二件是一件披风，披在身上后，除了自己以外，任何人都看不到自己，并且想变什么就变什么；第三件是一双鞋子，穿上鞋子后，你想到什么地方，它马上可以带你到那个地方。 金山王眼珠一转，说他们应该让他先试一试这三件东西到底是不是有这样奇妙，试过了之后才可能知道它们的价值，才好为他们公平分配。 于是他们先给他试披风，他穿上后希望自己能变成一只苍蝇，刚发过愿，他就真的变成了一只苍蝇。 试过后他说道："这件披风是很灵的，现在把宝刀给我试一试。""不行！"他们说，"除非你答应我们不说'砍下他的头'，要不然我们把刀给你后，你一念咒语，我们岂不都变成死人了。"金山王说好，他拿刀来试一试旁边的那棵小树，看看这刀的威力。 他拿着刀试过之后又要试那双鞋，他们只好把鞋也递给了他。 这一来，三件宝物都到了他手中，他发了一个愿，希望自己此时能到金山国去，一眨眼，他就到了那里。 那几个巨人怔在当地，争了老半天，结果什么遗产也没有分到。
当金山王来到金山国城堡附近时，他听到的尽是喜庆的音乐和欢快的笑声。 周围的人们告诉他，王后就要与另一个王子举行结婚盛典了。 听到这些，他非常气愤，马上披上披风，走进城堡，来到了王后身边，没有人能看见他。 他要捉弄王后，所以，每当有仆人把吃的东西放到王后的盘子上时，他就把那些东西拿起来吃掉。 当仆人端给王后一杯葡萄酒时，他也接过来喝掉。 因此，尽管不断有人给她送来吃的和喝的，但她的盘子却始终是空的。
到了这时，王后才感到恐惧，才有了懊悔之意，她走到自己的房间，伤心地哭了起来。 金山王跟着她来到了房间里 ，听到她自言自语地说道："老天呀！难到救我的人还没有来吗？
"你这个女骗子！"他说道："救你的人实际上已经来了，现在就在你旁边，他这不是在惩罚你吗？"说完，他脱下披风，现出原形，走出去要遣散大伙，说婚典结束了，他这个国王已经回来了，但那些王公贵族和顾问们都嘲笑他。 他走进他们中间没有和他们多说，只是问他们是安安静静地自己离去，还是不。 这些人都很势利，平时也凶霸惯了，他们不仅不离去，而且还转过身来要抓他。 他便抽出宝刀，念了一句咒语，那些叛逆之人的头就都落在了他的面前。 一切结束后，他又成了金山王。
There was a certain merchant who had two children, a boy and a girl; they were both young, and could not walk. And two richly-laden ships of his sailed forth to sea with all his property on board, and just as he was expecting to win much money by them, news came that they had gone to the bottom, and now instead of being a rich man he was a poor one, and had nothing left but one field outside the town. In order to drive his misfortune a little out of his thoughts, he went out to this field, and as he was walking forwards and backwards in it, a little black mannikin stood suddenly by his side, and asked why he was so sad, and what he was taking so much to heart. Then said the merchant, "If thou couldst help me I would willingly tell thee." - "Who knows?" replied the black dwarf. "Perhaps, I can help thee." Then the merchant told him that all he possessed had gone to the bottom of the sea, and that he had nothing left but this field. "Do not trouble thyself," said the dwarf. "If thou wilt promise to give me the first thing that rubs itself against thy leg when thou art at home again, and to bring it here to this place in twelve years' time, thou shalt have as much money as thou wilt." The merchant thought, "What can that be but my dog?" and did not remember his little boy, so he said yes, gave the black man a written and sealed promise, and went home.
When he reached home, his little boy was so delighted that he held by a bench, tottered up to him and seized him fast by the legs. The father was shocked, for he remembered his promise, and now knew what he had pledged himself to do; as however, he still found no money in his chest, he thought the dwarf had only been jesting. A month afterwards he went up to the garret, intending to gather together some old tin and to sell it, and saw a great heap of money lying. Then he was happy again, made purchases, became a greater merchant than before, and felt that this world was well-governed. In the meantime the boy grew tall, and at the same time sharp and clever. But the nearer the twelfth year approached the more anxious grew the merchant, so that his distress might be seen in his face. One day his son asked what ailed him, but the father would not say. The boy, however, persisted so long, that at last he told him that without being aware of what he was doing, he had promised him to a black dwarf, and had received much money for doing so. He said likewise that he had set his hand and seal to this, and that now when twelve years had gone by he would have to give him up. Then said the son, "Oh, father, do not be uneasy, all will go well. The black man has no power over me." The son had himself blessed by the priest, and when the time came, father and son went together to the field, and the son made a circle and placed himself inside it with his father. Then came the black dwarf and said to the old man, "Hast thou brought with thee that which thou hast promised me?" He was silent, but the son asked, "What dost thou want here?" Then said the black dwarf, "I have to speak with thy father, and not with thee." The son replied, "Thou hast betrayed and misled my father, give back the writing." - "No," said the black dwarf, "I will not give up my rights." They spoke together for a long time after this, but at last they agreed that the son, as he did not belong to the enemy of mankind, nor yet to his father, should seat himself in a small boat, which should lie on water which was flowing away from them, and that the father should push it off with his own foot, and then the son should remain given up to the water. So he took leave of his father, placed himself in a little boat, and the father had to push it off with his own foot. The boat capsized so that the keel was uppermost, and the father believed his son was lost, and went home and mourned for him.
The boat, however, did not sink, but floated quietly away, and the boy sat safely inside it, and it floated thus for a long time, until at last it stopped by an unknown shore. Then he landed and saw a beautiful castle before him, and set out to go to it. But when he entered it, he found that it was bewitched. He went through every room, but all were empty until he reached the last, where a snake lay coiled in a ring. The snake, however, was an enchanted maiden, who rejoiced to see him, and said, "Hast thou come, oh, my deliverer? I have already waited twelve years for thee; this kingdom is bewitched, and thou must set it free." - "How can I do that?" he inquired. "To-night come twelve black men, covered with chains who will ask what thou art doing here; keep silent; give them no answer, and let them do what they will with thee; they will torment thee, beat thee, stab thee; let everything pass, only do not speak; at twelve o'clock, they must go away again. On the second night twelve others will come; on the third, four-and-twenty, who will cut off thy head, but at twelve o'clock their power will be over, and then if thou hast endured all, and hast not spoken the slightest word, I shall be released. I will come to thee, and will have, in a bottle, some of the water of life. I will rub thee with that, and then thou wilt come to life again, and be as healthy as before." Then said he, "I will gladly set thee free." And everything happened just as she had said; the black men could not force a single word from him, and on the third night the snake became a beautiful princess, who came with the water of life and brought him back to life again. So she threw herself into his arms and kissed him, and there was joy and gladness in the whole castle. After this their marriage was celebrated, and he was King of the Golden Mountain.
They lived very happily together, and the Queen bore a fine boy. Eight years had already gone by, when the King bethought him of his father; his heart was moved, and he wished to visit him. The Queen, however, would not let him go away, and said, "I know beforehand that it will cause my unhappiness;" but he suffered her to have no rest until she consented. At their parting she gave him a wishing-ring, and said, "Take this ring and put it on thy finger, and then thou wilt immediately be transported whithersoever thou wouldst be, only thou must promise me not to use it in wishing me away from this place and with thy father." That he promised her, put the ring on his finger, and wished himself at home, just outside the town where his father lived. Instantly he found himself there, and made for the town, but when he came to the gate, the sentries would not let him in, because he wore such strange and yet such rich and magnificent clothing. Then he went to a hill where a shepherd was watching his sheep, changed clothes with him, put on his old shepherd's-coat, and then entered the town without hindrance. When he came to his father, he made himself known to him, but he did not at all believe that the shepherd was his son, and said he certainly had had a son, but that he was dead long ago; however, as he saw he was a poor, needy shepherd, he would give him something to eat. Then the shepherd said to his parents, "I am verily your son. Do you know of no mark on my body by which you could recognize me?" - "Yes," said his mother, "our son had a raspberry mark under his right arm." He slipped back his shirt, and they saw the raspberry under his right arm, and no longer doubted that he was their son. Then he told them that he was King of the Golden Mountain, and a king's daughter was his wife, and that they had a fine son of seven years old. Then said the father, "That is certainly not true; it is a fine kind of a king who goes about in a ragged shepherd's-coat." On this the son fell in a passion, and without thinking of his promise, turned his ring round, and wished both his wife and child with him. They were there in a second, but the Queen wept, and reproached him, and said that he had broken his word, and had brought misfortune upon her. He said, "I have done it thoughtlessly, and not with evil intention," and tried to calm her, and she pretended to believe this; but she had mischief in her mind.
Then he led her out of the town into the field, and showed her the stream where the little boat had been pushed off, and then he said, "I am tired; sit down, I will sleep awhile on thy lap." And he laid his head on her lap, and fell asleep. When he was asleep, she first drew the ring from his finger, then she drew away the foot which was under him, leaving only the slipper behind her, and she took her child in her arms, and wished herself back in her own kingdom. When he awoke, there he lay quite deserted, and his wife and child were gone, and so was the ring from his finger, the slipper only was still there as a token. "Home to thy parents thou canst not return," thought he, "they would say that thou wast a wizard; thou must be off, and walk on until thou arrivest in thine own kingdom." So he went away and came at length to a hill by which three giants were standing, disputing with each other because they did not know how to divide their father's property. When they saw him passing by, they called to him and said little men had quick wits, and that he was to divide their inheritance for them. The inheritance, however, consisted of a sword, which had this prperty that if any one took it in his hand, and said, "All heads off but mine," every head would lie on the ground; secondly, of a cloak which made any one who put it on invisible; thirdly, of a pair of boots which could transport the wearer to any place he wished in a moment. He said, "Give me the three things that I may see if they are still in good condition." They gave him the cloak, and when he had put it on, he was invisible and changed into a fly. Then he resumed his own form and said, "The cloak is a good one, now give me the sword." They said, "No, we will not give thee that; if thou were to say, All heads off but mine,' all our heads would be off, and thou alone wouldst be left with thine." Nevertheless they gave it to him with the condition that he was only to try it against a tree. This he did, and the sword cut in two the trunk of a tree as if it had been a blade of straw. Then he wanted to have the boots likewise, but they said, "No, we will not give them; if thou hadst them on thy feet and wert to wish thyself at the top of the hill, we should be left down here with nothing." - "Oh, no," said he, "I will not do that." So they gave him the boots as well. And now when he had got all these things, he thought of nothing but his wife and his child, and said as though to himself, "Oh, if I were but on the Golden Mountain," and at the same moment he vanished from the sight of the giants, and thus their inheritance was divided. When he was near his palace, he heard sounds of joy, and fiddles, and flutes, and the people told him that his wife was celebrating her wedding with another. Then he fell into a rage, and said, "False woman, she betrayed and deserted me whilst I was asleep!" So he put on his cloak, and unseen by all went into the palace. When he entered the dining-hall a great table was spread with delicious food, and the guests were eating and drinking, and laughing, and jesting. She sat on a royal seat in the midst of them in splendid apparel, with a crown on her head. He placed himself behind her, and no one saw him. When she put a piece of meat on a plate for herself, he took it away and ate it, and when she poured out a glass of wine for herself, he took it away and drank it. She was always helping herself to something, and yet she never got anything, for plate and glass disappeared immediately. Then dismayed and ashamed, she arose and went to her chamber and wept, but he followed her there. She said, "Has the devil power over me, or did my deliverer never come?" Then he struck her in the face, and said, "Did thy deliverer never come? It is he who has thee in his power, thou traitor. Have I deserved this from thee?" Then he made himself visible, went into the hall, and cried, "The wedding is at an end, the true King has returned." The kings, princes, and councillors who were assembled there, ridiculed and mocked him, but he did not trouble to answer them, and said, "Will you go away, or not?" On this they tried to seize him and pressed upon him, but he drew his sword and said, "All heads off but mine," and all the heads rolled on the ground, and he alone was master, and once more King of the Golden Mountain.