Hans in luck



Hans had served his master for seven years, so he said to him, "Master, my time is up; now I should be glad to go back home to my mother; give me my wages." The master answered, "You have served me faithfully and honestly; as the service was so shall the reward be;" and he gave Hans a piece of gold as big as his head. Hans pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket, wrapped up the lump in it, put it on his shoulder, and set out on the way home.
As he went on, always putting one foot before the other, he saw a horseman trotting quickly and merrily by on a lively horse. "Ah!" said Hans quite loud, "what a fine thing it is to ride! There you sit as on a chair; you stumble over no stones, you save your shoes, and get on, you don't know how."

The rider, who had heard him, stopped and called out, "Hollo! Hans, why do you go on foot, then?"

"I must," answered he, "for I have this lump to carry home; it is true that it is gold, but I cannot hold my head straight for it, and it hurts my shoulder."

"I will tell you what," said the rider, "we will exchange: I will give you my horse, and you can give me your lump."

"With all my heart," said Hans, "but I can tell you, you will have to crawl along with it."

The rider got down, took the gold, and helped Hans up; then gave him the bridle tight in his hands and said, "If you want to go at a really good pace, you must click your tongue and call out, "Jup! Jup!"

Hans was heartily delighted as he sat upon the horse and rode away so bold and free. After a little while he thought that it ought to go faster, and he began to click with his tongue and call out, "Jup! Jup!" The horse put himself into a sharp trot, and before Hans knew where he was, he was thrown off and lying in a ditch which separated the field from the highway. The horse would have gone off too if it had not been stopped by a countryman, who was coming along the road and driving a cow before him.

Hans got his limbs together and stood up on his legs again, but he was vexed, and said to the countryman, "It is a poor joke, this riding, especially when one gets hold of a mare like this, that kicks and throws one off, so that one has a chance of breaking one's neck. Never again will I mount it. Now I like your cow, for one can walk quietly behind her, and have, over and above, one's milk, butter and cheese every day without fail. What would I not give to have such a cow." - "Well," said the countryman, "if it would give you so much pleasure, I do not mind giving the cow for the horse." Hans agreed with the greatest delight; the countryman jumped upon the horse, and rode quickly away.

Hans drove his cow quietly before him, and thought over his lucky bargain. "If only I have a morsel of bread -- and that can hardly fail me -- I can eat butter and cheese with it as often as I like; if I am thirsty, I can milk my cow and drink the milk. Good heart, what more can I want?"

When he came to an inn he made a halt, and in his great content ate up what he had with him -- his dinner and supper -- and all he had, and with his last few farthings had half a glass of beer. Then he drove his cow onwards along the road to his mother's village.

As it drew nearer mid-day, the heat was more oppressive, and Hans found himself upon a moor which it took about an hour to cross. He felt it very hot and his tongue clave to the roof of his mouth with thirst. "I can find a cure for this," thought Hans; "I will milk the cow now and refresh myself with the milk." He tied her to a withered tree, and as he had no pail he put his leather cap underneath; but try as he would, not a drop of milk came. And as he set himself to work in a clumsy way, the impatient beast at last gave him such a blow on his head with its hind foot, that he fell on the ground, and for a long time could not think where he was.

By good fortune a butcher just then came along the road with a wheel-barrow, in which lay a young pig. "What sort of a trick is this?" cried he, and helped the good Hans up. Hans told him what had happened. The butcher gave him his flask and said, "Take a drink and refresh yourself. The cow will certainly give no milk, it is an old beast; at the best it is only fit for the plough, or for the butcher." - "Well, well," said Hans, as he stroked his hair down on his head, "who would have thought it? Certainly it is a fine thing when one can kill a beast like that at home; what meat one has! But I do not care much for beef, it is not juicy enough for me. A young pig like that now is the thing to have, it tastes quite different; and then there are the sausages!"

"Hark ye, Hans," said the butcher, "out of love for you I will exchange, and will let you have the pig for the cow." - "Heaven repay you for your kindness!" said Hans as he gave up the cow, whilst the pig was unbound from the barrow, and the cord by which it was tied was put in his hand.

Hans went on, and thought to himself how everything was going just as he wished; if he did meet with any vexation it was immediately set right. Presently there joined him a lad who was carrying a fine white goose under his arm. They said good morning to each other, and Hans began to tell of his good luck, and how he had always made such good bargains. The boy told him that he was taking the goose to a christening-feast. "Just lift her," added he, and laid hold of her by the wings; "how heavy she is -- she has been fattened up for the last eight weeks. Whoever has a bit of her when she is roasted will have to wipe the fat from both sides of his mouth." - "Yes," said Hans, as he weighed her in one hand, "she is a good weight, but my pig is no bad one."

Meanwhile the lad looked suspiciously from one side to the other, and shook his head. "Look here," he said at length, "it may not be all right with your pig. In the village through which I passed, the Mayor himself had just had one stolen out of its sty. I fear -- I fear that you have got hold of it there. They have sent out some people and it would be a bad business if they caught you with the pig; at the very least, you would be shut up in the dark hole."

The good Hans was terrified. "Goodness!" he said, "help me out of this fix; you know more about this place than I do, take my pig and leave me your goose." - "I shall risk something at that game," answered the lad, "but I will not be the cause of your getting into trouble." So he took the cord in his hand, and drove away the pig quickly along a by-path.

The good Hans, free from care, went homewards with the goose under his arm. "When I think over it properly," said he to himself, "I have even gained by the exchange; first there is the good roast-meat, then the quantity of fat which will drip from it, and which will give me dripping for my bread for a quarter of a year, and lastly the beautiful white feathers; I will have my pillow stuffed with them, and then indeed I shall go to sleep without rocking. How glad my mother will be!"

As he was going through the last village, there stood a scissors-grinder with his barrow; as his wheel whirred he sang --

"I sharpen scissors and quickly grind,
My coat blows out in the wind behind."
Hans stood still and looked at him; at last he spoke to him and said, "All's well with you, as you are so merry with your grinding." - "Yes," answered the scissors-grinder, "the trade has a golden foundation. A real grinder is a man who as often as he puts his hand into his pocket finds gold in it. But where did you buy that fine goose?"
"I did not buy it, but exchanged my pig for it."

"And the pig?"

"That I got for a cow."

"And the cow?"

"I took that instead of a horse."

"And the horse?"

"For that I gave a lump of gold as big as my head."

"And the gold?"

"Well, that was my wages for seven years' service."

"You have known how to look after yourself each time," said the grinder. "If you can only get on so far as to hear the money jingle in your pocket whenever you stand up, you will have made your fortune."

"How shall I manage that?" said Hans. "You must be a grinder, as I am; nothing particular is wanted for it but a grindstone, the rest finds itself. I have one here; it is certainly a little worn, but you need not give me anything for it but your goose; will you do it?"

"How can you ask?" answered Hans. "I shall be the luckiest fellow on earth; if I have money whenever I put my hand in my pocket, what need I trouble about any longer?" and he handed him the goose and received the grindstone in exchange. "Now," said the grinder, as he took up an ordinary heavy stone that lay by him, "here is a strong stone for you into the bargain; you can hammer well upon it, and straighten your old nails. Take it with you and keep it carefully."

Hans loaded himself with the stones, and went on with a contented heart; his eyes shone with joy. "I must have been born with a caul," he cried; "everything I want happens to me just as if I were a Sunday-child."

Meanwhile, as he had been on his legs since daybreak, he began to feel tired. Hunger also tormented him, for in his joy at the bargain by which he got the cow he had eaten up all his store of food at once. At last he could only go on with great trouble, and was forced to stop every minute; the stones, too, weighed him down dreadfully. Then he could not help thinking how nice it would be if he had not to carry them just then.

He crept like a snail to a well in a field, and there he thought that he would rest and refresh himself with a cool draught of water, but in order that he might not injure the stones in sitting down, he laid them carefully by his side on the edge of the well. Then he sat down on it, and was to stoop and drink, when he made a slip, pushed against the stones, and both of them fell into the water. When Hans saw them with his own eyes sinking to the bottom, he jumped for joy, and then knelt down, and with tears in his eyes thanked God for having shown him this favour also, and delivered him in so good a way, and without his having any need to reproach himself, from those heavy stones which had been the only things that troubled him.

"There is no man under the sun so fortunate as I," he cried out. With a light heart and free from every burden he now ran on until he was with his mother at home.
Da Hans i syv år havde tjent sin herre, sagde han til ham: "Nu har jeg været her længe nok, nu ville jeg gerne hjem til min mor. Må jeg få min løn." - "Du har været en trofast og ærlig tjener," sagde herren, "og din løn skal også blive derefter." Derpå gav han ham en klump guld, der var lige så stor som hans hovede. Hans svøbte den ind i sit lommetørklæde, tog den på skulderen og begav sig på vej hjem. Mens han nu travede af sted og stadig satte det ene ben foran det andet, fik han øje på en rytter, der nok så fornøjet red af sted på en rask hest. "En hest er dog en dejlig ting," sagde han, "der sidder man ligeså mageligt som i en stol, støder ikke mod nogen sten og sparer på skoene og kommer af sted, man ved ikke selv hvordan." Rytteren som havde hørt, hvad han sagde, standsede og råbte: "Hvorfor går du på dine ben, Hans?" - "Det er jeg vel nødt til," svarede han, "her har jeg en ordentlig klump, som jeg skal slæbe hjem. Den er ganske vist guld, men jeg kan ikke holde hovedet lige for den, og den trykker mig også på skulderen." - "Ved du hvad," sagde rytteren, "skal vi bytte? Du får min hest, så får jeg dit guld." - "Med største fornøjelse," sagde Hans, "men jeg siger jer, det er en væmmelig tung klump." Rytteren steg nu ned, tog guldet, hjalp Hans op, gav ham tømmen i hånden og sagde: "Når det skal gå rigtig rask, skal du smække med tungen og sige hyp, hyp." Hans var sjæleglad, da han sad på hesten og nok så stolt red af sted. Lidt efter faldt det ham ind, at det skulle gå endnu hurtigere, og han gav sig til at smække med tungen og råbe hyp, hyp. Hesten satte i galop, og før Hans fik tid til at se sig om, lå han nede i grøften mellem marken og landevejen. Hesten ville også være tumlet derned, hvis ikke en bonde, som kom trækkende med en ko, havde grebet fat i den. Hans samlede sig op og kom igen på benene. Men han var meget gnaven og sagde til bonden: "Det er en dyr spas at ride, især når man har fået sådan en mær, som støder og smider en af, så man er lige ved at brække halsen. Jeg sætter mig aldrig i livet op på den mere. Nej, da priser jeg eders ko. Den kan man i ro og mag gå bagved, og så får man oven i købet både mælk og smør og ost." - "Når I synes så godt om den, vil jeg såmænd gerne bytte med jer," sagde bonden. Hans var himmelhenrykt, og bonden sprang op på hesten og red af sted i en fart.

Hans drev roligt af sted med sin ko og tænkte over det heldige bytte. "Selv om jeg kun har et stykke brød, og det vil jeg dog vel aldrig mangle, så kan jeg, så tit jeg har lyst, spise smør og ost dertil, og hvis jeg er tørstig behøver jeg bare at malke koen, så har jeg mælk. Hvad kan man forlange mere." Da han kom til en kro, tog han derind, spiste i sin store glæde alt, hvad han havde hos sig, både middags- og aftensmad, og købte for sin sidste skilling et halvt glas øl. Så gik han videre med sin ko for at komme hjem til sin mors landsby. Efterhånden som middagen nærmede sig, blev det varmere og varmere, og Hans var midt på en hede, som han vel ikke kom ud af i den første time. Han var så varm og tørstig, at tungen klæbede fast i ganen. "Den sorg kan jo nok slukkes," tænkte han, "nu malker jeg min ko og drikker mælken." Han bandt den ved et vissent træ, og da han ikke havde nogen spand, holdt han sin læderhue under koen. Men hvor meget han end anstrengte sig, kom der ikke en eneste dråbe mælk. Og fordi han bar sig så kejtet ad, blev dyret utålmodig og gav ham et spark i hovedet med bagbenet, så han tumlede om, og en tid var rent fra det. Heldigvis kom der netop en slagter forbi med en lille gris på en trillebør. "Hvad er der dog i vejen," råbte han og hjalp den skikkelige Hans på benene igen. Hans fortalte nu, hvordan det var gået til, og slagteren rakte ham sin flaske og sagde: "Drik kun, så kommer I til kræfter igen. Den ko giver såmænd aldrig mælk. Det er et gammelt kræ, der i det højeste kan bruges til at slagtes eller til trækdyr." - "Hvem skulle have troet det," sagde Hans og strøg med hånden over håret, "det giver jo rigtignok en dejlig mængde kød, når man slagter sådan et dyr. Men for resten bryder jeg mig ikke videre om oksekød, det er ikke saftigt nok. Nej, bare jeg havde sådan en lille gris. Den smager rigtignok anderledes, og så får man oven i købet pølser." - "Hør nu, Hans," sagde slagteren, "for at føje jer vil jeg bytte, så kan I få grisen for koen." - "Gud velsigne jer," sagde Hans, fik grisen ned af trillebøren og tog den snor, den var bundet med, i hånden.

Han drog nu videre, mens han tænkte på, hvordan alt gik efter ønske. Hvis det gik ham lidt skævt, blev det straks godt igen. Kort efter slog han følge med en fyr, der havde en dejlig hvid gås under armen. De sagde goddag til hinanden, og Hans fortalte, hvor godt det var gået ham, og hvor fordelagtig han hele tiden havde byttet. Den anden fortalte, at han skulle hen med gåsen til et barselsgilde. "Løft engang, hvor den er tung," sagde han og tog den i vingerne, "men den er også blevet fedet i otte uger. Når man sætter tænderne i den, løber fedtet ud af begge mundvige. "Ja," sagde Hans og vejede den i den ene hånd, "men mit svin mangler heller ikke noget." Knøsen så på det fra alle sider og rystede lidt betænkeligt på hovedet. "Hør," sagde han, "det er ikke rigtig fat med det svin. Jeg kommer lige fra en landsby, hvor der er blevet stjålet et fra sognefogeden. Jeg er en lille smule bange for - ja det er jeg virkelig - at det er det, som I har der. Der er sendt folk ud efter tyven, og det ville jo være en slem historie, hvis de fik fat på jer med svinet. Så bliver I i det allermindste puttet i det sorte hul." Den skikkelige Hans blev bange. "Gud fri mig," råbte han, "hjælp mig dog. I er bedre kendt her. Tag mit svin og lad mig få gåsen." - "Det er jo en lidt farlig historie," svarede den unge fyr, "men jeg vil dog ikke være skyld i, at I kommer galt af sted." Derpå tog han tovet i hånden og drev svinet ned ad en sidevej, og Hans gik let om hjertet af sted igen. "Når jeg rigtig tænker mig om, kan jeg stå mig godt ved byttet," tænke han, "for det første har jeg den gode steg og så fedtet, som drypper ud. Jeg kan få fedtemad et fjerdingår. Så er der også de smukke hvide fjer, dem stopper jeg i min hovedpude, så sover jeg bestemt dejligt. Hvor mor vil blive glad!"

Da han kom til den sidste landsby, stod der en skærsliber ved sin kærre. Hjulet snurrede rundt, og han sang:

"Sakse jeg sliber, så herligt de skærer,
kappen på begge skuldre jeg bærer."

Hans blev stående og så på ham, og til sidst sagde han: "Det går jer nok godt, siden I synger så glad til jeres arbejde." - "Ja, det kan I tro," svarede skærsliberen, "det håndværk giver guld. En rigtig skærsliber behøver blot at stikke hånden i lommen for at få penge. Men hvor har I købt den dejlige gås?" - "Den har jeg ikke købt, jeg har byttet mig til den for et svin." - "Og svinet?" - "Det har jeg fået for en ko." - "Og koen?" - "Den har jeg fået for en hest." - "Og hesten?" - "Den har jeg fået for en klump guld så stor som mit hovede." - "Og guldet?" - "Det var min løn for syv års tjeneste." - "I har rigtignok forstået at klare jer," sagde skærsliberen, "hvis I nu også kunne bringe det så vidt, at pengene raslede i jeres lomme, når I rejste jer, så havde I rigtignok gjort jeres lykke." - "Jamen hvordan skal jeg bære mig ad med det," sagde Hans. "I skal blive skærsliber. Man behøver i grunden ikke andet end en slibesten, det andet kommer af sig selv. Jeg har en her, som rigtignok er lidt beskadiget, men derfor skal I heller ikke give andet for den end eders gås. Vil I gå ind på det?" - "Det var også noget at spørge om," sagde Hans, "jeg bliver jo det lykkeligste menneske på jorden. Når jeg har penge, hver gang jeg stikker hånden ned i lommen, behøver jeg jo aldrig at gøre mig bekymringer." Han rakte ham gåsen og fik slibestenen til gengæld. Skærsliberen tog så en ganske almindelig kampesten, der lå på jorden ved siden af ham, og gav ham den. "Her har I en til," sagde han, "den kan man ordentlig hamre på og slå gamle, krumme søm lige igen. Bær den nu forsigtigt."

Han tog stenen og gik videre, strålende af glæde. "Jeg må være født med sejrsskjorte på," råbte han, "alt, hvad jeg ønsker mig, får jeg, som om jeg var et søndagsbarn." Han begyndte imidlertid at blive træt, han havde jo været på benene fra den tidlige morgen. Sulten var han også, og i sin glæde over koen havde han jo spist al sin mad. Han kunne næsten ikke gå mere og måtte standse hvert øjeblik; stenene var også så tunge at bære på, at han kunne ikke lade være med at tænke, hvor rart det ville være, hvis han ikke behøvede at slæbe dem. Ganske langsomt sneglede han sig hen til en brønd for at hvile sig der og læske sig med det friske vand. For at han ikke skulle gøre stenene noget, når han satte sig ned, lagde han dem forsigtigt på kanten af brønden. Så satte han sig ned, men da han ville bukke sig frem og drikke, kom han til at støde lidt til stenene, så de plumpede i vandet. Da Hans med egne øjne havde set dem forsvinde i dybet, blev han jublende glad, faldt på knæ og takkede Gud med tårer i øjnene for den nåde, han havde vist ham, ved at befri ham fra den tunge byrde, som bare havde været til besvær, uden at han havde det ringeste at bebrejde sig. "Jeg er det lykkeligste menneske under solen," råbte han. Og let om hjertet, fri for enhver byrde, løb han af sted hjem til sin mor.

Compare two languages:

Donations are welcomed & appreciated.

Thank you for your support.