Hans my hedgehog


Gian Porcospino

There was once a countryman who had money and land in plenty, but how rich soever he was, one thing was still wanting in his happiness he had no children. Often when he went into the town with the other peasants they mocked him and asked why he had no children. At last he became angry, and when he got home he said, "I will have a child, even if it be a hedgehog." Then his wife had a child, that was a hedgehog in the upper part of his body, and a boy in the lower, and when she saw the child, she was terrified, and said, "See, there thou hast brought ill-luck on us." Then said the man, "What can be done now? The boy must be christened, but we shall not be able to get a godfather for him." The woman said, "And we cannot call him anything else but Hans-my-Hedgehog." When he was christened, the parson said, "He cannot go into any ordinary bed because of his spikes." So a little straw was put behind the stove, and Hans-my-Hedgehog was laid on it. His mother could not suckle him, for he would have pricked her with his quills. So he lay there behind the stove for eight years, and his father was tired of him and thought, "If he would but die!" He did not die, however, but remained lying there. Now it happened that there was a fair in the town, and the peasant was about to go to it, and asked his wife what he should bring back with him for her. "A little meat and a couple of white rolls which are wanted for the house," said she. Then he asked the servant, and she wanted a pair of slippers and some stockings with clocks. At last he said also, "And what wilt thou have, Hans my Hedgehog?" - "Dear father," he said, "do bring me bagpipes." When, therefore, the father came home again, he gave his wife what he had bought for her; meat and white rolls, and then he gave the maid the slippers, and the stockings with clocks; and, lastly, he went behind the stove, and gave Hans-my-Hedgehog the bagpipes. And when Hans-my-Hedgehog had the bagpipes, he said, "Dear father, do go to the forge and get the cock shod, and then I will ride away, and never come back again." On this, the father was delighted to think that he was going to get rid of him, and had the cock shod for him, and when it was done, Hans-my-Hedgehog got on it, and rode away, but took swine and asses with him which he intended to keep in the forest. When they got there he made the cock fly on to a high tree with him, and there he sat for many a long year, and watched his asses and swine until the herd was quite large, and his father knew nothing about him. While he was sitting in the tree, however, he played his bagpipes, and made music which was very beautiful. Once a King came travelling by who had lost his way and heard the music. He was astonished at it, and sent his servant forth to look all round and see from whence this music came. He spied about, but saw nothing but a little animal sitting up aloft on the tree, which looked like a cock with a hedgehog on it which made this music. Then the King told the servant he was to ask why he sat there, and if he knew the road which led to his kingdom. So Hans-my-Hedgehog descended from the tree, and said he would show the way if the King would write a bond and promise him whatever he first met in the royal courtyard as soon as he arrived at home. Then the King thought, "I can easily do that, Hans-my-Hedgehog understands nothing, and I can write what I like." So the King took pen and ink and wrote something, and when he had done it, Hans-my-Hedgehog showed him the way, and he got safely home. But his daughter, when she saw him from afar, was so overjoyed that she ran to meet him, and kissed him. Then he remembered Hans-my-Hedgehog, and told her what had happened, and that he had been forced to promise whatsoever first met him when he got home, to a very strange animal which sat on a cock as if it were a horse, and made beautiful music, but that instead of writing that he should have what he wanted, he had written that he should not have it. Thereupon the princess was glad, and said he had done well, for she never would have gone away with the Hedgehog.
C'era una volta un ricco contadino che non aveva figli. Spesso, quando si recava in città con gli altri contadini, questi lo canzonavano e gli domandavano perché‚ non avesse figli. Un giorno si arrabbiò e quando arrivò a casa disse: "Voglio avere un figlio, fosse anche un porcospino." Ed ecco, sua moglie mise al mondo un bambino, mezzo porcospino e mezzo uomo, e quando lo vide inorridì e disse: "Vedi, ci hai gettato un maleficio!" Disse l'uomo: "Che cosa ci vuoi fare? Dobbiamo battezzarlo lo stesso, ma non possiamo prendere un compare." La donna rispose: "E non possiamo chiamarlo che Gian Porcospino." Dopo il battesimo, il parroco disse: "Con questi aculei non può entrare in un letto normale." Così sistemarono un po' di paglia dietro la stufa e ci misero Gian Porcospino. Egli non poteva neanche essere allattato dalla madre, perché‚ l'avrebbe punta con quegli aculei. Così se ne stette dietro la stufa per otto anni, e suo padre non ne poteva più e si augurava solo che morisse; ma egli non morì e se ne stava là disteso. Ora avvenne che ci fu un mercato in città, e il contadino volle andarci, perciò domandò alla moglie che cosa dovesse portarle. "Un po' di carne e qualche panino, quel che occorre in casa," disse lei. Poi chiese alla serva, che voleva un paio di pantofole e delle calze con lo sprone. Infine chiese: "E tu, Gian Porcospino, cosa vuoi?" - "Babbino," disse questi, "portami una cornamusa." Quando il contadino tornò a casa, diede alla moglie ciò che aveva comprato, carne e panini; poi diede alla serva le pantofole e le calze con lo sprone, infine andò dietro la stufa e diede la cornamusa a Gian Porcospino. E quando questi ebbe la cornamusa, disse: "Babbino, andate alla fucina e fatemi ferrare il mio gallo, così partirò e non tornerò mai più." Il padre era felice di potersene liberare; gli fece ferrare il gallo e, quando fu pronto, Gian Porcospino gli salì in groppa, portando con s‚ anche asini e porci che voleva custodire nel bosco. Nel bosco il gallo dovette volare con lui su un albero alto, ed egli rimase lassù a custodire asini e porci. Egli rimase molti anni lassù mentre il suo branco si ingrossava e suo padre non sapeva più nulla di lui. Sull'albero, egli suonava la sua cornamusa, e la musica era bellissima. Un giorno un re che si era perduto passò di là e udì la musica; se ne meravigliò e mandò un suo servo a vedere da dove venisse. Quello si guardò attorno ma vide soltanto un animaletto seduto in cima a un albero; sembrava un gallo, con un porcospino in groppa che suonava. Allora il re ordinò al servo di domandargli perché‚ se ne stesse là seduto, e se sapesse dove passava la strada per il suo regno. Allora Gian Porcospino scese dall'albero e disse che gli avrebbe indicato il cammino se il re gli prometteva per iscritto la prima cosa che a corte gli fosse venuta incontro al suo arrivo. Il re pensò: "Puoi farlo benissimo, tanto Gian Porcospino non capisce nulla e tu puoi scrivere quello che vuoi." Così prese penna e inchiostro e scrisse qualcosa e, quando ebbe finito, Gian Porcospino gli indicò la strada ed egli arrivò felicemente a casa. Ma sua figlia, vedendolo da lontano, piena di gioia gli corse incontro e lo baciò. Egli pensò a Gian Porcospino e le raccontò quel che gli era successo: che aveva dovuto promettere per iscritto a uno strano animale ciò che a casa gli fosse venuto incontro per primo; l'animale stava in groppa a un galletto e suonava molto bene; ma egli aveva scritto che non gli avrebbe dato nulla perché‚, tanto, Gian Porcospino non sapeva leggere. La principessa ne fu felice e disse che era ben fatto, perché‚ non ci sarebbe andata in nessun caso.

Hans-my-Hedgehog, however, looked after his asses and pigs, and was always merry and sat on the tree and played his bagpipes. Now it came to pass that another King came journeying by with his attendants and runners, and he also had lost his way, and did not know how to get home again because the forest was so large. He likewise heard the beautiful music from a distance, and asked his runner what that could be, and told him to go and see. Then the runner went under the tree, and saw the cock sitting at the top of it, and Hans-my-Hedgehog on the cock. The runner asked him what he was about up there? "I am keeping my asses and my pigs; but what is your desire?" The messenger said that they had lost their way, and could not get back into their own kingdom, and asked if he would not show them the way. Then Hans-my-Hedgehog got down the tree with the cock, and told the aged King that he would show him the way, if he would give him for his own whatsoever first met him in front of his royal palace. The King said, "Yes," and wrote a promise to Hans-my-Hedgehog that he should have this. That done, Hans rode on before him on the cock, and pointed out the way, and the King reached his kingdom again in safety. When he got to the courtyard, there were great rejoicings. Now he had an only daughter who was very beautiful; she ran to meet him, threw her arms round his neck, and was delighted to have her old father back again. She asked him where in the world he had been so long. So he told her how he had lost his way, and had very nearly not come back at all, but that as he was travelling through a great forest, a creature, half hedgehog, half man, who was sitting astride a cock in a high tree, and making music, had shown him the way and helped him to get out, but that in return he had promised him whatsoever first met him in the royal court-yard, and how that was she herself, which made him unhappy now. But on this she promised that, for love of her father, she would willingly go with this Hans if he came.
Ma Gian Porcospino custodiva gli asini e i porci, era sempre allegro e sedeva sull'albero a suonare la cornamusa. Ora avvenne che un altro re arrivò in carrozza con i suoi servi e alfieri; si era perduto e non sapeva tornare a casa, poiché‚ il bosco era tanto grande. Udì subito la bella musica da lontano e disse al suo alfiere di andare a vedere cos'era e di dove veniva la musica. Questi andò sotto l'albero e vide il gallo con Gian Porcospino in groppa. Gli domandò che cosa stesse facendo lassù. "Custodisco asini e maiali; ma voi, cosa volete?" L'alfiere rispose che si erano persi e che non potevano più tornare nel loro regno, e s'egli voleva indicare loro il cammino. Allora Gian Porcospino scese dall'albero con il gallo e disse al vecchio re che gli avrebbe indicato la strada se gli avesse concesso la prima cosa che gli fosse venuta incontro davanti al suo castello. Il re rispose di sì e firmò la promessa a Gian Porcospino. Allora questi lo precedette in groppa al suo gallo, gli mostrò la strada, e il re fece ritorno felicemente nel suo regno. Quando giunse a corte, la gioia fu grande. Il re aveva un'unica figlia, molto bella; lei gli venne incontro, gli saltò al collo, lo baciò, felice che il vecchio padre fosse tornato. Gli chiese dove fosse stato così a lungo in giro per il mondo, ed egli le raccontò di essersi perso e che forse non avrebbe più fatto ritorno; ma mentre attraversava un gran bosco, un essere mezzo porcospino e mezzo uomo, che stava in cima a un albero in groppa a un gallo, e suonava molto bene, lo aveva aiutato e gli aveva mostrato il cammino; in cambio però egli aveva dovuto promettergli la prima cosa che gli fosse venuta incontro a corte, e questa era lei, e ora egli era tanto afflitto. Ma lei gli promise che, all'arrivo di Gian Porcospino, lo avrebbe seguito volentieri per amore del suo vecchio padre.

Hans-my-Hedgehog, however, took care of his pigs, and the pigs multiplied until they became so many in number that the whole forest was filled with them. Then Hans-my-Hedgehog resolved not to live in the forest any longer, and sent word to his father to have every stye in the village emptied, for he was coming with such a great herd that all might kill who wished to do so. When his father heard that, he was troubled, for he thought Hans-my-Hedgehog had died long ago. Hans-my-Hedgehog, however, seated himself on the cock, and drove the pigs before him into the village, and ordered the slaughter to begin. Ha! but there was a killing and a chopping that might have been heard two miles off! After this Hans-my-Hedgehog said, "Father, let me have the cock shod once more at the forge, and then I will ride away and never come back as long as I live." Then the father had the cock shod once more, and was pleased that Hans-my-Hedgehog would never return again.
Ma Gian Porcospino custodiva i suoi porci, e i porci mettevano al mondo altri porci e diventarono tanti che tutto il bosco n'era pieno. Allora Gian Porcospino mandò a dire a suo padre di sgombrare tutti i porcili del villaggio e di fare spazio, poiché‚ egli sarebbe arrivato con un branco tale di porci che, se avessero voluto, tutti avrebbero potuto macellare. All'udire questa notizia, il padre si rattristò perché‚ pensava che Gian Porcospino fosse morto da un pezzo. Gian Porcospino, invece, salì in groppa al suo gallo, menò i porci fino al villaggio e li fece macellare. Ah, fu una strage il cui rumore si poteva udire a due ore di distanza! Poi Gian Porcospino disse: "Babbino, andate nella fucina a far ferrare ancora una volta il mio gallo; poi me ne vado e non torno più in vita mia." Allora il padre fece ferrare il gallo ed era felice che Gian Porcospino non volesse più tornare.

Hans-my-Hedgehog rode away to the first kingdom. There the King had commanded that whosoever came mounted on a cock and had bagpipes with him should be shot at, cut down, or stabbed by everyone, so that he might not enter the palace. When, therefore, Hans-my-Hedgehog came riding thither, they all pressed forward against him with their pikes, but he spurred the cock and it flew up over the gate in front of the King's window and lighted there, and Hans cried that the King must give him what he had promised, or he would take both his life and his daughter's. Then the King began to speak his daughter fair, and to beg her to go away with Hans in order to save her own life and her father's. So she dressed herself in white, and her father gave her a carriage with six horses and magnificent attendants together with gold and possessions. She seated herself in the carriage, and placed Hans-my-Hedgehog beside her with the cock and the bagpipes, and then they took leave and drove away, and the King thought he should never see her again. He was however, deceived in his expectation, for when they were at a short distance from the town, Hans-my-Hedgehog took her pretty clothes off, and pierced her with his hedgehog's skin until she bled all over. "That is the reward of your falseness," said he. "go your way, I will not have you!" and on that he chased her home again, and she was disgraced for the rest of her life.
Gian Porcospino se n'andò nel primo regno; il re aveva ordinato che, se arrivava uno in groppa a un gallo e con una cornamusa, gli sparassero tutti contro, lo battessero e lo ferissero, perché‚ non entrasse nel castello. Così quando arrivò Gian Porcospino, gli si gettarono addosso con le baionette; ma egli spronò il suo gallo, e volò oltre la porta, fino alla finestra del re; vi si posò e gli gridò di dargli ciò che aveva promesso, altrimenti avrebbe ucciso lui e sua figlia. Allora il re pregò la figlia di andare da Gian Porcospino, per salvare la sua vita e quella del padre. Lei si vestì di bianco, e il padre le diede una carrozza con sei cavalli, valletti sfarzosi, denaro e beni. Lei salì in carrozza e Gian Porcospino vi si sedette accanto con il gallo e la cornamusa; poi presero congedo e partirono, e il re pensava che non l'avrebbe mai più rivista. Invece andò in modo ben diverso. Quando furono a qualche distanza dalla città, Gian Porcospino la svestì e la punse con i suoi aculei finché‚ fu tutta sanguinante e disse: "Questa è la ricompensa per la vostra slealtà; vattene, non ti voglio." Così la cacciò e la rimandò a casa, e lei fu disonorata per tutta la vita.

Hans-my-Hedgehog, however, rode on further on the cock, with his bagpipes, to the dominions of the second King to whom he had shown the way. This one, however, had arranged that if any one resembling Hans-my-Hedgehog should come, they were to present arms, give him safe conduct, cry long life to him, and lead him to the royal palace. But when the King's daughter saw him she was terrified, for he looked quite too strange. She remembered however, that she could not change her mind, for she had given her promise to her father. So Hans-my-Hedgehog was welcomed by her, and married to her, and had to go with her to the royal table, and she seated herself by his side, and they ate and drank. When the evening came and they wanted to go to sleep, she was afraid of his quills, but he told her she was not to fear, for no harm would befall her, and he told the old King that he was to appoint four men to watch by the door of the chamber, and light a great fire, and when he entered the room and was about to get into bed, he would creep out of his hedgehog's skin and leave it lying there by the bedside, and that the men were to run nimbly to it, throw it in the fire, and stay by it until it was consumed. When the clock struck eleven, he went into the chamber, stripped off the hedgehog's skin, and left it lying by the bed. Then came the men and fetched it swiftly, and threw it in the fire; and when the fire had consumed it, he was delivered, and lay there in bed in human form, but he was coal-black as if he had been burnt. The King sent for his physician who washed him with precious salves, and anointed him, and he became white, and was a handsome young man. When the King's daughter saw that she was glad, and the next morning they arose joyfully, ate and drank, and then the marriage was properly solemnized, and Hans-my-Hedgehog received the kingdom from the aged King.
Gian Porcospino invece proseguì sul suo gallo e con la sua cornamusa verso il secondo regno, dove si trovava l'altro re al quale aveva indicato la strada. Questi aveva ordinato, se arrivasse uno come Gian Porcospino, di presentargli le armi, lasciarlo entrare liberamente, gridare evviva e introdurlo nel castello. Quando la principessa lo vide, inorridì perché‚ il suo aspetto era davvero bizzarro; ma pensò che non c'era nient'altro da fare, l'aveva promesso a suo padre. Così diede il benvenuto a Gian Porcospino, egli dovette accompagnarla alla tavola regale, e lei sedette al suo fianco, mangiarono e bevvero insieme. Alla sera, quando fu ora di andare a dormire, lei aveva molta paura dei suoi aculei, ma egli le disse di non temere, non le avrebbe fatto alcun male; e disse al vecchio re di mandare quattro uomini che facessero la guardia davanti alla porta della loro camera e accendessero un gran fuoco: entrato in camera per mettersi a letto, egli sarebbe sgusciato fuori dalla sua pelle di porcospino e l'avrebbe lasciata davanti al letto; allora i quattro uomini dovevano raccoglierla in fretta, gettarla nel fuoco e aspettare che il fuoco l'avesse distrutta. Quando la campana suonò le undici, egli entrò in camera, si tolse la pelle di porcospino e la lasciò per terra davanti al letto; allora vennero gli uomini, la presero in fretta e la gettarono nel fuoco; e quando il fuoco l'ebbe distrutta, egli fu libero dall'incantesimo, e giaceva nel letto ormai del tutto uomo; però era nero come il carbone, come se lo avessero bruciato. Il re mandò a chiamare il suo medico, che lo lavò con dei buoni unguenti e lo profumò; ed egli divenne un giovane signore, bianco e bello. Quando lo vide, la principessa ne fu felice; si alzarono contenti, mangiarono e bevvero, si festeggiarono le loro nozze e Gian Porcospino ottenne il regno dal vecchio re.

When several years had passed he went with his wife to his father, and said that he was his son. The father, however, declared he had no son he had never had but one, and he had been born like a hedgehog with spikes, and had gone forth into the world. Then Hans made himself known, and the old father rejoiced and went with him to his kingdom.
Quando fu trascorso qualche anno, andò con la sua sposa dal padre e gli disse che era suo figlio; ma il padre rispose che non ne aveva: glien'era nato solo uno che aveva gli aculei come un porcospino, e se n'era andato in giro per il mondo. Allora egli si fece riconoscere e il vecchio padre si rallegrò e lo seguì nel suo regno.

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