Hans my hedgehog



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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
Houve, uma vez, um campônio, possuidor de muitas terras e bastante dinheiro. Contudo, embora sendo tão rico, sua felicidade não era completa, porque a mulher não lhe dera filhos. Sempre que ia à cidade, em companhia de outros camponeses, estes zombavam dele e perguntavam maliciosamente por que era que não tinha filhos. Tanto zombaram que ele acabou por se irritar e, ao regressar à casa de mau humor, disse para a mulher.
- Quero ter um filho, de qualquer maneira, mesmo que seja um ouriço.
Passado algum tempo, a mulher deu à luz um menino, que nasceu metade gente e metade ouriço. A mãe, ao ver a criança monstruosa, ficou horrorizada e disse:
- Estás vendo! Tu rogaste uma praga e ela pegou!
O marido respondeu:
- Que se há de fazer? Agora temos de o batizar, mas não conseguiremos arranjar-lhe um padrinho!
- E, também não poderemos dar-lhe outro nome senão o de João-Ouriço, - retorquiu a mulher.
Após o batizado, o vigário exclamou:
- Este pobrezinho, por causa dos espinhos, nem poderá dormir numa cama comum.
Por conseguinte, tiveram que lhe arrumar uma cama atrás do fogão, com um pouco de palha, e lá deitaram João- Ouriço. O pequeno, também, não podia mamar no seio da mãe, pois os espinhos poderiam feri-la. Assim, a criança ficou atrás do fogão durante oito anos. O pai não suportava mais ver esse mostrengo e desejava de coração que ele morresse; mas o menino não morria nunca; continuava deitado quietinho no leito de palhas, atrás do fogão.
Por essa ocasião, houve uma grande feira na cidade e o camponês fez questão de ir. Ao sair, perguntou à mulher o que desejava que lhe trouxesse.
- Um pouco de carne e alguns pãezinhos, o necessário para a casa; - disse ela.
Depois perguntou à criada o que queria de lá. e esta pediu que lhe trouxesse um par de sapatos e um par de meias xadrez.
- E tu, João-Ouriço, que queres? - perguntou o pai.
- Quero que me tragas uma gaita de fole, paizinho.
Voltando da feira, o camponês entregou à mulher o
que esta lhe encomendara: carne e pãezinhos sovados; à criada deu os sapatos e as meias xadrez, depois foi atrás do fogão e entregou a gaita de fole a João-Ouriço que, ao recebê-la, disse:
- Paizinho, agora leva meu galo ao ferreiro para ser ferrado; depois irei embora daqui e não voltarei nunca mais.
O pai ficou felicíssimo ao saber que ficaria livre dele; mandou ferrar o galo e, quando ficou pronto, João-Ou- riço montou nele e foi-se embora. Levou consigo alguns porcos e alguns asnos, que pretendia criar na floresta.
Chegando na floresta, o galo, com o menino nas costas, teve de voar até um galho no alto de uma árvore; e lá ficou João-Ouriço guardando o rebando de asnos e porcos durante muitos anos, enquanto a bicharada se ia multiplicando.
O pai nunca mais soube dele e João-Ouriço passava o tempo lá na árvore a tocar a gaita de fole maravilhosamente.
Certo dia, calhou passar por lá um rei que se extraviara na floresta e ouviu aquela doce música. Ficou tão encantado que mandou um dos criados ver de onde provinha. O criado olhou para todos os lados e só viu um animalzinho encarapitado no alto da árvore. Pareceu-lhe um galo com um ouriço nas costas e a música provinha deste. O rei mandou que fossem perguntar por que estavam lá em cima e se, por acaso, conhecia o caminho que levava ao seu reino.
João-Ouriço desceu da árvore e disse ao rei que lhe indicaria o caminho, mas pedia em troca que lhe prometesse, por escrito, dar-lhe a primeira coisa que lhe corresse ao encontro quando chegasse em casa. O rei pensou consigo mesmo: "Isto não me custa. Posso fazê-lo sem receio, pois este pobre Ouriço não sabe ler; escreverei o que bem me aprouver."
Pegou a pena e o tinteiro e traçou algumas linhas num papel; depois disso, João-Ouriço indicou-lhe o caminho certo e o rei chegou sem dificuldade à sua casa.
Quando ia chegando, a filha viu-o de longe e correu alegremente ao seu encontro, abraçando-o e beijando carinhosamente. O rei, então, lembrou-se de João-Ouriço. Contou à filha o que se passara na floresta, dizendo que, para sair dela, fora obrigado a assinar um compromisso, mediante o qual teria de entregar a primeira coisa que lhe chegasse ao encontro, a um estranho animal, montado num galo como se fosse cavalo e que tocava maravilhosamente a gaita de fole. Como era muito esperto, porém, escrevera no papel que não lhe daria coisa nenhuma, pois o mostrengo não sabia ler e assim estava isento do compromisso.
A princesa achou que o pai fizera bem iludindo o Ouriço e disse que jamais iria ter com ele na floresta.
Entretanto, João Ouriço continuava a cuidar da bicharada. Vivia no galho da árvore, alegre e feliz, tocando a gaita de fole.
Aconteceu, porém, que apareceu por lá um outro rei numa linda carruagem e acompanhado por vassalos e escudeiros; ele também se tinha extraviado e não achava o caminho para voltar à casa; tão grande era a floresta que o rei se viu em dificuldades.
Ouvindo a suave música ao longe, mandou o escudeiro verificar de onde provinha, e o escudeiro voltou comunicando que vira o galo carregando nas costas João- Ouriço, que tocava a gaita de fole. Tendo-lhe perguntado o que estava fazendo, respondeu-lhe:
- Estou cuidando dos meus animais, e tu, que é que desejas?
O escudeiro explicou-lhe que se haviam extraviado e não conseguiam encontrar o caminho para voltar ao reino e pediu-lhe que os ajudasse. João-Ouriço desceu da árvore com o galo e disse ao velho rei que lhe indicaria o caminho se ele lhe desse a primeira coisa que encontrasse ao chegar ao palácio. O rei aceitou a proposta e assinou um compromisso.
João-Ouriço montou no galo e, precedendo a comitiva, indicou o caminho certo; assim, o velho rei pôde chegar são e salvo ao palácio. Quando o viram chegar, a família e a corte ficaram muito contentes.
O rei tinha uma filha única, de beleza extraordinária, a qual foi a primeira a correr ao encontro do pai, abraçando-o e beijando-o, radiante de alegria por vê-lo de volta. Ela perguntou ao rei por que se demorara tanto e ele contou-lhe que se perdera na floresta c talvez nunca tivesse podido sair dela se, ao passar perto de uma árvore, não tivesse encontrado um homem, metade gente e metade ouriço, sentado num galho e cavalgando um galo. Esse estranho homem tocava maravilhosamente bem gaita de fole, cuja melodia fizera parar a comitiva. Um escudeiro fora enviado para saber qual era o caminho certo e o ouriço descera da árvore e fizera ao rei a proposta de ensinar-lho se, em troca, lhe desse o que primeiro viesse ao encontro no palácio. E fora justamente ela, a filha, a primeira a abraçá-lo, e agora ele teria de entregá-la, por isso estava tão consternado.
A filha, porém, consolou o velho rei, dizendo que, se João-Ouriço viesse buscá-la, ela o seguiria sem hesitar por amor a seu pai.
João-Ouriço, entretanto, pastoreava os porcos, os porcos tiveram mais porcos e estes outros mais ainda, sendo tão numerosos que a floresta inteira ficou cheia deles. Então João-Ouriço cansou-se de viver na floresta; mandou avisar o pai que preparasse todos os chiqueiros da aldeia, que ele chegaria em breve conduzindo tamanha quantidade de porcos que todos os habitantes, se quisessem, podiam matar um.
Ao receber essa notícia, o pai de João-Ouriço ficou aborrecidíssimo, pois o julgava morto desde muito tempo. João-Ouriço montou no galo e dirigiu-se à aldeia natal, conduzindo consigo imensa vara de porcos e lá mandou matar todos.
Oh, foi uma barulheira infernal e a gritaria ouvia- se a duas horas de distância! Depois João-Ouriço disse:
- Meu pai, vai à forja e manda ferrar novamente o meu galo; em seguida, partirei para nunca mais voltar durante a minha vida.
O pai fez o que lhe pedia, muito satisfeito por saber que João Ouriço nunca mais voltaria.
Assim João-Ouriço partiu outra vez. Dirigiu-se ao reino do primeiro rei que lhe prometera o que primeiro encontrasse ao chegar em casa. Mas este rei ordenara aos guardas que, se vissem chegar um indivíduo montado num galo e com uma gaita de fole, atirassem nele para que não entrasse no castelo. Portanto, quando João-Ouriço ia chegando, os guardas o atacaram com baionetas; mas ele, mais que depressa, esporeou o galo que, alçou voo subiu por sobre o portão e foi parar na janela do rei; ali João- Ouriço gritou que viera buscar o que lhe fora prometido; se não cumprisse a promessa matava-o e também à sua filha. Então o rei, amedrontado, pediu à filha que seguisse João-Ouriço a fim de salvar a própria vida e a do pai.
A princesa vestiu-se de branco e o rei deu-lhe um coche com seis cavalos, criados vestidos de libres suntuosas e um grande dote.
A princesa subiu no coche e João-Ouriço, sentou-se ao lado dela com o galo e a gaita de fole. Despediram-se do rei e partiram, enquanto o velho suspirava tristemente ao pensar que nunca mais tornaria a ver a filha.
Mas aconteceu o contrário do que ele pensava: assim que chegaram a certa distância do palácio, João-Ouriço, eriçou-se todo, tirou-lhe as belas roupas e, com os espinhos, pungiu-a toda até deixá-la sangrando.
- Eis a recompensa pela tua maldade, - disse ele; - agora vai-te embora, eu não te quero.
Enxotou-a da sua presença, mandando-a de volta à casa; assim a princesa ficou desonrada pelo resto da vida.
E João-Ouriço continuou o caminho montado no galo e levando a gaita. Dirigiu-se ao segundo reino, à procura do rei a quem havia indicado o caminho. Este rei tinha dado ordens aos guardas que, se por acaso chegasse um tal parecido com um ouriço, lhe apresentassem armas, o acolhessem com grandes vivas e o conduzissem ao paço.
Assim que a princesa viu o jovem, estremeceu de horror, pois ele tinha realmente aspecto monstruoso; mas conteve-se, pensando que não lhe restava outra alternativa desde que prometera ao pai aceitá-lo.
Acolheu-o o melhor que pôde e depois casaram-se. O noivo teve de sentar-se ao lado dela na mesa real, comer e beber em sua companhia. À noite, quando chegou a hora de dormir, ela tremia de medo daqueles espinhos, mas ele tranquilizou-a, dizendo que não lhe faria o menor mal.
Em seguida, pediu ao rei seu sogro que pusesse quatro homens de guarda na porta de seu quarto e que acendessem uma fogueira; entrando no quarto, antes de pôr-se na cama, ele sairia da pele de ouriço e a deixaria ali, ao pé da cama; os quatro guardas deviam apanhá-la o mais depressa possível, atirá-la na fogueira e esperar até que estivesse completamente destruída pelo fogo.
Assim, pois, quando soaram as onze badaladas, ele entrou no quarto, despiu a pele de ouriço e deixou-a perto da cama; os quatro homens agarraram-na rapidamente e a jogaram no fogo; quando o fogo a destruiu completamente, João Ouriço ficou livre da praga que pesava sobre ele. Agora estava deitado no grande leito como um homem normal; só que era preto como carvão, como se o tivessem queimado.
O rei mandou chamar seu médico particular e este lavou-o e besuntou-o todo com unguentos especiais e perfumados e João-Ouriço ficou branco e bonito como um verdadeiro fidalgo.
Vendo isso, a princesa encheu-se de alegria e não teve medo de dormir com ele. No dia seguinte, levantaram- se alegres, comeram e beberam e depois festejaram as núpcias de verdade. João-Ouriço foi nomeado sucessor do velho rei e ficou reinando em seu lugar.
Após alguns anos, o jovem rei foi com a esposa visitar o pai na aldeia distante. Ao chegar lá apresentou- se como seu filho; mas o pai respondeu-lhe que não tinha filhos. O único que tivera era coberto de espinhos como um ouriço e tinha-se ido pelo mundo.
João fez tudo para ser reconhecido, e quando o pai se convenceu, ficou muito feliz e foi viver com ele em seu reino.

Minha história acabou
e pela casa um ratinho passou.

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