Hans in Luck:E173
Children will chuckle at the antics of this lad, Hans, who has a rather unusual idea of what it means to be lucky – a great tale to spark discussions about different ways of seeing the world and wondering what it means to be lucky. An episode from storytelling podcast, Journey with Story. (duration 20 minutes
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A Fun Fairytale to Make us Wonder -Is Hans a Lucky Lad or a Foolish Lad?
Hans in Luck
E173 – January 27, 2022
Do you know anyone who you think is a very lucky person? What makes you think this person is so lucky?
Hello everyone, I ‘m Kathleen Pelley. Welcome to Journey with Story. Today’s episode is an old fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm about a young lad who has a rather unusual idea of what it means to be lucky. As you listen, you might want to think about what it means to you, to be lucky –is it the same for everyone, or…. does it depend on how you see the world?
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Now let’s take a journey with Hans in Luck
Long ago there once lived a poor young servant lad, called Hans, who had served his master well and faithfully for seven long years, and at the end of this time, Hans said to his master, “Sir, my time is up; I want to go home and see my mother, so give me my wages.”
“Indeed you have been a loyal and devoted servant,” said the master; “as the service is, so must the wages be,” and he gave him a lump of gold as big as his head.
Hans pulled his huge handkerchief out of his pocket and carefully wrapped it around the lump of gold. Then he hoisted it on his shoulder, and set off for home.
As he trudged along the road, he caught sight of a man riding toward him on a handsome horse. The pair looked so splendid and full of life and joy that Hans cried out, “How wonderful it must be to ride a horse like that – so much easier than having to stumble over these stones that ruin one’s shoes and wear them to shreds.
“Well, Hans, why are you on foot at all?”
“I can’t help myself,” said Hans, “I have this great lump to carry; to be sure, it is gold, but then I can’t hold my head straight for it, and it hurts my shoulder.”
“I’ll tell you what,” said the horseman, “we will change; I will give you my horse, and you shall give me your lump of gold.”
“With all my heart,” said Hans; “but I warn you, you will find it heavy.” So the horseman got down off his horse, took the gold, and, helping Hans up, he thrust the reins into his hands.
“When you want to go fast,” he said, “you must click your tongue and cry ‘Gee-up!'”
Hans sat up tall and straight upon his horse, delighted with this turn of events and off he rode with a whoop and a holler of joy.
After a while he thought he should like to go quicker, so he began to click with his tongue and to cry “Gee-up!” At once the horse broke into a fast paced trot that took Hans off guard and the next minute, he found himself thrown off balance and lying there in a ditch by the side of the road.
Luckily, a passing peasant, who was driving his cow before him, caught the horse and guided him back to Hans, who was now struggling to his feet. “This riding is certainly not as wonderful as I thought, “grumbled Hans, “especially on such a feisty horse as this who throws you before you know where are and nearly breaks your neck. Never again shall I try this game. But your cow is something worth having, I think. After all, one could simply jog along comfortably after her and enjoy her milk, butter, and cheese every day, into the bargain. What would I not give to have such a cow!”?
“Well now,” said the peasant, “since it will be doing you such a favor, I don’t mind exchanging my cow for your horse.”
Hans happily agreed, and so the peasant swung himself up into the saddle and off he rode.
Hans went along now driving his cow quietly before him, and thinking all the while of the fine bargain he had made and how happy he was with this turn of events.
“With only a piece of bread I shall have everything I can possibly want, for I shall always be able to have butter and cheese to it, and if I am thirsty I have nothing to do but to milk my cow; and what more is there for heart to wish!”
After a while, he came to an inn, where he stopped for a bite to eat, using up all of the food he had brought with him for both dinner and supper, then to wash it all down, he used us his last two coins on half a glass of cider.
Feeling full and content, he set off again, driving his cow until he came to the village where his mother lived. It was now near the middle of the day, and the sun grew hotter and hotter, and Hans found himself on a heath which it would be an hour’s journey to cross. But he began to feel very hot, and so thirsty that his tongue clung to the roof of his mouth.
“Never mind,” said Hans; “I can find a remedy. I will milk my cow at once.” Tying her to a tree, he took off his leather cap to serve for a pail, and he began to milk, but not a drop came.
He tried again and again, until the beast grew so cross and vexed that she gave him a sharp kick on the head with her hind foot, pushing him to the ground. For a moment Hans felt so dazed and dizzy, he did not even know where he was, but luckily along came a butcher who was wheeling along a young pig in a wheelbarrow.
“Here’s a fine piece of work!” cried he, helping poor Hans on his legs again. Then Hans explained all that had happened to him to him, and the butcher handed him his pocket-flask, saying,
“Here, take a drink, and be a man again; of course the cow would give no milk; she is old and only fit to draw burdens, or to be slaughtered.”
“Well, to be sure,” said Hans, scratching his head. “Who would have thought it? Of course it is a very handy way of getting meat when a man has a beast of his own to kill; but for my part I do not care much about cow beef, it is rather tasteless. Now, if I had but a young pig, that is much better meat, and then the sausages!”
“Look here, Hans,” said the butcher, “just for love of you I will exchange, and will give you my pig instead of your cow.”
“Heaven reward such kindness!” cried Hans, handing over the cow, and taking the pig out of his wheelbarrow to lead him away by a string.
So Hans continued on his way happy with this last turn of events. After a while he fell in with a peasant, who was carrying a fine white goose under his arm. They bid each other good day, and Hans began to tell him all about his good luck, and how he had made so many good exchanges.
Then the peasant explained how he was taking the goose to a christening feast.
“Just feel how heavy it is,” said he, taking it up by the wings; “it has been fattening for the last eight weeks; and when it is roasted, can you imagine how tasty it will be?”
“Yes, indeed,” said Hans, weighing it in his hand, “very fine to be sure; but my pig is not to be despised.”
Upon which the peasant glanced cautiously on all sides, and shook his head.
“I am afraid,” he said “that there is something not quite right about your pig. In the village where I just came from, there was a pig stolen from the bailiff’s yard. I fear, I fear…. you have it now in your hand. And as we speak, they are sending out a search party after the thief…it would be terrible for you if they found the pig with you. They would punish you for sure.”
Poor Hans grew pale with fright. “For heaven’s sake,” he begged, “help me out of this pickle, I am a stranger in these parts; take my pig and give me your goose.”
“It will be running some risk,” answered the man, “but I will do it so you come to no harm.”
So, taking the cord in his hand, the peasant drove the pig quickly along a by-path, and lucky Hans went on his way home with the goose under his arm. “The more I think of it,” said he to himself, “the better the bargain seems; first I get the roast goose; then the fat; that will last a whole year for bread and dripping; and lastly the beautiful white feathers which I can stuff my pillow with; how comfortably I shall sleep upon it, and how pleased my mother will be!”
And when he reached the last village, he saw a knife-grinder with his barrow; and his wheel went whirring round, as he chanted:
“My scissors I grind, and my wheel I turn;
And all good fellows my trade should learn,
For all that I meet with just serves my turn.”
And Hans stood and looked at him; and at last he spoke to him and said,
“You seem very well off, and merry with your grinding.”
“Yes,” answered the knife-grinder, “my handiwork pays very well. I call a man a good grinder who, every time he puts his hand in his pocket finds money there. But where did you buy that fine goose?”
“I did not buy it, but I exchanged it for my pig,” said Hans.
“And the pig?”
“That I exchanged for a cow.”
“And the cow?”
“That I exchanged for a horse.”
“And the horse?”
And the horse?”
“I gave for the horse a lump of gold as big as my head.”
“And the gold?”
“Oh, that was my wage for seven years’ service.”
“You seem to have fended for yourself very well,” said the knife-grinder. “Now, if you could but manage to have money in your pocket every time you put your hand in, your fortune is made.”
“How shall I manage that?” said Hans.
“You must be a knife-grinder like me,” said the man. “All you want is a grindstone, the rest comes of itself: I have one here; to be sure it is a little damaged, but I don’t mind letting you have it in exchange for your goose; what say you?”
“How can you ask?” answered Hans. “I shall be the luckiest fellow in the world, for if I find money whenever I put my hand in my pocket, there is nothing more left to want.”
And so he handed over the goose to the man, and received the grindstone in exchange.
“Now,” said the knife-grinder, picking up the first stone he saw lying near him, “Here is another proper and special sort of of stone that will stand a good deal of wear. You will be able to hammer out your old nails upon it. Take it with you, and carry it carefully.”
Hans lifted up the stone and carried it off, well contented with this latest turn of events. “I must have been born under a lucky star!” he cried, while his eyes sparkled for joy. “I have only to wish for a thing and it is mine.”
After a while he began to feel rather tired, as indeed he had been on his legs since daybreak; he also began to feel rather hungry, as he had already eaten up all of his dinner and supper earlier that day.
At last he could scarcely go on at all, and had to make a halt every moment, for the stones weighed him down most unmercifully, and he could not help wishing that he did not feel obliged to drag them along.
On he went at a snail’s pace until he came to a well; then he thought he would rest and take a drink of the fresh water. So he placed the stones carefully by his side at the edge of the well; then he sat down, and as he stooped to drink, he happened to give the stones a little push, and they both fell into the water with a splash.
Then, as Hans, watched them disappear, he jumped for joy, and thanked his stars that he had been so lucky as to get rid of the stones that had weighed upon him so long without any effort of his own.
‘How happy I am’ he cried, ‘nobody was ever so lucky as I.’ Then up he got feeling light and free from all his troubles, and set off along the road with a spring in his step and a song in his heart, until at last he reached his mother’s house, where she welcomed him into her open arms and he began to tell her how very easy the road to good luck was.
So, do you see what I mean about being lucky? Do you think Hans was lucky? Or do you think he was just silly and foolish? Do you think that it maybe depends on how you see the world and what you think is worth having or not? I think this might make for a great discussion with your friends and family if you share this story with them. What do you think the story souvenir is – that nugget of truth about what it means to live in this world? This might also make for a very good discussion with your friends and family.
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Cheerio then, join me next time for Journey with Story.