THE GOLDEN GOOSE
HERE was a man who had three sons, the youngest of whom was
called Dunderhead, and was
despised, mocked, and put down on every occasion.
It happened, that the eldest wanted to go into the
forest to hew wood. Before he
went his mother gave him a beautiful sweet cake and a
bottle of wine, that he might
not suffer from hunger or thirst.
When he entered the forest, there met him a little old
Gray Man who bade him
good-day, and said, "Do give me a piece of cake out of
your pocket, and
let me have a draught of your wine. I am so hungry and
But the prudent youth answered, "If I give you my cake
and wine, I shall
have none for myself. Be off with you," and he left
the Little Man
standing and went on.
But when he began to hew down a tree, it was not long
before he made a false stroke,
and the axe cut him in the arm. So he had to go home
and have it bound up. And
this was the little Gray Man's doing.
After this, the second son went into the forest, and
 mother gave him, like the eldest, a cake and a bottle
of wine. The little old Gray
Man met him likewise, and asked him for a piece of cake
and a drink of wine. But
the second son, too, said with much reason, "What I
give you will be taken
away from myself. Be off!" and he left the Little Man
standing and went
His punishment, however, was not delayed. When he had
made a few strokes at the
tree, he struck himself in the leg. So he had to be
Then Dunderhead said, "Father, do let me go and cut
The father answered, "Your brothers have hurt
themselves doing so. Leave
it alone. You do not understand anything about it."
But Dunderhead begged so long that at last he said,
"God then. You will
get wiser by hurting yourself."
His mother gave him a cake made with water and baked in
the cinders, and with it a
bottle of sour beer.
When he came to the forest the little old Gray Man met
him likewise, and greeting
him said, "Give me a piece of your cake and a drink out
of your bottle. I
am so hungry and thirsty."
Dunderhead answered, "I have only cinder-cake and sour
beer. If that
pleases you, we will sit down and eat."
So they sat down, and when Dunderhead pulled out his
cinder-cake, it was a fine
sweet cake, and the sour beer had become good wine.
So they ate and drank, and after that the Little Man
said, "Since you have
a good heart, and are willing to divide what
 you have, I will give you good luck. There stands an
old tree. Cut it down, and
you will find something at the roots."
Then the old man took leave of him.
Dunderhead went and cut down the tree; and when it fell
there was a Goose sitting in
the roots, with feathers of pure gold. He lifted her
up, and taking her with him,
went to an inn, where he thought he would stay the
night. Now the host had three
daughters, who saw the Goose and were curious to know
what such a wonderful bird
might be. And each wanted one of its feathers.
The eldest thought, "I shall soon find an opportunity
of pulling out a
feather," and when Dunderhead was gone out, she sized
the Goose by the
wing. But her finger and hand remained sticking fast
The second came in soon afterward, thinking only of how
she might get a feather for
herself, but she had scarcely touched her sister than
she was held fast.
At last, the third came with the like intent, and the
others screamed out,
"Keep away! For goodness' sake keep away!"
But she did not understand why she as to keep away.
"The others are
there," she thought, "I may as well be there too,"
ran to them. But as soon as she had touched her
sister, she remained sticking fast
to her. So they had to spend the night with the Goose.
The next morning, Dunderhead took the Goose under his
arm and set out, without
troubling himself about the three girls who were
hanging on to it. They were
obliged to run after him, now left, now right, just as
he was inclined to go.
In the middle of the fields, the parson met them, and
 he saw the procession he said, "For shame, you
Why are you running across the fields after this young
man? Is that
seemly?" At the same time he seized the youngest by
the hand in order to
pull her away. But as soon as he touched her, he
likewise stuck fast, and was
obliged to run behind. Before long, the sexton came by
and saw his master, the
parson, running on foot behind three girls. He was
astonished at this, and called
out, "Hi! your Reverence! Whither away so quickly? Do
not forget that we
have a christening to-day!" and running after him he
took him by the
sleeve, but was also held fast.
While the five were trotting thus one behind the other,
two laborers came with their
hoes from the fields. The parson called out to them
and begged that they would set
him and the sexton free. But they had scarcely touched
the sexton, when they were
held fast. And now there were seven of them running
behind Dunderhead and the
Soon afterward, he came to a city, where a King ruled
who had a daughter who was so
serious that no one could make her laugh. So he had
put forth a decree that
whosoever should make her laugh should marry her. When
Dunderhead heard this, he
went with his Goose and all her train before the
As soon as she saw the seven people running on and on,
one behind the other, she
began to laugh very loudly as if she would never leave
off. Thereupon Dunderhead
asked to have her for his wife, and the wedding was
After the King's death, Dunderhead inherited the
Kingdom, and lived a long
time contentedly with his wife.
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