| Hans, Who Made The Princess Laugh |
HE WOMAN THOUGHT just as much of the fish which Hans had in the bucket, and said if Hans would give her the fish he should have the golden goose; and this goose was such that if any one touched it he would be sticking fast to it if he only said: "If you'll come along, then hang on."
Yes, Hans would willingly exchange on those terms. "A bird is as good as a fish any day," he said to himself. "If it is as you say, I might use it instead of a fish-hook," he said to the woman, and felt greatly pleased with the possession of the goose.
He had not gone far before he met another old woman. When she saw the splendid golden goose, she must go and stroke it. She made herself so friendly and spoke so nicely to Hans, and asked him to let her stroke that lovely golden goose of his.
"Oh, yes!" said Hans, "but you mustn't pluck off any of its feathers!"
Just as she stroked the bird, Hans said: "If you'll come along, then hang on!"
The woman pulled and tore, but she had to hang on, whether she would or no, and Hans walked on, as if he only had the goose with him.
When he had gone some distance, he met a man who had a spite against the woman for a trick she had played upon him. When he saw that she fought so hard to get free and seemed to hang on so fast, he thought he might safely venture to pay her off for the grudge he owed her, and so he gave her a kick.
"If you'll come along, then hang on!" said Hans, and the man had to hang on and limp along on one leg, whether he would or no; and when he tried to tear himself loose, he made it still worse for himself, for he was very nearly falling on his back whenever he struggled to get free.
So on they went till they came in the neighborhood of the palace. There they met the king's smith; he was on his way to the smithy, and had a large pair of tongs in his hand. This smith was a merry fellow, and was always full of mad pranks and tricks, and when he saw this procession coming jumping and limping along, he began laughing till he was bent in two, but suddenly he said:
"This must be a new flock of geese for the princess: but who can tell which is goose and which is gander? I suppose it must be the gander toddling on in front. Goosey, goosey!" he called, and pretended to be strewing corn out of his hands as when feeding geese.
But they did not stop. The woman and the man only looked in great rage at the smith for making game of them. So said the smith: "It would be great fun to see if I could stop the whole flock, many as they are!"—He was a strong man, and seized the old man with his tongs from behind in his trousers, and the man shouted and struggled hard, but Hans said:
"If you'll come along, then hang on!"
And so the smith had to hang on too. He bent his back and stuck his heels in the ground when they went up a hill and tried to get away, but it was of no use; he stuck on to the other as if he had been screwed fast in the great vise in the smithy, and whether he liked it or not, he had to dance along with the others.
When they came near the palace, the farm-dog ran against them and barked at them, as if they were a gang of tramps, and when the princess came to look out of her window to see what was the matter, and saw this procession, she burst out laughing. But Hans was not satisfied with that. "Just wait a bit, and she will laugh still louder very soon," he said, and made a tour round the palace with his followers.
When they came past the kitchen, the door was open and the cook was just boiling porridge, but when she saw Hans and his train after him, she rushed out of the door with the porridge-stick in one hand and a big ladle full of boiling porridge in the other, and she laughed till her sides shook; but when she saw the smith there as well, she thought she would have burst with laughter. When she had had a regular good laugh, she looked at the golden goose again and thought it was so lovely that she must stroke it.
"Hans, Hans!" she cried, and ran after him with the ladle in her hand; "just let me stroke that lovely bird of yours."
"Rather let her stroke me!" said the smith.
"Very well," said Hans.
But when the cook heard this, she got very angry. "What is it you say!" she cried, and gave the smith a smack with the ladle.
"If you'll come along, then hang on!" said Hans, and so she stuck fast to the others too, and for all her scolding and all her tearing and pulling, she had to limp along with them.
And when they came past the princess's window again, she was still there waiting for them, but when she saw that they had got hold of the cook too, with the ladle and porridge-stick, she laughed till the king had to hold her up. So Hans got the princess and half the kingdom, and they had a wedding which was heard of far and wide.