Mittwochsmärchen: The Six Servants

In former times there lived an aged Queen who was a sorceress, and her daughter was the most beautiful maiden under the sun. The old woman, however, had no other thought than how to lure mankind to destruction, and when a wooer appeared, she said that whosoever wished to have her daughter, must first perform a task, or die. Many had been dazzled by the daughter's beauty, and had actually risked this, but they never could accomplish what the old woman enjoined them to do, and then no mercy was shown; they had to kneel down, and their heads were struck off. A certain King's son who had also heard of the maiden's beauty, said to his father, "Let me go there, I want to demand her in marriage." "Never," answered the King; "if you were to go, it would be going to your death." On this the son lay down and was sick unto death, and for seven years he lay there, and no physician could heal him. When the father perceived that all hope was over, with a heavy heart he said to him, "Go thither, and try your luck, for I know no other means of curing you." When the son heard that, he rose from his bed and was well again, and joyfully set out on his way.

And it came to pass that as he was riding across a heath, he saw from afar something like a great heap of hay lying on the ground, and when he drew nearer, he could see that it was the stomach of a man, who had laid himself down there, but the stomach looked like a small mountain. When the fat man saw the traveller, he stood up and said, "If you are in need of any one, take me into your service." The prince answered, "What can I do with such a great big man?" "Oh," said the Stout One, "this is nothing, when I stretch myself out well, I am three thousand times fatter." "If that's the case," said the prince, "I can make use of thee, come with me." So the Stout One followed the prince, and after a while they found another man who was lying on the ground with his ear laid to the turf. "What art thou doing there?" asked the King's son. "I am listening," replied the man. "What art thou listening to so attentively?" "I am listening to what is just going on in the world, for nothing escapes my ears; I even hear the grass growing." "Tell me," said the prince, "what thou hearest at the court of the old Queen who has the beautiful daughter." Then he answered, "I hear the whizzing of the sword that is striking off a wooer's head." The King's son said, "I can make use of thee, come with me."

No comments:

Post a Comment