The Golden Goose
There was once a man who had three sons. The youngest of them was called Dullhead, and was sneered and jeered at and snubbed on every possible opportunity.
One day it happened that the eldest son wished to go into the forest to cut wood, and before he started his mother gave him a fine rich cake and a bottle of wine, so that he might be sure not to suffer from hunger or thirst.
When he reached the forest he met a little old grey man who wished him `Good-morning,' and said: `Do give me a piece of that cake you have got in your pocket, and let me have a draught of your wine--I am so hungry and thirsty.'
But this clever son replied: `If I give you my cake and wine I shall have none left for myself; you just go your own way;' and he left the little man standing there and went further on into the forest. There he began to cut down a tree, but before long he made a false stroke with his axe, and cut his own arm so badly that he was obliged to go home and have it bound up.
Then the second son went to the forest, and his mother gave him a good cake and a bottle of wine as she had to his elder brother. He too met the little old grey man, who begged him for a morsel of cake and a draught of wine.
But the second son spoke most sensibly too, and said: `Whatever I give to you I deprive myself of. Just go your own way, will you?' Not long after his punishment overtook him, for no sooner had he struck a couple of blows on a tree with his axe, than he cut his leg so badly that he had to be carried home.
So then Dullhead said: `Father, let me go out and cut wood.'
But his father answered: `Both your brothers have injured themselves. You had better leave it alone; you know nothing about it.'
But Dullhead begged so hard to be allowed to go that at last his father said: `Very well, then--go. Perhaps when you have hurt yourself, you may learn to know better.' His mother only gave him a very plain cake made with water and baked in the cinders, and a bottle of sour beer.
When he got to the forest, he too met the little grey old man, who greeted him and said: `Give me a piece of your cake and a draught from your bottle; I am so hungry and thirsty.