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Main > German folktales > Fairy tale "Hans in Luck"

Hans in Luck

Hans had served his master seven years, and at last said to him—

"Master, my time is up; I should like to go home and see my mother, so give me my wages."

And the master said—

"You have been a faithful and good servant, so your pay shall be handsome."

Then he gave him a piece of silver that was as big as his head. Hans took out his pocket-handkerchief, put the piece of silver into it, threw it over his shoulder, and jogged off homewards. As he went lazily on, dragging one foot after another, a man came in sight, trotting along gaily on a capital horse.

"Ah!" said Hans aloud, "what a fine thing it is to ride on horseback! There he sits as if he were at home in his chair. He trips against no stones, spares his shoes, and yet gets on he hardly knows how."

The horseman heard this, and said—

"Well, Hans, why do you go on foot, then?"

"Ah!" said he, "I have this load to carry; to be sure, it is silver, but it is so heavy that I can't hold up my head, and it hurts my shoulder sadly."

"What do you say to changing?" said the horseman. "I will give you my horse, and you shall give me the silver."

"With all my heart," said Hans, "but I tell you one thing: you will have a weary task to drag it along."

The horseman got off, took the silver, helped Hans up, gave him the bridle into his hand, and said—

"When you want to go very fast, you must smack your lips loud and cry, 'Jip.'"

Hans was delighted as he sat on the horse, and rode merrily on. After a time he thought he should like to go a little faster, so he smacked his lips and cried "Jip." Away went the horse full gallop, and before Hans knew what he was about, he was thrown off, and lay in a ditch by the wayside, and his horse would have run off if a shepherd, who was coming by driving a cow, had not stopped it. Hans soon came to himself, and got upon his legs again. He was sadly vexed, and said to the shepherd—

"This riding is no joke when a man gets on a beast like this, that stumbles and flings him off as if he would break his neck.

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