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Main > Scandinavian folktales > Fairy tale "Gudbrand"


There was once upon a time a man who was called Gudbrand. He had a farm which lay far away on a hill, and he was therefore known as Gudbrand of the Hillside. He and his wife lived so happily together, and were so well matched, that do what the man would his wife was well pleased, thinking nothing in the world could be better. Whatever he did she was satisfied. The farm was their own, and they had a hundred dollars which lay in a box, and in the stall they had two cows.

One day the woman said to Gudbrand.

"I think it would be well to take one of the cows to town and sell it, and so we shall have some money at hand. We are such fine folk that we ought to have a little ready money, as other people have. As for the hundred dollars which lie in the chest, we must not make a hole in them, but I do not see why we should keep more than one cow. We shall, too, gain something, for I shall then have only to look after one cow, instead of having to litter and feed two."

This Gudbrand thought was right and reasonable, so he took the cow, and set off to town to sell it. When he arrived there he could find no one who would buy the beast.

"Well, well," said he, "I can go home again with the cow. I have stall and litter for her, and the road home is no longer than the road here."

So he began to go homewards again.

When he had gone a little distance he met a man who had a horse he wanted to sell. So Gudbrand thought it was better to have a horse than a cow, and exchanged with him. He went on a bit further, and met a man walking along driving a fat pig before him, and he thought it would be better to have a fat pig than a horse. So he exchanged with the man. He went on a bit further, and met a man with a goat. A goat, he thought, was better than a pig. So he exchanged with him. He went on a good bit further till he met a man who had a sheep, and he exchanged with him, for he thought a sheep was always better than a goat. He went on again, and met a man with a goose. So he exchanged the sheep for the goose.

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