World of Tales

Prudent Hans

Fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm

One day, Hans's mother said,

"Where are you going, Hans?"

Hans answered,

"To Grethel's, mother."

"Manage well, Hans."

"All right! Good-bye, mother."

"Good-bye, Hans."

Then Hans came to Grethel's.

"Good morning, Grethel."

"Good morning, Hans. What have you brought me to-day?"

"I have brought nothing, but I want something."

So Grethel gave Hans a needle; and then he said,

"Good-bye, Grethel," and she said, "Good-bye, Hans."

Hans carried the needle away with him, and stuck it in a hay-cart that was going along, and he followed it home.

"Good evening, mother."

"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"

"To Grethel's, mother."

"What did you take her?"

"I took nothing, but I brought away something."

"What did Grethel give you?"

"A needle, mother."

"What did you do with it, Hans?"

"Stuck it in the hay-cart."

"That was very stupid of you, Hans. You should have stuck it in your sleeve."

"All right, mother! I'll do better next time."

When next time came, Hans's mother said,

"Where are you going, Hans?"

"To Grethel's, mother."

"Manage well, Hans."

"All right! Good-bye, mother."

"Good-bye, Hans."

Then Hans came to Grethel.

"Good morning, Grethel."

"Good morning, Hans. What have you brought me to-day?"

"I've brought nothing, but I want something."

So Grethel gave Hans a knife, and then he said, "Good-bye, Grethel," and she said, "Good-bye, Hans."

Hans took the knife away with him, and stuck it in his sleeve, and went home.

"Good evening, mother."

"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"

"To Grethel's."

"What did you take her?"

"I took nothing, but I brought away something."

"What did Grethel give you, Hans?"

"A knife, mother."

"What did you do with it, Hans?"

"Stuck it in my sleeve, mother."

"That was very stupid of you, Hans. You should have put it in your pocket."

"All right, mother! I'll do better next time."

When next time came, Hans's mother said,

"Where to, Hans?"

"To Grethel's, mother."

"Manage well, Hans."

"All right! Good-bye, mother."

"Good-bye, Hans."

So Hans came to Grethel's. "Good morning, Grethel."

"Good morning, Hans. What have you brought me to-day?"

"I've brought nothing, but I want to take away something."

So Grethel gave Hans a young goat; then he said,

"Good-bye, Grethel," and she said, "Good-bye, Hans."

So Hans carried off the goat, and tied its legs together, and put it in his pocket, and by the time he got home it was suffocated.

"Good evening, mother."

"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"

"To Grethel's, mother."

"What did you take her, Hans?"

"I took nothing, but I brought away something."

"What did Grethel give you, Hans?"

"A goat, mother."

"What did you do with it, Hans?"

"Put it in my pocket, mother."

"That was very stupid of you, Hans. You should have tied a cord round its neck, and led it home."

"All right, mother! I'll do better next time."

Then when next time came,

"Where to, Hans?"

"To Grethel's, mother."

"Manage well, Hans."

"All right! Good-bye, mother."

"Good-bye, Hans."

Then Hans came to Grethel's.

"Good morning, Grethel."

"Good morning, Hans. What have you brought me to-day?"

"I've brought nothing, but I want to take away something."

So Grethel gave Hans a piece of bacon. Then he said, "Good-bye, Grethel."

She said, "Good-bye, Hans."

Hans took the bacon, and tied a string round it, and dragged it after him on his way home, and the dogs came and ate it up, so that when he got home he had the string in his hand, and nothing at the other end of it.

"Good evening, mother."

"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"

"To Grethel's, mother."

"What did you take her, Hans?"

"I took her nothing, but I brought away something."

"What did Grethel give you, Hans?"

"A piece of bacon, mother."

"What did you do with it, Hans?"

"I tied a piece of string to it, and led it home, but the dogs ate it, mother."

"That was very stupid of you, Hans. You ought to have carried it on your head."

"All right! I'll do better next time, mother."

When next time came,

"Where to, Hans?"

"To Grethel's, mother."

"Manage well, Hans."

"All right! Good-bye, mother."

"Good-bye, Hans."

Then Hans came to Grethel's.

"Good morning, Grethel."

"Good morning, Hans. What have you brought me?"

"I have brought nothing, but I want to take away something."

So Grethel gave Hans a calf.

"Good-bye, Grethel."

"Good-bye, Hans."

Hans took the calf, and set it on his head, and carried it home, and the calf scratched his face.

"Good evening, mother."

"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"

"To Grethel's, mother."

"What did you take her?"

"I took nothing, but I brought away something."

"What did Grethel give you, Hans?"

"A calf, mother."

"What did you do with the calf, Hans?"

"I carried it home on my head, but it scratched my face."

"That was very stupid of you, Hans. You ought to have led home the calf, and tied it to the manger."

"All right! I'll do better next time, mother."

When next time came,

"Where to, Hans?"

"To Grethel's, mother."

"Manage well, Hans."

"All right, mother! Good-bye."

"Good-bye, Hans."

Then Hans came to Grethel's.

"Good morning, Grethel."

"Good morning, Hans. What have you brought me to-day?"

"I have brought nothing, but I want to take away something."

Then Grethel said to Hans,

"You shall take away me."

Then Hans took Grethel, and tied a rope round her neck, and led her home, and fastened her up to the manger, and went to his mother.

"Good evening, mother."

"Good evening, Hans. Where have you been?"

"To Grethel's, mother."

"What did you take her, Hans?"

"Nothing, mother."

"What did Grethel give you, Hans?"

"Nothing but herself, mother."

"Where have you left Grethel, Hans?"

"I led her home with a rope, and tied her up to the manger to eat hay, mother."

"That was very stupid of you, Hans. You should have cast sheep's eyes at her."

"All right, mother! I'll do better next time."

Then Hans went into the stable, and taking all the eyes out of the sheep, he threw them in Grethel's face. Then Grethel was angry, and getting loose, she ran away and became the bride of another.

Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm

Grimm book cover 1

Notes: This fairy tale collection contains 52 of the Grimm's fairy tales.

This new Dover edition, first published in 1963, is an unabridged republication of the work first published by Macmillan and Company in 1886.

Author: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Translator: Lucy Crane
Published: 1963 (1886)
Publisher: Dover Publications, New York (Macmillan & Co, London)


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