Else saves with her stupidity man who marries her. Later she is disowned because she is lazy and does not even know who she is.
There was a man who had a daughter whose name was clever Else. When she was grown up, her father said, "We want to marry her. "Yes," said the mother, "if only someone would come who would have her." At last one came from far away, his name was Hans, and asked for her, but he made the condition that the clever Else should also be quite clever. "O," said the father, "she has twine in her head," and the mother said, "ah, she sees the wind running in the alley and hears the flies coughing." "Yes," said Hans, "if she is not quite clever, I will not take her." Now when they were sitting at table and had eaten, the mother said, "Else, go into the cellar and get some beer." Then the clever Else took the jug from the wall, went down into the cellar, and on the way clanged the lid obediently, so that her time would not be long. When she was downstairs, she fetched a small chair and placed it in front of the barrel, so that she would not have to bend over and hurt her back unexpectedly. Then she put the jug in front of her and turned on the tap, and while the beer was running in, she did not want to leave her eyes idle, looked up at the wall and, after looking around a lot, saw a cross hoe just above her, which the masons had accidentally left stuck there.
Then the wise Else began to cry and said, "If I get Hans, and we get a child, and it is big, and we send the child into the cellar, that it should tap beer here, then the cross hoe falls on its head and strikes it dead." There she sat and wept and cried at the top of her lungs over the impending calamity. Those above waited for the potion, but the wise Else always did not come. Then the woman said to the maid "go down to the cellar and see where Else is." The maid went and found her sitting in front of the barrel, crying loudly. "Else, what are you crying for?" asked the maid. "Ah," she answered, "shall I not weep? if I get Hans, and we get a child, and it is large, and shall draw drink here, perhaps the cross hoe will fall on its head and strike it dead." Then the maid said, "What a clever Else we have!" and sat down with her, and also began to weep over the misfortune. After a while, when the maid did not come back, and those above were thirsty for the drink, the man said to the servant "go down to the cellar and see where Else and the maid remain." The servant went down, and there sat the wise Else and the maid, both weeping together. Then he asked "what are you crying for?" "Oh," said Else, "shall I not weep? if I get Hans, and we get a child, and it is large, and is to draw drink here, then the cross hoe falls on its head, and strikes it dead." Then the servant said, "What a clever Else we have!" and sat down with her and began to cry loudly.
Upstairs they waited for the servant, but when he still did not come, the man said to the woman, "Go down to the cellar and see where the Else is. The woman went down and found all three of them in lamentation, and asked for the cause, when the Else also told her that her future child would probably be beaten to death by the crucifix when it grew up and had to draw beer, and the crucifix fell down. Then the mother also said, "Oh, what a clever Else we have!" and sat down and wept with her. The man upstairs waited for a while, but when his wife did not come back, and his thirst grew stronger and stronger, he said, "I just have to go down to the cellar myself and see where Else is." But when he came to the cellar, and everyone was sitting there weeping together, and he heard the reason that it was the fault of Else's child, which she might one day bring into the world, and could be beaten to death by the cross hoe, if it were sitting under there tapping beer at the very time when she was falling down: then he cried "what a clever Else!" and sat down and wept too. The bridegroom stayed upstairs alone for a long time, since no one would come back, he thought "they will be waiting for you downstairs, you must go too and see what they are up to." When he came down, there were five of them sitting there, crying and wailing quite pitifully, one always better than the other. "What misfortune has happened?" he asked. "Oh, dear Hans," said Else, "when we marry each other, and have a child, and it is large, and we may send it here to draw drink, the cross hoe that is stuck up there, if it should fall down, may smash its head so that it remains lying; shall we not weep then?" "Well," said Hans, "more sense is not necessary for my household; because you are such a clever Else, I will have you," and he took her by the hand and took her upstairs and held a wedding with her.
When she had Hans for a while, he said, "Wife, I want to go out to work and earn us money, you go into the field and cut the grain so that we have bread." "Yes, my dear Hans, I will do that." After Hans was gone, she cooked herself a good porridge and took it with her into the field. When she came before the field, she said to herself "what do I do? Do I cut or eat first? Hey, I want to eat first." Now she finished her pot of porridge, and when she was full, she said again, "What shall I do? Do I cut first, or do I sleep first? Hey, I want to sleep first." Then she lay down in the corn and fell asleep. Hans had long been at home, but Else would not come, so he said, "What a clever Else I have, she is so industrious that she does not even come home to eat." But when she still did not come and it was evening, Hans went out to see what she had cut: but there was nothing cut, but she lay in the corn and slept. Then Hans hurried home, and fetched a bird's yarn with small bells, and hung it around her; and she still slept away. Then he ran home, closed the house door, and sat down on his chair and worked. At last, when it was already quite dark, clever Else awoke, and when she got up, there was a rattling around her, and the bells rang with every step she took. Then she was frightened, became crazy whether she was really clever Else and said "Is it me, or is it not me?" But she didn't know how to answer and stood for a while in doubt: at last she thought, "I want to go home and ask if it's me or not, they'll know." She ran to her front door, but it was locked: so she knocked on the window and called out, "Hans, is Else inside?" "Yes," answered Hans, "she is inside." Then she was frightened, and said, "Oh, God, then it is not I," and went to another door; but when the people heard the ringing of the bells, they would not open it, and she had nowhere to stay. So she ran away to the village, and no one saw her again.