Hans My Hedgehog
A boy is born as half man, half hedgehog. He later helps 2 kings. From the 1st he is deceived, from the 2nd he marries daughter. He becomes a man
Once upon a time there was a farmer who had enough money and property, but no matter how rich he was, there was something missing from his happiness: he and his wife had no children. Often, when he went to town with the other farmers, they mocked him and asked why he had no children. At last he became angry, and when he came home he said, "I want to have a child, and it shall be a hedgehog. Then his wife had a child, which was a hedgehog above and a boy below, and when she saw the child, she was frightened and said 'you see, you have cursed us'. Then the man said 'what can all this help, the boy must be baptized, but we cannot take a godfather to it'. The woman said, "We can't baptize him any other way than Hans my hedgehog. When he was baptized, the priest said, "He can't get into a proper bed because of his spines. So a little straw was made behind the stove and Hans my hedgehog was laid on it. He couldn't drink from his mother either, because he would have pricked her with his spines.
So he lay there behind the stove for eight years, and his father was tired of him and thought if only he would die; but he did not die, but remained lying there. Now it happened that there was a market in the city, and the farmer wanted to go there, so he asked his wife what he should bring her. A little meat and a few rolls, what belongs to the household," she said. Then he asked the maid, who wanted some potatoes and stockings. At last he also said, 'Hans my hedgehog, what do you want?' 'Father,' he said, 'bring me a bagpipe. When the farmer returned home, he gave the woman what he had bought her, meat and rolls, then he gave the maid the potatoes and the stockings, and finally he went behind the stove and gave Hans my Hedgehog the bagpipes. And when Hans my hedgehog had the bagpipes, he said, "Father, go to the smithy and have my rooster shod, then I will ride away and never come back. Then the father was glad to get rid of him, and had the rooster shod, and when it was ready, Hans my hedgehog sat down on it, rode away, and also took pigs and donkeys with him, which he wanted to herd out in the forest. In the forest, however, the rooster had to fly with him up a high tree, where he sat and tended the donkeys and pigs, and sat for a long time until the herd was quite large, and his father knew nothing about him. But when he sat in the tree, he blew his bagpipes and made music, which was very beautiful. Once a king passed by, he was lost, and heard the music: he was surprised about it and sent his servant to look around where the music came from. He looked around, but saw nothing but a small animal sitting on the tree above, which was like a rooster, on which sat a hedgehog, and he made the music. Then the king said to the servant that he should ask why he was sitting there, and whether he did not know where the way to his kingdom went. Then Hans my hedgehog got down from the tree and said he would show the way, if the king would prescribe and promise him what he would meet first at the royal court, as soon as he came home. Then the king thought, 'I can do that easily, Hans my hedgehog doesn't understand it, and I can write what I want. So the king took pen and ink and wrote something down, and when it was done, Hans my hedgehog showed him the way, and he happily came home.
His daughter, however, when she saw him from afar, was so full of joy that she ran to meet him and kissed him. Then he remembered Hans my hedgehog and told her how he had fared, and that he should have prescribed to a strange animal what he would first encounter at home, and the animal would have sat on a cock like on a horse and made beautiful music; but he would have written it should not have, because Hans my hedgehog could not read it. The princess was happy about this and said that it was good, because she would never have gone there.
Hans my hedgehog, however, looked after the donkeys and pigs, was always merry, sat on the tree and blew on his bagpipes. Now it happened that another king came with his servants and runners, and had lost his way, and did not know how to get home again, because the forest was so large. He also heard the beautiful music from afar and said to his runner what that would be, he should watch once. Then the runner went under the tree and saw the rooster sitting there and Hans my hedgehog on top of it. The runner asked him what he was doing up there. I am tending my donkeys and pigs, but what is your desire? The runner said they had lost their way and could not get back into the kingdom, whether he did not want to show them the way. Then Hans my hedgehog came down from the tree with the rooster, and said to the old king that he would show him the way if he would give him for his own what he would first encounter at home in front of his royal castle. The king said 'yes' and signed himself to Hans my hedgehog, he should have it. When this was done, he rode ahead on the Göckelhahn and showed him the way, and the king arrived happily back in his kingdom. When he arrived at the court, there was great joy. Now he had an only daughter, who was very beautiful, who ran to meet him, fell around his neck and kissed him, and was glad that her old father had come back. She also asked him where he had been for so long in the world, and he told her that he had lost his way and had almost not come back at all, but as he was driving through a large forest, someone, half like a hedgehog, half like a man, had sat astride a rooster in a high tree, making beautiful music, and had helped him away and shown him the way, but he had promised him in return what he first encountered at the royal court, and that was her, and that he was now so sorry. Then she promised him, but she would gladly go with him when he came, for the love of her old father.
But Hans my hedgehog tended his pigs, and the pigs got pigs again, and became so many that the whole forest was full. Hans my hedgehog did not want to live in the forest any longer, and told his father to clear all the stables in the village, because he was coming with such a large herd that anyone who wanted to slaughter could do so. His father was saddened when he heard this, for he thought that Hans my hedgehog had died a long time ago. But Hans my hedgehog sat down on his rooster, drove the pigs before him into the village, and had them slaughtered; hu! there was a massacre and a hacking that could be heard for two hours. After that, Hans my hedgehog said, "Father, let me have my rooster shod once more in front of the smithy, then I'll ride away and never come back again in my life. So the father had the cock shod and was glad that Hans my hedgehog did not want to come back.
Hans my hedgehog rode away to the first kingdom, where the king had ordered that if someone came riding on a rooster, and had a bagpipe with him, then everyone should shoot at him, hit him and stab him, so that he would not come into the castle. When Hans my hedgehog came riding along, they attacked him with bayonets, but he gave the rooster the spur, flew up over the gate in front of the king's window, settled down there, and called out to him that he should give him what he had promised, otherwise he would take his life and that of his daughter. Then the king gave his daughter good words to go out to him, so that she might save his life and her own. Then she dressed herself in white, and her father gave her a chariot with six horses and splendid servants, money and goods. She sat down, and Hans my hedgehog with his cock and bagpipes sat next to her, then they took leave and went away, and the king thought he would never see her again. But it went differently than he thought, for when they were a little way from the city, Hans my hedgehog took off her beautiful clothes, and pricked her with his hedgehog skin until she was all bloody, saying 'this is the reward for your falsehood, go away, I don't want you,' and chased her home with it, and she was insulted for the rest of her life.
Hans my hedgehog, however, rode on to the second kingdom on his cockerel and with his bagpipes, where he had also shown the king the way. But the king had ordered that if someone came, like Hans my Hedgehog, they should present the gun, lead him in freely, call vivat, and bring him into the royal castle. When the king's daughter saw him, she was frightened, because he looked too strange, but she thought it would not be different, she had promised her father. Then Hans my hedgehog was welcomed by her, and was married to her, and he had to go with her to the royal table, and she sat down at his side, and they ate and drank. When evening came and they were about to go to sleep, she was very afraid of his stingers, but he said that she should not be afraid, that no harm would come to her, and he told the old king to order four men to stand guard at the door of the chamber and light a great fire, and when he entered the chamber and wanted to lie down in bed, he would crawl out of his hedgehog skin and leave her lying in front of the bed: Then the men should hurry up and throw it into the fire, and stay there until it was consumed by the fire. When the bell struck eleven, he went into the chamber, stripped off the hedgehog's skin and left it in front of the bed. Then the men came and quickly took it and threw it into the fire; and when the fire had consumed it, he was delivered, and lay there in bed completely fashioned as a man, but he was coal-black as if burned. The king sent for his physician, who washed him with good ointments and embalmed him, and he became white and a beautiful young man. When the king's daughter saw this, she was happy, and the next morning they rose with joy, ate and drank, and the marriage was celebrated all the more, and Hans my hedgehog received the kingdom from the old king.
When some years had passed, he went with his wife to his father and said he was his son; but the father said he had none, he had only one, but he had been born like a hedgehog with spines, and had gone into the world. Then he made himself known, and the old father rejoiced and went with him into his kingdom.