The iron man escapes from the king, takes his son and wins the war, passes test and marries princess.
Once upon a time there was a king who had a large forest near his castle, in which all kinds of game ran around. At one time a sent out a hunter who was supposed to shoot a deer, but he didn't come back. "Perhaps a misfortune happened," said the king, and the next day he sent two other hunters out to look for him, but they stayed away. So on the third day he called for all his hunters and said, "Roam through the whole forest and do not let go until you have found all three of them." But none of them came home either, and none of the pack of dogs they had taken away was seen again. From that time on no one dared to venture into the forest again, and it lay there in deep stillness and solitude, and only occasionally an eagle or hawk could be seen flying over it. This lasted many years, then a strange hunter reported to the king, looked for provisions and offered to go into the dangerous forest. But the king did not want to give his consent and said, "It is not safe in there, I am afraid you are no better off than the others, and you will not come out again." I don't know anything."
So the hunter went into the forest with his dog. It wasn't long before the dog got on the trail of a deer and wanted to follow it: but he had hardly run a few steps when he was standing in front of a deep pool, couldn't go any further and a bare arm stretched out of the water, grabbed him and pulled him down. When the hunter saw this, he went back and fetched three men who had to come with buckets and scoop up the water. When they could see the bottom, there lay a wild man, brown in the flesh like rusty iron, and his hair hung down over his face to his knees. They tied him with ropes and led him away to the castle. There was great astonishment at the wild man, but the king had him put in an iron cage in his courtyard and, on pain of life, forbade the door of the cage to be opened, and the queen had to keep the key herself. From now on everyone could safely go into the forest again.
The king had a son of eight who was playing in the yard once, and while playing, his golden ball fell into his cage. The boy ran over and said, "Give me my ball." "Not before," answered the man, "until you have opened the door for me." "No," said the boy, "I won't do that, that has the king forbidden,” and ran away. The next day he came again and asked for his ball: the wild man said, "Open my door," but the boy would not. On the third day the king had ridden out hunting, when the boy came again and said, "Even if I wanted to, I couldn't open the door, I don't have the key." Then the wild man said, "It's under your pillow Mother, you can get it there.” The boy, who wanted his ball back, put all hesitation to the wind and brought the key. The door opened with difficulty, and the boy pinched his finger. When it was open, the wild man stepped out, gave him the golden ball, and hurried away. The boy was frightened, he screamed and called after him, "Oh, wild man, don't go away or I'll get beaten." forest in. When the king came home, he noticed the empty cage and asked the queen how that happened. She didn't know anything about it, looked for the key, but it was gone. She called the boy, but no one answered. The king sent people to look for him in the field, but they couldn't find him. Then he could easily guess what had happened, and there was great mourning at the royal court.
When the wild man had reached the dark forest again, he lowered the boy from his shoulders and said to him, "Father and mother you will not see again, but I will keep you with me, for you have freed me and I have pity on you. If you do everything I tell you, you shall have it good. Treasures and gold I have enough and more than anyone in the world." He made the boy a bed of moss on which he fell asleep, and the next morning the man led him to a well and said, "You see, the gold well is bright and clear as crystal: you should sit by it and take care that nothing falls in, otherwise it is dishonoured. Every evening I come and see if you have obeyed my command.” The boy sat on the edge of the well, saw how sometimes a golden fish, sometimes a golden snake appeared in it, and was careful that nothing fell into it. As he was sitting like this, his finger hurt so badly that he involuntarily put it in the water. He quickly pulled it out again, but saw that it was all gilded, and no matter how hard he tried to wipe off the gold, it was all in vain. In the evening Iron John came back, looked at the boy and said, "What happened to the well?" "Nothing, nothing," he replied, putting his finger on his back so he shouldn't see it. But the man said, "You dipped your finger in the water: this time it may work, but be careful not to let anything fall into it again." Early in the morning he was already sitting by the well and watching over it. His finger hurt again and he ran it over his head, when unfortunately a hair fell down into the well. He took it out quickly, but it was already completely gilded. Iron Hans came and already knew what had happened. "You let a hair fall into the well," he said, "I'll look after you again, but if it happens the third time, the well will be dishonored and you can't stay with me any longer." On the third day he sat boy by the well, and didn't move his finger no matter how painful it was. But the time grew long for him, and he looked at his face standing on the water surface. And when he bent down more and more and tried to look into his eyes, his long hair fell from his shoulders into the water. He straightened up quickly, but all the hair on his head was already gilded and shone like a sun. You can think how frightened the poor boy was. He took his handkerchief and tied it around his head so the man wouldn't see. When he came, he already knew everything and said, "Untie the cloth." Then the golden hair tumbled out and the boy apologized as he liked, it didn't help him. "You failed the test and can't stay here any longer. Go out into the world, there you will experience what poverty is like. But because you don't have a bad heart and I mean well with you, I will allow you one thing: if you get into trouble, go to the forest and call out "Iron Hans," then I will come and help you. My power is great, greater than you think, and I have plenty of gold and silver.”
Then the king's son left the forest and walked along both paved and unpaved paths until he finally came to a large city. He was looking for work there, but couldn't find one and hadn't learned anything that would help him along. Finally he went into the castle and asked if they wanted to keep him. The courtiers did not know why they should use him, but they took pleasure in him and bade him stay. At last the cook employed him and said he could carry wood and water and sweep up the ashes. Once, when no one else was at hand, the cook asked him to carry the food to the royal table, but since he didn't want to show his golden hair, he kept his hat on. Such a thing had never happened to the King, and he said, "When you come to the royal table, you must take off your hat." Then the king summoned the cook, scolded him and asked how he could have hired such a boy; he should chase him away immediately. But the cook took pity on him and exchanged him for the gardener's boy.
Now the boy had to plant and water in the garden, hoe and dig, and endure the wind and bad weather. One summer when he was working alone in the garden, the day was so hot that he took off his hat and let the air cool him. As the sun shone on the hair, it glittered and flashed so that the rays fell into the king's daughter's bedroom and she jumped up to see what that was. Then she saw the boy and called to him, "Boy, bring me a bouquet of flowers." He put on his little hat in a hurry, broke off wild field flowers and tied them together. As he went up the stairs with it, the gardener met him and said, "How can you bring the king's daughter a bunch of bad flowers? Quickly fetch others and select the most beautiful and rarest." "Oh no," answered the boy, "the wild ones smell stronger and will please her better." When he came into her room, the king's daughter said, "take off your little hat, it is not fitting for you to keep it in front of me.” He answered again, “I mustn't, I have a scabby head.” But she grabbed the hat and pulled it off, and his golden hair rolled down over his shoulders, that it was gorgeous to look at. He started to run away, but she held his arm and gave him a handful of ducats. He went away with it, but paid no attention to the gold, instead he brought it to the gardener and said, "I'll give it to your children, who can play with it." When he came in with it, she immediately grabbed his hat and wanted to take it away from him, but he held it tight with both hands. She gave him another handful of ducats, but he didn't want to keep them and gave them to the gardener as toys for his children. The third day was the same, she couldn't take his little hat away from him, and he didn't want her gold.
Not long after that the country was engulfed in war. The king gathered his people and did not know whether he could resist the enemy, who was overpowered and had a large army. Then the gardener's boy said, "I've grown up and want to go to war with you, just give me a horse." The others laughed and said, "When we're gone, look for one: we'll leave you one in the stable." when they were undressed, he went into the stable and drew the horse out; it was lame in one foot and hobbled hunkepuus, hunkepuus. Nevertheless he sat up and rode away towards the dark forest. When he got to the edge of it, he called Iron John three times so loudly that it echoed through the trees. Immediately afterwards the wild man appeared and said, "What do you want?" "I want a strong horse, because I want to go to war." "You shall have that and even more than you ask for." forest, and it was not long before a groom came out of the forest and led a horse that snorted at the nostrils and could hardly be tamed. And after them followed a great company of soldiers, all armored in iron, and their swords flashed in the sun. The youth gave his three-legged horse to the groom, mounted the other, and rode ahead of the crowd. When he approached the field of battle, a large part of the king's men had already fallen, and it was not long before the rest had to give way. Then the young man rushed up with his iron band, lashed out at the enemy like a storm and struck down everything that opposed him. They wanted to flee, but the youth sat on their necks and would not let go until there was no man left. But instead of returning to the king, he led his band by detours back to the forest and called out Iron Hans. "What do you require?" asked the wild man. "Take back your steed and company and give me back my three-legged horse." Everything he asked for was done and he rode home on his three-legged horse. When the king returned to his palace, his daughter went to meet him and wished him luck in his victory. "It is not I who have won the victory," he said, "but a foreign knight who came to my aid with his band." The daughter wanted to know who the foreign knight was, but the king did not know and said, "he pursued the enemy, and I never saw him again." She asked the gardener about his boy: but he laughed and said, "He has just come home on his three-legged horse, and the others were mocking and shouting." there comes our Hunkepuus again." They also asked, "Behind which hedge did you lie and sleep meanwhile?" But he said, "I have done the best, and without me it would have gone badly." There he was laughed at even more."
The king said to his daughter, "I will announce a great festival, which shall last three days, and you shall throw a golden apple: perhaps the stranger will come." When the festival was announced, the youth went out to the forest and called Iron John. "What do you require?" he asked. "That I may catch the king's daughter's golden apple." "It's as good as if you already had it," said Iron John, "you shall also wear red armor and ride on a proud fox." When day came, the youth sprang approached, placed himself among the knights and was recognized by no one. The king's daughter stepped forward and threw a golden apple to the knights, but none caught it but he alone, but as soon as he had it he dashed away. On the second day, Iron John equipped him as a white knight and gave him a white horse. Again he alone caught the apple, but did not linger a moment, but hastened away with it. The king got angry and said, "That is not allowed, he must appear in front of me and call his name." if he did not return willingly, smack and stab him. On the third day, Iron Hans gave him black armor and a black horse, and he caught the apple again. But when he drove away with it, the king's men pursued him, and one came so close to him that he wounded his leg with the point of his sword. However, he escaped them, but his horse jumped so violently that his helmet fell off his head, and they could see that he had golden hair. They rode back and reported everything to the king.
The next day the king's daughter asked the gardener about his boy. "He's working in the garden: the whimsical Kautz was also at the party and didn't come back until last night; he also showed my children three golden apples which he won.” The king had him challenged in front of him, and he appeared with his little hat on his head again. But the king's daughter went up to him and took it from him, and then his golden hair fell over his shoulders, and he was so handsome that everyone was amazed. "Were you the knight who came to the festival every day, always in a different color, and who caught the three golden apples?" asked the king. "Yes," he replied, "and here are the apples," took them out of his pocket and handed them to the king. "If you ask for more proof, you can see the wound your people inflicted on me when they pursued me. But I am also the knight who helped you to conquer your enemies." "If you can perform such deeds, then you are no gardener's boy: tell me, who is your father?" "My father is a mighty king and gold I have plenty, and as much as I want." "I see," said the king, "I owe you a debt of gratitude, can I do anything to please you?" "Yes," he answered, "you may well, give me your daughter to wife." Then the maiden laughed and said, "he doesn't make any fuss, but I could see from his golden hair that he's not a gardener's boy:" then went over and kissed him. His father and mother came to the wedding and were overjoyed, for they had already given up all hope of seeing their dear son again. And when they were sitting at the wedding table, the music suddenly stopped, the doors opened and a proud king entered with a large entourage. He went up to the youth, embraced him and said, "I am Iron Hans, and I was cursed into a wild man, but you redeemed me. All treasures that I possess shall be yours.