The Skillful Huntsman
Man becomes a hunter and gets infallible rifle, frees the area from 3 giants, is almost deprived of wages princess, but can clear it.
Once upon a time there was a young boy who had learned the locksmith's trade and said to his father that he wanted to go out into the world and try his hand. 'Yes,' said the father, 'I am content to do that,' and gave him some money for the journey. So he moved around and looked for work. At a time, the locksmith's work did not want to follow him and was not up to him anymore, but he got the desire to hunt. While wandering, he met a hunter in green clothing, who asked him where he came from and where he was going. He was a locksmith's apprentice, said the lad, but he didn't like the trade anymore and wanted to go hunting, if he wanted to take him on as an apprentice. Oh yes, if you want to go with me. So the young lad went with him, rented himself out for several years and learned hunting. Afterwards he wanted to try himself further, and the hunter gave him nothing as a reward but a wind rifle, which had the property that if he made a shot with it, he would hit it unerringly.
Then he went away and came into a very large forest, from which he could not find the end in one day. When evening came, he sat down on a high tree, so that he could get away from the wild animals. Towards midnight, a small light shimmered in the distance, so he looked at it through the branches and kept a watchful eye on where it was. But first he took his hat and threw it down towards the light, so that he would go by when he had descended, as by a sign. Now he climbed down, went for his hat, put it on again and went straight ahead. The farther he went, the greater the light became, and as he came near it, he saw that it was an enormous fire, and three giants were sitting there with an ox on a spit, roasting it. Now one of them said, 'I must taste whether the meat is soon to be eaten,' and tore off a piece and wanted to put it in his mouth, but the hunter shot it out of his hand. Well," said the giant, "the wind blew the piece out of my hand," and he took another. As he was about to take a bite, the hunter shot it out of his hand again; then the giant slapped the man sitting next to him and shouted angrily, "Why are you snatching my piece away?" "I didn't snatch it away," said the other, "a sniper must have shot it out of your hand. The giant took the third piece, but could not keep it in his hand, the hunter shot it out of him. Then the giants said, 'This must be a good marksman who shoots the morsel away from his mouth, such a one would be useful to us,' and cried aloud, 'Come here, you marksman, sit down with us by the fire and eat your fill, we don't want to hurt you; but if you don't come, and we take you by force, then you are lost.
Then the lad came up and said he was a skilled hunter, and what he aimed at with his rifle he hit safely and surely. Then they said that if he wanted to go with them, he should have a good time, and they told him that there was a big water in front of the forest, and behind it there was a tower, and in the tower there was a beautiful king's daughter whom they wanted to steal. Yes,' he said, 'I want to get her soon. They said, "But there is something else, there is a little dog lying there, which starts to bark as soon as someone approaches, and as soon as it barks, everything in the royal court wakes up, and that is why we cannot get in; will you dare to shoot the dog to death?' 'Yes,' he said, 'that is a little fun for me. Then he got on a ship and sailed across the water, and as he was soon at the land, the little dog came running and wanted to bark, but he got his wind gun and shot it dead. When the giants saw this, they rejoiced and thought they had the king's daughter for sure, but the hunter first wanted to see how the matter was, and said they should stay outside until he called them. Then he went into the castle, and it was as quiet as a mouse, and everything was asleep. When he opened the first room, there hung on the wall a saber of pure silver, with a gold star on it and the king's name; and next to it on a table lay a sealed letter, which he broke open, and it was written that whoever had the saber could kill anything that came before him. Then he took the saber from the wall, handled it and went on his way: there he came into the room where the king's daughter lay sleeping: and she was so beautiful that he stood still and looked at her and held his breath. He thought to himself, 'How can I let an innocent maiden fall into the hands of the wild giants, who have evil in mind?' He looked around further, there were a pair of slippers under the bed, on the right one was her father's name with a star and on the left one was her own name with a star. She also had a big scarf around, of silk embroidered with gold, on the right her father's name, on the left her name, all with gold letters.
Then the huntsman took a pair of scissors, and cut off the right side and put it in his satchel, and then he also took the right slipper with the king's name on it and put it in. Now the maiden was still lying and sleeping, and she was all sewn into her shirt: so he also cut off a piece of the shirt and put it in with the other, but he did all this without touching her. Then he went away and let her sleep undisturbed, and when he came back to the gate, the giants were still standing outside, waiting for him and thinking he would bring the king's daughter. But he called to them to come in, the maiden was already in his power: he could not open the door for them, but there was a hole through which they had to crawl. Now the first one came closer, then the hunter wrapped the hair of the giant around his hand, pulled the head in and cut it off with his saber in one stroke, and then duns (pulled) it completely in. Then he called the second and cut off his head as well, and finally also the third, and was glad that he had freed the beautiful maiden from her enemies, and cut out their tongues and put them into his satchel. Then he thought, "I will go home to my father and show him what I have already done, then I will go around the world; the happiness that God wants to give me will already reach me.
When the king woke up in the castle, he saw the three giants lying dead. Then he went into his daughter's bedchamber, woke her up and asked her who it was that had killed the giants. Then she said 'dear father, I don't know, I was asleep'. When she got up to put on her slippers, the right one was gone, and when she looked at her neckerchief, it was cut and missing the right flap, and when she looked at her shirt, a piece was out. The king summoned the whole court, soldiers and all, and asked who had freed his daughter and killed the giants? Now he had a captain, who was one-eyed and an ugly man, who said he had done it. Then the old king said that if he had done it, he should also marry his daughter. But the maiden said, "Dear father, for marrying him I would rather go into the world as far as my legs will carry me. Then the king said that if she did not want to marry him, she should take off her royal clothes and put on peasant clothes and go away; and she should go to a potter and start a trade in earthenware. So she took off her royal clothes and went to a potter and borrowed a piece of earthenware; she also promised him that if she sold it in the evening, she would pay for it. Now the king told her to sit down at a corner and sell it, then he ordered several farmers' wagons to drive through the middle so that everything would fall to pieces. When the king's daughter had put her stuff on the street, the wagons came and broke it to pieces. She began to cry and said, "Oh God, how will I pay the potter now? The king wanted to force her to marry the captain, but instead she went back to the potter and asked him if he wanted to lend her some more money. He answered no, she should pay the previous one first. Then she went to her father, cried and wailed, and said she wanted to go out into the world. Then he said, "I will have a little house built for you out in the forest, and you shall sit in it all your life and cook for everyone, but you must not take any money. When the house was finished, a sign was hung in front of the door, on which was written 'today for free, tomorrow for money'.
She sat there for a long time, and word spread around the world that there was a virgin who cooked for free, and that this was written on a sign outside the door. The hunter also heard this and thought 'that would be something for you, you are poor and have no money. So he took his wind rifle and his satchel, in which he still had everything that he had taken with him as a landmark in the castle, went into the forest and also found the little house with the sign 'today for free, tomorrow for money'. He had the sword around his neck, with which he had cut off the heads of the three giants, and so he entered the cottage and asked for something to eat. He was pleased with the beautiful girl, but she was also beautiful. She asked him where he came from and where he was going, and he said, "I travel around the world. She asked him where he got the sword, because it had her father's name on it. He asked if she was the king's daughter. With this saber,' he said, 'I have cut off the heads of three giants,' and he took their tongues out of his satchel as a sign, then he showed her the slipper, the loop of the neckerchief and the piece of the shirt. She was full of joy and said that he was the one who had redeemed her. Then they went together to the old king and fetched him, and she led him into her chamber and told him that the hunter was the one who had delivered her from the giants. And when the old king saw all the signs, he could no longer doubt and said that he would like to know how everything had happened and that he should now also have her as his wife; about this the virgin rejoiced with all her heart. Then they dressed him as if he were a foreigner, and the king ordered a banquet. When they went to the table, the captain came to sit on the left side of the king's daughter, but the hunter on the right: and the captain thought that this was a foreign gentleman and had come to visit. When they had eaten and drunk, the old king said to the captain that he wanted to give him something to guess: if someone said he had killed three giants, and he was asked where the giants' tongues were, and he had to watch, and there were none in their heads, how would that happen? Then the captain said 'they will not have had any.' Not so,' said the king, 'every creature has a tongue,' and he asked what it would be worth to harm him. The captain answered, 'He belongs to be torn to pieces.' Then the king said he had pronounced his own sentence, and the captain was put in prison and then torn into four pieces, but the king's daughter was married to the hunter. After that he called his father and mother, and they lived in joy with their son, and after the old king's death he received the kingdom.