Clumsy Hans


Out in the country there was an old mansion where an old squire lived with his two sons, who were so witty that they thought themselves too clever for words. They decided to go out and propose to the King's daughter, which they were at liberty to do, for she had announced publicly that she would take for a husband the man who had the most to say for himself.
The two brothers made their preparations for eight days beforehand. That was all the time they had, but it was enough, for they had many accomplishments, and everyone knows how useful they can be. One of them knew the whole Latin dictionary by heart and the town's newspaper for three years - so well that he could repeat it backward or forward. The other had learned all the articles of law and knew what every alderman must know; consequently, he was sure he could talk of governmental affairs, and besides this he could embroider suspenders, for he was very gentle and also clever with his fingers.
"I shall win the Princess!" they both said, as their father gave each one of them a beautiful horse. The one who had memorized the dictionary and the newspapers had a coal-black horse, while the one who knew all about governmental affairs and could embroider had a milk-white one. Then they smeared the corners of their mouths with cod-liver oil, to make them more glib.
All the servants assembled in the courtyard to watch them mount their horses, but just then the third brother came up; for there were really three, although nobody paid much attention to the third, because he was not so learned as the other two. In fact, everybody called him "Clumsy Hans."
"Where are you going in all your Sunday clothes?" he asked.
"To the King's court, to woo the Princess. Haven't you heard what the King's drummer is proclaiming all over the country?" Then they told him about it.
"Gracious," said Clumsy Hans, "I guess I'll go, too!" But his brothers only burst out laughing at him as they rode away.
"Father," shouted Clumsy Hans, "Let me have a horse. I feel like getting married, too. If she takes me, she takes me; and if she doesn't take me, I'll take her, anyway."
"That's a lot of nonsense!" replied his father. "You'll get no horse from me. Why, you don't know how to talk properly. Now, your brothers are intelligent men."
"If I can't have a horse I'll take the billy goat," said Clumsy Hans. "He belongs to me, and he can carry me very well." So he mounted the billy goat, dug his heels into its sides, and galloped off down the highway.
"Alley-oop! What a ride! Here I come!" shouted Clumsy Hans, singing so loud that his voice was heard far away.
But his two brothers rode quietly on ahead of him. They were not speaking a word to each other, for they were thinking about all the clever speeches they would have to make, and of course these had to be carefully prepared and memorized beforehand.
"Halloo!" cried Clumsy Hans. "Here I come! Look what I found on the road!" Then he showed them a dead crow he had picked up.
"Clumsy!" said the brothers. "What are you going to do with that?"
"Why, I am going to give it to the Princess!"
"Yes, you do that," they said as they rode on laughing.
"Halloo, here I come again! Just look what I've found this time! You don't find things like this in the road every day!" So the brothers turned around to see what it was this time.
"Clumsy!" they said. "That's just an old wooden shoe, and the upper part's broken off, anyway. Is the Princess going to have that, too?"
"She certainly is," replied Hans, and the brothers again laughed and rode on far in advance of him.
"Halloo! Here I am again," shouted Clumsy Hans. "Now this is getting better and better! This is really something!"
"Well, what have you found this time?" asked the brothers.
"Oh, I can't really tell you," Clumsy Hans said. "How pleased the Princess will be!"
"Uh!" said the brothers. "Why, it's nothing but mud out of the ditch!"
"Yes, of course," said Clumsy Hans, "but the very finest sort of mud. Look, it runs right through your fingers." Then he filled his pockets with it.
But his brothers galloped on ahead as fast as they could, and so they arrived at the town gate a full hour ahead of Hans. At the gate each suitor was given a numbered ticket, and as fast as they arrived they were arranged in rows, six to a row, packed together so tightly that they could not even move their arms. That was a wise plan, for otherwise they could have cut each other's backs to pieces, just because one stood in front of another. All the inhabitants of the town stood around the castle, peering in through the windows to watch the Princess receive her suitors; but as each young man came into the room, he became tongue-tied.
"No good!" said the Princess. "Take him away!"
Now came the brother who had memorized the dictionary, but he had completely forgotten it while standing in line. The floor creaked under his footsteps, and the ceiling was made of mirrors so that he could see himself standing on his head; and at each window stood three clerks and an alderman, writing down every word that was spoken, so that it immediately could be printed in the newspapers and sold for two pennies on the street corners.
It was a terrible ordeal, and besides there were such fires in the stoves that the pipe was red-hot.
"It's terribly hot in here," said the suitor.
"That's because my father is roasting chickens today," said the Princess.
"Baa!" There he stood. He was not ready for a speech of this kind and hadn't a word to say, just when he wanted to say something extremely witty. "Baa!"
"No good!" said the Princess. "Take him away!" And consequently he had to leave.
Now the second brother approached.
"It's dreadfully warm here," he said.
"Yes, we're roasting chickens today," replied the Princess.
"What-what did you-uh-what?" he stammered, and all the clerks carefully wrote down, "What-what did you-uh-what?"
"No good," said the Princess again. "Out with him!"
Now it was Clumsy Hans's turn, and he rode his billy goat right into the hall.
"Terribly hot in here," he said.
"I'm roasting young chickens," replied the Princess.
"Why, that's fine!" said Clumsy Hans. "Then I suppose I can get my crow roasted?"
"That you can," said the Princess. "But have you anything to roast it in? I haven't any pots or pans."
"But I have," replied Clumsy Hans. "Here's a cooking pot with a tin handle!" Then he pulled out the old wooden shoe and put the crow right into it.
"Why, that's enough for a whole meal!" said the Princess. "But where do we get the sauce from?"
"I have that in my pocket," replied Clumsy Hans. "In fact, I have so much I can afford to spill some of it." Then he poured a little of the mud from his pocket.
"I like that!" said the Princess. "You have an answer for everything, and you know how to speak. I'll take you for my husband. But do you know that everything we've said and are saying is written down and will be published in the paper tomorrow? Look over there, and you'll see in each window three clerks and an old alderman, and that alderman is the worst of all; he doesn't understand anything!"
She said this only to frighten him, but all the clerks chuckled with delight and spurted blots of ink on the floor.
"Oh, so these are the gentlemen!" said Clumsy Hans. "Then I must give the alderman the best thing I have." Then he turned out his pockets and threw the wet mud in the face of the alderman.
"Cleverly done!" said the Princess. "I could never have done that, but I'll learn in time!"
So Clumsy Hans was made a king, with a wife and a crown, and sat on a throne. And we had this story straight from the alderman's newspaper-but that is one you can't always depend upon.
Ude på landet var der en gammel gård, og i den var der en gammel herremand, som havde to sønner, der var så vittige, at det halve var nok; de ville fri til kongens datter og det turde de, for hun havde ladet kundgøre at hun ville tage til mand, den, hun fandt bedst kunne tale for sig.
De to forberedte sig nu i otte dage, det var den længste tid de havde til det, men det var også nok, for de havde forkundskaber og de er nyttige. Den ene kunne udenad hele det latinske leksikon og byens avis for tre år, og det både forfra og bagfra; den anden havde gjort sig bekendt med alle lavsartiklerne og hvad hver oldermand måtte vide, så kunne han tale med om staten, mente han, dernæst forstod han også at brodere seler, for han var fin og fingernem.
"Jeg får kongedatteren!" sagde de begge to, og så gav deres fader dem hver en dejlig hest; han, som kunne leksikonet og aviserne fik en kulsort, og han, som var oldermandsklog og broderede fik en mælkehvid, og så smurte de sig i mundvigene med levertran, for at de kunne blive mere smidige. Alle tjenestefolkene var nede i gården for at se dem stige til hest; i det samme kom den tredje broder, for der var tre, men der var ingen der regnede ham med, som broder, for han havde ikke sådan lærdom som de to, og ham kaldte de bare Klods-Hans.
"Hvor skal I hen siden I er i stadstøjet?" spurgte han.
"Til hove for at snakke os kongedatteren til! Har du ikke hørt hvad trommen går om over hele landet!" Og så fortalte de ham det.
"Hille den, så må jeg nok med!" sagde Klods-Hans og brødrene lo af ham og red af sted.
"Fader, lad mig få en hest!" råbte Klods-Hans. "Jeg får sådan en lyst til at gifte mig. Ta'r hun mig, så ta'r hun mig! og ta'r hun mig ikke, så ta'r jeg hende alligevel!"
"Det er noget snak!" sagde faderen, "Dig giver jeg ingen hest. Du kan jo ikke tale! nej, brødrene det er stads-karle!"
"Må jeg ingen hest få!" sagde Klods-Hans, "så ta'r jeg gedebukken, den er min egen, og den kan godt bære mig!" og så satte han sig skrævs over gedebukken, stak sine hæle i siden på den og fór af sted hen ad landevejen. Huj! hvor det gik. "Her kommer jeg!" sagde Klods-Hans, og så sang han så at det skingrede efter.
Men brødrene red ganske stille forud; de talte ikke et ord, de måtte tænke over på alle de gode indfald, de ville komme med, for det skulle nu være så udspekuleret!
"Halehoj!" råbte Klods-Hans, "her kommer jeg! se hvad jeg fandt på landevejen!" og så viste han dem en død krage, han havde fundet!
"Klods!" sagde de, "hvad vil du med den?"
"Den vil jeg forære til kongedatteren!"
"Ja, gør du det!" sagde de, lo og red videre.
"Halehoj! her kommer jeg! se, hvad jeg nu har fundet, det finder man ikke hver dag på landevejen!"
Og brødrene vendte om igen for at se hvad det var. "Klods!" sagde de, "det er jo en gammel træsko, som overstykket er gået af! skal kongedatteren også ha' den?"
"Det skal hun!" sagde Klods-Hans; og brødrene lo og de red og de kom langt forud.
"Halehoj! her er jeg!" råbte Klods-Hans; "nej, nu bliver det værre og værre! halehoj! det er mageløst!"
"Hvad har du nu fundet!" sagde brødrene.
"Oh!" sagde Klods-Hans, "det er ikke til at tale om! hvor hun vil blive glad, kongedatteren!"
"Uh!" sagde brødrene, "det er jo pludder der er kastet lige op af grøften!"
"Ja det er det!" sagde Klods-Hans, "og det er den fineste slags, man kan ikke holde på den!" og så fyldte han lommen.
Men brødrene red alt hvad tøjet kunne holde, og så kom de en hel time forud og holdt ved byens port, og der fik frierne nummer efter som de kom, og blev sat i række, seks i hvert geled og så tæt at de ikke kunne røre armene, og det var nu meget godt, for ellers havde de sprættet rygstykkerne op på hverandre, bare fordi den ene stod foran den anden.
Alle landets øvrige indvånere stod rundt om slottet, lige op til vinduerne for at se kongedatteren tage mod frierne, og ligesom en af dem kom ind i stuen, slog talegaven klik for ham.
"Dur ikke!" sagde kongedatteren. "Væk!"
Nu kom den af brødrene, som kunne leksikonet, men det havde han rent glemt ved at stå i række, og gulvet knirkede og loftet var af spejlglas, så at han så sig selv på hovedet, og ved hvert vindue stod tre skrivere og en oldermand, der hver skrev op alt hvad der blev sagt, at det straks kunne komme i avisen og sælges for to skilling på hjørnet. Det var frygteligt, og så havde de fyret sådan i kakkelovnen, at den var rød i tromlen!
"Det er en svær varme her er herinde!" sagde frieren.
"Det er fordi min fader i dag steger hanekyllinger!" sagde kongedatteren.
"Bæh!" der stod han, den tale havde han ikke ventet; ikke et ord vidste han at sige, for noget morsomt ville han have sagt. Bæh!
"Dur ikke!" sagde kongedatteren. "Væk!" og så måtte han af sted. Nu kom den anden broder.
"Her er en forfærdelig hede!" - sagde han.
"Ja, vi steger hanekyllinger i dag!" sagde kongedatteren.
"Hvad be - hvad?" sagde han, og alle skriverne skrev hvad be - hvad!
"Dur ikke!" sagde kongedatteren. "Væk!"
Nu kom Klods-Hans, han red på gedebukken lige ind i stuen. "Det var da en gloende hede!" sagde han.
"Det er fordi jeg steger hanekyllinger!" sagde kongedatteren.
"Det var jo rart det!" sagde Klods-Hans, "så kan jeg vel få en krage stegt?"
"Det kan De meget godt!" sagde kongedatteren, "men har De noget at stege den i, for jeg har hverken potte eller pande!"
"Men det har jeg!" sagde Klods-Hans. "Her er kogetøj med tinkrampe!" og så trak han den gamle træsko frem og satte kragen midt i den.
"Det er til et helt måltid!" sagde kongedatteren, "men hvor får vi dyppelse fra!"
"Den har jeg i lommen!" sagde Klods-Hans. "Jeg har så meget jeg kan spilde af det!" og så hældte han lidt pludder af lommen.
"Det kan jeg lide!" sagde kongedatteren, "Du kan da svare! og du kan tale og dig vil jeg have til mand! men ved du, at hvert ord vi siger og har sagt, skrives op og kommer i morgen i avisen! ved hvert vindue ser du stå tre skrivere og en gammel oldermand, og oldermanden er den værste for han kan ikke forstå!" og det sagde hun nu for at gøre ham bange. Og alle skriverne vrinskede og slog en blækklat på gulvet.
"Det er nok herskabet!" sagde Klods-Hans, "så må jeg give oldermanden det bedste!" og så vendte han sine lommer og gav ham pludderet i ansigtet.
"Det var fint gjort!" sagde kongedatteren, "det kunne jeg ikke have gjort! men jeg skal nok lære det!" -
Og så blev Klods-Hans konge, fik en kone og en krone og sad på en trone, og det har vi lige ud af oldermandens avis - og den er ikke til at stole på!