Once there lived a farmer, who was blessed with plenty
of money and property. But as rich as he was, there
was one thing missing from his fortune: he and his wife
had no children. Often when he went into the city
with the other farmers, they mocked him and asked
why he didn’t have any children.
Finally he became so angry that one day when he returned
home he said “I want a child, even if it’s a hedgehog.”
And so it was, his wife soon bore a son. But the top
of the child’s body was a hedgehog and only the lower
part was a boy. When the farmer’s wife saw the child,
she recoiled and said “See what you
have brought down upon us!”
The man replied “It's no use complaining now!
The boy must be baptized and I doubt very much
we will be able to find a godfather.”
His wife answered “That doesn’t matter because the only name
we can use to baptize him is Hans-My-Hedgehog.”
Eight years later, there was a market in the city and
the farmer wanted to go. He asked his wife what he should
bring her. “A bit of meat and a few rolls, those things we
need for our household,” she answered.
Then he asked the maid. She wanted slippers and a
few socks. Finally he asked “Hans-My-Hedgehog, what
do you want?” “Dear father,” he said “Bring me a bagpipe.”
When the farmer returned home, he gave his wife
what he had purchased, meat and bread.
Then he gave the maid the slippers and stockings.
Finally he went behind the stove and gave
Hans-My-Hedgehog the bagpipe.
And when Hans-My-Hedgehog had the bagpipe, he said
“Dear father, go to the smithy and have him shoe my
rooster, because I want to ride away and never more return.”
The father was pleased that he would be rid of him and
had the rooster shod. When it was finished,
Hans-My-Hedgehog mounted the bird and rode away.
He took with him several pigs and donkeys, which he
wanted to graze in the forest. Once in the forest,
the rooster flew with him up into a high tree.
There he sat and guarded the donkeys and pigs and sat
many years until, finally, the herd was very large.
But his father didn’t know anything about him.
As he passed his time sitting in the tree, he blew into
his bagpipe and made music and it was very beautiful.
Once a king came riding by. He became lost and heard
the music. In amazement, he sent his servant and
said he should look around and see where the music
was coming from. But the servant found nothing else
than a small animal sitting up in a tree. It looked like a
rooster on which a hedgehog sat playing music.
The king told his servant he should ask why he was sitting
there and whether he knew the way back to his kingdom.
Hans-My-Hedgehog climbed down from the tree and said
he would show the way if the king would promise to write
down and promise to him the first thing he encountered
at the royal court when he returned home.
The king thought “That will be easy. Hans-My-Hedgehog
can’t read and I can write down whatever I want.”
The king took a quill and some ink and wrote something
down and when it was done, Hans-My-Hedgehog showed
him the way and he arrived happily at home.
But it was his daughter who saw him from afar and was so happy
that she ran to meet him and kissed him.
The king thought about Hans-My-Hedgehog and told her
what had happened and that the strange creature told him
to write down the first thing he encountered.
And the little animal sat on a rooster like a horse and
played pretty music. He intended to write down something
but Hans-My-Hedgehog couldn’t read it anyway.
The princess was happy with this solution and said,
she never wanted to leave the king’s castle.
~Read the rest of the story here!