“The Skillful Huntsman”
There once was a locksmith who decided he didn’t like locksmithing anymore and decided to become a huntsman. He met a huntsman who agreed to teach him. After a few years of training, the new huntsman set off on his own. The old huntsman had an air-gun that always hit what it was aimed at, and he gave it to the younger man.
As the huntsman was traveling in a forest, he climbed a tree to spend the night. Around midnight, he saw a light off in the distance. He went towards it, and found it to be a large fire where three giants were roasting an ox. One giant went to taste the meat to see if it was done, and the huntsman shot it out of his hand. He did this a couple more times.
At first, the giant thought another one had snatched it out of his hand, but they soon figured it must be a sharpshooter. So they called out that if he came to the fire they wouldn’t hurt him, but if they made them look for him they would kill him.
The huntsman went to the fire and the giants told him that there was a princess in a tower they wished to carry off, but there was a little dog that barked and woke the castle. So if the huntsman would shoot the dog, the giants would reward him.
So the huntsman went and killed the dog. The giants were ready to go for the princess, but the huntsman told them to wait and he went into the castle. In the first room he found a great sword with a sealed letter. The huntsman opened the letter and found that the sword would kill anyone it was used on. So the huntsman took it.
The next door was the princess’ bedroom. She was so beautiful, the huntsman knew that he couldn’t give her to the giants. So he cut off part of her neck-kerchief, part of her nightdress, and took one of her slippers.
So the huntsman had the giants crawl in through a hole in the wall one at a time. As they came in, he cut off their heads. He then cut out their tongues and put them in his knapsack with the slipper and everything else. He then went back home.
The next morning the king found the dead giants. He called everyone together to ask who had done it. The king’s captain was a hideous man and he claimed that he had killed the giants. The king wanted to marry his daughter to him, but she refused. So the king said she should put on peasant clothes and go be a potter.
So the princess got some pots to sell in the town, but the king paid some peasants to drive over her wares and break them all. The king figured she would be so destitute she would agree to marry the captain.
But instead, the king had a hut built in the middle of the forest where she was to stay the rest of her days cooking for everyone, but not taking any payment.
After several years, the huntsman heard of this cooking maiden. When he went in, she saw his sword and knew where it came from, and he told his story. They told the king everything, and he said they should marry. So they dressed the huntsman as a foreign lord and had a feast. Afterwards, the king asked the captain what should happen to anyone who lied about killing giants, and the captain said they should be torn into pieces. So he was. And the huntsman and the princess were married and lived happily ever after.
So, the old huntsman just had a magic air-gun laying around? Was it an extra one he had? Why would he part with such a weapon?
Why did the new huntsman decide to shoot the meat out of the giant’s hand? What was the point?
So the giants couldn’t just … step on the little dog and be done with it?
You know how you have sealed letters just lying about telling you the magical properties of a sword. So anyone could just walk into the castle and go right to the armory and the princess’ bedroom?
So instead of just killing the giants and taking credit, he decides it’s better to steal a slipper. Makes sense.