“The Knapsack, the Hat, and the Horn”
There were three brothers who were so poor they went off to seek their fortune. After traveling for some time, they came across a hill of silver. The eldest brother thought that very fine and filled his pockets with all he could carry and turned back home. The other two wanted more. After traveling some time, they came upon a hill of gold. The middle brother filled his pockets and turned for home. But the youngest still wasn’t satisfied.
After traveling for several days, the youngest brother came to a vast wood. He was near starving and climbed a tree to see if there were anyone nearby but could not see anything. As he climbed down, he wished for a good meal. On the ground was a table spread with food and he ate until he was full.
Figuring it a waste of a good tablecloth, he folded it up and took it with him. When he was hungry again he spread the tablecloth and wished for another meal and it appeared. So he realized it was a wishing cloth.
Wanting more than just a wishing cloth, he continued his journey. One evening he came upon a charcoal burner who invited him to share his meager meal. But the youngest brother brought out his wishing cloth and fed the man.
At the end of the meal, the charcoal burner wished to trade for the cloth. He had a knapsack that when struck by your hand would produce a corporal and six men with swords and muskets to do whatever you wish. So they traded.
The youngest brother set off a bit, then stopped to try the knapsack. He struck it and men popped out. He ordered them to go back to the charcoal burner and take the wishing cloth back. This done, he went further into the woods.
Over the next couple of days, the youngest brother came across two more charcoal burners. They shared a meal, then traded, then the brother used the soldiers to take the cloth back. The second charcoal burner had a hat that when you put it on it was if a dozen cannon had gone off. The third charcoal burner had a horn which would knock down town and fortress walls.
The brother then felt comfortable enough to go home to see his older brothers. But since he wasn’t dressed fine, they thought him a beggar and threw him from their homes. So he struck his knapsack again and again until he had a sizable group of men to surround his brother’s homes and sent two to beat his brothers until they recognized him.
This commotion drew a crowd, but since his army was too great, the King sent in his troops, but the brother just produced more men and they beat back the King’s troops. The next day the King sent even more troops, but the brother just produced more and he used his hat.
The brother then claimed he wouldn’t make peace until the King wed his daughter to him and gave him the kingdom. The King didn’t have any choice, so that was done.
But the princess didn’t care for the youngest brother and schemed to get rid of him. She learned the secret of the knapsack and managed to slip it away from him and ran and hid. She struck it and commanded the soldiers to bring the brother to the King. But he still had his hat, and he was able to beat back the soldiers until the princess begged him to stop.
But she only pretended to love him and one night while he slept, she took off with the knapsack and the hat. But he still had the horn, and he blew on it and knocked the walls down upon the King and the princess. After that, nobody would move against him and he made himself King.
Ah yes, the common hills of silver and gold. How did they come about, and how did no one else ever find them and carry them off?
So he passes up hills of silver and gold, but takes a good tablecloth?
I guess it was a good thing it was a wishing cloth and not a wishing table which he left behind.
What are all these charcoal burners doing in the middle of a vast forest with nobody around to buy their charcoal? And how did they each end up with such violent trinkets?
Who trades away a wishing tablecloth just on the word that a knapsack is magical?
Did the first charcoal burner use the knapsack to have extra hands to make charcoal? And why did the brother wait so long to test to see if he was getting a fair trade with each thing he “stole?”
Didn’t the princess just think of stabbing him in his sleep?
Today, the youngest brother reads as a tyrannical bastard. But I wonder if in the olden days, he was better received as just a powerful ruler.