There once was a king who had an ill daughter. No doctor could cure her. The king was told that she would become well after eating an apple. So the king told the country that whoever brought her the apple would have her as wife and become king.
A peasant with three sons told the oldest to gather a basket of apples from the garden and take them to the princess in hopes that one of them would cure her. On his way the boy met “a little iron man” who asked what he had. The boy said “Frogs’ legs,” and the little man said, “So shall it be.”
When he got to the palace, all of his apples had turned to frogs’ legs and the king had him driven out. He went home and told his father what happened. So the father sent the middle son. When the middle son met the little iron man who asked what he had, he replied with “Hogs’ bristles.” When he got to the palace they didn’t want to be fooled again, but he convinced them his apples were the real deal. But his apples had all turned to hogs’ bristles and he too was driven from the palace.
The youngest son was known as Stupid Hans wanted to try. But his father said he was too stupid to do it. But Hans went anyway. When he met the little man he said he carried apples to cure the princess. When he got to the palace they didn’t want to let him in, but eventually they did. When the king saw the apples, he sent them to his daughter, who was cured as soon as she ate one.
But the king didn’t want to marry his daughter. So he challenged Hans to make a boat quicker on dry land than on water. Hans went home and told his father everything.
The eldest son went to the forest to make such a boat. At noon the little man came by and asked what he was doing. The son replied making bowls for the kitchen. When the boy finished his boat, it turned into wooden bowls. He went home and told his father.
The next day the middle son went to make such a boat, and the same thing happened.
The third day, Hans went out. When the little man came to ask what he was doing, Hans replied making a boat quicker on land than water. The little man said, “So shall it be,” and left. That evening Hans finished his boat and flew like the wind with it to the palace.
But the king still didn’t want to marry off his daughter. So he tasked Hans with taking a hundred hares out to pasture and bringing them all back. The next morning Hans took the hundred hares out. A few hours later, a servant came and said some visitors had come and the king wished to serve them hare soup. But Hans figured it was a trick and said he’d only give a hare to the princess.
After the servant left, the little man showed up. After Hans explained what he was doing, the little man gave him a whistle that would draw all the hares to him. The princess came out and Hans gave her a hare, but after she had gone he whistled and it hopped back.
But the king still didn’t want to marry off his daughter, so he challenged Hans to bring back a feather from the Griffin’s tail. So Hans set out. That night he came to a castle and spent the night. When he told them he was going to see the Griffin – who knew everything – they asked him to ask about their lost key to the money chest. The next night, Hans came to another castle with a sick daughter. They asked him to ask the Griffin how to cure her. The third day Hans came to a lake. Instead of a ferry, there was a tall man who carried people across. He wanted Hans to ask the Griffin why he had to carry everyone across the lake.
Hans arrived at the Griffin’s house, but only his wife was in. She told him that the Griffin ate Christians so he should leave. But Hans explained everything and the wife told him to hide under the bed. In the night when the Griffin was asleep, he could pull out a feather and she would ask his questions.
When the Griffin arrived home he said that he could smell a Christian, and the wife said that one had been there but had left. That night once the Griffin was asleep, Hans yanked out a feather. This woke the Griffin who said he could still smell a Christian. The wife explained that one was there and had asked questions about a lost key, a sick, princess, and a guy bored with carrying people across a lake. The Griffin explained that the key was under a log in the wood-house, the girl was sick because a toad had made a nest with her hair, and all the bored ferryman had to do was set someone down in the middle of the lake and he would be done.
The next morning the Griffin left and shortly afterwards Hans did as well. When he came to the lake, he told the ferryman to carry him across and then he’d tell him what the Griffin told him. The man did, and when he told him to just set someone down in the middle of the lake, the ferryman was so happy he offered to carry Hans across the lake twice more, but Hans said he was good.
At the second castle he found the toad’s nest and the princess got her hair and health back. Her parents gave him all the gold and silver they could. At the first castle, after finding the key, they gave him more gifts and livestock.
When he got back the king asked where he had gotten everything. Hans told him the Griffin gave everyone what they asked for. So the king set out and got to the lake. He was the first person to come along, so the ferryman set him down in the middle of the lake and left. The king drowned. Hans married the princess and became king.
Is this how the little man announced himself?
So the oldest brother was a bit of a jerk saying he had frogs’ legs, but how stupid was the middle brother to repeat the mistake? And how stupid were both of them for still being a jerk to the iron man when building their boats?
Did nobody else try to cure the princess?
Why did the older brothers try to make boats? If the king didn’t want to marry his daughter to the man who brought the apple that cured her, why would he marry her to guys who brought frogs’ legs and hogs’ bristles?
Where did the little man go? Was he tired dealing with Hans and he left?
One story, two sick princesses.
This reminds me a lot of “The Devil’s Three Gold Hairs.”
What exactly to Christians smell like?
What exactly do these devils and griffins do all day to be out of the house?