GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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458                               IRON HANS. -
of ducats. He thanked her, but he did not care for the money, and as he left the castle he met the gardener, and said to him: " See, here is all this money; I don't want it; give it to your children to play with."
The next day the princess again desired him to bring her a nosegay of fresh flowers, and when he entered her room, she sud­denly caught hold of his hat to pull it off, but he held it firmly with both hands, and she could not remove it. However she gave him again a handful of ducats, which he would not keep, but sent them to the gardener's children.
The third day the same occurred. He took the princess a nose gay; she tried to pull off his hat, but without success, and he would not keep the money she gave him.
Not long after this, war was declared in the country in which he now lived, and the king assembled his troops to go to battle; but he knew not the strength of the enemy's forces, or whether they had a more numerous host of warriors than his own.
On hearing of the war, the gardener's boy said : " I am grown up now, and I should like to go to battle, if I could have a horse."
The soldiers laughed at him, and said: "When we are gone, then you go and look in the stable; we will leave a horse there for you."
He went to the stable, as they had told him, and found a horse certainly; but it was lame in one foot, and halted as it walked. He mounted his sorry steed, however, and rode away to the borders of the forest, and, standing still, called out three times, "Iron Hans," so loud that the trees echoed the sound.
In a moment the wild man appeared, and said: "What do you wish for?1"
"I want a strong horse to carry me to the battle," he replied.
"That you shall have, and still more if you want it." On say­ing this, the wild man went back into the forest \ and presently appeared a groom coming towards the young man, and leading a beautiful horse, snorting and curvetting, which could scarcely be held in; and behind him followed a troop of warriors clothed in bright steel, their swords glittering in the sun.
The youth gave up to the groom his three-legged horse, mounted the spirited creature, and rode away at the head of his troop of warriors. When they reached the battle-field, they found that a