After working hard for seven years, Hans thought it was time to quit his job and go visit his mother. He asked his boss for his paycheck. ‘You have always been loyal to me and you have worked hard’, answered his boss. ‘I am going to give you a piece of gold, you have deserved it fair and square!’ The piece of gold was as big as Hans’ head. He wrapped the gold in a big cloth and threw it over his shoulder and went on his way.
Slowly Hans was strolling over the road when a rider on a big horse came riding by. ‘Hello rider,’ greeted Hans cheerfully. ‘It must be so lovely to be riding such a beautiful animal. It won’t ruin your shoes and you won’t get tired at all.’ The rider stopped, looked at Hans and said: ‘Why are you walking then?’ Hans answered: ‘I didn’t have a choice. I have to carry this big lump of gold. My neck and shoulders are hurting, but I still have a long way to go.’
‘You know what Hans,’ said the rider, ‘let’s trade. You get my horse and I get your gold.’ ‘Oh that would be great!’ Hans yelled, ‘but I have to be honest, that piece of gold is very heavy. Carrying it won’t be easy.’ The rider mounted off his horse, took the gold and helped Hans in the saddle. ‘This horse is fast, but if you want to go even faster you yell trot, trot, trot, horse go in gallop,’ said the rider and the two men said their goodbyes.
Hans was delighted and rode on the horse at an easy pace. Then he realized he could arrive at his mother’s house sooner. So he yelled: ‘Trot, trot, trot, horse go in gallop.’ The horse speeded off and Hans was thrown off the horse into a pond. The horse would have run off, but a farmer who was passing with a cow stopped it.
‘Oh my, farmer.’ spoke Hans, ‘I could have broken my neck. Never again shall I ride a horse. A cow seems like a better animal. You can walk safely behind it and with its milk you can make butter and cheese.’ ‘Well,’ said the farmer, ‘if you want, we can swope animals?’ Hans was happy with the suggestion, so they traded. On his way home he thought of all the advantages. ‘Now I have milk and I can make yummy butter and cheese’ he thought to himself and his mouth started watering.
The afternoon sun started to shine brighter and brighter and Hans got thirsty. ‘Luckily I have my cow and I can drink its milk.’, he thought happily. He took off his leather hat to catch the milk in it. But no matter how hard he tried, the cow didn’t give a drop of milk. A butcher approached Hans with a wheelbarrow with a little pig. When Hans explained to him what he was doing, the butcher answered: ‘That cow is too old to give milk. You should butcher it for its meat!’
‘Oh,’ said Hans, ‘a whole cow would yield a lot of meat, but I don’t like the taste of beef. It’s not juicy. But such a young pig…you could make a delicious sausage.’ ‘I shall do you a favor,’ said the butcher, ‘I’m willing to trade my pig for your cow.’
‘I am so lucky,’ thought Hans and happily he continued on his journey. He met a boy with a white goose. They talked for a bit and Hans told him about all the luck that was happening to him. Then the boy told him he had heard a rumour. A pig was stolen from the mayor, which could very well be Hans’ pig. ‘I think you have been cheated,’ said the boy. ‘I would get rid of it, before you end up in jail.’
‘Oh my goodness,’ thought Hans, ‘thank you for warning me!’ ‘I wouldn’t be able to sleep peacefully, if I hadn’t,’ the boy said, ‘if you want, we can trade and I will hide the pig and you get my goose.’ ‘That would be great,’ Hans said, ‘I will be very grateful.’ And that’s how Hans continued his travels with a goose under his arm.
On his way he met a knife sharpener. When he asked Hans why he was walking with a goose, Hans told him the whole story. About the luck he had on his way by making good trades. The knife sharpener said to Hans that he was lucky they met. ‘You should become a knife sharpener, then you will always have money,’ he said. ‘The only thing you have to do is trade your goose for my rock.’ Hans thought it was a great idea and traded his goose for the rock.
Because of the heavy rock Hans was walking very slowly. He was happy to see a well. He put his rock on the edge of the well to have a sip of water. But oh no, his rock fell into the well! Never ever was Hans so happy, now he didn’t have to carry the heavy rock anymore. Happy as a clam that he was freed from the heavy burden, he continued his way home whistling and was excited to see his mother.