There was a man who had three sons. Most people consider his youngest son very silly, and they often mock and make fun of him. One day the eldest son was going to the forest to cut wood. Before he left, his mother prepared delicious pancakes and a bottle of wine for his journey, so he will not suffer from hunger or thirst.

When the eldest son entered the forest, he met a gray old man. The old man greeted him politely. "Good-morning,” said the old man. "Please give me some food and something to drink, because I am very hungry and thirsty.”

The clever son replied: "No. If I give you my cake and wine, I will not have any for myself. So go away!" He left the man standing and went on.

The eldest son began cutting down a tree. But then, somehow he made a false stroke. His axe slipped and cut his arm so badly. He had no other choice than to go home and have his injury taken care of.

The following day, the second son also wanted to go into the forest to cut wood. So his mother gave him a delicious cake and a bottle of wine. When he entered the wood, he met the same old man. The old man begged for a little piece of cake and some wine because he was hungry and thirsty. The second son answered very rudely: "No. I want these for myself, so go away!"



He walked on, leaving the old man standing in the road. His punishment came soon after that. Somehow he hit his leg with his axe, got terribly injured, and went home in great pain.

The youngest son said to his father, "Let me go to the forest to cut wood."

But his father replied: "No. Your smart brothers have been hurt already. It would surely be worse for you, who have no experience in wood-cutting."

But the youngest son begged so hard to his father to be allowed to go to the forest. His father finally said : "Fine, go to the forest to cut wood. But don't blame me if something bad happened to you."

Unlike what she prepared for his older brothers, the mother only prepared a badly made cake, and a bottle of water.

When the youngest son reached the wood, the same old man met him. Just like before, the old man said: "Please give me some food and water from your bottle. I am very hungry and thirsty."

"Oh," replied the youngest son, "But I only have a badly made cake, which has been baked in the ashes, and a bottle of water. But let's sit down, and eat and drink together."



So they seated themselves. When the young man opened his basket, he was really surprised. The badly made cake had been turned into a beautiful delicious cake. And the bottle of water turned into wine. After they had eaten and drank, the old man said to him: "Thank you. Because you have been very kind, and shared your dinner with me, I will make you very lucky in the future. There is an old tree in the forest. Cut the tree down, and you will find something good at the root." Then, the old man left him.

The young man set to work. After succeeded in felling the old tree, he found a goose, sitting at the roots. It was not an ordinary goose. The goose's feathers were of pure gold. He took the goose, and, instead of going home immediately, he carried it with him to an inn nearby, where he was going to pass the night.

The owner of the inn had three daughters. They looked at the golden goose enviously. They had never seen such a wonderful goose. They all wanted to have at least one of its golden feathers.



"Ah," thought the eldest daughter, "Soon I will have an opportunity to pluck one feather." After the young man left the room, the eldest daughter quickly approached the bird and took hold of its wing to pluck one feather. But then, her finger and thumb got stuck and she could not set herself free. Minutes later the second sister came in. She also wanted to get a golden feather. But when she touched her sister to move her from the goose, her hand got stuck to her sister’s dress. Neither of them could free herself. Minutes later, the third sister came with the same intention, to pluck a golden feather. "No, keep away, keep away!" screamed the other two. "Don't do it, and keep away!"

The youngest daughter did not understand why she should keep away. So she touched her second sister, and immediately got stuck. They could not free themselves so they all had to remain by the goose all night.

In the morning the young man came in, and took the golden goose. He simply went away. He did not even care about the three girls, who were following close behind him. And because the young man walked very quickly, the three girls had to run one behind the other, because they are magically stuck to the golden goose.



Most people who saw the young man and the three girls thought that it was inappropriate for the girls to run after a young man like that. But when they tried to stop the three girls, four of them also got magically stuck. When the young man finally arrived in a city, he got seven people attached to his golden goose.

The city was ruled by a king who had a daughter who seemed to be sad all the time.  No one could make her laugh. That is why the king issued a decree that whoever would make the princess laugh should have her in marriage.

When the young man heard this, he ran in front of the princess, and the whole seven attached to his golden goose followed after him. The sight was so ridiculous that the moment the princess saw it she burst into a violent fit of laughter and they thought she would never stop.

After this, the young man went to the king. He demanded his daughter in marriage. But the king did not quite like to have the young man for a son-in-law. So the king said that, before he could marry his daughter, the young man must bring him a man who could drink all the wine in the king's storage.



The young man quickly went into the forest. He thought, "If anyone can help me, it is the gray old man with his magic." When he arrived at the place where he had cut down the old tree, he met a man with a very sad face.

The young man asked him why he looked so sad.

"Oh," he said, "I am very very thirsty and nothing seems able to quench it. And I cannot simply drink cold water. I have already emptied a cask of wine, but it was just like a drop of water on a hot stone."

"I can help you," said the young man. "Come with me, and you shall have your fill, I promise you."

Upon this he led the man into the king’s wine storage, where he opened the casks one after another, and drank and drank till his back ached. Before the end of the day he had quite emptied the king’s wine storage.

Again the young man asked for his bride. But the king did not like the thought of giving his daughter to such a common fellow. To get rid of the young man he made another condition. The king said that to marry his daughter, first he must find someone that's able to eat up a whole mountain of bread.



Just like before, the young man went back to the forest. And there in the same place sat a man binding himself round tightly with a belt, and making the most horrible faces. As the young man approached, he cried, "I have eaten a whole ovenfull of rolls, but it has not satisfied me a bit; I am as hungry as ever, and my stomach feels so empty that I am obliged to bind it round tightly, or I should die of hunger."

The young man could hardly contain himself for joy when he heard this. "Get up," he exclaimed, "and come with me, and I will give you plenty to eat, I’ll warrant."

So he led him to the king’s court, where his majesty had ordered all the flour in the kingdom to be made into bread, and piled up in a huge mountain. The hungry man placed himself before the bread, and began to eat, and before evening the whole pile had disappeared.

Then the young man went a third time to the king, and asked for his bride, but the king made several excuses, and at last said that if he could bring him a ship that would travel as well by land as by water, then he should, without any further conditions, marry his daughter.

The young man went at once straight to the forest, and saw the same old gray man to whom he had given his cake. "Ah," he said, as the young man approached, "I was the one who sent the men to eat and drink, and I will also give you a ship that can travel by land or by sea, because when you thought I was poor you were kind-hearted, and gave me food and drink."

The young man took the ship, and when the king saw it he was really surprised. But the king could not any longer refuse to give him his daughter in marriage. The wedding was celebrated with great ceremony, and after the king’s death the simple wood-cutter inherited the whole kingdom, and lived happily with his wife.


Source :

Partially simplified by Dwi