The Golden Goose

The Golden Goose :

Once there lived an old man in a village. He had three sons. The youngest was named Somu. He was despised and slighted and ignored on every occasion. One day the eldest son wished to go into the forest to hew wood His mother gave him a fine package of food with potatoes. Just as he got into the forest, he met a grey old man who bade him good-day and said, "Give me a little food of your package and a little water to drink for I am very hungry and thirsty.’

The prudent youth, however, would not, saying, "If I give you my food and water, I shall have nothing left for myself. No… pack-off!" and he left the man there and went onwards. He now began to hew down a tree. But he had not made many strokes before he missed his aim and the axe cut into his arm so deeply that he was forced to go home and have it dressed. But this wound came from the little old man.

Afterwards the second son went into the forest and the mother gave him as she had given the eldest a package of food with potatoes and water to drink. The same little old man met him also and requested for a little food of his package and a little water to drink. But he likewise refused and said, "If I give you my food. I cannot have anything for myself. Go away. Take yourself off!" And so speaking, he left the old man there and went onwards. His reward, however, soon came for when he had made two strokes at the tree he cut his own leg and so he had to return home.

Then Somu asked his father to let him go and hew wood. But his father said, "No…your brothers have harmed themselves in doing so and so will you, for you do not understand anything about it."

But Somu begged and prayed so long that his father at last said, "Well, then go and you will become prudent through experience."

His mother gave him stale food with dry potatoes and some water to drink.

As he entered the forest the same grey old man greeted him and asked, "Give me some food and a little water to drink for I am hungry and thirsty."

Somu answered, "I have only stale food with dry potatoes and a little water to drink. The food is burnt. If you like to share it with me, let us sit down and eat."

They sat down and as soon as Somu took out his food. Oh! It was changed into a fine delicious food and the dry potatoes became so nice to taste.

They ate the food and drank the water and when they finished, the little old man said, "Because you have a good heart and have willingly shared what you had, I will make you lucky. There stands an old tree, cut it down and you will find something at the roots."

After saying so, the little old man took leave. Somu went directly and cut down the tree and when it fell, there sat amongst the roots a goose which had feathers of pure gold. He took it up and carried it with him to an inn where he planned to spend the night. The landlord had three daughters who as soon as they saw the goose were very covetous of such a wonderful bird, at least to have but one of its feathers. The eldest girl thought she would watch for an opportunity to pluck out one and just as Somu was going out, she caught hold of one of the wings. But her finger and thumb stuck there and she could not move.

Soon came the second daughter, desiring to pluck out a feather, but scarcely had she touched her sister when she also stuck to her sister.

At last the third also came with like intention and the others exclaimed, "Keep away! For heaven’s sake don’t touch us!"

But she did not see why she should and thought, “The others are there, why should I not be too?" and springing up to them, she touched her sister and at once was made to stick fast so they had to pass the night with the goose.

The next morning Somu took the goose under his arm and went out without troubling himself about the three girls who were still hanging on and who were obliged to keep on the run behind him. In the middle of the field the parson met them and when he saw the procession he cried out, "Oh! what a shame! You good-for-nothing wenches! Why are you running after that young man across the fields for? Come on, stop this stupid thing!"

Saying so, he took the youngest girl by the hand and tried to pull her away. But as soon as he touched her he also stuck fast and was forced to follow in the train. Soon after came the clerk and saw his master, the parson following in the footsteps of the three girls.

The sight astonished him much and he called, "Hello, master! Where are you going so quickly? Have you forgotten that there is a wedding today?" and he ran up to him and caught him by the dhoti. The clerk also could not release himself and so there tramped the five, one behind the other, till they met two countrymen returning with their hatchets in their hands. The parson called out to them and begged them to come and release him and the clerk. But no sooner had they touched the clerk than they stuck fast to him and so now there were seven all in a row following behind Somu and the golden goose. By and by he came into a city where the king had a daughter so seriously inclined that no one could make her laugh. So, he had made a law that whoever causes her to laugh would have her as wife.

Now, when Somu heard this, he went with his goose and all his train before the princess and as soon as she saw these seven poor creatures continuing on the trot behind one another, she began to laugh so heartily as if she was never going to cease. Somu thereupon demanded his bride. But his intended son-in-law did not please the king who, after a variety of excuses, at last said that he must bring a man who would drink a drum full of water. Somu immediately thought of the little old man who would no doubt be able to help him. Then he went into the forest to the same spot where he had cut the tree, he saw a man sitting very gloomily.

Somu asked him why he looked sad and he answered, "I have such a great thirst and cannot quench it."

Somu was astonished on hearing this. He said. “I can help you. Come with me and you shall quench your thirst."

He led him into the king's palace and the man drank and drank a drum full of water till his stomach swelled. Before the day was out he had emptied the drum. Somu now demanded his bride again, but the king was vexed that such an ugly fellow whom everyone called dumb Somu should marry his daughter and he set a new condition that he must first find a man who could eat a whole mountain of food. Somu did not consider long, but set off into the forest where, on the same spot as before, sat a man who was strapping his body round with a leather strap and all the while making a sad face and saying. "I have eaten so much of food…but what use is that when one has such a hunger as I? My stomach remains empty still and I must strap myself to prevent my dying of hunger!"

At these words Somu was glad and said, "Get up and come with me and you shall eat enough to satisfy yourself."

He led him to the royal palace where the king had collected all the meal. The man began to eat and towards sunset the whole mountain of food had vanished.

Somu, then for the third time, demanded his bride, but the king began again to make fresh excuses and desired a ship which could travel both on land and water. "If you return with such a ship, you shall marry my daughter", said the king.

Somu went, as before, straight into the forest and there he met the little old man to whom he had given the food. When Somu said what he wanted, the old man gave him the ship which could travel on both land and water. Then he turned Somu into a handsome youth. The old man said to Somu, "Since I shared your food, I give you the ship and all this I do because you are good natured."

As soon as the king saw Somu so handsome and the ship, he could no longer keep back his daughter and the wedding was celebrated. Somu’s parents and brothers came and asked Somu to forgive them. Somu had forgiven them and after the king's death he inherited the kingdom and lived for a long time contentedly with his wife.

MORAL : One who is good at heart will win a priceless gift.

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The Golden Goose :


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