Here we go again with a Hans. Hans must have been the most popular name in Germany at the time.
Once upon a time there was a small family who lived alone in a valley. The mother and the son were one day out in the woods gathering fir branches when robbers sprang out of nowhere and carried the mother and her child away. The woman begged to be set free with her son, but the robbers told her they wouldn’t kill her. If she kept house for them, they would keep her alive. Their house happened to be underground and lit only by a fire lit on the hearth. The woman stayed many years keeping house for the robbers.
The child’s name was Hans and he grew. He asked who his father was one day, and the mother would not tell him. She was afraid he would get hurt trying to get away from the robbers trying to find him. Hans decided to ask the captain of the robbers who his father was. Hans had made a club and took it with him to accost the captain of the robbers. He told the captain to tell him who his father was, or else. Hans got the crap beat out of him. Hans decided he would wait a year and try again.
Hans did try again, at first, the captain was able to knock Hans on the ground, but Han got right back up swinging. He ended up beating the crap out of everyone there. His mother had been watching cautiously from a corner. When everyone was too sore to move, she helped him escape. They took a bag filled it with some loot, got the key to the cave from the captain and walked out into the sun. Hans was surprised to see all of the trees and the sky since he had not seen them in many years. They walked until they came to the little house where they had lived before. The father was still there. He had supposed them both dead, but was very glad to have them back. Hans set down his heavy bag of loot on the floor and it fell right through. The father was a bit upset that the house was broken, but Hans told him not to worry. There was more than enough money in the bag to build a new house, plus buy cattle and other items. Hans helped around the house for a year, but then got the wanderlust. He made himself a walking stick of a hundred-weight and told his parents he was going a-traveling.
Hans went on his way and came across a large man twisting a large rope around a pine tree. Hans was impressed and decided to invite the man along his journey. Hans named the man Fir-twister. The two soon came upon another large man. He was standing by a large rock striking pieces of it away with his fist. Hans invited him along as well, but renamed him Rock-splitter(not Rock-biter I’m sorry).
They walked and walked and came to a deserted castle. They slept there the night. The next morning Hans went into the garden and found a boar rushing at him. He knocked it out with one blow. They ate the boar and decided that they would keep house there a bit. Each day one man would stay home, while two went out to hunt.
The first day Fir-twister stayed home. He was cooking when a little man came up and asked for some meat. Fir-twister told him, “No freaking way,” but the little man soon sprang up and beat the crap out of Fir-twister. When the other two got home, Fir-twister said nothing of the little man.
The next day Rock-splitter stayed home. He was cooking and the little man showed up to ask for bread. Rock-splitter wasn’t going to give him any. Well, the little man beat the crap out of Rock-splitter as well, but he didn’t say anything about it when the other two got home.
The next day it was Hans’ turn to stay home. The little man came again asking for meat. As Hans was more kind than the other two, he gave the little man some meat, which he ate, but them promptly asked for some more. Hans gave him some more, but then, the little man asked for even more. Hans told him no. The little man tried to beat Hans up, but Hans was stronger than the other two men. Hans knocked him down a couple of times and the little man ran away. Hans followed him.
The little man went into a hole in the rock. Hans marked the spot. He told the other two what had happened and they admitted that the little man had beat the crap out of both of them. Hans told them it was their fault for being so stingy. They took a basket and rope and went to the hole. Hans let his club down first, then Hans went down. He found a door and inside was a maiden, but the dwarf was there grinning like a sea-cat. The maiden was chained and sad. Hans used his club to deliver a blow to the dwarf that killed him.
The maiden’s chains released when the dwarf was dead. She told him she was the daughter of a king and that she had been stolen and imprisoned here. Hans put her up in the basket, but after he already put her up, he thought that this two companions might try to pull one over on him. So he sent only his club up next. It wasn’t long before it came crashing back down. Hans didn’t know how to get out. He was pacing back and forth and saw that the dead dwarf had a ring on his finger. Hans took it and twisted it.
He looked up and saw the spirits of the air. They told him he was their master. They asked him what he wanted. He said he wanted to be carried up again. They did so. There was no one there when he arrived though. Hans twisted the ring again and they told him his friends were at sea. Hans ran and ran to get there and jumped in the ocean without thinking. Hans still had his heavy club with him and sank quickly, but he remembered the ring. He was transported to the boat where he beat his two former friends. Hans then sailed the boat back to the maiden’s house where he married her.
These stories make me wonder if stealing the neighboring king’s daughter was a common occurrence back in the middle ages. Was it a common political move? I think it’s something I’m going to have to look into. I don’t know where I would find the answer, but it would be interesting to know. You have to remember our fiction mirrors our reality. So some of these things that happened in the Grimm’s fairy tales probably actually happened in some manner in real life.
The reference to “spirit of the air” sounds very pagan, notice the story doesn’t say “angels.” There may be some version of this story that uses the term angels instead of spirits of the air, but this one doesn’t. You do have to remember that even during the 1700s there were still some pagan hold-out areas of Europe. There were many areas in which local pagan religions combined with the Christianity that came into the area to form a very unique version of Christianity. Some of our modern-day holidays(Easter, Christmas, and Halloween) are full of both Christian references while also being full of pagan references.
It’s a wonder that the man waited for his wife so long. Usually that doesn’t happen. I know you guys want to believe in love conquers all, but back in the day, if your husband disappeared for several years, you went out and got a new husband because everyone assumed yours was dead. This does happen today, but it’s more seldom seeing as people just can’t disappear with our plethora of media connection. There are many stories about women during WWI and WWII remarrying while their husbands were away because they hadn’t heard anything. In reality, I think this woman would have come home to another woman and her kids in her house.
I couldn’t figure out what a “sea-cat” was since the modern-day interpretation is a type of boat and I don’t think it grins, nor did it exist during the creation of this story.
A story element we see every once in a while is the story of a son getting big enough and strong enough to take care of his mother and defeat his foes. Hans in this story is that son. He becomes strong enough to take care of his mother. He becomes strong enough to defeat his captors. It’s a game of patience and dedication. You’re not going to pack on sixty pounds of muscle over night. Hans had to wait and watch.
We’ve got another magical ring. I think part of what makes rings so magical is that they seemingly have no beginning and no end. If you’ve got something on your hand that has no beginning and no end, that’s pretty impressive I think.
Hans seems to be a soldier of the truth. He wants to know who his father is. He wants the truth and he’s not afraid to get a little dirty for it. He demands the truth. When his roomies don’t tell him the truth he chastises them. He gets the truth of where the princess came from and why she’s in a cave underground. He sees that the princess is returned home to her family. Hans is like your stand-up guy. He’s probably handsome to top all of that off.
If Hans were a Biblical character we would think of him as someone like David who slew Goliath. If we were comparing Hans to Book of Mormon characters we would think of him as Nephi who went and did because the Lord commanded. Think of your stories about men who were the most upstanding and the most valiant. Those are your Hans equivalents. The story of Samson does come to mind, although Samson’s story is quite sad, while Hans ends up ok. Samson was this champion of the Lord before he was led astray and gave away the secret of his strength. We can’t say that Hans doesn’t have his faults, because he does, we do see that he’s a bit impatient, but for the most part, Hans is the man.
I don’t know if this was the case, but I can imagine, or envision, a time when little boys looked up to someone like Hans wanting to be just like him.
Hans reminds me of Barbie because it seems he does everything, but his accessories probably aren’t hot pink.