The Peasant’s Wise Daughter
by the Brothers Grimm
Once upon a time there was a poor man. He only had a smart girl. They lived in total poverty: no house, no land, and no food to eat.
After they had not eaten for a long time, they were desperate. The wise daughter said to her father, “We are poor. We have no land, but the king does. Let’s ask the king for land. We can promise to give part to the king.”
So they went to the king. The king was generous and he gave them the land. They worked the land. They had food to eat, then they gave part to the king.
One day, they worked on the land. In the field, they saw a beautiful gold box. But it was just the top of the box. The bottom was not there. They looked for the missing part.
“We must go to the king and give him this part of the box,” said the man. But the wise daughter said no. “If the king sees only one part, he will ask for the second part of the box,” said the girl. She said, “First, let’s look for both parts. Then we can go to the king.”
But her father ignored her advice. The father went to the king immediately. He did not look for the second part. The father said to the king, “Majesty, this golden box is from your land. ”
The king was not happy. He said, “It’s only one part. Where is the rest?”
“No, I did not see another part. That’s all.”
But it was obvious; the box had another part.
“Do you think I’m stupid?” said the king furiously.
He put the poor man in prison. The man repeated, “Ah! If only I had listened to my daughter!”
The next day, the king said, “Where is the other part?”
But the man just cried. He repeated, “Ah! If I had only listened to my daughter!”
“Your daughter, what did she tell you? ” asked the king. “My daughter is very intelligent. She told me to first look for both parts of the box.”
“What intelligent girl you have! I must meet her,” said the king. The king was smart and enjoyed riddles. He invited the poor girl to the castle. The king said, “Your father says you’re smart. So, I’m doing a test: an enigma. If you know the correct answer, I will free your father.”
The wise girl accepted the test. So the king said, “Leave the castle. Return neither dressed nor naked; neither on horseback, nor by car, nor on foot.”
She thought and thought. Then, she had an idea. She got a fishing net. She put on the net like a dress. She was neither naked nor dressed. Then she got a donkey – not a horse. The donkey walked and walked.
Finally, the wise girl arrived at the castle. The king said that she had solved the riddle. The king honored his promise. He released his father from prison.
The king was very impressed. He wanted to marry the wise girl. The girl accepted.
The wedding day approached.
One day, the king was walking down the road. He saw a fight. Two men shouted, “No, it’s mine! ” and “No, it’s my property! ”
The fight was fascinating for the king. One man had a horse. The second man had an ox. One day, the horse had 3 babies. But the next day, one baby disappeared.
The next day, the second man visited his ox. The ox had adopted a new baby – a baby horse. The baby hid under his new mother, the ox. The baby would not go back home.
The king considered this enigma. Then, he said, “Where the baby is now is his home.”
The man with the horse was furious. The king’s decision was stupid: the baby was obviously not the ox’s baby. It was a horse.
The King’s fiancee – the wise girl – learned of this decision. She had a charitable heart. She said to the poor man with the horse, “Don’t be sad. It’s possible to change the king’s mind. ”
“It is? But how?” said the poor man.
“Tomorrow return to the road where you saw the king. Get a fishing net. Throw the net and say you are fishing.”
“Fishing? On the road? That’s ridiculous,” said the man.
“Yes, it’s ridiculous. But it’s more ridiculous to imagine that an ox can have a baby horse,” said the wise girl.
So the man did just that. He got a net and said he was fishing.
The king saw the man with a net and said, “What are you doing?”
“I’m fishing,” he said.
“Fishing on the road? But there is no river! That’s ridiculous!”
“Yes, it’s ridiculous. But it’s more ridiculous to imagine that an ox can have a baby horse,” said the poor man.
The king was furious. The poor man had ridiculed him. He was the King! It was disrespectful. But the poor man blamed the king’s fiancee. “Your fiancee told me to get the net and say this to you,” said the man.
The king was insulted. He returned to the castle. “Why did you ridicule me? You embarrassed me in public,” said the king to the wise girl.
She replied, “Your decision was not fair.”
“But you were disloyal! I do not want to marry you anymore.”
“You do not love me?” said the girl.
“I love you – but you do not respect me,” said the king. “Please go back home. But before you go, take money or gold. Take anything you want. Take the most precious object in the castle.”
The wise girl obeyed. The girl loved the king and did not want to leave.
She had an idea. She prepared a sleeping potion. The king took a small dose. Immediately, he fell asleep. She ordered the servants to help. They placed the king in a cart. The cart left the castle and arrived at the girl’s house.
The king slept all night. The next day he got up. He saw the poor little house and he was surprised. He asked, “Where are we?” She smiled and said, “My love, you ordered me to take from the castle what was most precious. For me, there is nothing more precious than you!”
The king loved her and was very happy. He said, “My dear love, you are precious to me, too!”
They returned to the royal castle. They had a big wedding celebration.