The Skillful Huntsman
Once upon a time there was a young man who had learned to be a locksmith. He told his father he was going to go out into the world and make his fortune. After a while, he decided he didn’t want to be a locksmith anymore. He wanted to be a huntsman. He encountered a huntsman dressed entirely in green. He convinced this huntsman to teach him the trade. The young man was with the huntsman for some time, before finally becoming a huntsman in his own right. The teaching huntsman did not pay the young man for this years of service, but did give him a parting gift. It was an air gun that never missed its target(the air gun they’re talking about must not be the same kind of air gun I’m thinking of).
The young man went on his way and climbed in a tree. While he was up in the tree, he saw a light in the distance. He decided to investigate. He threw his hat down on the ground pointing in the direction of the light. He gets down from the tree and follows the light. He gets closer and closer. When he gets near, he can see that there is a fire and three giants are sitting around it cooking some food.
One giant is just about to taste a bit of the food, when the huntsman shoots it out of his hand with his airgun. The giant accuses the other giants of taking the food out of his hand, but they denied it. The huntsman, in turn, shot food out of all their hands and mouths, until all three giants were ready to come to blows with one another. They finally united their forces and figured out that it was someone else who was shooting at them. They called out into the darkness that any sharpshooter must come forth and they would not hurt him, if they had to go in after him, he would not far nearly so well.
The huntsman came out from his hiding place and was even offered food by the giants. They soon got down to business. They had a proposition. There was a tower not too far away, asleep in that tower was a princess. The giants wanted her, the problem was, that as soon as they got near the tower, a little dog would bark and wake everyone up. They were not able to get near the princess at all. They asked the man if he could shoot the little dog dead. The huntsman did not hesitate in saying, “Yes.”
The strange quartet soon carried out their plan. The huntsman shot the little dog quickly and it barked no more. Poor fluffy. Before he called the giants to the castle, he decided to take a look around. He told them to wait. He went into one room and found a sword. It was engraved with the name of the king. It even had instructions. Whosoever wielded the sword would kill any enemy. The huntsman wandered up to the tower, where he found the princess sleeping. She had two slippers. The right one was embroidered with her name and the left one was embroidered with the king’s name. The huntsman took the right slipper. She was wearing a shawl. On the right was embroidered her name, while on the left was embroidered the king’s name. The huntsman cut off the right corner. The princess was also wearing a nightdress, not embroidered with her name, but the huntsman cut off part of it anyway.
He soon called to the giants telling them the coast was clear, but they must only come in through one specific avenue and they practically had to crawl to get inside. When the first giant was through, the huntsman cut off his head with the sword and pulled the boy on through. When the second giant was through, the huntsman cut off his head and pulled the boy on through. When the third giant was through, the huntsman cut off his head and pulled the body on through. He then proceeded to cut out the tongues of each of the giants and stuck them in his bag.
The huntsman thought he was quite accomplished and decided that he should go home and show everything to his father.
Meanwhile, the king woke up from his sleep and saw the pile of dead giants. He asked the princess who had done this thing, but she didn’t know because she had been asleep the entire time, but all could see part of her night-gown was missing, part of her shawl was missing and one of her slippers was missing. The captain of the king, who only had one eye, decided to claim the victory for himself. He told the king that he killed the giants. The king told the captain that he could marry his daughter for his heroics. The princess did not want to marry this man. She asked her father to send her away into the world rather than marry the captain.
The princess was sent to sell pottery in the market. She borrowed pottery from a potter to sell and promised to pay it back at the end of the day. Well, a horse came and trod on her pottery and she was not able to pay the potter. She asked for another day’s loan on the pottery, but he would not agree. The princess, dejectedly, had to ask her father, the king, for help. He told her marry the captain, but if she would not do that, he would make her a little hut where she must make food for everyone and not charge anything.
The princess stayed in her hut making food for everyone for several years. Soon word got around that there was a woman who made food for free. The huntsman thought he should check this out and went to see the princess in her hut. The huntsman went into the shack and commanded something to eat. He put his sword down while waiting for the food. The princess asked him where he got the sword. He told her that he had slain three giants with the sword. He then showed the princess the giant tongues, the slipper, the shawl piece, and the night-gown piece. He asked her if she was the princess and she said that she was.
The princess was very happy. She told the huntsman that they must show these things to her father. They took the items to the king and he could not deny that this was the man who had rescued his daughter. He promised the huntsman his daughter as a wife. They dressed the huntsman up as if he were a foreign lord and had dinner. The captain was there sitting with the king as well.
The king asked the captain a question.
“Supposing someone said that he had killed the three giants and he were asked where the giants’ tongues were, and he were forced to go and look, and there were none in their heads. How could that have happened?”
“Then they cannot have had any.”
“Not so. Every animal has a tongue.”
The king then asked what punishment must befall such a terrible liar. The captain responded.
“He ought to be torn to pieces.”
And so he was. The king had the captain torn into four pieces. The princess married the huntsman and he became king when the king died.