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Clever Hans

KHM 032

Grimm brothers

The main characters are Hans and his friend Gretal, but Clever Hans is very different from the more familiar tale of the Hansel and Gretal siblings. This story sheds light on why boys might decide not to do as their mothers tell them. And one is left wondering why 'clever' is in the title of this tale.

This is the Brothers Grimm version of the story and translated into English by Margarate Hunt. As with many English versions, the final sentence has Gretal marrying Hans. This is unlikely because by the end of the story, Gretal despises Hans. The original German, however, reveals that she actually married somebody called Hansen (usually used as a surname in Germany), and we have changed this page accordingly.

The approximate narration time is 8 minutes.

The mother of Hans said, "Whither away, Hans?" Hans answered, "To Grethel ." - "Behave well, Hans." - "Oh, I'll behave well. Good-bye, mother." - "Good-bye, Hans." Hans comes to Grethel, "Good day, Grethel." - "Good day, Hans. What dost thou bring that is good?" - "I bring nothing, I want to have something given me." Grethel presents Hans with a needle. Hans says, "Good-bye, Grethel." - "Good-bye, Hans."

Hans takes the needle, sticks it into a hay-cart, and follows the cart home. "Good evening, mother." - "Good evening, Hans. Where hast thou been?" - "With Grethel." - "What didst thou take her?" - "Took nothing; had something given me." - "What did Grethel give thee?" - "Gave me a needle." - "Where is the needle, Hans?" - "Stuck it in the hay-cart." - "That was ill done, Hans. Thou shouldst have stuck the needle in thy sleeve." - "Never mind, I'll do better next time."

"Whither away, Hans?" - "To Grethel, mother." - "Behave well, Hans." - "Oh, I'll behave well. Good-bye, mother." - "Good-bye, Hans."

Hans comes to Grethel. "Good day, Grethel." - "Good day, Hans. What dost thou bring that is good?" - "I bring nothing; I want to have something given to me." Grethel presents Hans with a knife. "Good-bye, Grethel." - "Good-bye Hans."

Hans takes the knife, sticks it in his sleeve, and goes home. "Good evening, mother." - "Good evening, Hans. Where hast thou been?" - "With Grethel." - "What didst thou take her?" - "Took her nothing, she gave me something." - "What did Grethel give thee?" - "Gave me a knife." - "Where is the knife, Hans?" - "Stuck in my sleeve." - "That's ill done, Hans, thou shouldst have put the knife in thy pocket." - "Never mind, will do better next time."

"Whither away, Hans?" - "To Grethel, mother. " - "Behave well, Hans." - "Oh, I'll behave well. Good-bye, mother." - "Good-bye, Hans."

Hans comes to Grethel. "Good day, Grethel." - "Good day, Hans. What good thing dost thou bring?" - "I bring nothing, I want something given me." Grethel presents Hans with a young goat. "Good-bye, Grethel." - "Good-bye, Hans."

Hans takes the goat, ties its legs, and puts it in his pocket. When he gets home it is suffocated. "Good evening, mother." - "Good evening, Hans. Where hast thou been?" - "With Grethel." - "What didst thou take her?" - "Took nothing, she gave me something." - "What did Grethel give thee?" - "She gave me a goat." - "Where is the goat, Hans?" - "Put it in my pocket." - "That was ill done, Hans, thou shouldst have put a rope round the goat's neck." - "Never mind, will do better next time."

"Whither away, Hans,?" - "To Grethel, mother." - "Behave well, Hans." - "Oh, I'll behave well. Good-bye, mother." - "Good-bye, Hans."

Hans comes to Grethel. "Good day, Grethel." - "Good day, Hans. What good thing dost thou bring?" - "I bring nothing, I want something given me." Grethel presents Hans with a piece of bacon. "Good-bye, Grethel." - "Good-bye, Hans."

Hans takes the bacon, ties it to a rope, and drags it away behind him. The dogs come and devour the bacon. When he gets home, he has the rope in his hand, and there is no longer anything hanging to it. "Good evening, mother." - "Good evening, Hans." - "Where hast thou been?" - "With Grethel." What didst thou take her?" - "I took her nothing, she gave me something." - "What did Grethel give thee?" - "Gave me a bit of bacon." - "Where is the bacon, Hans?" - "I tied it to a rope, brought it home, dogs took it." - "That was ill done, Hans, thou shouldst have carried the bacon on thy head." - "Never mind, will do better next time."

"Whither away, Hans?" - "To Grethel, mother." - "Behave well, Hans." - "I'll behave well. Good-bye, mother." - "Good-bye, Hans."

Hans comes to Grethel. "Good day, Grethel." - "Good day, Hans." - "What good thing dost thou bring?" - "I bring nothing, but would have something given." Grethel presents Hans with a calf. "Good-bye, Grethel." - "Good-bye, Hans."

Hans takes the calf, puts it on his head, and the calf kicks his face. Good evening, mother." - "Good evening, Hans. Where hast thou been?" - "With Grethel." - "What didst thou take her?" - "I took nothing, but had something given me." - "What did Grethel give thee?" - "A calf." - "Where hast thou the calf, Hans?" - "I set it on my head and it kicked my face." - "That was ill done, Hans, thou shouldst have led the calf, and put it in the stall." - "Never mind, will do better next time."

"Whither away, Hans?" - "To Grethel, mother." - "Behave well, Hans." - "I'll behave well. Good-bye, mother." - "Good-bye, Hans."

Hans comes to Grethel. "Good day, Grethel." - "Good day, Hans. What good thing dost thou bring?" - "I bring nothing, but would have something given." Grethel says to Hans, "I will go with thee."

Hans takes Grethel, ties her to a rope, leads her to the rack and binds her fast. Then Hans goes to his mother. "Good evening, mother." - "Good evening, Hans. Where hast thou been?" - "With Grethel." - "What didst thou take her?" - "I took her nothing." - "What did Grethel give thee?" - "She gave me nothing, she came with me." - "Where hast thou left Grethel?" - "I led her by the rope, tied her to the rack, and scattered some grass for her." - "That was ill done, Hans, thou shouldst have cast friendly eyes on her." - "Never mind, will do better."

Hans went into the stable, cut out all the calves', and sheep's eyes, and threw them in Grethel's face. Then Grethel became angry, tore herself loose and ran away, and became the bride of Hansen instead of Hans.

KHM: Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children's and Household Tales)

Grethel: and its more common spelling as Gretel, are both variations of the German name 'Greta' and the Greek 'Margaret'.

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