A fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm
There was once upon a time a young peasant named Hans, whose uncle
wanted to find him a rich wife. He therefore seated Hans behind the
stove, and had it made very hot. Then he fetched a pot of milk and
plenty of white bread, gave him a bright newly-coined farthing in his
hand, and said, "Hans, hold that farthing fast, crumble the white
bread into the milk, and stay where you are, and do not stir from
that spot till I come back."
"Yes," said Hans,
"I shall do all that." Then the uncle put on a pair of old patched
trousers, went to a rich peasant's daughter in the next village, and
said, "Won't you marry my nephew Hans? You will get an honest and
sensible man who will suit you." The covetous father asked, "How is it
with regard to his means? Has he bread to break?"
"Dear friend," replied the uncle, "my young nephew has a snug berth, a
nice bit of money in hand, and plenty of bread to break, besides he
has quite as many patches as I have." And as he spoke, he slapped the
patches on his trousers, but in that district small pieces of land
were called patches also. "If you will give yourself the trouble to
go home with me, you will see at once that all is as I have said."
Then the miser did not want to lose this good opportunity, and said,
"If that is the case, I have nothing further to say against the
So the wedding was celebrated on the appointed day, and when the
young wife went out of doors to see the bridegroom's property, Hans
took off his Sunday coat and put on his patched smock and said, "I
might spoil my good coat." Then together they went out and wherever a
vineyard came in sight, or fields and meadows were divided from each
other, Hans pointed with his finger and then slapped either a large
or a small patch on his smock, and said, "That patch is mine, and that
too, my dearest, just look at it," meaning thereby that his wife
should not stare at the broad land, but look at his garment, which
was his own.
Were you at the wedding too? Yes, indeed I was there, and in full
dress. My headdress was of snow, then the sun came out, and it was
melted. My coat was of cobwebs, and I had to pass by some thorns
which tore it off me, my shoes were of glass, and I trod on a stone
and they said "klink" and broke in two.