"Gutten som gikk til nordenvinden og krevde igjen melet" is a Norwegian
fairy tale from Asbjørnsen and Moe
's Norwegian Folk Tales
(collected in 1841-1844). The original text was found at Project Runeberg
and translated to (retold in) English by me
There was once an old wife who had a son; she was weak and frail. The boy, her son, was going out to the stabbur1 to get some flour for porridge. But when he came out of the stabbur, the North Wind came flying, took the flour away from him, and disappeared into the air with it. The boy went back in for more, but when he came out, the North Wind came flying again and took the flour away; this happened a third time as well. The boy got angry over this, and he thought it wasn't fair that the North wind was behaving like that, and then he thought he'd look for him and demand the flour back.
Yes, he set off; but the road was long, and he walked and he walked. Finally, he came to the North Wind.
"Hello," said the boy, "Thanks for last time."
"Hello," said the North Wind - he had a booming voice - "and the same to you. What do you want?" he said.
"Oh," said the boy, "I'd like to ask you to please return the flour you took from me outside the stabbur; we have little, and when you behave like that and take the little we have, you cause a famine."
"I don't have any flour," said the North Wind; "but since you are so needy, I will give you a tablecloth that will give you anything you want, if you only say: "Cloth, unfold and serve all kinds of precious courses!"
The boy was well pleased with this. But since the road was so long and he couldn't get home that day, he went to an inn on the way, and when the people there were about to eat that evening, he put the cloth on a table in the corner, and said: "Cloth, unfold and serve all kinds of precious courses!" The cloth immediately did what he said, and everyone thought it was a fantastic thing; but no one liked it better than the innkeeper's wife. With that, you don't need frying and boiling, covering the table, fetching and putting things out, she thought. And when the night came and everyone was asleep, she took the cloth and replaced with another one, which looked just the same, but which couldn't even serve a simple oat lefse.
When the boy woke up, he took the cloth and left, and he came home to his mother that day.
"Now," he said, "I've been visiting the North Wind; he was a fair man, because he gave me this cloth, and if I say to it: 'Cloth, unfold and serve all kinds of precious courses!' I get anything I wish for."
"Yes, of course," said the mother, "I won't believe it until I see it."
The boy hurriedly put the cloth on a table, and said: "Cloth, unfold and serve all kinds of precious courses!" But the cloth didn't even serve a small piece of flat bread2.
"There's nothing to do but to go back to the North Wind, then," said the boy, and walked off. After a long time, he came to where the North Wind lived.
"Good evening," said the boy.
"Good evening," said the North Wind.
"I want justice for the flour you took," the boy said; "the table cloth you gave me wasn't much good."
"I don't have any flour," said the North Wind; "but here's a billy goat that makes gold coins if you say: 'Make money!'"
The boy didn't mind; but since it was too far home to get there the same day, he took in at the inn again. Before he asked for a room, he tried the goat; he wanted to see whether what the North Wind had said was true, and it was; but when the innkeeper saw this, he thought it was a great goat, and once the boy had fallen asleep, the innkeeper replaced the goat with one that couldn't make gold.
The morning after the boy left, and when he came home to his mother, he said: "The North Wind is a nice man after all; now he gave me a goat that can make gold coins, as soon as I say 'Make money!'"
"Of course," said the mother, "it's nothing but loose talk, and I don't believe it before I see it."
"My goat, make money!" said the boy; but it wasn't money, what the goat did.
So he went back to the North Wind, and said that the goat wasn't good for anything, and that he wanted justice for the flour.
"Well, I don't have anything left to give you," the North Wind said, "but the old stick in the corner; but it works like this; When you say: 'My stick, strike!' it will strike until you say: 'My stick, stand still!'"
Since the road was long, the boy entered the inn also this evening; but when he understood where the cloth and the goat had gone, he lay down immediately and started snoring, pretending to be asleep. The innkeeper understood the stick was good for something; so he found a similar one and wanted to replace it, when he heard the snoring boy. But just as the innkeeper was about to take the stick, the boy shouted: "My stick, strike!" And the stick started striking and hitting the innkeeper so he had to jump over tables and benches, screaming and shouting. "Oh Lord, oh Lord! Ask the stick to stop, before it strikes me dead; I will give you the cloth and the goat!" The boy thought the innkeeper had had enough, so he said: "My stick, stand still!" Then he folded the cloth and put it in his pocket, tied a string to the goat and grabbed his stick, and walked home with everything. It was good payment for the flour!
Please, tell me more fairy tales!
1: A stabbur is a traditional Norwegian house to store food in.
2: Traditional flat, crispy bread.