Norwegian fairy tale from Asbjørnsen and Moe's Norwegian Folk Tales, collected in 1841-1844. The original tale is called "Væren og grisen som skulle til skogs og bo for seg selv" and was found at Project Runeberg. It has been translated to (retold in) English by me especially for E2. Enjoy!


There was once a ram who was being fatted; therefore he lived well, and eating as much as he wanted of everything good. One day, the farmer's wife came in to serve him: "Eat now, ram; you won't stay for long, tomorrow we'll slaughter you," she said.

There's an old saying that you shouldn't ignore old wife's sayings, and you can get advice and potions for everything this close to death, "maybe there's a way out of this as well," the ram thought to himself.

So he ate as quickly as possible, and when he was completely full, he butted out the door and ran over to the neighbour farm; there he went to the pigsty, to a pig he'd get to know in the field; they had been friends ever since. "Hello, thanks for last time," said the ram to the pig.

"Hello, and thanks to you, too," said the pig.

"Do you know why you are having a good time, being treated so well?" said the ram.

"No, no," said the pig.

"Many mouths will quickly empty a barrel, you know; they want to slaughter and eat you," said the ram.

"Do they?" said the pig, "bless the food when they've eaten!" he said.

"If you want the same as me, we'll run off into the woods, build a house and live on our own; you sit best on your own bench," said the ram.

Yes, the pig wanted this as well; "It's good to have nice friends," he said. So they set off.

When they had travelled for a while, they met a goose.

"Hello, good people, and thanks for last time," said the goose; "where are these people going, travelling so fast today?" she said.

"Hello and thanks to you, too," said the ram. "We were treated too well at home, therefore we want to go to the forest and live on our own; in his own home, anyone's a lord," he said.

"Well, I'm being treated well where I am," said the goose; "maybe I could join you, too? A good team makes the day shorter," she said.

"Gossip and talk builds neither house nor cabin," said the pig; "what would you do?"

"With patience, a bug can go as far as a giant," said the goose; "I can pick moss and push into cracks in the walls, so the house gets snug and warm."

So she was allowed to come with them, for the pig would like to have a nice and warm house.

When they had walked another while - the goose couldn't walk too fast - they met a hare who came hopping out of the forest.

"Hello, good people, and thanks for last time!" said the hare; "how far are you pawing today?"

"Hello and thanks to you, too," said the ram; "we were treated too well at home, therefore we want to go to the forest and live on our own; while away is tempting, the home is best," he said.

"Well, I have a house in each bush, house in each bush," said the hare; "but many a winter I've said that if I live to see summer, I'll build a house - so I would have liked to come with you and make one, as well," he said.

"Yeah, and if we get into trouble, we could use you as bait for the dogs," said the pig; "you couldn't help us build the house."

"A man of the world always gets something to do," said the hare; "I have teeth to gnaw pegs and paws to put them in the wall, so I'll be a good builder. The right tool for the job makes good work, the man said, flaying the mare with an auger," the hare said.

Alright, he would be allowed to join them in building the house, there was no question about it.

When they had come a bit further, they met a cock.

"Hello, hello, good people, and thanks for last time!" said the cock; "where is that people going today?" he said.

"Hello and thanks to you too," said the ram. "We were treated too well at home, therefore we want to go to the forest and build a house and live on our own; he who bakes away from home, will lose both coal and cake," he said.

"Yes, I have enough where I am, I guess," said the cock; "but it's better to build your own home than to sit on a strangers branch; and at home, the cock is richest," he said. "If I could join your noble company, I'd like to go to the forest and build a house as well."

"You can flap and crow; but a sharp mouth doesn't chop any wood," said the pig. "You can't help us with the house," they said.

"It's not worth stopping, if there's no dog or crest," said the cock, "I'm early up and early to wake."

"Yes, morning hour has gold in its mouth, let him join!" said the pig; he was the greatest sleeper of them all. "Sleep is a thief; he'll steal half your time," he said.

So they went into the forest together and built the house: The pig chopped timber, the ram drove it to the site; the hare was the builder, gnawing pegs and hammered them into walls and roof; the goose picked moss and pushed it into cracks; the cock crowed and made sure they didn't sleep in in the mornings. And when the house was done, and the roof was turfed, they lived on their own and had it good. "It is good in east and west, but still home is best," said the ram.

But a while further into the forest was a wolf's lair with to gray wolves in. When they saw there was a new house in the neighbourhood, they wanted to know what kind of people had moved in; they thought like this: A good neighbour is better than a brother in a foreign country; and it's better to live in a good neighbourhood than being known around the world.

So one of the wolfs went out to borrow some warmth for his pipe. But as soon as he came in through the door, the ram butted him, so he went on his head into the fireplace; the pig bit, the goose hissed and pinched; the cock started crowing; and the hare was so scared that he ran all over the place, stepping and stomping on everyone.

After a long time, the wolf came out again.

"Now, being neighbours make you friends," the one on the outside said; "you must have come to paradise on earth, since you stayed for so long? - But what about the warmth, you don't seem to have smoke nor pipe?" he said.

"Yes, that was funny pipe-warmth and a funny company," said the one who was inside; "I have never seen such behaviour before. But unexpected guest gets unexpected food," the wolf said. When I came inside the door, the shoemaker hit me with his last so I went on my head in front of the forge; there were two smiths there; they blew and hissed with the bellows, and pinched and hit me with glowing pliers and poles, taking pieces of flesh out of my body! The hunter ran around looking for his gun, but luckily he didn't find it. And there was one sitting up underneath the ceiling, flapping and crowing: hook him, pull'im here, he said; but had he got hold of me, I don't think I would have come out again alive."

Please, tell me more fairy tales!

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