“Lord help me and my daughter,” said the king when he saw that the youngster was alive. Well, all was good and well done, that no one could deny; but there was no hurry talking of the wedding before the bridge was ready.
One day the bridge stood ready, and the devil was there waiting for the toll which he had bargained for.
The youngster wanted the king to go with him and try the bridge, but the king had no mind to do it. So he mounted a horse himself, and put the fat dairy-maid in the palace on the pommel in front of him; she looked almost like a big fir block, and so he rode over the bridge, which thundered under the horse’s feet.
“Where is the toll? Where have you got the soul?” cried the devil.
“Why, inside this fir block,” said the youngster; “if you want it you will have to spit in your hands and take it.”
“No, many thanks! If she does not come to me, I am sure I shan’t take her,” said the devil. “You got me once into a pinch, and I’ll take care you don’t get me into another,” and with that he flew straight home to his old mother, and since that time he has never been heard or seen thereabouts.
The youngster went home to the palace and asked for the reward the king had promised him, and when the king wanted to get out of it, and would not stick to what he had promised, the youngster said it was best he got a good bag of food ready for him and he would take his reward himself.
Yes, the king would see to that, and when the bag was ready the youngster asked the king to come outside the door. The youngster then gave the king such a kick, which sent him flying up in the air. The bag he threw after him that he might not be without food; and if he has not come down again by this he is floating about with his bag between heaven and earth to this very day.
HANS, WHO MADE THE PRINCESS LAUGH
Once upon a time there was a king, who had a daughter, and she was so lovely that the reports of her beauty went far and wide; but she was so melancholy that she never laughed, and besides she was so grand and proud that she said “No” to all who came to woo her—she would not have any of them, were they ever so fine, whether they were princes or noblemen.
The king was tired of this whim of hers long ago, and thought she ought to get married like other people; there was nothing she need wait for—she was old enough and she would not be any richer either, for she was to have half the kingdom, which she inherited after her mother.
So he made known every Sunday after the service, from the steps outside the church, that he that could make his daughter laugh should have both her and half the kingdom. But if there were any one who tried and could not make her laugh, he would have three red stripes cut out of his back and salt rubbed into them—and, sad to relate, there were many sore backs in that kingdom. Lovers from south and from north, from east and from west, came to try their luck—they thought it was an easy thing to make a princess laugh. They were a queer lot altogether, but for all their cleverness and for all the tricks and pranks they played, the princess was just as serious and immovable as ever.