Hans Hecklemann had no luck at all. Now and then we hear folks say that they have no luck, but they only mean that their luck is bad and that they are ashamed of it. Everybody but Hans Hecklemann had luck of some kind, either good or bad, and, what is more, everybody carries his luck about with him; some carry it in their pocket-books, some carry it in their hats, some carry it on their finger tips, and some carry it under their tongues—these are lawyers. Mine is at this moment sitting astride of my pen, though I can no more see it than though it was thin air; whether it is good or bad depends entirely as to how you look upon it.
But Hans Hecklemann had no luck at all. How he lost it nobody knows, but it is certain that it was clean gone from him.
He was as poor as charity, and yet his luck was not bad, for, poor as he was, he always had enough for his wife and his family and himself to eat. They all of them worked from dawn to nightfall, and yet his luck was not good, for he never laid one penny on top of the other, as the saying is. He had food enough to eat, and clothes enough to wear, so his luck was not indifferent. Now, as it was neither good, bad, nor indifferent, you see that it could have been no luck at all.
Hans Hecklemann’s wife was named Catherine. One evening when Hans came into the cottage with just enough money to buy them all bread and not a cracked farthing to spare, Catherine spoke to him of this matter.
“Hans,” said she, “you have no luck at all.”
[Illustration: Hans Hecklemann, Catherine.]
“No,” said Hans, “I have not,” which was the truth, as I have already told you.
“What are you going to do about it?” said Catherine.
“Nothing at all,” said Hans.
“Doing nothing puts no cabbage into the pot,” said Catherine.
“It takes none out,” said Hans.
“See, Hans,” said Catherine; “go to the old wise woman in the wood and talk to her about it; who knows but that she can tell you how and where you lost your luck?”
“If I should find my luck it might be bad and not good,” said Hans.
“It is worth having a look at,” said Catherine; “you can leave it where you find it if it does not please you.”
“No,” said Hans; “when a man finds his luck he has to take it, whether he likes it or no.”
So Hans talked, but he had made up his mind to do as Catherine said, to go and see the old wise woman in the wood. He argued with her, but he only argued with her to let her know how little was her knowledge and how great was his. After he had clearly shown her how poor her advice was, he took it. Many other men are like Hans Hecklemann.
So, early the next morning, Hans jogged along to the old wise woman’s cottage, while the day was sweet and fresh. The hedgerows were covered all over with white blossoms, as though it was with so much snow; the cuckoo was singing among the budding branches, and the little flowers were looking up everywhere with their bright faces. “Surely,” said Hans to himself, “if I find my luck on this day, it must be good and not ill.”