Stupid Michel

Stupid Michel


Germany

Once upon a time there was a peasant woman who had a son named Michel who never got further from the table than the tile stove.

Finally she decided that she would have to send him out into the world, so she said to him, "Michel, go out to the pond and fetch some water."

"Yes," said Michel, "but just where is the pond?"

"Go out the front door, walk down the garden path, and you will see it to the left."

Michel set forth at once and actually found the front door, the garden path, and the pond.

When he pulled the bucket from the pond a large pike jumped out of it, and asked Michel to throw him back into the water, and he would reward him greatly.

"Did I tell you to jump out of the bucket?" asked Michel. "You can jump back into the water by yourself!"

The pike continued to beg, finally promising Michel that all his wishes would come true if he would throw him back into the water.

Michel did just that, then picked up the bucket and returned home.

Now while at the pond in the distance he had seen a house that glistened magnificently like pure silver and gold, so he asked his mother, "Mother, what kind of a house is the one that I saw from the pond?"

His mother said, "That is the king's house. He lives there with the beautiful princess."

When Michel heard that a beautiful princess lived there, he thought, "I will see if the pike told me the truth. I wish that the princess should become pregnant."

Not long afterward the princess did indeed become pregnant, and when the king discovered this he became very angry and reprimanded her bitterly.

But she swore sincerely that no one had been with her; it must have happened while she was asleep. However, the kind did not believe her.

With time she gave birth to a boy, and because the father's name was not known, he was named after his grandfather.

When the boy grew older he noticed that his grandfather was not his father, and he asked, "Tell me, who is my father?"

The grandfather answered, "You do not have a father."

"How can I not have a father?" replied the boy. "Everyone has a father. You just don't know who mine is!"

Then the old king had to admit that he did have a father, but that no one knew who he was.

Then the boy said, "Let's give a large feast, and I'll find out who he is."

The king did just that, and all the ministers, generals, and such people within the king's realm came, and the boy mingled among them, carefully looking at each one.

Finally he went back to the king and said, "My father is not here. You will have to give a larger feast."

So the king invited all of his officers and councilors and even some of the most prominent citizens to come together, and once the boy mingled among them, examining each one.

But he did not find his father, and he said to the king, "You must give a feast for everyone, and then I will find my father."

Then all the citizens and peasants from the entire land were
invited to come together.

When Michel's mother heard about this she said, "Michel, you too must go to the castle. The king is giving a general feast."

Now Michel had only a dirty, tarry jacket and an old three-cornered hat, but his mother made him look as good as possible, and he went to the court.

After everyone had gathered together in a large group, the boy ran quickly among them, and before long he stopped next to Michel in his tarry jacket and three-cornered hat.

Taking Michel by the hand, the boy led him to the king and said, "This is my father!"

At first the king did not want to believe this, and he told the boy that he must be mistaken, but the boy insisted that Michel was his father.

Finally, beside himself with anger, the king said that he would neither accept the father, nor the mother, nor the child.

Forthwith he had a large glass ball made with a lid that one could open and close.

He had his daughter, Michel, and the boy put inside, then set it adrift on the open sea.

After they had drifted for some distance, with the princess sitting there bemoaning the fact that they had found such a father for her child, and that now they would miserably perish, Michel wished that they would come ashore on an island, and immediately the ball hit solid ground, and they all climbed out safely.

Then Michel wished for a magnificent castle with the best servants and all the houses that belonged to such a place, and immediately everything was there.

Now the princess was happier. Then Michel wished magnificent clothes for himself.

Thus he lived here happily with his wife and his child for a long time.

Finally the princess grew lonely for her father and her homeland, and she told this to her husband, so he wished for a bridge to her father's kingdom, and immediately one was there, and indeed it had one railing of gold and the other of silver.

Then they flew across the water in a golden coach to her father's castle.

His anger disappeared when he discovered how well off his daughter now was, and they all lived happily and satisfied until they died.

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