The Story Finder

Voices in Fairy Tales

by Michelle Tocher

Story finder - Curly

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Old Man by the Roadside

I have a bit of magic, oh, yes, I do, and it is quite special. Nothing like you’d see in a magic show. No, I don’t like to make a spectacle. I just stand by the road, and I ask questions, like I did the other day, when the peasant’s three sons walked past me, one after the other, on their way the king’s palace. I asked the eldest, “What do you have in your basket?”

He said, “Frog’s legs.”

“Frog’s legs they will be, and remain,” I said.

The second son was even more dismissive. “Hogs’ bristles,” he said.

“Hogs’ bristles they will be, and remain,” I declared.

A little while later, the third son of the peasant came walking along—the one that everybody calls Stupid Hans. When I asked him the question, he said, “I am carrying apples from our orchard in the hopes that they will return the princess to health.”

“Healing apples they will be, and remain,” I said, and so Hans proceeded down the road with the cure in his basket.

Hoary Old Man by the Roadside in The Griffin, Grimms