The Story Finder
Voices in Fairy Tales
by Michelle Tocher
My brothers think I’m stupid but I know the difference between a good man and a bad one. That little elf who came to the door was nothing but trouble. He asked for bread and when I gave it to him, he let the bread fall to the ground. Then he ordered me to pick it up.
Generally, I look out for those who have less than me, but I wouldn’t bend my knee to that little schemer. I said, “Why can’t you pick it up yourself? If you won’t take as much trouble as that for your daily bread, you don’t deserve to have it.”
He grew very angry and insisted I pick it up. Finally, I picked him up and gave him a good beating. He screamed terribly and cried, “Stop, stop! I will tell you where the king’s daughters are!”
There were thousands like him, he said, living underground, and they could help me. He led me to a deep, dry well, and said they were down there. Then he warned me not to trust my brothers. If I wanted to free the princesses, I would have to do it alone.
Not-So-Stupid Hans in The Gnome, Grimms