Once upon a time there was a man who had three sons. The youngest of the three was called Clumsy, and was scorned, mocked, and cast aside at every turn.
One day, the eldest son wanted to go to the forest to cut wood, his mother gave him a delicious egg cake and a bottle of milk so that he would not go hungry or thirsty. Arriving in the woods, he met a very old, gray-haired little man who greeted him courteously and said:
— Please give me a piece of cake and a sip of your milk, for I am hungry and thirsty.
“If I give you cake and milk, I’ll have nothing to eat,” replied the eldest son. And he left the little man standing to continue on his way. But when he started to cut down a tree, he made a wrong blow and injured his arm with the axe, so he had to return home. With that blow, he paid for his behavior with the little man.
Then the second son went to the forest and like the eldest, his mother gave him a delicious cake and a bottle of milk. The little gray man also met him and asked for a piece of cake and a sip of milk. The second son replied contemptuously:
“If I give you, I’m left with nothing to eat.” Without further ado, he left the little man and continued on his way to the most leafy tree. The punishment was immediate; he hadn’t done more than a few chops when he hit his leg and had to go home.
At that moment Clumsy said, “Father, let me go chop wood.”
The father replied: “Your brothers have been hurt, so stop it now.” You don’t understand any of this.
But Clumsy insisted so much that finally the father said: —Come on, go; you will learn by force of blows.
The mother gave him a cake she had made with flour and water and a bottle of sour milk. When he got to the woods, she bumped into the little gray old man who greeted him and said:
— Please give me a piece of cake and a drink from your bottle, because I am very hungry and thirsty.
Clumsy said, “I only have a flour cake and sour milk, but if you feel like it, let’s sit down and eat.”
The two men ate and drank, and then the little man said:
—Since you have a good heart and you like to share, I’m going to give you a gift. There is an old tree there, cut it down and you will find something at the root. Saying this, the little man took his leave.
Clumsy went to the tree, felled it, and when it fell, he found at the root a great goose with feathers of pure gold. He took it out of there, taking it with him and went to an inn to spend the night. The innkeeper had three daughters who, seeing the goose, were curious to know what kind of wonderful bird it was. The older one thought: “I’ll have a chance to pluck a feather out of him.” As soon as Clumsy was out, he grabbed the goose by the wing, but his finger and hand got stuck there. Shortly afterwards the second arrived, having no other thought than to pluck out a golden feather; but as soon as she touched her sister, she stayed glued to her. Finally came the third with the same intentions. Then the two sisters shouted:
“Stay away, for your own good, stay away!”
But she didn’t understand why she didn’t have to get closer and she thought: If they’re there, I can be too, and she jumped closer; but as soon as she had touched her sister she stayed glued to her. So they had to spend the night glued to the goose.
The next morning Clumsy took the goose in his arms without worrying about the three young women who were stuck together. They had to run after him, to the right or to the left, depending on whether he wanted to go.
In the middle of the field they met the priest and, when he saw the procession, he said:
“But aren’t you embarrassed, girls, following a young man through the fields like that?” Do you think that’s okay?
With these words, he took the youngest by the hand in order to separate her, but he was still stuck and had to run after her too. A little later the sacristan arrived and saw the priest follow the young women. He was amazed and shouted:
“Oh, sir priest!” Where is she going in such a hurry? Don’t forget we still have a christening today.
He went towards him and took him by the coat, also sticking there. The five of them were running one after another, when two peasants approached with their hoes. The priest called them and asked them to release him and the sacristan. But as soon as they had touched the sacristan, they stuck there and that way there were already seven of them running after Clumsy and the goose.
Soon they came to a city, where the ruling king had a daughter who was so serious that no one could make her laugh. By then he had signed a law saying that the man who was able to make her laugh could marry her. When Clumsy heard this, he went with his goose and all his train of followers to the king’s daughter. As soon as she saw the seven people running endlessly, one after the other, from here to there, she began to laugh out loud. Clumsy won the princess’s heart by returning her laugh. The two got married and lived happily ever after.