Grimm’s Grimmest – Hans My Hedgehog
He becomes so angry by his fellow farmers’ snide comments that he proclaims to his wife that he will have a child, even if it is a hedgehog.
Soon after his wife gives birth to a child that is a hedgehog from the waist up. After many years, the farmer goes to a fair and asks everyone in the household want they want, even his hedgehog son who he cares nothing for.
Hans My Hedgehog asks for bagpipes, and when he receives them, he asks his father to shoe the rooster so he can ride off to seek his fortune and never return.
Once he receives them, Hans My Hedgehog goes off into the woods and watches over his pigs and donkeys.
A king, lost in the woods, hears him playing the bagpipes, and Hans My Hedgehog promises to show him the way home in return for whatever first meets him when he returns.
The king promises writing a note, but writes down instead that Hans My Hedgehog should not have it. He is glad that he tricked Hans My Hedgehog because his daughter is the first person to meet him when he returns.
A second king is also lost, and he does write down the promise, and his daughter, on hearing of it, gives her promise that she will obey.
In time, Hans My Hedgehog goes to claim his promises. The first king attempts to withhold his daughter, but Hans forces him to yield her.
However, Hans My Hedgehog merely takes her away, piercing her all over until she bleeds and sending her back to her father.
The second king agrees to the marriage, the princess holds herself to the promise even if she is frightened, and Hans My Hedgehog promises her that she will not be harmed by his prickles.
Then he tells the king on their wedding night, he should build a big fire, and when Hans takes off his hedgehog skin, he should have servants burn it. They do this, and Hans My Hedgehog becomes a handsome young man.
Hans My Hedgehog is another grim fairy tale that deals with keeping promises. Severe consequences can occur when people break promises or when people try to trick others after being helped by them.