Hans My Hedgehog
A wealthy but childless merchant wishes he had a child, even a hedgehog, and comes home to find that his wife has given birth to a baby boy that is a hedgehog from the waist up.
After eight years, the merchant goes to a fair and asks everyone in the household what they want. Hans My Hedgehog asks for bagpipes, and when he receives them, asks his father to have the cock shod so he can ride off to seek his fortune.
When he gets them, he goes off into the woods and watches over his donkeys and pigs. 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, but, realizing that Hans My Hedgehog cannot read, writes down instead that Hans My Hedgehog should receive nothing, which he is glad of when he returns and it is his daughter; she is glad of it, too. 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, and then takes her off, forces her to take off her clothing, pierces her all over until she bleeds, and sends her back to her father. The second king agrees to the marriage, the princess holds herself bound by her promise, and Hans My Hedgehog promises her that his prickles will not harm her. 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 four servants burn it. They do this, and Hans My Hedgehog becomes a handsome young man.
This folktale was adapted into a children's book in 2012. The book is titled Hans My Hedgehog and is written by Kate Coombs and illustrated by John Nickle. The book is published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers and has the ISBN 978-1416915331.
- The story was featured as a cel animated short in the "Hungarian Folktales" episode of the American TV series Long Ago and Far Away.
- The Hazel-nut Child
- The Myrtle
- The Pig King
- The Donkey
- The Pretty Little Calf
- Beauty and the Beast
- The Frog Prince
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