Going Traveling

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Once upon a time there was a poor woman who had a son who wanted very much to travel. His mother said, "How can you travel? We have no money at all for you to take with you."

Then the son said, "I will take care of myself. I will always say, 'Not much, not much, not much.'"

So he walked for a long time, always saying, "Not much, not much, not much."

Then he came to a group of fishermen, and said, "God be with you. Not much, not much, not much."

"What do you say, fellow? Not much?"

And when they pulled up their net, they had not caught many fish. So one of them fell on the boy with a stick, saying, "Have you ever seen me thrash?"

"What should I say, then?" asked the boy.

"You should say, "Catch a lot. Catch a lot."

Then he again walked a long time, saying, "Catch a lot. Catch a lot," until he came to a gallows, where they were about to hang a poor sinner. Then said he, "Good morning. Catch a lot. Catch a lot."

"What do you say, fellow? Catch a lot? Should there be even more wicked people in the world? Isn't this enough?" And he again got it on his back.

"What should I say, then?" he asked.

"You should say, "May God comfort the poor soul."

Again the boy walked on for a long while, saying, "May God comfort the poor soul." Then he came to a ditch where a knacker was skinning a horse. The boy said, "Good morning. May God comfort the poor soul."

"What do you say, you disgusting fellow?" said the knacker, hitting him about the ears with his skinning hook until he could not see out of his eyes.

"What should I say, then?"

"You should say, 'Lie in the ditch, you carcass.'"

So he walked on, saying, "Lie in the ditch, you carcass. Lie in the ditch, you carcass." He came to a coach filled with people, and said, "Lie in the ditch, you carcass."

Then the coach tipped over into the ditch, and the driver took his whip and beat the boy until he had to crawl back to his mother, and as long as he lived he never went traveling again.

Links to related sites

Revised July 31, 2000.