This week’s Fairy Tale is Iron Hans. The story begins with the King sending a hunstman into the forest. The huntsman never returns. The King decides to send more and more men into the forest- they never return. It is then that the King decides that the woods are dangerous and he puts them off-limits to everyone.
A few years later, a man with a dog hears of the woods and is curious. He wonders if he might be able to solve the mystery and asks if he might be able to go and discover the fate of the men. The King agrees, so the man and his dog go into the forest. As they come across a lake, the dog is dragged underneath by a giant hand (Ew!) The man returns to the forest with a group of men. They empty the lake and find a naked man with skin like rust. They capture the man and take him to the King. The King locks the man up in the courtyard and tells everyone they must only look at the man and never set him free or they will face the death penalty.
The King had a young son.He was playing in the courtyard near the man (Iron Hans). He loses control of his ball which rolls into the cage where Iron Hans is kept. Iron Hans picks it up and tells the boy he will only return the ball when the young Prince sets him free. At first, the Prince refuses, he knows he’s not allowed to let the man free. Iron Hans tells the Prince where he will find the key (under the Queen’s pillow). The Prince decides he really wants his ball back so he manages to get the key and release the man. The Prince is terrified that he will be killed for releasing Iron Hans, so Iron Hans puts the Prince on his shoulders and sets off into the forest once more.
As the story progresses, we find out that Iron Hans has many treasures he is huarding. He tells the Prince to watch over his well, but not to let anything drop into it or it will turn to gold. The Prince listens at first, but then begins to play, resulting in things dropping into the well and turning into gold. Iron Hans gives the Prince three chances, but unfortunately things keep dropping in, including the Prince’s hair. Iron Hans is disappointed that the Prince didn’t listen. He sends the Prince away to a life of real poverty. Although, he tells the Prince that if he ever needs him to shout out his name as he will return.
The Prince ends up working for the King and impresses the King under the disguise of a knight with the help of Iron Hans aiding him. He gets Iron Hans to turn him into a knight, completes the task that the King has set and then goes back to his position as farmhand. The King offers his daughter’s hand in marriage to any knight who can catch a golden apple. Again, the Prince calls in Iron Hans to help him. Eventually the King pins down that it was the Prince (who was working on the farm) that was completing all of the tasks. Instead of working on the farm, he becomes a Prince once more and marries the Princess. He is reunited with his family. Iron Hans comes to the wedding, but he has also had a transformation. He no longer has iron skin or a wild look about him. He tells the Prince that he was under enchantment, waiting for someone worthy to release him. As the Prince always went back to working on the farm even though he had the opportunity for better things, it was enough to set Iron Hans free!
I thought this was a great fairy tale. I really liked the almost moral-like ending to it. It was almost Beauty and The Beast without the romance!