August 01, 2023

#08-332: Iron Hans

The young prince approaches Iron Hans (Wikipedia)

Note: This has become a "men's story," but it really appeals to a much wider audience than that now-outdated demographic.

Get Ready: What does it take for a young person to "grow up"?

This story by the Grimm Brothers became popular in America in a 1990 book called Iron John: A Book about Men.

Once a king had a forest which, when his huntsmen entered, they never returned.

One day a huntsman unknown to the king entered the woods and, as his dog approached a pond, a naked arm came out and whisked it away. When the pond was drained they found a rust-colored wild man, whom they bound and took back to the castle.

There, they put him on display.

One day the king's son was playing with a golden ball, which rolled into the wild man's cage. Iron Hans--for that was his name--would only return it if the boy set him free. The boy brought the key from his mother's bedside table and, fearful of punishment, let Iron Hans carry him away on his shoulder,

In the woods the wild man set tasks for the boy, but he failed them all. (In one of them, his hair dipped into a pool and turned a bright gold.) Iron Hans sent him away but, because the boy had a good heart, he said that if the young prince came to the forest and called "Iron Hans!" three times, the wild man would help him.

The boy reached a city, where he became the gardener's boy in a great castle. The princess in that castle was attracted by the boy's golden hair, and often tried to remove his cap to see it.

War came. Wanting to help, the young prince went to Iron Hans, who supplied him with a horse, armor, and an army. His troop won the day, but he left before anyone knew who he was. The king proclaimed a great three-day festival, hoping to lure the unidentified hero.

Each day he appeared, in different armor and on a matching horse: red, then white, then black, all supplied by Iron Hans, and each day he caught the golden apple thrown by the princess. The king's men nearly caught him on the third day, but he escaped.

The next day the princess asked the gardener about his boy, and was told he was at work in the garden, but had three golden apples that he had showed to the gardener's children. Summoned by the king, the prince confessed everything. He said that his father was also a powerful king, and asked to wed the princess.

Of course his overjoyed parents came to the wedding, but so did another proud king: Iron Hans. He explained that he had been under a magic spell, and gave the young prince all the treasures he owned.


Practice: Match the term to its definition:

Term Definition
  1. bound
  2. confessed
  3. dipped
  4. lure
  5. naked
  6. overjoyed
  7. summoned
  8. troop
  9. unidentified
  10. whisked
  1. took quickly
  2. extremely happy
  3. attract
  4. told the truth
  5. without clothes
  6. unknown; not named
  7. group of soldiers
  8. plunged into water
  9. called to appear
  10. tied up

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for August 3, 2023

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. j; 2. d; 3. h; 4. c; 5. e; 6. b; 7. i; 8. g; 9. f; 10. a