February 29, 2024

#08-840: The King of the Golden Mountain

The black dwarf and the merchant and son (Wikipedia)

Note: Magic almost never delivers on its "promise"; it seems there's always a catch, as in this story. Still, an honest person can come out all right in the end!

Get Ready: What qualities must a folk-hero have to come out on top in the end?

"The King of the Golden Mountain" is a story from the Brothers Grimm.

Once, a rich merchant lost everything except one field. As he strolled back and forth there, a black dwarf (who was actually the devil) appeared and offered to restore his wealth--if, twelve years later, the merchant would give the dwarf the first thing that rubbed against his leg when he got home that day. The merchant agreed, assuming this would be his dog. To his horror, it was his little boy!

So twelve years later, with the boy's agreement, the merchant relinquished his son. But instead of taking him, the dwarf agreed to let him be pushed out to sea in a boat. The boat turned over, and the merchant assumed his son was drowned.

But he was not. He landed across the sea and met a prodigious snake, who was actually an enchanted princess. By staying three nights in a castle and allowing himself to be beaten by twelve black men each night, he freed the princess from the spell and married her. This made him the King of the Golden Mountain.

After many years, the King had a seven-year-old son, and wanted to visit his old parents. To get back to them, his wife gave him a wishing ring but told him NOT to wish she and his son would join him. When his parents would not believe his story, he wished his wife and son there with him to prove it. His wife was angry, and while he slept, she took the ring and wished herself and the boy away, leaving him stranded.

Trying to travel back home, he met three giants, fighting over who should keep a magic sword (that cut off heads on command); a cloak that rendered the wearer invisible; and boots that would carry the wearer anywhere. Saying he wanted to try them, the King put on the boots and disappeared with the cloak and the sword.

He returned to his castle, where he discovered his wife was about to get married to another man. He used the cloak to help him steal the food the princess was trying to eat. He then ordered all the guests to leave, declaring the wedding was off. But they would not leave, so he gave the command and the magic sword beheaded them all, and the merchant's son once again became the King of the Golden Mountain.


Practice: Match the term to its definition:

Term Definition
  1. dwarf
  2. enchanted
  3. invisible
  4. merchant
  5. prodigious
  6. relinquished
  7. rendered
  8. restore
  9. stranded
  10. strolled
  1. caused to become
  2. give back; replace
  3. unable to be seen
  4. magically small person
  5. walked casually
  6. under a magic spell
  7. stuck; left without means of travel
  8. person who trades in goods
  9. unnaturally large
  10. gave up

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for February 29, 2024

1 comment:

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