Childstories.org Logo
Menu
Childstories.org Logo
  • 1
  • All Grimm
    Fairy Tales
  • 2
  • Sorted by
    reading time
  • 3
  • Perfect for reading
    aloud
Clever Hans
Grimm Märchen

Clever Hans - Fairy Tale by the Brothers Grimm

Reading time for children: 6 min

The mother of Hans said, „Whither away, Hans?“ Hans answered, „To Grethel.“

„Behave well, Hans.“

„Oh, I’ll behave well. Good-bye, mother.“

„Good-bye, Hans.“ Hans comes to Grethel, „Good day, Grethel.“

„Good day, Hans. What dost thou bring that is good?“

„I bring nothing, I want to have something given me.“ Grethel presents Hans with a needle. Hans says, „Good-bye, Grethel.“

„Good-bye, Hans.“

Hans takes the needle, sticks it into a hay-cart, and follows the cart home. „Good evening, mother.“

„Good evening, Hans. Where hast thou been?“

„With Grethel.“

„What didst thou take her?“

„Took nothing. Had something given me.“

„What did Grethel give thee?“

„Gave me a needle.“

„Where is the needle, Hans?“

„Stuck it in the hay-cart.“

„That was ill done, Hans. Thou shouldst have stuck the needle in thy sleeve.“

„Never mind, I’ll do better next time.“

„Whither away, Hans?“

„To Grethel, mother.“

„Behave well, Hans.“

„Oh, I’ll behave well. Good-bye, mother.“

„Good-bye, Hans.“ Hans comes to Grethel. „Good day, Grethel.“

„Good day, Hans. What dost thou bring that is good?“

„I bring nothing. I want to have something given to me.“ Grethel presents Hans with a knife. „Good-bye, Grethel.“

„Good-bye Hans.“ Hans takes the knife, sticks it in his sleeve, and goes home.

„Good evening, mother.“

„Good evening, Hans. Where hast thou been?“

„With Grethel.“

„What didst thou take her?“

„Took her nothing, she gave me something.“

„What did Grethel give thee?“

„Gave me a knife.“

„Where is the knife, Hans?“

„Stuck in my sleeve.“

„That’s ill done, Hans, thou shouldst have put the knife in thy pocket.“

„Never mind, will do better next time.“

„Whither away, Hans?“

„To Grethel, mother.“

„Behave well, Hans.“

„Oh, I’ll behave well. Good-bye, mother.“ – „Good-bye, Hans.“

Hans comes to Grethel. „Good day, Grethel.“

„Good day, Hans. What good thing dost thou bring?“

„I bring nothing, I want something given me.“ Grethel presents Hans with a young goat. „Good-bye, Grethel.“

„Good-bye, Hans.“ Hans takes the goat, ties its legs, and puts it in his pocket. When he gets home it is suffocated. „Good evening, mother.“

„Good evening, Hans. Where hast thou been?“

„With Grethel.“

„What didst thou take her?“

„Took nothing, she gave me something.“

„What did Grethel give thee?“

„She gave me a goat.“

„Where is the goat, Hans?“

„Put it in my pocket.“

„That was ill done, Hans, thou shouldst have put a rope round the goat’s neck.“

„Never mind, will do better next time.“ „Whither away, Hans,?“

„To Grethel, mother.“

„Behave well, Hans.“

„Oh, I’ll behave well. Good-bye, mother.“

„Good-bye, Hans.“ Hans comes to Grethel.

„Good day, Grethel.“

„Good day, Hans. What good thing dost thou bring?“

„I bring nothing, I want something given me.“ Grethel presents Hans with a piece of bacon. „Good-bye, Grethel.“

„Good-bye, Hans.“ Hans takes the bacon, ties it to a rope, and drags it away behind him. The dogs come and devour the bacon. When he gets home, he has the rope in his hand, and there is no longer anything hanging to it. „Good evening, mother.“

Good evening, Hans.“

„Where hast thou been?“

„With Grethel.“ What didst thou take her?“

„I took her nothing, she gave me something.“

„What did Grethel give thee?“

„Gave me a bit of bacon.“

„Where is the bacon, Hans?“

„I tied it to a rope, brought it home, dogs took it.“

„That was ill done, Hans, thou shouldst have carried the bacon on thy head.“

„Never mind, will do better next time.“

„Whither away, Hans?“

„To Grethel, mother.“

„Behave well, Hans.“

„I’ll behave well. Good-bye, mother.“

„Good-bye, Hans.“

Hans comes to Grethel. „Good day, Grethel.“

„Good day, Hans.“

„What good thing dost thou bring?“

„I bring nothing, but would have something given.“ Grethel presents Hans with a calf. „Good-bye, Grethel.“

„Good-bye, Hans.“ Hans takes the calf, puts it on his head, and the calf kicks his face. Good evening, mother.“

„Good evening, Hans. Where hast thou been?“

„With Grethel.“

„What didst thou take her?“

„I took nothing, but had something given me.“

„What did Grethel give thee?“

„A calf.“

„Where hast thou the calf, Hans?“

„I set it on my head and it kicked my face.“

„That was ill done, Hans, thou shouldst have led the calf, and put it in the stall.“

„Never mind, will do better next time.“ „Whither away, Hans?“

„To Grethel, mother.“

„Behave well, Hans.“

„I’ll behave well. Good-bye, mother.“

„Good-bye, Hans.“ Hans comes to Grethel.

„Good day, Grethel.“

„Good day, Hans. What good thing dost thou bring?“

„I bring nothing, but would have something given.“ Grethel says to Hans, „I will go with thee.“ Hans takes Grethel, ties her to a rope, leads her to the rack and binds her fast. Then Hans goes to his mother. „Good evening, mother.“

„Good evening, Hans. Where hast thou been?“

„With Grethel.“

„What didst thou take her?“

„I took her nothing.“

„What did Grethel give thee?“

„She gave me nothing, she came with me.“

„Where hast thou left Grethel?“

„I led her by the rope, tied her to the rack, and scattered some grass for her.“

„That was ill done, Hans, thou shouldst have cast friendly eyes on her.“

„Never mind, will do better.“

Hans went into the stable, cut out all the calves‘, and sheep’s eyes, and threw them in Grethel’s face. Then Grethel became angry, tore herself loose and ran away, and became the bride of Hans.

Backgrounds to fairy tale „Clever Hans“

„Clever Hans“ is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm in their renowned book, „Grimms‘ Fairy Tales,“ also known as „Kinder- und Hausmärchen“ (Children’s and Household Tales). The story was first published in 1812, and the collection went through several editions, with the final version published in 1857. „Clever Hans“ is also known as „KHM 32“ referring to its number in the collection.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were German scholars and linguists who aimed to collect and preserve the rich oral tradition of German and European folklore. Their goal was to present an authentic representation of the stories that had been passed down through generations, while also providing moral guidance for children and promoting a sense of national identity. They collected the tales from various sources, including storytellers, manuscripts, and printed books. While their initial intention was to create an academic resource for scholars, the fairy tales became popular among readers of all ages due to their vivid imagination, memorable characters, and moral teachings.

„Clever Hans“ is a humorous and lighthearted tale that follows the misadventures of a young man named Hans, who is in love with a young woman called Gretel. Throughout the story, Hans attempts to please Gretel by bringing her various gifts, but he constantly misinterprets her instructions and brings her the wrong items. Despite his good intentions, Hans’s constant misunderstandings lead to a series of amusing mishaps.

The Brothers Grimm collected their stories from various sources, including friends, acquaintances, and other literary works. It is likely that „Clever Hans“ was derived from multiple sources, combining different oral traditions and existing tales. The story’s humor, simplicity, and memorable characters have made it a popular and enduring tale in the Brothers Grimm collection.

„Clever Hans,“ like many other Grimm’s fairy tales, reflects the values and concerns of its time. The story is set in a rural environment, and the characters‘ lives revolve around agriculture and domestic activities. The tale emphasizes the importance of learning from mistakes, the value of persistence, and the necessity of understanding context when applying advice. These themes were relevant to the daily lives of the people in the 19th-century German-speaking regions and continue to resonate with readers today.

Interpretations to fairy tale „Clever Hans“

„Clever Hans“ is a lighthearted and amusing tale from the Brothers Grimm collection. Although the story is primarily humorous, it offers various interpretations and themes that can be analyzed. Here are some common interpretations found in the story:

The importance of clear communication: One of the central themes in „Clever Hans“ is the importance of clear communication. Hans’s repeated misunderstandings and mishaps highlight the need for precise and unambiguous communication between individuals. The story suggests that miscommunication can lead to unintended consequences, even when people have the best intentions.

Love and acceptance: Another theme present in „Clever Hans“ is love and acceptance. Despite Hans’s constant misunderstandings and the problems they cause, Gretel continues to accept him, and they eventually get married. The story shows that love can be forgiving and that accepting someone’s flaws can lead to happiness.

Persistence and determination: Hans’s repeated attempts to please Gretel, despite his ongoing mishaps, demonstrate his persistence and determination. This theme suggests that perseverance, even in the face of repeated failures, can ultimately lead to success.

The complexity of human nature: „Clever Hans“ also highlights the complexity of human nature and the idea that people can be both clever and foolish simultaneously. The story portrays Hans as a well-intentioned but misguided character, reminding readers that everyone has strengths and weaknesses.

The importance of learning from mistakes: Throughout the story, Hans makes several mistakes in handling the items given to him by Grethel. With each error, his mother provides guidance on how to improve, emphasizing the need for learning and adapting based on past experiences.

The danger of literal thinking: Hans often takes his mother’s advice too literally, leading to more mistakes. This highlights the importance of critical thinking and understanding the context in which advice is given, rather than blindly following it.

The process of growing up and maturation: Hans‘ repeated visits to Grethel and the lessons he learns from his mother could represent the process of growing up and gaining wisdom. Each visit demonstrates Hans‘ gradual progress and the development of his understanding and maturity.

The role of humor and absurdity: The story contains a significant amount of humor and absurdity in the situations that Hans finds himself in. This adds an element of entertainment and emphasizes the playful nature of fairy tales, which can engage readers while still conveying meaningful themes and messages. „Clever Hans“ showcases the Brothers Grimm’s use of humor in their tales. The story’s absurd situations and Hans’s amusing mistakes serve to entertain readers, demonstrating that not all fairy tales need to have deep moral lessons or serious themes. Sometimes, the simple pleasure of laughter is valuable in itself.

Persistence and resilience: Despite his numerous mistakes and setbacks, Hans never gives up and continues to visit Grethel. This persistence and resilience eventually lead to their union in marriage, suggesting that perseverance in the face of difficulties can ultimately lead to success and happiness.

In summary, „Clever Hans“ offers a range of interpretations and themes, despite its lighthearted and humorous nature. The story’s focus on clear communication, love, and acceptance, as well as the inclusion of humor and the complexity of human nature, make it an entertaining and thought-provoking tale in the Brothers Grimm collection.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „Clever Hans“

„Clever Hans“ is a German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, who were renowned linguists and cultural researchers in the early 19th century. The story is included in their famous collection „Grimm’s Fairy Tales“ or „Kinder- und Hausmärchen,“ which was first published in 1812. The collection contains more than 200 folktales, many of which have become an integral part of Western folklore and literary tradition. „Clever Hans“ has inspired various adaptations and retellings over the years, thanks to its humorous and entertaining nature. Here are a few examples:

Literature: Numerous illustrated children’s books have retold „Clever Hans,“ simplifying the story and emphasizing its humor to appeal to young readers. These retellings can be found in various fairy tale collections or as standalone picture books, allowing children to engage with the story in an accessible format. „Clever Hans“ has been adapted into several children’s books, including „Clever Hans“ by Manfred Kyber and „Clever Hans“ by Claire Huchet Bishop.

Theater: Local and regional theater groups have adapted „Clever Hans“ into stage plays or short skits. These adaptations often maintain the story’s comedic elements and might even incorporate additional humor to create a unique theatrical experience for audiences of all ages.

Puppet shows: Puppet shows have been used to bring „Clever Hans“ to life, particularly for children’s audiences. These shows often emphasize the story’s humor and the protagonist’s amusing mishaps, making it appealing to a younger audience.

Films: In 1956, a German film called „Clever Hans“ was released, based on the fairy tale. The film was directed by Hubert Schonger and starred Walter Gross.

Animated Films: While there isn’t a well-known animated adaptation of „Clever Hans,“ it is possible to find short, independent animated versions on online platforms like YouTube. These adaptations often focus on the story’s humor and the protagonist’s amusing mistakes, making it appealing to younger viewers.

Educational materials: „Clever Hans“ has also been used as a basis for educational materials, such as lesson plans and teaching resources. Teachers may use the story to explore themes like communication, humor, love, and acceptance, as well as to introduce students to the Brothers Grimm and the broader tradition of European folklore.

Plays: „Clever Hans“ has been adapted into a number of plays, including „Clever Hans: The True Story of the Counting Horse“ by Candace Perry and „Clever Hans: A Play“ by Michael Hollinger.

Variations: There are various adaptations of the „Clever Hans“ story that have been created with different characters, settings, and plots, such as „Clever Elsie“ and „Clever Gretel“, both also from the Brothers Grimm collection.

Although „Clever Hans“ may not have the same level of recognition as some other Grimm fairy tales, its enduring appeal and adaptability have led to various retellings and adaptations over the years, introducing new generations to the humorous and entertaining tale. Overall, the enduring popularity of „Clever Hans“ speaks to the universal themes of the story and the enduring appeal of folk tales and fairy tales.

Summary of the plot

„Clever Hans“ is a fairy tale by Brothers Grimm that follows the interactions between Hans and Grethel, as well as the lessons Hans learns from his mother. Each time Hans visits Grethel, he brings nothing but hopes to receive something in return. Throughout the story, Hans is given various items, which he proceeds to mishandle in different ways. After each visit, his mother points out his mistakes and advises him on how to improve.

In their first encounter, Grethel gives Hans a needle, which he sticks in a hay-cart. His mother tells him he should have put the needle in his sleeve. On the second visit, Hans receives a knife and sticks it in his sleeve as his mother previously advised, but she tells him he should have put it in his pocket. When Grethel gives Hans a young goat, he ties its legs and puts it in his pocket, causing it to suffocate. His mother tells him he should have put a rope around the goat’s neck instead.

On the fourth visit, Grethel gives Hans a piece of bacon. He ties it to a rope and drags it behind him, only for dogs to devour it. His mother advises him to carry the bacon on his head next time. Hans then receives a calf from Grethel, which he carries on his head, causing it to kick his face. His mother tells him he should have led the calf and put it in the stall. Finally, Hans brings Grethel home, but ties her to a rack and scatters grass for her. His mother says he should have cast friendly eyes on her. Hans then cuts out the eyes of calves and sheep, throwing them at Grethel’s face. Angered, Grethel breaks free and runs away, eventually becoming Hans‘ bride.

Informations for scientific analysis


Fairy tale statistics
Value
NumberKHM 32
Aarne-Thompson-Uther-IndexATU Typ 1696
Translations DE, EN, DA, ES, PT, IT, JA, NL, PL, RU, TR, VI, ZH,
Readability Index by Björnsson17.2
Flesch-Reading-Ease Index95.3
Flesch–Kincaid Grade-Level1.3
Gunning Fog Index3.3
Coleman–Liau Index8.5
SMOG Index5.5
Automated Readability Index0.8
Character Count5.608
Letter Count3.792
Sentence Count168
Word Count917
Average Words per Sentence5,46
Words with more than 6 letters108
Percentage of long words11.8%
Number of Syllables1.149
Average Syllables per Word1,25
Words with three Syllables25
Percentage Words with three Syllables2.7%

Image sources: © Andrea Danti / Shutterstock

Questions, comments or experience reports?

Privacy policy.

The best fairy tales

Copyright © 2023 - All rights reserved | Imprint | Privacy policyPowered by childstories.org

Keine Internetverbindung


Sie sind nicht mit dem Internet verbunden. Bitte überprüfen Sie Ihre Netzwerkverbindung.


Versuchen Sie Folgendes:


  • 1. Prüfen Sie Ihr Netzwerkkabel, ihren Router oder Ihr Smartphone

  • 2. Aktivieren Sie ihre Mobile Daten -oder WLAN-Verbindung erneut

  • 3. Prüfen Sie das Signal an Ihrem Standort

  • 4. Führen Sie eine Netzwerkdiagnose durch