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Hans married
Grimm Märchen

Hans married - Fairy Tale by the Brothers Grimm

Reading time for children: 4 min

There was once upon a time a young peasant named Hans, whose uncle wanted to find him a rich wife. He therefore seated Hans behind the stove, and had it made very hot. Then he fetched a pot of milk and plenty of white bread, gave him a bright newly-coined farthing in his hand, and said, „Hans, hold that farthing fast, crumble the white bread into the milk, and stay where you are, and do not stir from that spot till I come back.“ – „Yes,“ said Hans, „I will do all that.“ Then the wooer put on a pair of old patched trousers, went to a rich peasant’s daughter in the next village, and said, „Won’t you marry my nephew Hans — you will get an honest and sensible man who will suit you?“ The covetous father asked, „How is it with regard to his means? Has he bread to break?“ – „Dear friend,“ replied the wooer, „my young nephew has a snug berth, a nice bit of money in hand, and plenty of bread to break, besides he has quite as many patches as I have,“ (and as he spoke, he slapped the patches on his trousers, but in that district small pieces of land were called patches also.) „If you will give yourself the trouble to go home with me, you shall see at once that all is as I have said.“ Then the miser did not want to lose this good opportunity, and said, „If that is the case, I have nothing further to say against the marriage.“

So the wedding was celebrated on the appointed day, and when the young wife went out of doors to see the bridegroom’s property, Hans took off his Sunday coat and put on his patched smock-frock and said, „I might spoil my good coat.“ Then together they went out and wherever a boundary line came in sight, or fields and meadows were divided from each other, Hans pointed with his finger and then slapped either a large or a small patch on his smock-frock, and said, „That patch is mine, and that too, my dearest, just look at it,“ meaning thereby that his wife should not stare at the broad land, but look at his garment, which was his own.

„Were you indeed at the wedding?“ – „Yes, indeed I was there, and in full dress. My head-dress was of snow. Then the sun came out, and it was melted. My coat was of cobwebs, and I had to pass by some thorns which tore it off me, my shoes were of glass, and I pushed against a stone and they said, „Klink,“ and broke in two.

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Backgrounds to fairy tale „Hans married“

„Hans Married,“ also known as „Hans Gets Married,“ is a lesser-known fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm in their anthology „Children’s and Household Tales“ (Kinder- und Hausmärchen). The tale is numbered as Tale 84 in the collection. The story, rooted in European oral storytelling tradition, is a humorous tale that contains themes of love, marriage, and misunderstanding.

In „Hans Married,“ Hans, a simple and somewhat naive young man, sets out to find a wife. His mother gives him a piece of advice to help him in his search: he should choose a wife who has a trade or can support herself. Taking his mother’s advice to heart, Hans embarks on a journey to find a suitable spouse.

Along the way, Hans encounters various women, each with their own occupation or trade. However, he continually misinterprets his mother’s advice and rejects each potential bride based on a comical misunderstanding of their occupation. For example, he declines to marry a maiden who makes lace because he believes she is making a net to catch him.

Finally, Hans meets a woman who tells him she is a „housekeeper,“ and Hans, believing her trade is literally to keep a house, decides to marry her. In the end, Hans is content with his choice, and the story concludes on a humorous note, leaving the reader to consider the consequences of taking advice too literally.

The Brothers Grimm collected the tale as part of their efforts to preserve and promote German and European folklore. „Hans Married“ serves as an example of the lighter and more humorous side of their collection, showcasing a variety of tales that reflect the cultural and societal beliefs of the time.

Interpretations to fairy tale „Hans married“

„Hans Married“ from the Brothers Grimm is a humorous fairy tale that offers various interpretations based on its themes and narrative elements. Some possible interpretations include:

The consequences of taking advice too literally: The story demonstrates how taking advice too literally can lead to misunderstandings and comical situations. Hans follows his mother’s advice to the letter, which results in him rejecting potential brides based on his literal interpretation of their trades. The tale may serve as a reminder to consider the broader context and meaning of advice rather than focusing solely on the literal interpretation.

The importance of communication and understanding: Hans‘ misinterpretations of the women’s occupations highlight the significance of clear communication and understanding in relationships. The story suggests that misunderstandings can be avoided by asking questions and seeking clarification.

The role of humor in storytelling: „Hans Married“ provides a lighthearted and humorous contrast to some of the darker and more serious tales in the Brothers Grimm’s collection. The story serves as a reminder that fairy tales can be entertaining and amusing, as well as instructive.

The subjectivity of decision-making: The tale illustrates the subjectivity of decision-making, as Hans makes choices based on his own interpretations and beliefs. The story suggests that each individual’s decisions are influenced by their personal experiences, values, and perspectives.

The unpredictability of life and relationships: The tale highlights the unpredictable nature of life and relationships, as Hans‘ journey to find a wife is filled with unexpected twists and turns. The story suggests that life’s journey is often uncertain and that one must be prepared to face unexpected challenges and opportunities.

Overall, „Hans Married“ is a lighthearted and entertaining fairy tale that explores themes of communication, decision-making, and the role of humor in storytelling. The story serves as a reminder of the importance of clear communication and understanding, as well as the subjective nature of decision-making.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „Hans married“

„Hans Married“ is a lesser-known fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm, and as a result, it has not been widely adapted or retold in popular culture. However, its themes and elements have appeared in various forms and adaptations over the years. Some specific examples include:

Literature: The themes and motifs of „Hans Married“ can be found in various literary works, including short stories, novels, and children’s books. These adaptations may take the form of retellings of the original story or reinterpretations that incorporate similar themes and ideas, such as misunderstandings, humor, and the importance of clear communication.

Theater: Although „Hans Married“ has not been widely adapted for the stage, smaller theater companies, school productions, or community theater groups might have included it in their repertoire or as part of a larger collection of Grimm fairy tales. The story’s humorous and lighthearted nature lends itself well to theatrical exploration, with its amusing characters and situations providing ample opportunities for comedy.

Art: Illustrators and visual artists might have been inspired by „Hans Married,“ creating artwork for book editions or standalone pieces that depict key scenes, characters, or themes from the story. These works can vary in style and medium, showcasing the impact of the Brothers Grimm’s tale on the world of art.

While „Hans Married“ has not been widely adapted or retold in mainstream media, its themes and ideas continue to resonate and can be found in various forms of art and storytelling. The story serves as a reminder of the importance of clear communication, understanding, and humor, which are timeless themes that continue to be relevant today.

Adaptions of the fairy tale „Hans married“

The fairy tale „Hans Married“ has been adapted and reimagined in various forms over the years. Here are a few notable adaptations:

„Hans in Luck“ (1955) – This is a short film directed by Lotte Reiniger, a pioneering animator who used cut-out silhouettes to create her films. The film follows the basic storyline of the original tale, with Hans trading his gold for a series of animals and ultimately ending up with a grindstone.

„The Lucky One“ (1991) – This is a children’s book by Ursula Dubosarsky that takes inspiration from „Hans Married“ but reimagines the story with a modern twist. The protagonist, a boy named Harry, finds a lucky stone and believes it will bring him good fortune. However, his obsession with the stone causes him to overlook the people and experiences that truly make him happy.

„The Wonderful Adventures of Nils“ (1906) – This is a Swedish children’s book by Selma Lagerlöf that features a character named Nils who embarks on a journey through Sweden with a group of wild geese. The book has been compared to „Hans Married“ for its emphasis on simplicity and nature.

„Happy Hans“ (1999) – This is a play by Philip Osment that reimagines the story of Hans as a gay man living in London. The play explores themes of identity, relationships, and the search for happiness, while still retaining the basic storyline of the original tale.

„Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters“ (2013) – This is a Hollywood action-horror movie that takes inspiration from various fairy tales, including „Hans Married.“ In the movie, the characters Hansel and Gretel are grown-up versions of the siblings from the classic fairy tale and work as bounty hunters tracking down and killing witches. While the film has little in common with the original story of „Hans Married,“ it’s an example of how fairy tales can continue to inspire new works of art and storytelling.

Summary of the plot

„Hans Married“ is a humorous fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm about a young man named Hans who sets out to find a wife. His mother advises him to choose a wife who has a trade or can support herself. Taking his mother’s advice to heart, Hans begins his search for a suitable spouse.

During his journey, Hans meets various women with different occupations. However, he continually misinterprets his mother’s advice and rejects each potential bride based on a comical misunderstanding of their trade. For example, he declines to marry a maiden who makes lace, believing she is making a net to catch him.

Finally, Hans encounters a woman who claims to be a „housekeeper.“ Hans, interpreting her trade literally as someone who keeps a house, decides she is the perfect wife. They get married, and the story concludes with a humorous tone, leaving the reader to ponder the consequences of taking advice too literally.

The tale explores themes such as misunderstandings, the importance of clear communication, and the role of humor in storytelling.


Backgrounds to fairy tale „Hans married“

„Hans Married“ is a lesser-known fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, Jacob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859). They were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who collected and published folklore during the 19th century. Their collection of fairy tales, known as „Grimm’s Fairy Tales“ or „Children’s and Household Tales“ (originally „Kinder- und Hausmärchen“), includes some of the most famous stories known today, such as „Cinderella,“ „Hansel and Gretel,“ „Rapunzel,“ and „Snow White.“

The Brothers Grimm aimed to preserve the cultural and folkloric heritage of Germany and other European countries. They collected their stories from various sources, including oral traditions, manuscripts, and printed books. Some stories were shared with them by friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. Over the years, they revised and expanded their collection, which ultimately grew to over 200 tales.

„Hans Married“ is one of the less popular and studied stories within the Grimm Brothers‘ collection. Like many other Grimm tales, it explores themes such as deception, greed, and the consequences of placing too much importance on material wealth. These themes, as well as the use of satire and absurdity, are characteristic of the Brothers Grimm’s storytelling and reflective of the societal values and norms of the time.

Interpretations to fairy tale „Hans married“

There are several interpretations one could draw from the fairy tale „Hans Married“ by the Brothers Grimm:

Deception and Miscommunication: The story showcases the consequences of deception and miscommunication, as Hans‘ uncle uses clever wordplay to make the girl’s father believe that Hans is wealthy. Hans, unaware of his uncle’s deceit, plays along with the ruse unwittingly. The tale serves as a cautionary message about the importance of honest communication and understanding in relationships.

Greed and Materialism: The girl’s father is portrayed as a greedy and materialistic individual who readily agrees to the marriage after believing that Hans has a considerable amount of land and wealth. This theme highlights the negative aspects of valuing material possessions over personal qualities, such as love and character.

Illusion versus Reality: The story plays with the idea of illusion versus reality, as Hans‘ uncle manipulates the girl’s father into believing that Hans is wealthier than he truly is. The concept of patches on clothing, mistaken for land patches, serves as a metaphor for the misconceptions that arise when people prioritize appearances over truth.

Satire and Absurdity: The Brothers Grimm often used satire and absurdity in their fairy tales to make a point or highlight societal issues. In this story, the absurd situations and descriptions, such as the wedding guest’s peculiar outfit, serve to emphasize the ridiculousness of the events and the characters‘ actions.

Overall, „Hans Married“ explores themes of deception, greed, illusion, and satire, offering a critical look at the consequences of dishonesty and materialism in relationships and society.

Summary of the plot

Once upon a time, there was a young peasant named Hans, who was urged by his uncle to marry a rich wife. To prepare Hans for the meeting, his uncle placed him behind a hot stove with milk, bread, and a farthing coin, instructing him not to move until he returned. The uncle, dressed in patched trousers, went to a nearby village and proposed a marriage between his nephew and a wealthy peasant’s daughter. To prove Hans‘ worth, he convinced the girl’s father that Hans had plenty of money and land, referring to his patches as land.

The father agreed to the marriage, and the wedding took place. After the wedding, Hans showed his wife the „property“ he owned by pointing to the patches on his smock-frock whenever they saw a boundary line or land division, trying to make her believe that he owned the land. The story concludes with an attendee at the wedding describing their own peculiar outfit, highlighting the absurdity of the situation.

Informations for scientific analysis

Fairy tale statistics
NumberKHM 84
Aarne-Thompson-Uther-IndexATU Typs 859B
TranslationsDE, EN, DA, ES, PT, IT, JA, NL, PL, RU, TR, VI, ZH
Readability Index by Björnsson37.1
Flesch-Reading-Ease Index77.5
Flesch–Kincaid Grade-Level9
Gunning Fog Index11.8
Coleman–Liau Index7.2
SMOG Index8.4
Automated Readability Index10.1
Character Count2.310
Letter Count1.747
Sentence Count17
Word Count448
Average Words per Sentence26,35
Words with more than 6 letters48
Percentage of long words10.7%
Number of Syllables543
Average Syllables per Word1,21
Words with three Syllables14
Percentage Words with three Syllables3.1%
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