How the Goats Came to Hessen

How the Goats Came to Hessen

How the Goats Came to Hessen Source: Adalbert Kuhn, “Wie die Ziegen nach Hessen gekommen sind,” Sagen Gebräuche und Märchen aus Westfalen und einigen andern, besonders den angrenzenden Gegenden Norddeutschlands (Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 1859), v. 2, pp. 250-251.

In olden, olden times, the land of Hessen was surrounded by great forests which were inhabited by many wolves. Many a family of goats attempted to enter the land, but were torn apart by the bloodthirsty beasts. One day a weak little kid goat was making his way toward Hessen. He had hardly entered the forest before a wolf confronted him and wanted to tear him to pieces.

Filled with fear, the little kid said, “My mother is coming too.”

The wolf thought, “Don’t spoil your appetite. The mother will be a better meal for my hungry stomach.” And he let the little animal pass in peace.

Sure enough, soon afterward the mother goat appeared. The wolf was about to pounce on her, when she — filled with fear — said, “My husband is coming too.”

“Stop!” thought the wolf. “Her husband is larger and will be a better meal for you. Wait to eat until he comes.”

Finally the ram goat approached. The wolf’s heart laughed inside his body when he saw the stately fellow. He was about to spring on him and grab him by the throat when two things caught his attention: the ram’s spikes and his bag.

“Tell me, ram,” what are those big spikes on your head, and what is that bag for between your legs?”

“Oh,” replied the ram, “the spikes are a pair of pistols, and the bag is where I carry my powder and lead.”

In that moment, as such animals often do, the ram rubbed his left horn against his flank. The wolf thought that he was loading his pistol, and he took to flight. Thus the first family of goats arrived happily in the land of Hessen. Their descendents have multiplied so much that Hessen now provides the neighboring lands with its surplus every year.


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