Part 1: Dummling’s Big Heart
In a cozy village at the edge of a great forest, there lived three brothers. The eldest two were tall and strong, and everyone believed they were quite smart too. But the youngest, nicknamed ‘Dummling,’ was considered a bit simple and slow. His heart, however, was bigger than any pumpkin at the harvest festival!
One morning, the two older brothers headed into the forest to chop wood for the winter. “Oh, please let me come!” Dummling begged. His brothers just rolled their eyes and grumbled, “Stay put, Dummling. This work is for clever folk, not the likes of you.”
Dummling’s shoulders slumped. His mother, a kind woman with flour dusting her apron, felt a pang of pity. “Why don’t you take this old bread and jug of cider out to the woods, son? Your brothers could use a small feast before a long day’s work.”
Dummling brightened immediately. He packed the knapsack and skipped into the forest, whistling a merry tune. As he walked, a little gray man emerged from behind a towering oak tree. “Good morning, my boy,” the little man squeaked, “Where are you off to in such a rush?”
Dummling stopped, confused. He’d never met a man no taller than a mushroom before! He politely explained the situation with his brothers, and the old man just shook his head, looking sad. “Such a big heart you have,” he murmured, “Please share a crust of your bread with this hungry traveler?”
Without hesitation, Dummling opened his knapsack and split his lunch with the little man. After they’d devoured every last crumb, the old man thanked Dummling and scurried off…but not before giving him a strange piece of advice.
“Follow that path, child,” he whispered, pointing a trembling finger, “And do not stray into the shadows under the biggest oak you see.” With that, he vanished!
Let’s find out what happens next!
Part 2: A Goose of Pure Gold! (where Dummling encounters a magical surprise!)
Dummling scratched his head. Should he follow the little man’s instructions or head off to find his hardworking brothers? His kind heart couldn’t leave the mysterious old man to fend for himself in the forest! “Just a quick peek on the other path,” he mumbled, heading deeper into the woods.
And just as the old man had warned, beneath the biggest oak tree, there was a sight that made Dummling gasp. There, sitting as calm as you please, was a magnificent goose with feathers shining like pure gold! Dummling crept closer – if even one of those feathers slipped loose, his family would never be poor again! Slowly, tentatively, he reached out…just as the goose lifted its head and started honking loudly!
He tried to pull his hand away, but his fingers seemed to be stuck fast to the glowing feathers! With a panicked squawk, the goose flapped its wings and took flight, dragging Dummling behind it, kicking and shouting for help. Now, a wild goose chase is strange enough, but this chase got stranger – as the goose zipped past gnarled tree trunks and mossy banks, it seems other creatures wanted to join in the chaos!
First, a little girl spotted the commotion and thought it looked like a game. Giggling, she grabbed onto Dummling’s raggedy shirt and was whisked away for the unexpected ride. Suddenly, a farmer plowing a field shouted, “Hey, that girl isn’t supposed to be flying about without permission!” and joined the chase, grasping the end of the girl’s apron just in time. This formed a most ridiculous chain – a gold goose, a hollering boy, a giggling girl, and a disgruntled farmer bumping heads along the forest path!
This silly sight grows sillier. Let’s see who else they pick up!