There once was a rich feudal lord. He and his wife had a big farm. They wished everyone else would live as happily as they did. On one Christmas Eve, a beautifully decorated Christmas tree stood in their big hall, and firewood was burning vigorously. The couple invited all the poor children and their parents of the country to their house.
Traditional Christmas meals were served to everyone, and people went back to their homes and talked about the dinner and the gifts. Kersten and Ole, who were working in a garden, received the gifts for their children and went back home. "Both masters are very kind, but that's because they are rich. They are enjoying themselves."
"We have only four suits of clothes. Why didn't they give anything to Hans? Maybe it's because Hans is a cripple, so they forgot him." Hans was a very active and smart boy, but he had to stay in bed for five years because of his weak legs. "Oh, but I received a book for Hans" Hans was so happy because of the book. The thick fairy tale book had a lot to read and to think about deeply.
Kersten and Ole were always complaining because they were always busy. "Some people have both happiness and wealth at the same time, but for other people, the only thing they have is poverty. Why do we have to suffer so much because of Adam and Eve? If we were Adam and Eve, we would not behave like them." "You would do same as they did. This book can tell you why."
"What did the book say?" Hans read a story to his parents loudly. 'One woodcutter couple always complained that their unhappiness began because of Adam and Eve. At that time, a King was riding a horse and heard them and said, "Come to my palace with me. You can live as luxuriously as I can. You have seven kinds of wonderful dishes and deserts at every meal."
"Never touch the plate covered with a lid in the middle of the table. As soon as you touch the plate, your peaceful and luxurious life will be over." The woodcutter couple lived luxuriously after that, but soon they became curious what was on the plate under the lid. After a while, they uncovered the lid of the plate.
"That's it. Now go back where you came from. Do not blame Adam and Eve any more. You have the same amount of curiosity as they did, and besides you cannot appreciate God's grace and gifts." Hans' parents were surprised by the story about the woodcutter couple, and they told Hans to read the same story every night.
One night, Hans read his parents a story about a man who does not know both sadness and dissatisfaction. 'A long time ago, a King became ill, and there was only one cure the underwear of a man who never knew both sadness and dissatisfaction. His subjects visited every king and nobleman of the world searching for the cure, but they could not find it.'
One day, a swineherd was sitting next to a ditch said, "I don't know anything about sadness and dissatisfaction. I have always have been living my life happily." "Give me your underwear. We will give you half of our kingdom in exchange for that." Even though the subjects tried to persuade him, the swineherd did not have underwear to give to the subject of the King. Hans' parents laughed loudly as if they had not laughed for a long time.
"What are you so happy about? It's been a long time since I saw you smiling." "Hans read a story about a man who does not know about sadness and dissatisfaction. He is too poor to have any underwear. Try to imagine him! Everyone has his own burden to carry by himself. But if you listen to other people's stories, you will feel your burden of life is much lighter than before."
"Where did you get this book?" "One year ago at the Christmas party, the mistress gave us as a gift. At that time, we wanted to have underwear as a gift rather than a book. But this book is like magic. It gives us the answers to what we always were curious about." After that day, the schoolmaster visited Hans, who always stays in his bed in the afternoons, gave him a lot of knowledge that children at school could learn.
The schoolmaster got invited to the feudal lord's mansion and had a meal with them. In the middle of dinner, he told them the book that they had given to Hans was such a blessed gift for the family. The mistress gave some silver coins to the schoolmaster, and asked him to give them to Hans. Hans' parents were very happy to get the silver coins. "Crippled Hans brings us blessings."
A few days later, the mistress herself visited Hans with a basket of delicious bread, fruit and juice, and a cage with a black bird. Hans was so happy for the gift, but his parents were not. "Rich people cannot think. If Hans cannot take care of the bird, we have to do the troublesome work. In the end, a cat will eat the bird anyway."
A cat often visited the room, but it seemed that it was not interested in the black bird. One afternoon, when Hans was reading the book, the cat was staring at the bird in the cage above a dresser. The cat jumped up to the window frame next to the cage in a breath. Hans worried about the bird, and he tried to throw his fairy tale book at the cat, but it did not reach the cat.
Hans wielded a bedcover, but it was a vain effort. The cat jumped up to the dresser and dropped the cage to the ground. At the same time, Hans suddenly leaped to his feet from his bed, picked up the cage and shooed the cat away. Hans saw himself holding the cage in his hand. He realized what happened to him and ran out to the road.
"I can walk. Now I can walk!" On that day, Hans' family had a big party. The feudal lord and his wife were happy as if their own son could walk again. "You have a good mind, God bless you always." Hans went to a school in Copenhagen because he was so smart, and he could understand so well what he read. His parents were sad that they could not live with their son, but they were very happy whenever they got a letter with happy news from him.
"What happened to Hans is proof that God does not forget poor children." "What happened to Hans is such a miracle. Is it like one of the stories which Hans used to tell us?" Hans' parents held each other's hands and looked at each other piously.