Fairy Tales 2: Hans In Luck

Hans In Luck (Hans im Glück)

Hans is the name of the main character in the eponymously named fairy tale, by the brothers Grimm, Hans In Luck (Story & Synopsis). After owning little and working hard for seven years for his master, Hans is handsomely rewarded with a piece of silver as big as his head. Taking his silver he sets off home to see his mother, whom he had apparently not seen in all the seven years he had been working.

It seemed that Hans had owned very little during those seven years of work and, although it is only implied in the story, he appears to have been quite happy, or at least content with his lot during that time. His problems, it seems, only begin when he suddenly has wealth; the piece of silver.

As Hans travels back to his mother’s home, he makes a series of trades whilst he is on the journey. With each trade, Hans thinks he is going to solve a problem, a problem which he only found out about after making each previous trade. And with each trade he makes he looses a bit more value in what he gets, for what he trades away. At the end of the story, Hans has left only what he had before his former master had given him the silver, and yet at the end of the story Hans is happy.

As Hans travels back to his mother’s home, he makes a series of trades whilst he is on the journey. With each trade, Hans thinks he is going to solve a problem, a problem which he only found out about after making each previous trade. And with each trade he makes he looses a bit more value in what he gets, for what he trades away. At the end of the story, Hans has left only what he had before his former master had given him the silver, and yet at the end of the story Hans is happy.

In today’s society, the natural reaction to making a poor deal is disappointment or anger and loosing everything creates a fear for the future too. When we hear about someone loosing everything, we then tend to have one of two reactions, we either have some sympathy, if we think they have been hard done by, or we might think that it serves him (or her) right. Both of these reactions is to miss the point of the story of Hans.

So why was Hans so happy at the end of his tale? The Brother’s Grimm are relating to us a message that Jesus also tries to teach us: That lasting happiness and joy does not come from material possessions. A ridiculous notion of course, that advertisers try to disabuse us of.

Suppose we buy what the advertiser wants us to, how long is it before that product is replaced or updated in the market? As soon as that happens the same advertiser now tries to sell us the bigger, better, improved product. So the advertiser sells us something and then soon after attempts to make us feel discontented with our previous purchase. This is what happened in the story to Hans.

One of Jesus’ more famous sayings is about how hard it is for a rich man to get to heaven. Although the example he gave was extreme, it was mainly intended to make a point. It is nevertheless true that, people with fewer possessions are happier because they don’t have all that responsibility of keeping them safe, and clean, and maintained and replacing them every time the ad. men tell them there is a new one.

“Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you
need; the remainder is needed by others.” – Saint Augustine

Why Own Fewer Possessions? Jesus and the Minimalist Lifestyle.

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2 thoughts on “Fairy Tales 2: Hans In Luck

  1. Pingback: Fairy Tales 4: Rapunzel. | Entertaining Angels

  2. Pingback: Fairy Tales 3: Chanticleer And Partlet | Entertaining Angels

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