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The Legend of the Little Beggar Boy


Harry Buschman

Once upon a time in a kingdom called Pomerania, there lived a poor farmer, his wife and their four children. The summer had been very cold, and even though it was August, their fields were dry and barren.

“There are no more crops and I have no money for food,” the farmer confessed to his wife. “Is there nothing left in the house?”

“We finished the last crust this morning,” she replied. “We must send our oldest boy to the castle and beg for bread.”

So the father told his oldest boy, Hans, to take his wheelbarrow to the King’s kitchen and beg the cook for bread. “Do not take no for an answer,” he warned him. “The King and Queen are very rich. There are many people in the castle -- they have bread at every meal. They even throw bread to the birds in the courtyard.”

So Hans got his wheelbarrow and started on his long journey to the castle. The weather was bleak and cold and storm clouds gathered above him. He saw ravens circling in the threatening sky. They came down to look in his wheelbarrow, and seeing it empty, flew away again. Strangest of all, it began to snow.

It was late afternoon when at last Hans reached the castle. He stood outside the King’s kitchen and marveled at the wonderful smells coming from the open window. Inside he could see bakers in starched white aprons pulling long loaves of steaming bread from the ovens.

A giant of a man appeared in the doorway and asked him what he was doing there. “Children are not allowed here,” he shouted at Hans. “Get away with your wheelbarrow, you should be in the fields helping your father.”

“Please sir,” said Hans. My family is starving. Our fields are bare and there is no bread for our table.”

“What has that to do with me. I cook bread for the King and the castle. I do not cook bread for you and your family.”

“A single loaf, sir. A half loaf is all I ask. I ask not for myself but for my mother, my father, my sister and brothers ...”

“The snow will fly in August before I give you the King’s bread.” The cook slammed the kitchen door. In his warm kitchen, the cook did not know it was snowing outside and he closed the kitchen door before Hans could tell him.

In the city of Pomerania today there is a statue of a little boy with a wheelbarrow and whenever it snows people tell visitors the legend of the little beggar boy.

The End

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