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The Legend of the Little Beggar Boy
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
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
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