In a quaint little town, there were two men with the same name: Claus. But to tell them apart, people called one Big Claus because he had four horses, and the other Little Claus for his single horse. Their story is quite an adventure!
Little Claus worked hard all week, plowing for Big Claus using his one horse. In return, Big Claus lent him all his four horses, but only on Sundays. On these days, Little Claus felt so proud, driving five horses, that he couldn’t help but shout, “Hup, all my horses!”
Big Claus warned him not to say that since only one horse was truly his. But Little Claus kept forgetting and shouted it again and again. This made Big Claus so angry that he ended up harming Little Claus’s only horse.
Feeling sad, Little Claus skinned his horse and decided to sell the hide. His journey to the town took him through a dark, stormy forest. Lost and night falling, he sought shelter at a farmhouse. The farmer’s wife, however, refused to let him in. So, Little Claus decided to sleep under the stars on a shed roof, from where he could see into the farmer’s house. There, he saw a feast being enjoyed by the farmer’s wife and the parish clerk.
As the farmer returned, the wife hid the clerk in a chest and the feast in the oven. Little Claus, watching all this, tricked the farmer into thinking he had a magical sack that conjured up the feast and wine. The farmer, amazed and a bit tipsy, tried to buy the ‘magical’ sack from Little Claus.
Little Claus sold him the sack, but not before playing another trick. He told the farmer the sack could summon the devil, looking just like a parish clerk. The scared farmer opened the chest, saw the clerk, and believed Little Claus’s story.
After these clever tricks, Little Claus became quite wealthy. He even tricked Big Claus into thinking he had drowned, but instead, Little Claus traded places with a drover and made Big Claus believe he had found wealth under the sea.
Big Claus, wanting the same fortune, asked Little Claus to throw him into the river. Little Claus obliged, and Big Claus sank to the bottom, never to bother Little Claus again. Little Claus returned home, richer and wiser, having outsmarted Big Claus with his clever tricks and quick thinking.
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Moral of The Story
The story of “Little Claus and Big Claus” by Hans Christian Andersen teaches the importance of cleverness and resourcefulness in overcoming adversity, while also cautioning against the destructive consequences of envy and greed. It illustrates how wit can triumph over might, but also raises ethical questions about the use of deception to achieve one’s goals.