There once was a gentle boy called Samuel. He lived at the edge of the forest with his parents and two older brothers. His family often treated him poorly. They didn't know that he was capable of much greater things, until the day he met a strange old man in the woods.
That day began as Samuel's oldest brother went to cut wood. Their mother packed a nice sweet cake and a bottle of cider for her oldest son to take into the woods. Samuel stayed home and chopped nuts.
In the woods, Samuel's brother came upon a little gray man.
The man kindly bid him good day and said, "Will you share your meal with a tired old man? I am very hungry and thirsty."
Samuel's brother yelled at the man. "If I share with you, I won't have enough for myself," he said. "Now out of my way!"
The brother left the man standing there and went to chop a tree. After a few strong swings, his ax slipped and hit his arm. He suffered a deep cut and could no longer continue his work. The little man saw all this happen. He smiled as the oldest brother hurried home to dress his wound.
Now the second brother was called to get the firewood. Their mother gave him sweet cake and cider for his journey, as she'd done for the oldest brother. Before long the second brother also met up with the old man in the woods.
The man kindly bid him good day and said, "Would you share your meal with a tired old man? I am very hungry and thirsty."
This next brother was as selfish as the first. "If I give you my food and drink, I won't have enough for myself," he said. "Now get out of my way!"
The second brother walked away and found a tree to chop. He swung so strongly with his ax, the head of the ax dropped off. It fell firmly on the brother's foot, and he, too, could no longer work. Again the little gray man smiled as he watched Samuel's second brother hobbling home.
Then young Samuel said, "Let me go cut the wood, Father."
"You know nothing about it," his father replied harshly. "But if you are so willing to get hurt, then go."
Samuel's mother handed him some stale bread and a jug of warm water and sent him on his way. In the forest, Samuel met the little gray man as well.
The old man kindly bid him good day and said, "Would you share some food and drink with a tired old man? I am so very hungry and thirsty."
"I have only stale bread and warm water," Samuel said, "but if you don't mind that, we can eat together."
They sat in the woods to eat. When Samuel reached for their snack, he found a magnificent sweet cake and a large bottle of cider for them to share.
"My, look at this," said Samuel. "I am glad I have much more than stale bread to share with you."
When they finished their tasty meal, the old man told Samuel, "You shared your goods with me, and for that I am grateful. Now you will have good luck to go with your kind heart."
The little gray man pointed at an old tree nearby. "Cut down that tree and you'll find something special there in its roots." Then the man walked away without another word.
Samuel was puzzled, but did as the old man said.
Samuel raised his ax and swiftly cut down the old tree. When the tree fell, more than just a stump remained! Samuel found a goose sitting among the roots. This was no ordinary goose. Its feathers were made of gold!
"What a wonderful surprise!" shouted Samuel.
Samuel had never seen such a splendid sight before! He picked up the goose. Sure enough, its feathers were pure gold! Samuel took the goose and hurried into town. He had to show this great goose to everyone he knew.
Samuel beamed proudly as he carried his golden goose through the town. He passed an inn, and the innkeeper's three curious daughters came out to see the beautiful bird. Each of the three daughters wanted to take one of the goose's golden feathers to keep for her own.
When Samuel stopped to show off the golden goose to the three sisters, the oldest sister tiptoed behind Samuel and tugged at the goose's wing. Her hand stuck there so tightly that she could not move it away. She waved to her sisters for their help.
The sisters thought that together they could surely pluck out three gold feathers! They joined hands to pull. Instead, the three sisters found they were all stuck to each other! The sisters hushed their worried squeals and scurried behind Samuel, who never noticed the girls hanging on behind. He marched for the next town to share his goose's beauty with anyone who wished to behold it.
Find out where Samuel took the golden goose next on the following page.