“The Ash lad and his good helpers”

Once upon a time there was a king, and that king had heard about a ship that could sail as fast at sea as at land; so he wanted one too. And to the one who could build it, he promised the princess and half the kingdom. He told everyone on the hill outside the church. A lot of people tried, you know, half the kingdom could come in handy, so they thought, and the princess wouldn’t be too bad to have either, but it didn’t go well with most of them.

There were three brothers in a village; the oldest Per, the other Pål and the youngest Espen Ashlad. He got his name because he always used to sit and dig in the ashes. The Sunday the king told about the ship he wanted, the Ashlad was by the church too. When he came home and told the news, Per, the oldest one, asked his mother for lunch; because he wanted to go and try to build the ship and win the princess and half the kingdom.
When he had got his lunch bag on his neck, he went away. On the road he met an old man, who was so crooked and pious.
“Where are you going?” the man asked.
“I’m going in the forest because I have to make a trough to my father. He doesn’t like to eat with the rest of us,” Per answered.
“Trough it is!” the man said.
“What do you have in your backpack?” the man asked.
“Shit” Per answered.
“Shit it will be!” the man said.
Per went to the oak wood and chopped and timbered eagerly but everything just turned into troughs. When it was dinner time, he took up his lunch box. But it wasn’t any food what was in his lunch box, and since he didn’t have any luck making the ship, he took his backpack and his axe and went home to his mother again.
Then Pål wanted to try if he could have any luck building the ship and win the princess and half the kingdom. He asked his mother for lunch, and when he got it, he took his backpack and left for the forest. On the road he met an old man who was so crooked and pious.
“Where are you going?” the old man asked.
“Oh, I’m going to the forest and make a pig trough to our little pig,” Pål said.
“Pig trough it is!” the old man said.
“What do you have in your backpack?” the old man asked.
“Shit” Pål said.
“Shit it is!” the old man said.
Then Pål went to the forest and started chopping and pounding, but no matter how he chopped and how he pounded, he couldn’t make anything else than pig troughs. But he didn’t give up. He worked until late afternoon before he even thought of getting some food. When he did, he got so hungry that he immediately had to bring up his lunch bag. But when he did, there wasn’t a trace of food in it. Pål got so mad he turned his backpack inside out, threw it on a stump, and took his axe and went through the forest and straight home.
When Pål came home, the Ashlad wanted to test his luck and asked his mother for lunch. “Maybe I could be the man to build that ship and win the princess and half the kingdom,” he said.
“I would like to see that,” his mother said. “You never do anything else but digging in that ash! No, you are not getting any lunch!” the bitch said.

But the Ashlad didn’t give up just like that, he begged so long that he got permission at last. He didn’t get lunch, that was too much to expect, but he managed to take a couple of oat breads and a lazy sip of bear. And then he went away.
When he had walked for a while, he met the same old man that was so crocked, poor and pious.
“Where are you going?” the man said.
”Oh, I am going to the forest, hoping to build a ship that goes as fast at land as at sea,” the Ashlad said. “The king has said that the one who can build a ship like that, shall get the princess, and half the kingdom,” he said.
“So what’s in your lunch bag?” the man asked.
“Oh, not much to speak of, it’s supposed to be my supper,” the Ashlad answered.
“Share your lunch with me, and I’ll help you,” the man said.
“You’re welcome,” the Ashlad said. But there is no more than two pieces of oat bred and a lazy sip of beer.
It didn’t matter what it was. If only he could get something, he would help.
When they came up to the old oak in the forest, the man said:
“Now, you are going to carve out a splinter, and afterwards you’re going to put it back like it was before. When you have done that, you can go to sleep.”
Yes, the Ashlad did as he was told, went to sleep, and in his sleep he thought he heard chopping and pounding, timbering and sawing, and carpentry, but he couldn’t be awake before the man woke him up; then the finished ship stood next to the oak.
“Now, wake up, and everyone you meet, you must bring with you,” the man said.
Yes, The Ashlad was grateful for the ship and sailed away, and said that he would do that.
When he had sailed for some time, he came to a long, thin bum who lay beside a mountain and ate rocks.
“What man are you who lies here eating rocks?” the Ashlad asked.
Well, he was so hungry for meat that he could never get full, so that was the reason why he ate rocks, he told him, and then he asked if he could be allowed to join him on the ship.
”Yes, if you want to come with us, come on board,” the Ashlad said.
Of course he wanted to come with them, so he brought some big grey rocks as a lunch pack.
When they had sailed a little while again, they discovered a man who was lying in a sunny hill sucking on a bottle.
“Who are you?” the Ashlad said, “and why are you sucking on this bottle?”
“Oh, when I don’t have a barrel, I have to settle for this bottle,” the man said; “I’m so thirsty for beer, that I never can get enough of beer and wine,” he said, and asked if he could climb on board the ship too.
“If you want to come with us, come on board,” the Ashlad said.
Of course he wanted to come with them and he brought his bottle to be on the safe side.
When they had sailed a little while again, they discovered a man who was lying with one of his ears down to the ground listening
“What person are you, and why are you lying on the ground listening?” the Ashlad asked.
“I’m listening to the grass, because I have so good hearing that I can hear the grass grow,” he said, and then he asked if he could join them on the ship.
He didn’t say no to that. “If you want to come with us, so come on board,” the Ashlad said.
Yes, he wanted that, and jumped on board.
When they had sailed further away, they came to a person who was staring and staring.
“What person are you, and why are you standing here staring?” the Ashlad wondered.
“My eyesight is so acute,” he said, “so I can se to the end of the world,” and then he asked if he could join them on the ship.
“If you want to come with us, so come on board,” the Ashlad said.
Yes, he wanted that, and jumped on board.
After sailing a bit further, they saw a man jumping up and down on one leg. On the other leg, he’d attached seven 1000 pounds weights.
“Who are you?” the Ashlad asked. “Why are you jumping up and down on one leg? And why have you attached seven 1000 pounds weights to the other?”
“I have such a hard time remaining on the ground without them. If I was walking with both of my legs, I’d be at the end of the world in five minutes.”
And then he asked if he could join them on the ship.
“If you like to, then you can,” the Ashlad said.
Yes, he wanted to come, and then he stepped up into the Ashlad and his friends boat.
After sailing even further, they saw a man who was covering his mouth with his hand. “Who are you?” the Ashlad asked. “And why are you covering your mouth with your hand?” “Oh, I’ve got seven summers and seven winters in my stomach,” he said. “So I better cover my mouth, because if I didn’t, and released all of them, it would be the end of the world,” he answered. And then he asked if he could join them in their boat. “If you like to, then you can,” the Ashlad said. Yes, he wanted to come, and then he stepped up into the boat where the others were waiting.
After sailing some time, they finally reached the King’s estate.
The Ashlad rushed home to the king, and told him that the ship was finished, and stood outside, and now he wanted the princess, as the king had promised. The king did not like this, because the Ashlad didn’t look good, he was black and full of soot, and the king didn’t like the thought of giving his daughter to a boy like that. So he told the Ashlad to wait, he couldn’t get the princess until he had eaten the kings meat stock, with tree hundred barrels of meat; “It’s the same, can you do it until tomorrow, she’s yours,” the king said.
“I will try,” the Ashlad answered; ”but can I bring of my friends?”
He could, he could even bring all six the king said, because he thought it would be impossible, even if he brought six hundred.
The Ashlad brought the one who always ate rocks, and always was hungry for meat. And when they came and opened the booth, he had finished everything, there wasn’t much left, only six small cured hams, one for each of the other friends. The Ashlad rushed home to the King and told him that the booth was empty, and now the Princess was his, he tought.
The king went out to the booth, and it was empty, that was for sure. But the Ashlad was still black and ashed and the king thought he wasn’t good enough for his daughter. So he told the Ashlad that he had a cellar full of beer and old wine, three hundred barrels of each, that he wanted him to drink first. “If are you man enough to empty those barrels by this time tomorrow you shall get my daughter,” the king said. “I’ll try,” the Ashlad said; “but can I bring some of my friends?” he said. “Yes, with pleasure,” the king said; he thought he had so much beer and wine that they would all be pleased.
The Ashlad brought the man who always was so thirsty for beer, and the king locked them down in the basement. Then he drank barrel after barrel, as long as there was any, but the last one he saved so that there could be a glass of beer for each of the friends.
In the morning they opened the cellar and the Ashlad went straight up to the king and told him that he had finished the beer and the wine, and now he wanted to get the princess as he was promised.
“Yes, but first I have to go down to the basement to see,” the king said, because he didn’t believe it; when he came down to the basement there were just empty barrels. But the Ashlad was black and ashed, and the king thought he was unfit to be his son in law.
Then he said that it was the same, if he could bring water from the end of the world for the princess’ tea in 10 minutes, he would get her and the half of the kingdom, because that was impossible, he thought. ”I will try, “the Ashlad said.
Then he got hold of the guy who jumped on one foot and had seven 1000 pounds weights on the other, and said that he should take off the 1000 pounds weights and use his feet as fast as he could, because he needed water from the end of the world in 10 minutes.
He took of the 1000 pounds weights, got a bucket and was on his way, and suddenly he was gone. Time passed and he didn’t come back. At the end there wasn’t more than 3 minutes left of the time and the king was so happy that he couldn’t stand still.
But then the Ashlad called the man, who could hear the grass grow, and said that he had to try to hear where he was. “He has fallen asleep by the waterhole,” he said, “I can hear him snore, and the troll is picking on him,” he said.
Then the Ashlad called the man who could shoot to the worlds end, and asked him to put a bullet in the Trolls head and so he did, he shot the troll straight in the eye, the troll made a mighty roar, so he woke up at the same, the man who should bring teawater, and when he came to the kings royal palace, there was still one minutes left of the ten.
The Ashlad went to the king and said that now he’d got his water, and now the princess had to be his, that was the end of the discussion, he thought. But the king thought he was black and dirty now, as earlier, and didn’t want to have him as son in law. Then the King said that he had 300 cords of wood, which he was going to dry his corn in the bathhouse with, “and if you are man enough to burn it up, you will get the princess, there is no doubt about that,” he said.
”I can do it,” the Ashlad said;”but can I bring one of my friends?”
“Yes, you can bring all six,” the king said, because he thought it would get warm enough for them all.
The Ashlad brought the one who had fifteen winters and seven summers in his body, and by night, they went into the sauna.. But the king did make it hot, it was a fire so hot they could have made coasted heating stoves. Back out they could not get, because as soon as they got in, the king locked the door and hung a couple of padlocks on. Then the Ashlad said:“You have to let go of six or seven winters, then it will be a good summer temperature so we can stay in here longer.”
During the night it got colder. The Ashlad said he had to release a few summers. And they slept very well the next morning.
But when they heard the king walking outside, the Ashlad said:“Now you have to release a few winters, but make the last one right in his face.”
Yes, so he did, and when the king opened the sauna door and thought they lay there burned, they sat there and were so cold that their teeth rattled. And the guy with the fifteen winters in his body blew the last one in the kings face.
“Can I get the princess now?” The Ashlad asked.
“Yes, take her, and take the kingdom too!” the king said, because now he didn’t dare to say no anymore.
Then they got married, and had a big celebration. And then they gave me porridge in a bottle and milk in a basket and sent me here, so that I could tell you how it happened.

Contact Norgeson on Facebook messenger