Once upon a time there was a rich shepherd lad, and he had ninety-nine sheep and three golden wooled rams. Oh, these golden wooled rams were such beautiful animals, that not even in the king’s flock could one find their match! The lad guarded them day and night, they were the apple of his eyes. He slept like the rabbits: he only shut one eye, and was watching the rams with the other.
Winter came, and he got stuck with the flock in the mountains. But that meant trouble, because in that year people didn’t have enough hay, and he just couldn’t get one strand of hay for a bushel of money. What should he do? The dear sheep and the beautiful rams will surely perish as one! He will not grieve one minute more, he thought. He will lead the flock somewhere, and they will go until they will find something to eat.
Well, he left with the sheep. In the front walked the three rams sadly, because the last time they ate one bite of hay was two days ago. They went, doddered along until they reached a thick forest. In the middle of the forest there was a wasteland and on this wasteland as far as eyes could see there were haystacks everywhere.
Hey-ho! The lad was very happy, and he thought, he will surely not go one step more, he will spend the winter here and give the hay to his sheep, even though he didn’t know who owned the land.
Suddenly he threw about one stack of hay and his animals ate it all.
Well, one day was gone and one stack was gone after another. Not one soul came to that wasteland.
But the next morning a giant came, so big, that his head was banging on the sky, and he angrily asked the lad:
„How dare you give my hay to your sheep, you little mite?”
Oooo, the lad was frightened to death! This gargantuan giant will squeeze his guts out! So he said to him:
„Don’t be angry, Uncle Giant, I will pay for what my sheep ate.”
„I don’t want your money” said the giant, „but I want you to kill this instant thirty-three sheep and one golden wooled ram, cook them all, because I didn’t have breakfast today!”
What should he do, the poor thing? He had to kill those dear, beautiful sheep, even the golden wooled ram. Hey-ho, the lad was so sad, that his heart almost broke into two, when he cut the the golden wooled ram. But this had to pass! The giant brought a huge couldron, they threw all the meat into it and put such a fire under it, that it’s light was seen even in the seventh kingdom. The meat was cooked in a minute, and either you believe it or not, but the giant steeped his huge spoon into the cauldron three times and ate all of the tasty pot. Then he left without saying: Hey, lad, let’s switch pipes!
„Well,” said the lad to himself, „I payed very dearly for that little hay the sheep ate!” He tussled with himslef, whether he should stay or not. He will surely stay! He doesn’t care even if the big bellied giant will eat all of his sheep!