The Little DonkeyJacob and Wilhelm Grimm Once there lived a king and a queen who were rich and had everything that they could wish for, but no children. She complained day and night about this, and said, "I am like a field that nothing will grow in." Finally God fulfilled her desires, but when the child came to the world it did not look like a human child, but instead it was a young donkey. When the mother saw it she wept and wailed. She would sooner have no child at all than a donkey, and she said that they should throw it into the water and let the fish eat it. But the king said, "No, God has given him to us. He shall be my son and heir, and following my death he shall sit on the royal throne and wear the royal crown." Thus they raised the little donkey. He got bigger, and his ears grew up straight and tall. He was a very cheerful sort, jumped about, and played. He was especially fond of music, so he went to a famous minstrel and said, "Teach me to play the lute as well as you do." "Oh, my little master," answered the minstrel, "that will be difficult for you, because you don't have quite the right fingers; they are too large. And I am afraid that the strings would not hold up." But no excuse would do. The little donkey insisted on learning to play the lute. He kept at it and practiced hard, and in the end he learned to play just as well as his teacher. One day while taking a contemplative walk he came to a well, looked into it, and saw his donkey shape in the mirror-like water. This made him so sad that he set forth into the wide world, taking only a single loyal companion with him. They went this way and that way, finally coming to a kingdom where an old king ruled. He had only one daughter, but she was very beautiful. The little donkey said, "This is where we will stay." He knocked at the gate and called out, "There is a guest out here. Open up and let him in." But they did not open the gate, so he took his lute and began to play it most beautifully with his two front feet. That opened the gatekeeper's eyes, and he ran to the king, saying, "A little donkey is sitting outside the gate playing the lute as good as an accomplished master." "Then let the musician in," said the king. When the little donkey entered, they all began to laugh at the lute player. They sent him below to sit and eat with the servants, but he refused, saying, "I am not a common stall donkey, I am a noble one." "If that is the case, then you can sit with the soldiers," they said. "No," he replied, "I want to sit next to the king." The king laughed and said with good humor, "So be it. If you insist, then just come here to me." Then he asked, "Little donkey, how do you like my daughter?" The donkey turned his head toward her, looked her over, nodded, and then said, "Beyond all measure. She is the most beautiful girl I have ever seen." "Then you should sit next to her," said the king. "It is all right with me," said the little donkey, then took a seat at her side and ate, behaving himself like a real gentleman. After the noble animal had stayed at the king's court for a good while, he thought to himself, "What is the use? I have to go home again." He sadly bowed his head, went to the king, and asked for his leave. But the king, who liked him a great deal, said, "Little donkey, what is the matter with you. You look as sour as a vinegar jug. I will give you whatever you ask for. Do you want gold?" "No." "Do you want precious things and jewelry?" "No." "Do you want half of my kingdom?" "Oh, no." Then the king said, "If I only knew what would make you happy. Would you like to have my beautiful daughter as your wife?" "Oh, yes," said the little donkey, and was suddenly happy and content, for that was exactly what he had wanted. So they had a large and splendid wedding. That evening when the bride and the bridegroom were led into their bedroom, the king wanted to know if the little donkey would behave himself like a gentleman, so he had a servant hide himself there. When the couple was inside, the bridegroom bolted the door shut, looked around, and thinking that they were all alone, he pulled off his donkey skin and stood there as a handsome young man of royalty. He said, "Now you see who I am, and that I have been worthy of you." The bride was delighted, kissed him, and loved him with all of her heart. The next morning he jumped up, put his animal skin on again, and no one would have thought what he was like beneath it. The old king soon came by. "Aha," he said. "The little donkey is awake already!" Then he said to his daughter, "Are you sad that you do not have an ordinary human for a husband?" "Not at all, father dear. I love him just as much as if he were the handsomest man, and I want to keep him as long as I live." This surprised the king, but then the servant who had hid himself came and revealed everything to him. The king said, "That cannot be true!" "Then you keep watch tonight, and you will see it with your own eyes. And do you know what, your majesty? If you take the skin away from him and throw it into the fire, then he will have to show himself in his real form." "Your advice is good," said the king, and that evening while they slept, he crept into their room, and when he came to their bed, by the light of the moon he saw a proud young man lying there. The skin was lying on the floor. He took it away, had an enormous fire built outside, and had the skin thrown into it. He himself stayed there until it had burned entirely to ashes. He stayed awake and kept watch the entire night, because he wanted to see what the robbed man would do. When the young man awoke at the first light of morning, he got up and wanted to put on the donkey skin, but he could not find it. Terrified, he spoke with sadness and fear, "I will have to run away." He left the room, and the king, who was standing there, said, "My son, where are you going in such a hurry? Just what do you have in mind? Stay here. You are such a handsome man. Don't leave me. I will give you half my kingdom for now, and after my death you shall receive the other half." "I wish a good conclusion for this good beginning," said the young man. "I shall stay here with you." Then the old man gave him half his kingdom. He died a year later, and then he had the whole kingdom, and after the death of his father, another one as well. And he had a glorious life.
从前，有个国王和王后，他们很富有，简直享有一切他们所希望的东西，只是没有孩子。王后为此日夜伤感，说：“我就像块不长庄稼的地。”上帝最后成全了他，给他了个孩子，但这孩子根本不像人，而是头小毛驴。母亲不见则已见了叫苦连天，她说自己宁可不要孩子也不愿有头驴，并且还想把他扔进河里让鱼吃掉。但国王却说：“别这样，既然上帝把他赐给我们，他就该是我的儿子和继承人，在我死后戴上王冠坐上皇帝的宝座。”就这样，这驴子被养了下来，慢慢长大了，它的耳朵又细又长，向上直伸着。这驴儿天性活泼，到处跳跃、游戏，且特别爱好音乐。於是他走到一位有名的乐师那里，说“把你的本领教给我吧，我要把琴弹得和你一样好。”“啊，小少爷，”乐师说，“这对你来说就难了，你的手指实在太粗，不是块弹琴的料。我怕琴弦经不起。”但他的推脱没用，驴儿要弹琴，非学弹琴不可。他学起来又勤快、又刻苦，最后练得竟和师傅一样好了。 有一次，这小主人出去散步，脑子正在思考着甚么，不觉来到了一口井边。他往水中一瞧，见水面清澈如镜，那儿有自己的驴子模样。他懊丧极了，便带了忠实的仆人离家出走，到了很远的地方。他们四处漂泊，最后来到了一个王国，统治这个国家的是位年迈的国王，不过他有一位美丽绝伦的独身女。驴儿说：“我们就在这儿呆下吧！”说着就去敲城门，“外边有客，快开门让他进来！”有人说但是大门没有打开。他於是坐了下来，取出他的琴，伸出两只前腿弹起琴来，音乐非常优美动听。守城门的人听得睁大了眼，赶忙跑去报告国王：“门外坐着头驴子，琴儿弹得有大师那么棒。”“让那位音乐家到我这儿来吧！”国王说。当那驴儿一进来，所有的人都称讚起这位弹琴的来，他们让他坐下来和仆人一块儿吃饭，他却很不乐意，说：“我可不是头普通的驴子，我可是位贵族。”他们说：“如果你真是位贵族，就和武士们坐一起吧。”“不，我要坐在国王身旁。”国王微微一笑，很幽默地说：“好吧，就照你的意思办。小毛驴，到我这儿来吧。”然后他又问：“小毛驴，你觉得我女儿怎么样？”驴儿转过头看着她，点了点头，说“实在太美了！我还没见过像她这样漂亮的女孩。”“那么，好吧，你也该挨着她坐吧！”国王说。“那我是求之不得的呢！”驴儿一边说，一边紧挨着公主坐下。他又吃又喝，既举止优雅，又注意清洁卫生。 这高贵的驴儿在宫里住了一些时，他想：“这一切对我有何用呢？我得回家去。”於是他便难过地垂下了头，来到国王跟前，请求能让他走。但国王已经喜欢上他了，便说：“小毛驴，你甚么事儿不开心？你看起来就像一缸醋一样酸溜溜的。你要甚么我就给你甚么，你要金子吗？”“不，”驴儿摇头说。“你要珠宝和华贵的服装吗？”“不。”“我分给你半个王国，好吗？”“啊呀，不。”於是，国王说：“甚么能教你开心，你是不是想娶我的宝贝女儿做妻子？”“啊，是的是的。”他一下子变得高兴起来，那确实是他所希望的。於是他们举行了隆重而豪华的婚礼。新婚之夜，新郎和新娘被带进了洞房，国王想知道驴儿是不是举止温文尔雅，便命一个仆人躲在那里。他们双双走进了新房，新郎闩上了门，他以为只有他们俩在那里，只见他摔脱了身上的皮，站在那儿，竟是个英俊潇洒的青年。 “现在你瞧我是谁，看我配不配得上你。”这时新娘非常高兴，过来吻他，打心眼里爱着他。到了早上，他跳了起来，又重新披上驴皮，没有人会想得到里面藏着个多么英俊的帅小伙子。不久老国王来了，“啊，”他叫道，“驴儿已经起床了！女儿呀，你一定很伤心，没能嫁一个能真正作你丈夫的人。”“哦，不，亲爱的父亲，我很爱他，他就像是世上最英俊潇洒的小伙子，我会终生和他廝守在一起的。”国王感到很惊讶。但是先前藏在新房的仆人来了，向国王透露了一切。国王说：“这绝不可能是真的！”“那么今晚就请您亲自去看看，你会亲眼看见的。国王，你听我说，你去把他的皮拿走，把它扔进火里烧掉，到时他就会显露真形的。” 国王说：“你这主意很不错。”到了晚上他们睡觉时，他偷偷地走了进去，来到床前，借助月光他看见了一个相貌堂堂的年轻人躺在床上，那件驴皮就放在地上。於是他把驴皮拿走了，让人在外面生起火，然后把驴皮扔了进去，等着看到它化为了灰烬。国王急於想看看这位丢了东西的新郎会怎样，便彻夜没睡，一直关注着。年轻人睡醒后，就着晨光一翻而起，想穿上那张驴皮，但没找着。这下他变得很惊恐焦虑，又非常伤心，说：“现在我非逃走不可了。”，但他刚走出来，但便发现国王正站在那儿。国王说：“我的儿，你这么匆匆忙忙上哪去？你心里有啥事？留在这里吧，你是个这样潇洒的小伙子，你是不会离开我的。我现在就把我的一半王国给你，等我死后，整个王国都归你。”“我也希望善始善终，那我就留在这儿吧！”随后老国王给了他一半的国土，一年后国王死了，整个王国都属於了他。他自己的父亲死后，他又得到了另一个王国，从此便过着荣华富贵的生活。