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This story is suitable for children age 6 to 8 approx.

Hans the shepherd boy.

From The Book of Stories for the Storyteller by Fanny E. Coe.

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Hans was a little shepherd boy who lived in Germany. One day he was keeping his sheep near a great wood when a hunter rode up to him. "How far is it to the nearest village, my boy?" asked the hunter. "It is six miles, sir," said Hans. "But the road is only a sheep-track. You might easily miss your way." "My boy," said the hunter, "if you will show me the way, I will pay you well." Hans shook his head. "I cannot leave the sheep, sir," he said. "They would stray into the wood, and the wolves might kill them." "But if one or two sheep are eaten by the wolves, I will pay you for them. I will give you more than you can earn in a year." "Sir, I cannot go," said Hans. "These sheep are my master's. If they are lost, I should be to blame." "If you cannot show me the way, will you get me a guide? I will take care of your sheep while you are gone." "No," said Hans, "I cannot do that. The sheep do not know your voice--and----" Then he stopped. "Can't you trust me?" asked the hunter. "No," said Hans. "You have tried to make me break my word to my master. How do I know that you would keep your word?" The hunter laughed. "You are right," he said. "I wish I could trust my servants as your master can trust you. Show me the path. I will try to get to the village alone." Just then several men rode out of the wood. They shouted for joy. "Oh, sir!" cried one, "we thought you were lost." Then Hans learned to his great surprise that the hunter was a Prince. He was afraid that the great man would be angry with him. But the Prince smiled and spoke in praise of him.

A few days later a servant came from the Prince and took Hans to the palace. "Hans," said the Prince, "I want you to leave your sheep to come to serve me. I know you are a boy whom I can trust." Hans was very happy over his good fortune. "If my master can find another boy to take my place, then I will come to serve you." So Hans went back and tended the sheep until his master found another boy. After that he served the Prince many years.


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