Once upon a time there was a man whose was Gudbrand; he had a farm which lay far on a hillside, and so they called him "Gudbrand of the Hillside". He and his wife lived so happily together, and were on such good terms, that whatever the husband did, the wife thought it so well done that it could never be done better. No matter how he went about anything, she was just as happy. They owned their farm, and had a hundred dalers laid up at the bottom of the chest, and two cows tethered in the barn.
But one day the wife said:" I think we should go to town with one of
the cows and sell her, then we could have some pocket
We're such fine folk that we can just as well have some ready cash as other people do. We can't dip into the hundred dalers lying at the bottom of the chest, but I don't know what we need with more than one cow. And we'd gain a little by it too, in that I'd get off with caring for one instead of feeding and cleaning up after two".
Well, Gudbrand thought this was both well and rightly said, so he took the cow and went to town to sell it. But when he came to the town, there was no one who wanted to buy his cow. "Well, well," thought Gudbrand, "I can just go home with the cow. I know I have both stall and tether for her, and the road back is no longer than the road here". And with that he started dawdling home again. But when he had gone a mile or so, he met a man who had a horse he wanted to sell, and as Gudbrand thought it would be better to have a horse than a cow, he traded with the man. When he had gone a little farther, he met a man driving a fat pig before him, and now Gudbrand thought it would be better to have a fat pig than a horse, so he traded with the man. He went a little farther, and then he met a man with a goat. Gudbrand thought very likely it would be better to have a goat than a pig, so he traded with the man. Then he walked a long way until he met a man who had a sheep, and he traded with him too, for he thought:" It's always better to have a sheep than a goat." Now when he had gone another short distance he met a man who had a goose, so he swapped his sheep with a rooster. Again he traded with the man, for he thought this way:" It's always better to have a rooster than a goose."
He walked on until it was late in the day, and he began to he hungry. So he sold the rooster for twelve shillings, and bought himself something to eat with the money. "It's better to save a life than to have a rooster," thought Gudbrand of the Hillside. Then he continued on his way home until he came to the farm of his nearest neighbor. There he went in. "Well, how did you make out in town today?" asked the people. "Oh-so-so," said Gudbrand of the Hillside. "I can't exactly brag about my luck, but neither can I complain about it." And with that he told his story from beginning to end.
"Well, you will have a hot reception when you get home to your wife." Said the farmer. "Heaven help you!" I wouldn't want to be in your place." « I think it could have turned out worse," said Gudbrand of the Hillside. "But whether it could have turned out well or badly, my old woman is so kindhearted that she never says anything, no matter what I do." Well, to be sure that's what I hear, I believe it," said the neighbor. "Are you willing to make a bet with me about it?" asked Gudbrand of the Hillside. "I have a hundred dalers stored away at the bottom of the chest at home. Do you dare to put up an equal amount as a bet" Well, they made the bet, and when Gudbrand stayed at his neighbor's until evening. After dark they pottered off together to Gudbrand's farm. There the neighbor stayed outside the door to listen, while Gudbrand went inside by himself to his old woman. "Good evening" said Gudbrand of the Hillside, when he came in. "Good evening," said the wife. "Oh, God be praised! Is that you?" Yes, that is was.
Then the wife asked how he had made out in town. "Oh. so-so," answered Gudbrand. "Not much to brag about. When I got to town there was no one who wanted to buy the cow, so I swapped it for a horse, I did." "Well, you shall really have thanks for that," said the wife. "We're good enough people to drive to church like other folks. And as long as we can afford to have a horse, we may just as well get used to one. Go down and let in the horse, children."
"Well," said Gudbrand, "I don't have the horse any more. When I had gone a bit on the way I swapped it for a pig." "Nay, nay!" cried the wife. "That's just what I would have done! You deserve a thousand thanks. Now we can have pork in the house, and something to set before people when they look in on us, we too! What would we need a horse for? People would only say we had become so high and mighty that we could no longer walk to church as before. Go down and let in the pig, children."
"But I don't have the pig, either," said Gudbrand. "When I came a bit farther, I swapped it for a goat." "Oh,nay! Oh,nay. How well you do everything!" cried the wife. "When I really think of it, what should I do with a pig? People would only have said, 'over there they eat up everything they have'. Let in the goat ,children!" "But I haven't hot the goat anymore,either," said Gudbrand. "When I came a bit farther, I swapped the goat and got a strapping sheep instead."
"Nay!" cried the wife. "You've done everything exactly as I should have wished; exactly as if I should have been along myself. What should we do with a goat? I would have to scramble up and down hill and dale, and get it down again in the evening. No, if I have a sheep, I can get wool and clothing in the house, and food, too. Go down and let in the sheep, children!"
"But now I haven't got the sheep any longer," said Gudbrand. "For when I had gone on a bit, I swapped it for a goose!" "And thanks to you for that!" said the wife. "And many thanks too! What should I do with a sheep?" Why, I have neither spinning wheel nor spindle, nor do I care about toiling, and cutting, and making clothes, either. We can buy clothes now as before. Now I'll have a roast goose, which I've been wanting and let in the goose, children!" "But now I have no goose, either," said Gudbrand. "When I had come a bit farther on the way, I swapped it for a rooster." "I don't know how you've hit upon everything," cried the wife. "It's all just as I would have done it myself. A rooster! That's the same as if you had bought an eight-day clock. For every morning the rooster crows at four o'clock, so we can get up at the right time, too. What, indeed, should we do with the goose? I don't know how to roast it, and my pillow I can fill with grass. Go out and let in the rooster, children!" "But I don't have the rooster, either," said Gudbrand. "When I had gone still farther, I became as hungry as a wolf, and so I had to sell the rooster for 12 shilling to save me life." Nay! Praise God that you did!" cried the wife. "How you do take care of yourself. You do everything just as I could have wished. What should we do with a rooster? Why, we are our own masters, we can lie in bed in the morning as long as we wish, thank heaven. As long as I have you back again, who manages everything so well, I need neither rooster nor goose, neither pig nor cow."
Then Gudbrand opened the door. "Have I won those hundred dalers now?" he said, and the neighbor had to admit that he had.