The Complete Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales |
This collection of "classics" certainly is a departure from the Disney versions. The tales are mostly very dark and pessimistic, as originally recorded by the Brothers. For the more "colourful" children's stories it is better to buy the specific tales from the bookstore instead of a collective book.
This story is available in the following languages
SALEM AND THE NAIL
Once upon a time . . . the shop belonging to an astute merchant called
Salem, and all the carpets in it, were burnt in a fire. Salem was left with
nothing but his house, and since he was a trader he decided to sell it. With
the money he would be able to buy a new shop and more carpets. Salem did not
ask a high price for his house. However, he had a most unusual request to make
of would-be buyers: "I'll sell you the house, except for that nail in the
wall. That remains mine!" And as they all went off, shaking their heads, they
wondered what he meant by this strange
Abraham, however, more miserly than all the others, thought the price was
fair, and he even haggled it down further. A bargain was struck and the new
owner took over the whole house, except for the nail. A week later, Salem
knocked at the door.
"I've come to hang something on my nail," he said. Abraham let him in and
Salem hung up a large empty bag, said goodbye and left. A few days later, he
appeared again, and this time hung an old cloak on the nail. From then on,
Salem's visits became regular; he was forever coming and going, taking things
off the nail or hanging something else up.
One evening, in front of the stunned eyes of Abraham and his family, Salem
arrived dragging a dead donkey. With a struggle, he hoisted it up and roped it
to the nail. The occupants of the house complained about the smell and the
sight of the dead beast, but Salem calmly said: "It's my nail and I can hang
anything I like on it!"
Abraham, naturally, could no longer live in the house under such
conditions. But Salem refused to remove the donkey.
"If you don't like it," he said, "you can get out of my house, but I'll not
pay you back a penny!"
Abraham did his best to persuade Salem to take the donkey down, for it
smelt to high heaven. He even consulted a judge, but the terms of the bargain
were clear. The house belonged to Abraham, but Salem kept the nail.
In the end, Abraham was forced to leave, and Salem got his house back
without paying a penny for it!