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The Good Bargain Fairy Tale in English for Kids

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The Good Bargain fairy tale is about a hot-headed peasant who misunderstands animals and loses his money and meat to them. Later he goes to the king to get justice but things unfold in a completely different way. Key takeaways from the story are:

  • How to outsmart people?

  • Act quickly and smartly in any situation 

  • Don’t trust anyone blindly.

Introduction to The Good Bargain Story

The Good Bargain portrays the story of a peasant who loses everything to some animals, including all his money and possessions. As a result of his anger, he seeks justice from the king. However, the king has other plans for him rather than helping him. Among the 'humorous' tales we have encountered, this is the first anti-Semitic one.

Origin of The Good Bargain Story

"The Good Bargain" is a popular German fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm, KHM 7. With the second edition of 1819, this antisemitic fairytale was included in the Grimm brothers' collection Kinder- und Hausmärchen. This is a tale of the Aarne-Thompson type 1642. A similar anti-Semitic tale collected by the Grimms' is The Jew Among Thorns (Der Jude im Dorn).

The Good Bargain Summary

A peasant sold his cow for seven thalers at the market. While walking home, he noticed frogs calling out, "akt, akt, akt, akt", which sounded to him like "eight, eight, eight, eight". "What nonsense they speak", he said, "for I was paid seven and not eight". But still they called out, "akt, akt, akt, akt". As he rushed to the water's edge, the peasant shouted, "You stupid animals! I was paid seven thalers, not eight!" He counted the coins in his purse, but still the frogs repeated " akt, akt, akt, akt".

"Well", he shouted, "if you think you know more about it than I do, then you can count them yourselves!" He then tossed the coins into the pond and waited for the frogs to count them and return them. They still cried, " akt, akt, akt, akt". In the meantime, the peasant waited and waited. It was late into the evening when he finally gave up and returned home, cursing the frogs for their stupidity.

After arriving home in a foul mood, he decided to purchase another cow. Having done this, he slaughtered the cow himself, calculating that if he could get a reasonable price for the meat, he would be able to make as much as the two cows were worth, as well as have the hide of the cow. The peasant brought the meat to town, where he was met by a pack of dogs led by a large greyhound belonging to the town's butcher. 

The greyhound came sniffing the meat and barked "Bow-wow, what now?" The peasant said to the dog, " I am aware that you are interested in the meat, but I cannot provide it for free.

As long as you are responsible for your fellow employees, I am willing to leave the meat with you, since I am acquainted with your superior. Remember, you must send me the money for the meat within three days." "Bow-wow, what now?" said the dog. The peasant left satisfied with the deal.

Despite waiting three days, the peasant did not receive his money. "I trusted that dog to keep the bargain", he muttered bitterly to himself. He stormed into town and demanded payment for the meat from the butcher. Initially, the butcher thought that the peasant was joking, but the peasant insisted that he wanted payment for the meat left in the custody of the butcher's dog. In response, the butcher grabbed his broom and chased the peasant away.

The peasant said, "I will get justice!". I will go to the king!" he declared, and he set out for the royal palace. He appeared before the king and his daughter and was asked what his grievance was. "Well", said the peasant, "the frogs stole my money and the dogs my meat and the butcher struck me with the broom handle!" Hearing his story, the princess laughed out loud.

However, the king listened patiently and said, "I cannot make up for the wrong you have suffered, but I will give you my daughter's hand instead. She has never laughed before, and I promised that she would marry the first man who made her do so. You may thank God for your good fortune today." "But I already have a wife at home and she's quite enough of a handful", said the peasant, "and I do not want another."

After being insulted, the king angrily replied to the peasant, "You are a lot!" to which the peasant replied "What else can you expect from an ox, your majesty, but beef?" The king replied, "Well, instead you can have a different reward. Leave now but return in three days when you shall receive five hundred." Happily, the peasant left, and on passing through the town gate met the sentry, who said that in return for making the princess laugh the peasant must have received a great reward. "I have indeed", replied the peasant. "In three days I must return when five hundred will be counted out for me."

The soldier asked, "What are you going to do with all that money?". "Let me have some of it." The peasant agreed to let the soldier have two hundred from his share. "In three days go to the king", he said "and have it counted out for you."

On hearing their conversation, a Jew nearby approached the peasant and, upon praising his good fortune, offered to exchange the thalers for smaller coins. The peasant replied, "Jew", "You may have three hundred coins. Provide me with the coins now and you will be able to pay the balance to the king in three days." Delighted with his bargain, the Jew brought the equivalent amount in groschens - but substituted one counterfeit coin for every two real ones. A few days later, the peasant stood before the king to receive his promised reward, which was actually five hundred blows rather than five hundred thalers.

"Sire," said the peasant, "I am no longer entitled to the reward. I gave two hundred to the sentry and three hundred to the Jew." The two went in to receive their reward and each was given the appropriate blows. Having been used to such treatment, the soldier accepted them well. But the Jew piteously cried out, "Oh my, oh my, these thalers are hard!"

Astonished by the peasant's escape, the king told him he could enter the treasure chamber and take as much gold as he desired. In a matter of seconds, the peasant went straight to the treasure chamber and stuffed his pockets with gold before entering a nearby inn to count his rewards.

After receiving blows through his 'bargain,' the Jew secretly followed the peasant, overhearing him and muttering, "That rascal of a king has cheated me. If he had just given me the money then I would know how much I have. But how can I know how much I put in my pockets?" Hearing the peasant speak so disrespectfully about the king, the Jew decided to report him in hopes of receiving a reward and punishment for his actions.

After hearing of the peasant's disrespect, the king demanded that he be brought before him. The Jew told the peasant he must go to the king immediately, just as he was. The peasant said, "It is not proper that someone with such a large amount of gold in his pockets should appear before the king shabbily dressed. Lend me a nice coat so I can make a fitting appearance." The Jew lent him the coat as he feared the king's anger would cool if there was a delay, resulting in the loss of his reward and the punishment of the peasant.

Standing in his fine coat the king demanded of the peasant, "What is this you have been saying about me?"

"Sire", said the peasant, "you cannot believe a word that comes out of the mouth of a Jew! Why I bet he will even claim that this fine coat is his!"

"What?", cried the Jew. "Of course, the coat is mine - lent by me to you to wear before the king!"

"Well", thought the king, "the Jew is lying to one of us. Either to me or to the peasant". Once again, he was able to repay the Jew in hard thalers. As the peasant walked home with the fine coat in his pockets stuffed with gold, he thought to himself, "This time I made a good bargain!

The Soldier and the Jew claim their reward

The Soldier and the Jew claim their reward

Moral of The Good Bargain Story

The good bargain moral is about one person's stroke of good luck. It is the peasant's ability to outsmart both a Jew and a king that earns him money and a fine coat as a reward. Fairy tale elements are also evident throughout the story, such as talking animals and a king and princess.

Note to Parents 

Parents should read the good bargain fairy tale to their children as a bedtime story. The story shows how even a poor and dumb peasant can outsmart the king and people above him in status.

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FAQs on The Good Bargain Fairy Tale in English for Kids

1. When was the story The Good Bargain written?

The Good Bargain was collected and written down by the Brothers Grimm in their book, Grimm's Fairy Tales, in 1819. This story is not included in the first edition (1812). The story was told long before it was written down.

2. What did the peasant earn as a good bargain by the end of the story?

By the end of the story, the peasant walked back home with a fine coat filled with gold, which was certainly a good bargain.

3. Is ‘The Good Bargain’ an antisemitic fairy tale?

There is an antisemitic element in the version of the Good Bargain story that the Brothers Grimm included in their book of fairy tales. It depicts a Jew as an unsympathetic character.


The Good Bargain fairy tale is about a hot-headed peasant who misunderstands animals and loses his money and meat to them. Later he goes to the king to get justice but things unfold in a completely different way. Key takeaways from the story are:

  • How to outsmart people?

  • Act quickly and smartly in any situation 

  • Don’t trust anyone blindly.