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Knapsack, Hat, and the Horn Story for Kids

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Reading stories plays a vital role in the growth and development of the overall personality of children. Knapsack, hat and the horn is one such story full of thrill and adventure with the following takeaways:

  • Learn to be Happy with what you have

  • Never fall into the trap of greed

An Introduction to the Story

‘Knapsack, hat, and the horn’ is a German fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm. They are amongst the best-known storytellers of folk tales and fairy tales.

The story talks about three hatted brothers who set out to seek their fortunes. One brother finds gold, one silver, and the other finds a knapsack, a hat, and a horn which he further uses to marry the princess and become the king of a nation. The story was alternatively known as ‘The Fortune Seekers.

Summary of the Knapsack, Hat, and the Horn

Once three brothers had fallen deep into the clutches of poverty, and at last, their condition was so bad that they had to endure hunger, and had nothing to eat or drink.

Frustrated with their situation, one brother said, "We cannot go on this way; we shall better go into the world and seek our fortune." Thus, they set out, and although they had walked over a large distance, still no sign of luck.

One day they arrived in a dense forest, in the midst of a hill. Coming near to it, they saw that it was all laden with silver. Then the eldest spoke, "Now I have found the good luck I wished for, and I desire nothing more." He took as much silver as he could, turned back, and went home. But the two others said, "We want something more from good luck than mere silver," and decided to go further.

After two days of constant walking, they came across a hill that was all gold. The second brother stopped, took enough with him, but was still indecisive. He questioned, "What shall I do? Shall I take for myself so much of this gold that I have sufficient for all the rest of my life, or shall I go farther?" At length, he made a decision and, putting as much into his pockets as he could, bid farewell to his brother and went home.

But the third said, "Silver and gold do not suffice me; I will not renounce my chance of fortune; perhaps something better still will be given to me”, and marched forward. After walking for three days, he entered a forest that was even denser than the one before and never seemed to come to an end, and as he found nothing to eat or to drink, he was exhausted.

He decided to climb up a high tree to find out if he could see the end of the forest, but so far as his eye could reach, he saw nothing but dark green trees. Then he began to descend the tree, but hunger tormented him, and he thought to himself, "If I could but eat my fill once more!" When he got down, to his surprise, he saw a table beneath richly spread with food, whose aroma spread across.

"My wish has been fulfilled at the right moment”, he exclaimed. Without inquiring who brought the food or cooked it, he rushed to the table and relished his meal. When he was done, he thought, "It would, after all, be a pity if the pretty little tablecloth were to be spoiled in the forest here," and folded it up tidily and put it in his pocket.

It was only a while before he revived his journey, and he was hungry again. He wanted to test his little cloth, spread it out and said, "I wish you to be covered with good cheer again," and suddenly, many dishes with the most exquisite food on them stood on the table as there was room for. The cloth, however, was still not enough for him, and he preferred to wander about the world and pursue his fortune further.

One night, while walking, he met a dusty, black charcoal-burner, who was burning charcoal there, and had some potatoes by the fire, on which he was going to make a meal. "Good evening, blackbird!" said the man. "How do you do?”

"One day is like another," replied the charcoal-burner, “And every night potatoes. Do you mind being my guest?”

"Many thanks," replied the traveler, “I don’t wish to disturb you. But I have an invitation for you.”

He brought his cloth out of his knapsack, spread it on the ground, and said, "Little cloth, cover yourself," and instantly, boiled meat and baked meat stood there. The charcoal burner was startled. He gulped large chunks of the delicious food in front of him. When they had eaten everything, the charcoal-burner smiled, and said, "Your tablecloth seems quite useful to me. If I propose an exchange to you, to trade your table cloth with a soldier’s knapsack lying in my hanger. It holds wonderful powers.”

“What are those?” asked the traveler.

"Every time you tap it with your hand, a corporal comes with six men armed from head to toe, and they do whatever you command."

The traveler agreed and gave his cloth to the charcoal-burner in exchange for the knapsack. To test the knapsack, he tapped it and immediately seven warriors stepped up to him and asked “What do you want my lord?”

"March to the charcoal-burner, and get me my wishing cloth back”, ordered the traveler. In no time, the men brought him his tablecloth back. By sunset, he came to another charcoal-burner, who was making his supper. The traveler again offered him an invitation to be his guest. They ate and drank together, and enjoyed themselves heartily.

After the meal, the charcoal-burner said, " I have a worn-out hat with me. If anyone wears it and turns it round along his head, cannons go off together, and no one can withstand them. I would like to trade it with your tablecloth.”

"That suits me very well," he answered, took the hat, put it on, and left his tablecloth behind him. Yet again, using his knapsack, he claimed his tablecloth back.

After walking for a whole day, he came to a third charcoal-burner, who like the previous ones, invited him to potatoes, but he let him also dine with him using his wishing cloth, and the charcoal-burner liked it so well, that at last, he offered him a horn for it, which had very different properties from those of the hat.

When anyone blew it, all the walls and fortifications fell, and all towns and villages turned to ruins. He gave the charcoal-burner the cloth for it, but he again claimed it. After all these adventures, the traveller decided to go back to his brothers.

When he reached home, his brothers had built themselves a handsome house with their silver and gold and were living their best life. However, reaching there with a shabby appearance, his brothers refused to recognise him. They expected their brother to show up in all his grandeur and opulence.

This incident threw him into a rage. He tapped his knapsack until a hundred and fifty men stood before him, armed from head to toe. He commanded them to surround his brothers' house, take hazel sticks with them, and beat the two insolent men until they decided to recognise him. A violent disturbance arose, but nobody could stand against the soldiers.

The news reached the King, who was furious. He ordered a captain to march with his troop and drive this man out of the town. But the man with the knapsack soon built a greater army, which repulsed the captain and his men.

The man with the knapsack decided not to make peace until the king gave him his daughter and made him the new king of the nation. The helpless king had no option but to agree. So, the wedding was celebrated, but the King's daughter was vexed that her husband was a common man, who wore a shabby hat and put on an old knapsack. She wished to get rid of him, and night and day studied how she could accomplish this. Then she thought to herself, "Is it possible that his wonderful powers lie in the knapsack?"

She planned to lure him and when his heart was softened, she said, "If you would lay aside your knapsack, I won’t be ashamed of you."

"Dear child," he replied, "This knapsack is my greatest treasure, as long as I have it, there is no power on earth that I am afraid of." Once, she was successful in stealing the knapsack, and when alone she tapped it, and commanded the warriors to seize their former master, and take him out of the royal palace. They obeyed and drove him entirely out of the country.

Immediately the guy in his horn hat turned it twice, and the cannon began to thunder and struck down everything, and the King's daughter herself was forced to come and beg for mercy. He granted her peace as she entered into such moving terms and promised amendment.

She behaved in a friendly manner to him and acted as if she loved him, and after some time managed to befool him, so that he confided to her that even if anyone got the knapsack into his power, he could do nothing against him so long as the old hat was still his. When she knew the secret, she waited until he was asleep, and then she took the hat away from him and threw it in the street.

But he still had his horn which held extreme powers. As soon as the horn burner blew, all walls, fortifications, towns, and villages toppled down and crushed the King and his daughter to death. There was no one to oppose him any longer, and he announced himself as the new king of the nation.

Knapsack, Hat and the Horn

Knapsack, Hat and the Horn

Guy in Horn Hat

Guy in Horn Hat

Note to Parents

Parents encouraging their students to read daily helps build their comprehensive abilities and increases their confidence. A habit to read for at least half an hour daily helps children learn new words, topics, and ideas.


The story of the three brothers clearly depicts that we let go of many good things in life because of our greed for having even better things. The man with the knapsack, even though declares himself as the king, loses his brothers and his wife.

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FAQs on Knapsack, Hat, and the Horn Story for Kids

1. What did the first two brothers find in the forest?

The first two brothers found hills laden with silver and gold in the forest.

2. What was the advantage of the knapsack?

The knapsack when tapped sets up a troop of commandos that obey whatever one orders them to do.

3. What did the horn do?

The horn blew all the walls and fortifications fell down, and all towns and villages turned to ruins.

4. How did the hat act as a boon for the traveler?

That hat when put on and turned around shoots cannons and destroys everything.

5. What do you learn from the story ‘Knapsack, Hat, and the Horn’?

The story teaches us that one should not be greedy.


Reading stories plays a vital role in the growth and development of the overall personality of children. Knapsack, hat and the horn is one such story full of thrill and adventure with the following takeaways:

  • Learn to be Happy with what you have

  • Never fall into the trap of greed