Once upon a time, there was a king.
The king was lactose intolerant, which was a very unfortunate problem to have during this era of time because people did not yet know what lactose intolerance was. For this reason, the king had to live in shame because he could not eat his royal cookies and milk without… adverse effects.
One day, a poor man indebted to the king was on trial and begged the king to free him of his debt. The king refused– until he realized that the poor man was also a dairy farmer!
The king told the poor man that if he could provide the king with a cow that would make milk the king could drink without getting the runs, he could go free. The man told the king that he could not do this, but that his daughter could.
This was, of course, a lie.
Nonetheless, the king made the farmer’s daughter come to the palace and locked her in a room with a cow. He told her,
“Unless you can give me milk from this cow by morning which will not make me sick, you shall be locked in here forever!”
The poor girl sobbed. First of all, getting sick from milk was a very subjective issue and the poor girl had no idea what the heck it was that was making the king sick. Second of all, like, how was she supposed to know whether the milk would make the king sick ahead of time?
Just as she was about to cry herself to sleep, a small man appeared in the room!
He was a clever looking little guy with a fancy hat. He looked like he came straight out of the ’50s, but the girl didn’t know that because the ’50s hadn’t happened yet.
“Hello my dear,” the man said creepily (any guy you don’t know who calls you “my dear” is automatically a creep-o), “Why are you crying?”
She replied, “I must milk this cow and give the king milk that will not make him sick. I can’t do that!”
“Well, I can do that! But what will you give me?” the man replied.
The poor girl didn’t have much, but she did have three silver teeth. So, she pulled out her teeth and gave them to the man.
The man began to milk the cow and, when he was finished, handed a pail of the milk to the girl.
“Here!” he said.
“What is it?” she asked.
“Soy!” he replied.
“‘You are’ what?” she responded (she was bilingual).
“No– the milk. It’s made from soybeans or something. Actually, I’m not really sure how soy milk works… But it certainly will not make your king ill!” the small man laughed. And, at that moment, the sun rose in the sky and the small man vanished.
The king stormed in the door and yelled, “Well?! Where is my milk?”
The poor girl gave him the pail of liquid she was still holding. The king took several large gulps.
And the two waited for approximately four hours to monitor for ill effects. But there was nothing!
“This is amazing!” the king exclaimed, “But I need some more! Just to ensure that this is truly your doing, I will lock you in this room one night more. I need more milk!”
And the king slammed the door.
The poor girl began to cry again because she was hungry and found she hated the taste of this sour soy milk. Also, she was missing her three front teeth and that was just unfortunate.
But again, the small man appeared in the room!
“My dear! Do you need some more milk for the king?” he asked.
“Oh yes!” the girl responded, “I need more soy milk!”
“Now, that’s the first time anyone’s ever uttered that phrase! Get it? UDDER? Nevermind. I’ll help you if you can give me something in return,” the man replied.
“I have this glass eye!” the poor girl replied. In those days, glass was very valuable.
It was good enough for the small man and he began milking the (now very hungry and irritated) cow.
Just as he finished, the sun rose and the king pounded on the door. The man vanished once again.
The king drank the milk and was pleased with the taste this time around because– gasp!– the milk was the milk of a goat rather than that of a cow! The king thought that surely the girl was magical for she had milked one animal and yielded the milk of another.
“Alright girl!” the king yelled, “I will lock you in this room once more– hey. Wait a minute. What happened to your eye?!”
The girl replied, “I gave it to the small man.”
The king thought she was delusional. Why shouldn’t she be? She had been locked in a room for two days with a freaking cow.
“Girl–” the king continued, “If you stay here and milk this cow once more, I will make you my wife and queen!”
The king stormed out and locked the door. Apparently, the poor girl didn’t have a decision on the matter.
She began to weep. Again.
And, guess who showed up? Yes! The small man from the ’50s!
“What is it now?” he questioned, “Do you need more milk again?”
“Oh yes!” the girl cried, “But I have nothing left to give you!”
“You can promise to give me your first pet!” the little man replied.
And, because the girl thought surely her first pet would be a dumb hamster or something, she agreed.
When the king returned and found more milk yet (this time, almond milk– who knew, right?), he kept his promise and married the princess.
Years passed and the king and queen had many children. The queen got new, golden teeth and was given a new glass eye that even matched her existing eye. She forgot about the creepy small man over time.
But, the day came when one of her children got a puppy for his birthday. That night, the little man appeared to the queen.
“You’ve forgotten about our agreement? You must give me the puppy you bought for your son, or all of this will disappear!” he hissed.
“Surely, you must make a way for me not to have to give the puppy to you! It will break my son’s heart and puppies are the cutest!” she cried.
She was right. Puppies are the cutest.
“Fine!” the man replied, “If you can guess my profession before sunrise, I will leave you forever and will not take the puppy!”
The queen thought and thought–
“Blacksmith!” she guessed.
“No!” the man laughed.
She was wrong, wrong, wrong.
She guessed and guessed for hours on end, but could not get the answer, for the little man’s profession did not even exist yet! He was a man before his time.
The queen guessed, “Baker!” and “Candlestick maker!” She guessed “Actor,” and “Proctologist!” and even, “A homeless man!”
But she could not guess before morning.
The man laughed maniacally and exclaimed, “I am a milk man! It was so obvious!!”
Obvious it was. But now, the queen had to give up the cute little puppy.
“Wait!” she yelled, “I will give you something better than a puppy!”
What. What could be better than a puppy?
“I will give you–” she paused, “I will give you my third born son! I have five sons, so I can spare one.”
This was good enough for the milk man. He took the boy home and raised him as his own– showing the boy all of his tricks and how to con people out of things. He even gave the boy a name: Rumpelst– well, you know the rest.