Translated from the Dutch by Isabella
Once upon a time there was a Fossegrim,
a strange creature who inhabited a hole
on the riverside. It was common
knowledge that whoever paid his price,
which was a great slab of meat, could
listen to his music as he started playing his
fiddle. When the Fossegrim received a
big shank of meat he would play the most
beautiful tunes for hours. But, when
someone fed the Fossegrim a small piece
of meat he would only play a short tune and
then disappear. People who lived near the river visited the Fossegrim very
often, as they loved his music. They said amongst themselves that no one in
the world could play the fiddle like the Fossegrim.
Now the Fossegrim living in this river was short of stature and shiny of
complexion. His blond hair was long and wild but his face friendly and his
eyes clear as crystal. When he played the fiddle his fingers moved so quick
that people where unable to follow them. His music could be gentle and
sweet, but it could also be wild and untamed on occasion.
Near the river lived a greedy miser who secretly longed to play the fiddle
but didn't know how. Now of course he could just go to the Fossegrim and
pay the price, but he was too far too miserly to give away a good part of his
meat. So he took the bone of a goat and said to himself, “That should be
enough!” The villagers tried to persuade him to give the Fossegrim what he
demanded, as the Fossegrim could be furious when insulted. On these
occasions, they said, he would pull his victims under the water. The man did
not listen to their good advice and he went on his way.
He threw the goat's bone into the river but nothing happened. Annoyed, he
Slowly the little creature appeared from his hiding hole and sat himself on
a stone nearby, gazing at his angry visitor. The Fossegrim took his fiddle
out but didn't play it, he just stared at the man. The miser got more irritated
and asked the Fossegrim when he was going to teach him how to play the
The Fossegrim said:
For a goat and a buck
I will teach you how to tune and play
but for that bare bone of yours
even tuning your fiddle is too much.
The Fossegrim disappeared into the water and the man went home,
dismayed. He placed his fiddle in a corner of his room and he never
bothered to play it again.