This is my translation of a folktale from the northern part of the Netherlands, the province of Groningen. It is also known as the story of Big Klaas and Tiny Klaas*, and there are some other variations. The story is translated from an original 19th century transcript. The story comes from an agricultural oral tradition. I tried to translate it as well as possible, some sentences however were modernised to make the story easier to read. I also translated some names of old dutch coins like 'stuver' as half a penny.
* Klaas is an old Dutch name, which is derived from Nicholas.
For years and years two farmers lived next to each other, Big Eye and Tiny Eye. Tiny Eye had only one cow and it often wandered off to Big Eye's clover field. One day Big Eye had enough of it and said: "Tiny Eye, If I see your cow in my clover field once more, I'll kill it!" No matter how hard poor Tiny Eye tried; he couldn't stop his cow from going to Big Eyes clover field, not even a ditch would stop the animal. When Big Eye saw the cow eating from his clovers again, he got so furious that he killed the animal on the spot. Tiny Eye saw what happened and remained quite calm, he skinned the animal and left the skin to dry in the sun. When the skin was dry enough he took it with him and went to the market in the city. Tiny Eye wrapped the skin around him and fastened it with a rope. With the horns on his head and the skin around him he walked through the woods on his way to the city. In the forrest there were three robbers who where counting their money. When they saw Tiny Eye coming their way they got so scared that they ran off and left their money; this was Tiny Eye's lucky day. He took the money and went home to borrow Big eye's scale to measure how much money he got.
Big Eye saw how much money Tiny Eye had on him and when he saw how much money one could make from cow skins, he immediately took his axe and slayered all his cows. He skinned his cows and went of to the market. "Cow skins for sale! Cow skins for sale!" He yelled.
But no matter how hard Big Eye yelled, he couldn't get more for the skins, than skins were normally worth. He was so furious by the time he got home that he told Tiny Eye that he was going to stab him that night. So Tiny Eye went to his old mother and told her to go sleep in his house while he would sleep in hers. So Big Eye came to the wrong bed that night and cut the poor old womans head off.
The next morning Tiny Eye went with a cart full of meat to the city and put his mother on top of it, with her head carefully glued back.
The first man who wanted to buy some meat asked the old woman how much the meat cost. When he got no answer from the old woman he took her shoulders and the head fell on the floor right in front of his feet. "That's going to cost you dearly!" Tiny Eye said. "Look at her! Did you have to molest her like that?"
The gentleman was very embarrased with the situation and was eager to make up with Tiny Eye. So Tiny Eye went home with a big pocket of money again, and stopped by Big Eye's house to borrow his scale once more. "Old women are so unbelievably expensive," he said to Big Eye.
So Big Eye killed his own mother too and took her to the city. "Old woman for sale! Old woman for sale!" He yelled. But no one was interested in a dead old woman, and Big Eye had to go home empty handed. When Big Eye saw Little Eye he told him he wanted to put him in a bag and drown him. And so he put him in a bag. When he got to the water he told a fisherman to watch the bag. When he was out of sight Tiny Eye asked the fisherman to help him out of the bag. Together they filled the bag with rocks and after that Tiny Eye went home.
When Big Eye returned he threw the bag as far as he could into the deep water, and went home. The first thing he saw when he got home was Tiny Eye. "I am so happy you threw me in that deep water," he said; "Under water there's a land where sheep cost two pence, pigs one penny and a horse costs half a penny!" Big Eye wanted to go there as well and told Tiny Eye to put him in a bag and throw him in the water. Big Eye was barely drowning when Tiny Eye felt sorry for him and hauled him back ashore.
When Big Eye came out of the bag he quickly put Tiny Eye in a barrel and tightened the lid.
He gave Tiny Eye some honey, a hammer and a nail.
"Good," he said, and he threw to barrel into the sea. As the barrel drifted on the waves Tiny Eye opened a small hole with the hammer and smeared some honey on a rope and tied it to the barrel. Pretty soon after that a bear swam to the barrel to lick the honey off the rope. When the bear turned around to swim off Tiny Eye took the bears tail and nailed it to the barrel. The bear was so surprised that it swam to the shore as fast as it could. So fast that when it reached the shore the barrel broke and Tiny Eye was free again; and he went home.
"Back already?" Big Eye said.
"Yes, it worked out so wonderful for me. I floated to such a big ship and now the whole ship is mine!"
Big Eye wanted that too, he wanted to be put in a barrel with a hammer and nail. And he wanted some honey too.
So it was done; Tiny Eye put him in a barrel, and added fifty pounds of iron too. He rolled the barrel into the sea, where it sank like a rock.