is a German Fairy Tale
collected by the Brothers Grimm
A soldier can not return home after he leaves the army, and can not find a job. Finally, he makes a deal with the devil, who gives him a purse of gold that's always full. But he must wear a bearskin and neither pray nor wash nor cut his hair for seven years. If he survives, he can keep the purse freely, but he loses his soul if he dies.
The soldier went about giving away gold and asking all the poor people to pray for him. He rescues an old man from prison for debt, and the man says that one of his daughters will marry him. The older two reject him, but the younger concludes that only a good man would have rescued her father. He gives her half of a ring, and tells her that he will return in three years, or be dead, in which case she is free.
He survives and cleans himself up before visiting the old man again. Everyone is taken by how handsome he is, though the youngest daughter sits quietly in the corner. When he says he will marry one of them, the older girls go to pretty themselves up. Then he shows the youngest the other half of the ring. They get married. The older sisters kill themselves in fury and envy, and the devil is pleased: he got two souls, not one, out of this.
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- Celestial Deadline: He has to wait out the seven years.
- Child Marriage Veto: The daughters do get to reject him, despite their father's promise.
- Deal with the Devil: The mainspring of the plot.
- Green-Eyed Monster: The sisters.
- I Will Wait for You: The youngest daughter.
- Nameless Narrative: Only Bearskin, and that's a nickname.
- Person with the Clothing
- The Promise: The father promises he can marry his daughter without asking any of them to do it.
- Rule of Three: Three daughters.
- Rule of Seven: Seven years before the bargain is up.
- Secret Test of Character: The youngest daughter is not only willing to marry him for his character, when he appears in handsome form, she ignores him until he proves he's the man she promised to marry.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Gender-flipped.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: The youngest.
- Two Halves Make A Plot: the youngest daughter of the family agrees to marry Bearskin in exchange for the financial help he gave to their father, and Bearskin gives her half of an engagement ring, and then leaves, keeping the other half for himself. Some time afterward, he returns cleaned up and handsome, and proves his identity by producing the other half of the ring.
- Win-Win Ending: Both the Devil and Bearskin got what they wanted from the deal.
- Youngest Child Wins: The sisters are furious, but she does get to marry him.