The Story Part Three
The King orders the soldier to be thrown in prison. Tomorrow the soldier will be hanged and the day after that the Princess will be married to the Prince of a neighbouring kingdom. The soldier beds down in the straw until morning knowing he cannot escape. The next morning Hans comes looking for the soldier. All the village has heard that the soldier has been captured. The soldier tells Hans to go back to his lodgings at the Inn and to bring him the Tinderbox. Hans rushes off back to the village. The prison cell door opens and he is taken away by the guards to be hanged. Meanwhile back at the Inn Hans cannot get in as the doors are locked and the Innkeeper must be out getting ready to watch the hanging. Hans looks up and sees an open window next to a tall tree. He takes off his shoes and leaves them at the base of the tree and then climbs up through the branches and into the open window.
All the village has turned out to see the hanging. The three scoundrels are there hoping to see it go ahead especially as the soldier saw them for what they were. The local children are very sad as they remember the soldier who was kind and generous to them. All the people in the market are also sad at the prospect of the soldier being hanged as he spent lots of money and made them happy.
Back at the Inn, Hans has found the Tinderbox and so climbs back out of the window. Unfortunately for Hans a sharp eyed village policeman notices the shoes at the base of the tree and waits at the bottom believing Hans is a thief. Hans is captured and tied up by the policeman who does not take Hans to the police station as he wishes to watch the hanging. Whilst watching, Hans cuts the rope on the policeman's spurs, he thus escapes and runs away closely pursued by the policeman. Meanwhile, the Princess has been freed by her only friend in the Castle. He urges her to run and save the poor soldier. Soon the soldier arrives and is forced up onto the gallows. Hans arrives in the crowd and is concealed by Master Schaft. He whistles to the soldier and throws the Tinderbox. The Soldier catches the Tinderbox and then asks the King for a final request. He wishes to have a last smoke on his pipe. Reluctantly the King agrees but the Queen requests that he make it quick. With a smile on his face, the Soldier strikes the Tinderbox and all three dogs appear. The appearance of three huge dogs sends the locals into panic but they soon realise that the dogs are friendly to the soldier and he commands them to rescue him. The dogs thus scare the King, the Queen and the guards away. Even one of the scoundrels tries to bribe his way to being hidden from the dogs but Master Schaft pushes him away. Soon the dog's work is done and they vanish. Eventually the crowd start cheering loudly as the Princess is escorted into the village square. The soldier kisses her on the cheek and they all live happily ever after.