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An old woman lived in a village. She had gathered a serving of beans and wanted to cook them, so she prepared a fire in her fireplace. To make it burn faster she lit it with a handful of straw. While she was pouring the beans into the pot, one of them fell unnoticed to the floor, coming to rest next to a piece of straw. Soon afterward a glowing coal jumped out of the fireplace and landed next to them.

The straw said, "Dear friends, where do you come from?"

The coal answered, "I jumped from the fireplace, to my good fortune. If I had not forced my way out, I surely would have died. I would have burned to ash."

The bean said, "I too saved my skin. If the old woman had gotten me into the pot I would have been cooked to mush without mercy, just like my comrades."

"Would my fate have been any better?" said the straw. "The old woman sent all my brothers up in fire and smoke. She grabbed sixty at once and killed them. Fortunately I slipped through her fingers."

"What should we do now?" asked the coal.

"Because we have so fortunately escaped death," answered the bean, "I think that we should join together as comrades. To prevent some new misfortune from befalling us here, let us together make our way to another land."

This proposal pleased the other two, and they set forth all together.

They soon came to a small brook, and because there was neither a bridge nor a walkway there, they did not know how they would get across it.

Then the straw had a good idea, and said, "I will lay myself across it, and you can walk across me like on a bridge."

So the straw stretched himself from one bank to the other. The coal, who was a hot-headed fellow, stepped brashly onto the newly constructed bridge, but when he got to the middle and heard the water rushing beneath him, he took fright, stopped, and did not dare to go any further. Then the straw caught fire, broke into two pieces, and fell into the brook. The coal slid after him, hissed as he fell into the water, and gave up the ghost.

The bean who had cautiously stayed behind on the bank had to laugh at the event. He could not stop, and he laughed so fiercely that he burst. Now he too would have died, but fortunately a wandering tailor was there, resting near the brook. Having a compassionate heart, he got out a needle and thread and sewed the bean back together.

The bean thanked him most kindly. However, because he had used black thread, since that time all beans have had a black seam.



Once upon a time there were a rooster and a hen who wanted to take a journey together. So the rooster built a handsome carriage with four red wheels, and hitched four mice to it. The hen climbed aboard with the rooster, and they drove away together.

Not long afterward they met a cat, who said, "Where are you going?"

The rooster answered, "We're on our way to Herr Korbes's house."

"Take me with you," said the cat.

The rooster answered, "Gladly. Climb on behind, so you won't fall off the front. Be careful not to get my red wheels dirty. Roll, wheels. Whistle, mice. We're on our way to Herr Korbes's house."
Then a millstone came along, then an egg, then a duck, then a pin, and finally a needle. They all climbed aboard the carriage and rode with them.

But when they arrived at Herr Korbes's house, he was not there. The mice pulled the carriage into the barn. The hen and the rooster flew onto a pole. The cat sat down in the fireplace and the duck in the water bucket. The egg rolled itself up in a towel. The pin stuck itself into a chair cushion. The needle jumped onto the bed in the middle of the pillow. The millstone lay down above the door.

Then Herr Korbes came home. He went to the fireplace, wanting to make a fire, and the cat threw ashes into his face. He ran quickly into the kitchen to wash himself, and the duck splashed water into his face. He wanted to dry himself off with the towel, but the egg rolled against him, broke, and glued his eyes shut. Wanting to rest, he sat down in the chair, and the pin pricked him. He fell into a rage and threw himself onto his bed, but when he laid his head on the pillow, the needle pricked him, causing him to scream and run out of the house. As he ran through the front door the millstone jumped down and struck him dead.

Herr Korbes must have been a very wicked man.



Once upon a time there was a small girl who was strong willed and forward, and whenever her parents said anything to her, she disobeyed them. How could anything go well with her?

One day she said to her parents: "I have heard so much about Frau Trude. Someday I want to go to her place. People say such amazing things are seen there, and such strange things happen there, that I have become very curious.

Her parents strictly forbade her, saying: "Frau Trude is a wicked woman who commits godless acts. If you go there, you will no longer be our child."

But the girl paid no attention to her parents and went to Frau Trude's place anyway.

When she arrived there, Frau Trude asked: "Why are you so pale?"

"Oh," she answered, trembling all over, "I saw something that frightened me."

"What did you see?"

"I saw a black man on your steps."

"That was a charcoal burner."

"Then I saw a green man."

"That was a huntsman."

"Then I saw a blood-red man."

"That was a butcher."

"Oh, Frau Trude, it frightened me when I looked through your window and could not see you, but instead saw the devil with a head of fire."

"Aha!" she said. "So you saw the witch properly outfitted. I have been waiting for you and wanting you for a long time. Light the way for me now!"

With that she turned to girl into a block of wood and threw it into the fire. When it was thoroughly aglow she sat down next to it, and warmed herself by it, saying: "It gives such a bright light!"



There was once a woman and her daughter who had a beautiful garden with cabbages. A hare got into it, and during the winter he ate all the cabbages. So the mother said to the daughter, "Go to the garden, and chase the hare away."

The girl said to the hare, "Shoo, shoo, hare! You're eating all our cabbages."

The hare said, "Come, girl, sit on my tail, and come with me to my hut."

The girl would not do that.

The next day the hare came again and ate cabbages, so the woman said to her daughter, "Go to the garden, and chase the hare away."

The girl said to the hare, "Shoo, shoo, hare! You're eating all our cabbages."

The hare said, "Come, girl, sit on my tail, and come with me to my hut."

The girl would not do that.

On the third day the hare came again and ate cabbages, so the woman said to her daughter, "Go to the garden and chase the hare away."

The girl said, "Shoo, shoo, hare! You're eating all our cabbages."

The hare said, "Come, girl, sit on my tail, and come with me to my hut."

So the girl sat on the hare's tail, and the hare took her far away to his little hut, and then said, "Now cook some green cabbage and millet. "I'm going out to invite guests to our wedding."

Then all the wedding guests arrived. Who were the wedding guests? I can tell you, because someone else told me. They were all hares, and the crow was there as parson to marry the bride and bridegroom, and the fox served as sexton, and their altar was under the rainbow.

But the girl was sad, for she was all alone.

The hare came up to her and said, "Open the door! Open the door! The wedding guests are making merry."

The bride cried and said nothing. The hare went away. Then the hare came back and said, "Open the door! Open the door! The wedding guests are hungry."

The bride continued to cry, and said nothing. The hare went away. Then he came back and said, "Open the door! Open the door! The wedding guests are waiting."

The bride said nothing, and the hare went away. Then she dressed a straw doll in her clothes, gave it a stirring-spoon, and stood it next to the millet pot. Then she went back to her mother.

The hare came once more and said, "Open the door! Open the door!" Then he opened the door himself and struck the doll on the head so that its cap fell off. Then the hare saw that this was not his bride, and he sadly went away.



Once upon a time the fox was talking to the wolf about the strength of man, how no animal could withstand him, and how all were obliged to employ cunning in order to protect themselves from him.

The wolf answered, "If I could see a man just once, I would attack him nonetheless."

"I can help you to do that," said the fox. "Come to me early tomorrow morning, and I will show you one."

The wolf arrived on time, and the fox took him out to the path which the huntsman used every day. First an old discharged soldier came by.

"Is that a man?" asked the wolf.

"No," answered the fox. "He has been one."

Afterwards came a little boy on his way to school.

"Is that a man?"

"No, he will yet become one."

Finally a huntsman came by with his double-barreled gun on his back, and a sword at his side.

The fox said to the wolf, "Look, there comes a man. He is the one you must attack, but I am going back to my den."

The wolf then charged at the man.

When the huntsman saw him he said, "Too bad that I have not loaded with a bullet." Then he aimed and fired a load of shot into his face.

The wolf pulled an awful face, but did not let himself be frightened, and attacked him again, on which the huntsman gave him the second barrel. The wolf swallowed his pain and charged at the huntsman again, who in turn drew out his naked sword, and gave him a few blows with it left and right, so that, bleeding all over, he ran howling back to the fox.

"Well," Brother Wolf, said the fox, "how did you get along with man?"

"Oh," replied the wolf, "I never imagined the strength of man to be what it is. First, he took a stick from his shoulder, and blew into it, and then something flew into my face which tickled me terribly. Then he breathed once more into the stick, and it flew up my nose like lightning and hail. Then when I got next to him, he drew a naked rib out of his body, and he beat me so with it that he almost killed me."

"See what a braggart you are," said the fox. "You throw your hatchet so far that you cannot get it back again."



It happened that the cat met Mr. Fox in the woods. She thought, "He is intelligent and well experienced, and is highly regarded in the world," so she spoke to him in a friendly manner, "Good-day, my dear Mr. Fox. How is it going? How are you? How are you getting by in these hard times?"

The fox, filled with arrogance, examined the cat from head to feet, and for a long time did not know whether he should give an answer. At last he said, "Oh, you poor beard-licker, you speckled fool, you hungry mouse hunter, what are you thinking? Have you the nerve to ask how I am doing? What do you know? How many tricks do you understand?"

"I understand but one," answered the cat, modestly.

"What kind of a trick is it?" asked the fox.

"When the dogs are chasing me, I can jump into a tree and save myself."

"Is that all?" said the fox. "I am master of a hundred tricks, and in addition to that I have a sackful of cunning. I feel sorry for you. Come with me, and I will teach you how one escapes from the dogs."

Just then a hunter came by with four dogs. The cat jumped nimbly up a tree, and sat down at its top, where the branches and foliage completely hid her.

"Untie your sack, Mr. Fox, untie your sack," the cat shouted to him, but the dogs had already seized him, and were holding him fast.

"Oh, Mr. Fox," shouted the cat. "You and your hundred tricks are left in the lurch. If you been able to climb like I can, you would not have lost your life."



Once upon a time there was a very, very old man. His eyes had grown dim, his ears deaf, and his knees shook. When he sat at the table, he could scarcely hold a spoon. He spilled soup on the tablecloth, and, beside that, some of his soup would run back out of his mouth.

His son and his son's wife were disgusted with this, so finally they made the old grandfather sit in the corner behind the stove, where they gave him his food in an earthenware bowl, and not enough at that. He sat there looking sadly at the table, and his eyes grew moist. One day his shaking hands could not hold the bowl, and it fell to the ground and broke. The young woman scolded, but he said not a word. He only sobbed. Then for a few hellers they bought him a wooden bowl and made him eat from it.

Once when they were all sitting there, the little grandson of four years pushed some pieces of wood together on the floor.

"What are you making?" asked his father.

"Oh, I'm making a little trough for you and mother to eat from when I'm big."

The man and the woman looked at one another and then began to cry. They immediately brought the old grandfather to the table, and always let him eat there from then on. And if he spilled a little, they did not say a thing.



A little brother and little sister were playing by a well, and while they were playing there they both fell in. A water nixie was down there. She said, "Now I have you. Now you will have to work diligently for me," and she led them away with her.

She gave the girl tangled dirty flax to spin, and she had to fill a bottomless barrel with water. The boy had to chop down a tree with a dull ax, and all they got to eat were dumplings as hard as rocks.

Finally the children became so impatient, that they waited until one Sunday when the nixie was at church, and then ran away. When church was over, the nixie saw that the birds had flown away, and she followed them with long strides.

The children saw her from afar, and the girl threw a brush behind her, which turned into a large brush-mountain with thousands and thousands of spikes, which the nixie had to climb over with great difficulty, but she finally got to the other side.

When the children saw this the boy threw a comb behind him, which turned into a large comb-mountain with a thousand times a thousand teeth, but the nixie was able to keep hold of them, and finally got to the other side.

Then the girl threw a mirror behind her, which turned into a glass mountain, which was so slippery, so slippery that it was impossible for the nixie to climb over it.

Then she thought, "I will quickly go home and get my ax and chop the glass mountain in two."
However, by the time she returned and had chopped up the glass mountain, the children were far away and had escaped, so the water nixie had to trudge back to her well.



There was a poor but pious little girl who lived alone with her mother, and they no longer had anything to eat. So the child went into the forest, and there an old woman met her. She knew of the girl's sorrow, and presented her with a little pot, which when she said, "Little pot, cook," would cook good, sweet millet porridge, and when she said, " Little pot, stop," it stopped cooking.

The girl took the pot home to her mother, and now they were freed from their poverty and hunger, and ate sweet porridge as often as they chose. One time when the girl had gone out, her mother said, "Little pot, cook." And it did cook, and she ate until she was full, and then she wanted the pot to stop cooking, but did not know the word. So it went on cooking and the porridge rose over the edge, and still it cooked on until the kitchen and whole house were full, and then the next house, and then the whole street, just as if it wanted to satisfy the hunger of the whole world. It was terrible, and no one knew how to stop it. At last when only one single house remained, the child came home and just said, "Little pot, stop," and it stopped cooking, and anyone who wished to return to the town had to eat his way back.



A mother had a little boy of seven years who was so attractive and good natured that no one could look at him without liking him, and he was dearer to her than anything else in the world. He suddenly died, and the mother could find no solace. She cried day and night. However, soon after his burial, the child began to appear every night at those places where he had sat and played while still alive. When the mother cried, he cried as well, but when morning came he had disappeared.

The mother did not cease crying, and one night he appeared with the white shirt in which he had been laid into his coffin, and with the little wreath on his head. He sat down on the bed at her feet and said, "Oh, mother, please stop crying, or I will not be able to fall asleep in my coffin, because my burial shirt will not dry out from your tears that keep falling on it." This startled the mother, and she stopped crying.

The next night the child came once again. He had a little light in his hand and said, "See, my shirt is almost dry, and I will be able to rest in my grave." Then the mother surrendered her grief to God and bore it with patience and peace, and the child did not come again, but slept in his little bed beneath the earth.



Once upon a time there was a child who was willful and did not do what his mother wanted. For this reason God was displeased with him and caused him to become ill, and no doctor could help him, and in a short time he lay on his deathbed.

He was lowered into a grave and covered with earth, but his little arm suddenly came forth and reached up, and it didn't help when they put it back in and put fresh earth over it, for the little arm always came out again. So the mother herself had to go to the grave and beat the little arm with a switch, and as soon as she had done that, it withdrew, and the child finally came to rest beneath the earth.



A peasant had a faithful horse which had grown old and could do no more work, so his master no longer wanted to give him anything to eat and said, "I can certainly make no more use of you, but still I mean well by you, and if you prove yourself still strong enough to bring me a lion here, I will maintain you. But for now get out of my stable." And with that he chased him into the open field.

The horse was sad, and went to the forest to seek a little protection there from the weather. There the fox met him and said, "Why do you hang your head so, and go about all alone?"

"Alas," replied the horse, "greed and loyalty do not dwell together in one house. My master has forgotten what services I have performed for him for so many years, and because I can no longer plow well, he will give me no more food, and has driven me out."

"Without giving you a chance?" asked the fox.

"The chance was a bad one. He said, if I were still strong enough to bring him a lion, he would keep me, but he well knows that I cannot do that."

The fox said, "I will help you. Just lie down, stretch out as if you were dead, and do not stir."

The horse did what the fox asked, and then the fox went to the lion, who had his den not far off, and said, "A dead horse is lying out there. Just come with me, and you can have a rich meal."

The lion went with him, and when they were both standing by the horse the fox said, "After all, it is not very comfortable for you here -- I tell you what -- I will fasten it to you by the tail, and then you can drag it into your cave and eat it in peace."

This advice pleased the lion. He positioned himself, and in order that the fox might tie the horse fast to him, he kept completely quiet. But the fox tied the lion's legs together with the horse's tail, and twisted and fastened everything so well and so strongly that no amount of strength could pull it loose. When he had finished his work, he tapped the horse on the shoulder and said, "Pull, white horse, pull!"

Then up sprang the horse at once, and pulled the lion away with him. The lion began to roar so that all the birds in the forest flew up in terror, but the horse let him roar, and drew him and dragged him across the field to his master's door. When the master saw the lion, he was of a better mind, and said to the horse, "You shall stay with me and fare well." And he gave him plenty to eat until he died.



Between Werl and Soest there lived a man whose name was Knoist, and he had three sons. One was blind, the other lame, and the third stark naked. Once they were walking across a field, where they saw a hare. The blind one shot it, the lame one caught it, and the naked one put it in his pocket. Then they came to a temendously large body of water, on which there were three ships. One leaked, one sank, the third had no bottom in it. All three got into the one with no bottom. Then they came to a temendously large forest in which there was a temendously large tree. In the tree was a temendously large chapel. In the chapel was a sexton of hornbeam wood and a parson of boxwood, who were passing out holy water with cudgels.

Blessed is he
Who from this holy water can flee.



Once upon a time there was a poor woman who had a son who wanted very much to travel. His mother said, "How can you travel? We have no money at all for you to take with you."

Then the son said, "I will take care of myself. I will always say, 'Not much, not much, not much.'"
So he walked for a long time, always saying, "Not much, not much, not much."

Then he came to a group of fishermen, and said, "God be with you. Not much, not much, not much."

"What do you say, fellow? Not much?"

And when they pulled up their net, they had not caught many fish. So one of them fell on the boy with a stick, saying, "Have you ever seen me thrash?"

"What should I say, then?" asked the boy.

"You should say, "Catch a lot. Catch a lot."

Then he again walked a long time, saying, "Catch a lot. Catch a lot," until he came to a gallows, where they were about to hang a poor sinner. Then said he, "Good morning. Catch a lot. Catch a lot."

"What do you say, fellow? Catch a lot? Should there be even more wicked people in the world? Isn't this enough?" And he again got it on his back.

"What should I say, then?" he asked.

"You should say, "May God comfort the poor soul."

Again the boy walked on for a long while, saying, "May God comfort the poor soul." Then he came to a ditch where a knacker was skinning a horse. The boy said, "Good morning. May God comfort the poor soul."

"What do you say, you disgusting fellow?" said the knacker, hitting him about the ears with his skinning hook until he could not see out of his eyes.

"What should I say, then?"

"You should say, 'Lie in the ditch, you carcass.'"

So he walked on, saying, "Lie in the ditch, you carcass. Lie in the ditch, you carcass." He came to a coach filled with people, and said, "Lie in the ditch, you carcass."

Then the coach tipped over into the ditch, and the driver took his whip and beat the boy until he had to crawl back to his mother, and as long as he lived he never went traveling again.



A man and his wife were once sitting by the door of their house, and they had a roasted chicken before them, and were about to eat it together. Then the man saw that his aged father was coming, and hastily took the chicken and hid it, for he did not want him to have any of it. The old man came, took a drink, and went away. Now the son wanted to put the roasted chicken on the table again, but when he reached for it, it had turned into a large toad, which jumped into his face and sat there and never went away again. And if anyone wanted to take it off, it looked venomously at him as if it would jump in his face, so that no one dared to touch it. And the ungrateful son was forced to feed the toad every day, or else it fed itself on his face. And thus he went to and fro in the world without rest.



At the time when our Lord still walked on earth, he and Saint Peter stopped one evening at a smith's and were gladly given lodging. Now it happened that a poor beggar, hard pressed by age and infirmity, came to this house and begged alms of the smith.

Peter had compassion and said, "Lord and master, if it please you, cure his ailments, that he may earn his own bread."

The Lord said gently, "Smith, lend me your forge and put some coals on for me, and then I will make this sick old man young again."

The smith was quite willing. Saint Peter pumped the bellows, and when the coal fire sparkled up large and high, our Lord took the little old man, pushed him into the forge in the middle of the red fire, so that he glowed like a rosebush, and praised God with a loud voice.

After that the Lord went to the quenching-tub, put the glowing little man into it so that the water closed over him, and after he had carefully cooled him, he gave him his blessing, when, behold, the little man sprang nimbly out, looking fresh, upright, healthy, and as if he were twenty years old.

The smith, who had watched everything closely and attentively, invited them all to supper. Now he had an old half-blind, hunchbacked mother-in-law. She went to the youth and asked earnestly if the fire had burned him much.

He answered that he had never felt better, and that he had sat in the glowing coals as if he had been in cool dew.

The youth's words echoed in the the old woman's ears all night long, and early the next morning, after the Lord had gone on his way again and had heartily thanked the smith, the latter thought he might make his old mother-in-law young again in the same way, for he had watched everything very carefully, and it used the skills of his trade. Therefore he called to her, asking her if she, too, would like to go prancing about like an eighteen-year-old girl.

Because the youth had come out of it so well, she said, "With all my heart."

So the smith made a large fire, and pushed the old woman into it. She twisted about this way and that, uttering horrible cries of murder.

"Sit still. Why are you screaming and jumping about so? I still have to blow the fire hotter," he cried, then pumped the bellows again, until all her rags were all afire.

The old woman cried without ceasing, and the smith thought to himself, "It's not going exactly right." Then he took her out and threw her into the quenching-tub. She screamed so loudly that the smith's wife upstairs and her daughter-in-law heard it, and they both ran downstairs, and saw the old woman lying in a heap in the tub, howling and screaming, with her face wrinkled and shriveled and all out of shape.

The two, who were both with child, were so terrified with this that that very night they gave birth to two boys who were not shaped like humans but like apes. They ran into the woods, and from them came the race of apes.



There was once a magician who was standing in the midst of a great crowd of people performing his wonders. He had a rooster brought in, which lifted a heavy beam and carried it as if it were as light as a feather. But a girl was present who had just found a four-leaf clover, and had thus become so wise that she could see through every deception, and she saw that the beam was nothing but a straw. So she called out, "You people, do you not see that it is a straw that the rooster is carrying, and not a beam?"

The magic vanished immediately, and the people saw what it was, and drove the sorcerer away in shame and disgrace.

He, however, full of inward anger, said, "I will avenge myself."

Some time later the girl's wedding day arrived. She was all decked out, and went in a great procession across a field to the place where the church was. Suddenly they came to a swollen brook, and there was neither a bridge nor a walkway to cross it. So the bride nimbly lifted up her clothes, and was about to wade through it. She had just stepped into the water when a man near her, and it was the magician, called out mockingly "Aha! What kind of eyes do you have that think they see water?"

Then her eyes were opened, and she saw that she was standing with her clothes lifted up in the middle of a field that was blue with flax blossoms. Then all the people saw it too, and they chased her away with ridicule and laughter.



There was once an old woman, but you have surely seen an old woman going begging before now. This woman begged likewise, and when she received anything she said, "May God reward you."

The beggar woman came up to the door, and there by the fire stood a friendly rogue of a boy warming himself. The boy spoke kindly to the poor old woman as she was standing there by the door shivering, "Come, old mother, and warm yourself."

She came in, but stood too close to the fire, so that her old rags began to burn, and she was not aware of it. The boy stood there and saw that. Should he not have put the flames out? Is it not true that he should have put them out? And if he did not have any water, then he should have wept all the water in his body out of his eyes, and that would have supplied two good streams with which to put them out.



A king had three sons whom he loved equally well, and he did not know which of them to appoint as king following his own death.

When the time came for him to die he called them to his bed and said, "Dear children, I have thought of something that I will reveal to you. The one of you is the laziest shall become king after me."

The oldest one said, "Father, then the kingdom belongs to me, for I am so lazy that whenever I lie down to sleep, and a drop falls into my eyes, I will not even close them so that I can fall asleep."

The second one said, "Father, the kingdom belongs to me, for I am so lazy that when I am sitting by the fire warming myself, I would rather let my heels burn up than to pull my legs back."

The third one said, "Father, the kingdom is mine, for I am so lazy that if I were going to be hanged and already had the rope around my neck, and someone put into my hand a sharp knife with which to cut the rope, I would let myself be hanged rather than to lift my hand up to the rope."

When the father heard this he said, "You have taken it the farthest and shall be king."



Once upon a time there was a little girl whose father and mother had died, and she was so poor that she no longer had a room to live in, nor a bed to sleep in, and at last she had nothing else but the clothes she was wearing and a little piece of bread in her hand that some charitable soul had given her. She was good and pious, however. And as she was thus forsaken by all the world, she went forth into the country, trusting in dear God.

Then a poor man met her, who said, "Ah, give me something to eat, I am so hungry."

She handed him her entire piece of bread, saying, "May God bless it for you," and went on her way.

Then came a child who moaned and said, "My head is so cold. Give me something to cover it with." So she took off her cap and gave it to the child. And when she had walked a little farther, she met another child who had no jacket and was freezing. So she gave her jacket to that child, and a little farther on one begged for a dress, and she gave her dress away as well. At length she made her way into a forest and it was already dark. Then there came yet another child, and asked for a shift, and the pious girl thought to herself, "It is a dark night and no one can see you. You can very well give your shift away," and she took it off, and gave it away as well.

And thus she stood there, with nothing left at all, when suddenly some stars fell down from heaven, and they were nothing else but hard shining talers, and although she had just given her shift away, she was now wearing a new one which was of the very finest linen. Then she gathered together the money into it, and was rich all the days of her life.



Once a father was seated at the dinner table with his wife and children. A good friend who had come to visit was eating with them. While they were sitting there the clock struck twelve, and the stranger saw the door open and a very pale little child dressed in snow-white clothes come in. It neither looked around, nor did it speak, but went straight into the next room. Soon afterwards it came back, and just as silently went out the door again.

On the second and on the third day it came back in exactly the same manner. Then the stranger finally asked the father, whose beautiful child it was that went into the next room every day at noon.

"I did not see it," he said, adding that he did he know whose child it might be.

The next day when it again came, the stranger pointed it out to the father, but the latter did not see it, nor did the mother and the children see anything. Then the stranger got up, went to the door of the room, opened it a little, and looked in. There he saw the child sitting on the floor, and busily digging and rooting about in the cracks in the floor. When it saw the stranger, it disappeared.

He now told what he had seen and described the child exactly. Then the mother recognized it, and said, "Oh, it is my dear child who died four weeks ago."

They ripped up the floor and found two farthings which the child had once received from its mother to give to a poor man. It, however, had thought, "With that money you can buy yourself a piece of zwieback," and had kept the farthings, hiding them in the cracks in the floor.

Therefore it had had no rest in its grave, and had come every day at noon to look for these farthings. Then the parents gave the money to a poor man, and after that the child was never seen again.



There was a young herdsman who wanted very much to marry, and was acquainted with three sisters. Each one was just as beautiful as the other, so it was difficult for him to make a choice, and he could not decide to give the preference to any one of them. Then he asked his mother for advice, and she said, "Invite all three, and set some cheese before them, and watch how they cut off a slice."

The youth did so. The first one ate the cheese with the rind on. The second one hastily cut the rind off the cheese, but she cut it so quickly that she left much good cheese with it, and threw that away also. The third peeled the rind off carefully, and cut neither too much nor too little. The shepherd told all this to his mother, who said, "Take the third for your wife."

This he did, and lived contentedly and happily with her.



Once upon a time there was a girl who was beautiful, but lazy and negligent. When she had to spin she was so ill tempered that if there was a little knot in the flax, she at once pulled out a whole heap of it, and scattered it about on the ground beside her. Now she had a servant who was industrious, and who gathered together the discarded flax, cleaned it, spun it well, and had a beautiful dress woven out of it for herself.

A young man had courted the lazy girl, and the wedding was about to take place. On the eve of the wedding, the industrious girl was dancing merrily about in her beautiful dress, and the bride said,

Ach, wat kann das Mäken springen
in minen Slickerlingen! Ah, how that girl can jump about,
in my hurds!

The bridegroom heard this, and asked the bride what she meant by it. So she told him that the girl was wearing a dress made from the flax which she had thrown away. When the bridegroom heard this, and saw how lazy she was, and how industrious the poor girl was, he gave her up and went to the other girl, and chose her as his wife.



Three women were transformed into flowers which stood in a field. However, one of them was allowed to be in her own house at night. One time when day was approaching, and she would have to go back to her companions in the field and become a flower again, she said to her husband, "If you will come this morning and pick me, I shall be set free and stay with you from then on."

And that is what happened.

Now the question is, how did her husband recognize her, for the flowers were exactly alike, and without any difference?

Answer: While she was in her house during the night and not in the field, the dew did not fall on her as it did on the other two, and by this her husband recognized her.



How fortunate is the master and how well it goes within his household when he has a clever servant who, to be sure, hears his orders, but does not obey them, preferring instead to follow his own wisdom.

A clever Hans of this kind was once sent out by his master to look for a lost cow. He stayed away a long time, and the master thought, "My faithful Hans is not sparing any pains with his work."
But when he did not return at all, the master was afraid that something had happened to him, and he himself went out to look for him.

He had to look for a long time, but at last he caught sight of his servant running up and down a large field.

"Now, dear Hans," said the master after catching up with him, "did you find the cow that I sent you after?"

"No, master," he answered, "I did not find the cow, but then I have not been looking for it either."

"Then what have you been looking for, Hans?"

"Something better. And fortunately I have found it."

"What is it?"

"Three blackbirds," answered the servant.

"And where are they?" asked the master.

"I see one of them, I hear the other, and I am chasing after the third," answered the clever servant.

Take an example from this. Do not trouble yourselves about your masters or their orders. Instead, just do what comes to you and makes you happy, and then you will act just as wisely as did clever Hans.



Lean Lisa was not at all like Lazy Heinz and Fat Trina, who would not allow anything to disturb their rest. She burned herself out from morning until evening and loaded so much work on her husband, Lanky Lenz, that it was harder for him than for a donkey loaded with three sacks. But it was all for naught. They had nothing, and they got nothing.

One evening she was lying in bed, too tired to move a muscle but still unable to fall asleep, when she poked her husband in the side with her elbow and said, "Lenz, listen to what I just thought of. If I were to find a florin, and you were to give me another one, then I'd borrow yet another one, and you'd give me still another one, and then I would take the four florins and buy a young cow."

The man agreed. "I don't know," he said, "where I'm to get that florin I'm supposed to give you, but after you have the money to buy a cow, it will be a good thing." Then he added, "I'm looking forward to the time after the cow calves, so I can have some good refreshing milk to drink."

"The milk is not for you," said the woman. "We will let the calf suck, so it will grow large and fat, and we can sell it for a good price."

"Of course," said the man, "but it won't hurt anything if we take a little milk."

"Who taught you about cows?" said the woman. "I won't allow it, whether it will hurt anything or not. You can stand on your head, but you won't get a single drop of milk. Lanky Lenz, just because you are always hungry, you think that you can devour everything that my hard work brings in."

"Woman," said the man, "be quiet, or I'll plant one on the side of your face."

"What!" she cried. "Are you threatening me! You glutton! You good-for-nothing! You lazybones!"

She was reaching for his hair, but Lanky Lenz raised himself up, took hold of both her skinny arms with one hand, then pushed her head into the pillow with the other one. He held her there and let her scold until she fell asleep from exhaustion.

The next morning when she woke up, I do not know whether she continued to quarrel, or whether she went out to look for the florin that she wanted to find.



When God created the world and was about to determine the duration of life for all the creatures, the donkey came and asked, "Lord, how long am I to live?"

"Thirty years," answered God. "Is that all right with you?"

"Oh, Lord," replied the donkey, "that is a long time. Think of my tiresome existence carrying heavy loads from morning until night, dragging bags of grain to the mill so that others might eat bread, only to be cheered along and refreshed with kicks and blows! Spare me part of this long time."

So God had mercy and gave him eighteen years. The donkey went away satisfied, and the dog made his appearance.

"How long do you want to live?" said God to him. "Thirty years was too much for the donkey, but you will be satisfied with that long."

"Lord," answered the dog. "Is that your will? Just think how much I have to run. My feet will not hold out so long. And what can I do but growl and run from one corner to another after I have lost my voice for barking and my teeth for biting?"

God saw that he was right, and he took away twelve years. Then came the monkey.

"Surely you would like to live thirty years," said the Lord to him. "You do not need to work like the donkey and the dog, and are always having fun."

"Oh, Lord," he answered, "so it appears, but it is different. When it rains porridge, I don't have a spoon. I am always supposed to be playing funny tricks and making faces so people will laugh, but when they give me an apple and I bite into it, it is always sour. How often is sorrow hidden behind a joke. I cannot put up with all that for thirty years!"

God had mercy and gave him ten years. Finally man made his appearance. Cheerful, healthy, and refreshed, he asked God to determine the duration of his life.

"You shall live thirty years," spoke the Lord. "Is that enough for you?"

"What a short time!" cried the man. "When I have built a house and a fire is burning on my own hearth, when I have planted trees that blossom and bear fruit, and am just beginning to enjoy life, then I am to die. Oh, Lord, extend my time."

"I will add the donkey's eighteen years," said God.

"That is not enough," replied the man.

"You shall also have the dog's twelve years."

"Still too little."

"Well, then," said God, "I will give you the monkey's ten years as well, but you shall receive no more."

The man went away, but he was not satisfied.

Thus man lives seventy years. The first thirty are his human years, and they quickly disappear. Here he is healthy and happy; he works with pleasure, and enjoys his existence. The donkey's eighteen years follow. Here one burden after the other is laid on him; he carries the grain that feeds others, and his faithful service is rewarded with kicks and blows. Then come the dog's twelve years, and he lies in the corner growling, no longer having teeth with which to bite. And when this time is past, the monkey's ten years conclude. Now man is weak headed and foolish; he does silly things and becomes a laughingstock for children.



In ancient times a giant was wandering along the highway when suddenly a stranger jumped toward him and shouted, "Stop! Not one step further!"

"What?" said the giant. "You, a creature that I could crush between my fingers, you want to block my way? Who are you that you dare to speak so boldly?"

"I am Death," answered the other one. "No one resists me, and you too must obey my orders."

But the giant refused, and began to wrestle with Death. It was a long, violent battle, and finally the giant got the upper hand, and knocked Death down with his fist, causing him to collapse by a stone. The giant went on his way, and Death lay there conquered, so weak that he could not get up again.

"What is to come of this?" he said. "If I stay lying here in a corner, no one will die in the world, and it will become so filled with people that they won't have room to stand beside one another."

Meanwhile a young man came down the road. Vigorous and healthy, he was singing a song and looking this way and that. Seeing the half-conscious individual, he approached him with compassion, raised him up, gave him a refreshing drink from his flask, and waited until he regained his strength.

"Do you know," asked the stranger, as he stood up, "who I am, and whom you have helped onto his legs again?"

"No," answered the youth, "I do not know you."

"I am Death," he said. "I spare no one, nor can make an exception with you. However, so you may see that I am grateful, I promise you that I will not attack you without warning, but instead will send my messengers to you before I come and take you away."

"Good," said the youth. "It is to my benefit that I shall know when you are coming, and that I will be safe from you until then."

Then he went on his way, and was cheerful and carefree, and lived one day at a time. However, youth and good health did not last long. Soon came sickness and pain, which tormented him by day and deprived him of his rest by night.

"I shall not die," he said to himself, "for Death will first send his messengers, but I do wish that these wicked days of sickness were over."

Regaining his health, he began once more to live cheerfully. Then one day someone tapped on his shoulder.

He looked around, and death was standing behind him, who said, "Follow me. The hour of your departure from this world has come."

"What?" replied the man. "Are you breaking your word? Did you not promise me that you would send your messengers to me before you yourself would come? I have not seen a one of them."

"Be still!" answered Death. "Have I not sent you one messenger after another? Did not fever come and strike you, and shake you, and throw you down? Has not dizziness numbed your head? Has not gout pinched your limbs? Did your ears not buzz? Did toothache not bite into your cheeks? Did your eyes not darken? And furthermore, has not my own brother Sleep reminded you every night of me? During the night did you not lie there as if you were already dead?"

The man did not know how to answer, so he surrendered to his fate and went away with Death.



When Adam and Eve were driven from paradise, they were forced to build a house for themselves on barren ground, and eat their bread by the sweat of their brow. Adam hoed the field, and Eve spun the wool. Every year Eve brought a child into the world, but the children were unlike each other. Some were good looking, and some ugly.

After a considerable time had gone by, God sent an angel to them to announce that he himself was coming to inspect their household. Eve, delighted that the Lord should be so gracious, cleaned her house diligently, decorated it with flowers, and spread rushes on the floor. Then she brought in her children, but only the good-looking ones. She washed and bathed them, combed their hair, put freshly laundered shirts on them, and cautioned them to be polite and well-behaved in the presence of the Lord. They were to bow down before him courteously, offer to shake hands, and to answer his questions modestly and intelligently.

The ugly children, however, were not to let themselves be seen. She hid one of them beneath the hay, another in the attic, the third in the straw, the fourth in the stove, the fifth in the cellar, the sixth under a tub, the seventh beneath the wine barrel, the eighth under an old pelt, the ninth and tenth beneath the cloth from which she made their clothes, and the eleventh and twelfth under the leather from which she cut their shoes.

She had just finished when someone knocked at the front door. Adam looked through a crack, and saw that it was the Lord. He opened the door reverently, and the Heavenly Father entered. There stood the good-looking children all in a row. They bowed before him, offered to shake hands, and knelt down.

The Lord began to bless them. He laid his hands on the first, saying, "You shall be a powerful king," did the same thing to the second, saying, "You a prince," to the third, "You a count," to the fourth, "You a knight," to the fifth, "You a nobleman," to the sixth, "You a burgher," to the seventh, "You a merchant," to the eighth, "You a scholar." Thus he bestowed his richest blessings upon them all.

When Eve saw that the Lord was so mild and gracious, she thought, "I will bring forth my ugly children as well. Perhaps he will bestow his blessings on them too." So she ran and fetched them from the hay, the straw, the stove, and wherever else they were hidden away. In they came, the whole coarse, dirty, scabby, sooty lot of them.

The Lord smiled, looked at them all, and said, "I will bless these as well."

He laid his hands on the first and said to him, "You shall be a peasant," to the second, "You a fisherman," to the third, "You a smith," to the fourth, "You a tanner," to the fifth, "You a weaver," to the sixth, "You a shoemaker," to the seventh, "You a tailor," to the eighth, "You a potter," to the ninth, "You a teamster," to the tenth, "You a sailor," to the eleventh, "You a messenger," to the twelfth, "You a household servant, all the days of your life."

When Eve had heard all this she said, "Lord, how unequally you divide your blessings. All of them are my children, whom I have brought into the world. You should favor them all equally."

But God replied, "Eve, you do not understand. It is right and necessary that the entire world should be served by your children. If they were all princes and lords, who would plant grain, thresh it, grind and bake it? Who would forge iron, weave cloth, build houses, plant crops, dig ditches, and cut out and sew clothing? Each shall stay in his own place, so that one shall support the other, and all shall be fed like the parts of a body."

Then Eve answered, "Oh, Lord, forgive me, I spoke too quickly to you. Let your divine will be done with my children as well."



There was a cook whose name was Gretel. She wore shoes with red heels, and whenever she went out wearing them she would turn this way and that way, and she was very cheerful, thinking, "You are a beautiful girl!"

Then after returning home, because she was so happy, she would drink a swallow of wine, and the wine would give her an appetite, so she would taste the best of what she had cooked, until she was quite full, and then she would say, "The cook has to know how the food tastes."

One day her master said to her, "Gretel, this evening a guest is coming. Prepare two chickens for me, the best way that you can."

"Yes indeed, sir," answered Gretel. She killed the chickens, scalded them, plucked them, stuck them on the spit, and then, as evening approached, put them over the fire to roast. The chickens began to brown, and were nearly done, but the guest had not yet arrived.

Gretel called to her master, "If the guest doesn't come, I'll have to take the chickens from the fire. And it will be a crying shame if they're not eaten soon, because they're at their juicy best right now."

The master answered, "You're right. I'll run and fetch the guest myself."

As soon as the master had turned his back, Gretel set the spit and the chickens aside and thought, "Standing here by the fire has made me sweaty and thirsty. Who knows when they will be back? Meanwhile I'll just run down into the cellar and take a swallow."

So she ran down, lifted a jug to her lips, saying, "God bless it for you, Gretel!" and took a healthy drink. "Wine belongs together," she said further.

"It's not good to keep it apart," and took another healthy drink.

Then she went and placed the chickens over the fire again, basted them with butter, and cheerfully turned the spit. Because the roasting chickens smelled so good, she thought, "They could be lacking something. I'd better taste them!" She tested them with her fingers, and said, "My, these chickens are good! It's a sin and a shame that they won't be eaten at once!"

She ran to the window to see if her master and his guest were arriving, but she saw no one. Returning to the chickens, she said, "That one wing is burning. I'd better just eat it." So she cut it off and ate it, and it tasted very good. When she had finished it, she thought, "I'd better eat the other one too, or the master will see that something is missing."

When both wings had been eaten, she once again looked for her master, but could not see him. Then it occurred to her, "Who knows? Perhaps they've gone somewhere else to eat and aren't coming here at all." Then she said, "Well, Gretel, be of good cheer! The one has already been cut into. Have another drink and eat the rest of it. When it's gone, you can relax. Why should this good gift of God go to waste?"

So she ran to the cellar once again, downed a noble drink, and cheerfully finished off the first chicken. When the one chicken was gone, and her master still had not yet returned, she looked at the other chicken and said, "Where the one is, the other should follow. The two belong together. What is right for the one, can't be wrong for the other. I believe that if I have another drink, it will do me no harm." So she took another hearty drink, and sent the second chicken running after the first one.

Just as she was making the most of it, her master returned, calling out, "Gretel, hurry up, the guest is right behind me."

"Yes, sir, I'm getting it ready," answered Gretel.

Meanwhile the master saw that the table was set, and he picked up the large knife that he wanted to carve the chickens with, and stood in the hallway sharpening it.

The guest arrived and knocked politely on the door. Gretel ran to see who it was, and when she saw that it was the guest, she held a finger before her mouth, and said, "Be quiet! Be quiet! Hurry and get away from here. If my master catches you, you'll be sorry. Yes, he invited you for an evening meal, but all he really wants is to cut off both of your ears. Listen, he's sharpening his knife for it right now."

The guest heard the whetting and ran back down the steps as fast as he could.

Then Gretel, who was not a bit lazy, ran to her master, crying, "Just what kind of a guest did you invite?"

"Why, Gretel? What do you mean by that?"

"Well," she said, "he took both of the chickens off the platter, just as I was about to carry them out, and then ran away with them."

"Now that's a fine tune!" said the master, feeling sorry about the loss of the good chickens. "At the least, he could have left one of them, so I would have something to eat."

He called out to him to stop, but the guest pretended not to hear. Then he ran after him, the knife still in his hand, shouting, "Just one! Just one!"

But the guest could only think that he wanted him to give up one of his ears, so he ran as though there were a fire burning beneath him, in order to get home with both ears.



A farmer had a faithful dog named Sultan, who had grown old and lost all his teeth, and could no longer hold onto anything. One day the farmer was standing with his wife before the house door, and said, "Tomorrow I intend to shoot Old Sultan. He is no longer of any use."

His wife, who felt pity for the faithful animal, answered, "He has served us so long, and been so faithful, that we might well give him his keep."

"What?" said the man. "You are not very bright. He doesn't have a tooth left in his mouth, and no thief is afraid of him. He can go now. If he has served us, he has eaten well for it."

The poor dog, who was lying stretched out in the sun not far off, heard everything, and was sorry that tomorrow was to be his last day. He had a good friend, the wolf, and he crept out in the evening into the forest to him, and complained of the fate that awaited him.

"Listen, kinsman," said the wolf, "be of good cheer. I will help you out of your trouble. I have thought of something. Tomorrow, early in the morning, your master is going with his wife to make hay, and they will take their little child with them, for no one will be left behind in the house. While they are at work they lay the child behind the hedge in the shade. You lie down there too, just as if you wanted to guard it. Then I will come out of the woods, and carry off the child. You must run swiftly after me, as if you would take it away from me. I will let it fall, and you will take it back to its parents, who will think that you have rescued it, and will be far too grateful to do you any harm. On the contrary, you will be treated royally, and they will never let you want for anything again."

This idea pleased the dog, and it was carried out just as planned. The father screamed when he saw the wolf running across the field with his child, but when Old Sultan brought it back, he was full of joy, and stroked him and said, "Not a hair of yours shall be hurt. You shall eat free bread as long as you live."

And to his wife he said, "Go home at once and make Old Sultan some bread soup that he will not have to bite. And bring the pillow from my bed. I will give it to him to lie on. From then on Old Sultan was as well off as he could possibly wish.

Soon afterwards the wolf visited him, and was pleased that everything had succeeded so well. "But, kinsman," he said, "you will just close one eye if, when I have a chance, I carry off one of your master's fat sheep."

"Don't count on that," answered the dog. "I will remain true to my master. I cannot agree to that."

The wolf thought that this was not spoken in earnest, and he crept up in the night to take away the sheep. But the farmer, to whom the faithful Sultan had told the wolf's plan, was waiting for him and combed his hair cruelly with a flail. The wolf had to flee, but he cried out to the dog, "Just wait, you scoundrel. You'll regret this."

The next morning the wolf sent the boar to challenge the dog to come out into the forest and settle the affair. Old Sultan could find no one to be his second but a cat with only three legs, and as they went out together the poor cat limped along, stretching its tail upward with pain.

The wolf and his friend were already at the appointed place, but when they saw their enemy coming, they thought that he was bringing a saber with him, for they mistook the cat's outstretched tail for one. And when the poor animal hopped on three legs, they thought that each time it was picking up a stone to throw at them. Then they took fright. The wild boar crept into the underbrush and the wolf jumped up a tree.

As the dog and the cat approached, they wondered why no one was to be seen. The wild boar, however, had not been able to hide himself completely in the leaves. His ears were still sticking out. While the cat was looking cautiously about, the boar wiggled his ears, and the cat, who thought it was a mouse, jumped on it and bit down hard. The boar jumped up screaming loudly, "The guilty one is up in the tree."

The dog and cat looked up and saw the wolf, who was ashamed for having shown such fear, and who then made peace with the dog.

Once upon a time there was a woman who was truly a witch. She had two daughters, one ugly and wicked, whom she loved because she was her own daughter, and one beautiful and good, whom she hated, because she was her stepdaughter. The stepdaughter had a beautiful apron, which the other girl wanted so much that she became envious, and she told her mother that she just had to have that apron.

"Be still, my child," said the old woman, "and you shall have it. Your stepsister has long deserved to die, and tonight when she is asleep I will come and chop off her head. Just be sure to lie down at the far side of the bed, and push her close to the front."

It would have been all over with the poor girl, but just then she was standing in a corner, and she overheard everything. She was not allowed to go outside all day long, and at bedtime her wicked stepsister had her get into bed first, so she would be lying next to the wall. However, after the witch's daughter fell asleep, the stepdaughter gently pushed her to the front side of the bed, and she took her place back against the wall.

In the night the old woman crept into the bedroom holding an ax in her right hand while feeling with her left hand for anyone lying at the front of the bed. Then she grasped the axe with both hands and chopped off her own child's head.

After the witch had gone away, the girl got up and went to her sweetheart, whose name was Roland, and knocked at his door. When he came out, she said to him, "Listen, dearest Roland, we must flee at once. My stepmother tried to kill me, but she killed her own child instead. When daylight comes, and she sees what she has done, we'll be lost."

"You had better take her magic wand," said Roland, "or we will not be able to escape if she comes after us."

The girl got the magic wand, then she took the dead girl's head and dropped three drops of blood onto the floor, one in front of the bed, one in the kitchen, and one on the steps. Then she hurried away with her sweetheart.

The next morning when the old witch got up, she called her daughter, wanting to give her the apron. But the daughter did not come. So she shouted, "Where are you?"

"Here on the steps. I'm sweeping," answered the first drop of blood.

The old woman went out, but seeing no one on the steps, she shouted again, "Where are you?"

"Here in the kitchen. I'm warming myself," shouted the second drop of blood.

She went into the kitchen, but found no one. So she shouted again, "Where are you?"

"Here in the bed. I'm sleeping," shouted the third drop of blood.

She went into the bedroom and approached the bed. What did she see there? Her own child swimming in blood and whose head she herself had cut off.

The witch flew into a rage, jumped to the window, and as she could see far into the world, she saw her stepdaughter hurrying away with her sweetheart Roland. "That won't help you, she shouted. "Even if you've already gone a long way, you won't escape from me."

She put on her many-league boots, in which she covered an hour's walk with every step, and it was not long before she overtook them. However, when the girl saw the old woman striding toward them, she used the magic wand to transform her sweetheart Roland into a lake, and herself into a duck swimming in the middle of the lake.

The witch stood on the shore and threw in pieces of bread, trying with great effort to lure the duck to her. But the duck did not give in, and the old woman had to return home that night without success. Afterward the girl and her sweetheart Roland returned to their natural shapes, and they walked on through the whole night until daybreak. Then the girl transformed herself into a beautiful flower in the middle of a briar hedge, and her sweetheart Roland into a fiddler.

It was not long before the witch came striding up toward them. She said to the musician, "Dear musician, may I pick that beautiful flower for myself?"

"Oh, yes," he replied. "And I will play for you while you're doing it."

She crawled hastily into the hedge and was just about to pick the flower, knowing perfectly well who it was, when he began to play. She was forced to dance, whether she wanted to or not, for it was magic dance music. The faster he played, the more violently she was forced to jump. The thorns tore the clothes off her body, pricking her until she bled, and as he did not stop, she had to dance until she fell down dead.

They were now free, so Roland said, "Now I will go to my father and arrange for our wedding."

"I'll stay here and wait for you," said the girl. "And I'll transform myself into a red boundary stone, so that no one will recognize me."

So Roland set forth, and the girl, in the shape of a red boundary stone, stood there and waited for her sweetheart. But when Roland arrived home, he was snared by another woman, who caused him to forget the girl. The poor girl waited there a long time, but finally, when he failed to return, she grew sad and transformed herself into a flower, thinking, "Someone will surely come this way and trample me down."

However, it happened that a shepherd who was herding his sheep in the field saw the flower. As it was so beautiful, he picked it, took it home with him, and put it away in his chest. From that time forth, strange things happened in the shepherd's house. When he arose in the morning all the work was already done. The room was swept, the table and benches cleaned, the fire on the hearth was lighted, and the water was fetched, and at noon, when he came home, the table was already set, and a good dinner served. He didn't know how this happened, for he never saw anyone in his house, and no one could have hidden himself in it.

He was, of course, pleased with this good service, but with time he became so afraid that he went to a wise woman and asked for her advice.

The wise woman said, "There is magic behind it. Be on the watch very early some morning, and if anything is moving in the room, if you see anything, no matter what it is, throw a white cloth over it, and then the magic will be stopped."

The shepherd did what she told him to do, and the next morning just at dawn, he saw the chest open and the flower come out. He quickly jumped towards it and threw a white cloth over it. Instantly the transformation came to an end, and a beautiful girl stood before him, who admitted to him that she had been the flower, and that she had been doing his housekeeping. She told him her story. He liked her and asked her to marry him, but she answered, "No," for she wanted to remain faithful to her sweetheart Roland, even though he had abandoned her. Nevertheless, she promised not to go away, and to continue keeping house for the shepherd.

The time drew near when Roland was to be married. According to an old custom in that country, it was announced that all the girls were to attend the wedding and sing in honor of the bridal pair. When the faithful girl heard this, she grew so sad that she thought her heart would break, and she did not want to go. But the other girls came and took her. When it was her turn to sing, she declined, until at last she was the only one left, and then she could not refuse. But when she began her song, and it reached Roland's ears, he jumped up and shouted, "I know that voice. That is the true bride. I do not want anyone else." Everything he had forgotten, and which had vanished from his mind, had suddenly come home again to his heart.

Thus the faithful girl was married to her sweetheart Roland. Her grief came to an end, and her joy began.

One summer morning a little tailor was sitting on his table near the window. In good spirits, he was sewing with all his might. A peasant woman came down the street crying, "Good jam for sale! Good jam for sale!"

That sounded good to the little tailor, so he stuck his dainty head out the window and shouted, "Come up here, my dear woman! You can sell your goods here!"

The woman carried her heavy basket up the three flights of stairs to the tailor, who had her unpack all of her jars. He examined them, picking each one up and holding it to his nose. Finally he said, "This jam looks good to me. Weigh out four ounces for me, even if it comes to a quarter pound."

The woman, who had hoped to make a good sale, gave him what he asked for, then went away angry and grumbling.

"May God bless this jam to give me health and strength," said the little tailor. Then taking a loaf of bread from his cupboard, he cut himself a large slice and spread it with the jam. "That is not going to taste bad," he said, "but I will finish the jacket before I bite into it."

He laid the bread aside and continued his sewing, happily making his stitches larger and larger. Meanwhile the smell of the sweet jam rose to the wall where a large number of flies were sitting. Attracted by the smell, a swarm of them settled onto the bread.

"Hey! Who invited you?" said the little tailor, driving away the unbidden guests. However, the flies, who did not understand German, would not be turned away, and they came back in ever-increasing numbers. Finally, losing his temper, he reached for a piece of cloth and shouted, "Wait, now I'm going to give it to you!" then hit at them without mercy. When he backed off and counted, there were no fewer than seven of them lying dead before him, with their legs stretched out.

"Aren't you someone?" he said to himself, surprised at his own bravery. The whole town shall hear about this." He hastily cut out a banner for himself, then embroidered on it with large letters, Seven with one blow. "The town?" he said further. "The whole world shall hear about this!" And his heart jumped for joy like a lamb's tail.

The tailor tied the banner around his body and set forth into the world, for he thought that his workshop was too small for such bravery. Before leaving he looked about his house for something that he could take with him. Finding nothing but a piece of old cheese, he put that into his pocket. Outside the town gate he found a bird that was caught in a bush. It went into his pocket with the cheese.

He bravely took to the road, and being light and agile he did not grow weary. The road led him up a mountain, and when he reached the top a huge giant was sitting there, looking around contentedly.

The little tailor went up to him cheerfully and said, "Good day, comrade. Are you just sitting here looking at the wide world? I am on my way out there to prove myself. Do you want to come with me?"

The giant looked at the tailor with contempt, saying, "You wretch! You miserable fellow!"

"You don't say!" answered the little tailor. Unbuttoning his coat, he showed the banner to the giant. "You can read what kind of man I am."

The giant read Seven with one blow, and thinking that the tailor had killed seven men, he gained some respect for the little fellow. But he did want to put him to the test, so he picked up a stone and squeezed it with his hand until water dripped from it.

"Do what I just did," said the giant, "if you have the strength."

"Is that all?" said the little tailor. "That is child's play for someone like me." Reaching into his pocket he pulled out the soft cheese and squeezed it until liquid ran from it. "That was even better, wasn't it?" he said.

The giant did not know what to say, for he did not believe the little man. Then the giant picked up a stone and threw it so high that it could scarcely be seen. "Now, you little dwarf, do that."

"A good throw," said the tailor, "but the stone did fall back to earth. I'll throw one for you that will not come back." He reached into his pocket, pulled out the bird, and threw it into the air. Happy to be free, the bird flew up and away, and did not come back. "How did you like that, comrade?" asked the tailor.

"You can throw well enough," said the giant, but now let's see if you are able to carry anything proper." He led the little tailor to a mighty oak tree that had been cut down and was lying on the ground. He said, "If you are strong enough, then help me carry this tree out of the woods."

"Gladly," answered the little man. "You take the trunk on your shoulder, and I will carry the branches and twigs. After all, they are the heaviest."

The giant lifted the trunk onto his shoulder, but the tailor sat down on a branch, and the giant, who could not see behind himself, had to drag long the entire tree, with the little tailor sitting on top. Cheerful and in good spirits, he whistled the song "There Were Three Tailors Who Rode Out to the Gate," as though carrying a tree were child's play.

The giant, after dragging the heavy load a little way, could not go any further, and he called out, "Listen, I have to drop the tree."

The tailor jumped down agilely, took hold of the tree with both arms, as though he had been carrying it, and said to the giant, "You are such a big fellow, and you can't even carry a tree."

They walked on together until they came to a cherry tree. The giant took hold of the treetop where the ripest fruit was hanging, bent it down, and put it into the tailor's hand, inviting him to eat. However, the little tailor was much too weak to hold the tree, and when the giant let go, the tree sprang upward, throwing the tailor into the air. When he fell back to earth, without injury, the giant said, "What? You don't have enough strength to hold that little switch?"

"There is no lack of strength," answered the little tailor. "Do you think that that would be a problem for someone who killed seven with one blow? I jumped over the tree because hunters are shooting down there in the brush. Jump over it yourself, if you can."

The giant made the attempt, but could not clear the tree and got stuck in the branches. So the little tailor kept the upper hand here as well.

The giant said, "If you are such a brave fellow, then come with me to our cave and spend the night with us."

The little tailor agreed and followed him. When they reached the cave, other giants were sitting there by a fire. Each one had a roasted sheep in his hand and was eating from it. The little tailor looked around and thought, "It is a lot more roomy here than in my workshop.

The giant showed him a bed and told him to lie down and go to sleep. However, the little tailor found the bed too large, so instead of lying there he crept into a corner. At midnight the giant thought that the little tailor was fast asleep, so he got up, took a large iron bar, and with a single blow smashed the bed in two. He thought he had put an end to the grasshopper.

Early the next morning the giants went into the woods, having completely forgotten the little tailor, when he suddenly approached them cheerfully and boldly. Fearing that he would strike them all dead, the terrified giants ran away in haste.

The little tailor continued on his way, always following his pointed nose. After wandering a long time, he came to the courtyard of a royal palace, and being tired, he lay down in the grass and fell asleep. While he was lying there people came and looked at him from all sides, and they read his banner, Seven with one blow.

"Oh," they said, "what is this great war hero doing here in the midst of peace? He must be a powerful lord."

They went and reported him to the king, thinking that if war were to break out, he would be an important and useful man who at any price should not be allowed to go elsewhere. The king was pleased with this advice, and he sent one of his courtiers to the little tailor to offer him a position in the army, as soon as he woke up.

The messenger stood by the sleeper and waited until he stretched his arms and legs and opened his eyes, and then he delivered his offer.

"That is precisely why I came here," answered the little tailor. "I am ready to enter the king's service." Thus he was received with honor and given a special place to live.

However, the soldiers were opposed to the little tailor, and wished that he were a thousand miles away. "What will happen," they said among themselves, "if we quarrel with him, and he strikes out against us? Seven of us will fall with each blow. People like us can't stand up to that."

So they came to a decision, and all together they went to the king and asked to be released. "We were not made," they said, "to stand up to a man who kills seven with one blow."

The king was sad that he was going to lose all his faithful servants because of one man, and he wished that he had never seen him. He would like to be rid of him, but he did not dare dismiss him, because he was afraid that he would kill him and all his people and then set himself on the royal throne.

He thought long and hard, and finally found an answer. He sent a message to the little tailor, informing him that because he was such a great war hero he would make him an offer. In a forest in his country there lived two giants who were causing great damage with robbery, murder, pillage, and arson. No one could approach them without placing himself in mortal danger. If he could conquer and kill these two giants, the king would give him his only daughter to wife and half his kingdom for a dowry. Furthermore, a hundred horsemen would go with him for support.

"That is something for a man like you," thought the little tailor. "It is not every day that someone is offered a beautiful princess and half a kingdom."

"Yes," he replied. "I shall conquer the giants, but I do not need the hundred horsemen. Anyone who can strike down seven with one blow has no cause to be afraid of two."

The little tailor set forth, and the hundred horsemen followed him. At the edge of the forest, he said to them, "You stay here. I shall take care of the giants myself."

Leaping into the woods, he looked to the left and to the right. He soon saw the two giants. They were lying asleep under a tree, snoring until the branches bent up and down. The little tailor, not lazy, filled both pockets with stones and climbed the tree. Once in the middle of the tree, he slid out on a branch until he was seated right above the sleepers. Then he dropped one stone after another onto one of the giant's chest. For a long time the giant did not feel anything, but finally he woke up, shoved his companion, and said, "Why are you hitting me?"

"You are dreaming," said the other one. "I am not hitting you."

They fell asleep again, and the tailor threw a stone at the second one.

"What is this?" said the other one. "Why are you throwing things at me?"

"I am not throwing anything at you," answered the first one, grumbling.

They quarreled for a while, but because they were tired, they made peace, and they both closed their eyes again. Then the little tailor began his game again. Choosing his largest stone, he threw it at the first giant with all his strength, hitting him in the chest.

"That is too mean!" shouted the giant, then jumped up like a madman and pushed his companion against the tree, until it shook. The other one paid him back in kind, and they became so angry that they pulled up trees and struck at each other until finally, at the same time, they both fell to the ground dead.

Then the little tailor jumped down. "It is fortunate," he said, "that they did not pull up the tree where I was sitting, or I would have had to jump into another one like a squirrel. But people like me are nimble."

Drawing his sword, he gave each one a few good blows to the chest, then went back to the horsemen and said, "The work is done. I finished off both of them, but it was hard. In their need they pulled up trees to defend themselves. But it didn't help them, not against someone like me who kills seven with one blow."

"Are you not wounded?" asked the horsemen.

"Everything is all right," answered the tailor. "They did not so much as bend one of my hairs."
Not wanting to believe him, the horesemen rode into the woods. There they found the giants swimming in their own blood, and all around lay the uprooted trees.

The little tailor asked the king for the promised reward, but the latter regretted the promise, and once again he began to think of a way to get the hero off his neck. "Before you receive my daughter and half the kingdom," he said, "you must fulfill another heroic deed. In the woods there is a unicorn that is causing much damage. First you must capture it.

"I am even less afraid of a unicorn than I was of two giants. Seven with one blow, that is my thing."

Taking a rope and an ax, he went into the woods. Once again he told those who went with him to wait behind. He did not have to look very long. The unicorn soon appeared, leaping toward the tailor as if it wanted to spear him at once.

"Gently, gently," said the tailor. "Not so fast." He stopped, waited until the animal was very near, then jumped agilely behind a tree. The unicorn ran with all its might into the tree, sticking its horn so tightly into the trunk that it did not have enough strength to pull it out again, and thus it was captured.

"Now I have the little bird," said the tailor, coming out from behind the tree. First he tied the rope around the unicorn's neck, then he cut the horn out of the tree with the ax. When everything was ready, he led the animal away and brought it to the king.

The king still did not want to give him the promised reward and presented a third requirement. Before the wedding, the tailor was to capture a wild boar that was causing great damage in the woods. Huntsmen were to assist him.

"Gladly," said the tailor. "That is child's play."

He did not take the huntsmen into woods with him, and they were glad about that, for they had encountered the wild boar before and had no desire to do so again.

When the boar saw the tailor he ran toward him with foaming mouth and grinding teeth, wanting to throw him to the ground. But the nimble hero ran into a nearby chapel, then with one leap jumped back out through a window. The boar ran in after him, but the tailor ran around outside and slammed the door. Thus the furious animal was captured, for it was too heavy and clumsy to jump out the window. The little tailor called to the huntsmen. They had to see the captured boar with their own eyes.

The hero reported to the king, who now -- whether he wanted to or not -- had to keep his promise and give him his daughter and half the kingdom. If he had known that it was not a war hero, but rather a little tailor standing before him, it would have been even more painful for him. The wedding was thus held with great ceremony but little joy, and a king was made from a tailor.
Some time later the young queen heard in the night how her husband said in a dream, "Boy, make the jacket for me, and patch the trousers, or I will hit you across your ears with a yardstick." Thus she determined where the young lord had come from. The next morning she brought her complaint to her father, asking him to help her get rid of the man, who was nothing more than a tailor.

The king comforted her, saying, "Tonight leave your bedroom door unlocked. My servants will stand outside, and after he falls asleep they will go inside, bind him, and carry him to a ship that will take him far away from here."

The wife was satisfied with this. However, the king's squire, who had a liking for the young lord, heard everything and revealed the whole plot to him.

"I'll put a stop to that," said the little tailor. That evening he went to bed with his wife at the usual time. When she thought he was asleep she got up, opened the door, and then went back to bed. The little tailor, who was only pretending to be asleep, began crying out with a clear voice, "Boy, make the jacket for me, and patch the trousers, or I will hit you across your ears with a yardstick! I have struck down seven with one blow, killed two giants, led away a unicorn, and captured a wild boar, and I am supposed to be afraid of those who are standing just outside the bedroom!"

When those standing outside heard the tailor say this, they were so overcome with fear that they ran away, as though the wild horde was behind them. None of them dared to approach him ever again.

Thus the little tailor was a king, and he remained a king as long as he lived.

A man had a donkey, who for long years had untiringly carried sacks to the mill, but whose strength was now failing, so that he was becoming less and less able to work. Then his master thought that he would no longer feed him, but the donkey noticed that it was not a good wind that was blowing and ran away, setting forth on the road to Bremen, where he thought he could become a town musician. When he had gone a little way he found a hunting dog lying in the road, who was panting like one who had run himself tired.

"Why are you panting so, Grab-Hold?" asked the donkey.

"Oh," said the dog, "because I am old and am getting weaker every day and can no longer go hunting, my master wanted to kill me, so I ran off; but now how should I earn my bread?"

"Do you know what," said the donkey, "I am going to Bremen and am going to become a town musician there. Come along and take up music too. I'll play the lute, and you can beat the drums."

The dog was satisfied with that, and they went further. It didn't take long, before they came to a cat sitting by the side of the road and making a face like three days of rainy weather. "What has crossed you, old Beard-Licker?" said the donkey.

"Oh," answered the cat, "who can be cheerful when his neck is at risk? I am getting on in years, and my teeth are getting dull, so I would rather sit behind the stove and purr than to chase around after mice. Therefore my mistress wanted to drown me, but I took off. Now good advice is scarce. Where should I go?"

"Come with us to Bremen. After all, you understand night music. You can become a town musician there." The cat agreed and went along.

Then the three refugees came to a farmyard, and the rooster of the house was sitting on the gate crying with all his might.

"Your cries pierce one's marrow and bone," said the donkey. "What are you up to?"

"I just prophesied good weather," said the rooster, "because it is Our Dear Lady's Day, when she washes the Christ Child's shirts and wants to dry them; but because Sunday guests are coming tomorrow, the lady of the house has no mercy and told the cook that she wants to eat me tomorrow in the soup, so I am supposed to let them cut off my head this evening. Now I am going to cry at the top of my voice as long as I can."

"Hey now, Red-Head," said the donkey, "instead come away with us. We're going to Bremen. You can always find something better than death. You have a good voice, and when we make music together, it will be very pleasing."

The rooster was happy with the proposal, and all four went off together. However, they could not reach the city of Bremen in one day, and in the evening they came into a forest, where they would spend the night. The donkey and the dog lay down under a big tree, but the cat and the rooster took to the branches. The rooster flew right to the top, where it was safest for him. Before falling asleep he looked around once again in all four directions, and he thought that he saw a little spark burning in the distance. He hollered to his companions, that there must be a house not too far away, for a light was shining.

The donkey said, "Then we must get up and go there, because the lodging here is poor." The dog said that he could do well with a few bones with a little meat on them. Thus they set forth toward the place where the light was, and they soon saw it glistening more brightly, and it became larger and larger, until they came to the front of a brightly lit robbers' house.

The donkey, the largest of them, approached the window and looked in.

"What do you see, Gray-Horse?" asked the rooster.

"What do I see?" answered the donkey. "A table set with good things to eat and drink, and robbers sitting there enjoying themselves."

"That would be something for us," said the rooster.

"Ee-ah, ee-ah, oh, if we were there!" said the donkey.

Then the animals discussed how they might drive the robbers away, and at last they came upon a plan. The donkey was to stand with his front feet on the window, the dog to jump on the donkey's back, the cat to climb onto the dog, and finally the rooster would fly up and sit on the cat's head. When they had done that, at a signal they began to make their music all together. The donkey brayed, the dog barked, the cat meowed and the rooster crowed. Then they crashed through the window into the room, shattering the panes.

The robbers jumped up at the terrible bellowing, thinking that a ghost was coming in, and fled in great fear out into the woods. Then the four companions seated themselves at the table and freely partook of the leftovers, eating as if they would get nothing more for four weeks.

When the four minstrels were finished, they put out the light and looked for a place to sleep, each according to his nature and his desire. The donkey lay down on the manure pile, the dog behind the door, the cat on the hearth next to the warm ashes, and the rooster sat on the beam of the roof. Because they were tired from their long journey, they soon fell asleep.

When midnight had passed and the robbers saw from the distance that the light was no longer burning in the house, and everything appeared to be quiet, the captain said, "We shouldn't have let ourselves be chased off," and he told one of them to go back and investigate the house. The one they sent found everything still, and went into the kitchen to strike a light. He mistook the cat's glowing, fiery eyes for live coals, and held a sulfur match next to them, so that it would catch fire. But the cat didn't think this was funny and jumped into his face, spitting, and scratching.

He was terribly frightened and ran toward the back door, but the dog, who was lying there, jumped up and bit him in the leg. When he ran across the yard past the manure pile, the donkey gave him a healthy blow with his hind foot, and the rooster, who had been awakened from his sleep by the noise and was now alert, cried down from the beam, "Cock-a-doodle-doo!"

Then the robber ran as fast as he could back to his captain and said, "Oh, there is a horrible witch sitting in the house, she blew at me and scratched my face with her long fingers. And there is a man with a knife standing in front of the door, and he stabbed me in the leg. And a black monster is lying in the yard, and it struck at me with a wooden club. And the judge is sitting up there on the roof, and he was calling out, 'Bring the rascal here.' Then I did what I could to get away."

From that time forth, the robbers did not dare go back into the house. However, the four Bremen Musicians liked it so well there, that they never to left it again. And the person who just told that, his mouth is still warm.

One day a peasant took his good hazel stick out of the corner and said to his wife, "Trina, I am going across country, and shall not return for three days. If during that time the cattle dealer should happen to call and want to buy our three cows, you may strike a bargain at once, but not unless you can get two hundred talers for them, nothing less, do you hear."

"In God's name, just go in peace," answered the woman, "I will manage that."

"You, indeed," said the man. "You once fell on your head when you were a little child, and that affects you even now. But let me tell you this, if you do anything foolish, I will make your back black and blue, and not with paint, I assure you, but with the stick which I have in my hand. And the coloring shall last a whole year. You may rely on that."

Having said that, the man went on his way.

The next morning the cattle dealer came, and the woman had no need to say many words to him. When he had seen the cows and heard the price, he said, "I am quite willing to give that. Honestly speaking, they are worth it. I will take the animals away with me at once."

He unfastened their chains and drove them out of the stall, but just as he was going out of the farmyard gate, the woman clutched him by the sleeve and said, "You must give me the two hundred talers now, or I cannot let the cows go."

"Right," answered the man, "but I have forgotten to buckle on my money belt. Have no fear, however, you shall have security until I pay. I will take two cows with me and leave one, so you will have good collateral."

The woman saw the wisdom of this, and let the man go away with the cows, and thought to herself, "How pleased Hans will be when he finds how cleverly I have managed."

The peasant came home on the third day as he had said he would, and at once inquired if the cows were sold. "Yes, indeed, dear Hans," answered the woman, "and as you said, for two hundred talers. They are scarcely worth so much, but the man took them without making any objection."

"Where is the money?" asked the peasant. "Oh, I have not got the money," replied the woman. "He had happened to forget his money belt, but he will soon bring it, and he left good security behind him."

"What kind of security?" asked the man.

"One of the three cows, which he shall not have until he has paid for the other two. I have managed very cunningly, for I have kept the smallest, which eats the least."

The man was enraged and lifted up his stick, and was just going to give her the beating he had promised her, when suddenly he lowered the stick and said, "You are the stupidest goose that ever waddled on God's earth, but I am sorry for you. I will go out into the highway and wait for three days to see if I find anyone who is still stupider than you. If I succeed in doing so, you shall go free, but if I do not find him, you shall receive your well-deserved reward without any discount."

He went out into the great highway, sat down on a stone, and waited for what would come along. Then he saw a farm wagon coming towards him, and a woman was standing upright in the middle of it, instead of sitting on the bundle of straw which was lying beside her, or walking near the oxen and leading them.

The man thought to himself, "That is certainly one of the kind I am in search of," and jumped up and ran back and forth in front of the wagon like one who is not in his right mind.

"What do you want, my friend?" said the woman to him. "I don't know you, where do you come from?"

"I have fallen down from heaven," replied the man, "and don't know how to get back again. Couldn't you drive me up?"

"No," said the woman, "I don't know the way. But if you come from heaven you can surely tell me how my husband is, who has been there these three years. You must have seen him."

"Oh, yes, I have seen him, but not everyone can get on well. He herds sheep, and these creatures give him a great deal to do. They run up the mountains and lose their way in the wilderness, and he has to run after them and drive them together again. His clothes are all torn to pieces too, and will soon fall off his body. There is no tailor there, for Saint Peter won't let any of them in, as you know by the story."

"Who would have thought it?" cried the woman. "I tell you what. I will fetch his Sunday coat which is still hanging at home in the cupboard. He can wear that and look respectable. You will be so kind as to take it with you."

"That won't be possible," answered the peasant. "People are not allowed to take clothes into heaven. They are taken away at the gate."

"Then listen to me," said the woman. "I sold my good wheat yesterday and got a lot of money for it. I will send that to him. If you hide the purse in your pocket, no one will know that you have it."

"If you can't manage it any other way," said the peasant, "I will do you that favor."

"Just sit still where you are," said she, "and I will drive home and fetch the purse. I shall soon be back again. I do not sit down on the bundle of straw, but stand up in the wagon, because it makes it lighter for the cattle."

She drove her oxen away, and the peasant thought, "That woman has a perfect talent for folly. If she really brings the money, my wife may think herself fortunate, for she will get no beating."

It was not long before she came in a great hurry with the money, and with her own hands put it in his pocket. Before she went away, she thanked him again a thousand times for his courtesy.

When the woman got home again, she found her son who had come in from the field. She told him what unexpected things had befallen her, and then added, "I am truly delighted at having found an opportunity of sending something to my poor husband. Who would ever have imagined that he could be suffering for want of anything up in heaven?"

The son was full of astonishment. "Mother," said he, it is not every day that a man comes from heaven in this way. I will go out immediately, and see if he is still to be found, he must tell me what it is like up there, and how the work is done.

He saddled the horse and rode off with all speed. He found the peasant who was sitting under a willow tree, and was about to count the money in the purse. "Have you seen the man who has come from heaven?" cried the youth to him.

"Yes," answered the peasant, "he has set out on his way back there, and has gone up that hill, from whence it will be rather nearer. You could still catch him up, if you ride fast."

"Alas," said the youth, "I have been doing tiring work all day, and the ride here has completely worn me out. You know the man. Be so kind as to get on my horse, and go and persuade him to come here."

"Aha," thought the peasant. "Here is another who has no wick in his lamp."

"Why should I not do you this favor?" said he, and mounted the horse and rode off at a quick trot. The youth remained sitting there until night fell, but the peasant never came back.

"The man from heaven must certainly have been in a great hurry, and would not turn back," thought he, "and the peasant has no doubt given him the horse to take to my father." He went home and told his mother what had happened, and that he had sent his father the horse so that he might not have to be always running about.

"You have done well," answered she. "You still have young legs and can go on foot."

When the peasant got home, he put the horse in the stable beside the cow which had been left as security, and then went to his wife and said, "Trina, as your luck would have it, I have found two who are still more stupid fools than you. This time you escape without a beating. I will store it up for another occasion."

Then he lighted his pipe, sat down in his grandfather's chair, and said, "It was a good stroke of business to get a sleek horse and a great purse full of money into the bargain, for two lean cows. If stupidity always brought in as much as that, I would be quite willing to hold it in honor."

So thought the peasant, but you no doubt prefer the simpletons.

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