« PreviousContinue »
butter and cheese to it as often as I wish. If I feel thirsty, I need only milk my cow, and I shall have milk to drink.”
On reaching a public house, he stopped to rest himself, and in the fullness of his joy he ate up his dinner and supper all at one meal, and spent his two remaining farthings to purchase half a glass of beer. He then went his way, and continued driving his cow towards his mother's village.
Towards noon, the heat grew more and more oppressive, particularly as Hans was crossing a moor during a full hour's time. At length his thirst became so intolerable that his tongue cleaved to the roof of his mouth. “The remedy is simple enough,” thought Hans, “ and now is the time to milk my cow, and refresh myself with a good draught of milk.”
He then tied his cow to the stump of a tree, and used his leather cap for a pail; but do what he would, not a drop of milk could he obtain, and as he set about attempting to milk the cow in the most awkward manner imaginable, the enraged animal gave him a hearty kick with her hind leg, that laid him sprawling on the ground, where he remained half-stunned for a long time, and scarcely able to recollect where he was.
Fortunately there just came by a butcher, trundling
a wheelbarrow, in which lay a young pig.
“What on earth is the matter ?” asked he, as he helped the worthy Hans to rise.
Hans related what had happened, when the butcher handed him his flask, saying, “ There, man, take a draught, and it will soon bring you round again. The
cow has no milk to give, for she is an old animal, only fit for the yoke, or to be killed and eaten.”
“ Lord, now! who would have thought it ?" said Hans, stroking his hair over his forehead. “It is, to be sure, all very well to have such an animal as that to kill, particularly as it yields such a lot of meat; but then I don't much relish cow's flesh-it is not half juicy enough for me. I'd much rather have a young pig like yours. The flesh is far more tasty, to say nothing of the sausages.”
-"I'll tell you what, Hans,” quoth the butcher, “ I'll let you have my pig in exchange for your cow, just out of kindness.”
“Now, that's very good of you, upon my word,” replied Hans, as he gave him the cow, while the butcher took the pig out of the wheelbarrow, and
put the string that was tied round the animal's leg into his new master's hand.
As Hans went along he could not help marveling at his constant run of luck, which had regularly turned every little disappointment to the very best account. After a time he was overtaken by a lad, who was carrying a fine white goose under his arm. They no sooner bid one another good-morrow, than Hans related how lucky he had been, and what advantageous bargains he had struck. The lad told him, in turn, that he was carrying the goose to a christening dinner. “Only just feel how heavy it is,” continued he, taking the goose up by the wings; "it has been fattening these eight weeks. I'll be bold to say, that whoever tastes · a slice of it when it comes to be roasted, will have to wipe away the fat from each corner of his mouth.”
“Ay,” said Hans, as he weighed it in one hand, “ it is heavy enough, to be sure; but my pig is not to be sneezed at either."
Meanwhile the lad was looking all around him with an anxious air, and then shook his head as he observed, “ It's my mind your pig will get you into trouble. I have just come through a village where the mayor's pig was stolen out of its stye; and I'm mightily afraid it's the very pig you are now driving. It would be a bad job for you if you were caught with it, and the least that could happen to you would be a lodging in the black-hole.”
Poor Hans now began to be frightened. “For goodness’ sake,” cried he,“ do help me out of this scrape; and, as you know this neighborhood better than I do, pray take my pig in exchange for your goose.”