In the time when there were hobgoblins and fairies, Brother Goat and
Brother Rabbit lived in the same neighborhood, not far from each other.
Proud of his long beard and sharp horns, Brother Goat looked on Brother
Rabbit with disdain. He would hardly speak to Brother Rabbit when he
met him, and his greatest pleasure was to make his little neighbor the
victim of his tricks and practical jokes. For instance, he would say:
“Brother Rabbit, here is Mr. Fox,” and this would cause Brother Rabbit
to run away as hard as he could. Again he would say:
“Brother Rabbit, here is Mr. Wolf,” and poor Brother Rabbit would shake
and tremble with fear. Sometimes he would cry out:
“Brother Rabbit, here is Mr. Tiger,” and then Brother Rabbit would
shudder and think that his last hour had come.
Tired of this miserable existence, Brother Rabbit tried to think of
some means by which he could change his powerful and terrible neighbor
into a friend. After a time, he thought he had discovered a way to make
Brother Goat his friend, and so he invited him to dinner.
Brother Goat was quick to accept the invitation. The dinner was a
fine affair, and there was an abundance of good eating. A great many
different dishes were served. Brother Goat licked his mouth and shook
his long beard with satisfaction. He had never before been present at
such a feast.
“Well, my friend,” exclaimed Brother Rabbit, when the dessert was
brought in, “how do you like your dinner?”
“I could certainly wish for nothing better,” replied Brother Goat,
rubbing the tips of his horns against the back of his chair; “but
my throat is very dry and a little water would hurt neither the dinner
“Gracious!” said Brother Rabbit, “I have neither wine-cellar nor water.
I am not in the habit of drinking while I am eating.”
“Neither have I any water, Brother Rabbit,” said Brother Goat. “But I
have an idea! If you will go with me over yonder by the big poplar, we
will dig a well.”
“No, Brother Goat,” said Brother Rabbit, who hoped to revenge
himself—”no, I do not care to dig a well. At daybreak I drink the dew
from the cups of the flowers, and in the heat of the day I milk the
cows and drink the cream.”
“Well and good,” said Brother Goat. “Alone I will dig the well, and
alone I will drink out of it.”
“Success to you, Brother Goat,” said Brother Rabbit.
“Thank you kindly, Brother Rabbit.”
Brother Goat then went to the foot of the big poplar and began to dig
his well. He dug with his forefeet and with his horns, and the well got
deeper and deeper. Soon the water began to bubble up and the well was
finished, and then Brother Goat made haste to quench his thirst. He
was in such a hurry that his beard got in the water, but he drank and
drank until he had his fill.
Brother Rabbit, who had followed him at a little distance, hid himself
behind a bush and laughed heartily. He said to himself: “What an
innocent creature you are!”
The next day, when Brother Goat, with his big beard and sharp horns,
returned to his well to get some water, he saw the tracks of Brother
Rabbit in the soft earth. This put him to thinking. He sat down, pulled
his beard, scratched his head, and tapped himself on the forehead.
“My friend,” he exclaimed after a while, “I will catch you yet.”
Then he ran and got his tools (for Brother Goat was something of a
carpenter in those days) and made a large doll out of laurel wood. When
the doll was finished, he spread tar on it here and there, on the
right and on the left, and up and down. He smeared it all over with the
sticky stuff, until it was as black as a Guinea negro.
This finished, Brother Goat waited quietly until evening. At sunset he
placed the tarred doll near the well, and ran and hid himself behind
the trees and bushes. The moon had just risen, and the heavens twinkled
with millions of little star-torches.
Brother Rabbit, who was waiting in his house, believed that the time
had come for him to get some water, so he took his bucket and went to
Brother Goat’s well. On the way he was very much afraid that something
would catch him. He trembled when the wind shook the leaves of the
trees. He would go a little distance and then stop and listen; he hid
here behind a stone, and there behind a tuft of grass.
At last he arrived at the well, and there he saw the little negro. He
stopped and looked at it with astonishment. Then he drew back a little
way, advanced again, drew back, advanced a little, and stopped once
“What can that be?” he said to himself. He listened, with his long ears
pointed forward, but the trees could not talk, and the bushes were
dumb. He winked his eyes and lowered his head:
“Hey, friend! who are you?” he asked.
The tar-doll didn’t move. Brother Rabbit went up a little closer, and
“Who are you?”
The tar-doll said nothing. Brother Rabbit breathed more at ease. Then
he went to the brink of the well, but when he looked in the water the
tar-doll seemed to look in too. He could see her reflection in the
water. This made Brother Rabbit so mad that he grew red in the face.
“See here!” he exclaimed, “if you look in this well I’ll give you a rap
on the nose!”
Brother Rabbit leaned over the brink of the well, and saw the tar-doll
smiling at him in the water. He raised his right hand and hit her—bam!
His hand stuck.
“What’s this?” exclaimed Brother Rabbit. “Turn me loose, imp of Satan!
If you do not, I will rap you on the eye with my other hand.”
Then he hit her—bim! The left hand stuck also. Then Brother Rabbit
raised his right foot, saying:
“Mark me well, little Congo! Do you see this foot? I will kick you in
the stomach if you do not turn me loose this instant.”
No sooner said than done. Brother Rabbit let fly his right foot—vip!
The foot stuck, and he raised the other.
“Do you see this foot?” he exclaimed. “If I hit you with it, you will
think a thunderbolt has struck you.”
Then he kicked her with the left foot, and it also stuck like the
other, and Brother Rabbit held fast his Guinea negro.
“Watch out, now!” he cried. “I’ve already butted a great many people
with my head. If I butt you in your ugly face I’ll knock it into a
jelly. Turn me loose! Oho! you don’t answer?” Bap!
“Guinea girl!” exclaimed Brother Rabbit, “are you dead? Gracious
goodness! how my head does stick!”
When the sun rose, Brother Goat went to his well to find out something
about Brother Rabbit. The result was beyond his expectations.
“Hey, little rogue, big rogue!” exclaimed Brother Goat. “Hey, Brother
Rabbit! what are you doing there? I thought you drank the dew from the
cups of the flowers, or milk from the cows. Aha, Brother Rabbit! I will
punish you for stealing my water.”
“I am your friend,” said Brother Rabbit; “don’t kill me.”
“Thief, thief!” cried Brother Goat, and then he ran quickly into the
woods, gathered up a pile of dry limbs, and made a great fire. He took
Brother Rabbit from the tar-doll, and prepared to burn him alive. As he
was passing a thicket of brambles with Brother Rabbit on his shoulders,
Brother Goat met his daughter Bélédie, who was walking about in the
“Where are you going, papa, muffled up with such a burden? Come and
eat the fresh grass with me, and throw wicked Brother Rabbit in the
Cunning Brother Rabbit raised his long ears and pretended to be very
“Oh, no, Brother Goat!” he cried. “Don’t throw me in the brambles. They
will tear my flesh, put out my eyes, and pierce my heart. Oh, I pray
you, rather throw me in the fire.”
“Aha, little rogue, big rogue! Aha, Brother Rabbit!” exclaimed Brother
Goat, exultingly, “you don’t like the brambles? Well, then, go and laugh
in them,” and he threw Brother Rabbit in without a feeling of pity.
Brother Rabbit fell in the brambles, leaped to his feet, and began to
“Ha-ha-ha! Brother Goat, what a simpleton you are!—ha-ha-ha! A better
bed I never had! In these brambles I was born!”
Brother Goat was in despair, but he could not help himself. Brother
Rabbit was safe.
A long beard is not always a sign of intelligence.
Once upon a time there lived in a village in some country (I do not
know where, but certainly nowhere near here), an old man and an old
woman who were very poor indeed. They had never been able to save a
single penny. They had no farm, not even a garden. They had nothing but
a little Duck that walked around on her two feet every day, singing
the song of famine. “Quack! quack! Who will give me a piece of bread?
Quack! quack! Who will give me a piece of bread?” This little Duck was
so small that she was named Teenchy Duck.
It so happened one day that Teenchy Duck was paddling in the water
near the river’s edge when she saw a fine purse filled with gold. At
once she began to flap her wings and cry: “Quack! quack! Who has lost
his beautiful money? Quack! quack! Who has lost his beautiful money?”
Just at that moment the Prince of the Seven Golden Cows passed along
the road. He was richer than all the kings and emperors, but he was
mean and miserly. He walked along with a stick in his hand, and as he
walked he counted in his mind the millions that he had stored away in
“Quack! quack! Who lost his beautiful money? Quack! quack! Who lost his
beautiful money?” cried Teenchy Duck.
“I have lost it,” brazenly exclaimed the Prince of the Seven Golden
Cows, and then he seized the purse full of money that Teenchy Duck
held in her bill, and went on his way.
The poor Puddle Duck was so astonished at this that she could scarcely
stand on her feet.
“Well, well!” she exclaimed, “that rich lord has kept all for himself
and given me nothing. May he be destroyed by a pestilence!”
Teenchy Duck at once ran to her master, and told him what had happened.
When her master learned the value of what Teenchy Duck had found, and
the trick that had been played on her by the Prince of the Seven Golden
Cows, he went into a violent rage.
“Why, you big simpleton!” he exclaimed, “you find money and you do not
bring it to us? You give it to a big lord, who did not lose it, when
we poor people need it, so much. Go out of this house instantly, and
don’t dare to come back until you have brought me the purse of gold!”
Unfortunate Teenchy Duck trembled in all her limbs, and made herself
small and humble; but she found voice to say:
“You are right, my master! I go at once to find the Prince of the Seven
But once out of doors the poor Puddle Duck thought to herself
sorrowfully: “How and where can I find the Prince who was so mean as to
steal the beautiful money?”
Teenchy Duck was so bewildered that she began to strike her head
against the rocks in despair. Suddenly an idea came into her mind. She
would follow his tracks, and the marks that his walking-stick made in
the ground until she came to the castle of the Prince of the Seven
No sooner thought than done. Teenchy Duck went waddling down the road
in the direction taken by the miserly Prince, crying, with all her
“Quack! quack! Give me back my beautiful money! Quack! quack! Give me
back my beautiful money!”
Brother Fox, who was taking his ease a little way from the road, heard
Teenchy Duck’s cries, and knew her voice. He went to her and said:
“What in the world is the matter with you, my poor Teenchy Duck? You
look sad and broken-hearted.”
“I have good reason to be,” said Teenchy Duck. “This morning, while
paddling in the river, I found a purse full of gold, and gave it to the
Prince of the Seven Golden Cows, thinking it was his. But now, here
comes my master and asks me for it, and says he will kill me if I do
not bring it to him pretty soon.”
“Well, where are you going in this style?” asked Brother Fox.
“I am going straight to the Prince of the Seven Golden Cows,” said
“Shall I go with you?” asked Brother Fox.
“I’d be only too glad if you would,” exclaimed Teenchy Duck.
“But how can I go?” said Brother Fox.
“Get in my satchel,” said Teenchy Duck, “and I’ll carry you the best I
“It isn’t big enough,” said Brother Fox.
“It will stretch,” said Teenchy Duck. So Brother Fox got in the
satchel, and Teenchy Duck went waddling along the road, crying:
“Quack! quack! Give me back my beautiful money!”
She had not gone far when she met Brother Wolf, who was passing that way.
“What are you crying so for?” he inquired. “One would think you were
going to die on the journey.”
“It is only too true,” said Teenchy Duck, and then she told Brother
Wolf about finding the money-purse, just as she had told Brother Fox.
“Perhaps I can be of some service to you,” said Brother Wolf. “Shall I
go with you?”
“I am willing,” said Teenchy Duck.
“But how can I go so far?” Brother Wolf asked.
“Get in my satchel,” said Teenchy Duck, “and I’ll carry you as I can.”
“It is too small,” said Brother Wolf.
“It will stretch mightily,” said Teenchy Duck.
Then Brother Wolf went to keep company with Brother Fox.
Teenchy Duck went on her way again. She didn’t walk very fast, for her
satchel was heavy; but she never ceased crying: “Quack! quack! Give me
back my beautiful money.”
Now it happened, as she was going along, she came up with a Ladder,
which said, without asking after her health:
“My poor Teenchy Duck! You do not seem to be very happy.”
“I should think not!” exclaimed Teenchy Duck.
“What can the matter be?” the Ladder asked.
Teenchy Duck then told her story over again.
“I am not doing anything at present,” said the Ladder; “shall I go
“Yes,” said Teenchy Duck.
“But how can I go, I who never walk?” inquired the Ladder.
“Why, get in my satchel,” said Teenchy Duck, “and I’ll carry you the
best I know how.”
The Ladder was soon in the satchel with Brother Fox and Brother Wolf,
and Teenchy Duck went on her way, following the tracks of the Prince of
the Seven Golden Cows, and always crying:
“Quack! quack! Give me back my beautiful money!”
Going along and crying thus, Teenchy Duck came to her best and oldest
friend, the River.
“What are you doing here?” said the River, in astonishment, “and why
are you crying so? When I saw you this morning you seemed to be very
“Ah!” said Teenchy Duck, “would you believe it? I have not eaten since
“And why not?” asked the sympathetic River.
“You saw me find the purse of gold,” said Teenchy Duck, “and you saw
the Prince seize it. Ah, well! my master will kill me if I do not get
it and return it to him.”
“Sometimes,” the River replied, “a little help does a great deal of
good. Shall I go with you?”
“I should be very happy,” said Teenchy Duck.
“But how can I follow you—I that have no limbs?” said the River.
“Get in my satchel,” said Teenchy Duck. “I’ll carry you as I can.”
Then the River got in the satchel by the side of the other friends of
She went on her journey, keeping her eyes on the ground, so as not
to lose sight of the tracks of the thief, but still crying for her
beautiful money. On her way she came to a Bee-Hive, which had a mind to
laugh because Teenchy Duck was carrying such a burden.
“Hey, my poor Teenchy Duck! What a big, fat satchel you have there!”
said the Bee-Hive.
“I’m not in the humor for joking, my dear,” said Teenchy Duck.
“Why are you so sad?”
“I have been very unfortunate, good little people,” said Teenchy Duck,
addressing herself to the Bees, and then she told her story.
“Shall we go with you?” asked the Bees.
“Yes, yes!” exclaimed Teenchy Duck. “In these days of sorrow I stand in
need of friends.”
“How shall we follow you?” asked the Bees.
“Get in my satchel,” said Teenchy Duck. “I’ll carry you the best I know
Then the Bees shook their wings for joy and swarmed into the satchel
along with the other friends of Teenchy Duck.
She resumed her journey, always crying for the return of her beautiful
money. She walked and walked without stopping to rest a moment, until
her legs almost refused to carry her. At last, just as night was coming
on, Teenchy Duck saw with joy that the tracks of the Prince of the
Seven Golden Cows stopped at the iron gate that barred the way to a
“Ah!” she exclaimed, “I have arrived at my journey’s end, and I have no
need to knock on the gate. I will creep under.”
Teenchy Duck entered the grounds and cried out: “Quack! quack! Give me
my beautiful money!”
The Prince heard her and laughed scornfully. How could a poor Teenchy
Duck compel a great lord to return the purse of gold?
Teenchy Duck continued to cry:
“Quack! quack! Give me back my beautiful money!”
It was night, and the Prince of the Seven Golden Cows ordered one of
his servants to take Teenchy Duck and shut her up in the hennery with
the turkeys, the geese, and the chickens, thinking that these fowls
would kill the stranger, and that her disagreeable song would forever
be at an end.
This order was immediately carried out by the servant, but no sooner
had Teenchy Duck entered the hennery than she exclaimed:
“Brother Fox, if you do not come to my assistance I am lost!”
Brother Fox came out of the satchel promptly, and worked so well at his
trade that of all the fowls he found there not one remained alive.
At break of day the servant-girl, whose business it was to attend to
the poultry-yard, opened the door of the hennery, and was astounded to
see Teenchy Duck come out, singing the same old song:
“Quack! quack! Give me back my beautiful money!”
The astonished girl immediately ran and told her master, the Prince,
what had happened, and the wife of the Prince, who had at that moment
learned all, said to her husband:
“This Duck is a Witch. Give her the money, or it will bring us bad luck.”
The Prince of the Seven Golden Cows refused to listen to any advice.
He believed that the fox had only happened to enter his hennery by
Teenchy Duck made herself heard all day, and at night the Prince said
to his servants:
“Take this squaller and throw her in the stable under the feet of the
mules and horses. We will see in the morning what she will say.”
The servants obeyed, and Teenchy Duck immediately cried:
“Brother Wolf, if you do not come quickly to my aid I shall be killed.”
Brother Wolf made no delay, and it was not long before he had destroyed
the horses and the mules. Next morning, before day, the servants went
to get the animals to put them to the ploughs and wagons; but when they
saw them lying dead their astonishment was indescribable. In the stable
Teenchy Duck stood alone, singing, in her most beautiful voice:
“Quack! quack! Give me back my beautiful money!”
When the Prince of the Seven Golden Cows heard of this disaster he
became white with rage, and in his fury he wanted to give his servants
a thousand lashes for not having taken necessary precautions against
the Wolf. But his wife calmed him little by little, saying:
“My husband, give back to Teenchy Duck this purse you have taken, or
else we shall be ruined.”
“No,” cried the Prince, “she shall never have it!”
All this time Teenchy Duck was promenading up and down, to the right
and to the left, singing, at the top of her voice:
“Quack! quack! Give me back my beautiful money!”
“Heavens!” said the Prince, stopping his ears, “I am tired of hearing
this ugly fowl squall and squawk. Quick! throw her in the well or the
furnace, so that we may be rid of her.”
“What shall we do first?” the servants asked.
“It matters not,” said the Prince, “so long as we are rid of her.”
The servants took Teenchy Duck and threw her in the well, thinking this
the easiest and the quickest way to dispose of her.
As Teenchy Duck was falling, she cried: “Come to my assistance, good
Ladder, or I am undone.”
The Ladder immediately came out of the satchel, and leaned against the
walls of the well. Teenchy Duck came up the rounds, singing:
“Quack, quack! Give me back my beautiful money!”
Everybody was astonished, and the Prince’s wife kept saying: “Give this
witch her money.”
“They would say that I am afraid of a Teenchy Duck,” said the Prince of
the Seven Golden Cows. “I will never give it up.” Then, speaking to his
servants, he said: “Heat the oven; heat it to a white heat, and throw
this witch in.”
The servants were compelled to obey, but they were so frightened that
none dared touch her. At last, one bolder than the rest seized her
by the end of the wing and threw her in the red-hot oven. Everybody
thought that this was the end of Teenchy Duck, but she had had time to
“Oh, my dear friend River, come to my assistance, or I shall be roasted.”
The River rushed out and quenched the fire and cooled the oven.
When the Prince went to see what was left of Teenchy Duck, she met him,
and began to repeat her familiar refrain:
“Quack, quack! Give me back my beautiful money!”
The Prince of the Seven Golden Cows was furious.
“You are all blockheads!” he cried to his servants. “You never knew
how to do anything. Get out of here! I will drive you off the place!
Hereafter I will take charge of this fiend myself.”
That night, before retiring, the Prince and his wife went and got
Teenchy Duck, and prepared to give her such a beating as they had no
doubt would cause her death.
Fortunately, Teenchy Duck saw the danger and cried out:
“Friend Bees! come out and help me.”
A buzzing sound was heard, and then the Bees swarmed on the Prince and
his wife, and stung them so terribly that they became frightful to
“Return the money to this ugly witch,” groaned the unfortunate wife.
“Run, or we are done for.”
The Prince did not wait to be told twice. He ran and got the purse full
of gold, and returned it to Teenchy Duck.
“Here,” said he, “I am conquered. But get out of my grounds quickly.”
Full of joy, Teenchy Duck went out into the road singing: “Quack,
quack! I have got my beautiful money! Quack, quack! Here is my
On her way home she returned the friends that had aided her to the
places where she had found them, thanking them kindly for their
assistance in time of need.
At break of day Teenchy Duck found herself at her master’s door. She
aroused him by her loud cries. After that, the family was rich, but the
master and mistress were not happy, for they knew the money did not
belong to them.
Teenchy Duck was well taken care of, and grew to be large and fat. If
she went to the village pond at all, it was only to take a bath with
her comrades and to tell a certain Duck of her remarkable exploit of
recovering the beautiful money.
MR. SNAIL AND BROTHER WOLF
One night, in the season when the hawthorn flowers were blooming and
perfuming the air, Brother Wolf came out of the woods, and ran down
the hill in a brisk gallop. A little Snail saw Brother Wolf—a little
Snail, who, to accommodate himself, carried his house on his back
and his horns on his head. He was a very funny little Snail; and, as
Brother Wolf was passing, he laughed aloud—
“Ha, ha, ha! He, he, he!”
Hearing this, Brother Wolf paused, turned around, and said:
“Why do you laugh, little Snail?”
“Why do I laugh?” exclaimed Mr. Snail.
“Yes,” said Brother Wolf. “Do you see anything ridiculous about me?”
“No, Brother Wolf,” said Mr. Snail; “on the contrary, you make a very
fine appearance. You have on your Sunday clothes, and you are handsome
indeed. No, Brother Wolf, you are not at all ridiculous.”
“Why, then, this laughter?” inquired Brother Wolf. “Answer me at once,
for I am in a hurry. Speak this instant, or it will not be well for
“Do not get angry, Brother Wolf; it is not worth while. I only laughed
to see you running so fast when neither dogs nor men were pursuing you.
Where are you going in such a hurry?”
“I am going to the city,” said Brother Wolf.
“To the city?” exclaimed Mr. Snail. “What do you propose to do there?”
“I want to see my brother, who is sick in the menagerie. He has written
me to come to him.”
“That is very queer,” said Mr. Snail. “I am going to the city also.”
“Bosh!” exclaimed Brother Wolf, contemptuously. “Hens will have teeth
and sows side-pockets before you get there.”
Mr. Snail felt himself somewhat insulted at Brother Wolf’s remark, and
“I do not know how long it takes a hen to have teeth; but one thing I
do know, and that is, that I will arrive in the city before you do.”
“You have no legs, and you carry your house on your back,” said Brother
Wolf; “how will you manage to get there?”
“Don’t trouble about that,” said Mr. Snail. “My house is mine, and I
do not need legs. I will be in the city before you.”
“You make me very tired with your talk,” said Brother Wolf. “If you
are not joking, let us wager a breakfast that you do not get there
first—that is, if you are not joking.”
“Very well, then,” said Mr. Snail, “let it be a breakfast. I even give
you three jumps in advance, and after that you may gallop.”
While Brother Wolf was making ready for the start, Mr. Snail crawled up
on his tail. When the signal was given, the Wolf hurried on, going very
rapidly and without a moment’s rest. He arrived in the city the next
day; but found the gates closed. Brother Wolf knocked very hard, and
waited for some one to come and admit him.
During this time Mr. Snail dropped on the ground and climbed on the
“Is that you, my friend?” he exclaimed. “I have been waiting for you a
long time. I am hungry now, and want my breakfast.”
THE LION’S SECRET
Once upon a time there were two brothers, who were orphans. The oldest
was named Mahobane and the youngest Lovallec. These unfortunate
children had been beggars since they were six years of age. They went
from house to house and from village to village, on mountains and in
valleys, but wherever they went their cry was the same:
“Good friends! give us alms! Kind friends! help the unfortunate!”
Their lot was a hard one, even as children, but it was harder as they
grew older, for when the oldest was twenty they discovered that they
had only succeeded, after all their efforts, in keeping soul and body
together. Finally, one day, Mahobane exclaimed:
“I know what I shall do to make a great deal of money in a very short
“What is it?” cried Lovallec.
“One of us,” said the eldest, “will have to become blind and lead the
other by the hand, going from house to house and along the public
highways asking for alms from the people and from the travellers.”
“You are right,” said Lovallec, “but, alas! neither one of us is blind.”
“It will be easy enough,” said the other, “to become so.”
“How can that be?” asked Lovallec.
“Oh, easy enough,” said the elder. “One of us will have to put out his
“Oh, no!” exclaimed the younger; “that would make one of us suffer too
“Ah,” said Mahobane, to the younger, “you are timid, you are
tender-hearted: What is a little suffering in comparison with the happy
times we should have? the soft beds we should sleep in, the fine meats
that will be offered us, and the good wines we have not tasted in so
long? But it does not follow that you are to be blind,” continued
Mahobane; “the lot may fall to me instead of you.”
“So be it,” said the younger; “let us draw straws.”
Mahobane prepared the straws, and arranged very cleverly to cheat his
younger brother. He had no sooner carried his point than he put out his
brother’s eyes with a thorn.
Lovallec screamed loudly under the pain of this operation, but the only
sympathy he got from his cruel brother was this:
“Cry louder, my brother! cry louder! for here the people are passing,
and when they behold your condition they will give us money.”
It was even so. Silver and pennies fell into the wooden bowl they
carried, and this success was continued for more than a year. Then a
wicked thought entered the head of Mahobane, the eldest, and he made up
his mind to get rid of his unfortunate brother. So one day he carried
him into the great forest and left him to wander alone and find his way
out as best he could; but, being blind, this he was unable to do.
“Where am I, my dear brother? Where are you?” But there was no answer
to his heart-rending cries. The cowardly brother, who had deserted
him, was already far away. It was long before Lovallec, the blind one,
would believe that his brother could be cruel enough to desert him. He
called and cried for the absent brother, but the only answer he heard
was in the mocking echoes. Night came, and he was tired, hungry, and
thirsty. Despair seized him and he continued his lamentations.
“Ah, my brother! my brother! how cruel you have been to forsake me! Is
it my fate to die of hunger at the foot of this tree, or become the
prey of the ravenous beasts that roam through this forest? No! Better a
thousand times that I should die at once.”
With this the unfortunate brother climbed the tree, at the foot of
which he found himself, groping his way up the trunk, and was preparing
to throw himself to the ground to end his existence then and there,
when he heard in the forest, near at hand, the terrible roaring of a
lion. At this sound the leaves and branches of the tree trembled, and
the blind unfortunate paused. The roaring of the Lion, as it seemed,
was a call to the Wolf, who soon made his appearance at the foot of the
“You are late, Wolf!” exclaimed the Lion; “where do you come from?”
“I have been at Offemborough,” said the Wolf, “where I have tasted
human flesh. There everyone is dying of thirst, and the people are too
weak to protect themselves. That is why I am late.” At this the Lion
“I know,” said he, “how water can be procured for the inhabitants of
“But how can this be done?” the Wolf inquired.
“It is easy enough,” said the Lion, in his positive way; “take a small
piece of the root of this very tree under which we are standing, and
strike three times on the rock in the middle of the city, saying:
“‘Come, gentle Dew, from the skies,
Refreshing Fountains rise,
Oh, Rivers! greet men’s eyes!’
and immediately water, fresh and clear as crystal will flow, and it
will flow in sufficient abundance to satisfy the needs of all.”
“You are wise,” said the Wolf. “Can you not give me some other useful
“Yes,” said the lion, “I can tell you a remedy that will cure all sorts
of maladies and infirmities.”
“What is that?” said the Wolf.
“To succeed in the art of medicine,” said the Lion, shaking his mane
and beard, “one has only to take the inner bark of this same tree, and
apply it to the seat of the disease. For example, if one is blind, a
portion of the inner bark of the tree would have to be applied to the
“That is very strange,” said the Wolf, “and I will remember it. But now
tell me from whence you come: I have not seen you for many days.”
“I have just arrived from the city of the famous King, whose beautiful
daughter now lies dangerously ill.”
“And how did the famous King’s beautiful daughter come to be ill?”
inquired the Wolf.
“Well,” said the Lion, “as I was passing over the mountain of Aventin,
I met the King’s daughter riding on a palfrey. She was smiling on all,
and giving alms to every unfortunate she met. She was so beautiful,
with her great blue eyes, and so simple and so good, that it made me
lonely and lovesick, so I caused to be sent her a terrible malady
which will consume her, and to-day she should be dying.”
“Do you think,” said the Wolf, “that the inner bark of this tree would
cure the sick princess?”
“No,” said the Lion. “It would not be sufficient in this case, for
the princess has an evil spirit for an enemy, and she will have to be
treated differently. To be cured, she must be given the blood of a frog
mixed with muscadine wine, and the second day she must eat the frog’s
heart cooked in the juice of a fig.”
Here the Lion paused, and the Wolf inquired:
“Have you no more good news for me, good friend?”
“No,” said the Lion.
“Then good-by until next year,” said the Wolf, “when we will meet at
the same time and place.”
The Wolf and the Lion parted, each going his way through the forest.
“So, then,” exclaimed Lovallec, the blind man, who had been sitting
in the tree, “I have not been deserted by Providence after all. These
beasts have told me secrets that will surely be useful to me hereafter.”
The sun had arisen, and the birds began to sing. Lovallec came down
from the tree and took a piece of the inner bark thereof and rubbed it
on his eyes. Suddenly he found that his eyesight had been restored to
him, and the happy man danced around in a transport of joy. He saw the
skies, the birds, the flowers, and, above all, the sun. He was happy
once more. He placed the bark in his bosom and pressed it there, after
securing a quantity of the precious medicine. He did not forget, also,
to procure a piece of the root of the tree, in order that he might be
able to give water to the unfortunate inhabitants of Offemborough.
After making these preparations the young man started on his journey.
He travelled for many days and crossed many rivers. He was nearly at
the end of his journey, but he was as poor now as when he started, and
his clothes were in tatters. He had no money, but his riches were all
in his heart. He met a priest.
“Good-morning, parson,” said he; “can I enjoy your hospitality?”
“No,” said the priest, “my house is too small and I have no place for
He met the mayor.