“It is this: that during three days in succession, and precisely at
twelve o’clock, you must present the Princess of Golconda to me in the
large hall of the Castle.”
“That is an easy thing to do,” said Prince Erian.
“You are mad!” cried Magor. “Reflect before you accept the challenge,
for if you permit the Princess to escape all will be over with you.
That moment you and your companions shall be changed into statues.”
“No matter,” said the Prince. “I accept.”
“If, at the appointed hour,” the King of the Sorcerers explained, “you
present to me the Princess of Golconda, one of the iron rings that I
wear around my waist will fall off, and if all three should break, one
after the other, you will be victorious over me—over Magor, the King
of the Magicians.”
Then Prince Erian took the arm of the lady of his dreams, the beautiful
Princess of Golconda, and conducted her to the hall that Magor had
pointed out to him. After the three days of the trial, the charming
Princess would be his own—all his own. With what happiness, he
thought, would he present her to his father! “Here,” he would say, “is
the wife I have chosen. Magor, the King of the Magicians, disputed my
right to her, and him I have overthrown!”
But what precautions they were compelled to use! Prince Erian closed
the door carefully and then ordered Long to stretch himself all around
the hall. Large was told to expand himself so as to stop up the
windows, and Keen Eyes was made to loosen the bandage around his eyes.
When all these preparations had been made, there was only a small space
left for the beautiful Princess and Prince Erian.
“Keen Eyes,” said the young Prince, “we must be careful; we must not
fall asleep; we must watch to-night.”
“Yes, master,” responded Keen Eyes, “we must drive away sleep.”
Nevertheless, worn out as they were, they soon closed their eyes, and
in a few moments they were sound asleep.
At dawn the next day, Prince Erian was the first to awake. But the
beautiful Princess had disappeared. The young Prince, filled with
mingled grief and astonishment, called out to his companions:
“Awake, my friends! Awake!”
“What is the matter, master? What is the matter?” they cried:
“An irreparable misfortune has befallen me! The Princess has
disappeared! Search and see if you can find her anywhere.”
Long, Large, and the young Prince searched everywhere, examining every
piece of furniture, but they did not find the beautiful young Princess.
“Alas!” they cried, “what shall we do? we are lost!”
“Wait!” said Keen Eyes; “not yet!” He had also been searching for the
“What!” exclaimed the young Prince, “can you have found her?”
“Yes,” replied Keen Eyes. “Four hundred leagues away there is a forest.
In this forest there is a tree. On this tree there is a limb. On this
limb there is an acorn.”
“Well—well?” cried Prince Erian.
“And in that acorn is the Princess.”
“Then all is lost!” exclaimed the young Prince. “To travel four hundred
leagues and return by noon is an impossibility.”
“Do not give up all hope, my master,” said Long. “Wait a little while.”
Keen Eyes got on Long’s shoulders, and Long stretched himself out so
that with a few leaps he was in the forest and then at the tree. Keen
Eyes took possession of the precious acorn. Long drew his great length
together, and in a moment they had returned.
Prince Erian took the acorn, broke it open, and out stepped the
Princess, more beautiful and more resplendent than ever.
All this time, Magor, the King of the Sorcerers, was laughing to
himself and enjoying the neat trick he had played on the young Prince
and his companions. At precisely twelve o’clock he presented himself at
the door of the hall, and cried out:
“Ah, well! faithful guardian! Can you show me the beautiful Princess?”
“Most certainly,” replied Prince Erian. “Behold her here!”
A cry of rage broke from the Magician. A band of iron broke from his
body and fell at his feet.
“But wait!” cried Magor. “Watch well to-night.”
“Be not uneasy,” said Prince Erian. “Meanwhile permit us to promenade
in your magnificent garden.”
They inspected the palace from top to bottom and went through the
garden. They saw some very strange things, and much that they saw was
calculated to make a very serious impression on their minds. That which
most affected the friends of the young Princess was the spectacle of a
wall along which were ranged the statues of many Knights.
Some stood with clubs uplifted as if for combat. Others were in an
attitude of supplication, while still others, with muscles strained and
eyes filled with fire, seemed to be having a hand-to-hand contest with
the terrible Sorcerer; but they had all been vanquished and turned to
stone by his power.
“These unfortunate men,” said the Princess, “have been transformed into
statues for attempting to rescue me from the King of the Magicians. I
have been the innocent cause of the misfortune of these brave men, and I
bring misery to all who interest themselves in my sad fate.”
“Then why do you not fly from this desolate palace?” Prince Erian asked.
“Are you never free from this Magician? He has such power over you?”
“Alas!” replied the Princess, “I am not the mistress of my destiny, and
when the King of the Magicians commands me I must obey. His power over
me is boundless. He can change me into a bird that flies, into a grain
of dust blown about by the wind, or into a flower that perfumes the
garden. He can send me a million leagues away, and I can neither resist
his caprice nor oppose his cruel tyranny. Those who love me perish. He
is so powerful, the others are so weak!”
“Ah, well!” exclaimed the Prince, “I shall not die, I will deliver you
from the talons of this cruel vulture! I will take you away from this
castle, a thousand times accursed since it is your prison!”
“Alas!” said the Princess, “I fear that you also will suffer defeat.
Are you a magician, are you a sorcerer, that you can contend against
“I am neither magician nor sorcerer,” replied the enthusiastic young
Prince; “but I have all the power of both, since I love you. Do not
despair. Let me do as I wish. My friends, with their extraordinary
gifts, are your friends, and they are devoted to your cause.”
“We will deliver you!” “We will deliver you!” exclaimed Long, Large,
and Keen Eyes.
“May you succeed!” sighed the unhappy Princess. “But my hopes have been
dashed to the ground so many times that I dare not depend on anyone.”
All day long the young Princess of Golconda and Prince Erian walked
together and were happy, forgetting for the time the terrible contest
that was to take place, the outcome of which was wrapped in so much
Suddenly the Princess disappeared. Magor, the King of the Magicians,
had called her.
The sun was disappearing little by little below the horizon, and its
golden rays were fading before the approaching night.
All disconsolate, Prince Erian turned his steps toward the castle. His
anxiety for the Princess was extreme, but, with joyful surprise, he
found her awaiting him at the door.
“Welcome, my Prince!” she said, and together they entered the castle.
An elegant repast was spread. The most delicate dishes, the most
exquisite wines, burdened the table.
“Come, my friends!” cried the Sorcerer, “eat, drink, and be merry! This
may be your last meal.”
“Don’t worry yourself, gentle sir,” answered Long. “To-morrow you may
be kept busy in the kitchen again. Rest assured you will always find us
in good health and with hearty appetites.”
“We shall see about that,” said Magor. “You found my prisoner in an
acorn; you travelled four hundred leagues to bring her back to this
palace; but all that is a very simple matter. To-morrow your task will
not be such an easy one. Am I not the King of the Magicians?”
“Just so,” remarked Long; “but you are one and we are four.”
When supper was over, the Princess was given into the care of Prince
“Good-night!” said Magor with a mocking smile. “Be sure that you watch
more faithfully to-night, or the fair lady of your dreams will elude
“Make yourself easy,” replied the Prince. “Should she escape we know
how to find her.”
When they arrived at the hall where the trial was to be renewed, the
Princess said to her companions:
“I know that you are very powerful, but the cruel Magor is still more
powerful. Redouble your precautions; remain awake and perhaps you may
succeed in rescuing me.”
“Trust to us,” answered Prince Erian.
The most extraordinary precautions were taken, but all to no purpose.
While Prince Erian and the Princess of Golconda were chatting together,
sleep fell upon the small company little by little. The wicked Sorcerer
had drugged their wine, and the effect was irresistible.
“Keen Eyes,” said the Prince, drowsily, “are you awake?”
“Yes, my master,” answered Keen Eyes with a yawn. “Fear nothing!”
But immediately his eyelids became heavy, and every effort he made to
keep awake only made him sleep all the more soundly.
Magor, the King of the Magicians, found it an easy matter to carry off
his lovely captive through a very small aperture that Large had left
open when he fell asleep.
At sunrise Prince Erian awoke and discovered that the Princess of
Golconda had disappeared. He called to his companions:
“Long! Large! Keen Eyes! where are you? Quick! the Princess has
disappeared! This is our last day if we do not find her at once!”
They searched on all sides, but without success.
“Do not distress yourself,” said Keen Eyes, to the young Prince, who
was lamenting. “See! A thousand leagues from here—farther than the
sea, farther than the mountains—there is a broad and waving field of
wheat. In that field of wheat there is a ridge. On that ridge there is
a stalk. On that stalk there is an ear. In that ear there is a grain.
In that grain the beautiful Princess is hid.”
Once more Keen Eyes mounted the shoulders of Long, who stretched
himself again—stretched and took such long steps that in an hour’s
time he had crossed seas and mountains and reached the wheatfield. The
two friends released the Princess from her floury prison, and in a
short time were back at the castle.
Prince Erian had been awaiting their return, tortured by the agony of
suspense. It is impossible to describe his joy in beholding once more
the beautiful lady of his dreams. He laughed and sang and seemed almost
beside himself. He could scarcely keep his eyes off the Princess even
for a moment. Suddenly there came a knocking at the door.
“Come in!” said the Prince Erian.
It was the King of the Magicians who entered. He smiled mockingly.
“Ah, well, my heroes!” he exclaimed, “are you as joyous to-day as you
were yesterday at this hour, and can you present the Princess to me?”
“It is my pleasure to do so,” said Prince Erian, with mock courtesy.
“Behold the Princess here!”
The Sorcerer grew pale with anger, and his eyes shot forth fire. A
second band of iron fell from his waist and broke.
“One day still remains, and this time we shall see who is the
conqueror,” said Magor, furious with rage. Thus speaking he retired
to an apartment in his palace, where he remained throughout the day,
scheming to outwit Prince Erian and his companions. He now realized
that he had met adversaries who were dangerous, and he knew that the
contest of the next day would be final. What could he do to hide the
beautiful captive? At last he thought he had found a way and a sigh of
relief escaped his lips.
Meanwhile Prince Erian and his companions were taking counsel together.
They were filled with anxiety. They knew that the King of the Magicians
would use all his art to carry off and conceal the beautiful Princess.
They knew, too, that if they failed to find her their fate was sealed.
They would take their places among the unfortunate knights who had been
transformed into statues.
That night they took unusual precautions, but all was in vain, for
when they awoke the next morning the Princess of Golconda had again
“Awake, friends! Arise!” cried the young Prince, when he made the
discovery. “The Princess is gone? Let us search for her.”
Long and willingly they searched, but all in vain. Keen Eyes himself
was puzzled. He looked into the sky and on the earth, penetrated the
mountains, and looked into the bottom of the precipice. He could see
nothing that resembled the beautiful young Princess.
“Ah, well!” cried Prince Erian. “The Sorcerer is stronger than we. This
time we are lost.”
The sun was already high up in the heavens, and the time was
approaching when the King of the Magicians was to make his appearance
and demand the Princess.
But Keen Eyes did not despair. His keen glance searched everywhere.
Suddenly he gave a cry of joy.
“Victory! victory! The Princess is ours! I have discovered her
“Where is it?” cried Prince Erian. “Quick! Time is precious.”
“Do you see yonder—away yonder in the Black Sea,” said Keen Eyes,
pointing as eagerly as if all eyes were as keen as his—”do you see
that wave rocked by the hurricane, ascending to the surface and
descending to the depths of the abyss, pushed here and thrown there by
the storm? In the centre of that tremendous wave there is a void. In
that void is a ring. In that ring is your beautiful Princess.”
“What shall we do, my friends? What shall we do?” cried the young
“Large,” said Keen Eyes, by way of answer, “get on Long’s shoulders
with me. He will take us to the shore of the sea where the storm-tossed
wave is swimming.”
Large obeyed, and at once and swiftly they made their way to the
sea—swifter than the north wind they travelled, over plains and over
mountains, past rivers and hills.
“Faster, faster!” cried Keen Eyes.
They reached the sea, but their difficulty was not over. How should
they get possession of the storm-tossed wave? Long stretched himself
and pursued it, but when he thought he held it, it would slip from his
hands and disappear.
“Wait,” said Large. “I am going to get it.”
Then he began to drink, drink, drink, so rapidly that the wave with the
void in its centre was at last brought within reach, so that the ring
could be seized.
What an extraordinary sight it was to see a man as big as the thickest
mountains, casting his shadow over the entire country, his head
reaching beyond the clouds that floated in the sky. Large’s immense
size can be imagined. He had been compelled to drink the greater part
of the sea so as to get possession of the ring.
Having found the Princess at last, Long and Keen Eyes started on their
return journey to the magician’s castle.
But they had lost so much time trying to capture the ring that
contained the Princess that the hour of noon was about to strike.
“Courage—courage!” cried Long. His immense strides carried him over
hills and ravines, vast plains and dense forests. In a minute they will
be at the castle. Forward! Quick! Fast and still faster.
“We are lost!” exclaimed Keen Eyes.
“No!” cried Long, “we are here!” He made a supreme effort, and, at one
stride, reached the castle. As he came to the door, he saw the Magician
about to enter.
“Let me pass!” demanded Keen Eyes.
“After me, if you please,” said Magor.
“Infamous Sorcerer!” exclaimed Keen Eyes, “I must enter!”
“After me, I said,” responded Magor.
But while they were disputing Long threw the enchanted ring through
the window, and when the King of the Magicians entered the hall, the
Princess of Golconda, more beautiful than ever, received him.
The clock struck the hour of noon!
At sight of the Princess, the King of the Magicians trembled and a
terrible cry burst from his lips. Then, transforming himself into a
raven, he disappeared in space.
The third iron band had fallen from Magor’s waist and broken.
Meanwhile a marvellous change was taking place. The spell of the wicked
Sorcerer was destroyed. The statues came to life. On all sides gay
laughter and joyous songs could be heard, and one might have thought
that these people, Knights and Princes, were the invited guests at a
And so they were, for the marriage of the beautiful Princess of Golconda
took place at once, and the guests were the Knights and Princes who had
been restored to life. All of them took part in the festivities, and at
daybreak they were still dancing in the Sorcerer’s castle.
As soon as possible Prince Erian and his charming Princess turned
their steps in the direction of that distant city where the aged King
was waiting with impatience for his beloved son. Large had not yet
returned, but Long went after him, and, all together, they wended their
way toward the palace where Prince Erian first saw the light.
The joy of the Prince’s parents cannot be described. They were never
tired of embracing their child. They overwhelmed him with questions,
and then kissed and caressed him, and thus prevented him from talking.
Nor was the beautiful Princess forgotten; each one embraced her, and
received her as Prince Erian’s wife should be received.
The festivities lasted many days, and when they were over, Long, Large,
and Keen Eyes asked to leave the Prince.
“Why leave me?” said Prince Erian. “You know how much I owe you, and
whether I love you. Remain with me always.”
“No,” replied Keen Eyes, “the palace stifles us, and the fine clothes
we wear are uncomfortable. We are useless at this court.”
“I will make you princes,” said Prince Erian; “I will make you kings,
if you will assist me in all my undertakings.”
“Men of our kind,” said Long, “give kingdoms but receive none. At odd
times, dear prince, we shall visit you. May we always find you happy
Then bowing low to Prince Erian, Long, Large, and Keen Eyes sighed and
When Loony John was born, his mother leaned her head sadly on her hand
“What will become of this boy later? Will he be wicked or innocent,
rich or poor, intelligent or a simpleton?”
“He will be rich,” answered a little fairy. Her voice seemed to come
from the rafters.
“He will be poor,” said a second one.
“Intelligent,” said a third.
Then a fourth voice made itself heard—”Your child will never be
anything but a simpleton.”
The unhappy mother recognized that voice. She had heard it one day
when she refused to take pity on an old beggar-woman, and now she knew
that the woman was no other than the Queen of the Fairies in disguise.
The child grew and thrived, and when he was sixteen, his mother said:
“My son, I have many trials. We are poor and I want you to learn a
trade. What do you want to do?”
“You do not want to work?”
“Oh, no,” answered Loony John; “work is tiresome.”
“Ah!” thought the poor mother, “the Queen of the Fairies is taking her
Some days afterward the good woman needed a trivet, and sent her son to
Loony John ran to the city and bought a splendid one, and was
returning home contentedly, when he found that the trivet was too
heavy. So he sat it down and addressed it:
“There is the road that leads to our home. You have three feet and I
have but two. Run on ahead and be sure not to stop on the way, for my
mother needs your services.”
Loony John put his hands in his pockets and went whistling along the
“Where is the trivet?” demanded his mother when he reached home.
“Well, well!” exclaimed Loony John, “is it not already here? The lazy
thing must have lagged on the way. With its three feet it should have
been here a good quarter of an hour ago.”
“Alas!” said the mother, “the trivet is lost. What a simpleton you are
to talk to a piece of iron as if it had life. You should have put it
in your sack and carried it on your shoulders.”
“Well, mother,” answered Loony John, “another time I shall know what to
One day Loony John’s mother concluded to celebrate the birthday of
her oldest daughter, and some wine was needed for the invited guests,
and Loony John was sent after it to a neighboring village. As he was
returning, he remembered what his mother said about putting the trivet
in a sack.
“Oh—ho!” he cried. “I was about to make a serious blunder. If I carry
this wine to the house in a jug they will scold me. If a trivet should
be put in a sack why not the wine!”
So he poured it into his sack.
“Where is the wine?” he was asked when he returned home.
“I had no sooner put it in the sack than it ran away on all sides.”
“Did you not have a jug?”
“What a misfortune!” his mother said. “You should have carried it on
Loony John said he would do better next time.
Not long after this, he was sent for a servant who had been engaged to
watch the young turkeys.
“This time,” said Loony John, “I shall be careful to make no mistake.”
He soon found the servant, who was a young girl, and said to her:
“We have no time to lose. Let us be off. Come! get on my head and let’s
“Oh, I thank you, sir,” the young girl answered, laughingly. “You are
too good. I can walk very well on my feet.”
But Loony John was not to be put off in this way. He remembered that
he had been told to carry the wine on his head, and as the new servant
showed no inclination to obey him he gave her a terrible beating. She
fell almost lifeless by the roadside.
“Oh—ho!” cried Loony John, “you think you will have me scolded again
to-day; but I am not so fond of a scolding, I can assure you.”
Without delay he placed the poor girl on his head and carried her home,
where he arrived well-nigh exhausted.
“What is it you have there?” his mother cried.
“It is our new servant I bring you.”
“Oh, what an unhappy creature I am!” exclaimed the mother. She hastened
to put the servant to bed. The poor girl’s arms were broken and her
During the fortnight that followed, Loony John was sent on no errands.
But the servant girl grew steadily worse, and one morning the doctor
had to be sent for. There was no one to go but Loony John, and
accordingly he was sent.
“Ask for only one,” his mother cautioned him.
“Have no fear,” answered Loony John, and he went on his way yelling as
loud as he could:
“Let only one come! Let only one come!”
The road led by a river, and as Loony John was going along, he saw a
fisherman who, since early morning, had been throwing out his line
without success. Loony John’s song did not please him.
“Silly scamp!” he exclaimed, “say ‘Let a thousand come!’ if you want to
save your bones.”
Immediately Loony John cried out:
“Let a thousand come! Let a thousand come!”
He went on and came to a wood where a shepherd was struggling with a
fierce-looking wolf. The contest seemed to interest him. He sat down
quietly on a stone and awaited results.
The struggle was long and furious, but the man at last overpowered
the beast, and the wolf fell mortally wounded. While the shepherd was
recovering from his exertions he heard a strange refrain. Loony John
“Let a thousand come! Let a thousand come!”
The shepherd rose to his feet, furious.
“You young rascal! Say, rather, ‘May the Imp seize him!'”
At once Loony John took up the new refrain and went on his way crying:
“May the Imp seize him! May the Imp seize him!”
Presently he met a funeral procession, but he still continued his cry.
“Will you hush?” said one in the procession. “If you must go yelling
along the road, cry out, ‘May the Lord protect him!'”
Loony John was willing—none more so—and very soon the echoes were
“May the Lord protect him! May the Lord protect him!”
At the entrance of the village where the doctor lived, a house was on
fire, and a crowd of people were trying to put it out. Some wicked
person had set it on fire and he had been caught. He was safely tied,
and those who were not helping to put out the fire were engaged in
jeering and insulting the wicked incendiary.
Loony John also wanted to see the culprit, but for fear he would forget
what he had been told to say, he kept on repeating:
“May the Lord protect him! May the Lord protect him!”
The crowd was indignant, and on all sides were heard cries of “Here is
his accomplice!” Immediately Loony John was seized and beaten, and, in
spite of his tears and entreaties, was thrown into prison.
How he escaped need not be told. There is an old saying, “A fool for
luck!” and it is a true one. Loony John got back home somehow.
Some time afterward Easter Sunday came, and when Loony John’s mother
started to church she said:
“Above all things, don’t forget to put the hen in the stew-pan.”
“I will certainly do that,” he answered.
The good woman went off, leaving Loony John very much perplexed. He did
not know which hen his mother wanted. So, after thinking the matter
over, he went into the hen-house and said:
“Which one of you is to be cooked for dinner?”
“Cluck—cluck—cluck!” answered a setting hen.
“Pshaw! don’t talk Dutch!” protested Loony John; “I can’t understand
“Cluck—cluck—cluck!” said the setting hen.
Loony John was more puzzled than ever, but he repeated the question:
“Answer! Which one of you is to be eaten for dinner to-day?”
By this time the frightened chickens had all run out of the house into
the garden, leaving only the old setting hen who had been answering
Loony John in Dutch.
“Oh! you are the one! Very well!”
Loony John seized her and put her in the stew-pan alive. Then he began
to think, and he remembered that the eggs were not hatched and that the
nest was without a hen.
“My mother did not think of that,” said Loony John, and at once he went
and sat on the nest in the hen’s place.
When his mother returned home she called for her son.
“John! Oh, John! where are you?”
“Here, in a corner of the hen-house!”
“Where?” exclaimed the mother. “I do not see you.”
“Cluck—cluck—cluck!” said Loony John.
“Why don’t you answer?” cried his mother.
“Cluck—cluck—cluck!” said Loony John.
His mother at last found him quietly sitting on the eggs.
“What are you doing there?” she asked, angrily.
“Sh—h!” replied Loony John. “Don’t make any noise. I am setting.”
“Did you put the hen in the stew-pan?”
“What do you mean by that?” inquired the good woman. “Speak!”
“I say that I am setting!” said Loony John, “and I will fly off the
nest and scratch in the garden if you continue to disturb me in this
“Why do you set?” his mother asked.
“Because the hen that sat on these eggs is about to boil.”
“Why, that is not the hen that was to be cooked for dinner to-day, but
the one that I picked yesterday and put in the cupboard!” The good
woman shook her head in despair and went away.
How long Loony John sat on the nest cannot be told, but one day, some
time afterward, he was passing by a farm where he saw a woman picking a
chicken and carefully placing the feathers to one side. Loony John was
very much interested in this, and so he said to her:
“Please, ma’am, tell me what you are doing with those feathers?”
The woman was not without humor, and she replied:
“Why do you ask such a simple question? I am going to plant the
feathers, of course. Doesn’t your mother plant the feathers she picks
“My gracious! No!”
“Well, then, it is because she doesn’t own any Catchmeddler hens.”
“Why do you plant the feathers?” inquired Loony John.
“Well, well! your country must be a very poor place, young man. Is
it possible you don’t know that one of these feathers, carefully
cultivated, will yield each month a fat, frying-size chicken?”
“If that is so,” said Loony John, “sell me two hundred dollars’ worth
of your largest and finest feathers.”
The woman laughed in her sleeve. She had never dreamed that an old hen
could bring her so much money. She hastened to close the trade with
Loony John, and, to show that she was not at all picayunish, she threw
in the two feet of the old hen for good measure.
Loony John went on his way happy. When he reached home he got the hoe,
went out into the garden, and began to plant his fine feathers.
“How everybody will admire my fine square of feathers!” he said to
himself. “I will call to every passer-by and say, ‘Behold the beautiful
hen-patch! Has ever such a wonder been seen before?'”
The next week, however, Loony John went all in tears to find the
“Well, well! my good young man!” exclaimed the woman when she saw him,
“what do you cry for? Has your house been burnt?”
“That would be but a trifle,” replied Loony John.
“Alas! is your mother dead?”
“That would be an irreparable misfortune, but after awhile we should
“What plague has fallen upon you?”
“The hail!” cried Loony John; “the hail that uprooted my beautiful
chicken feathers. The wind also came among them and scattered them
over the country. Do not scold me! I have hunted for them, but I cannot
find a single one.”
“We should have thought about the possibility of a storm,” said the
shrewd woman. “It was not hens you should have cultivated, my young
friend, but sausages—for sausages will withstand the wind and hail.”
“But how would the sausages grow?” asked Loony John, drying his tears.
“Why, like apples and cherries; but the trees, instead of producing
these fruits, bear beautiful sausages. People who are not educated
think that sausages are only made by those who deal in meat. But surely
you know better,” said the shrewd woman.
Loony John tried to hide his astonishment.
“Who would be so simple-minded as not to know that?” he replied. “For
how much, ma’am, will you sell the sausages you speak of?”
“Twenty dollars apiece, if they are for yourself,” answered the woman.
“I’ll take a dozen,” said Loony John, with the air of a fine trader. “I
shall need no more to-day.”
The shrewd woman brought Loony John a dozen old sausages and carefully
wrapped them up. He paid for them on the spot, and then, forgetting his
first misfortune—the wind and the hail—he returned home singing.
Loony John grew older as the days went by. A beard appeared on his
face. He even took to himself a wife; but he still remained Loony John.
One day, when the sun was shining brightly, he dressed himself in his
new suit of clothes, put on his best hat and gloves, and went to
the fair in the neighboring village. He enjoyed himself, and created
a great deal of amusement for others by his queer blunders. In the
afternoon the thought occurred to him that his wife would be expecting
him at home, and so he started to return.
Unfortunately, a shower came up, just as he was crossing a bridge. Big
drops of rain were falling on all sides. In a little while his fine
hat, his new clothes, and his gloves that he was so proud of would be
“Goodness gracious!” cried Loony John, “if I suffer myself to get wet
like this I shall be called a simpleton indeed, and my friends will
have good cause to laugh at me. What shall I do?”
Suddenly he shouted for joy. A wonderful idea had struck him.
“I will throw myself in the river!” he exclaimed. “Once in the water,
it will be impossible for the rain to wet my clothes.”
No sooner said than done. Into the water jumped Loony John. He couldn’t
swim and so he was drowned. The next day the miller found the body in
the water. He drew it out, and Loony John was buried with great pomp.
On his tombstone was an inscription in Latin, which, being interpreted,
JUMPED INTO THE WATER
FROM GETTING WET.