WHAT THE OLD MAN DOES IS RIGHT 765
exchange ? I'll give you my sheep for your goose, and thank you into the bargain.' ^
The other man had not the least objection ; and accordingly they exchanged, and our peasant got the goose.
By this time he was very near the town. The crowd on the high road became greater and greater ; there was quite a crush of men and cattle. They walked in the road, and close by the ditch ; and at the barrier they even walked into the toll-man's potato-field, where his own fowl was strutting about with a string to its leg, lest it should take fright at the crowd, and stray away, and so be lost. This fowl had short tail-feathers, and winked with both its eyes, and looked very well. ' Chick, cluck ! ' said the fowl. What it thought when it said this I cannot tell you ; but directly our good man saw it, he thought, ' That 's the finest fowl I've ever seen in my life ! Why, it's finer than our parson's brood hen. On my word, I should like to have that fowl. A fowl can always find a grain or two, and can almost keep itself. I think it would be a good exchange if I could get that for my goose.'
' Shall we exchange ?' he asked the toll-taker.
' Exchange !' repeated the man ; ' well, that would not be a bad thing.'
And so they exchanged; the toll-man at the barrier kept the goose, and the peasant carried away the fowl.
Now, he had done a good deal of business on his way to the fair, and he was hot and tired. He wanted something to eat, and a glass of brandy to drink ; and soon he was in front of the inn. He was just about to step in, when the ostler came out, so they met at the door. The ostler was carrying a sack.
' What have you in that sack ? ' asked the peasant.
' Rotten apples,' answered the ostler ; ' a whole sackful for the pigs.'
' Why, that's a terrible quantity ! I should like my old woman at home to see that sight. Last year the old tree by the turf-house only bore a single apple, and we kept it in the cupboard till it was quite rotten and spoiled. " It was always property," my old woman said ; but here she could see a quantity of property. Yes, I shall be glad to show them to her.'