The Complete Fairy Tales & Other Stories
By Hans Christian Andersen - online book

Oxford Complete Illustrated Edition all his stories written between 1835 and 1872.

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766 WHAT THE OLD MAN DOES IS RIGHT
1 What will you give me for the sackful ? ' asked the ostler.
' What will I give ? I will give my fowl in exchange.
And he gave the fowl accordingly, and received the apples, which he carried into the guest-room. He leaned the sack carefully by the stove, and then went to the table. But the stove was hot : he had not thought of that. Many guests were present—horse-dealers, cattle-dealers, and two Englishmen—and they are so rich that their pockets are bursting with gold coins ; and they could bet, too, as you shall hear.
Hiss-s-s ! hiss-s-s ! What was that by the stove ? The apples were beginning to roast !
' What is that ? '
Well, they soon got to know that, and the whole story of the horse that he had changed for a cow, and all the rest of it, down to the apples.
* Well, your old woman will give it you well when you get home ! ' said one of the two Englishmen. ' There will be a disturbance.'
' I will get a kiss and not a pounding,' said the peasant. ' My wife will say, " What the old man does is always right." '
' Shall we wager ? ' said the Englishman. ' We'll wager coined gold by the bushel—a hundred pounds to the hundredweight ! '
1 A bushel will be enough,' replied the peasant. ' I can only set the bushel of apples against it; and I'll throw myself and my old woman into the bargain—and I fancy that's piling up the measure.'
' Done—taken ! '
And the bet was made. The host's carriage came up, and the Englishmen got in, and the peasant got in ; away they went, and soon they stopped before the peasant's hut.
1 Good evening, old woman.'
' Good evening, old man.'
' I've made the exchange.'
' Yes, you understand what you're about,' said the woman.
And she embraced him, and forgot both the sack and the strangers.