The GREEN Fairy Book - online children's book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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honse a peasant who had two goats, so alike in every respect that it was impossible to distinguish one from the other. Simon bought them both, paid as small a price as he could for them, and leading them home with him, he told Nina to prepare a good meal, as he was going to invite some friends to dinner. He ordered her to roast some veal and to boil a pair of chickens, and gave her some herbs to make a good savory, and told her to bake the best tart she could make. Then he took one of the goats and tied it to a post in the court-yard and gave it some grass to eat; but he bound a cord round the neck of the other goat and led it to the market.
Hardly had he arrived there than the three gentlemen who had got his mule perceived him, and coming up to him said:
"Welcome, Mr. Simon. What brings you here? Are you on the lookout for a bargain?"
"I've come to get some provisions," he answered, "because some friends are coming to dine with me to-day, and it would give me much pleasure if you were to honor me with your company also."
The accomplices willingly accepted this invitation; and after Simon had made all his purchases he tied them on to the goat's back and said to it, in the presence of the three cheats: "Go home, now, and tell Nina to roast the veal and boil the chickens, and tell her to prepare a savory with herbs, and to bake the best tart she can make. Have you followed me? Then go, and Heaven's blessing go with you."
As soon as it felt itself free the laden goat trotted off as quickly as it could, and to this day nobody knows what became of it. But Simon, after wandering about the market for some time with his three friends and some others he had picked up, returned home to his house.
When he and his guests entered the court-yard they noticed the goat tied to the post quietly chewing its cud. They were not a little astonished at this, for of course they thought it was the same goat that Simon had sent home laden with provisions. As soon as they reached the house Mr. Simon said to his housekeeper: "Well, Nina, have you done what I told the goat to tell you to do?" The artful woman, who at once understood her master, answered: "Certainly I have. The veal is roasted and the chickens boiled,"
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