THE GREEN FAIRY BOOK.
"That's all right," said Simon.
When the three rogues saw the cooked meats and the tart in the oven, and heard Nina's words, they were nearly beside themselves with amazement, and began to consult at once how they were to get the goat into their own possession. At last, toward the end of the meal, having sought in vain for some cunning dodge to get the goat away from Mr. Simon, one of them said to him: "My worthy host, you must sell your goat to us."
Simon replied that he was most unwilling to part with the creature, as no amount of money would make up to him for its loss; still, if they were quite set on it he would let them have the goat for fifty gold-pieces.
The knaves, who thought they were doing a capital piece of business, paid down the fifty gold-pieces at once and left the house quite happily, leading the goat with them. When they got home they said to their wives. "You needn't begin to cook the dinner to-morrow till we send the provisions home."
The following day they went to the market and bought chickens and other eatables, and after they had packed them on the back of the goat (which they had brought with them), they told it all the dishes they wished their wives to prepare. As soon as the goat felt itself free it ran as quickly as it could, and was very soon lost to sight, and, as far as I know, was never heard of again.
When the dinner-hour approached all three went home and asked their wives if the goat had returned with the necessary provisions, and had told them what they wished prepared for their meal.
"Oh, you fools and blockheads!" cried their wives; "how could you ever believe for a moment that a goat would do the work of a servant-maid? You have been finely deceived for once in a way. Of course, if you are always taking in other people, your turn to be taken in comes too, and this time you've been made to look pretty foolish." r J
When the three comrades saw that Mr. Simon had got the better of them and done them out of fifty gold-pieces, they flew into such a rage that they made up their minds to kill him, and seizing their weapons for this purpose went to his house.
But the sly old man, who was terrified for his life that