The Grey Fairy Book - online childrens book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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THE THIEF AND THE LIAR              69
When they reached the next kingdom, the thief pre­sented himself to the king, and requested him to give him a cauliflower. And the king answered: ' Owing to a blight among the vegetables we have no cauliflower.'
'That is strange,' answered the thief. 'I have just come from a country where it grows so well that one head of cauliflower filled twelve water-tubs.'
' I don't believe it,' answered the king.
'I bet you six hundred florins it is true,' replied the thief.
'And I bet you six hundred florins it is not true,' answered the king. And he sent for a servant, and ordered him to start at once for the country whence the thief had come, to find out if his story of the cauliflower was true. On his journey the servant met with a man. Stopping his horse he asked him where he came from, and the man replied that he came from the country to which the other was travelling
' If that is the case,' said the servant, ' you can tell me to what size cauliflower grows in your country? Is it so large that one head fills twelve water-tubs?'
'I have not seen that,' answered the man. ' But I saw twelve waggons, drawn by twelve horses, carry­ing one head of cauliflower to flip market.'
And the servant answered: 'Here are ten florins for you, my man, for you have saved me a long journey. Come with me now, and tell the king what you have just told me.'
' All right,' said the man, and they went together to the palace; and when the king asked the servant if he had found out the truth about the cauliflower, the servant replied : ' Sire, all that you heard was perfectly true; here is a man from the country who will tell you so.'
So the king had to pay the thief the six hundred florins. And the two partners set out once more on their travels, with their nine hundred florins. When they reached the countiy of the neighbouring king, the thief
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