114 THE STORY OF A VERY BAD BOY
I tell you, I may be able to save us both. Lie down on the floor, and pretend to be dead, and be sure not to speak, whatever happens.'
Thus when the three brothers, each armed with a whip, entered the hut a few seconds later, they found a woman extended on the floor, and Toueno kneeling at her side, whistling loudly into her ears.
' What are you doing now, you rascal ? ' asked the eldest.
' What am I doing ? Oh, my poor friends, I am the most miserable creature in the world ! I have lost the best of mothers, and I don't know what will become of me,' and he hid his face in his hands and sobbed again.
' But what are you whistling like that for ? '
' Well, it is the only chance. This whistle has been
known to bring the dead back to life, and I hoped-----'
here he buried his face in his hands again, but peeping between his fingers he saw that the brothers had opened their six eyes as wide as saucers.
' Look ! ' he suddenly exclaimed with a cry, ' Look ! I am sure I felt her body move ! And now her nostrils are twitching. Ah ! the whistle has not lost its power after all,' and stooping down, Toueno whistled more loudly than before, so that the old woman's feet and hands showed signs of life, and she soon was able to lift her head.
The farmers were so astonished at her restoration, that it was some time before they could speak. At length the eldest turned to the boy and said :
' Now listen to me. There is no manner of doubt that you are a young villain. You sold us a ram knowing full well that it was a wolf, and we came here to-day to pay you out for it. But if you will give us that whistle, we will pardon what you have done, and will leave you alone.'
' It is my only treasure, and I S3t great store by it,'