116 THE STORY OF A VERY BAD BOY
themselves. They never noticed that a beggar was sitting in the shade at the end of the bench, but Toueno's sharp ears caught the sound of someone eating, and as soon as the farmers had gone into the inn he began to groan softly.
' What is the matter ?' asked the beggar, drawing a little nearer. ' Why have they shut you up, poor boy ?'
' Because they wanted to make me a bishop, and I would not consent,' answered Toueno.
' Dear me,' exclaimed the beggar, 'yet it isn't such a bad thing to be a bishop.'
' I don't say it is,' replied the young rascal, ' but I should never like it. However, if you have any fancy for wearing a mitre, you need only untie the sack, and take my place.'
' I should like nothing better,' said the man, as he stooped to undo the big knot.
So it was the beggar and not Toueno-Bueno who was flung into the water.
The next morning the three wives were buried, and on returning from the cemetery, their husbands met Toueno-Bueno driving a magnificent flock of sheep. At the sight of him the three farmers stood still with astonishment.
' What! you scoundrel! ' they cried at last, ' we drowned you yesterday, and to-day we find you again, as well as ever ! '
' It does seem odd, doesn't it ? ' answered he. ' But perhaps you don't know that beneath this world there lies another yet more beautiful and far, far richer. Well, it was there that you sent me when you flung me into the river, and though I felt a little strange at first, yet I soon began to look about me, and to see what was happening. There I noticed that close to the place where I had fallen, a sheep fair was being held, and a bystander told me that every day horses or cattle were