THE LILAC FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

A Collection of Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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THE BELIEVING HUSBANDS            335
When the third man arrived his wife gave him his supper, and after that he went to bed, just as usual. The next morning a boy knocked at the door, bidding him attend the burial of the man who was dead, and he was just going to get up when his wife stopped him.
' Time enough,' said she, and he lay still till he heard the funeral passing the window.
' Now rise, and be quick,' called the wife, and the man jumped out of bed in a great hurry, and began to look about him.
' Why, where are my clothes ? ' asked he.
' Silly that you are, they are on your back, of course,' answered the woman.
' Are they ? ' said he.
' They are,' said she, ' and make haste lest the burying be ended before you get there.'
Then off he went, running hard, and when the mourners saw a man coming towards them with nothing on but his nightshirt, they forgot in their fright what they were there for, and fled to hide themselves. And the naked man stood alone at the head of the coffin.
Very soon a man came out of the wood and spoke to him.
' Do you know me ? '
' Not I,' answered the naked man. ' I do not know you.'
' But why are you naked ? ' asked the first man.
' Am I naked ? My wife told me that I had all my clothes on,' answered he.
' And my wife told me that I myself was dead,' said the man in the coffin.
But at the sound of his voice the two men were so terrified that they ran straight home, and the man in the coffin got up and followed them, and it was his wife that gained the gold ring, as he had been sillier than the other two.
From West Highland Tales.'
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