THE MAGIC BOOK
There was once an old couple named Peder and Kristen who had an only son called Hans. From the time he was a little boy he had been told that on his sixteenth birthday he must go out into the world and serve his apprenticeship. So, one fine summer morning, he started off to seek his fortune with nothing but the clothes he wore on his back.
For many hours he trudged on merrily, now and then stopping to drink from some clear spring or to pick some ripe fruit from a tree. The little wild creatures peeped at him from beneath the bushes, and he nodded and smiled, and wished them 'Good-morning.' After he had been walking for some time he met an old white-bearded man who was coming along the foot-path. The boy would not step aside, and the man was determined not to do so either, so they ran against one another with a bump.
'It seems to me,' said the old fellow, 'that a boy should give way to an old man.'
'The path is for me as well as for you,' answered young Hans saucily, for he had never been taught politeness.
'Well, that's true enough,' answered the other mildly. 'And where are you going?'
T am going into service,' said Hans.
'Then you can come and serve me,' replied the man.
Well, Hans could do that; but what would his wages be?
'Two pounds a year, and nothing to do but keep some rooms clean,' said the new-comer.