342 THE STORY OF CICCU
said to his brothers, ' That old coverlet and the purse are no use to you; I wish you would give them to me. 1 have a fancy for them, for the sake of old times.' Now Peppe and Alfin were very fond of Ciccu, and never refused him anything, so they let him have the coverlet and the purse without a word. When he had got them safely Ciccu went on, ' Dear brothers, I am tired of the forest. I want to live in the town, and work at some trade.'
' 0 Ciccu! stay with us,' they cried. ' We are very happy here; and who knows how we shall get on elsewhere ?'
' We can always try,' answered Ciccu ; ' and if times are bad we can come back here and take up wood-cutting.' So saying he picked up his bundle of sticks, and his brothers did the same.
But when they reached the town they found that the market was overstocked with firewood, and they did not sell enough to buy themselves a dinner, far less to get any food to carry home. They were wondering sadly what they should do when Ciccu said, ' Come with me to the inn and let us have something to eat.' They were so hungry by this time that they did not care much whether they paid for it or not, so they followed Ciccu, who gave his orders to the host. ' Bring us three dishes, the nicest that you have, and a good bottle of wine.'
'Ciccu! Ciccu!' whispered his brothers, horrified at this extravagance, ' are you mad? How do you ever mean to pay for it?'
'Let me alone,' replied Ciccu; 'I know what I am about.' And when they had finished their dinner Ciccu told the others to go on, and he would wait to pay the bill.
The brothers hurried on, without needing to be told twice, ' for,' thought they, ' he has no money, and of course there will be a row.'
When they were out of sight Ciccu asked the landlord howT much he owed, and then said to his purse, ' Dear