THE STORY OF CICGU
pleased to see that the fig-tree looked in splendid condition, and was full of fruit. He ran and fetched a basket, and was just feeling the figs, to make sure which of them were ripe, when his brother Peppe called to him, ' Stop ! The figs of course are yours, but the branches they grow on are mine, and I forbid you to touch them.'
Ciccu did not answer, but set a ladder against the tree, so that he could reach the topmost branches, and had his foot already on the first rung when he heard the voice of his brother Alfin : ' Stop! the trunk belongs to me, and I forbid you to touch it!'
Then they began to quarrel violently, and there seemed no chance that they would ever cease, till one of them said, ' Let us go before a judge.' The others agreed, and when they had found a man whom they could trust Ciccu told him the whole story.
'This is my verdict,' said the judge. 'The figs in truth belong to you, but you cannot pluck them without touching both the trunk and the branches. Therefore yon must give your first basketful to your brother Alfin, as the price of his leave to put your ladder against the trie: and the second basketful to your 1 trot her Peppe, for leave to shake his boughs. The rest you can keep for yourself.'
And the brothers were contented, and returned home, saying one to the other, ' We will each of us send a basket of figs to the king. Perhaps he will give us something in return, and if he does we will divide it faithfully between us.' So the best figs were carefully packed in a basket, and Peppe set out with it to the castle.
On the road he met a little old man who stopped and said to him, 'What have you got there, niv line fellow?'
'What is that to you?' was the answer: 'mind your own business.' But the old man only repeated his question, and Peppe, to get rid of him, exclaimed in anger, ' Dirt'
* Good,' replied the old man; 'dirt you have said, and dirt let it be.'