THE MASTER THIEF
' Oh ! oh ! oh ! Where am I now ? ' asked the Priest.
'.Now you are in Purgatory,' said the Master Thief, and off he
went and took the gold and the silver and all the precious things which the Priest had laid together in his best parlour.
Next morning, when the goose-girl came to let out the geese, she heard the Priest bemoaning himself as he lay in the sack in the goose-house.
' Oh, heavens ! who is that, and what ails you ? ' said she.
' Oh,' said the Priest, ' if you are an angel from heaven do let me out and let me go back to earth again, for no place was ever so bad as this—the little fiends nip me so with their tongs.'
' I am no angel,' said the girl, and helped the Priest out of the sack. ' I only look after the Governor's geese, that's what I do, and they are the little fiends which have pinched your reverence.'
' This is the Master Thief's doing! Oh, my gold and my silver and my best clothes !' shrieked the Priest, and, wild with rage, he ran home so fast that the goose-girl thought he had suddenly gone mad.
When the Governor learnt what had happened to the Priest lie laughed till he nearly killed himself, but when the Master Thief came and wanted to have his daughter according to promise, he once more gave him nothing but fine words, and said, ' You must give me one more proof of your skill, so that I can really judge of your worth. I have twelve horses in my stable, and I will put twelve stable boys in it, one on each horse. If you are clever enough to steal the horses from under them, I will see what I can do for you.'
' What you set me to do can-be done,' said the Master Thief,' but am I certain to get your daughter when it is ? '
' Yes; if you can do that I will do my best for you,' said the Governor.
So the Master Thief went to a shop, and bought enough brand v to fill two pocket flasks, and he put a sleeping drink into one of these, but into the other he poured brandy only. Then he engaged eleven men to he that night in hiding behind the Governor's stable. After this, by fair words and good payment, he borrows < I a ragged gown and a jerkin from an aged woman, and then, with a staff in his hand and a poke on his back, he hobbled oil as c\ cuing came on towards the Governor's stable. The stable boys were just watering the horses for the night, and it was quite as much as they could do to attend to that.