Once upon a time what happened did happen, and if it had not happened this story would never have been told.
On the outskirts of a village just where the oxen were turned out to pasture, and the pigs roamed about burrowing with their noses among the roots of the trees, there stood a small house. In the house lived a man who had a wife, and the wife was sad all day long.
'Dear wife, what is wrong with you that you hang your head like a droopiug rosebud?' asked her husband one morning. ' You have everything you want; why cannot you be merry like other women ? '
' Leave me alone, and do not seek to know the reason,' replied she, bursting into tears, and the man thought that it was no time to question her, and went away to his work.
He could not, however, forget all about it, and a few days after he inquired again the reason of her sadness, but only got the same reply. At length he felt he could bear it no longer, and tried a third time, and then his wife turned and answered him.
' Good gracious! ' cried she, ' why cannot you let things be as they are? If I were to tell you, you would become just as wretched as myself. If you would only believe, it is far better for you to know nothing.'
But no man yet was ever content with such an answer. The more you beg him not to inquire, the greater is his curiosity to learn the whole.