The VIOLET FAIRY BOOK - full online book

Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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292            THE HEADLESS DWARFS
of the church, and there you will find a large stone built into the wall, but not cemented like the rest. The day after to-morrow the moon is full, and at midnight you must go to the spot and get the stone out of the wall with a pickaxe. Under the stone lies a great treasure, which has been hidden there in time of war. Besides church plate, you will find bags of money, which have been lying in this place for over a hundred years, and no one knows to whom it all belongs. A third of this money you must give to the poor, but the rest you may keep for yourself.' As he finished, the cocks in the village crowed, and the little man was nowhere to be seen. Hans found that his limbs no longer pained him, and lay for some time thinking of the hidden treasure. Towards morning he fell asleep.
The sun was high in the heavens when his master returned from the town.
' Hans,' said he, ' what a fool you were not to come with me yesterday ! I was well feasted and entertained, and I have money in my pocket into the bargain,' he went on, rattling some coins while he spoke, to make Hans understand how much he had lost.
' Ah, sir,' replied Hans calmly, ' in order to have gained so much money you must have lain awake all night, but I have earned a hundred times that amount while I was sleeping soundly.'
' How did you manage that ?' asked the minister eagerly, but Hans answered, ' It is only fools who boast of their farthings; wise men take care to hide their crowns.'
They drove home, and Hans neglected none of his duties, but put up the horses and gave them their food before going to the church corner, where he found the loose stone, exactly in the place described by the dwarf. Then he returned to his work.
The first night of the full moon, when the whole village was asleep, he stole out, armed with a pickaxe,
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