THE FLYING SHIP'
O NCE upon a time there lived an old couple who had three song; the two elder were clever, but the third was a regular dunce. The clever sons were very fond of their mother, gave her good clothes, and always spoke pleasantly to her; but the youngest was always getting in her way, and she had no patience with him. Now, one clay it was announced in the village that the King had issued a decree, offering his daughter, the Princess, in marriage to whoever should build a ship that could fly. Immediately the two elder brothers determined to try their luck, and asked their parents' blessing. So the old mother smartened up their clothes, and gave them a store of provisions for their journey, not forgetting to add a bottle of brandy. When they had gone the poor Simpleton began to tease his mother to smarten him up and let him start off.
' What would become of a dolt like you ?' she answered. ' Why, you would be eaten up by wolves.'
But the foolish youth kept repeating, ' I will go, I will go, I will go!'
Seeing that she could do nothing with him, the mother gave him a crust of bread and a bottle of water, and took no further heed of him.
So the Simpleton set off on his way. When he had gone a short distance he met a little old manikin. They greeted one another, and the manikin asked him where he was going.
; I am off to the King's Court,' he answered. ( He has promised to give his daughter to whoever can make a flying ship.'
' And can you make such a ship ? '
' Not I.'
' Then why in the world are you going ? '
' Can't tell,' replied the Simpleton.
' Well, if that is the case,' said the manikin, ' sit down beside
2 From the Russian.