THE STORY OF BIG KLAUS
' I'll see to your horses ! ' said Big Klaus; and, seizing an iron bar, he struck Little Klaus' one horse such a blow on the head that it fell down and died on the spot.
' Alas ! Now I have no horse !' said Little Klaus, beginning to cry. Then he flayed the skin off his horse, dried it, and put it in a sack, which he threw over his shoulder, and went into the town to sell it. He had a long way to go, and had to pass through a great dark forest. A dreadful storm came on, in which he lost his way, and before he could get on to the right road night came on, and it was impossible to reach the town that evening.
Eight in front of him was a large farm-house. The window-shutters were closed, but the light came through the chinks. ' I should very much like to be allowed to spend the night there,' thought Little Klaus ; and he went and knocked at the door. The farmer's wife opened it, but when she heard what he wanted she told him to go away; her husband was not at home, and she took in no strangers.
'Well, I must lie down outside,9 said Little Klaus; and the farmer's wife shut the door in his face. Close by stood a large haystack, and between it and the house a little out-house, covered with a flat thatched roof.
'I can lie down there,' thought Little Klaus, looking at the roof; c it wTill make a splendid bed, if only the stork won't fly down and bite my legs.' For a live stork was standing on the roof, where it had its nest. So Little Klaus crept up into the out-house, where he lay down, and made himself comfortable for the night. The wooden shutters over the windows were not shut at the top, and he could just see into the room.
There stood a large table, spread with wine and roast meat and a beaiitiful fish. The farmer's wife and the sexton sat at the table, but there was no one else. She was filling up his glass, while he stuck his fork into the fish which was his favourite dish.
' If one could only get some of that!' thought Little Klaus, stretching his head towards the window. Ah, what delicious cakes he saw standing there ! It was a feast!
Then he heard someone riding along the road towards the house. It was the farmer coming home. He was a very worthy man ; but he had one great peculiarity—namely, that he could not bear to see a sexton. If he saw one he was made quite mad. That was why the sexton had gone to say good-day to the farmer's wife when he knew that her husband was not at home, and the good woman therefore