AND LITTLE KLAUS 227
put in front of him the best food she had. But when they heard the farmer coming they were frightened, and the farmer's wife begged the sexton to creep into a great empty chest. He did so, as he knew the poor man could not bear to see a sexton. The wife hastily hid all the beautiful food and the wine in her oven; for if her husband had seen it, he would have been sure to ask what it all meant.
' Oh, dear ! oh, dear ! ' groaned Little Klaus up in the shed, when he saw the good food disappearing.
' Is anybody up there ? ' asked the farmer, catching sight of Little Klaus. ' Why are you lying there ? Come with me into the house.'
Then Little Klaus told him how he had lost his way, and begged to be allowed to spend the night there.
' Yes, certainly,' said the farmer ; ' but we must first have something to eat ! '
The wife received them both very kindly, spread a long table, and gave them a large plate of porridge. The farmer was hungry, and ate with a good appetite; but Little Klaus could not help thinking of the delicious dishes of fish and roast meats and cakes which he knew were in the oven. Under the table at his feet he had laid the sack with the horse-skin in it, for, as we know, he was going to the town to sell it. The porridge did not taste good to him, so he trod upon his sack, and the dry skin in the sack squeaked loudly.
i Hush !' said Little Klaus to his sack, at the same time treading on it again so that it squeaked even louder than before.
'Hullo ! what have you got in your sack ? ' asked the farmer.
' Oh, it is a wizard ! ' said Little Klaus. ' He says we should not eat porridge, for he has conjured the whole oven full of roast meats and fish and cakes.'
' Goodness me !' said the farmer; and opening the oven he saw all the delicious, tempting dishes his wife had hidden there, but which he now believed the wizard in the sack had conjured up for them. The wife could say nothing, but she put the food at once on tlie table, and they ate the fish, the roast meat, and the cakes. Little Klaus now trod again on his sack, so that the skin squeaked.
' What docs he say now ? ' asked the firmer.
' He says,' replied Little Klaus, ' that he has also conjured up for us three bottles of wine; they are standing in the cornel bj the oven !■