THE TAILORS THREE SONS. 161
would return to his father ; whose anger must be appeased by this time, and with such a wonderful table as he possessed, he was sure to receive a kind welcome. He therefore turned his steps homewards, and towards evening came to an inn by the road-side, which seemed full of guests. The landlord asked him in, and invited him to sit and eat with him, as the house was so full.
The young joiner looked at the scanty fare which was placed before him, and said, " Do you think I am going to be satisfied with such a supper as that? Why, I could eat it all at two mouth-fuls ! No, wait a bit; you shall be my guest, landlord."
The host laughed, and thought his visitor was making jokes with him : but how great was his surprise when he saw him unfasten the little table from his back, place it on the floor of the room, and heard him say, "Table, prepare thyself." In a moment the table was covered with the most splendid supper, as good, and even better than the landlord himself could have provided. The smell even reached the noses of the guests, and they came down to the landlord's room to see what feast he had there.
Then the joiner said, "Dear friends, seat yourselves; you are quite welcome." And when they saw that he was really in earnest, they did not allow themselves to be asked twice, but took their places at the table and used their knives and forks bravely. Their surprise was increased when they observed that as soon as a dish was empty, it was instantly replaced by a full one.
The landlord stood in a corner watching the affair in silence, but he thought to himself, " If I had such a cook as that, it would make the fortune of my house "
The joiner and his guests spent great part of the night enjoying themselves, but at last they went to their rooms, and the young man carried his table with him, and placed it against the wall. But the envious, avaricious thoughts of the landlord gave him no rest all night, he did so long to possess this wonderful table. At last he remembered that he had in his lumber-room an old table just like it in appearance. So he rose and went very quietly to fetch it 5 then creeping into the young man's room, he changed the tables, and carried off his treasure, for the joiner slept soundly.
The next morning the youth, after paying for the night's expenses, packed up his table and went his way, quite unaware of
the false conduct of the landlord.