THE FAIRY'S TWO GIFTS.
"Very well then," replied the fairy, "ride home, and whatever your three wishes are shall be granted."'
The rich man had obtained his desire, and he rode homewards thinking deeply of what the wishes should be. As he thus thought, he allowed the bridle to hang so loosely that his horse began to caper and dance about till his thoughts were all so scattered, that he could not collect them again. He struck the horse and said, " Be quiet, Bess," but the animal pranced and reared till he was nearly thrown off. At last he became angry, and cried out, " What do you mean by it ? I wish your neck was broken."
No sooner had he spoken the words than his horse fell under him, and lay dead and motionless, and so was his first wish fulfilled. As he was by nature avaricious, he would not leave the saddle and bridle behind him, so he cut the straps, hung them on his back, and prepared to walk home, as he was now obliged to do on foot. "We have still two wishes remaining." he said, and comforted himself with the thought.
As he now walked along through the hot sand with the burning noonday sun shining brightly upon him he became fretful with the heat and fatigue. The saddle dragged him back, and seemed ready to fall, and he could not decide what to wish for. " If I were to wish for all the riches and treasures in the world," he said to himself, " what would be the use ? I should not know which to choose. I will contrive, however, that when I have gained my two wishes, I shall have nothing else left to wish for." Then he sighed, and said, " If I were only like the Bavarian peasant, who had three wishes offered him. First he wished for a draught of beer. The second time for as much beer as he could drink, and the third time for a whole cask. Each time he thought he had gained what he wanted, but afterwards it seemed to him as nothing."
Presently, there came to him a thought of how happy his wife must be, sitting in their cool room at home, and enjoying something very nice. It vexed him so much not to be there with her, that, without a thought of the consequences, he exclaimed, " Ah ! I wish this heavy saddle would slip from my back, and that she was sitting upon it, not able to move."
As the last word fell from his lips, the saddle and bridle vanished, and he became aware that his second wish was fulfilled.