THE MAGIC FIDDLE.
now I want to go out and see the world for a time; will you, therefore, give me what is right and just for me to have?w
" Yes," answered the greedy old man; " you have served me with the greatest willingness, and I am ready to reward you liber ally." He put his hand into his pocket as he spoke, and drew out three pence, and, counting them into the servant's hand, he said, " There are three pence—one for each year—and those are as liberal wages as you would get from any master."
The young man, who knew very little of the value of money, took up his earnings, and said to himself: " Now that my pocket is full, I need not trouble myself any longer with hard work."
Away he went, over hill and dale, singing and dancing with joy at his freedom, till he came to a road with thick bushes on one side.
Out of these bushes stepped a little man, who said to him: " Where are you going, you merry fellow ? The cares of the world don't appear to trouble you much, from what I can see."
" Why should I be sad ?" answered the youth. " Have I not three years' wages jingling in my pocket?"
" How much is your wonderful treasure ?" asked the dwarf.
"How much ? why, three bright pennies, good coin, rightly told."
" Listen," said the stranger, in reply: " I am a poor, destitute man, too old to work; but you are young, and can easily earn your living : will you give me those three pennies ?"
The young man had a kind heart, and could not help pitying those who were old, so he offered him the money, and said, "Take it, in heaven's name; I shall never miss it."
The little man took the money, and said, " I see you have a kind and generous heart, therefore I will grant you three wishes— one for each penny—and each wish shall be fulfilled."
"Aha!" cried the youth, "you are a magician, I see. Well, if what you say is true, I will wish first for a gun which shall hit everything at which I aim ; secondly, for a fiddle, which, when I play it, shall oblige every one to dance who hears it; and, thirdly, that whoever I make a request to shall not be able to refuse me."
" All these you shall have." said the little man. Then he thrust his hand into the bush, separated the branches, and there lay a beautiful fiddle and gun, all in readiness, as if they had been ordered for him beforehand.