GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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among the peasants. The owner of the oxen said the foal belonged to one of his beasts, and the peasant declared it was the foal of one of his horses, and that it was his. The noise and the fighting became at last so great, that the matter was brought before the king, and he gave as his decision that where the foal was found lying there it should remain, and as that was with the oxen, there­fore to the owner of the oxen the foal belonged, and might be taken by him. The other went home mourning and lamenting over the loss of his foal. Now he had heard that the queen was very kind and gracious, although she had been herself a peasant So he went to her and begged her to help him to get back his foal. She readily agreed to do so, on condition that he would promise not to betray her. " To-morrow morning, early." she said, " when the king goes out with the officers to relieve guard, you place yourself in the road by which they must pass. Take with you a fishing-rod and act as if you were fishing in the ditch, which will be dry, but never mind, pull in your line, and jerk it up and down just as if you had a bite; and if the king or anyone asks you what you are doing, give them the answer that I will tell you."
So the next day, the peasant seated himself by the road and began to fish in a dry ditch. As soon as the king came by he saw him, and sent his attendants to ask the foolish man what he was about. The peasant, on being questioned by the attendant as to what he was doing, replied, " I am fishing."
w Fishing V he replied, " why you will get none if you fish for a year; there is no water."
" Ah," said the peasant, " it is quite as easy for me to get fish without water as for an ox to be the parent of a horse's foal."
The attendant went back with this answer to the king. The king desired the peasant to be brought before him, and told him he was quite sure that he could not have thought of such an answer himself, and desired him instantly to tell him from whom he had it.
But the peasant refused to admit that the answer was not his own, and he was therefore taken away from the king's presence and beaten, and ill-treated, and bound in fetters, till at last he was obliged to disclose that the queen had told him what to say and do.
As soon as the king returned home, he went to his wife in great