THE TIVEL VE IDLERS.
tered ? I laid a plaster on the place, and it was soon all right, and no harm done-"
" I think my plan is best," said the fourth. " Before I begin my work I always dawdle about for an hour, to spare my strength ; and, even after this, I move very slowly, and ask every one who comes near me to help me. In this way I manage to get through the chief of my work; and so it is done properly at last. But it is not much that I do, after all."
" Oh, that is nothing to my idleness," cried the fifth. "Only think, I have to remove the manure from the stables, and load a waggon with it. I take it very easy, I assure you, for when I toss the manure on a pitchfork, I raise it only half way in the air, and then rest for a quarter of an hour before I throw it quite into the cart. It is as much as I can do to load a cart in a day. I have no wish to kill myself with work."
" You ought to be ashamed of yourself," said the sixth. " I am not afraid of work, but I save time for idleness in other ways. I sometimes do not take my clothes off for weeks. And suppose I have no strings to my shoes, what does it matter if they fall off my feet ? There is no harm done. I can drag one foot after the other slowly, and get on by degrees ; and I manage my time so well that I know when I can rest."
" All this is nothing to what I do," said the seventh. " My master examines my work, but he is away from home all day. I neglect nothing, however, for I can do in a very short time what slow people would take days to perform, and it is quite as well done as if I had four strong men to help me."
"Ah," said the eighth, "I see plainly that I am the only wideawake chap amongst you. Why, if a stone lies before my path, I never trouble myself to lift my leg and step over it. If I lie down on the ground, and get wet or covered with mud and dirt, I do not stir, but remain there till the sun has dried up the wet or the mud. This way appears to me the easiest and the simplest in the world."
" I can beat you all," said the ninth. " This very day my bread and cheese lay before me, but, although I was starving with hunger, I was too lazy to reach my hand and take it. A jug stood by, and because it was heavy I endured thirst rather than attempt to lift it. Indeed, rather than take the trouble to move, I remained the whole day lying still, like a log of wood."