51 Tales translated to English by Lucy Crane & Illustrated by Walter Crane

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The STRAW, The COAL, and the BEAN

HERE lived in a certain village a poor old woman who had collected a mess of beans, and was going to cook them. So she made a fire on her hearth, and, in order to make it burn better, she put in a handful of straw. When the beans began to bubble in the pot, one of them fell out and lay, never noticed, near a straw which was already there; soon a red-hot coal jumped out of the fire and joined the pair. The straw began first, and said,
" Dear friends, how do you come here ?" The coal answered,
" I jumped out of the fire by great good luck, or I should certainly have met with my death. I should have been burned to ashes." The bean said,
" I too have come out of it with a whole skin, but if the old woman had kept me in the pot I should have been cooked into a soft mass like my comrades."
"Nor should I have met with a better fate," said the straw ; " the old woman has turned my brothers into fire and smoke, sixty of them she took up at once and deprived of life. Very luckily I managed to slip through her fingers." " What had we better do now ? " said the coal. " I think," answered the bean, " that as we have been so lucky as to escape with our lives, we will join in good fellow­ship together, and, lest any more bad fortune should happen to us here, we will go abroad into foreign lands,"