THE STRAW, THE COAL, AND THE BEAN. 99
The proposal pleased the two others, and forthwith they started on their travels. Soon they came to a little brook, and as there was no stepping-stone, and no bridge, they could not tell how they were to get to the other side. The straw was struck with a good idea, and said,
" I will lay myself across, so that you can go over me as if I were a bridge ! "
So the straw stretched himself from one bank to the other, and the coal, who was of an ardent nature, quickly trotted up to go over the new-made bridge. When, however, she reached the middle, and heard the water rushing past beneath her, she was struck with terror, and stopped, and could get no farther. So the straw began to get burnt, broke in two pieces, and fell in the brook, and the coal slipped down, hissing as she touched the water, and gave up the ghost. The bean, who had prudently remained behind on the bank, could not help laughing at the sight, and not being able to contain herself, went on laughing so excessively that she burst. And now would she certainly have been undone for ever, if a tailor on his travels had not by good luck stopped to rest himself by the brook. As he had a compassionate heart, he took out needle and thread and stitched her together again. The bean thanked him in the most elegant manner, but as he had sewn her up with black stitches, all beans since then have a black seam.