224 GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES.
" every evening I have potatoes; have you a mind to be my guest ? *
" Many thanks," answered the traveller, " I will not deprive you ; you did not expect a guest; but if you do not object, you shall be the one to be invited."
" How can that be managed?" said the charcoal-burner; " I see that you have nothing with you, and if you were to walk two hours in any direction, you would meet with no one to give you anything."
" For all that," answered he, " there shall be a feast so good, that you have never tasted the like."
Then he took out the table-cloth from his knapsack, and spreading it on the ground, said,
" Cloth, be covered," and immediately there appeared boiled and roast meat, quite hot, as if it had just come from the kitchen. The charcoal-burner stared, but did not stay to be asked twice, and fell to, filling his black mouth with ever bigger and bigger pieces. When they had finished eating, the charcoal-burner smiled, and said,
" Look here, I approve of your table-cloth; it would not be a bad thing for me to have here in the wood, where the cooking is not first-rate. I will strike a bargain with you. There hangs a soldier's knapsack in the corner, which looks old and unsightly, but it has wonderful qualities ; as I have no further occasion for it, I will give it to you in exchange for the table-cloth."
" First, I must know what these wonderful qualities are," returned the other.
" I will tell you," answered the charcoal-burner; " if you strike it with your hand, there will appear a corporal and six men with swords and muskets, and whatever you wish to have done, that will they do."
"Well, for.my part," said the other, "I am quite willing to make the exchange." And he gave the table-cloth to the charcoal-burner, took down the knapsack from its hook, slung it over his shoulder, and took his leave. Before he had gone far he began to want to make a trial of his wonderful knapsack, so he struck it a blow. At once seven soldiers appeared before him, and the corporal said,
" What does my lord and master please to want ?"