266 GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES.
The punishment followed; as he was chopping away at the tree, he hit himself in the leg so severely that he had to be carried home.
Then said the Simpleton,
" Father, let me go for once into the forest to cut wood; and the father answered, " Your brothers have hurt themselves by so doing; give it up, you understand nothing about it."
But the Simpleton went on begging so long, that the father said at last,
" Well, be off with you; you will only learn by experience."
The mother gave him a cake (it was only made with water, and baked in the ashes), and with it a flask of sour beer. When he came into the forest the little old grey man met him, and greeted him, saying,
" Give me a bit of your cake, and a drink from your flask; I am so hungry and thirsty."
And the Simpleton answered, "I have only a flour and water cake and sour beer; but if that is good enough for you, let us sit down together and eat." Then they sat down, and as the Simpleton took out his flour and water cake it became a rich pancake, and his sour beer became good wine; then they ate and drank, and afterwards the little man said,
" As you have such a kind heart, and share what you have so willingly, I will bestow good luck upon you. Yonder stands an old tree; cut it down, and at its roots you will find some≠thing," and thereupon the little man took his departure.
The Simpleton went there, and hewed away at the tree, and when it fell he saw, sitting among the roots, a goose with feathers of pure gold. He lifted it out and took it with him to an inn where he intended to stay the night. The landlord had three daughters who, when they saw the goose, were curious to know what wonderful kind of bird it was, and ended by longing for one of its golden feathers. The eldest thought, " I will wait for a good opportunity, and then I will pull out one of its feathers for myself;" and so, when the Simpleton was gone out, she seized the goose by its wingóbut there her finger and hand had to stay, held fast. Soon after came the second sister with the same idea of plucking out one of the golden feathers for herself; but scarcely had she touched her sister, than she also was obliged to stay, held fast. Lastly