GRIMM'S FAIRY TALES - online book

130 Fairy Stories Adapted & Arranged for young people

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53«                    THE TWELVE IDLERS.
" Well," said the tenth, " my laziness has obtained for me a broken leg and a swelled calf. Three of us were lying on the road­way, and I had my legs stretched out. A waggon came along the road, and the wheels went over them both. I could easily have drawn them back, for I heard the waggon coming, but I was too lazy. Besides this, the flies buzzed in my ears, crept up my nose, and into my mouth, but who would give himself the trouble to drive away a fly ?"
The eleventh then spoke. " Yesterday," he said, " I gave my master warning. I was tired of waiting upon him, brushing his clothes, and carrying his heavy books backwards and forwards, and working from morning till night. I know I used to waste my time on the road, and, truth to tell, I expected he would discharge me, for I let his clothes lie in the drawer uncovered till they were all moth-eaten."
At last the twelfth spoke, and said: " To-day I was sent with a waggon to the field. The goods in it were covered with straw, in which I made a capital bed and slept soundly. The reins slipped out of my hand, and when I awoke I found the horse, the traces, the collar, the bit, and most of the harness gone. Some one had come by and taken them all away while I slept. The waggon had also fallen into a rut, and stuck fast. I left it standing as it was, stretched myself again on the straw, and went to sleep. My master came at last himself, and dragged the waggon out of the rut, turned me out of the straw, and sent me about my business. But for this you would not have seen me here, for I should have slept peace­fully on my bed of straw till morning without moving."
There was once a shepherd boy who was known far and wide for his clever answers to every question. The king of the country heard of his wisdom, but he could not believe it, so he sent him an order to appear at court.
When he arrived the king said to him, "If you can answer wisely three questions which I will give you, then you shall be as my own child; and dwell with me in my royal castle,"