Confronta in due lingue:




ITALIANO

Il tavolino magico, l'asino d'oro e il randello castigamatti

ENGLISH

The Wishing-Table, the Gold-Ass, and the Cudgel in the Sack


C'era una volta un sarto che aveva tre figli e una sola capra. Siccome questa doveva nutrirli tutti e tre con il suo latte, il sarto voleva che le si desse della buona erba e che, ogni giorno, la si conducesse al pascolo. Così i figli la portavano a pascolare a turno. Il maggiore la portò al camposanto, dove c'era l'erba più bella, e la lasciò scorrazzare liberamente. La sera, venuta l'ora del ritorno, domandò: -Capra, hai mangiato a sazietà?-. La capra rispose:-Ho mangiato a sazietà, neppure se ne avessi voglia potrei farci stare una foglia: bèee! bèee!--Allora andiamo a casa- disse il giovane; la prese per la fune, la condusse nella stalla e la legò. -Be'- disse il vecchio sarto -la capra ha avuto la sua pastura?- -Oh- rispose il figlio -è così sazia da non poter più mangiar foglia.- Ma il padre volle controllare di persona, andò nella stalla e domandò: -Capra, hai mangiato a sazietà?-. L'animale rispose:-Come potevo mangiare e lo stomaco saziare? Una tomba ho calpestato, neppure una foglia vi ho trovato: bèee! bèee!-Adirato, il sarto corse di sopra e disse al giovane: -Ehi, bugiardo! perché‚ hai fatto patir la fame alla mia capra?-. Staccò il bastone dal muro e lo scacciò. Il giorno dopo toccò al secondo figlio, e anche questi scelse un luogo ove si trovava della buona erba, e la capra se la mangiò tutta. La sera, venuta l'ora del ritorno, domandò: -Capra, hai mangiato a sazietà?-. La capra rispose:-Ho mangiato a sazietà, neppure se ne avessi voglia potrei farci stare una foglia: bèee! bèee!--Allora andiamo a casa- disse il giovane, la condusse nella stalla e la legò. -Be'- domandò il vecchio sarto -la capra ha avuto la sua pastura?- -Oh- rispose il giovane -è così sazia da non poter più mangiar foglia.- Ma il vecchio sarto volle controllare di persona, andò nella stalla e chiese: -Capra, hai mangiato a sazietà?-. L'animale rispose:-Come potevo mangiare e lo stomaco saziare? Una tomba ho calpestato, neppure una foglia vi ho trovato: bèee! bèee!--Razza di bugiardo!- gridò il sarto. -Far patire la fame a una bestia tanto buona!- Corse di sopra, prese il bastone e scacciò di casa anche il secondo figlio. Ora toccò al terzo; questi volle farsi onore e perciò cercò per la capra la pastura migliore di questo mondo. La sera, venuta l'ora del ritorno, domandò: -Capra, hai mangiato a sazietà?-. L'animale rispose:-Ho mangiato a sazietà, neppure se ne avessi voglia potrei farci stare una foglia: bèee! bèee!--Allora andiamo a casa- disse il giovane, la condusse nella stalla e la legò. -Be'- disse il padre -la capra ha avuto finalmente la sua pastura?- -Oh- rispose il figlio -è così sazia da non poter più mangiar foglia.- Ma il vecchio sarto non si fidava, andò nella stalla e domandò: -Capra, hai mangiato a sazietà?-. L'animale malvagio rispose:-Come potevo mangiare e lo stomaco saziare? Una tomba ho calpestato, neppure una foglia vi ho trovato: bèee! bèee!--Aspetta me, bugiardone!- gridò il sarto fuor di s‚ dalla collera. -Vuoi proprio farmi diventar matto!- Andò di sopra con la faccia tutta rossa, prese il bastone e scacciò anche il terzo figlio. Ora egli era solo con la sua capra, e il giorno dopo le disse: -Vieni, cara bestiola, ti menerò io stesso al pascolo-. La prese per la fune e la condusse lungo siepi verdi, nel millefoglio e altre erbe che piacciono alle capre, lasciandola pascolare fino a sera. Allora domandò: -Capra, hai mangiato a sazietà?-. Essa rispose:-Ho mangiato a sazietà, neppure se ne avessi voglia potrei farci stare una foglia: bèee! bèee!--Allora andiamo a casa- disse il sarto; la condusse nella stalla e la legò. -Stavolta ti sei proprio saziata!- disse andandosene; ma la capra non lo trattò meglio e gridò:-Come potevo mangiare e lo stomaco saziare? Una tomba ho calpestato, neppure una foglia vi ho trovato: bèee! bèee!-All'udire queste parole, il sarto rimase avvilito e comprese di aver scacciato i suoi tre figli ingiustamente. -Aspetta- esclamò -creatura iniqua e scellerata, non devi più farti vedere fra gente per bene!- Corse di sopra a prendere il rasoio, insaponò la testa della capra e la rasò come il palmo della mano. Poi prese la frusta e la cacciò fuori. Ora il sarto era triste di essere costretto a vivere tutto solo, e avrebbe ripreso volentieri i suoi figli, ma nessuno sapeva dove erano finiti. Il maggiore era andato a imparare il mestiere da un falegname. Imparò con zelo e diligenza e quando, finito il tirocinio, dovette partire, il maestro gli regalò un tavolino di legno comune, dall'aspetto tutt'altro che particolare, ma quando lo si metteva a terra e si diceva: -Tavolino, apparecchiati!- eccolo d'un tratto coprirsi di una linda tovaglietta, con un piatto, posate, e vassoi di lesso e di arrosto quanti ce ne potevano stare, e un bel bicchierone di vino rosso che scintillava da rallegrare il cuore. Il giovane apprendista pensò: "Ne hai abbastanza per tutta la vita." Così se ne andò in giro per il mondo allegramente, senza curarsi che una locanda fosse buona o cattiva: quando gliene saltava il ticchio, non vi si fermava neppure, ma andava invece nel campo, nel bosco o in un prato, come più gli piaceva; si toglieva il tavolino dalle spalle, se lo metteva davanti, diceva -Tavolino apparecchiati!- ed ecco comparire tutto ciò che desiderava. Alla fine pensò di ritornare dal padre: l'avrebbe accolto volentieri con il tavolino magico! Ora avvenne che la sera, sulla strada del ritorno, giunse in una locanda ove si trovava molta gente che gli diede il benvenuto e lo invitò a sedersi e a mangiare con loro. -No- rispose il falegname -non voglio togliervi quei due bocconi di bocca; piuttosto sarete voi miei ospiti.- Essi pensarono che volesse burlarsi di loro, ma egli mise in mezzo alla stanza il suo tavolino di legno e disse: -Tavolino, apparecchiati!-. Ed eccolo subito guarnito di cibi squisiti, quali l'oste non avrebbe mai potuto procurare, e il cui profumo stuzzicò piacevolmente le nari degli ospiti della locanda. -Be', se è così, ci serviamo- dissero quelli. Si avvicinarono, estrassero i coltelli e non fecero complimenti, poiché‚ non appena un piatto era vuoto veniva subito sostituito da uno colmo. Così tutti se la spassarono allegramente; ma l'oste che se ne stava a guardare in un angolo senza sapere che dire, pensò fra s‚: "Un simile cuoco ti farebbe comodo per la tua locanda!." Quando fu tardi, gli avventori si coricarono uno dopo l'altro, e anche il giovane apprendista si mise a letto, lasciando in un angolo il suo tavolino magico. A mezzanotte l'oste si alzò perché‚ i pensieri non lo lasciavano in pace, andò nel ripostiglio, prese un vecchio tavolino, identico nell'aspetto, e lo mise nell'angolo scambiandolo con quello vero. Il mattino dopo il falegname pagò il conto, prese il tavolino dall'angolo, senza sospettare che potesse essere falso, e se ne andò per la sua strada. A mezzogiorno arrivò da suo padre che si rallegrò di cuore quando lo vide e disse: -Be', caro figlio, cos'hai imparato?-. -Babbo- rispose questi -sono diventato un falegname.- -E cosa hai portato dal viaggio?- chiese il padre. -Babbo, il meglio che abbia portato è il tavolino.- Il sarto lo osservò e vide che era un tavolino brutto e vecchio, ma il figlio disse: -Babbo, è un tavolino magico; quando lo metto in terra e gli ordino di apparecchiarsi, subito vi compaiono le vivande più squisite e un vino che rallegra il cuore. Invitate pure tutti i parenti che possano ristorarsi e rifocillarsi: il tavolino li sazia tutti-. Quando la compagnia fu raccolta, mise il suo tavolino in mezzo alla stanza e disse: -Tavolino, apparecchiati!-. Ma nulla apparve e quello rimase vuoto, come qualsiasi altro tavolo che non comprende la lingua. Allora il giovane capì che il tavolino gli era stato rubato, si vergognò di fare la figura del bugiardo e i parenti se ne tornarono a casa senza aver mangiato n‚ bevuto. Il padre continuò a fare il sarto e il figlio andò a lavorare a bottega. Il secondo figlio aveva imparato il mestiere da un mugnaio Finito il tirocinio il padrone gli disse: -Poiché‚ ti sei comportato così bene, ti regalo un asino che non tira il carretto e non porta sacchi!-. -E a che serve, allora?- domandò il giovane garzone. -Butta oro- rispose il mugnaio -se lo metti su un panno e dici: "Briclebrit" la brava bestia butta monete d'oro di dietro e davanti.- -E' una bella cosa!- disse il giovane garzone, ringraziò il padrone e se ne andò in giro per il mondo. Ovunque andasse, cercava sempre le cose più fini, e quanto più erano care, tanto meglio era per lui, perché‚ poteva pagarle. Dopo aver girato un po' il mondo, pensò: "Dovresti tornare da tuo padre, con l'asino d'oro ti accoglierà volentieri." Ora avvenne che egli capitò nella stessa locanda dove era stato suo fratello. L'oste voleva prendergli l'asino, ma egli disse: -No, il mio ronzino lo porto io stesso nella stalla e lo lego io, perché‚ devo sapere dov'è-. Poi domandò che cosa vi fosse da mangiare e ordinò ogni ben di Dio. L'oste fece tanto d'occhi e pensò: "Uno che provvede da s‚ al suo asino, non ha certo molto da spendere." Ma quando il giovane trasse di tasca due monete d'oro perché‚ provvedesse a comprargli ciò che aveva ordinato, allora corse a cercare il meglio che potesse trovare. Dopo pranzo il giovane domandò: -Quanto vi devo?-. -Un altro paio di monete d'oro- rispose l'oste. Il garzone frugò in tasca, ma l'oro era alla fine, allora prese con s‚ la tovaglia e uscì. L'oste, che non capiva, lo seguì piano piano e lo vide entrare nella stalla. Allora sbirciò da una fessura nella porta e vide il garzone stendere la tovaglia sotto l'asino, gridare -Briclebrit-, e subito dalla bestia cadde una vera pioggia d'oro, di dietro e davanti. -Capperi!- esclamò l'oste. -Un simile borsellino non è male!- Il giovane pagò e andò a dormire; ma durante la notte l'oste scese di nascosto, legò un altro asino al posto di quello magico e menò questo in un'altra stalla. La mattina dopo il garzone se ne andò con la bestia pensando di condurre con s‚ il suo asino d'oro. A mezzogiorno giunse dal padre che si rallegrò al vederlo e disse: -Cosa sei diventato, figlio mio?-. -Un mugnaio, caro babbo!- rispose egli. -Che cosa hai portato dal viaggio?- -Un asino, babbo.- Il padre disse: -Asini ce n'è abbastanza anche qui, mentre mancano altri animali-. -Sì- rispose il figlio -ma è un asino d'oro: se gli dico "Briclebrit" riempie di oro un'intera tovaglia! Fate radunare tutti i parenti, voglio renderli ricchi.- Quando furono tutti riuniti, il mugnaio disse: -Fate un po' di posto- e distese a terra la tovaglia più grande che c'era in casa. Poi andò a prendere l'asino e ve lo mise sopra. Ma quando gridò: -Briclebrit- pensando che le monete d'oro si sarebbero sparse per tutta la stanza, apparve chiaro che la bestia non conosceva affatto quell'arte, poiché‚ non tutti gli asini ci arrivano. Allora il ragazzo fece la faccia lunga e comprese di essere stato ingannato; i parenti invece se ne andarono a casa poveri come erano venuti, ed egli dovette entrare a servizio da un mugnaio. Il terzo fratello era andato a imparare il mestiere da un tornitore, e dovette fare pratica più a lungo. Ma i suoi fratelli gli scrissero come fossero andate le cose, e come proprio l'ultima sera l'oste li avesse derubati dei loro begli oggetti magici. Quando il tornitore ebbe finito il tirocinio e dovette partire, il padrone gli disse: -Poiché‚ ti sei comportato così bene, ti regalerò un sacco; dentro c'è un randello-. -Il sacco me lo metterò in spalla, ma che me ne faccio di un randello?- -Te lo spiego subito- rispose il padrone. -Se qualcuno ti ha fatto del male, basta che tu dica: "Randello, fuori dal sacco!" e il randello salta fuori e balla così allegramente sulla schiena della gente da farla stare otto giorni a letto senza potersi muovere; e non la smette se tu non dici: "Randello, dentro al sacco!."- L'apprendista lo ringraziò, si mise il sacco in spalla e se qualcuno gli si avvicinava per aggredirlo, egli diceva: -Randello, fuori dal sacco!- e subito il randello saltava fuori e li spolverava l'uno dopo l'altro sulla schiena, e non la smetteva finché‚ c'era giubba o farsetto; e andava così svelto che non te l'aspettavi ed era già il tuo turno. Una sera, anche il tornitore giunse nell'osteria dov'erano stati derubati i suoi fratelli. Mise il suo sacco accanto a s‚ sulla tavola e incominciò a raccontare le meraviglie che a volte si incontrano in giro per il mondo, come tavolini magici e asini d'oro. Ma tutto ciò non era nulla a confronto del tesoro che egli si era guadagnato e che si trovava nel sacco. L'oste tese le orecchie e pensò: "Cosa potrà essere? Non c'è il due senza il tre, mi pare giusto avere anche questo." Il forestiero si distese poi sulla panca e si mise il sacco sotto la testa come cuscino. Quando lo credette addormentato profondamente, l'oste gli si avvicinò e incominciò con gran cautela a smuovere e a tirare il sacco, cercando di toglierlo e di sostituirlo con un altro. Ma il tornitore lo stava aspettando da un pezzo e, come l'oste volle dare uno strattone vigoroso, quello gridò: -Randello, fuori dal sacco!-. Subito il randello saltò addosso all'oste e gli spianò le costole di santa ragione. L'oste incominciò a gridare da far pietà, ma più gridava e più forte il randello gli batteva il tempo sulla schiena, finché‚ cadde a terra sfinito. Allora il tornitore disse: -Vuoi rendere finalmente il tavolino magico e l'asino d'oro? Se non lo fai ricomincia la danza-. -Ah, no- esclamò l'oste -restituisco tutto volentieri, purché‚ ricacciate nel sacco quel maledetto diavolo!- Il garzone disse: -Per questa volta passi, ma guardati bene dal fare tiri mancini!-. Poi disse: -"Randello, dentro al sacco!" e ve lo lasciò. Così il mattino dopo il tornitore ritornò a casa dal padre con il tavolino magico e l'asino d'oro. Il sarto fu felice di rivederlo e disse: -Che cosa hai imparato?-. -Babbo- rispose -sono diventato tornitore.- -Un bel mestiere- disse il padre. -Cos'hai portato dal viaggio?- -Babbo, un randello nel sacco.- -Un randello? Utile davvero!- -Sì, babbo, ma se dico: "Randello, fuori dal sacco!" salta fuori e concia per le feste i malintenzionati; in questo modo ho potuto riprendere il tavolino magico e l'asino d'oro. Fate venire i miei fratelli e tutti i parenti: voglio che mangino, bevano e si riempiano le tasche d'oro.- Quando furono tutti riuniti, il tornitore stese un panno nella stanza, portò dentro l'asino e disse: -Adesso parlagli, caro fratello-. Allora il mugnaio disse: -Briclebrit!- e all'istante le monete d'oro caddero tintinnando sul panno, e la pioggia non cessò finché‚ tutti i presenti non ebbero le tasche piene. Poi il tornitore andò a prendere il tavolino e disse: -Adesso parlargli, caro fratello-. E il falegname disse: -Tavolino, apparecchiati!- e subito eccolo apparecchiato e abbondantemente fornito di piatti prelibati. Così i parenti mangiarono, bevvero e se ne andarono a casa tutti contenti. Il sarto invece visse in pace coi i suoi tre figli. Ma dov'è finita la capra, colpevole di aver spinto il sarto a scacciare i tre figli? Era corsa a rannicchiarsi in una tana di volpe. Quando la volpe rincasò, si vide sfavillare di fronte nell'oscurità due occhiacci e fuggì via piena di paura. L'orso la incontrò e vide che la volpe era tutta turbata. Allora disse: -Perché‚ hai quella faccia, sorella volpe?-. -Ah- rispose Pelorosso -nella mia tana c'è un mostro che mi ha guardato con due occhi fiammeggianti!- -Lo cacceremo fuori- disse l'orso; l'accompagnò alla tana e guardò dentro. Ma quando scorse quegli occhi di fuoco, fu preso anche lui dalla paura, cosicché‚ non volle cimentarsi con il mostro e se la diede a gambe. Incontrò però l'ape che vedendolo con un aspetto non proprio ilare, disse: -Orso, perché‚ hai quella faccia abbattuta?-. -Nella tana di Pelorosso c'è un mostro con gli occhiacci e non possiamo cacciarlo fuori!- rispose l'orso. L'ape disse: -Io sono una povera e debole creatura, che voi non guardate neanche per strada; ma voglio un po' vedere se posso aiutarvi-. Volò nella tana, si posò sulla testa pelata della capra e la punse con tanta forza che quella saltò su gridando: -Bèee! bèee!- e corse fuori come una pazza. E finora nessuno sa dove se ne sia andata.
There was once upon a time a tailor who had three sons, and only one goat. But as the goat supported the whole of them with her milk, she was obliged to have good food, and to be taken every day to pasture. The sons, therefore, did this, in turn. Once the eldest took her to the churchyard, where the finest herbs were to be found, and let her eat and run about there. At night when it was time to go home he asked, "Goat, hast thou had enough?" The goat answered,

"I have eaten so much,
Not a leaf more I'll touch, meh! meh!"

"Come home, then," said the youth, and took hold of the cord round her neck, led her into the stable and tied her up securely. "Well," said the old tailor, "has the goat had as much food as she ought?" - "Oh," answered the son, "she has eaten so much, not a leaf more she'll touch." But the father wished to satisfy himself, and went down to the stable, stroked the dear animal and asked, "Goat, art thou satisfied?" The goat answered,

"Wherewithal should I be satisfied?
Among the graves I leapt about,
And found no food, so went without, meh! meh!"

"What do I hear?" cried the tailor, and ran upstairs and said to the youth, "Hollo, thou liar: thou saidest the goat had had enough, and hast let her hunger!" and in his anger he took the yard-measure from the wall, and drove him out with blows.

Next day it was the turn of the second son, who looked out for a place in the fence of the garden, where nothing but good herbs grew, and the goat cleared them all off.

At night when he wanted to go home, he asked, "Goat, art thou satisfied?" The goat answered,

"I have eaten so much,
Not a leaf more I'll touch, meh! meh!"

"Come home, then," said the youth, and led her home, and tied her up in the stable. "Well," said the old tailor, "has the goat had as much food as she ought?" - "Oh," answered the son, "she has eaten so much, not a leaf more she'll touch." The tailor would not rely on this, but went down to the stable and said, "Goat, hast thou had enough?" The goat answered,

"Wherewithal should I be satisfied?
Among the graves I leapt about,
And found no food, so went without, meh! meh!"

"The godless wretch!" cried the tailor, "to let such a good animal hunger," and he ran up and drove the youth out of doors with the yard-measure.

Now came the turn of the third son, who wanted to do the thing well, and sought out some bushes with the finest leaves, and let the goat devour them. In the evening when he wanted to go home, he asked, "Goat, hast thou had enough?" The goat answered,

"I have eaten so much,
Not a leaf more I'll touch, meh! meh!"

"Come home, then," said the youth, and led her into the stable, and tied her up. "Well," said the old tailor, "has the goat had a proper amount of food?" - "She has eaten so much, not a leaf more she'll touch." The tailor did not trust to that, but went down and asked, "Goat, hast thou had enough?" The wicked beast answered,

"Wherewithal should I be satisfied?
Among the graves I leapt about,
And found no leaves, so went without, meh! meh!"

"Oh, the brood of liars!" cried the tailor, "each as wicked and forgetful of his duty as the other! Ye shall no longer make a fool of me," and quite beside himself with anger, he ran upstairs and belabored the poor young fellow so vigorously with the yard-measure that he sprang out of the house.

The old tailor was now alone with his goat. Next morning he went down into the stable, caressed the goat and said, "Come, my dear little animal, I will take thee to feed myself." He took her by the rope and conducted her to green hedges, and amongst milfoil, and whatever else goats like to eat. "There thou mayest for once eat to thy heart's content," said he to her, and let her browse till evening. Then he asked, "Goat, art thou satisfied?" She replied,

"I have eaten so much,
Not a leaf more I'll touch, meh! meh!"

"Come home, then," said the tailor, and led her into the stable, and tied her fast. When he was going away, he turned round again and said, "Well, art thou satisfied for once?" But the goat did not behave the better to him, and cried,

"Wherewithal should I be satisfied?
Among the graves I leapt about,
And found no leaves, so went without, meh! meh!"

When the tailor heard that, he was shocked, and saw clearly that he had driven away his three sons without cause. "Wait, thou ungrateful creature," cried he, "it is not enough to drive thee forth, I will mark thee so that thou wilt no more dare to show thyself amongst honest tailors." In great haste he ran upstairs, fetched his razor, lathered the goat's head, and shaved her as clean as the palm of his hand. And as the yard-measure would have been too good for her, he brought the horsewhip, and gave her such cuts with it that she ran away in violent haste.

When the tailor was thus left quite alone in his house he fell into great grief, and would gladly have had his sons back again, but no one knew whither they were gone. The eldest had apprenticed himself to a joiner, and learnt industriously and indefatigably, and when the time came for him to go travelling, his master presented him with a little table which had no particular appearance, and was made of common wood, but it had one good property; if anyone set it out, and said, "Little table, spread thyself," the good little table was at once covered with a clean little cloth, and a plate was there, and a knife and fork beside it, and dishes with boiled meats and roasted meats, as many as there was room for, and a great glass of red wine shone so that it made the heart glad. The young journeyman thought, "With this thou hast enough for thy whole life," and went joyously about the world and never troubled himself at all whether an inn was good or bad, or if anything was to be found in it or not. When it suited him he did not enter an inn at all, but either on the plain, in a wood, a meadow, or wherever he fancied, he took his little table off his back, set it down before him, and said, "Cover thyself," and then everything appeared that his heart desired. At length he took it into his head to go back to his father, whose anger would now be appeased, and who would now willingly receive him with his wishing-table. It came to pass that on his way home, he came one evening to an inn which was filled with guests. They bade him welcome, and invited him to sit and eat with them, for otherwise he would have difficulty in getting anything. "No," answered the joiner, "I will not take the few bites out of your mouths; rather than that, you shall be my guests." They laughed, and thought he was jesting with them; he, however, placed his wooden table in the middle of the room, and said, "Little table, cover thyself." Instantly it was covered with food, so good that the host could never have procured it, and the smell of it ascended pleasantly to the nostrils of the guests. "Fall to, dear friends," said the joiner; and the guests when they saw that he meant it, did not need to be asked twice, but drew near, pulled out their knives and attacked it valiantly. And what surprised them the most was that when a dish became empty, a full one instantly took its place of its own accord. The innkeeper stood in one corner and watched the affair; he did not at all know what to say, but thought, "Thou couldst easily find a use for such a cook as that in thy kitchen." The joiner and his comrades made merry until late into the night; at length they lay down to sleep, and the young apprentice also went to bed, and set his magic table against the wall. The host's thoughts, however, let him have no rest; it occurred to him that there was a little old table in his lumber-room which looked just like the apprentice's and he brought it out quite softly, and exchanged it for the wishing-table. Next morning, the joiner paid for his bed, took up his table, never thinking that he had got a false one, and went his way. At mid-day he reached his father, who received him with great joy. "Well, my dear son, what hast thou learnt?" said he to him. "Father, I have become a joiner." - "A good trade," replied the old man; "but what hast thou brought back with thee from thy apprenticeship?" - "Father, the best thing which I have brought back with me is this little table." The tailor inspected it on all sides and said, "Thou didst not make a masterpiece when thou mad'st that; it is a bad old table." - "But it is a table which furnishes itself," replied the son. "When I set it out, and tell it to cover itself, the most beautiful dishes stand on it, and a wine also, which gladdens the heart. Just invite all our relations and friends, they shall refresh and enjoy themselves for once, for the table will give them all they require." When the company was assembled, he put his table in the middle of the room and said, "Little table, cover thyself," but the little table did not bestir itself, and remained just as bare as any other table which did not understand language. Then the poor apprentice became aware that his table had been changed, and was ashamed at having to stand there like a liar. The relations, however, mocked him, and were forced to go home without having eaten or drunk. The father brought out his patches again, and went on tailoring, but the son went to a master in the craft.

The second son had gone to a miller and had apprenticed himself to him. When his years were over, the master said, "As thou hast conducted thyself so well, I give thee an ass of a peculiar kind, which neither draws a cart nor carries a sack." - "To what use is he put, then?" asked the young apprentice. "He lets gold drop from his mouth," answered the miller. "If thou settest him on a cloth and sayest 'Bricklebrit,' the good animal will drop gold pieces for thee." - "That is a fine thing," said the apprentice, and thanked the master, and went out into the world. When he had need of gold, he had only to say "Bricklebrit" to his ass, and it rained gold pieces, and he had nothing to do but pick them off the ground. Wheresoever he went, the best of everything was good enough for him, and the dearer the better, for he had always a full purse. When he had looked about the world for some time, he thought, "Thou must seek out thy father; if thou goest to him with the gold-ass he will forget his anger, and receive thee well." It came to pass that he came to the same public-house in which his brother's table had been exchanged. He led his ass by the bridle, and the host was about to take the animal from him and tie him up, but the young apprentice said, "Don't trouble yourself, I will take my grey horse into the stable, and tie him up myself too, for I must know where he stands." This struck the host as odd, and he thought that a man who was forced to look after his ass himself, could not have much to spend; but when the stranger put his hand in his pocket and brought out two gold pieces, and said he was to provide something good for him, the host opened his eyes wide, and ran and sought out the best he could muster. After dinner the guest asked what he owed. The host did not see why he should not double the reckoning, and said the apprentice must give two more gold pieces. He felt in his pocket, but his gold was just at an end. "Wait an instant, sir host," said he, "I will go and fetch some money;" but he took the table-cloth with him. The host could not imagine what this could mean, and being curious, stole after him, and as the guest bolted the stable-door, he peeped through a hole left by a knot in the wood. The stranger spread out the cloth under the animal and cried, "Bricklebrit," and immediately the beast began to let gold pieces fall, so that it fairly rained down money on the ground. "Eh, my word," said the host, "ducats are quickly coined there! A purse like that is not amiss." The guest paid his score, and went to bed, but in the night the host stole down into the stable, led away the master of the mint, and tied up another ass in his place. Early next morning the apprentice travelled away with his ass, and thought that he had his gold-ass. At mid-day he reached his father, who rejoiced to see him again, and gladly took him in. "What hast thou made of thyself, my son?" asked the old man. "A miller," dear father, he answered. "What hast thou brought back with thee from thy travels?" - "Nothing else but an ass." - "There are asses enough here," said the father, "I would rather have had a good goat." - "Yes," replied the son, "but it is no common ass, but a gold-ass, when I say 'Bricklebrit,' the good beast opens its mouth and drops a whole sheetful of gold pieces. Just summon all our relations hither, and I will make them rich folks." - "That suits me well," said the tailor, "for then I shall have no need to torment myself any longer with the needle," and ran out himself and called the relations together. As soon as they were assembled, the miller bade them make way, spread out his cloth, and brought the ass into the room. "Now watch," said he, and cried, "Bricklebrit," but no gold pieces fell, and it was clear that the animal knew nothing of the art, for every ass does not attain such perfection. Then the poor miller pulled a long face, saw that he was betrayed, and begged pardon of the relatives, who went home as poor as they came. There was no help for it, the old man had to betake him to his needle once more, and the youth hired himself to a miller.

The third brother had apprenticed himself to a turner, and as that is skilled labour, he was the longest in learning. His brothers, however, told him in a letter how badly things had gone with them, and how the innkeeper had cheated them of their beautiful wishing-gifts on the last evening before they reached home. When the turner had served his time, and had to set out on his travels, as he had conducted himself so well, his master presented him with a sack and said, "There is a cudgel in it." - "I can put on the sack," said he, "and it may be of good service to me, but why should the cudgel be in it? It only makes it heavy." - "I will tell thee why," replied the master; "if any one has done anything to injure thee, do but say, 'Out of the sack, Cudgel!' and the cudgel will leap forth among the people, and play such a dance on their backs that they will not be able to stir or move for a week, and it will not leave off until thou sayest, "Into the sack, Cudgel!" The apprentice thanked him, and put the sack on his back, and when any one came too near him, and wished to attack him, he said, "Out of the sack, Cudgel!" and instantly the cudgel sprang out, and dusted the coat or jacket of one after the other on their backs, and never stopped until it had stripped it off them, and it was done so quickly, that before anyone was aware, it was already his own turn. In the evening the young turner reached the inn where his brothers had been cheated. He laid his sack on the table before him, and began to talk of all the wonderful things which he had seen in the world. "Yes," said he, "people may easily find a table which will cover itself, a gold-ass, and things of that kind -- extremely good things which I by no means despise -- but these are nothing in comparison with the treasure which I have won for myself, and am carrying about with me in my sack there." The inn-keeper pricked up his ears, "What in the world can that be?" thought he; "the sack must be filled with nothing but jewels; I ought to get them cheap too, for all good things go in threes." When it was time for sleep, the guest stretched himself on the bench, and laid his sack beneath him for a pillow. When the inn-keeper thought his guest was lying in a sound sleep, he went to him and pushed and pulled quite gently and carefully at the sack to see if he could possibly draw it away and lay another in its place. The turner had, however, been waiting for this for a long time, and now just as the inn-keeper was about to give a hearty tug, he cried, "Out of the sack, Cudgel!" Instantly the little cudgel came forth, and fell on the inn-keeper and gave him a sound thrashing. The host cried for mercy; but the louder he cried, so much more heavily the cudgel beat the time on his back, until at length he fell to the ground exhausted. Then the turner said, "If thou dost not give back the table which covers itself, and the gold-ass, the dance shall begin afresh." - "Oh, no," cried the host, quite humbly, "I will gladly produce everything, only make the accursed kobold creep back into the sack." Then said the apprentice, "I will let mercy take the place of justice, but beware of getting into mischief again!" So he cried, "Into the sack, Cudgel!" and let him have rest.

Next morning the turner went home to his father with the wishing-table, and the gold-ass. The tailor rejoiced when he saw him once more, and asked him likewise what he had learned in foreign parts. "Dear father," said he, "I have become a turner." - "A skilled trade," said the father. "What hast thou brought back with thee from thy travels?" - "A precious thing, dear father," replied the son, "a cudgel in the sack." - "What!" cried the father, "a cudgel! That's worth thy trouble, indeed! From every tree thou can cut thyself one." - "But not one like this, dear father. If I say, 'Out of the sack, Cudgel!' the cudgel springs out and leads any one who means ill with me a weary dance, and never stops until he lies on the ground and prays for fair weather. Look you, with this cudgel have I got back the wishing-table and the gold-ass which the thievish inn-keeper took away from my brothers. Now let them both be sent for, and invite all our kinsmen. I will give them to eat and to drink, and will fill their pockets with gold into the bargain." The old tailor would not quite believe, but nevertheless got the relatives together. Then the turner spread a cloth in the room and led in the gold-ass, and said to his brother, "Now, dear brother, speak to him." The miller said, "Bricklebrit," and instantly the gold pieces fell down on the cloth like a thunder-shower, and the ass did not stop until every one of them had so much that he could carry no more. (I can see in thy face that thou also wouldst like to be there.) Then the turner brought the little table, and said, "Now dear brother, speak to it." And scarcely had the carpenter said, "Table, cover thyself," than it was spread and amply covered with the most exquisite dishes. Then such a meal took place as the good tailor had never yet known in his house, and the whole party of kinsmen stayed together till far in the night, and were all merry and glad. The tailor locked away needle and thread, yard-measure and goose, in a press, and lived with his three sons in joy and splendour.

What, however, has become of the goat who was to blame for the tailor driving out his three sons? That I will tell thee. She was ashamed that she had a bald head, and ran to a fox's hole and crept into it. When the fox came home, he was met by two great eyes shining out of the darkness, and was terrified and ran away. A bear met him, and as the fox looked quite disturbed, he said, "What is the matter with thee, brother Fox, why dost thou look like that?" - "Ah," answered Redskin, "a fierce beast is in my cave and stared at me with its fiery eyes." - "We will soon drive him out," said the bear, and went with him to the cave and looked in, but when he saw the fiery eyes, fear seized on him likewise; he would have nothing to do with the furious beast, and took to his heels. The bee met him, and as she saw that he was ill at ease, she said, "Bear, thou art really pulling a very pitiful face; what has become of all thy gaiety?" - "It is all very well for thee to talk," replied the bear, "a furious beast with staring eyes is in Redskin's house, and we can't drive him out." The bee said, "Bear I pity thee, I am a poor weak creature whom thou wouldst not turn aside to look at, but still, I believe, I can help thee." She flew into the fox's cave, lighted on the goat's smoothly-shorn head, and stung her so violently, that she sprang up, crying "Meh, meh," and ran forth into the world as if mad, and to this hour no one knows where she has gone.