Straw, coal, and bean



An old woman lived in a village. She had gathered a serving of beans and wanted to cook them, so she prepared a fire in her fireplace. To make it burn faster she lit it with a handful of straw. While she was pouring the beans into the pot, one of them fell unnoticed to the floor, coming to rest next to a piece of straw. Soon afterward a glowing coal jumped out of the fireplace and landed next to them. The straw said, "Dear friends, where do you come from?" The coal answered, "I jumped from the fireplace, to my good fortune. If I had not forced my way out, I surely would have died. I would have burned to ash." The bean said, "I too saved my skin. If the old woman had gotten me into the pot I would have been cooked to mush without mercy, just like my comrades." - "Would my fate have been any better?" said the straw. "The old woman sent all my brothers up in fire and smoke. She grabbed sixty at once and killed them. Fortunately I slipped through her fingers." - "What should we do now?" asked the coal. "Because we have so fortunately escaped death," answered the bean, "I think that we should join together as comrades. To prevent some new misfortune from befalling us here, let us together make our way to another land."

This proposal pleased the other two, and they set forth all together. They soon came to a small brook, and because there was neither a bridge nor a walkway there, they did not know how they would get across it. Then the straw had a good idea, and said, "I will lay myself across it, and you can walk across me like on a bridge." So the straw stretched himself from one bank to the other. The coal, who was a hot-headed fellow, stepped brashly onto the newly constructed bridge, but when he got to the middle and heard the water rushing beneath him, he took fright, stopped, and did not dare to go any further. Then the straw caught fire, broke into two pieces, and fell into the brook. The coal slid after him, hissed as he fell into the water, and gave up the ghost. The bean who had cautiously stayed behind on the bank had to laugh at the event. He could not stop, and he laughed so fiercely that he burst. Now he too would have died, but fortunately a wandering tailor was there, resting near the brook. Having a compassionate heart, he got out a needle and thread and sewed the bean back together. The bean thanked him most kindly. However, because he had used black thread, since that time all beans have had a black seam.
一座村子里住着一位贫穷的老太太,她摘了一盘豆子,准备煮熟了吃。 她在炉子里点上火,为了让炉子烧得快一点,她生炉子的时候用了一把麦草。 当把豆子倒进锅里时,她没有注意到一粒豆子掉了出来,落在地上的一根麦草旁。 不一会儿,一块燃烧的煤炭也从炉子中跳了出来,落在它俩的旁边。 于是,麦草开口说:"亲爱的朋友们,你们从哪里来呀?"煤块答道:"我总算幸运地从火里跳出来了。要是我没有使劲跳出来,我必死无疑,一定会被烧成灰烬。"豆子说:"我也成功地逃了出来,可要是那老太太把我倒进了锅子,我肯定会像我的伙伴们一样,被她毫不留情地煮成浓汤。""难道我不是不幸中之万幸吗?"麦草问,"那个老太太把我所有的兄弟塞进炉火里,变成了轻烟。她一把就抓住了六十根,要了它们的命。幸好我从她的指缝里溜掉了。"
另外两位都觉得这是一个好主意,于是它们便结伴而行。 没过多久,它们来到了一条小溪边,小溪上既没有桥,也没有跳磴 ,它们不知道该怎么过去。 麦草灵机一动,说:"让我横躺在小溪上,你们可以像过桥一样从我身上走过去。"麦草说着便把自己的身子从小溪的这一边伸到了另一边。 煤块性子比较急,立刻大着胆子走上了这座刚刚搭好的桥。 可是它走到桥中间时,听到溪水在脚下哗哗地流淌,不由得害怕起来,站在那里不敢往前走。 这下麦草燃了起来,断成两截掉进了小溪。 煤块跟着掉了下去,碰到水发出咝的一声,就送了命。 豆子一直谨慎地呆在岸上,看到这情景不由得放声哈哈大笑。 它笑呀笑,笑得裂开了自己的肚皮。 它本来也许就这样完蛋了,但幸运的是,一个外出找活干的裁缝正好坐在小溪旁休息。 这位裁缝心肠很好,取出针线把它的肚子缝在了一起。 豆子好好地谢了裁缝,可由于裁缝用的是黑线,所以豆子的身上至今还留有一条黑缝。

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