Frederick and Catherine



There was once on a time a man who was called Frederick and a woman called Catherine, who had married each other and lived together as young married folks. One day Frederick said, "I will now go and plough, Catherine; when I come back, there must be some roast meat on the table for hunger, and a fresh draught for thirst." - "Just go, Frederick," answered Kate, "just go, I will have all ready for you." Therefore when dinner-time drew near she got a sausage out of the chimney, put it in the frying-pan, put some butter to it, and set it on the fire. The sausage began to fry and to hiss, Catherine stood beside it and held the handle of the pan, and had her own thoughts as she was doing it. Then it occurred to her, "While the sausage is getting done thou couldst go into the cellar and draw beer." So she set the frying-pan safely on the fire, took a can, and went down into the cellar to draw beer. The beer ran into the can and Kate watched it, and then she thought, "Oh, dear! The dog upstairs is not fastened up, it might get the sausage out of the pan. Well thought of." And in a trice she was up the cellar-steps again, but the Spitz had the sausage in its mouth already, and trailed it away on the ground. But Catherine, who was not idle, set out after it, and chased it a long way into the field; the dog, however, was swifter than Catherine and did not let the sausage journey easily, but skipped over the furrows with it. "What's gone is gone!" said Kate, and turned round, and as she had run till she was weary, she walked quietly and comfortably, and cooled herself. During this time the beer was still running out of the cask, for Kate had not turned the tap. And when the can was full and there was no other place for it, it ran into the cellar and did not stop until the whole cask was empty. As soon as Kate was on the steps she saw the mischance. "Good gracious!" she cried. "What shall I do now to stop Frederick knowing it!" She thought for a while, and at last she remembered that up in the garret was still standing a sack of the finest wheat flour from the last fair, and she would fetch that down and strew it over the beer. "Yes," said she, "he who saves a thing when he ought, has it afterwards when he needs it," and she climbed up to the garret and carried the sack below, and threw it straight down on the can of beer, which she knocked over, and Frederick's draught swam also in the cellar. "It is all right," said Kate, "where the one is the other ought to be also," and she strewed the meal over the whole cellar. When it was done she was heartily delighted with her work, and said, "How clean and wholesome it does look here!"

At mid-day home came Frederick: "Now, wife, what have you ready for me?" - "Ah, Freddy," she answered, "I was frying a sausage for you, but whilst I was drawing the beer to drink with it, the dog took it away out of the pan, and whilst I was running after the dog, all the beer ran out, and whilst I was drying up the beer with the flour, I knocked over the can as well, but be easy, the cellar is quite dry again." Said Frederick, "Kate, Kate, you should not have done that! to let the sausage be carried off and the beer run out of the cask, and throw out all our flour into the bargain!" - "Indeed, Frederick, I did not know that, you should have told me."

The man thought, "If my wife is like this, I must look after things more." Now he had got together a good number of thalers which he changed into gold, and said to Catherine, "Look, these are counters for playing games; I will put them in a pot and bury them in the stable under the cow's manger, but mind you keep away from them, or it will be the worse for you." Said she, "Oh, no, Frederick, I certainly will not go." And when Frederick was gone some pedlars came into the village who had cheap earthen-bowls and pots, and asked the young woman if there was nothing she wanted to bargain with them for? "Oh, dear people," said Catherine, "I have no money and can buy nothing, but if you have any use for yellow counters I will buy of you." - "Yellow counters, why not? But just let us see them." - "Then go into the stable and dig under the cow's manger, and you will find the yellow counters. I am not allowed to go there." The rogues went thither, dug and found pure gold. Then they laid hold of it, ran away, and left their pots and bowls behind in the house. Catherine though she must use her new things, and as she had no lack in the kitchen already without these, she knocked the bottom out of every pot, and set them all as ornaments on the paling which went round about the house. When Frederick came and saw the new decorations, he said, "Catherine, what have you been about?" - "I have bought them, Frederick, for the counters which were under the cow's manger. I did not go there myself, the pedlars had to dig them out for themselves." - "Ah, wife," said Frederick, "what have you done? Those were not counters, but pure gold, and all our wealth; you should not have done that." - "Indeed, Frederick," said she, "I did not know that, you should have forewarned me."

Catherine stood for a while and bethought to herself; then she said, "Listen, Frederick, we will soon get the gold back again, we will run after the thieves." - "Come, then," said Frederick, "we will try it; but take with you some butter and cheese that we may have something to eat on the way." - "Yes, Frederick, I will take them." They set out, and as Frederick was the better walker, Catherine followed him. "It is to my advantage," thought she, "when we turn back I shall be a little way in advance." Then she came to a hill where there were deep ruts on both sides of the road. "There one can see," said Catherine, "how they have torn and skinned and galled the poor earth, it will never be whole again as long as it lives," and in her heart's compassion she took her butter and smeared the ruts right and left, that they might not be so hurt by the wheels, and as she was thus bending down in her charity, one of the cheeses rolled out of her pocket down the hill. Said Catherine, "I have made my way once up here, I will not go down again; another may run and fetch it back." So she took another cheese and rolled it down. But the cheeses did not come back, so she let a third run down, thinking. "Perhaps they are waiting for company, and do not like to walk alone." As all three stayed away she said, "I do not know what that can mean, but it may perhaps be that the third has not found the way, and has gone wrong, I will just send the fourth to call it." But the fourth did no better than the third. Then Catherine was angry, and threw down the fifth and sixth as well, and these were her last. She remained standing for some time watching for their coming, but when they still did not come, she said, "Oh, you are good folks to send in search of death, you stay a fine long time away! Do you think I will wait any longer for you? I shall go my way, you may run after me; you have younger legs than I." Catherine went on and found Frederick, who was standing waiting for her because he wanted something to eat. "Now just let us have what you have brought with you," said he. She gave him the dry bread. "Where have you the butter and the cheeses?" asked the man. "Ah, Freddy," said Catherine, "I smeared the cart-ruts with the butter and the cheeses will come soon; one ran away from me, so I sent the others after to call it." Said Frederick, "You should not have done that, Catherine, to smear the butter on the road, and let the cheeses run down the hill!" - "Really, Frederick, you should have told me."

Then they ate the dry bread together, and Frederick said, "Catherine, did you make the house safe when you came away?" - "No, Frederick, you should have told me to do it before." - "Then go home again, and make the house safe before we go any farther, and bring with you something else to eat. I will wait here for you." Catherine went back and thought, "Frederick wants something more to eat, he does not like butter and cheese, so I will take with me a handkerchief full of dried pears and a pitcher of vinegar for him to drink." Then she bolted the upper half of the door fast, but unhinged the lower door, and took it on her back, believing that when she had placed the door in security the house must be well taken care of. Catherine took her time on the way, and thought, "Frederick will rest himself so much the longer." When she had once reached him she said, "Here is the house-door for you, Frederick, and now you can take care of the house yourself." - "Oh, heavens," said he, "what a wise wife I have! She takes the under-door off the hinges that everything may run in, and bolts the upper one. It is now too late to go back home again, but since you have brought the door here, you shall just carry it farther." - "I will carry the door, Frederick, but the dried pears and the vinegar-jug will be too heavy for me, I will hang them on the door, it may carry them."

And now they went into the forest, and sought the rogues, but did not find them. At length as it grew dark they climbed into a tree and resolved to spend the night there. Scarcely, however, had they sat down at the top of it than the rascals came thither who carry away with them what does not want to go, and find things before they are lost. They sat down under the very tree in which Frederick and Catherine were sitting, lighted a fire, and were about to share their booty. Frederick got down on the other side and collected some stones together. Then he climbed up again with them, and wished to throw them at the thieves and kill them. The stones, however, did not hit them, and the knaves cried, "It will soon be morning, the wind is shaking down the fir-apples. Catherine still had the door on her back, and as it pressed so heavily on her, she thought it was the fault of the dried pears, and said, "Frederick, I must throw the pears down." - "No, Catherine, not now," he replied, "they might betray us." - "Oh, but, Frederick, I must! They weigh me down far too much." - "Do it, then, and be hanged!" Then the dried pears rolled down between the branches, and the rascals below said, "The leaves are falling." A short time afterwards, as the door was still heavy, Catherine said, "Ah, Frederick, I must pour out the vinegar." - "No, Catherine, you must not, it might betray us." - "Ah, but, Frederick, I must, it weighs me down far too much." - "Then do it and be hanged!" So she emptied out the vinegar, and it besprinkled the robbers. They said amongst themselves, "The dew is already falling." At length Catherine thought, "Can it really be the door which weighs me down so?" and said, "Frederick, I must throw the door down." - "No, not now, Catherine, it might discover us." - "Oh, but, Frederick, I must. It weighs me down far too much." - "Oh, no, Catherine, do hold it fast." - "Ah, Frederick, I am letting it fall!" - "Let it go, then, in the devil's name." Then it fell down with a violent clatter, and the rascals below cried, "The devil is coming down the tree!" and they ran away and left everything behind them. Early next morning, when the two came down they found all their gold again, and carried it home.

When they were once more at home, Frederick said, "And now, Catherine, you, too, must be industrious and work." - "Yes, Frederick, I will soon do that, I will go into the field and cut corn." When Catherine got into the field, she said to herself, "Shall I eat before I cut, or shall I sleep before I cut? Oh, I will eat first." Then Catherine ate and eating made her sleepy, and she began to cut, and half in a dream cut all her clothes to pieces, her apron, her gown, and her shift. When Catherine awoke again after a long sleep she was standing there half-naked, and said to herself, "Is it I, or is it not I? Alas, it is not I." In the meantime night came, and Catherine ran into the village, knocked at her husband's window, and cried, "Frederick." - "What is the matter?" - "I should very much like to know if Catherine is in?" - "Yes, yes," replied Frederick, "she must be in and asleep." Said she, "'Tis well, then I am certainly at home already," and ran away.

Outside Catherine found some vagabonds who were going to steal. Then she went to them and said, "I will help you to steal." The rascals thought that she knew the situation of the place, and were willing. Catherine went in front of the houses, and cried, "Good folks, have you anything? We want to steal." The thieves thought to themselves, "That's a fine way of doing things," and wished themselves once more rid of Catherine. Then they said to her, "Outside the village the pastor has some turnips in the field. Go there and pull up some turnips for us." Catherine went to the ground, and began to pull them up, but was so idle that she did not gather them together. Then a man came by, saw her, and stood still and thought that it was the devil who was thus rooting amongst the turnips. He ran away into the village to the pastor, and said, "Mr. Pastor, the devil is in your turnip-ground, rooting up turnips." - "Ah, heavens," answered the pastor, "I have a lame foot, I cannot go out and drive him away." Said the man, "Then I will carry you on my back," and he carried him out on his back. And when they came to the ground, Catherine arose and stood up her full height. "Ah, the devil!" cried the pastor, and both hurried away, and in his great fright the pastor could run better with his lame foot than the man who had carried him on his back could do with his sound one.
弗雷德里克的妻子叫凯瑟琳,他俩刚结婚没多久。 有一天,弗雷德里克对妻子说:"凯!我要到地里干活去了,我走后你给我准备一些好菜,来点好啤酒,当我饿了的时候,我就可以回来享受一顿丰盛的午餐了。"凯瑟琳说:"好的,你就放心地去吧!"快到吃午餐的时候,凯瑟琳从贮存的食物中拿出一块上好的牛排,放到锅里用油来炸。 牛排很快炸黄了,发出了噼啪的响声,凯瑟琳站在边上不停地用锅铲翻动着。 这时,她自言自语地说:"牛排快熟了,我可以到地窖里去倒些啤酒来。"她把锅留在火上,拿了一个大壶,来到地窖里,拧开啤酒桶,让啤酒流进壶里,凯瑟琳站在旁边守候着。 突然她又闪过一个念头:"狗没有套好,它会把牛排叼走的,幸亏我想到了。"想到这里她马上跑出地窖,来到厨房。 那可恶的狗正好用嘴咬住牛排,衔着要往外跑。
凯瑟琳追了上去,跟着狗赶过农田,但狗跑得比她快,不肯放下牛排。 她只得说道:"算了,算了,收不回来就算了。"说着,转过身来绕过农田,上路往回走。 她跑累了,又有点发热,所以慢慢悠悠地一边走,一边让自己凉快凉快。
凯瑟琳走的时候没有关上啤酒桶的塞子,啤酒也就一直不停地往外流,壶装满后溢了出来,流得满地都是,结果整桶啤酒都流完了。 当她回到地窖楼梯时,看到这幅景象,叫道:"我的天哪!我怎样才能瞒过弗雷德里克,使他看不到这些情况呢?"她想了一会儿,终于想起上次赶集时买过一袋精面粉,如果把这袋面粉撒到地上就会把啤酒全部吸干的。 "真是一个绝妙的办法。"她说道,"现在正好用上,此时不用,留待什么时候去用呢?"想到这里,她马上把那袋面粉取来,顺势往地上一扔,正好扔到那个装满啤酒的大壶上,一下子就把壶砸翻了,仅有的一壶啤酒也流到了地上。 "哎哟!这下可好,"她又叫了起来,"倒楣的事怎么一件接一件呢!"她只得把面粉到处撒在地上。 撒完她舒了一口气,自以为这事做得很聪明,高兴地说道:"看起来这儿是多么的干净,整洁呀!"
中午,弗雷德里克回来了,他喊道:"太太,你午餐准备了一些什么呀?"凯瑟琳回答说:"唉!弗雷德里克,我做牛排时 ,去倒啤酒,狗趁机把牛排衔跑了,我去追狗时,啤酒却流光了,我用我们在集市买的那袋面粉来吸干啤酒时,又把啤酒壶打翻了,不过现在地窖里已经弄干了,看起来还很整洁呢! "弗雷德里克听了,说道:"我说凯呀,你怎么能这样干呢? 你怎么会在离开时把牛排留在火上炸呢? 结果啤酒也流光了,最后又为什么把面粉也撒光呢? "她回答说:"哎哟,弗雷德里克,我做的时候并不知道呀,你本来应该早点告诉我的。 "
丈夫暗想:如果我的妻子做事是这样的话,我得多一些心眼。 现在家里放有一大笔金币,应该留点神。 所以他把金币拿出来对妻子说:"这些黄钮扣是多么的漂亮啊!我要把它们放进一个箱子内,埋在花园里。你千万别到那儿去,也不要闲着没事去动它们。"妻子回答说:"不会的,弗雷德里克,我决不会去动它们的。"
弗雷德里克一走,来了一些卖瓦盆瓦碟子的小商贩,他们问她要不要买一些,她说道:"哎呀,我非常想买,但我没有钱,如果你们同意用黄钮扣换的话,我可以拿好多和你们换。""黄钮扣?"他们说道,"让我们看看。""你们到花园来,按我指给你们的地点去挖,你们就能找到黄钮扣,我自己可不敢去。"这些流浪汉去挖了。 当他们挖出来发现那些黄钮扣是什么东西后,就把黄钮扣全拿走了,留给她许多盆子、碟子,她把它们全摆放在屋子里,摆得到处都是。
弗雷德里克回来一看,喊道:"凯瑟琳,你这是做什么?"她说:"你看,这些都是我用你的黄钮扣买来的,不过我没有碰那些黄钮扣 ,是小商贩自己去挖的。 "弗雷德里克一听,跺着脚叫道:"太太,太太! 你做的好事! 那些黄钮扣都是我的金币呀,你怎么能做这种事呢? "她也大吃了一惊回答道:
出发后,弗雷德里克走的很快,他把妻子拉在了后面,而她却想:"这无所谓,待我们回转时 ,我离家就会比他近得多了。 "
不久,她翻过了一座小山,山的另一边有一条路。 大概是由于路太窄,马车经过这条路时,车轮总是擦着两边的树,以致树皮都擦破了。 看到这情况,她说道:"唉,看看吧!这些可怜的树被擦破受伤了,人们怎么老是这样呢?如此下去,这些树的伤永远也不会好的。"她对这些树很同情,给它们那些被擦破的地方都涂上了奶油,认为这样一来,马车的轮子就可以不再把树擦伤了。 就在她做这一善举时,一块干酪从篮子里掉出来滚下了小山,凯瑟琳向下一看,没有看到干酪到底滚到了哪里,于是她说道:"唉,看来得要另一块干酪从这儿下去找你这块干酪了,它比我的腿要灵活些。"说完,她滚下了另一块干酪,干酪滚下山去,天知道它滚到哪儿去了,可她却认为这两块干酪知道路,一定会跟着她来的,她可不能整天待在这儿等它们上来再走。
很快,她赶上了弗雷德里克。 他肚子饿了,要吃东西,所以在那儿等着她。 凯瑟琳把干面包拿给了他,他见没有奶油和干酪,于是问道:"奶油和干酪呢?"她回答说:"我把奶油涂在了那些可怜的树上,它们被车轮擦伤了。有一块干酪掉下跑了,我派另一块去找它,我想它们两个正在路上吧。"
"这种蠢事你也干得出来,你看你有多笨啊!"丈夫无可奈何地说道。 妻子一听则说:"你怎么能这样说呢?你又没告诉过我呀!"
他们只能一起啃干面包。 弗雷德里克说:"凯,你来的时候把门都锁了吧。"凯瑟琳说:"没有啊,你又没告诉我。"丈夫只得叹道,"唉--,赶快回去,去把门锁好,再带点吃的来吧。"
来到森林里,他们开始搜寻那些窃贼,但根本就不可能找着。 天黑了,他俩只好爬上一棵树去过夜。 而他们刚爬上去,那伙他们要找的无赖出现了。 这是一伙真正的流氓,他们到处骗别人的东西,大概是太疲劳了,所以他们一来就坐了下来,又生了一大堆火。 巧就巧在他们正好坐在弗雷德里克和凯瑟琳所呆的那棵树的下面。 弗雷德里克从树的另一边滑了下去,捡了一些石头,然后又爬上树去,他试着用这些石头去打窃贼的头。 但贼却不以为然,只是说:"一定是快天亮了,风把冷杉树的球果都刮落了。"
凯瑟琳一直都把门扛在肩上。 现在她觉得累得够呛,认为一定是核桃拴在上面太重了,所以她轻轻喊道:"弗雷德里克,我得把核桃扔下去。"弗雷德里克马上回答说:"不行,现在不行,否则他们会发现我们的。""我扛不住了,我不行了,必须把它们丢掉才行。""那好吧,如果你要扔,就快一点扔下去。"核桃沿着大树枝"卡嗒,卡嗒"地响着落下去了,一个窃贼喊道:"我的天呀,下起冰雹来了。"
醋倒下去不久,凯瑟琳仍然被压得受不住,到这时她才意识到是门太重,所以她悄悄地对弗雷德里克说:"我要把门扔下去了。"他一听,马上恳求她不要扔,他认为这一扔肯定会暴露他们自己。 凯瑟琳实在扛不住了,说道:"我放下去了。"门随着一阵"咔嚓,哗啦"的声音向窃贼们落去,他们大叫道:"魔鬼来了!"还没弄清是什么东西,就拼命地以最快的速度跑掉了,所有的金子都留在了地上。 弗雷德里克和凯瑟琳爬下树来,完好无损地找回了他们全部的金子。

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