The boots of buffalo-leather



A soldier who is afraid of nothing, troubles himself about nothing. One of this kind had received his discharge, and as he had learnt no trade and could earn nothing, he travelled about and begged alms of kind people. He had an old waterproof on his back, and a pair of riding-boots of buffalo-leather which were still left to him. One day he was walking he knew not where, straight out into the open country, and at length came to a forest. He did not know where he was, but saw sitting on the trunk of a tree, which had been cut down, a man who was well dressed and wore a green shooting-coat. The soldier shook hands with him, sat down on the grass by his side, and stretched out his legs. "I see thou hast good boots on, which are well blacked," said he to the huntsman; "but if thou hadst to travel about as I have, they would not last long. Look at mine, they are of buffalo-leather, and have been worn for a long time, but in them I can go through thick and thin." After a while the soldier got up and said, "I can stay no longer, hunger drives me onwards; but, Brother Bright-boots, where does this road lead to?" - "I don't know that myself," answered the huntsman, "I have lost my way in the forest." - "Then thou art in the same plight as I," said the soldier; "birds of a feather flock together, let us remain together, and seek our way." The huntsman smiled a little, and they walked on further and further, until night fell. "We do not get out of the forest," said the soldier, "but there in the distance I see a light shining, which will help us to something to eat." They found a stone house, knocked at the door, and an old woman opened it. "We are looking for quarters for the night," said the soldier, "and some lining for our stomachs, for mine is as empty as an old knapsack." - "You cannot stay here," answered the old woman; "this is a robber's house, and you would do wisely to get away before they come home, or you will be lost." - "It won't be so bad as that," answered the soldier, "I have not had a mouthful for two days, and whether I am murdered here or die of hunger in the forest is all the same to me. I shall go in." The huntsman would not follow, but the soldier drew him in with him by the sleeve. "Come, my dear brother, we shall not come to an end so quickly as that!" The old woman had pity on them and said, "Creep in here behind the stove, and if they leave anything, I will give it to you on the sly when they are asleep." Scarcely were they in the corner before twelve robbers came bursting in, seated themselves at the table which was already laid, and vehemently demanded some food. The old woman brought in some great dishes of roast meat, and the robbers enjoyed that thoroughly. When the smell of the food ascended the nostrils of the soldier, he said to the huntsman, "I cannot hold out any longer, I shall seat myself at the table, and eat with them." thou wilt bring us to destruction," said the huntsman, and held him back by the arm. But the soldier began to cough loudly. When the robbers heard that, they threw away their knives and forks, leapt up, and discovered the two who were behind the stove. "Aha, gentlemen, are you in the corner?" cried they, "What are you doing here? Have you been sent as spies? Wait a while, and you shall learn how to fly on a dry bough." - "But do be civil," said the soldier, "I am hungry, give me something to eat, and then you can do what you like with me." The robbers were astonished, and the captain said, "I see that thou hast no fear; well, thou shalt have some food, but after that thou must die." - "We shall see," said the soldier, and seated himself at the table, and began to cut away valiantly at the roast meat. "Brother Brightboots, come and eat," cried he to the huntsman; "thou must be as hungry as I am, and cannot have better roast meat at home," but the huntsman would not eat. The robbers looked at the soldier in astonishment, and said, "The rascal uses no ceremony." After a while he said, "I have had enough food, now get me something good to drink." The captain was in the mood to humour him in this also, and called to the old woman, "Bring a bottle out of the cellar, and mind it be of the best." The soldier drew the cork out with a loud noise, and then went with the bottle to the huntsman and said, "Pay attention, brother, and thou shalt see something that will surprise thee; I am now going to drink the health of the whole clan." Then he brandished the bottle over the heads of the robbers, and cried, "Long life to you all, but with your mouths open and your right hands lifted up," and then he drank a hearty draught. Scarcely were the words said than they all sat motionless as if made of stone, and their mouths were open and their right hands stretched up in the air. The huntsman said to the soldier, "I see that thou art acquainted with tricks of another kind, but now come and let us go home." - "Oho, my dear brother, but that would be marching away far too soon; we have conquered the enemy, and must first take the booty. Those men there are sitting fast, and are opening their mouths with astonishment, but they will not be allowed to move until I permit them. Come, eat and drink." The old woman had to bring another bottle of the best wine, and the soldier would not stir until he had eaten enough to last for three days. At last when day came, he said, "Now it is time to strike our tents, and that our march may be a short one, the old woman shall show us the nearest way to the town." When they had arrived there, he went to his old comrades, and said, "Out in the forest I have found a nest full of gallows' birds, come with me and we will take it." The soldier led them, and said to the huntsman, "Thou must go back again with me to see how they shake when we seize them by the feet." He placed the men round about the robbers, and then he took the bottle, drank a mouthful, brandished it above them, and cried, "Live again." Instantly they all regained the power of movement, but were thrown down and bound hand and foot with cords. Then the soldier ordered them to be thrown into a cart as if they had been so many sacks, and said, "Now drive them straight to prison." The huntsman, however, took one of the men aside and gave him another commission besides. "Brother Bright-boots," said the soldier, "we have safely routed the enemy and been well fed, now we will quietly walk behind them as if we were stragglers!" When they approached the town, the soldier saw a crowd of people pouring through the gate of the town who were raising loud cries of joy, and waving green boughs in the air. Then he saw that the entire body-guard was coming up. "What can this mean?" said he to the huntsman. "Dost thou not know?" he replied, "that the King has for a long time been absent from his kingdom, and that to-day he is returning, and every one is going to meet him." - "But where is the King?" said the soldier, "I do not see him." - "Here he is," answered the huntsman, "I am the King, and have announced my arrival." Then he opened his hunting-coat, and his royal garments were visible. The soldier was alarmed, and fell on his knees and begged him to forgive him for having in his ignorance treated him as an equal, and spoken to him by such a name. But the King shook hands with him, and said, "Thou art a brave soldier, and hast saved my life. Thou shalt never again be in want, I will take care of thee. And if ever thou wouldst like to eat a piece of roast meat, as good as that in the robber's house, come to the royal kitchen. But if thou wouldst drink a health, thou must first ask my permission."
勇敢的士兵,无所畏惧。 有这样一个退役士兵,他无一技之长,不能营生,只好四处流浪,靠乞讨过活。 他身披一件雨衣,足蹬一双服役时留下的牛皮靴。 一天,他正漫无目的地走着,径直穿过了开阔的田野,走进了一片森林。 他不知自己在哪里,只见一根伐倒的树上坐着个人,他穿得很好,披着件绿色猎衣。 士兵友好地和他握了握手,在他身边的草地坐下,伸直了腿。 "你的靴子做工很精细呀,"他对猎人说,"如果你像我一样到处流浪,它们很快就会磨烂的。瞧我的靴子,牛皮做的,早就穿破了,可穿着它们,我可以克服任何艰难险阻。"过了一会儿,士兵站起来说:"我得走了,肚子饿得咕咕叫。靓靴兄弟,你知道这路通向哪儿吗?""我也不知道,"猎人回答说,"我在森林里迷了路。""哦,原来你和我一样遇到麻烦了,"士兵说,"同病相怜嘛!让我们在一起同舟共济,找条出路吧!"猎人笑着答应了。 他们一起往前走啊走,直到夜幕降临。 "我们还没有走出森林,"士兵说,"你看,远处有灯光,也许我们能在那弄到点吃的。"到了那儿,他发现了一个石屋,敲了敲门,一位老妇人打开了门。 "老婆婆,我们能在您这儿住一夜吗?"士兵说,"我们的肚子空如皮囊,能给我们点吃的吗?""你们不能在这儿久留,"老妇人回答说,"这可是个强盗窝,你们要是聪明的话,最好趁他们没回来前离开,不然你们连命都会丢了。""事情不会那么糟的,"士兵说,"我整整两天没吃东西了,在这儿丧命和在森林中活活饿死有什么区别?我要进来。"猎人不肯进去,士兵拽着他的袖子把他拖进了门。 "来吧,好兄弟,我们不会那么快就去见上帝的。"老妇人可怜他们说:"你们躲到炉子后面去,如果有他们吃剩下东西,我会趁他们睡觉的时候偷偷拿给你们吃。"士兵和猎人刚刚在角落里坐好,十二个强盗便冲了进来,坐到已摆好的桌子旁,吼着要东西吃。
老妇人端来了大碟大碟的烤肉,强盗们尽情地享受着,大吃特吃。 士兵闻到了肉香时对猎人说:"我耐不住了,我要坐到桌子旁和他们一块吃。""你会招来杀生之祸的。"猎人一边说,一边把士兵拉回去,但士兵却开始大声咳嗽。 强盗们听到了声音,扔下手中的刀叉,跳了起来,发现了躲在了炉子后的陌生人,便大叫:"哈哈,先生们,你们躲在墙脚下干什么?是谁派你们来当探子的?等着瞧吧,等到了枯枝上看你们怎么飞。""请你说话客气点,"士兵说,"我饿死了,让我吃点东西,到时你们怎样处置我都行。"强盗们个个给愣住了,只听强盗头子说:"看来你这小子一点不害怕,那好,就给你点吃的,吃完后你就得死。""等着瞧,'士兵说着就坐到桌子边,毫无惧色地吃起烤肉来。"靓靴兄弟,过来吃呀! "他对猎人喊道,"你准和我一样饿坏了,快来,没有比这烤肉更好吃的了。 "猎人不肯吃。强盗们都吃惊地望着士兵说:"这个无赖真不讲客气。 "过了一会儿,士兵说:"我吃饱了,再给我点喝的。 "强盗头子那天心情好,满足了士兵的要求,对老妇人叫道:"从地窖里拿瓶酒来,要最好的。 "士兵"砰"地一声打开酒瓶,走到猎人的跟前说:"注意,兄弟,你会有意外的发现,来,为大伙的健康干杯。 "然后,他一边把酒瓶子在强盗头上挥舞,一边喊着:"祝你们长命百岁! 张开嘴,举起你们的右手。 "接着,他尽情地喝了一口。话音刚落,强盗们都像石头一样一动不动了,嘴巴张着,右手举在空中。猎人劝士兵说:"我知道你还会别的把戏,可我们现在回家吧! ""哦,亲爱的兄弟,那样我们撤得太早了,既然打了胜战,就要战利品! 那些家伙坐得很死,张着惊讶的大嘴,没有我的允许他们是不能动的。 来,先吃饱喝足吧! "老妇人拿来一瓶最好的酒,士兵一直吃了足够三天的东西才动身。天亮了,士兵说:"该撤走了,我们问问老婆婆,让她指条到城堡的最近的路。 "
到了城里,士兵跟他的老伙伴们说:"在森林里我发现了一窝强盗,跟我来,我们一起去把他们端掉。"士兵叫伙伴们把强盗包围起来,然后拿起了酒瓶,喝了一大口,在他们头上挥舞,喊道:"祝你们长命百岁!"眨眼间,他们都重新获得了活动的能力,但都被摔在地上用绳子捆上了手脚。 接着士兵把强盗全像扔麻袋一样扔到了板车上,说:"现在把他们押到监牢里去。"猎人把其中的一个士兵叫到一边,给了他另一个任务。
"靓靴兄弟,"士兵说,"我们幸运地抓了敌人,而且也已吃饱,现在我们只要像落伍的士兵一样跟在后面就行。"当他们快到城堡时 ,士兵看到一大群人拥到城门口,欢呼雀跃,还当空挥舞着绿色的枝条。 接着,整个禁卫军向他们走过来。 "这是怎么回事?"他惊讶地问猎人。 "你难道不知道?"猎人回答说,"国王已很长一段时间不在城堡里,他今天要回来,每个人都来迎接他。""但是国王在哪里?"猎人回答说:"近在眼前!"然后他解开猎衣,露出了里面的黄袍。 士兵惊恐地跪在地上,乞求国王饶恕自己的无知,把国王当成了和自己一样的贫民百姓,竟敢那样不敬地称呼国王。 可是国王握着士兵的手说:"你是名勇士,我会照顾你,如果你什么时候想吃在强盗那儿吃过的烤肉,尽管到我的御膳房来,不过,若要喝祝寿酒,可得证得我的同意。"

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