The Golden Goose Book by L. Leslie Brooke


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Page 1

There was once a man who had three sons, the youngest of whom was called
the Simpleton. He was laughed at and despised and neglected on all
occasions. Now it happened one day that the eldest son wanted to go into
the forest, to hew wood, and his Mother gave him a beautiful cake and a
bottle of wine to take with him, so that he might not suffer from hunger
or thirst. When he came to the wood he met a little old grey man, who,
bidding him good-day, said: "Give me a small piece of the cake in your
wallet, and let me drink a mouthful of your wine; I am so hungry and
thirsty." But the clever son answered: "If I were to give you my cake
and wine, I should have none for myself, so be off with you," and he left
the little man standing there, and walked away. Hardly had he begun to hew
down a tree, when his axe slipped and cut his arm, so that he had to go
home at once and have the wound bound up. This was the work of the little
grey man.

Thereupon the second son went into the wood, and the Mother gave him, as
she had given to the eldest, a sweet cake and a bottle of wine. The little
old man met him also, and begged for a small slice of cake and a drink of
wine. But the second son spoke out quite plainly. "What I give to you I
lose myself--be off with you," and he left the little man standing there,
and walked on. Punishment was not long in coming to him, for he had
given but two strokes at a tree when he cut his leg so badly that he had
to be carried home.

Then said the Simpleton: "Father, let me go into the forest and hew wood."
But his Father answered him: "Your brothers have done themselves much
harm, so as you understand nothing about wood-cutting you had better not
try." But the Simpleton begged for so long that at last the Father said:
"Well, go if you like; experience will soon make you wiser." To him the
Mother gave a cake, but it was made with water and had been baked in the
ashes, and with it she gave him a bottle of sour beer. When he came to the
wood the little grey man met him also, and greeted him, and said: "Give me
a slice of your cake and a drink from your bottle; I am so hungry and
thirsty." The Simpleton replied: "I have only a cake that has been baked
in the ashes, and some sour beer, but if that will satisfy you, let us sit
down and eat together." So they sat themselves down, and as the Simpleton
held out his food it became a rich cake, and the sour beer became good
wine. So they ate and drank together, and when the meal was finished, the
little man said: "As you have a good heart and give so willingly a share
of your own, I will grant you good luck. Yonder stands an old tree; hew it
down, and in its roots you will find something." Saying this the old man
took his departure, and off went the Simpleton and cut down the tree.
When it fell, there among its roots sat a goose, with feathers of pure
gold. He lifted her out, and carried her with him to an inn where he
intended to stay the night.

Now the innkeeper had three daughters, who on seeing the goose were
curious to know what wonderful kind of a bird it could be, and longed to
have one of its golden feathers. The eldest daughter thought to herself,
"Surely a chance will come for me to pull out one of those feathers";
and so when the Simpleton had gone out, she caught the goose by the wing.
But there her hand stuck fast! Shortly afterwards the second daughter
came, as she too was longing for a golden feather. She had hardly touched
her sister, however, when she also stuck fast. And lastly came the third
daughter with the same object. At this the others cried out, "Keep off,
for goodness' sake, keep off!" But she, not understanding why they told
her to keep away, thought to herself, "If they go to the goose, why
should not I?" She sprang forward, but as she touched her sister she too
stuck fast, and pull as she might she could not get away; and thus they
had all to pass the night beside the goose.

The next morning the Simpleton took the goose under his arm and went on
his way, without troubling himself at all about the three girls who were
hanging to the bird. There they went, always running behind him, now to
the right, now to the left, whichever way he chose to go. In the middle
of the fields they met the parson, and when he saw the procession he
called out, "Shame on you, you naughty girls, why do you run after a young
fellow in this way? Come, leave go!" With this he caught the youngest by
the hand, and tried to pull her back, but when he touched her he found he
could not get away, and he too must needs run behind. Then the sexton came
along, and saw the parson following on the heels of the three girls. This
so astonished him that he called out, "Hi! Sir Parson, whither away so
fast? Do you forget that today we have a christening?" and ran after him,
and caught him by the coat, but he too remained sticking fast.

As the five now ran on, one behind the other, two labourers who were
returning from the field with their tools, came along. The parson called
out to them and begged that they would set him and the sexton free. No
sooner had they touched the sexton, than they too had to hang on, and now
there were seven running after the Simpleton and the goose.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Sun 15th Dec 2019, 21:33