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one another—one of which was large and handsome, while the other appeared miserably poor. The former belonged to a rich man, and the latter to a poor man ; so the fairy thought he would lodge with the former, because it would be less burdensome to him than to the other to entertain a guest. Accordingly he knocked at the door, and the rich man, opening a window, asked the stranger what he sought. He replied, “I seek a night's lodging.” Then the rich man scanned him from head to foot, and perceiving that he wore ragged clothes, and seemed like one who had not much money in his pocket, he shook his head, and said, “I cannot take you in ; my rooms are full of herbs and seeds; and, should I shelter every one who knocks at my door, I might soon take the beggar's staff into my own hand. Seek a welcome elsewhere.”
So saying, he shut his window, and left the good fairy, who immediately turned his back upon him, and went over to the little house. Here he had scarcely knocked when the door was opened, and the poor man bade the wanderer welcome, and said, “Stop here this night with me; it is quite dark, and to-day you can go no further.”
This reception pleased him much, and he walked in; and the wife of the poor man also bade him welcome, and holding out her hand, said, "Make yourself at home; and, though it is not much that we have, we will give it to you with all our heart.” Then she placed some potatoes on the fire, and, while they roasted, she milked her goat for something to drink with them.
When the table was laid, the stranger sat down and ate with them; and the homely fare tasted well, and they were all very happy.
After they had finished, and bed-time had come, the wife called her husband aside, and said to him, “Let us sleep to-night on straw, my dear, that this poor wanderer may have our bed whereon to rest himself; for he has been walking all day long, and is doubtless very tired.”
“With all my heart,” replied her husband; “I will offer it to him.” And, going up to the stranger, he begged him, if he pleased, to lie in their bed, that he might rest his limbs thoroughly.
The good fairy at first refused to take the bed of his host; but at last he yielded to their entreaties, and lay down, while they made a straw couch upon the ground.
The next morning they rose early, and cooked their guest a breakfast of the best that they had ; and when the sun shone through the window he got up too, and, after eating with them, prepared to set out again.
When he stood in the doorway, he turned round, and said to his host, “Because you are so compassionate, you may wish three times, and I will grant each time what
” The poor man replied, “ Ah, what else can I wish than eternal happiness, and that we two, so long as we live, may have health, and strength, and our necessary daily bread ? For the third thing, I know not what to wish for.”
“Will you not wish for a new house in place of this old one ?” asked the stranger.
Oh, yes!” said the man ; " if I might keep on this spot, so would it be welcome.”
Then the fairy fulfilled his wish, and changed the old house into a new one ; and giving them once more his blessing, went on his way.
It was already broad day-light when the rich man arose, and, looking out of his window, saw a new handsome house of red brick, where formerly an old hut had stood. The sight made him open his eyes; and he called his wife up, and asked, “Tell me what has occurred : yesterday evening an old miserable hut stood opposite; and to-day there is a fine new house! Run out and hear how this has happened!”
The wife went and asked the poor man; who said, that a wanderer had come the evening before, seeking a night's lodging ; and that in the morning he had
; taken his leave, and granted them three wishes-eternal happiness, health and food during their lives, and instead of their old. hut a fine new house.
When he had finished his tale, the wife of the rich man ran home, and told her husband all that had passed ; and he exclaimed, “ Ah ! had I only known it! The stranger called here, and would have passed the night with us, but I sent him away.”
“Hasten, then," returned his wife, "mount your horse, and perhaps you may overtake him ; and then you must ask three wishes for yourself also.”
The rich man followed this advice, and soon overtook the good fairy. He spoke softly and glibly, begging that he would not take it ill that he had not let him in at first, for that he had gone to seek the key of the house-door, and meanwhile he had gone away; but if he came back the same way, he should be glad if he would call again. The stranger promised that he would call on his return; and the rich man then asked if he might not wish thrice, as his neighbour had been allowed. “Yes," said he, "you may, certainly; but it will not be good for you, and it were better you did not wish.”
But the rich man thought he might easily obtain something which would tend to his happiness, if he only knew that it would be fulfilled ; and so the stranger at length said, “Ride home, and the three wishes which you shall make shall be answered.”
The rich man had now what he desired, and, as he rode homeward, he began to consider what he should wish. While he mused, he let his rein fall loose, and his horse presently began to jump, and he was jerked about so much that he could not fix his mind on anything. He patted the animal on the neck, and said, “Be quiet, Bess !” But it only began fresh friskings, so that at last he became illnatured, and cried, quite impatiently, “I wish you might break your neck !” No sooner had he said so, than down it fell upon the ground, and never moved again; and thus the first wish was fulfilled.
The rich man, however, being covetous by nature, would not leave the saddle bebind; and so, cutting it off, he slung it over his back, and went onward
“ You have still two wishes,” thought he to himself, and so was comforted. But as he slowly passed over the sandy common, the sun scorched him terribly, for it was mid-day, and he soon became vexed and passionate; moreover, the saddle hurt his back; and, besides, he had not yet decided what to
wish for. If I should wish for all the treasures and riches in the world,” said he to himself, "hereafter something or other will occur to me, I know before-hand; but I will so manage that nothing at all shall remain for me to wish for.” Then he sighed, and continued, “Yes, if I had been the clownish peasant who had also three wishes, and, knowing how to help himself, chose first much beer, then as much beer as he could drink, and for the third a cask of beer more.” Many times he thought he knew what to wish, but soon it appeared too little. Then it came into his mind how well his wife was situated, sitting at home in a cool room, and appropriately dressed. This idea angered him uncommonly, and, without knowing it, he said aloud, “I wish she were sitting upon this saddle, and could not get off, instead of having it slipping about on my back.” As soon as these words were out of his mouth, the saddle disappeared from his back, and he perceived that his second wish had received its fulfilment.
Now he became very hot, and began to run, intending to lock himself up in his room, and consider there something great for his last wish. But when he arrived and opened the house-door, he found his wife sitting upon the saddle in the middle of the room, and crying and shrieking because she could not get off. So he said to her, “Be content; I will
; wish for all the riches in the world, only keep sitting there.” But his wife shook her head, saying, “Of what use would all the riches of the world be to me, if I must sit upon this saddle ? You have wished me on it, and you must also wish me off.” So, whether he liked it or not, he was forced to utter his third wish,