Russian Fairy Tales | Chapter 37 of 189

Author: Alexander Afanasyev | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 4416 Views | Add a Review

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THE THREE PENNIES

A WEALTHY MERCHANT hired an unknown man to work for him. The man worked for a year, then asked the merchant to settle his account. The merchant gave him the wages he had earned, but the worker took only one penny for his work, went to the river, and threw the penny into the water. “If I have served faithfully and truly,” he said, “my penny will not sink.” The penny sank. Again he went to work for the same merchant. He worked for a year and the merchant again gave him his due, but the worker took only one penny, went to the same place, and threw the penny into the water. The penny sank. So he went to work for the merchant for a third time; he worked for a year, and the merchant gave him more money than before as a reward for his zealous service. But the worker again took only one penny, went to the river, and threw it into the water—and lo and behold, all three pennies rose to the surface! He took them and went along the road to his own village.

Suddenly he met a merchant who was going to mass; he gave the merchant a penny and asked him to put a candle before the icons on his behalf. The merchant went to the church, took money from his pocket for candles, and accidentally dropped the worker’s penny on the floor. Suddenly a fire arose from this penny. The people in the church were surprised and asked who had dropped the penny. The merchant said: “I dropped it, but it is not mine: a worker gave it to me to buy a candle for him.” Each of the worshipers took a candle and lit it from this penny. Meanwhile the worker continued on his way.

He met another merchant who was going to the fair; he drew a penny from his pocket and gave it to the merchant, saying: “Buy some merchandise for me at the fair.” The merchant took the penny, bought the merchandise he wanted for himself, and wondered what he should buy for the worker’s penny. Just then he happened to meet a boy who wanted to sell a cat and asked for it no more and no less than one penny. The merchant could find no other suitable merchandise, so he bought the cat.

This merchant sailed with his ships to trade in another kingdom. Now, that kingdom was overrun with countless rats. The merchant’s ships stopped at the port and every now and then the cat ran away from the ships and ate the rats. The king was told about this, and asked the merchant: “Is this beast expensive?” The merchant said: “It is not my beast; a certain young man asked me to buy it.” Then he added in a calculating tone: “That cat is worth three ships.” The king gave the merchant three ships and took the cat. The merchant returned, and the worker went to the market, found him, and asked: “Did you buy any merchandise for my penny?” The merchant answered: “There’s no use denying it, I bought three ships.” The worker took the three ships and sailed on the sea.

After some time, a short time or a long time, he came to an island. An oak stood on this island; he climbed up on the oak and heard the devil below boasting to his comrades that the next day he would steal the king’s daughter in broad daylight. His comrades said to him: “If you do not get her, we shall whip you with iron rods!” After this conversation they left. The worker climbed down the oak and went to the king’s palace. He drew the last penny from his pocket and lit it. The devil also ran to the palace, but could not steal the king’s daughter. He returned to his brothers, who began to lash him with iron rods; they lashed and lashed him, and then threw him down into a nameless place. But the worker married the king’s daughter and prospered the rest of his days.

Comments

Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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