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Dr. Hope Presents

The Grimm Brothers'

 Fairy Tales


The Peasant's Wise Daughter



There was once a poor peasant who had no land, but only a small house, and one daughter. Then said the daughter, we ought to ask our lord the king for a bit of newly-cleared land. When the king heard of their poverty, he presented them with a piece of land, which she and her father dug up, and intended to sow with a little corn and grain of that kind. When they had dug nearly the whole of the field, they found in the earth a mortar made of pure gold. Listen, said the father to the girl, as our lord the king has been so gracious and presented us with the field, we ought to give him this mortar in return for it.

The daughter, however, would not consent to this, and said, father, if we have the mortar without having the pestle as well, we shall have to get the pestle, so you had much better say nothing about it. But he would not obey her, and took the mortar and carried it to the king, said that he had found it in the cleared land, and asked if he would accept it as a present. The king took the mortar, and asked if he had found nothing besides that. No, answered the countryman.

Then the king said that he must now bring him the pestle. The peasant said they had not found that, but he might just as well have spoken to the wind, he was put in prison, and was to stay there until he produced the pestle. The servants had daily to carry him bread and water, which is what people get in prison, and they heard how the man cried out continually, ah, if I had but listened to my daughter. Alas, alas, if I had but listened to my daughter, and would neither eat nor drink. So he commanded the servants to bring the prisoner before him, and then the king asked the peasant why he was always crying, ah, if I had but listened to my daughter, and what it was that his daughter had said. She told me that I ought not to take the mortar to you, for I should have to produce the pestle as well. If you have a daughter who is as wise as that, let her come here.

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