Wise Folks

Authored by:Brothers Grimm
Chapter 1 / 2

Section 1

On a certain day, a farmer retrieved his trusty hazel stick from the corner of his home and informed his wife, Trina, that he planned to journey across the countryside and would be absent for a period of three days. In case the cattle-dealer comes and shows interest in buying our three cows while I am away, you are authorized to negotiate a deal, but only if you can obtain a price of two hundred talers for them. Do not accept anything lower than that, do you hear. "I beg you, go and leave it to me," replied the woman. The man scoffed, "You, who fell on your head as a child and are still affected by it, think you can handle this. Listen, if you do something foolish, I'll give you a beating with this stick that will leave you bruised for a year, and I won't even need paint for it." The man then left after making the threat.

The following day, the cattle-dealer arrived, and the woman didn't need to say much to him. The cattle-dealer agreed to the price after seeing the cows and hearing the amount. The cattle-dealer expressed his agreement with the price and said that the cows were worth it. He then confirmed that he would take the animals with him right away. As he was leaving the yard with the cows, the woman held onto his sleeve and told him that she needed the two hundred talers right away before she could let the cows go. The man replied, "That's true, but I forgot to put on my money-belt. However, don't worry, I'll leave you two cows as security for payment. I'll take one cow with me and return with the money."

The woman, realizing the situation, allowed the man to take the cows and thought to herself how happy her husband would be when he learned of her clever management. As promised, the peasant returned home on the third day and immediately asked if the cows had been sold. The woman confirmed to Hans that the cows were sold as he had instructed for two hundred talers. The man didn't object and took them, although they were not really worth that much. The peasant asked where the money was. The woman replied that the man had forgotten his money-belt but would bring it soon, and had left good security behind. "What kind of security?" inquired the man. The woman replied, "He left one of the three cows as security, and he can't have it until he has paid for the other two. I have been very clever in my plan, as I kept the smallest cow which eats the least." The man became furious and raised his stick, about to hit her as he had threatened, but then he lowered it and said, "You are the most foolish person I have ever met, but I feel sorry for you." I shall search for someone even more foolish than you on the roads for three days, and if I find such a person, you will not be punished, but if I fail to find anyone, you will receive the punishment you deserve without any leniency.

He went out to the main roads, found a large rock to sit on, and waited to see what would occur. A peasant's wagon approached him with a woman standing upright in the middle of it instead of sitting on the bundle of straw beside her or walking alongside the oxen.

The man realized that the woman on the wagon was the kind of person he was searching for, so he quickly got up and ran back and forth in front of the wagon in a manner that made him seem insane.The woman asked the man, "What do you want, my friend?" The man responded to the woman's question by saying that he had fallen down from heaven and did not know how to return, and he asked if she could drive him back up. The woman refused to help the man, stating that she didn't know the way to heaven, but asked him if he could tell her how her husband was doing, who had been in heaven for three years . "You must have met him before." "Indeed, I have, but not all men get along well. He is a shepherd and his work is quite demanding as the sheep often wander off into the mountains and get lost, requiring him to chase and gather them. In addition, his clothes are badly damaged and on the verge of falling apart. There are no tailors in heaven because Saint Peter doesn't allow them, as you are aware of from the story. The woman exclaimed in surprise and offered to fetch her husband's Sunday coat from the cupboard at home. She suggested that he wear the Sunday coat to look presentable. Can you please take it with you? The peasant declined, explaining that clothes are not allowed in heaven and are taken away at the gate. Then the woman said, "Listen, I sold my high-quality wheat yesterday and earned a good amount of money from it. I will send that to him." "If you conceal the purse in your pocket, nobody will know you have it. If that's the only way, I'll do you that favor," replied the peasant. "Just stay where you are," she said, "and I'll go home and get the purse. I won't sit on the bundle of straw in the wagon, but I'll stand up to make it lighter for the cattle."


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