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  1. The Cock's Wife
  2. Buckwheat Cakes

The Cock's Wife

Once on a time there was a cock's wife who was scratching with all her might in a great heap of rubbish, and seemed deeply absorbed in her task.

"You are very silly, Cock's-wife," said a man who passed by, "to waste your time so, and wear out your feet so uselessly."

"You are mistaken, my good fellow; I am not wasting my time, for I have just found a purse with a hundred crowns."

"Really?"

"See here!"

"Come, my good creature, lend me a hundred crowns; I will return them in eight days."

"Very well; here they are," said the Cock's-wife, putting the purse into his hand: she could never refuse to do a kindness.

At the end of the week, the Cock's-wife, seeing that her debtor did not return, began to fear that she had been deceived, and indignant, she started in the direction of the house where the fellow lived. As she was going along, at a turn in the road she met a ladder.

"Where are you going, Cock's-wife?" asked the ladder.

"I am going to a fellow's house to get back a hundred crowns that I lent him. Will you come with me?"

"Gladly!"

"Very well; get inside of me," said the Cock's-wife.

Cock's-wife went on her way, and a little farther on she met a river.

"Where are you going, Cock's-wife?" said the river.

"I am going to a fellow's house to get back a hundred crowns that I lent him. Will you come with me?"

"With pleasure," replied the river.

"Very well; get inside of me," said the Cock'swife.

The Cock's-wife started off again; when in the midst of a wood she came across a wolf.

"Where are you going, Cock's-wife?" asked the wolf.

"I am going to a fellow's house to get back a hundred crowns that I lent him. Will you come with me?"

"I will."

"Very well; get inside of me."

In spite of the weight of her three companions, the Cock*s-wife got safely to the end of her journey.

"Good morning, my man, good morning," said she, as she entered; I have come to ask you to pay me my hundred crowns."

The fellow, who had made up his mind not to pay his debt, fell on the Cock's-wife, seized her by the wings, and threw her into a well near the house. Although stunned by the fall, the poor creature did not lose her senses.

"Ladder, ladder, come out of me,

Or I am a lost Cock's-wife,"

cried she.

The ladder obeyed at once; and the Cock's-wife rapidly climbed the ladder, and jumped out of the well.

The fellow, who had thought she was drowned, could not control his anger when he saw her. He sprang on her again, and threw her into his oven.

When she felt the heat of the flames, she cried in an eager voice,

"River, river, come out of me,

Or I am a lost Cock's-wife."

The river flowed out at once and put out the fire.

The Cock's-wife, rejoiced at having so happily escaped so many dangers, was going away unsuspectingly, when the fellow again seized her.

"Ah! vile beast," he screamed, "you thought to escape me, but you shall not succeed; "and saying these words, he threw her violently between the legs of his oxen standing close together in a narrow stable, sure that they would certainly trample her.

"Wolf, wolf, come out of me.

Or I am a lost Cock's- wife."

At this despairing appeal, the wolf jumped out, and in a few moments killed the oxen, and then the man.

The Cock's-wife took the hundred crowns, which she found hidden in the fellow's house, in the bottom of a desk, and after having warmly thanked the ladder, the river, and the wolf, she returned to her own country, where she led ever afterwards a peaceful and honoured life.

[A story of the district of Metz]

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Buckwheat Cakes

They say elves keep cattle. One day a black cow belonging to the elves of Pont-aux-Hommes-Nées ate the buckwheat in the field of a woman of that neighbourhood. The woman went to the elves to complain, and a voice answered: "You will be paid for your buckwheat!"

Thereupon the elves gave the woman a cupful of buckwheat, and promised her that it would never diminish so long as none should be given away. That year buckwheat was very scarce, but no matter how many buckwheat cakes the woman and her family ate there was never less buckwheat in their store.

At last, however, a rag-gatherer arrived and asked for food. Thoughtlessly the woman gave him one of her buckwheat cakes, and suddenly, as though by magic, all the rest of the buckwheat disappeared and was gone forever.

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