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The Stomach Wants It

At midnight Emmanuelle woke up. Her little sister Fayette, who was with her, said,

"Sister, recite a story so that we may be able to sleep afterwards."

"With pleasure," answered Emmanuelle, "if my husband will permit me."

Her newly wed husband was the king of the country, sleepless and restless, and allowed Emmanuelle to tell.

She then began to tell all sorts of tales. This went on and on during the night for over two years. In this time she gave birth to three children. When eight hundred nights had passed, she ran out of tales and said,

"Talk does not fill the stomach. The stomach wants something better than mere words."


The Bull and the Donkey

"Hello! I see you," said the bull.

Once there was a merchant who knew what beasts and birds of every kind said, but he kept it secret.

In his cow house he had a bull and a donkey. As the merchant was sitting nearby one day, he heard the bull say to the donkey,

"I see you enjoy rest and good care while I am led out and driven to pull a plough from dawn of day till sunset. My sides get torn, my neck flayed, my legs are aching and my eyelids are sore with tears. Then they shut me up in the byre and throw me beans mixed with dirt and chaff and foul stinks all night."

When the bull ceased speaking, the donkey turned to him and said,

"You suffer from lack of good advisers. Feign you are sick, and don't cease doing this for a day or two days or even three days. In such a way you will have rest from toil and moil."

When the bull heard these words he thanked the donkey.

Now the merchant understood all that passed between them.

Next day the driver took the bull and made him work as usual; but the bull refused after a little while. They could not make him work any more. When he came to the cow house he lay down and neither bellowed nor ate.

The peasant came next morning; and, seeing the manger full of beans, the crushed straw untasted and the ox lying on his back with legs outstretched and big, bulging belly, he went to the merchant and reported,

"Master, the bull is ailing; he refused his fodder last night; nay more, he has not tasted a scrap of it this morning."

The merchant farmer who understood the talk of animals, said, "Let the donkey do the bull's work."

The ploughman took the donkey and let him do the bull's task. When the donkey came home in the evening he could hardly drag his limbs along. But the bull had been lying and eaten his fodder with a good appetite. When night set in and the donkey returned to the byre, the bull said,

"Thanks to your advice I have rested all this day and I have eaten my meat in peace and quiet."

But the donkey said to himself,

"This comes of my folly in giving good counsel. Now I must put a trick on the bull and return him to his place, or else I die."

Then he went weary to his manger, while the bull thanked him eagerly and blessed him.


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