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The Fox and the Geese
(Der Fuchs und die Gänse)

FUCHS The fox once came to a meadow in which was a flock of fine fat geese, on which he smiled and said, "I come in the nick of time, you are sitting together quite beautifully, so that I can eat you up one after the other."

The geese cackled with terror, sprang up, and began to wail and beg piteously for their lives. But the fox would listen to nothing, and said, "There is no mercy to be had! You must die."

At length one of them took heart and said, "If we poor geese are to yield up our vigorous young lives, show us the only possible favour and allow us one more prayer, that we may not die in our sins, and then we will place ourselves in a row, so that you can always pick yourself out the fattest."

"Yes," said the fox, "that is reasonable, and a pious request. Pray away, I will wait till you are done."

Then the first began a good long prayer, for ever saying, "Ga! Ga!" and as she would make no end, the second did not wait till her turn came, but began also, "Ga! Ga!" The third and fourth followed her, and soon they were all cackling together.

When they have done praying, the story shall be went on further, but at present they are still praying without stopping.

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The Three Lazy Ones
(Die drei Faulen)

A certain king had three sons who were all equally dear to him, and he did not know which of them to appoint as his successor after his own death. When the time came when he was about to die, he summoned them to his bedside and said, "Dear children, I have been thinking of something which I will declare to you; whichever of you is the laziest shall have the kingdom."

The eldest said, "Then, father, the kingdom is mine, for I am so idle that if I lie down to rest, and a drop falls in my eye, I will not open it that I may sleep."

The second said; "Father, the kingdom belongs to me, for I am so idle that when I am sitting by the fire warming myself, I would rather let my heel be burnt off than draw back my leg."

The third said, "Father, the kingdom is mine, for I am so idle that if I were going to be hanged, and had the rope already round my neck, and anyone put a sharp knife into my hand with which I might cut the rope, I would rather let myself be hanged than raise my hand to the rope."

When the father heard that, he said, "You have carried it the farthest, and shall be king."

Notes

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