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  1. The Miller on the Dee
  2. Stone Soup

The Miller on the Dee

Once on a time there lived on the banks of the River Dee a miller, who was the happiest man in England. He was always busy from morning till night, and he was always singing as merrily as any lark. He was so cheerful that he made everybody else cheerful; and people all over the land liked to talk about his pleasant ways. At last the king heard about him.

"I will go down and talk with this wonderful miller," he said. "Perhaps he can tell me how to be happy."

As soon as he stepped inside of the mill, he heard the miller singing:

"I envy nobody - no, not I!
For I'm as happy as I can be;
And nobody envies me."

"You're wrong, my friend," said the king. "You're wrong as wrong can be. I envy you; and I would gladly change places with you, if I could only be as light-hearted as you are."

The miller smiled, and bowed to the king.

"I'm sure I could not think of changing places with you, sir," he said.

"Now tell me," said the king, "what makes you so cheerful and glad here in your dusty mill, while I, who am king, am sad and in trouble every day."

The miller smiled again, and said, "I don't know why you are sad, but I can easily tell why I'm glad. I earn my own bread; I love my wife and my children; I love my friends, and they love me; and I owe not a penny to any man. Why should I not be happy? For here is the River Dee, and every day it turns my mill; and the mill grinds the corn that feeds my wife, my babes, and me."

"Say no more," said the king. "Stay where you are, and be happy still. But I envy you. Your dusty cap is worth more than my golden crown. Your mill does more for you than my kingdom can do for me. If there were more such men as you, what a good place this world would be! Good-by, my friend!"

The king turned about, and walked sadly away; and the miller went back to his work, singing:

"Oh, I'm as happy as happy can be;
For I live by the side of the River Dee!"

Stone Soup

Once two travellers came to a little village. The two were hungry and tired from a long day's journey, and decided to rest by the side of the road. One of the travelers made a small fire. On it he placed a stout pot. The other drew water from the town well, filled the pot with water, and placed a stone in it.

As the two men sat down by the fire and brought their "stone soup" to a boil, the local villagers became curious of what the two were doing, and some of them came to find it out and talk with the two men. In a little while the visitors were made to share their tales of people and places they had encountered on their travels.

In the end a young boy asked, "But why are you boiling a stone?"

One of the travellers said, "So we may have stone soup."

"It cannot taste much," says an old woman. "But I have a cabbage, which will add some flavour."

"And I have some carrots which will add colour!" said another.

"Some potatoes," offered another.

This went on till a hearty stew was made, and the whole village and the weary travellers dined on it together throughout the evening and into the night.

Next day the two men travelled on. The villagers did not forget them. Even during hard times the little village thrived because the townsfolk did not forgot how to make "stone soup" [Retold].

Teamwork should be a good thing.


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