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Little Muck

Little Muck was very sorry that here also he had been disappointed in finding his fortune, and determined in his own mind to leave the service of the Frau Ahavzi. As, however, on his first journey, he had learned how badly one lives without money, he resolved to procure, in some way, for himself the wages which his mistress had once promised him, but had never paid. In the house of the Frau Ahavzi was a room, which was always closed, and the inside of which he had never seen. Nevertheless, he had often heard the Frau making a noise therein, and he would have willingly risked his life to know what was there concealed. Reflecting upon his travelling-money, it occurred to him that there his mistress might conceal her treasures. But the door was always tightly closed, and therefore he could not get at them.

One morning, after the Frau Ahavzi had gone out, one of the little dogs who was treated by her in a very stepmother-like manner, but whose favor he had in a great degree gained by various acts of kindness, pulled him by his wide pantaloons, and acted as if he wanted Muck to follow him. Muck, who always gladly played with him, did so, and perceived that the dog was leading him to the sleeping apartment of his mistress; he stopped before a door, which the little fellow had never before observed, and which was now wide open. The dog entered, and Muck, following, was overjoyed at finding himself in the very chamber, which had so long been the object of his curiosity. He looked all around for money, but could find none: old garments only, and strangely-fashioned vases were scattered around. One of the latter, in particular, attracted his attention; it was of crystal, and fine figures were cut thereon. He lifted it up and turned it on all sides; but, oh horror! he had not observed that it had a lid, which was but insecurely fastened on: it fell to the floor, and broke into a thousand pieces.

For a long time stood Little Muck motionless through terror; now was his fate decided, now must he fly, or be killed by the old woman.

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