The following day passed pleasantly, and the next was fair enough, but by the third day it was time to think of food for the wife and perhaps for children.
"I've let them put something over on me," he said, "and now the only thing to do is put something over on them in return."
And that he did. Away he went, away all day, and away all night, while his wife was left a widow.
The other Beetles said that they had taken nothing more than a complete tramp into the family and now his wife was left a burden on their hands.
"Well, then, she shall be unmarried again," said her mother, "and sit here among my unmarried daughters. Shame on that disgusting rascal who deserted her!"
Meanwhile the Beetle had been traveling on, and had sailed across the ditch on a cabbage leaf. That morning two persons came by, and when they saw the Beetle they picked him up, turned him over and over, and both looked very learned - especially one of them, a boy.
"Allah sees the black beetle in the black stone and in the black mountain," he said. "Isn't that in the Koran?" Then he translated the Beetle's name into Latin and discoursed upon its nature and family history. The older scholar was opposed to carrying him home, saying they had just as good a specimen there. This, the Beetle thought, was a very rude thing to say, consequently he suddenly flew out of the speaker's hand. As his wings were dry now, he flew a considerable distance and reached a greenhouse, where he found a sash of the glass roof partly open, so, with the greatest of ease, he slipped in and buried himself in the manure.
"It's very comfortable here," he remarked.
Soon he feel asleep and dreamed that the Emperor's horse had fallen down and that Mr. Beetle had been given its golden shoes, with the promise that he should have two more.
It was all very charming. And when the Beetle woke up he crept out and looked around him. What splendor there was in the greenhouse! Great palm trees were growing high, and the sun made them look transparent.
How Greed for a Trifling Thing Led a Man to Lose a Great One
Category: Chinese folktales
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