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The Bottle Neck

"A toast to the betrothed!" said the father, and every glass was emptied, and then the young man kissed his pretty fiancée. "Good luck and blessings," said the old couple. And the young man then refilled the glasses, exclaiming, "To my home-coming and our wedding, a year from today!" When the glasses had been emptied; he raised the Bottle in the air, saying, "You have been a part of the happiest day of my life. You shall never serve anyone else!"

Then he flung it high into the air. Little did the furrier's daughter think that she would ever see the Bottle again - and yet she would. The Bottle fell down among the thick reeds fringing the little woodland lake. The Bottle neck could remember clearly how it lay there, thinking, "I gave them wine, and they gave me swamp water - but they meant well." It could no longer see the happy betrothed and their pleased parents, but it could hear them talking and singing in the distance. Then after a while two peasant boys came along, found the Bottle among the reeds, and took it away. Now it had someone to take care of it.

At the woodland hut where the boys lived, they and their elder brother, who was a sailor, had parted the day before, when he had come home to say good-by prior to leaving on a long voyage. Now their mother was packing a few things that their father was going to take to him in the town that evening; this would give him an opportunity to see his son once more before his departure and to bring him greetings from his mother and himself. A little flask of spiced brandy was placed in the package. But then the boys came home with the bottle they had found; it was larger and stronger and would hold more than the little flask; it was just right for a good-sized schnapps for a stomach in need of such. So it was filled, not with red wine as before, but with brandy containing herbs that are good for the stomach. The newly found Bottle, rather than the little one, would go on the trip.

And so the Bottle continued on its travels.

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