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The Biter Bit


'Never mind,' replied Simon, 'I'll play them one worth two of that; for depend upon it they won't be contented with having got the donkey out of me, but they'll try by some new dodge to get something more, or I'm much mistaken.'

Now there lived in the village not far from Simon's house, a peasant who had two goats, so alike in every respect that it was impossible to distinguish one from the other. Simon bought them both, paid as small a price as he could for them, and leading them home with him, he told Nina to prepare a good meal, as he was going to invite some friends to dinner. He ordered her to roast some veal, and to boil a pair of chickens, and gave her some herbs to make a good savoury, and told her to bake the best tart she could make. Then he took one of the goats and tied it to a post in the courtyard, and gave it some grass to eat; but he bound a cord round the neck of the other goat and led it to the market.

Hardly had he arrived there, than the three gentlemen who had got his mule perceived him, and coming up to him said: 'Welcome, Mr. Simon, what brings you here; are you on the look out for a bargain?'

'I've come to get some provisions,' he answered, 'because some friends are coming to dine with me today, and it would give me much pleasure if you were to honour me with your company also.'

The accomplices willingly accepted this invitation; and after Simon had made all his purchases, he tied them on to the goat's back, and said to it, in the presence of the three cheats, 'Go home now, and tell Nina to roast the veal, and boil the chickens, and tell her to prepare a savoury with herbs, and to bake the best tart she can make. Have you followed me? Then go, and Heaven's blessing go with you.'

As soon as it felt itself free, the laden goat trotted off as quickly as it could, and to this day nobody knows what became of it. But Simon, after wandering about the market for some time with his three friends and some others he had picked up, returned home to his house.

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