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Catherine And Frederick

When Fred returned, and saw the fresh decorations, he asked Catherine what she had done. "I have bought them, Fred," said she, "with the yellow counters which lay under the cow's stall; but I did not dig them up myself; the pedlars did that."

"Ah, wife, what have you done?" replied Fred. "They were not counters, but bright gold, which was all the property we possessed: you should not have done so."

"Well, dear Fred," replied his wife, "you should have told me so before. I did not know that."

Catherine stood considering for awhile, and presently she began, "Come, Fred, we will soon get the gold back again; let us pursue the thieves."

"Well, come along," said Fred; "we will try at all events; but take butter and cheese with you, that we may have something to eat on our journey."

"Yes, Fred," said she, and soon made herself ready; but, her husband being a good walker, she lagged behind. "Ah!" said she, "this is my luck, for when we turn back I shall be a good bit forward." Presently she came to a hill, on both sides of which there were very deep ruts. "Oh, see!" said she, "how the poor earth is torn, flayed, and wounded; it will never be well again all its life!" And out of compassion she took out her butter, and greased the ruts over right and left, so that the wheels might run more easily through them, and, while she stooped in doing this, a cheese rolled out of her pocket down the mountain. Catherine said when she saw it, "I have already once made the journey up, and I am not coming down after you: another shall run and fetch you." So saying, she took another cheese out of her pocket and rolled it down; but as it did not return, she thought, "Perhaps they are waiting for a companion and don't like to come alone"; and down she bowled a third cheese. Still all three stayed, and she said, "I cannot think what this means; perhaps it is that the third cheese has missed his way: I will send a fourth, that he may call him as he goes by." But this one acted no better than the others, and Catherine became so anxious that she threw down a fifth and a sixth cheese also, and they were the last.

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