The Golden Goose
There was once a man who had three sons. The youngest was called Dummerly, and was on all occasions scorned and ill-treated by the whole family. It happened that the eldest took it into his head one day to go into the forest to cut wood; and his mother gave him a delicious meat pie and a bottle of wine to take with him, that he might sustain himself at his work. As he went into the forest, a little old man bid him good day, and said, "Give me a little bit of meat from your plate, and a little wine out of your flask; I am very hungry and thirsty." But this clever young man said, "Give you my meat and wine! No, I thank you; there would not be enough left for me;" and he went on his way. He soon began to chop down a tree; but he had not worked long before he missed his stroke, and cut himself, and was obliged to go home and have the wound bound up. Now, it was the little old man who caused him this mischief.
Next the second son went out to work; and his mother gave him, too, a meat pie and a bottle of wine. And the same little old man encountered him also, and begged him for something to eat and drink. But he, too, thought himself extremely clever, and said, "Whatever you get, I shall be without; so go your way!" The little man made sure that he should have his reward; and the second stroke that he struck at a tree, hit him on the leg, so that he too was compelled to go home.
Then Dummerly said, "Father, I should like to go and cut fuel too." But his father replied, "Your brothers have both maimed themselves; you had better stop at home, for you know nothing of the job." But Dummerly was very urgent; and at last his father said, "Go your way; you will be wiser when you have suffered for your foolishness." And his mother gave him only some dry bread, and a bottle of sour ale; but when he went into the forest, he met the little old man, who said, "Give me some meat and drink, for I am very hungry and thirsty." Dummerly said, "I have nothing but dry bread and sour beer; if that will do for you, we will sit down and eat it together.
How Greed for a Trifling Thing Led a Man to Lose a Great One
Category: Chinese folktales
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