The Good Bargain
Thou mayst thank God for thy good fortune!"
"Oh," answered the peasant, "I will not have her, I have a wife already, and she is one too many for me; when I go home, it is just as bad as if I had a wife standing in every corner." Then the King grew angry, and said, "Thou art a boor." "Ah, Lord King," replied the peasant, "what can you expect from an ox, but beef?" "Stop," answered the King, "thou shalt have another reward. Be off now, but come back in three days, and then thou shalt have five hundred counted out in full."
When the peasant went out by the gate, the sentry said, "Thou hast made the King's daughter laugh, so thou wilt certainly receive something good." "Yes, that is what I think," answered the peasant; "five hundred are to be counted out to me." "Hark thee," said the soldier, "give me some of it. What canst thou do with all that money?" "As it is thou," said the peasant, "thou shalt have two hundred; present thyself in three days' time before the King, and let it be paid to thee." A Jew, who was standing by and had heard the conversation, ran after the peasant, held him by the coat, and said, "Oh, wonder! what a luck-child thou art! I will change it for thee, I will change it for thee into small coins, what dost thou want with the great thalers?" "Jew," said the countryman, "three hundred canst thou still have; give it to me at once in coin, in three days from this, thou wilt be paid for it by the King." The Jew was delighted with the profit, and brought the sum in bad groschen, three of which were worth two good ones. After three days had passed, according to the King's command, the peasant went before the King. "Pull his coat off," said the latter, "and he shall have his five hundred." "Ah!" said the peasant, "they no longer belong to me; I presented two hundred of them to the sentinel, and three hundred the Jew has changed for me, so by right nothing at all belongs to me." In the meantime the soldier and the Jew entered and claimed what they had gained from the peasant, and they received the blows strictly counted out.