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Main > German folktales > Fairy tale "Brother Merry"

Brother Merry


"With all my heart," replied his companion; "but I don't understand anything of cooking, so do you begin, and I will walk about until it is ready. Don't begin to eat until I return. I will take care to be back in time."

"Go your ways," said Brother Merry; "I can cook it well enough. I'll soon have it ready."

The saint wandered away, while Brother Merry lighted the fire, killed the lamb, put the pieces into the pot, and boiled them. In a short time the lamb was thoroughly done, but the saint had not returned; so Merry took the meat up, carved it, and found the heart.

"That is the best part of it," said he; and he kept tasting it until he had finished it.

At length the saint came back, and said—

"I only want the heart. All the rest you may have, only give me that."

Then Brother Merry took his knife and fork, and turned the lamb about as if he would have found the heart, but of course he could not discover it. At last he said, in a careless manner—

"It is not here."

"Not there? Where should it be, then?" said the saint.

"That I don't know," said Merry; "but now I think of it, what a couple of fools we are to look for the heart of a lamb. A lamb, you know, has not got a heart."

"What?" said the saint; "that's news, indeed. Why, every beast has a heart, and why should not the lamb have one as well as the rest of them?"

"No, certainly, comrade, a lamb has no heart. Only reflect, and it will occur to you that it really has not."

"Well," replied his companion, "it is quite sufficient. There is no heart there, so I need none of the lamb. You may eat it all."

"Well, what I cannot eat I'll put in my knapsack," said Brother Merry.

Then he ate some, and disposed of the rest as he had said. Now, as they continued their journey, the saint contrived that a great stream should flow right across their path, so that they must be obliged to ford it. Then said he—

"Go you first."

"No," answered Brother Merry; "go you first," thinking that if the water were too deep he would stay on the bank where he was.

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