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Main > German folktales > Fairy tale "The Jew in the Bush"

The Jew in the Bush

A faithful servant had worked hard for his master, a thrifty farmer, for three long years, and had been paid no wages. At last it came into the man's head that he would not go on thus any longer, so he went to his master and said—

"I have worked hard for you a long time, and without pay, too. I will trust you to give me what I ought to have for my trouble, but something I must have, and then I must take a holiday."

The farmer was a sad miser, and knew that his man was simple-hearted, so he took out three crowns, and thus gave him a crown for each year's service. The poor fellow thought it was a great deal of money to have, and said to himself—

"Why should I work hard and live here on bad fare any longer? Now that I am rich I can travel into the wide world and make myself merry."

With that he put the money into his purse, and set out, roaming over hill and valley. As he jogged along over the fields, singing and dancing, a little dwarf met him, and asked him what made him so merry.

"Why, what should make me down-hearted?" replied he. "I am sound in health and rich in purse; what should I care for? I have saved up my three years' earnings, and have it all safe in my pocket."

"How much may it come to?" said the mannikin.

"Three whole crowns," replied the countryman.

"I wish you would give them to me," said the other. "I am very poor."

Then the good man pitied him, and gave him all he had; and the dwarf said—

"As you have such a kind heart, I will grant you three wishes—one for each crown,—so choose whatever you like."

The countryman rejoiced at his luck, and said—

"I like many things better than money. First, I will have a bow that will bring me down everything I shoot at; secondly, a fiddle that will set every one dancing that hears me play upon it; and, thirdly, I should like to be able to make every one grant me whatever I ask."

The dwarf said he should have his three wishes, gave him the bow and the fiddle, and went his way.

Our honest friend journeyed on his way too, and if he was merry before, he was now ten times more so.

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