Long ago there lived a little maid who fell ill. Her father was very rich and he did everything he could for her.
One day she said: "If I only had some fresh figs I'm sure I'd feel better."
Now it was in the month of January. It would be many long months before the fresh figs would be ripe. The rich man was greatly worried. Not even his fortune could ripen the figs, as he well knew.
Nevertheless he decided to advertise and therefore said: "Whoever shall bring fresh figs to my daughter shall marry her if he be young. If he be old he shall receive his reward in money."
This announcement was spread abroad throughout the whole country, but no one had any fresh figs in the month of January. At last, however, there was a woman found who had a fig tree close by the side of her house, protected from the cold winds by the house and by the high wall of her garden. This woman had a few fresh figs, but they were small and not very good.
"Send them to the little maid who is sick," advised her neighbors.
"Indeed I'll send them as soon as my son can get ready to start," replied the good woman.
Now the woman had two sons. One of them was foolish, but the other was considered one of the cleverest youths in the whole countryside. He left home immediately with the best of the figs in his basket.
On the way he met a woman dressed in blue with a child in her arms. It was really the Holy Mother and her Child but he did not recognize them.
"What are you carrying in your basket?" asked the woman.
"I am carrying horns," replied the clever youth.
"Yes, you are carrying horns," replied the woman.
The young man went on to the rich man's house supposing that he was carrying figs in his basket just as when he started out. The basket had grown heavy.
"What have you in your basket?" asked the rich man when he saw the youth at his door.
"I have brought some fresh figs from my garden to your daughter who is ill," replied the clever one.
The rich man was delighted. He opened the basket.