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Main > Portuguese folktales > Fairy tale "Manoel Littlebean"

Manoel Littlebean

Long ago there lived a man and his wife who had no children.

"I wish I had a little boy," said the man.

"I'd like a son of my own even if he were not any larger than a little bean," said the woman.

Time passed and a son was born to this worthy couple. He was no larger than a little bean and as the years went by he never grew any bigger. His name was Manoel Littlebean. He caused his mother endless trouble by constantly getting lost. Sometimes she'd nearly step on him. Other times he'd fall into the food and she would almost swallow him.

One day his mother couldn't find him.

"Manoel Littlebean! Manoel Littlebean!" she called.

There was no answer.

She went outside the house and called his name anxiously. There was no reply. She asked all the neighbors if they had seen the child, but there was nobody who had noticed him that day. His poor mother was nearly wild with anxiety.

"I'm afraid I'll never see the dear child again," she mourned. "I'm sure I have either stepped on him or swallowed him!"

"You never stepped on him or swallowed him yet," comforted her husband. However, he added anxiously, "I can't see what has become of my Manoel."

The truth of the matter was that Manoel Littlebean had been swallowed by the goat. He was a most active youngster in spite of his small size and he caused the goat a terrible attack of indigestion.

The goat did not know what was the matter and he tore around so wildly and caused so much destruction that his master decided to kill him.

"I simply can't be bothered with that goat any longer," he said. "I have quite enough to worry about already with Manoel Littlebean lost and my poor wife nearly sick with anxiety because of it."

He never dreamed that it was his son who was making the goat so wild with misery. When the goat was dead he threw it out into the street.

That night a wolf came and ate the goat. He swallowed the goat's stomach so greedily that Manoel Littlebean had no time to escape. However he jumped about just as actively inside the wolf as he had done when the goat had swallowed him.

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