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Main > Portuguese folktales > Fairy tale "The Table, the Sifter and the Pinchers"

The Table, the Sifter and the Pinchers

"The king did not pay me in money. He gave me something better than money," replied the man. "Do you see this table? Call the children. I want to show you something."

The man's wife and children all gathered about the table, watching it curiously.

"Table, set yourself," said the man.

The table remained standing in the center of the floor just as it was.

"What trick is this?" asked the good wife. She had been a bit suspicious from the moment she had heard that there was no money in her husband's pockets.

"I'll get the beggars I fed to prove to you what this table provided yesterday," he said when he had told all the story.

"You'd better go back to the king as fast as you can," advised the wife. "Take back this good-for-nothing table which he has imposed upon you and ask for some real money instead."

The man did as his wife advised. The king was thoughtful for a moment. He guessed that the man had been robbed.

At last he said: "I'll give you a sifter this time. Then when you need money all you have to do is to say, 'Sifter, sift!' It will sift out money as freely as if it were flour."

The man was delighted with the sifter. He sifted his pockets full of money immediately and hurried home. On the way he again spent the night at the inn.

"When I brought my table home it wouldn't work," he told the innkeeper. "I took it back and got something in its place which is all right."

The innkeeper watched him sift out money.

"Why don't I get that sifter?" thought the innkeeper. "I work very hard serving my guests even though the table provides the food for them. If I had this sifter I wouldn't have to work. I'd close the inn and pass the rest of my life enjoying the money I'd sift into my pockets so easily."

That night he stole the sifter and substituted another which looked exactly like it.

When the man reached home there was plenty of money in his pockets and his wife and children were happy for a little while. However, he soon wanted to display the magic gifts of his new sifter.

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