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

The Table, the Sifter and the Pinchers

Accordingly, he called his family together.

"Sifter, sift," he commanded.

The sifter behaved just like any ordinary sifter.

"You have been tricked again!" cried his wife. She was very cross indeed and told her husband exactly what she thought of him.

Home was not a comfortable place for him that day, so he decided to hurry back to the king after he had emptied all the money in his pockets into his wife's lap.

"This will supply you for a while," he said. "It is quite as much as any ordinary husband would have brought home for a year's work."

"A woman hates to have her husband made a fool of," replied the woman as she rolled up the money and tucked it away carefully.

When the king had heard the story he was entirely convinced that the man had an enemy who had stolen both the table and the sifter.

"Where did you spend the night?" he asked.

The man told of passing the night in the inn.

"I've heard that innkeeper is going to retire from business, he has become so rich," said the king. "You'd better hurry there as fast as you can before he leaves town."

The laborer nodded his head thoughtfully, a wise look creeping into his eyes.

"Take these pinchers," ordered the king. "Use them on that innkeeper until he gives back the table and the sifter."

When the innkeeper was sore and black and blue from the pinchers he gave back the table and the sifter.

After that there were prosperous days indeed for the king's laborer. Whenever the children were hungry, he would say: "Table, set yourself," and immediately the table would be full of the most delicious food. Whenever his wife said, "I need some money," he would call out, "Sifter, sift," and the sifter would sift out money as freely and easily as if it were flour.

As for the pinchers, they proved to be quite as useful as the other gifts he received from the king. Whenever the children were naughty he had only to glance in the direction of those pinchers. The children would immediately behave as they should.

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