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Main > Romanian folktales > Fairy tale "Mother's darling Jack"

Mother's darling Jack

But he was of little use, because he had not paid attention when good instruction was given him. And whoever does not know how to do any thing well, must expect a great deal of scolding.

One day Jack's master was preparing to go to market. "Listen, Jack," he said, "grease the cart thoroughly, for we're going to market to-morrow."

Jack said "Yes," took the grease, and began to scratch his head. He did not know how to grease a cart. He had never listened when he had been told, nor looked when he might have seen it; so now he did not know what to do. Finally, from what he had hitherto learned, he recollected that the beginning of a cart is at the yoke, that is, the pole. So he thought he must commence there if he wanted to do the business thoroughly. He greased the thills, the pole, even the rack of the cart. Here he stopped, for there was no grease left. So he went to ask for some.

"Master," he said, after entering the room, "give me some more grease."

"Why in the world do you want more grease?" replied his master angrily, "I gave you enough to grease the cart three times over."

Jack said that there had only been enough for the thills, pole, and rack. When his master heard such words, he took Jack by the ear, led him out, and gave him such a beating that never again in his whole life did he forget that only the axles of a cart are to be greased. Well, what was the mother's darling to do—he was obliged to bear it, and then pay attention, that he might learn how to grease a cart.

After the cart was ready, the oxen were put in and the master took his seat in front, but Jack crouched in the back of the cart like a little heap of misery, sobbing now and then from having wept so much. "Silence," said his master sternly, "don't let me hear another word from you!" This was the last thing before they drove off.

Jack sat as still as a mouse; he was almost afraid to breathe. At last, this grew tiresome. So he began to watch the wheels again. But he was wiser now, and did not wonder at the wheels or the trees.

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