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Little Master Misery

"It was my brother. I came here on purpose to let you out. I came out of pity."

Misery tugged the merchant's hair, and twisted the merchant's ears till they nearly came off.

"Liar, liar!" he shouted in his little, wretched, angry voice. "You tricked me once. Do you think you'll get the better of me again by a clumsy lie of that kind? Now then. Gee up! Home we go."

And so the rich brother went trotting home, crying with pain; while little Master Misery sat firmly on his shoulders, pulling at his hair.

Instantly Misery was at his old tricks.

"You seem to have bought a good deal with the gold," he said, looking at the merchant's house. "We'll see how far it will go." And every day he rode the rich merchant to the tavern, and made him drink up all his money, and his house, his clothes, his horses and carts and sledges—everything he had—until he was as poor as his brother had been in the beginning.

The merchant thought and thought, and puzzled his brain to find a way to get rid of him. And at last one night, when Misery had groaned himself to sleep, the merchant went out into the yard and took a big cart wheel and made two stout wedges of wood, just big enough to fit into the hub of the wheel. He drove one wedge firmly in at one end of the hub, and left the wheel in the yard with the other wedge, and a big hammer lying handy close to it.

In the morning Misery wakes as usual, and cries out to be taken to the tavern.

"We've sold everything I've got," says the merchant.

"Well, what are you going to do to amuse me?" says Misery.

"Let's play hide-and-seek in the yard," says the merchant.

"Right," says Misery; "but you'll never find me, for I can make myself so small I can hide in a mouse-hole in the floor."

"We'll see," says the merchant.

The merchant hid first, and Misery found him at once.

"Now it's my turn," says Misery; "but what's the good? You'll never find me. Why, I could get inside the hub of that wheel if I had a mind to."

"What a liar you are!" says the merchant; "you never could get into that little hole.

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