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Little Master Misery


And a wretched little man, with a miserable face and little thin legs and arms, came out of the shadows and went home with the peasant and his wife.

It was late when they got home, but little Master Misery asked the peasant to take him to the tavern. "After such a day as this has been," says he, "there's nothing else to be done."

"But I have no money," says the peasant.

"What of that?" says little Master Misery. "Spring has begun, and you have a winter jacket on. It will soon be summer, and whether you have it or not you won't wear it. Bring it along to the tavern, and change it for a drink."

The poor man went to the tavern with little Master Misery, and they sat there and drank the vodka that the tavern-keeper gave them in exchange for the coat.

Next day, early in the morning, little Master Misery began complaining. His head ached and he could not open his eyes, and he did not like the weather, and the children were crying, and there was no food in the house. He asked the peasant to come with him to the tavern again and forget all this wretchedness in a drink.

"But I've got no money," says the peasant.

"Rubbish!" says little Master Misery; "you have a sledge and a cart."

They took the cart and the sledge to the tavern, and stayed there drinking until the tavern-keeper said they had had all that the cart and the sledge were worth. Then the tavern-keeper took them and threw them out of doors into the night, and they picked themselves up and crawled home.

Next day Misery complained worse than before, and begged the peasant to come with him to the tavern. There was no getting rid of him, no keeping him quiet. The peasant sold his barrow and plough, so that he could no longer work his land. He went to the tavern with little Master Misery.

A month went by like that, and at the end of it the peasant had nothing left at all. He had even pledged the hut he lived in to a neighbour, and taken the money to the tavern.

And every day little Master Misery begged him to come.

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Category: Irish folktales
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