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Main > Russia folktales > Fairy tale "Little Master Misery"

Little Master Misery

"There I am not wretched any longer," says Misery. "There I sing, and even dance, hitting the floor with my heels and making a merry noise."

"But now I have no money at all, and nothing left to sell," says the poor peasant. "I'd be willing enough to go with you, but I can't, and here is an end of it."

"Rubbish!" says Misery; "your wife has two dresses. Leave her one; she can't wear both at once. Leave her one, and buy a drink with the other. They are both ragged, but take the better of the two. The tavern-keeper is a just man, and will give us more drink for the better one."

The peasant took the dress and sold it; and Misery laughed and danced, while the peasant thought to himself, "Well, this is the end. I've nothing left to sell, and my wife has nothing either. We've the clothes on our backs, and nothing else in the world."

In the morning little Master Misery woke with a headache as usual, and a mouthful of groans and complaints. But he saw that the peasant had nothing left to sell, and he called out,—

"Listen to me, master of the house."

"What is it, Misery?" says the peasant, who was master of nothing in the world.

"Go you to a neighbour and beg the loan of a cart and a pair of good oxen."

The poor peasant had no will of his own left. He did exactly as he was told. He went to his neighbour and begged the loan of the oxen and cart.

"But how will you repay me?" says the neighbour.

"I will do a week's work for you for nothing."

"Very well," says the neighbour; "take the oxen and cart, but be careful not to give them too heavy a load."

"Indeed I won't," says the peasant, thinking to himself that he had nothing to load them with. "And thank you very much," says he; and he goes back to Misery, taking with him the oxen and cart.

Misery looked at him and grumbled in his wretched little voice, "They are hardly strong enough,"

"They are the best I could borrow," says the peasant; "and you and I have starved too long to be heavy."

And the peasant and little Master Misery sat together in the cart and drove off together, Misery holding his head in both hands and groaning at the jolt of the cart.

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