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

Little Master Misery

"If I were to let you out of that, sooner or later you would drink up all this money, just as you drank up everything I had."

Then the peasant drove home and hid the gold in the cellar; took the oxen and cart back to his neighbour, thanked him kindly, and began to think what he would do, now that Misery was his master no longer, and he with plenty of money.

"But he had to work for a week to pay for the loan of the oxen and cart," said Vanya.

"Well, during the week, while he was working, he was thinking all the time, in his head," said old Peter, a little grumpily. Then he went on with his tale.

As soon as the week was over, he bought a forest and built himself a fine house, and began to live twice as richly as his brother in the town. And his wife had two new dresses, perhaps more; with a lot of gold and silver braid, and necklaces of big yellow stones, and bracelets and sparkling rings. His children were well fed every day—rivers of milk between banks of kisel jelly, and mushrooms with sauce, and soup, and cakes with little balls of egg and meat hidden in the middle. And they had toys that squeaked, a little boy feeding a goose that poked its head into a dish, and a painted hen with a lot of chickens that all squeaked together.

Time went on, and when his name-day drew near he thought of his brother, the merchant, and drove off to the town to invite him to take part in the feast.

"I have not forgotten, brother, that you invited me to yours."

"What a fellow you are!" says his brother; "you have nothing to eat yourself, and here you are inviting other people for your name-day."

"Yes," said the peasant, "once upon a time, it is true, I had nothing to eat; but now, praise be to God, I am no poorer than yourself. Come to my name-day feast and you will see."

"Very well," says his brother, "I'll come; but don't think you can play any jokes on me."

On the morning of the peasant's name-day his brother, the merchant in the town, put on his best clothes, and his plump wife dressed in all her richest, and they got into their cart—a fine cart it was too, painted in the brightest colours—and off they drove together to the house of the brother who had once been poor.

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