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Main > Russia folktales > Fairy tale "The Mild Man and his Cantankerous Wife"

The Mild Man and his Cantankerous Wife

Tell me, now, which Wind it is that has blown away your meal?”

“The South Wind, Mother dear,” answered the countryman.

Then the old woman led the man deeper into the forest, and came to a little hut, and said: “Here I live, master woodman; creep on to the stove, and wrap yourself up; my children will soon be here.”

“But why should I wrap myself up?” said the peasant.

“Because my son the North Wind is very cold, and you would be frozen,” said the old woman.

Not long after, the old woman’s sons began to assemble; and when at length the South Wind came, the old woman called the countryman from the stove and said to her sons: “South Wind, my dear son, a complaint is brought against you; why do you injure poor folks? You have blown away this man’s flour from out of his dish; pay him now for it with money, or how you will.”

“Very well, Mother,” replied the Wind, “I will pay him for his flour.” Then he called the countryman and said: “Hark ye, my little farmer, take this basket; it contains everything you can wish for—money, bread, all kinds of food and drink; you have only to say: ‘Basket, give me this and that,’ and it will instantly give you all you desire. Go home now—you have here payment for your flour.” So the countryman made his bow to the South Wind, thanked him for the basket, and went his way home.

When the man came home, he gave the basket to his wife, saying: “Here, wife, is a basket for you, which contains everything you can wish for—only ask it.” So the good woman took the basket, and said: “Basket, give me good flour for bread!” And instantly the basket gave her as much as ever she could desire. Then she asked again for this thing and that, and the basket gave her everything in the twinkling of an eye.

A few days after, it happened that a nobleman passed by the countryman’s cottage; and when the good woman saw him, she said to her husband; “Go and invite this lord to be our guest; if you don’t bring him here, I will beat you half dead.”

The countryman dreaded a beating from his wife.

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