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The Mild Man and his Cantankerous Wife

When he came to the old woman, their mother, he fell to complaining of his wife. The old woman told him to wait for her son, who would soon come home.

Not long after came the South Wind, and the countryman began to complain of his wife. Then the Wind answered: “I am sorry, old man, that you have such a wicked wife; but I will assist you, and she shall not beat you any more. Take this cask, and when you get home and your wife is going to beat you, place yourself behind the cask and cry: ‘Five! out of the cask and thrash my wife!’ and when they have given her a good beating, then say: ‘Five! back to the cask!’” Then the peasant made a low bow to the Wind, and went his way.

When he came home he said: “There, I have brought you here a cask instead of the basket.”

At this the good woman flew into a rage and said: “A cask, indeed! What shall I do with it? Why have you brought back no flour?” And, so saying, she seized the poker, and was going to beat her husband. But the poor man stepped quietly behind the cask and cried: “Five! out of the cask! Thrash my wife instantly!” In a moment five stout young fellows jumped out of the cask and fell to cudgelling the woman. And when her husband saw that she was beaten enough, and she begged for mercy, he cried: “Five! back to the cask!” Then instantly they stopped beating her, and crept back into the cask.

The countryman thought over his loss and decided to go forthwith to the nobleman and challenge him to fight. The nobleman laughed outright at the folly of the man; nevertheless he would not refuse, as he wished to have some sport; so he told the man to go into the field. So he tucked his cask under his arm, betook himself to the field, and waited for the nobleman, who came riding to meet him with a number of attendants; and, when he drew near, he ordered his servants, for a joke, to thrash the peasant soundly. The man saw that they were mocking him, and he was wroth with the nobleman, and said: “Come, Sir! give me my basket back this instant, or it shall fare ill with you all, I promise!

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