The Tale of the Silver Saucer and the Transparent Apple
There was once an old peasant, and he must have had more brains under his hair than ever I had, for he was a merchant, and used to take things every year to sell at the big fair of Nijni Novgorod. Well, I could never do that. I could never be anything better than an old forester.
"Never mind, grandfather," said Maroosia.
God knows best, and He makes some merchants and some foresters, and some good and some bad, all in His own way. Anyhow this one was a merchant, and he had three daughters. They were none of them so bad to look at, but one of them was as pretty as Maroosia. And she was the best of them too. The others put all the hard work on her, while they did nothing but look at themselves in the looking-glass and complain of what they had to eat. They called the pretty one "Little Stupid," because she was so good and did all their work for them. Oh, they were real bad ones, those two. We wouldn't have them in here for a minute.
Well, the time came round for the merchant to pack up and go to the big fair. He called his daughters, and said, "Little pigeons," just as I say to you. "Little pigeons," says he, "what would you like me to bring you from the fair?"
Says the eldest, "I'd like a necklace, but it must be a rich one."
Says the second, "I want a new dress with gold hems."
But the youngest, the good one, Little Stupid, said nothing at all.
"Now little one," says her father, "what is it you want? I must bring something for you too."
Says the little one, "Could I have a silver saucer and a transparent apple? But never mind if there are none."
The old merchant says, "Long hair, short sense," just as I say to Maroosia; but he promised the little pretty one, who was so good that her sisters called her stupid, that if he could get her a silver saucer and a transparent apple she should have them.
Then they all kissed each other, and he cracked his whip, and off he went, with the little bells jingling on the horses' harness.
The three sisters waited till he came back.