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Main > Sweden folktales > Fairy tale "The Rooster, the Hand-Mill and the Swarm of Hornets"

The Rooster, the Hand-Mill and the Swarm of Hornets

Once upon a time there was a peasant who wanted to go to sell a pig. After he had gone a while, he met a man who asked him where he was going with his pig. "I want to sell it," answered the peasant, "but I do not know what to do to get rid of it." "Go to the devil," said the man, "he will be the first to rid you of it." So the peasant kept on along the broad highway.

When he came to the devil's place, there stood a man out by the wood-pile making wood. The peasant went to him and asked whether he could tell him if they wanted to buy a pig in the devil's place. "I'll go in and ask," said the man, "if you will make wood in my stead while I am gone." "Yes, I will do that gladly," said the peasant, took the ax, stood at the wood-pile and began to make wood. And he worked and worked until evening came; but the man did not return to tell him whether they would or would not buy a pig in the devil's place.

At length another man came that way, and the peasant asked him whether he would make wood in his stead, for it was impossible to lay down the ax unless another took it up and went on working. So the man took the ax and stood there making wood, and the peasant went into the devil's place himself, and asked whether any one wanted to buy a pig.

A crowd as large as that at a fair at once gathered, and all wanted to buy the pig. Then the peasant thought: "Whoever pays the most, gets it." And one would overbid another, offering far more than a whole herd of pigs were worth. But at last a gentleman came along who whispered something to the peasant, and told him to come along with him; and he could have all the money he wanted.

So when they had reached the gentleman's house, and the peasant had given him the pig, he received in payment a rooster who would lay silver coins as often as he was told to do so. Then the peasant went his way, well content with his bargain. But on the way home he stayed overnight at a tavern kept by an old woman. And he was so exceedingly happy about his splendid rooster, that he had to boast about him to the old woman, and show her how he went about laying silver coins.

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