The Troll's Ride
It jumped hillocks and streams, and every time Peder Lars cast a look behind, he dimly glimpsed a gray bundle sliding farther back on the horse. And every time he looked ahead, he felt more and more sure that someone was sitting behind him.
They had reached open fields now, and the cape was flying straight up over his head, stretched as trim as a sail. The horse flew like a bird and its hooves barely touched ground. At the first fork in the road, Peder Lars met his spokesman, who had run out to find him and urge him to hurry.
"You are too late, Peder Lars!" shouted the spokesman. "Only five minutes are left."
"We'll see," Peder Lars called and was gone in a flash.
A little further on he met his old father, who shook his head sadly. "You will never get there. You have only a minute left."
"We'll see," Peder Lars called, and disappeared so fast that the old man did not even see him go.
At the farmer's house everyone was waiting. Beautiful Lisa, her arm leaning on the window-sill, was listening for the beat of hooves, while her father and the miller rubbed their hands contentedly.
"Now," said her father looking at the clock on the wall. "There is only half a minute to go. And if he were going to come on time, we would have heard his horse on the bridge by now. Lisa, you may as well give the miller your hand right away, for you would never be satisfied with a suitor who kept you waiting."
"I will wait until six o'clock," Lisa said. She stood there with beating heart. For though she was so proud that she would rather have made herself unhappy for the rest of her life than be kept waiting a single second by a suitor, it would be desperately hard to lose Peder Lars.
The clock began to chime.
"Too late!" cried the miller.
The strong beat of hooves was heard on the bridge just then, and Lisa's eyes shone with joy.
How Greed for a Trifling Thing Led a Man to Lose a Great One
Category: Chinese folktales
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