The Story of Unlucky Daniel
There was once upon a time a youth called Unlucky Dan. Wherever he went, and whatever he did, and with whomsoever he served, nothing came of it: all his labour was like spilt water, he got no good from it. One day he took service with a new master. “I’ll serve thee a whole year,” said he, “for a piece of sown wheat-land.” His master agreed, and he entered into his service, and at the same time he sowed his piece of wheat-land. His wheat shot up rapidly. When his master’s wheat was in the stalk, his was already in the ear, and when his master’s wheat was in the ear, his own wheat was already ripe. “I’ll reap it to-morrow,” thought he. The same night a cloud arose, the hail poured down, and destroyed his wheat altogether. Daniel fell a-weeping. “I’ll go serve another master,” he cried, “perhaps God will then prosper me!” So he went to another master. “I’ll serve thee for a whole year,” said he, “if thou wilt give me that wild colt.” So he stopped and served him, and by the end of the year he trained the wild colt so well that he made a carriage-horse out of it. “Oh-ho!” thought he, “I shall take away something with me this time!” The same night the wolves made an inroad upon the stables and tore the horse to pieces. Daniel fell a-weeping. “I’ll go to another master,” said he, “perhaps I shall be luckier there.” So he went to a third master, and on this master’s tomb lay a large stone. Whence it came none knew, and it was so heavy that none could move it, though they tried for ages. “I’ll serve thee a year,” said he, “for that stone.” The master agreed, and he entered his service. Then a change came over the stone, and divers flowers began to grow upon it. On one side they were red, on the second side silver, and on the third side golden. “Oh-ho,” thought Daniel, “that stone, at any rate, will soon be mine. Nobody can move it.” But the next morning a thunderbolt descended and struck the stone, and shivered it to atoms. Then Daniel fell a-weeping, and lamented that God had given him nothing, though he had served for so many years.