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Read to Me!

This is a Bohemian tale about a poor man, a rich man, telling the truth, and pretending.


About Real and Unreal Devils: I

Once upon a time there was a poor man, so poor that he and his wife and five children often got up hungry in the morning and went to bed hungry at night. In the same village there was a rich baker, godfather to their children, who was so mean and stingy that he would not help them with so much as a crust of bread.

One day as the woman was walking beside a stream, the bank crumbled beneath her feet and she almost fell into the water. But what was this? A great pot of golden coins had rolled out of the hole in the riverbank. "Oh! Oh!" she said, and gathering the coins into her apron she scooted home as fast as she could.

"We won't be poor any more!" said her husband and he took the coins up to the attic. Then his wife took a gold coin to the baker and asked for a loaf of bread. The baker started to yell that he couldn't give away bread when she took out the gold coin and put it on the counter. "Very well," grumbled the baker and he sold her a loaf at once. "But where did you get a gold coin?" he asked, and she, being an honest woman, told him.

Well, that rich baker thought about those gold coins and how he wished he had them! And he said to his wife, "I want that money, but how am I to get it?" And she, more mean and dishonest than he, thought of a way to get it and explained it to him. "Oh! That money is as good as mine!" said the baker.

So that night at midnight he wrapped himself in an ox hide, with the horns sticking up at the top, and went to the poor man's house, thumping on the door, howling, and rattling pots and pans together. What a racket! So the poor man looked out the window and said "Who is it? What do you want?"

"I AM THE DEVIL!" thundered the baker, "AND I HAVE COME FOR MY MONEY!"

(To be continued)