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How a Fish Swam in the Air and a Hare in the Water
by [?]

Once upon a time an old man and his wife lived together in a little village. They might have been happy if only the old woman had had the sense to hold her tongue at proper times. But anything which might happen indoors, or any bit of news which her husband might bring in when he had been anywhere, had to be told at once to the whole village, and these tales were repeated and altered till it often happened that much mischief was made, and the old man’s back paid for it.

One day, he drove to the forest. When he reached the edge of it he got out of his cart and walked beside it. Suddenly he stepped on such a soft spot that his foot sank in the earth.

‘What can this be?’ thought he. ‘I’ll dig a bit and see.’

So he dug and dug, and at last he came on a little pot full of gold and silver.

‘Oh, what luck! Now, if only I knew how I could take this treasure home with me—-but I can never hope to hide it from my wife, and once she knows of it she’ll tell all the world, and then I shall get into trouble.’

He sat down and thought over the matter a long time, and at last he made a plan. He covered up the pot again with earth and twigs, and drove on into the town, where he bought a live pike and a live hare in the market.

Then he drove back to the forest and hung the pike up at the very top of a tree, and tied up the hare in a fishing net and fastened it on the edge of a little stream, not troubling himself to think how unpleasant such a wet spot was likely to be to the hare.

Then he got into his cart and trotted merrily home.

‘Wife!’ cried he, the moment he got indoors. ‘You can’t think what a piece of good luck has come our way.’

‘What, what, dear husband? Do tell me all about it at once.’

‘No, no, you’ll just go off and tell everyone.’

‘No, indeed! How can you think such things! For shame! If you like I will swear never to—-‘

‘Oh, well! if you are really in earnest then, listen.’

And he whispered in her ear: ‘I’ve found a pot full of gold and silver in the forest! Hush!—-‘

‘And why didn’t you bring it back?’

‘Because we’ll drive there together and bring it carefully back between us.’

So the man and his wife drove to the forest.

As they were driving along the man said:

‘What strange things one hears, wife! I was told only the other day that fish will now live and thrive in the tree tops and that some wild animals spend their time in the water. Well! well! times are certainly changed.’

‘Why, you must be crazy, husband! Dear, dear, what nonsense people do talk sometimes.’

‘Nonsense, indeed! Why, just look. Bless my soul, if there isn’t a fish, a real pike I do believe, up in that tree.’

‘Gracious!’ cried his wife. ‘How did a pike get there? It IS a pike–you needn’t attempt to say it’s not. Can people have said true—-‘

But the man only shook his head and shrugged his shoulders and opened his mouth and gaped as if he really could not believe his own eyes.

‘What are you standing staring at there, stupid?’ said his wife. ‘Climb up the tree quick and catch the pike, and we’ll cook it for dinner.’

The man climbed up the tree and brought down the pike, and they drove on.

When they got near the stream he drew up.

‘What are you staring at again?’ asked his wife impatiently. ‘Drive on, can’t you?’

‘Why, I seem to see something moving in that net I set. I must just go and see what it is.’