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What Father Does Is Always Right
by [?]

(Adapted from Hans Christian Andersen)

I have no doubt that you have been out in the country, and have seen a real old farm-house, with a thatched roof, and moss, and plants growing wild upon it. There is a stork’s nest on the ridge, for one cannot very well do without the stork; the walls are sloping, the windows low, and the baking-oven projects from the wall like a fat little body. The elder-tree hangs over the fence, and there is a little pool of water, with a duck and her ducklings, beneath some old willow-trees. There is, also, a dog that barks at everybody who passes by.

Just such an old farm-house stood out in the country, and there lived an old couple, a peasant and his wife. Little though they had, there was one thing they could not do without, and that was the horse, that found a living by grazing on the roadside.

Father rode on it to town, and the neighbours borrowed it; but the old couple thought it might perhaps be better to sell the horse or exchange it for something more useful.

“You will know best, father, what this something should be,” said the wife. “To-day is market-day in town; ride down there and sell the horse or make a good exchange. What you do is always right–so ride to the market.”

So she wrapped his muffler around him, for she could do this better than he, and tied it in a double knot, so that it looked very smart; then she brushed his hat with the palm of her hand, and gave him a hearty kiss. He rode away on the horse that was about to be sold or exchanged. Yes; father knew what he was about!

A man came along, leading a cow–as pretty a cow as one could wish to see.

“She must give good milk, I am sure,” thought the peasant; “it would be a very good exchange to get her for the horse. Hello there, you, with the cow!” he cried, “let us have a little chat. Of course, a horse costs more than a cow, but I don’t mind that; I happen to have more use for the cow. Shall we make an exchange?”

“All right,” said the man with the cow, and so they exchanged.

Now that the bargain was made, the peasant might have returned home, for he had finished his business; but, as he had made up his mind to go to market, he thought he might as well do so, if only to see what was going on. So off he walked with his cow.

He walked quickly, and the cow walked quickly, and so they soon overtook a man who was leading a sheep. It was a fine sheep, in good condition, and with plenty of wool.

“Now, that is just the thing I should like to have,” thought the peasant. “There is plenty of grass for it by the roadside, and in the winter we could take it into the house with us. As a matter of fact, it would be more suitable for us to keep than a cow. Shall we exchange?” he asked.

The man with the sheep was quite willing; so the exchange was made.

The peasant went along the road with his sheep, and at the stile he met a man with a big goose under his arm.

“That is a heavy bird you have there,” said the peasant, “with plenty of feather and fat. It would look capital tied with a piece of string by the pond. It would be something for the wife to save the potato peelings for. She has so often said: ‘If we only had a goose!’ and now she can get one, and we shall have it. Shall we exchange? I will give you the sheep for the goose, and thank you into the bargain,” said the peasant. The other man was quite willing; and so they exchanged, and the peasant got the goose.