Page:Fairy tales and other stories (Andersen, Craigie).djvu/26

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14
GREAT CLAUS AND LITTLE CLAUS

You shall have the conjuror for a bushel of money; but I must have the bushel heaped up.'

'That you shall have,' replied the farmer. 'But you must take the chest yonder away with you. I will not keep it in my house an hour. One cannot know—perhaps he may be there still.'

Little Claus gave the farmer his sack with the dry hide in it, and got in exchange a whole bushel of money, and that heaped up. The farmer also gave him a big truck, on which to carry off his money and chest.

'Farewell!' said Little Claus; and he went off with his money and the big chest, in which the clerk was still sitting.

On the other side of the wood was a great deep river. The water rushed along so rapidly that one could scarcely swim against the stream. A fine new bridge had been built over it. Little Claus stopped on the centre of the bridge, and said quite loud, so that the clerk could hear it,

'Ho, what shall I do with this stupid chest? It's as heavy as if stones were in it. I shall only get tired if I drag it any farther, so I'll throw it into the river: if it swims home to me, well and good; and if it does not, it will be no great matter.'

And he took the chest with one hand, and lifted it up a little, as if he intended to throw it into the river.

'No! let be!' cried the clerk from within the chest; 'let me out first!'

'Ugh!' exclaimed Little Claus, pretending to be frightened, 'he's in there still! I must make haste and throw him into the river, that he may be drowned.'

'Oh, no, no!' screamed the clerk. 'I'll give you a whole bushel-full of money if you'll let me go.'

'Why, that's another thing!' said Little Claus; and he opened the chest.

The clerk crept quickly out, pushed the empty chest into the water, and went to his house, where Little Claus received a whole bushel-full of money. He had already received one from the farmer, and so now he had his truck loaded with money.

'See, I've been well paid for the horse,' he said to himself when he had got home to his own room, and was