Page:Fairy tales and other stories (Andersen, Craigie).djvu/376

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364
JACK THE DULLARD

and his two brothers burst out laughing at him, and rode away.

'Father,' said Jack, 'I must have a horse too. I do feel so desperately inclined to marry! If she accepts me, she accepts me; and if she won't have me, I'll have her all the same!'

'Don't talk nonsense,' said the father. 'You shall have no horse from me. You don't know how to speak. Your brothers are very different fellows from you.'

'Well,' quoth Jack the Dullard, 'if I can't have a horse, I'll take the billy-goat, who belongs to me, and he can carry me very well!'

And so he mounted the billy-goat, pressed his heels into its sides, and gallopped off along the highway.

'Hei, houp! that was a ride! Here I come!' shouted Jack the Dullard, and he sang till his voice echoed far and wide.

But his brothers rode slowly on in advance of him. They spoke not a word, for they were thinking all about the fine ideas they would have to bring out, and these had to be cleverly prepared beforehand.

'Hallo!' shouted Jack the Dullard. 'Here am I! Look what I have found on the high road.' And he showed them a dead crow which he had found.

'Dullard!' exclaimed the brothers, 'what are you going to do with that?'

'I am going to give it to the Princess.'

'Yes, do so,' said they; and they laughed, and rode on.

'Hallo, here I am again! Just see what I have found now: you don't find that on the high road every day!'

And the brothers turned round to see what he could have found now.

'Dullard!' they cried, 'that is only an old wooden shoe, and the upper part is missing into the bargain; are you going to give that also to the Princess?'

'Most certainly I shall,' replied Jack the Dullard; and again the brothers laughed and rode on, and thus they got far in advance of him; but—

'Hallo!' and there was Jack the Dullard again. 'It is getting better and better,' he cried. 'Hurrah! it is quite famous.'