Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (German II).djvu/24

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22
CHRISTIAN GELLERT'S LAST CHRISTMAS.

his sleep, while I must go out and brave wind and weather."

"Be content," replied his wife: "why, I dreamt you had actually been made magistrate, and wore something on your head like a king's crown."

"Oh! you women; as though what you see is n't enough, you like to chatter about what you dream."

"Light the lamp, too," said his wife, "and I'll get up and make you a nice porridge."

The peasant, putting a candle in his lantern, went to the stable; and after he had given some fodder to the horses, he seated himself upon the manger. With his hands squeezed between his knees and his head bent down, he reflected over and over again what a wretched existence he had of it. "Why," thought he, "are so many men so well-off, so comfortable, whilst you must be always toiling? What care I if envy be not a virtue?—and yet I'm not envious, I don't grudge others being well-off, only I should like to be well-off too; oh, for a quiet, easy life! Am I not worse off than a horse? He gets his fodder at the proper time, and takes no care about it. Why did my father make my brother a minister? He gets his salary without any trouble, sits in a warm room, has no care in the world; and I must slave and torment myself."

Strange to say, his very next thought, that he