Page:Tales of old Lusitania.djvu/53

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41
PATRANHA.

aberrations of fancy. I shall go home and ask him if he has any book with a lie as long as a Pater Noster; and if he has one you may be sure I shall return immediately with it so as to satisfy your demand." The man returned home in great haste, and nearly out of breath asked his son to look among his books and try to find him a lie which would take him as long to say as a Pater Noster. To this his clever son replied that he had never found one so long in any of his books. The idiot, who was listening to the conversation of his father and brother, and saw that his father had remained very disconsolate, asked him why he seemed so sorrowful, and requested him to tell him the reason of his sadness. But to this the father's only answer was, "You are only a fool, and not likely to find a remedy for my present misfortune."

"Who knows but I may be able to help you for all that; pray, father, tell me what distresses you."

"Well, if you must know," said the father, "it is this: my landlord has promised to remit my debt to him if I can tell him a lie the length of a Pater Noster; but your clever brother says that in all his books there is not a lie to be found as long."

The idiot son remained silent, but sought the first opportunity to go and see the landlord, and in confidence said to him, "My Lord, I have come to tell you that my father is not half as poor as he makes himself out to be to you. He has an enclosed