Page:Tales of old Lusitania.djvu/58

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need not be uneasy on that account, for I shall be there to defend you."

When, therefore, our traveller was summoned to appear in court on the charge of owing the landlady of the inn for the chickens which the eggs would have yielded, that mysterious individual was present to watch the case as he had promised to do. But he presented himself in such an untidy state—his face all smeared with dirt, and his hair covered with dust—that the magistrate was fain to remonstrate with him, and ask him why he had not washed his face before appearing in court. But the man, in a self-possessed manner, replied: "My lord, you must know that when I was summoned in haste to defend this cause, I was busily employed in the chestnut wood roasting some chestnuts, for the purpose of sowing them afterwards."

The landlady, who was in court ready to give her evidence, and thought herself very clever and sharp, cried out: "Oh, the fool! Will chestnut trees grow out of roasted chestnuts?"

The prisoner's mysterious counsel retorted: "Then this man does not owe you anything. Can chickens be hatched out of six boiled eggs? Discharge him at once, O magistrate."

So the dishonest landlady was caught in her own trap; and the barrister that defended the man turned out to be the devil.