The peasant and a jug of gold
There was a peasant. He was poor and dreamt to become rich one day.
Once he was plowing the land with his oxen. Suddenly his plow pushed against a jug. The peasant looked into it and what did he see there? He saw that the jug was full of gold coins!
The peasant was beside himself with joy. He put the jug into a sack with grain. He hid the jug, raised his head, and saw a man riding on a horse along the field.
« What if he saw that I found the jug with gold?» thought the peasant. «He will go to the king and will tell him everything. I will be thrown into prison. I'd better call him, and we'll divide the gold between us!»
« Hey!» shouted the peasant to the horse rider. «Ride up here!»
The man rode up to the peasant, greeted him, and asked, «Why did you call me, uncle?»
« No, he hadn't seen anything,» said the peasant to himself. «I shouldn't have called him.» Then he said, «Please look and tell me which of these two oxen is better?»
« I have no time to look at your oxen.» The rider got angry. «I am in a hurry!» said the rider and rode away from the peasant.
« Oh!» thought the peasant again. «He seems to have seen the gold and hastened to the king's palace! He will tell everything to the king! I'd better give him half of the gold!»
« Hey!» the peasant cried out again. «Please come back! I will tell you the truth!»
The rider came back and asked the peasant, «What truth do you want to tell me, uncle?»
« Should I tell him about the gold?» doubted the peasant again. «No, I won't tell him anything!»
« Eh... eh... tell me, traveler... I bought this plow blade at the market. The salesman said that it was new. But I don't think so. What do you think?»
« You, fool!» the rider got angry again. «Why do you waste my time asking your silly questions? Good-bye!» said the rider and rode off from the peasant.
« He must have seen that I hid the jug, otherwise he wouldn't be so angry!» thought the peasant and became very afraid.
« Hey! Please come back, good young man! I will tell you the absolute truth! I swear!»
The rider rode back to the peasant once again.
« Come on, tell your truth! What is it about?» he asked.
« He asks what the truth is about... It means that he is not aware of the gold,» thought the peasant and said, «I made up my mind to sell one of my oxen. Advise me which one I should sell?»
You are the fool of all fools!" The rider lost his temper. «I am sick and tired of your stupid questions! I hurry to the king's palace, and you are taking my time! I won't come back anymore no matter what you ask me!» said the rider, who whipped his horse and galloped away.
« Oh, poor me, poor me!» thought the peasant. «I should have given him half of the gold and everything would be fine! He went to the king's palace to tell him everything about me and the jug of gold! Oh, poor me!» said the peasant to himself. The peasant thought this, left his oxen in the field, grabbed the sack with the gold, and ran home.
The peasant ran into the house and cried to his wife from the threshold, «Rejoice, my wife! I've found gold! A whole jug of gold!»
The wife was beside herself with joy and rushed to the jug filled with gold.
« Wait!» stopped her husband. «Listen to what happened. As soon as I had taken the jug and hidden it in the sack with grain I noticed a rider. He must have seen the jug and went to the king's palace. He will tell him about the gold, and I will be thrown into prison. Oh, poor me! I'd better go to the palace myself and give the king the jug filled with gold! But first I have to bring the oxen in,» said the peasant and ran to the field for his oxen.
The wife took out the jug with gold and hid it beneath a pile of blankets. Then she went into the yard, found a stone the size of the jug, and put it into the sack.
The peasant brought the oxen, took the sack and went to the king's palace.
Не came up to the gates of the palace and asked the guard, «Has a rider arrived at the palace?»
« He has arrived already!» answered the guard.
« Oh, oh!» the peasant became afraid again. «He has already told the king about the gold! I will go to the king and put the jug into his hands! Then he may forgive me!» thought the peasant and said to the guard, «Let me in! I badly need to see the king himself!»
The guard let him in. The peasant had hardly entered the palace, when he ran across the king and his courtiers.
The peasant bowed to the king and stretched out the sack to him. The courtiers untied the sack and took out a big stone.
« Why did you bring me this stone?» asked the king severely.
« O almighty and wise king!» said the peasant. «Judge us. My wife says that this stone weighs eight pounds and I say — ten.»
The king became angry and ordered the peasant thrown into prison.
The peasant sat in the prison and thought, «1 found the jug with gold of su-u-ch width,» and showed with his hands. «It was of su-u-ch height!» the peasant measured the distance from his shoulder to his elbow with his fingers. «Oh, poor me! What have I done?»
The peasant sat in the dungeon, moved his lips, waved his hands, and sighed bitterly.
The prison guard saw this, ran to the palace, and told everything to the king. The king ordered the guard to bring the peasant to him.
« Now tell me what you whispered about in the prison. What did you show with your hands?» asked the king severely.
« 0 my king!» exclaimed the peasant. «I plowed the field today and left a jug with water there. A thief must have stolen it already. If I am released, I will catch the thief. The thief won't give me the jug back. He will say that it is his jug. Then I'll go to the judge and show him the width and height of my jug with my hands. The judge will make the thief return the jug to me and will be assured that I showed its sizes correctly. In the prison I thought about my jug and showed its width and height with my hands.»
« You are lying!» cried the king. «Take him back to the prison and make him tell the truth!»
The guard took the peasant back to the dungeon and set the raw thatch mixed with red hot peppers on fire.
The peasant could not breathe, and he choked on the pungent smoke. He could not stand it anymore and shouted, «Let me out of here! I will tell the king the whole truth!»
The guard brought the peasant to the palace again.
The peasant came up to the king very closely and whispered into his ear, «Don't try to torture me this way anymore — the smoke is very pungent!»
The king thought that the peasant was crazy and ordered him banished from the palace.
The peasant was very happy and went home.
Since that time the peasant became rich. He lived well and also helped poor people.