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There was a certain village wherein no one lived but really richpeasants, and just one poor  one, whom they  called the little  peasant.He had  not even so much as a cow, and still less money to buy one, andyet he and his wife did so wish to have  one. One day he said  to her:«Listen, I have  a good idea, there is our  gossip the carpenter, heshall make us a  wooden calf, and paint it brown, so that it looks likeany other, and in time  it will certainly get big and be a  cow.» thewoman also liked the idea,  and their gossip the carpenter cut andplaned  the calf, and painted it as  it ought to be, and made it withits head hanging down as if it were eating.

Next morning  when the  cows were  being driven  out, the  littlepeasant called the cow-herd in and said: «Look, I have a little calfthere, but it is still small and has to be carried.» The cow-herd said:«All right,» and took it in his arms  and carried it to the  pasture,and set it among  the grass. The little calf always remained standinglike one which was eating, and the cow-herd said: «It will soon run byitself, just look how it  eats already!» At night when he was going todrive the herd home again, he said to the calf: «If you can stand thereand eat your fill, you can also go on your four legs; I don’t care todrag  you home again in my arms.» But  the little peasant stood at hisdoor, and waited for his little calf, and when the cow-herd drove thecows through the village, and the calf was missing, he inquired where itwas. The cow-herd answered: «It is still standing out there eating. Itwould not stop and come with us.» But the little  peasant said: «Oh, butI must  have my beast back again.»  Then they went back  to the meadowtogether, but someone had stolen the calf, and it was gone. The cow-herdsaid: «It must have run away.» The peasant, however, said: «Don’t tellme  that,»  and  led the  cow-herd  before  the mayor,  who  for  hiscarelessness condemned him to  give the peasant a  cow for the calfwhich had run away.

And now the little peasant and his wife had the cow for which they hadso long wished, and they were heartily glad, but they had no food forit, and could give it nothing to eat, so it soon had to be killed. Theysalted the flesh, and the  peasant went into  the town  and wanted tosell the  skin there, so that he might  buy a new calf with  theproceeds. On the way  he passed by a mill, and there sat a raven withbroken wings, and out of pity he took him and wrapped  him in the skin.But  as the weather grew so  bad and there was a storm of rain and wind,he could go no farther, and turned back to the mill and  begged forshelter. The  miller’s wife was alone  in the house, and said to thepeasant: «Lay yourself on the straw there,» and gave him a slice  ofbread and  cheese. The peasant ate  it, and lay  down with his skinbeside him, and the woman thought: «He is tired and has gone to sleep.’In the meantime came the parson; the miller’s wife received him well,and said: «My husband is out, so we will have a feast.» The  peasantlistened, and when he heard them talk about feasting he was vexed thathe had been forced to make shift with  a slice of bread and cheese. Thenthe woman served up four different things, roast meat, salad, cakes, andwine.

Just as they were about to sit down and eat, there was a knockingoutside. The woman said: «Oh, heavens! It is my husband!» she quicklyhid the roast meat inside the tiled stove, the wine  under the pillow,the salad on  the bed, the cakes under it, and the  parson in the closeton the porch.  Then she opened the door for her husband, and said:«Thank heaven, you are back again! There is such a storm, it looks  asif the world were coming to  an end.» The miller saw the peasant lyingon the straw, and asked, «What  is that fellow doing there?» «Ah,» saidthe wife, «the poor knave came in the storm and rain, and begged forshelter, so  I gave him a bit of bread  and cheese, and showed  himwhere the  straw was.»  The man said:  «I have  no objection, but bequick and get me something to eat.» The woman said: «But I have nothingbut bread  and cheese.»  «I am  contented with  anything,» replied thehusband, «so far as I am concerned, bread and cheese will do,» andlooked at the peasant and said: «Come and eat some more with me.»  Thepeasant did not require  to be invited  twice, but got  up and ate.After this the miller saw the skin in which the raven was, lying on theground, and asked:  «What  have  you  there?» The  peasant  answered:«I  have  a soothsayer inside it.» «Can he foretell anything to me?’said the  miller. «Why not?» answered the  peasant: «but he only  saysfour things, and  the fifth he keeps  to himself.» The  miller wascurious,  and said: «Let  him foretell something for once.» Then  thepeasant pinched the raven’s  head, so that he croaked and made a noiselike krr, krr. The miller said:  «What did he say?» The peasantanswered: «In the first place, he says that there is some wine hiddenunder the  pillow.» «Bless me!» cried the miller,  and went there andfound the wine. «Now go on,» said he. The peasant made  the raven croakagain, and said: «In the  second place, he says that there  is someroast meat in the tiled stove.» «Upon my word!» cried the miller, andwent thither,  and  found the  roast  meat.  The peasant  made  theraven prophesy still more, and said: «Thirdly, he says that there issome  salad on the bed.»  «That would be  a fine  thing!» cried themiller, and  went there and found the salad. At last the peasant pinchedthe raven once more till he croaked, and  said: «Fourthly, he says  thatthere are some  cakes under the bed.» «That would be a fine thing!’cried the miller, and looked there, and found the cakes.

And now the two sat down to the table together, but the miller’s wifewas frightened to death, and went to bed  and took all the keys withher.  The miller would have  liked much to  know the fifth,  but thelittle  peasant said: «First,  we will  quickly eat  the  four things,for the  fifth  is something bad.» So they  ate, and after that  theybargained how much  the miller was to  give for  the fifth prophecy,until they  agreed on  three hundred talers. Then the peasant once  morepinched the raven’s head  till he croaked  loudly. The  miller  asked:«What  did  he say?»  The  peasant replied: «He says that the Devil ishiding outside there in the closet  on the porch.»  The miller  said:«The  Devil must  go out,»  and opened  the house-door; then the womanwas forced to give up the keys, and the peasant unlocked the closet.The parson  ran out  as fast  as he  could, and  the miller said: «Itwas true; I saw  the black rascal with my own eyes.»  The peasant,however, made off next morning by daybreak with the three hundredtalers.

At home the  small peasant gradually  launched out; he  built abeautiful house, and the peasants said: «The small peasant has certainlybeen to the place where golden snow falls, and people carry the goldhome in shovels.» Then the small  peasant was brought  before the mayor,and bidden to  say from whence his wealth  came. He answered:  «I soldmy  cow’s skin in  the town, for three hundred  talers.» When thepeasants  heard that, they  too wished to enjoy this  great profit, andran  home, killed all their  cows, and stripped off  their skins inorder to sell  them in the  town to  the greatest advantage.  The mayor,however, said:  «But my  servant must  go first.» When she came  to themerchant  in the town, he  did not give  her more than two talers for askin, and when the others came, he did not give them so much, and said:«What can I do with all these skins?»

Then the  peasants were  vexed that  the small  peasant should  havethus outwitted them, wanted to take vengeance  on him, and accused himof  this treachery before the  major. The innocent  little peasant wasunanimously sentenced to death,  and was  to be  rolled into  the water,in a  barrel pierced full of holes. He was led forth, and a priest wasbrought who  was to say a mass  for his soul. The  others were allobliged  to retire to  a distance, and when the peasant looked at thepriest, he recognized the man who had been with the miller’s wife. Hesaid to him: «I set you free  from the closet, set me  free from thebarrel.» At this  same moment up  came, with a flock of sheep,  the veryshepherd whom  the peasant knew had  long been wishing to be mayor, sohe cried with all his might: «No, I will  not do it; if the whole worldinsists on  it, I will not do it!» The  shepherd hearing that, came upto him, and  asked: «What are you about? What is  it that you will notdo?» The peasant said: «They want to make me mayor, if I will but putmyself  in the barrel,  but I will not  do it.» The  shepherd said: «Ifnothing more than that is needful in order to be mayor, I  would getinto the barrel at once.» The  peasant said: «If you will get in,  youwill be mayor.» The shepherd was willing, and got in, and the peasantshut the top down on him;  then he took the  shepherd’s flock forhimself,  and drove it away. The parson  went to the crowd,  anddeclared that the  mass had been said.  Then they came  and rolled thebarrel towards the  water. When the barrel began to roll, the shepherdcried: «I am quite willing  to be mayor.» They believed no otherwisethan that it was the peasant who was saying this, and answered:  «Thatis what we  intend, but first you  shall look about you a little downbelow there,» and they rolled the barrel down into the water.

After that the peasants went home, and as they were entering thevillage, the small  peasant also  came quietly  in, driving  a flock  ofsheep  and looking quite  contented. Then  the peasants  wereastonished,  and  said: «Peasant, from whence do you come? Have you comeout of the water?»  «Yes, truly,» replied the peasant, «I sank deep,deep down, until at last I  got to the bottom; I pushed the bottom  outof the barrel, and crept out,  and there were pretty  meadows on whicha number of  lambs were feeding,  and from thence I brought  this flockaway with  me.» Said the peasants:  «Are there any more there?» «Oh,yes,» said he, «more than I could want.»  Then the peasants made uptheir minds that they too would fetch some sheep  for themselves, aflock apiece,  but the mayor said:  «I come first.» So  they went to thewater  together, and just  then there were  some of the  small fleecyclouds in  the blue sky,  which are called  little lambs, and  they werereflected in the water, whereupon the peasants cried: «We already seethe sheep down below!» The mayor pressed forward and said: «I will godown first, and look about me, and if things promise well I’ll callyou.» So he jumped in; splash! went the water; it sounded as if he werecalling  them, and the whole  crowd plunged  in after  him as  one man.Then the  entire village was dead, and the small peasant, as sole heir,became a rich man.