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There was  once a  man called  Frederick: he  had a  wife whose  namewas Catherine, and they  had not long  been married. One  day Fredericksaid. «Kate! I am  going to  work in the  fields; when  I come back  Ishall  be hungry so let me have something nice  cooked, and a gooddraught of  ale.» «Very well,» said  she, «it  shall all  be ready.’When dinner-time  drew nigh, Catherine took a nice steak, which was allthe meat she had, and put it on the fire to fry. The steak soon began tolook brown, and to  crackle in the pan; and  Catherine stood by  with afork and  turned it: then  she said to herself,  «The steak  is almostready, I may  as well  go to  the cellar for the ale.» So she left thepan on the fire and took a large  jug and went into the cellar  andtapped the ale cask.  The beer ran into  the jug and Catherine stoodlooking on. At last it popped into her head,  «The dog is not  shutup—he may  be running  away with the  steak; that’s  well thought of.’So up she ran from  the cellar; and sure enough the  rascally cur hadgot the steak in his mouth, and was making off with it.

Away ran Catherine,  and away ran  the dog  across the field:  but heran faster than she, and stuck close to  the steak. «It’s all gone, and“what can’t be cured must be endured”,» said Catherine. So she turnedround; and as she had run a good way and was tired, she walked homeleisurely to cool herself.

Now all this time the  ale was running too,  for Catherine had notturned the cock; and when the jug was full the liquor ran upon the floortill the cask was  empty. When  she  got to  the cellar  stairs  she sawwhat  had happened. «My stars!» said  she, «what shall I  do to keepFrederick  from seeing all  this slopping  about?» So  she thought  awhile;  and at  last remembered that there was a sack of fine mealbought at the last fair, and that if she sprinkled this over the floorit would suck up the ale nicely. «What a lucky thing,»  said she, «thatwe kept that meal!  we have now  a good use for it.» So away she wentfor it: but she managed to set it  down just upon the great jug full ofbeer,  and upset it; and thus all the  ale that had been saved was setswimming  on the floor also. «Ah! well,»  said she, «when one goesanother may as well follow.» Then she strewed the meal all about thecellar, and was quite pleased with her cleverness, and said, «How veryneat and clean it looks!»

At noon Frederick  came home. «Now,  wife,» cried he,  «what have youfor dinner?» «O Frederick!»  answered she,  «I was  cooking you  asteak;  but while I went down to draw the ale,  the dog ran away withit; and while  I ran after him, the ale ran out; and when I went to dryup the ale with the sack of meal that we got at the  fair, I upset thejug: but the cellar  is now quite dry, and looks so clean!» «Kate,Kate,» said he, «how could  you do all this? Why did you leave the steakto fry, and the ale to run,  and then spoil all the meal?»  «Why,Frederick,» said she,  «I did not know  I was doing wrong; you shouldhave told me before.»

The husband thought to himself, «If  my wife manages matters thus, Imust look sharp myself.» Now  he had a good  deal of gold in  the house:so  he said to Catherine, «What pretty yellow buttons these are! I shallput them into a box and bury  them in the garden; but  take care thatyou never  go near or meddle with them.» «No, Frederick,» said she,«that I never will.» As soon as he was gone, there came by some pedlarswith earthenware plates and dishes, and  they asked  her whether  shewould  buy. «Oh  dear me,  I should like to buy very much, but I have nomoney: if you had any use  for yellow buttons, I might deal with you.’«Yellow buttons!» said they:  «let us have a look at them.» «Go into thegarden and dig where I tell you, and you will find the  yellow buttons:I  dare not go  myself.» So the  rogues went: and when they found whatthese yellow buttons were, they took  them all away, and left her plentyof plates and dishes. Then she set them  all about the house for ashow: and when Frederick  came back, he cried  out, «Kate, what haveyou been  doing?» «See,» said  she, «I  have bought  all these withyour yellow  buttons: but  I did  not touch  them myself;  the pedlarswent themselves and  dug them up.»  «Wife, wife,» said  Frederick, «whata pretty piece of work you have made! those yellow buttons were  all mymoney: how came you  to do such a thing?»  «Why,» answered she, «I  didnot know there was any harm in it; you should have told me.»

Catherine stood musing for a while, and at last said to her husband,«Hark ye, Frederick,  we will  soon get  the gold  back: let  us runafter  the thieves.» «Well, we  will try,»  answered he;  «but takesome butter  and cheese with you,  that we may  have something  to eatby  the way.»  «Very well,» said she; and they set out: and as Frederickwalked the fastest, he left his wife some way behind. «It does notmatter,» thought she: «when we turn back, I shall be so much nearer homethan he.»

Presently she came to the top of a hill, down the side of which therewas a road so narrow that the cart wheels always chafed the trees oneach side as they  passed. «Ah,  see now,»  said  she, «how  they havebruised  and wounded those poor trees; they will never  get well.» Soshe took pity  on them, and made use of  the butter to grease them  all,so that the  wheels might not hurt them so much. While  she was doingthis kind office one  of her cheeses fell out  of the basket, androlled down the hill.  Catherine looked, but could not see where it hadgone; so she said, «Well, I suppose the other will go the  same way andfind you;  he has younger legs than  I have.» Then she rolled the othercheese after it; and away it went, nobody knows where, down the hill.But she  said she supposed that they knew  the road, and would followher, and she  could not stay there all day  waiting for them.

At last she overtook Frederick, who  desired her to give him somethingto eat. Then she gave him the dry  bread. «Where are the butter andcheese?» said he. «Oh!» answered she, «I used the butter to grease thosepoor trees that the wheels chafed so: and one of  the cheeses ran awayso I sent  the other after  it to  find it,  and  I suppose  they areboth on  the  road together somewhere.» «What a goose you are to do suchsilly things!»  said the husband. «How can you say so?» said she; «I amsure you never told  me not.»

They ate the  dry bread together;  and Frederick said,  «Kate, I hopeyou locked the door safe when you came away.» «No,» answered she, «youdid not tell me.» «Then go  home, and do  it now before we  go anyfarther,»  said Frederick, «and bring with you something to eat.»

Catherine did  as  he  told  her,  and thought  to  herself  by  theway, «Frederick wants something to eat;  but I don’t think  he is veryfond  of butter and cheese: I’ll bring him a bag of fine nuts, and thevinegar, for I have often seen him take some.»

When she reached home, she  bolted the back door,  but the front doorshe took off the hinges, and  said, «Frederick told me  to lock thedoor,  but surely it can nowhere be so  safe if I take it  with me.» Soshe took  her time by the way; and when she overtook her husband shecried out,  «There, Frederick, there is the door itself, you may watchit as carefully as  you please.» «Alas! alas!» said he, «what a cleverwife I have! I sent you  to make the house fast, and you take the dooraway, so that everybody may  go in and out as they please—however, asyou have brought the door, you shall carry it about with you for yourpains.» «Very well,» answered she,  «I’ll carry the door; but I’ll notcarry the nuts and vinegar bottle  also—that would be too much  of aload; so  if you please, I’ll  fasten them to  the door.»

Frederick of course made no objection to that plan, and they set offinto the wood to look for the thieves;  but they could not find them:and  when it grew  dark, they  climbed up  into a  tree to  spend thenight  there. Scarcely were they up, than  who should come by  but thevery rogues  they were looking for. They were in  truth great rascals,and belonged to  that class of people who find things before they arelost; they were tired;  so they sat down  and made a  fire under  thevery tree  where Frederick  and Catherine were. Frederick slipped  downon the other  side, and picked  up some stones. Then he climbed upagain, and tried to hit the thieves on the head with them: but they onlysaid, «It must be near morning, for the wind shakes the fir-applesdown.»

Catherine, who had the door on her  shoulder, began to be very tired;but she thought  it was  the nuts  upon it  that were  so heavy:  so shesaid softly, «Frederick, I must let the nuts go.» «No,» answered he,«not  now, they will discover us.»  «I can’t help that:  they must go.’«Well,  then, make haste and throw them down, if  you will.» Then awayrattled the  nuts down among the  boughs and  one of  the thievescried, «Bless  me, it  is hailing.»

A little while after, Catherine thought the door was still very heavy:so she whispered to Frederick, «I must throw the vinegar down.» «Praydon’t,» answered he, «it will discover us.» «I can’t help that,» saidshe, «go  it must.» So she poured all the vinegar  down; and the thievessaid, «What  a heavy dew there is!»

At last it popped into Catherine’s head  that it was the door itselfthat was so heavy all the time: so she whispered, «Frederick, I mustthrow  the door down soon.» But  he begged and prayed  her not to doso, for he  was sure it would betray them. «Here  goes, however,» saidshe: and down  went the door  with  such a  clatter  upon the  thieves,that they  cried  out «Murder!» and not knowing what was coming, ranaway as fast as they could, and left all the  gold. So when Frederickand Catherine came down,  there they found all their money safe andsound.