The Brothers Grimm – Lazy Harry
Harry was lazy, and although he had nothing else to do but
drive his goat daily to pasture, he nevertheless groaned
when he went home after his day's work was done. It is indeed
a heavy burden, said he, and a wearisome employment to drive
a goat into the field this way year after year, till late into
the autumn. If one could but lie down and sleep, but no, one
one's eyes open lest the goat hurts the young trees, or squeezes
itself through the hedge into a garden, or runs away altogether.
How can one have any rest, or enjoy one's life. He seated
himself, collected his thoughts, and considered how he could
set his shoulders free from this burden. For a long time all
thinking was to no purpose, but suddenly it was as if scales
fell from his eyes. I know what I will do, he cried, I will
marry fat trina who has also a goat, and can take mine out with
hers, and then I shall have no more need to trouble myself.
So harry got up, set his weary legs in motion, and went right
across the street, for it was no farther, to where the parents of
fat trina lived, and asked for their industrious and virtuous
daughter in marriage. The parents did not reflect long. Birds
of a feather, flock together, they thought, and consented.
So fat trina became harry's wife, and led out both the goats.
Harry had a good time of it, and had no work that he required to
rest from but his own idleness. He went out with her only now
and then, and said, I merely do it that I may afterwards enjoy
rest more, otherwise one loses all feeling for it.
But fat trina was no less idle. Dear harry, said she one day,
why should we make our lives so toilsome when there is no need
for it, and thus ruin the best days of our youth. Would it not
be better for us to give the two goats which disturb us every
morning in our sweetest sleep with their bleating, to our
neighbor, and he will give us a beehive for them. We will put
the beehive in a sunny place behind the house, and trouble
ourselves no more about it. Bees do not require to be taken
care of, or driven into the field. They fly out and find the way
home again for themselves, and collect honey without giving the
very least trouble. You have spoken like a sensible woman,
replied harry. We will carry out your proposal without delay,
and besides all that, honey tastes better and nourishes one
better than goat's milk, and it can be kept longer too.
The neighbor willingly gave a beehive for the two goats. The
bees flew in and out from early morning till late evening
without ever tiring, and filled the hive with the most beautiful
that in autumn harry was able to take a whole pitcherful out of
They placed the jug on a board which was fixed to the wall of
their bed-room, and as they were afraid that it might be stolen,
or that the mice might find it, trina brought in a stout
hazel-stick and put it beside her bed, so that without
unnecessary motion she might reach it with her hand, and drive
away the uninvited guests.
Lazy harry did not like to leave his bed before noon. He who
rises early, said he, wastes his substance. One morning when
he was still lying amongst the feathers in broad daylight,
resting after his long sleep, he said to his wife, women are
fond of sweet things, and you are always tasting the honey in
private. It will be better for us to exchange it for a goose
with a young gosling, before you eat up the whole of it. But,
answered trina, not before we have a child to take care of them.
Am I to worry myself with the little geese, and spend all my
strength on them to no purpose. Do you think, said harry, that
the youngster will look after geese. Now-a-days children no
longer obey, they do according to their own fancy, because they
consider themselves cleverer than their parents, just like
that lad who was sent to seek the cow and chased three blackbirds.
Oh, replied trina, this one shall fare badly if he does not do
what I say. I will take a stick and belabor his skin with more
blows than I can count. Look, harry, cried she in her zeal, and
seized the stick with which she used to drive the mice away, look,
this is the way I will fall on him. She reached her arm out
to strike, but unhappily hit the honey-pitcher above the bed.
The pitcher struck against the wall and fell down in shards,
and the fine honey streamed out on the ground. There lie the
goose and the young gosling, said
harry, and want no looking after. But it is lucky that the
pitcher did not fall on my head. We have all reason to be
satisfied with our lot. And then as he saw that there was still
some honey in one of the shards he stretched out his hand for
it, and said quite gaily, the remains, my wife, we will still
eat with relish, and we will rest a little after the fright we
have had. What does it matter if we do get up a little later.
The day is always long enough. Yes, answered trina, we shall
always get to the end of it at the proper time. You know, the
snail was once asked to a wedding and set out to go, but arrived
at the christening. In front of the house it fell over the
fence, and said, speed does no good.
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