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THE DONKEY, THE TABLE, AND THE STICK
HERE was once a poor tailor who had a son named Jack;
and they two were all there was to the family, unless
we count the goat that gave them the milk they had to
drink. They took very good care of the goat and Jack
led her every day down to the riverside where the grass
grew greenest, that she might have plenty to eat. In
the evening Jack would go down by the river to fetch
the goat home. "Well, goat," he would say, "have you
And the goat would reply,
"I am so full
I cannot pull
Another blade of grass—ba! baa!"
 "Then come along," Jack would say, and he would
tie a cord to the goat's neck and lead her home to her
stall and fasten her up.
Afterward he would tell his father that he had brought
the goat home, and his father would ask, "Has the goat
had plenty to eat to-day?"
"Oh, yes!" Jack would answer, "she is so full she no
more can pull."
But one evening the tailor was looking at the goat and
he thought she seemed rather thin, and he said, "My
dear goat, are you full?"
And the goat replied,
"How can I be full?
There was nothing to pull,
Though I looked all about me—ba! baa!"
"What is this I hear?" cried the tailor, angrily, for
he had a hasty temper. "My son has been deceiving me
He went to the house and found Jack. "You said the goat
was full!" he shouted, "and she has been hungry all the
The tailor was so enraged that Jack was afraid he was
going to beat him, and the lad hurried out of the house
and down the road as fast as he could go. "The farther
I get the better," said he, "for
 it will be a
good while before I shall dare show my face at home
So the next day there was no Jack to take the goat to
the feeding-place by the waterside, and the tailor had
to lead her there himself. The food was plentiful and
he said to her, "Now for once you can eat to your
Then he went back to his work, and in the evening he
came to get the goat, and he said to her, "Well, goat,
are you full?"
And the goat answered,
"I am so full
I cannot pull
Another blade of grass—ba! baa!"
"Come home then," said the tailor, and he led her to
her stall and fastened her up. "You are full this
time," he said as he was leaving her; but the goat
"How can I be full?
There was nothing to pull,
Though I looked all about me—ba! baa!"
When the tailor heard that he knew the goat was not
speaking the truth." If she lies to-day," said he, "no
doubt she lied yesterday, and I have made a mistake in
not believing my son."
 Then he laid hold of the goat and exclaimed,
"Wait a minute, you ungrateful beast! I will give you a
beating that you will long remember!"
He picked up a stout stick, dragged the goat from her
stall and belabored her very heartily until she broke
away from him and ran off. Week after week passed, and
the tailor felt very sad. He was all alone and there
was not a day that he did not wish his son would return
home, but no one knew where Jack had gone.
Now what had happened to Jack was this—he ran and he
ran until he ran right up against a little old woman
who was walking along the road.
"Whither so fast, my lad?" she asked.
"I beg your pardon," replied Jack. "I have left home to
go out in the wide world and seek my fortune, and I was
in a hurry."
"Why not apprentice yourself to my husband then?" said
the old woman. "He is a miller and he needs a helper,
and I can promise you that he will pay good wages."
Jack promptly agreed to accept the work offered, for he
was very hungry and tired. So the old woman took Jack
to the mill, and he served the miller for a year and a
day. Then the miller told Jack he would pay him his
 have behaved very well," said he,
"and I am going to give you a donkey, but this donkey
will draw no cart and carry no sack."
"What is the good of him then?" asked Jack.
"He spits out gold and silver," replied the miller.
"You have but to pull one of his ears and he will begin
at once to 'He-haw! he-haw!' and when he brays there
will drop from his mouth silver sixpences and
half-crowns and golden guineas."
"Very good," said the lad, and he thanked the miller
and set forth, leading the donkey behind him. "I shall
have no cares, now," said Jack. "My purse will be
always full, and wherever I go I shall live on the
By and by he stopped at an inn, and the landlord was
for taking the donkey from him to tie him up, but Jack
said, "Oh, no, you need not trouble to do that. I will
go to the stable with him myself, and then I shall know
where to find him."
So the young apprentice took his donkey to the stable
and afterward went into the inn and ordered as good a
supper as the landlord could provide. The innkeeper
stared, for he did not think that a man who took care
of his own donkey could have much to spend, and he
refused to serve him without being paid beforehand.
"You need not
 worry," said Jack, "I can get
plenty of money," and he went off to the stable, pulled
one of the donkey's ears and got a pocket full of gold
The landlord wondered what Jack meant by saying he
could get plenty of money. "I will follow the lad and
see where he keeps his wealth," he said.
So the landlord slipped after Jack and saw everything
he did through a crack in the stable door." Dear me!"
said he, "that is an easy way of getting ducats. A
purse of money such as that donkey seems to be is no
After Jack had eaten supper and gone to bed the
landlord visited the stable again, and this time he
 led the gold donkey away and tied another in his
The next morning, early, the apprentice went to the
stable and got the donkey, never doubting that he had
the right one. "I will go back to my father, now," said
he." His anger must have cooled long ago, and when he
knows I have this gold donkey he will receive me
By noon he came to his father's house, and his father
was rejoiced to see him. "What trade have you taken up,
my son?" said he, after the first greetings were over
"I am a miller, dear father," answered Jack.
"And what have you brought home with you to show for
your year's work?" asked the father.
"I have brought home a donkey," said Jack, "that
furnishes me with more money than I know what to do
with. Why, with that donkey I can make you rich with no
trouble at all!"
"That is very fine," said the tailor. "I am getting
old, and it is irksome work snipping and sewing so
unceasingly. I have long wanted to quit it. I suppose
now I need not labor with my needle any more."
"No," replied Jack, "throw your needle away and call in
the neighbors. I will make them rich, too."
 So the tailor rushed out and went from house to
house telling all the people of the village the good
news. Soon they came flocking back with him and then
Jack made them a speech as they stood round-about the
house, and after that he led his donkey into the midst
of the crowd and began pulling the beast's ears. But,
though Jack pulled and pulled and the donkey he-hawed
and he-hawed, no silver or gold was forthcoming. The
crowd laughed, and the tailor was so angry at Jack that
the young man thought his father was going to thrash
him and he took to his heels. He ran and ran till he
came bang against a door and burst it open, and there
he was in a carpenter's shop.
"You seem to be in great haste," said the carpenter.
"Yes," replied Jack, "but I will go no farther if you
will give me work."
"All right," the carpenter responded, "be my apprentice
and I will pay you well."
Jack agreed, and he served the carpenter for a year and
a day. Then the master said, "I will now give you your
wages. I will let you have ten shillings in money,
which will very likely come handy, and you may take
this little table. When you are hungry you have only to
say, 'Table, be covered,' and at once it will have a
 clean cloth on it and dishes and lots to eat and;
he young apprentice thought he was set up for life, and
he put the ten shillings in his pocket and took the
table on his back and went merrily on his way At length
he came to the inn where he had stopped the year
before. It was full of guests but they bade Jack
welcome, and asked him to sit down with them to eat, as
otherwise he might not be able to set anything.
"You are very kind," said Jack, "yet I am not so badly
off as you think, and instead of accepting your
invitation I will ask you all to share with me a feast
of my own providing."
Then they laughed, for they thought he was joking; but
he brought in his little wooden table and said, "Table,
Without delay the table was set with much better food
than the landlord had been able to give his guests, and
the odor of it greeted their noses very agreeably.
"Fall to, my good friends," said Jack, and the guests,
when they understood how things were, needed no second
They went at the food most valiantly, and as often as a
dish was emptied a full one took its place. All the
while the landlord stood in a corner watching
 proceedings with keen interest. "Such cooking as that
would make my inn prosper," said he to himself.
When at last the party broke up. Jack left his
wishing-table standing against the wall and went to bed
The landlord locked up and went to bed also, but he
could not sleep for thinking of Jack's table. He
remembered that he had in his attic an old table very
like it, and finally he got up and fetched that table
down and exchanged it for Jack's. Jack, none the wiser,
rose the next day early, paid his reckoning, took the
worthless table on his back and set off to see his
father. He never once stopped by the way, not even for
breakfast, and by nine o'clock he reached his father's
house. The tailor was rejoiced to see his son, and
asked him what he had been doing all the long year that
he had been gone.
"Oh," said Jack, "I have learned to be a carpenter."
"That is a good trade," said the tailor, "and what have
you brought back with you?"
"I have brought this little table," Jack responded. The
tailor looked at it on all sides. "Rather a rubbishing
old table, I call it," said he.
"But it is a very wonderful one," explained Jack. "I
can ask that table for anything I please in the line of
food and drink and it furnishes what I call
in no time. Let us invite the neighbors to come and we
will all feast and enjoy ourselves."
So the tailor hastened to get the neighbors together,
and then Jack put his table in their midst and said,
"Table, be covered!"
But nothing came of his command, and the table remained
just as empty as any other table that does not
understand talking. Jack felt very foolish then, and
the company joked him freely and his father began to
upbraid him and grew more and more wrathful, and the
young man was frightened and had no doubt his father
was about to chastise him with his cane. So he got away
as fast as his legs would carry him, and he ran and ran
until he tumbled into a river. A man who happened to be
near by pulled him out and said, "I suppose you are not
looking for work or you would not be going so fast."
"No," said Jack, "I was not looking for anything, but I
want work, nevertheless."
"Well," said the man, "I have a turning shop here on
the river bank, and I will take you for an apprentice
and pay you well."
So Jack worked for the turner a year and a day, and
then his master, to reward him for his labor and his
good conduct, handed him a few shillings in
 money, and after that gave him a sack and told him
there was a stick inside of it.
"The sack may be of use to me," said Jack, "but what is
the good of the stick?"
"I will tell you," said the master. "If any man does
you harm, and you say, "Out stick, and bang him!' the
stick will jump out and will drub him soundly and will
not stop until you say, 'Stick, into the sack!'"
The apprentice thanked his master and started on his
travels and he was not long in seeking the inn where he
had formerly fared so badly. He ate supper, and as he
was sitting by the inn-room fire afterward the landlord
asked, "What is it you have in that sack which you take
such care of?"
"Well," replied Jack, "I don't propose to tell you, but
I'll say this—I wouldn't exchange what I have in that
bag for a thousand guineas."
That roused the landlord's curiosity more than ever.
"What in the world can it be?" thought he. "Perhaps he
has a lot of precious stones in his sack."
By and by Jack nodded off into a nap, and as no one
else was present the landlord laid hold of the sack and
was taking it away when Jack awoke.
"Out stick, and bang him!" he cried.
 At once the stick flew from the bag and battered
the innkeeper on the back, rapped his head and bruised
his arms and legs until he fell groaning to the floor.
"Have mercy—have mercy." begged the landlord.
"I will have mercy when you give me my table and
donkey," said Jack.
"You can have anything you want said the wretched man,
"if only you will make this terrible goblin stick stop
"Very well," was Jack's response; and then he said,
"Stick, into the sack!"
At once the stick left the roan in peace and
disappeared into the bag, and the landlord told Jack
where he kept the table and the donkey, and promised he
should have there whenever he chose to take them. Then
he crept off to bed very lame.
"The next morning the landlord turned over to Jack the
gold donkey and the wishing table, and the young man
set out for his father s house. He arrived an hour
before noon and the tailor was very glad to see him
again and asked what he had learned while he had been
"My dear father," answered Jack, "I have been
apprenticed to a turner."
 "A very ingenious handicraft," said the father,
"and what have you brought back with you?"
"A stick in a sack," Jack replied.
"What!" cried the old tailor, "a stick in a sack! Have
you gone crazy?"
"But it is not a common stick," Jack explained. "When
any man means harm to me I simply say, 'Out stick, and
bang him!' and the stick jumps from the sack and gives
the fellow such a pounding that he is soon glad to beg
my pardon. You remember last year I told you about a
 that supplied me with food, and the
year before I told you about a donkey that furnished me
money. Well, the table and donkey were stolen from me
by a wicked innkeeper, but with this stick I have
recovered them both. Now let the neighbors all be sent
for and they shall have the finest feast they have ever
had in their lives and I will fill their pockets with
So the old tailor called the neighbors together and the
son took his little table and said, "Table, be
covered!" and at once it was set with a feast that kept
the company jolly for a long time.
After that Jack brought the donkey and pulled his ears
and the money jingled out of his mouth until they all
had as much as they could carry away; and I cannot help
thinking it is a great pity that you and I were not
The next day the tailor took his needles and thread,
his yard measure and his goose and locked them up in a
cupboard, and he lived ever after with his son in great
ease and luxury.
But what became of the goat, the unlucky cause of
Jack's being driven from home? I will tell you. She ran
to the woods and into a fox's hole and hid herself.
When the fox came home he caught sight of two great
eyes staring at him out of the
 darkness, and the
fox was so frightened that he scampered away as fast as
he could go until he met a bear.
"Hold on, Brother Fox!" called the bear, "what is the
trouble that you should be racing off like that?"
"Oh, dear!" answered the fox, "a grisly beast is
sitting in my hole, and he stared at me with fiery
"I will soon drive him out," said the bear.
So he went to the fox's hole and looked in; but when he
caught sight of the goat's gleaming eyes he too was
terrified and fled in great haste until he met a bee.
"Stop, Brother Bear, stop!" called the bee.
"What has happened? I never knew you to get over the
ground so fast before, and you have a very depressed
countenance. What has become of your high spirit?"
"You may well ask," the bear replied. "In the fox's
hole there sits a grisly beast with fiery eyes and
neither the fox nor I can drive him out."
"I am a poor feeble little creature," said the bee,
"and I know you despise me. Bear, but I think I can
So the bee flew into the fox's hole and stung the
 goat on the head. Then the goat jumped and cried "Baa!
Baa!" and ran out like mad into the world; and whither
she went no one know to this hour.