HERE, my little man, you may hold my cap and bells,—and you, over there, may hold the bauble! Now, then, I am
ready to talk as a wise man should and am a giddy-pated jester no longer!
This is what I have to say:
One must have a little pinch of seasoning in this dull, heavy life of ours; one should never look to have all
the troubles, the labors, and the cares, with never a whit of innocent jollity and mirth. Yes, one must smile
now and then, if for nothing else than to lift the corners of the lips in laughter that are only too often
dragged down in sorrow.
It is for this that I sit here now, telling you all manner of odd quips and jests until yon sober, wise man
shakes his head and goes his way, thinking that I am even more of a shallow-witted knave than I really am.
But, prut! Who cares for that? I am sure that I do not if you do not.
Yet listen! One must not look to have nothing but pepper and salt in this life of ours—no, indeed! At
that rate we would be worse off than we are now. I only mean that it is a good and pleasant thing to have
something to lend the more solid part a little savor now and then!
So, here I'll sit; and, perhaps, when you have been good children, and have learned your lessons or done your
work, your mother will let you come and play a little while with me. I will always be ready and waiting for
you here, and I will warrant your mother that I will do you no harm with anything that I may tell you. If I
can only make you laugh and be merry for a little while, then my work will be well done, and I will be glad in
the doing of it.
And now give me my cap and bells again, for my wits are growing cold without them; and you will be pleased to
reach me my bauble once more, for I love to have him by me.
Will you be seated? And you, over there, seat the baby on the grass! Are you ready? Very well; then I will
tell you a story, and it shall be about "The Skillful Huntsman."