THE STOLEN TURNIPS, THE MAGIC TABLECLOTH, THE SNEEZING GOAT, AND THE WOODEN WHISTLE
 THIS is the story which old Peter used to tell whenever either Vanya
or Maroosia was cross. This did not often happen; but it would be no
use to pretend that it never happened at all. Sometimes it was Vanya
who scolded Maroosia, and sometimes it was Maroosia who scolded
Vanya. Sometimes there were two scoldings going on at once. And old
Peter did not like crossness in the hut, whoever did the scolding. He
said it spoilt his tobacco and put a sour taste in the tea. And, of
course, when the children remembered that they were spoiling their
grandfather's tea and tobacco they stopped just as quickly as they
could, unless their tongues had run right away with them—which
some-  times , you know, even to grown-up people. This story used
to be told in two ways. It was either the tale of an old man who was
bothered by a cross old woman, or the tale of an old woman who was
bothered by a cross old man. And the moment old Peter began the story
both children would ask at once, "Which is the cross one?"—for t hen
they would know which of them old Peter thought was in the wrong.
"This time it's the old woman," said their grandfather; "but, as like
as not, it will be the old man next."
And then any quarrelling there was came to an end, and was forgotten
before the end of the story. This is the story.
An old man and an old woman lived in a little wooden house. All round
the house there was a garden, crammed with flowers, and potatoes, and
beetroots, and cabbages. And in one corner of the house there was a
narrow wooden stairway which went up and up, twisting and twisting,
into a high tower. In the top of the tower was a dovecot, and on the
top of the dovecot was a flat roof.
Now, the old woman was never content with the doings of the old man.
She scolded all day, and she scolded all night. If there was too much
 rain, it was the old man's fault; and if there was a drought, and all
green things were parched for lack of water, well, the old man was to
blame for not altering the weather. And though he was old and tired,
it was all the same to her how much work she put on his shoulders. The
garden was full. There was no room in it at all, not even for a single
pea. And all of a sudden the old woman sets her heart on growing
"But there is no room in the garden," says the old man.
"Sow them on the top of the dovecot," says the old woman.
"But there is no earth there."
"Carry earth up and put it there," says she.
So the old man laboured up and down with his tired old bones, and
covered the top of the dovecot with good black earth. He could only
take up a very little at a time, because he was old and weak, and
because the stairs were so narrow and dangerous that he had to hold on
with both hands and carry the earth in a bag which he held in his
teeth. His teeth were strong enough, because he had been biting crusts
all his life. The old woman left him nothing else, for she took all
the crumb for herself. The old man did his best, and
 by evening the
top of the dovecot was covered with earth, and he had sown it with
Next day, and the day after that and every day, the old woman scolded
the old man till he went up to the dovecot to see how those turnip
seeds were getting on.
"Are they ready to eat yet?"
"They are not ready to eat."
"Is the green sprouting?"
"The green is sprouting."
And at last there came a day when the old man came down from the
dovecot and said: "The turnips are doing finely—quite big they are
getting; but all the best ones have been stolen away."
"Stolen away?" cried the old woman, shaking with rage. "And have you
lived all these years and not learned how to keep thieves from a
turnip bed, on the top of a dovecot, on the top of a tower, on the top
of a house? Out with you, and don't you dare to come back till you
have caught the thieves."
The old man did not dare to tell her that the door had been bolted,
although he knew it had, because he had bolted it himself. He hurried
away out of the house, more because he wanted to get out of earshot of
her scolding than because
 he had any hope of finding the thieves.
"They may be birds," thinks he, "or the little brown squirrels. Who
else could climb so high without using the stairs? And how is an old
man like me to get hold of them, flying through the tops of the high
trees and running up and down the branches?"
And so he wandered away without his dinner into the deep forest.
But God is good to old men. Hasn't He given me two little pigeons, who
nearly always are as merry as all little pigeons should be? And God
led the old man through the forest, though the old man thought he was
just wandering on, trying to lose himself and forget the scolding
voice of the old woman.
And after he had walked a long way through the dark green forest, he
saw a little hut standing under the pine trees. There was no smoke
coming from the chimney, but there was such a chattering in the hut
you could hear it far away. It was like coming near a rookery at
evening, or disturbing a lot of starlings. And as the old man came
slowly nearer to the hut, he thought he saw little faces looking at
him through the window and peeping through the door. He could not be
sure, because they were gone so quickly. And all the
 time the
chattering went on louder and louder, till the old man nearly put his
hands to his ears.
And then suddenly the chattering stopped. There was not a sound—no
noise at all. The old man stood still. A squirrel dropped a fir cone
close by, and the old man was startled by the fall of it, because
everything else was so quiet.
"Whatever there is in the hut, it won't be worse than the old woman,"
says the old man to himself. So he makes the sign of the holy Cross,
and steps up to the little hut and takes a look through the door.
There was no one to be seen. You would have thought the hut was empty.
The old man took a step inside, bending under the little low door.
Still he could see nobody, only a great heap of rags and blankets on
the sleeping-place on the top of the stove. The hut was as clean as if
it had only that minute been swept by Maroosia herself. But in the
middle of the floor there was a scrap of green leaf lying, and the old
man knew in a moment that it was a scrap of green leaf from the top of
a young turnip.
And while the old man looked at it, the heap of blankets and rugs on
the stove moved, first in one place and then in another. Then there
 a little laugh. Then another. And suddenly there was a great stir
in the blankets, and they were all thrown back helter-skelter, and
there were dozens and dozens of little queer children, laughing and
laughing and laughing, and looking at the old man. And every child had
a little turnip, and showed it to the old man and laughed.
Just then the door of the stove flew open, and out tumbled more of the
little queer children, dozens and dozens of them. The more they came
tumbling out into the hut, the more there seemed to be chattering in
the stove and squeezing to get out one over the top of another. The
noise of chattering and laughing would have made your head spin. And
everyone of the children out of the stove had a little turnip like
the others, and waved it about and showed it to the old man, and
laughed like anything.
"Ho," says the old man, "so you are the thieves who have stolen the
turnips from the top of the dovecot?"
"Yes," cried the children, and the chatter rattled as fast as
hailstones on the roof. "Yes! yes! yes! We stole the turnips."
"How did you get on to the top of the dovecot when the door into the
house was bolted and fast?"
 At that the children all burst out laughing, and did not answer a
"Laugh you may," said the old man; "but it is I who get the scolding
when the turnips fly away in the night."
"Never mind! never mind!" cried the children. "We'll pay for the
"How can you pay for them?" asks the old man. "You have got nothing to
All the children chattered together, and looked at the old man and
smiled. Then one of them said to the old man, "Are you hungry,
"Hungry!" says the old man. "Why, yes, of course I am, my dear. I've
been looking for you all day, and I had to start without my dinner."
"If you are hungry, open the cupboard behind you."
The old man opened the cupboard.
"Take out the tablecloth."
The old man took out the tablecloth.
"Spread it on the table."
The old man spread the tablecloth on the table.
"Now!" shouted the children, chattering like a thousand nests full of
young birds, "we'll all sit down and have dinner."
 They pulled out the benches and gave the old man a chair at one end,
and all crowded round the table ready to begin.
"But there's no food," said the old man.
How they laughed!
"Grandfather," one of them sings out from the other end of the table,
"you just tell the tablecloth to turn inside out,"
"How?" says he.
"Tell the tablecloth to turn inside out. That's easy enough."
"There's no harm in doing that," thinks the old man; so he says to the
tablecloth as firmly as he could, "Now then you, tablecloth, turn
The tablecloth hove itself up into the air, and rolled itself this
way and that as if it were in a whirlwind, and then suddenly laid
itself flat on the table again. And somehow or other it had covered
itself with dishes and plates and wooden spoons with pictures on them,
and bowls of soup and mushrooms and kasha, and meat and cakes and fish
and ducks, and everything else you could think of, ready for the best
dinner in the world.
The chattering and laughing stopped, and the old man and those dozens
and dozens of little
 queer children set to work and ate everything on
"Which of you washes the dishes?" asked the old man, when they had all
The children laughed.
"Tell the tablecloth to turn outside in."
"Tablecloth," says the old man, "turn outside in."
Up jumped the tablecloth with all the empty dishes and dirty plates
and spoons, whirled itself this way and that in the air, and suddenly
spread itself out flat again on the table, as clean and white as when
it was taken out of the cupboard. There was not a dish or a bowl, or a
spoon or a plate, or a knife to be seen; no, not even a crumb.
"That's a good tablecloth," says the old man.
"See here, grandfather," shouted the children: "you take the
tablecloth along with you, and say no more about those turnips."
"Well, I'm content with that," says the old man. And he folded up the
tablecloth very carefully and put it away inside his shirt, and said
he must be going.
"Good-bye," says he, "and thank you for the dinner and the
"Good-bye," say they, "and thank you for the turnips."
 The old man made his way home, singing through the forest in his
creaky old voice until he came near the little wooden house where he
lived with the old woman. As soon as he came near there he slipped
along like any mouse. And as soon as he put his head inside the door
the old woman began,—
"Have you found the thieves, you old fool?"
"I found the thieves."
"Who were they?"
"They were a whole crowd of little queer children."
"Have you given them a beating they'll remember?"
"No, I have not."
"What? Bring them to me, and I'll teach them to steal my turnips!"
"I haven't got them."
"What have you done with them?"
"I had dinner with them."
Well, at that the old woman flew into such a rage she could hardly
speak. But speak she did—yes, and shout too and scream—and it was
all the old man could do not to run away out of the cottage. But he
stood still and listened, and thought of something else; and when she
had done he said, "They paid for the turnips."
 "Paid for the turnips!" scolded the old woman. "A lot of children!
What did they give you? Mushrooms? We can get them without losing our
"They gave me a tablecloth," said the old man; "it's a very good
He pulled it out of his shirt and spread it on the table; and as
quickly as he could, before she began again, he said, "Tablecloth,
turn inside out!"
The old woman stopped short, just when she was taking breath to scold
with, when the tablecloth jumped up and danced in the air and settled
on the table again, covered with things to eat and to drink. She smelt
the meat, took a spoonful of the soup, and tried all the other dishes.
"Look at all the washing up it will mean," says she.
"Tablecloth, turn outside in!" says the old man; and there was a whirl
of white cloth and dishes and everything else, and then the tablecloth
spread itself out on the table as clean as ever you could wish.
"That's not a bad tablecloth," says the old woman; "but, of course,
they owed me something for stealing all those turnips."
The old man said nothing. He was very tired, and he just laid down and
went to sleep.
 As soon as he was asleep the old woman took the tablecloth and hid it
away in an iron chest, and put a tablecloth of her own in its place.
"They were my turnips," says she, "and I don't see why he should have
a share in the tablecloth. He's had a meal from it once at my expense,
and once is enough." Then she lay down and went to sleep, grumbling to
herself even in her dreams.
Early in the morning the old woman woke the old man and told him to go
up to the dovecot and see how those turnips were getting on.
He got up and rubbed his eyes. When he saw the tablecloth on the
table, the wish came to him to have a bite of food to begin the day
with. So he stopped in the middle of putting on his shirt, and called
to the tablecloth, "Tablecloth, turn inside out!"
Nothing happened. Why should anything happen? It was not the same
The old man told the old woman. "You should have made a good feast
yesterday," says he, "for the tablecloth is no good any more. That is,
it's no good that way; it's like any ordinary tablecloth."
"Most tablecloths are," says the old woman. "But what are you dawdling
about? Up you go and have a look at those turnips."
 The old man went climbing up the narrow twisting stairs. He held on
with both hands for fear of falling, because they were so steep. He
climbed to the top of the house, to the top of the tower, to the top
of the dovecot, and looked at the turnips. He looked at the turnips,
and he counted the turnips, and then he came slowly down the stairs
again wondering what the old woman would say to him.
"Well," says the old woman in her sharp voice, "are they doing nicely?
Because if not, I know whose fault it is."
"They are doing finely," said the old man; "but some of them have
gone. Indeed, quite a lot of them have been stolen away."
"Stolen away!" screamed the old woman. "How dare you stand there and
tell me that? Didn't you find the thieves yesterday? Go and find
those children again, and take a stick with you, and don't show
yourself here till you can tell me that they won't steal again in a
"Let me have a bite to eat," begs the old man. "It's a long way to go
on an empty stomach."
"Not a mouthful!" yells the old woman. "Off with you. Letting my
turnips be stolen every night, and then talking to me about bites of
 So the old man went off again without his dinner, and hobbled away
into the forest as quickly as he could to get out of earshot of the
old woman's scolding tongue.
As soon as he was out of sight the old woman stopped screaming after
him, and went into the house and opened the iron chest and took out
the tablecloth the children had given the old man, and laid it on the
table instead of her own. She told it to turn inside out, and up it
flew and whirled about and flopped down flat again, all covered with
good things. She ate as much as she could hold. Then she told the
tablecloth to turn outside in, and folded it up and hid it away again
in the iron chest.
Meanwhile the old man tightened his belt, because he was so hungry. He
hobbled along through the green forest till he came to the little hut
standing under the pine trees. There was no smoke coming from the
chimney, but there was such a chattering you would have thought that
all the Vanyas and Maroosias in Holy Russia were talking to each other
He had no sooner come in sight of the hut than the dozens and dozens
of little queer children came pouring out of the door to meet him. And
every single one of them had a turnip, and showed it to
 the old man,
and laughed and laughed as if it were the best joke in the world.
"I knew it was you," said the old man.
"Of course it was us," cried the children. "We stole the turnips."
"But how did you get to the top of the dovecot when the door into the
house was bolted and fast?"
The children laughed and laughed and did not answer a word.
"Laugh you may," says the old man; "but it is I who get the scolding
when the turnips fly away in the night."
"Never mind! never mind!" cried the children. "We'll pay for the
"All very well," says the old man; "but that tablecloth of yours—it
was fine yesterday, but this morning it would not give me even a glass
of tea and a hunk of black bread."
At that the faces of the little queer children were troubled and
grave. For a moment or two they all chattered together, and took no
notice of the old man. Then one of them said,—
"Well, this time we'll give you something better. We'll give you a
"A goat?" says the old man.
"A goat with a cold in its head," said the
 children; and they crowded
round him and took him behind the hut where there was a gray goat with
a long beard cropping the short grass.
"It's a good enough goat," says the old man; "I don't see anything
wrong with him."
"It's better than that," cried the children. "You tell it to sneeze."
The old man thought the children might be laughing at him, but he did
not care, and he remembered the tablecloth. So he took off his hat and
bowed to the goat. "Sneeze, goat," says he.
And instantly the goat started sneezing as if it would shake itself to
pieces. And as it sneezed, good gold pieces flew from it in all
directions, till the ground was thick with them.
"That's enough," said the children hurriedly; "tell him to stop, for
all this gold is no use to us, and it's such a bother having to sweep
"Stop sneezing, goat," says the old man; and the goat stopped
sneezing, and stood there panting and out of breath in the middle of
the sea of gold pieces.
The children began kicking the gold pieces about, spreading them by
walking through them as if they were dead leaves. My old father used
to say that those gold pieces are lying about still for anybody to
pick up; but I doubt if he knew
 just where to look for them, or he
would have had better clothes on his back and a little more food on
the table. But who knows? Some day we may come upon that little hut
somewhere in the forest, and then we shall know what to look for.
The children laughed and chattered and kicked the gold pieces this way
and that into the green bushes. Then they brought the old man into the
hut and gave him a bowl of kasha to eat, because he had had no dinner.
There was no magic about the kasha; but it was good enough kasha for
all that, and hunger made it better. When the old man had finished the
kasha and drunk a glass of tea and smoked a little pipe, he got up and
made a low bow and thanked the children. And the children tied a rope
to the goat and sent the old man home with it. He hobbled away through
the forest, and as he went he looked back, and there were the little
queer children all dancing together, and he heard them chattering and
shouting: "Who stole the turnips? We stole the turnips. Who paid for
the turnips? We paid for the turnips. Who stole the tablecloth? Who
will pay for the tablecloth? Who will steal turnips again? We will
steal turnips again."
But the old man was too pleased with the goat
 to give much heed to
what they said; and he hobbled home through the green forest as fast
as he could, with the goat trotting and walking behind him, pulling
leaves off the bushes to chew as they hurried along.
The old woman was waiting in the doorway of the house. She was still
as angry as ever.
"Have you beaten the children?" she screamed. "Have you beaten the
children for stealing my good turnips?"
"No," said the old man; "they paid for the turnips."
"What did they pay?"
"They gave me this goat."
"That skinny old goat! I have three already, and the worst of them is
better than that."
"It has a cold in the head," says the old man.
"Worse than ever!" screams the old woman.
"Wait a minute," says the old man as quickly as he could, to stop her
And the goat began to shake itself almost to bits, sneezing and
sneezing and sneezing. The good gold pieces flew all ways at once. And
the old woman threw herself after the gold pieces, picking them up
like an old hen picking up corn. As fast as she picked them up more
gold pieces came showering down on her like heavy gold hail,
her on her head and her hands as she grubbed after those that had
"Stop sneezing, goat," says the old man; and the goat stood there
tired and panting, trying to get its breath. But the old woman did not
look up till she had gathered everyone of the gold pieces. When she
did look up, she said,—
"There's no supper for you. I've had supper already."
The old man said nothing. He tied up the goat to the doorpost of the
house, where it could eat the green grass. Then he went into the house
and lay down, and fell asleep at once, because he was an old man and
had done a lot of walking.
As soon as he was asleep the old woman untied the goat and took it
away and hid it in the bushes, and tied up one of her own goats
instead. "They were my turnips," says she to herself, "and I don't see
why he should have a share in the gold." Then she went in, and lay
down grumbling to herself.
Early in the morning she woke the old man.
"Get up, you lazy fellow," says she; "you would lie all day and let
all the thieves in the world come in and steal my turnips. Up with
you to the dovecot and see how my turnips are getting on."
 The old man got up and rubbed his eyes, and climbed up the rickety
stairs, creak, creak, creak, holding on with both hands, till he came
to the top of the house, to the top of the tower, to the top of the
dovecot, and looked at the turnips.
He was afraid to come down, for there were hardly any turnips left at
And when he did come down, the scolding the old woman gave him was
worse than the other two scoldings rolled into one. She was so angry
that she shook like a rag in the high wind, and the old man put both
hands to his ears and hobbled away into the forest.
He hobbled along as fast as he could hobble, until he came to the hut
under the pine trees. This time the little queer children were not
hiding under the blankets or in the stove, or chattering in the hut.
They were all over the roof of the hut, dancing and crawling about.
Some of them were even sitting on the chimney. And everyone of the
little queer children was playing with a turnip. As soon as they saw
the old man they all came tumbling off the roof, one after another,
head over heels, like a lot of peas rolling off a shovel.
"We stole the turnips!" they shouted, before the old man could say
anything at all.
 "I know you did," says the old man; "but that does not make it any
better for me. And it is I who get the scolding when the turnips fly
away in the night."
"Never again!" shouted the children.
"I'm glad to hear that," says the old man.
"And we'll pay for the turnips."
"Thank you kindly," says the old man. He hadn't the heart to be angry
with those little queer children.
Three or four of them ran into the hut and came out again with a
wooden whistle, a regular whistle-pipe, such as shepherds use. They
gave it to the old man.
"I can never play that," says the old man. "I don't know one tune from
another; and if I did, my old fingers are as stiff as oak twigs."
"Blow in it," cried the children; and all the others came crowding
round, laughing and chattering and whispering to each other. "Is he
going to blow in it?" they asked. "He is going to blow in it." How
The old man took the whistle, and gathered his breath and puffed out
his cheeks, and blew in the whistle-pipe as hard as he could. And
before he could take the whistle from his lips, three lively whips had
slipped out of it, and were beating him
 as hard as they could go,
although there was nobody to hold them. Phew! phew! phew! The three
whips came down on him one after the other.
"Blow again!" the children shouted, laughing as if they were mad.
"Blow again—quick, quick, quick!—and tell the whips to get into the
The old man did not wait to be told twice. He blew for all he was
worth, and instantly the three whips stopped beating him. "Into the
whistle!" he cried; and the three lively whips shot up into the
whistle, like three snakes going into a hole. He could hardly have
believed they had been out at all if it had not been for the soreness
of his back.
"You take that home," cried the children. "That'll pay for the
turnips, and put everything right."
"Who knows?" said the old man; and he thanked the children, and set
off home through the green forest.
"Good-bye," cried the little queer children. But as soon as he had
started they forgot all about him. When he looked round to wave his
hand to them, not one of them was thinking of him. They were up again
on the roof of the hut, jumping over each other and dancing and
 about, and rolling each other down the roof and climbing up
again, as if they had been doing nothing else all day, and were going
to do nothing else till the end of the world.
The old man hobbled home through the green forest with the whistle
stuck safely away into his shirt. As soon as he came to the door of
the hut, the old woman, who was sitting inside counting the gold
pieces, jumped up and started her scolding.
"What have the children tricked you with this time?" she screamed at
"They gave me a whistle-pipe," says the old man, "and they are not
going to steal the turnips any more."
"A whistle-pipe!" she screamed. "What's the good of that? It's worse
than the tablecloth and the skinny old goat."
The old man said nothing.
"Give it to me!" screamed the old woman. "They were my turnips, so it
is my whistle-pipe."
"Well, whatever you do, don't blow in it," says the old man, and he
hands over the whistle-pipe.
She wouldn't listen to him.
"What?" says she; "I must not blow my own whistle-pipe?"
And with that she put the whistle-pipe to her lips and blew.
 Out jumped the three lively whips, flew up in the air, and began to
beat her—phew! phew! phew!—one after another. If they made the old
man sore, it was nothing to what they did to the cross old woman.
"Stop them! Stop them!" she screamed, running this way and that in the
hut, with the whips flying after her beating her all the time. "I'll
never scold again. I am to blame. I stole the magic tablecloth, and
put an old one instead of it. I hid it in the iron chest." She ran to
the iron chest and opened it, and pulled out the tablecloth. "Stop
them! Stop them!" she screamed, while the whips laid it on hard and
fast, one after the other. "I am to blame. The goat that sneezes gold
pieces is hidden in the bushes. The goat by the door is one of the old
ones. I wanted all the gold for myself."
All this time the old man was trying to get hold of the whistle-pipe.
But the old woman was running about the hut so fast, with the whips
flying after her and beating her, that he could not get it out of her
hands. At last he grabbed it. "Into the whistle," says he, and put it
to his lips and blew.
In a moment the three lively whips had hidden themselves in the
whistle. And there was the
 cross old woman, kissing his hand and
promising never to scold any more.
"That's all right," says the old man; and he fetched the sneezing goat
out of the bushes and made it sneeze a little gold, just to be sure
that it was that goat and no other. Then he laid the tablecloth on
the table and told it to turn inside out. Up it flew, and came down
again with the best dinner that ever was cooked, only waiting to be
eaten. And the old man and the old woman sat down and ate till they
could eat no more. The old woman rubbed herself now and again. And the
old man rubbed himself too. But there was never a cross word between
them, and they went to bed singing like nightingales.
"Is that the end?" Maroosia always asked.
"Is that all?" asked Vanya, though he knew it was not.
"Not quite," said old Peter; "but the tale won't go any quicker than
my old tongue."
In the morning the old woman had forgotten about her promise. And just
from habit, she set about scolding the old man as if the whips had
never jumped out of the whistle. She scolded him for sleeping too
long, sent him upstairs, with a lot of cross words after him, to go to
the top of the dovecot to see how those turnips were getting on.
 After a little the old man came down.
"The turnips are coming on grandly," says he, "and not a single one
has gone in the night. I told you the children said they would not
steal any more."
"I don't believe you," said the old woman. "I'll see for myself. And
if any are gone, you shall pay for it, and pay for it well."
Up she jumped, and tried to climb the stairs. But the stairs were
narrow and steep and twisting. She tried and tried, and could not get
up at all. So she gets angrier than ever, and starts scolding the old
"You must carry me up," says she.
"I have to hold on with both hands, or I couldn't get up myself," says
the old man.
"I'll get in the flour sack, and you must carry me up with your
teeth," says she; "they're strong enough."
And the old woman got into the flour sack.
"Don't ask me any questions," says the old man; and he took the sack
in his teeth and began slowly climbing up the stairs, holding on with
He climbed and climbed, but he did not climb fast enough for the old
"Are we at the top?" says she.
 The old man said nothing, but went on, climbing up and up, nearly dead
with the weight of the old woman in the sack which he was holding in
He climbed a little further, and the old woman screamed out,—
"Are we at the top now? We must be at the top. Let me out, you old
The old man said nothing; he climbed on and on.
The old woman raged in the flour sack. She jumped about in the sack,
and screamed at the old man,—
"Are we near the top now? Answer me, can't you! Answer me at once, or
you'll pay for it later. Are we near the top?"
"Very near," said the old man.
And as he opened his mouth to say that the sack slipped from between
his teeth, and bump, bump, bumpety bump, the old woman in the sack
fell all the way to the very bottom, bumping on every step. That was
the end of her.
After that the old man lived alone in the hut. When he wanted tobacco
or clothes or a new axe, he made the goat sneeze some gold pieces, and
off he went to the town with plenty of money in his pocket. When he
wanted his dinner he had only
 to lay the tablecloth. He never had any
washing up to do, because the tablecloth did it for him. When he
wanted to get rid of troublesome guests, he gave them the whistle to
blow. And when he was lonely and wanted company, he went to the
little hut under the pine trees and played with the little queer