By Andrew Lang
BeeOasis Step 2
A long time ago there lived in a forest a logger and his wife and children. He was very poor, depending only on his axe for cutting wood and two mules. The mules carried the wood he cut to the neighboring town. He worked hard, and was always out of bed by five o’clock, summer and winter.
This went on for twenty years. Though his sons were now grown up, and went with their father to the forest, everything seemed to go against them. They remained as poor as ever. In the end the logger lost heart, and said to himself:
“What is the good of working like this if I am never a penny the richer at the end? I shall go to the forest no more! And perhaps, if I take to my bed, and do not run after Fortune, one day she may come to me.”
So the next morning he did not get up, and when six o’clock came, his wife, who was cleaning the house, went to see what was the matter.
“Are you sick?” she asked wonderingly, surprised at not finding him dressed. “The cock has crowed ever so often. It is high time for you to get up.”
“Why should I get up?” asked the man, without moving.
“Why, to go to the forest, of course.”
“Yes, and when I have worked all day, I hardly earn enough to give us one meal.”
“But what can we do, my poor husband?” she said. “It is just a trick of Fortune, who never smiles upon us.”
“Well, I have had enough of Fortune’s tricks,” he cried. “If she wants me, she can find me here. But I have done with the wood for ever.”
“My dear husband, grief has driven you crazy! Do you think Fortune will come to anybody who does not go after her? Dress yourself. Get the mules ready, and begin your work. Do you know that there is no bread in this house?”
“I don’t care if there isn’t any bread, and I am not going to the forest. Your talking is of no use. Nothing will make me change my mind.”
The wife begged and pressed him in vain, but her husband persisted in staying in bed, and at last, in despair, she left him and went back to her work.
An hour or two later, a man from the nearest village knocked at her door. . .
This story was originally published in 1902 and is in the public domain.