Mrs. Twiddle’s Gold
(An English folk-tale)
There was once an old woman called Mrs. Twiddle, whose kitchen chimney needed sweeping1. She poked2 her brush up, and ten pieces of gold came down with the soot3. How surprised and glad Mrs. Twiddle was!
“I must go and tell all my neighbours!” she said. So she put the gold on the table and ran out to tell her friends.
She went to the well where the village women were drawing water and talking.
“Listen to me,” she cried. “I have found ten pieces of gold up my chimney! What do you think of that?”
“Well, well,” said everyone, “that is good fortune4 for you. You must keep it safely, for there are robbers about5. Where have you put it?”
“Oh, I left it on the kitchen table,” said Mrs. Twiddle.
“How very silly6 of you!” said her friends. Come with us and we’ll show you a strong7 bag in the village shop. You can buy it to put your money in.”
So Mrs. Twiddle went to the shop and saw the bag.
“I will have it,” she said. “It will keep my money safe.”
“But if thieves8 come, they can easily carry the bag away,” said the shopkeeper. “Put your money in the bag, and then buy a good strong box to put the bag in. A robber won’t be able to carry away9 a heavy box. What do you think of this one? It is the heaviest I have.”
“It is a fine box,” said Mrs. Twiddle. “I will have it. I am sure no robber will carry that away. Why, I can hardly lift one end of it. My gold will be safe there.”
“Have you a key to lock your cottage10 when you go out?” asked her friends. “If you don’t lock your door, robbers may come while you are out, and two men can lift that box, you know. You had better buy a new lock and key for your door. Then you and your money will be quite safe.”
“I have a strong new lock and key here,” said the shopkeeper, and he showed her a new one, bright and shining. “No robber will be able to enter when you have this on your door.”
“I will have that lock and key,” said Mrs. Twiddle. “Then I shall feel that my gold is safe.”
“I will bring everything to your cottage now,” said the shopkeeper. So he and his son carried the box. Mrs. Twiddle carried the strong bag, and in it she put the lock and key. When they reached home, the shopkeeper put the lock on the door. Then he asked to be paid11.
“I want two pounds for the bag,” he said, “and six pounds for the big box, and one pound for the lock and key, and one pound for my trouble12.”
Mrs. Twiddle paid him and he went away. Then she thought she would put her gold into the bag, and the bag into the box, where it would be safe. But she couldn’t find a single piece of gold anywhere!
Do you know what she had done with it?
1 kitchen chimney needed sweeping – дымоход надо было почистить
2 to poke – совать
3 soot – сажа
4 fortune – состояние
5 about – кругом; повсюду
6 silly – глупый
7 strong – прочный
8 thief – вор
9 to carry away – уносить
10 cottage – (небольшой жилой) дом
11 … to be paid – … чтобы ему заплатили
12 trouble – (зд.) хлопоты
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