“The Table, the Ass, and the Stick”
There was a tailor who had three sons. He also had a goat to supply all their milk. One day, after the eldest son had taken his turn watching her, the tailor asked her if she was full and she replied that she was not, even though she had just told the son that she was. The tailor – taking the goat’s word over his son – drove his son from his house.
This was repeated with his second and third son. But when the tailor had to watch over the goat and she again claimed first that she was full but then that she wasn’t, he realized his mistake. He shaved the goat, and then whipped her away.
The eldest son apprenticed with a joiner, and when he left his master gave him a little table. It wasn’t much to look at, but when one said, “Table, be covered,” a tablecloth would appear and the table would be set with a feast. The eldest son traveled far, never worrying about food. But then one day he decided to return home since his father would surely have forgiven him.
But he stopped at an inn where he showed off his table. The innkeeper was greedy, and that night he switched the table with a standard table. The next day the son returned and his father invited all his friends and neighbors over to see the wondrous table his son had, but it was just an ordinary table, and everyone left depressed.
The middle son apprenticed with a miller. When he left, his master gave him a donkey that wouldn’t carry any weight, but “If you put a cloth before him and say, ‘Bicklebrit,’ out come gold pieces from back and front.” So the middle son traveled for some time before deciding to go back to his father. He stayed at the same inn where the innkeeper saw what the donkey did and that night he switched donkeys. Again the son went home and the father called in all his friends and neighbors to see the donkey show, but it turned out to just be a donkey.
The youngest son apprenticed with a turner (someone who works with a lathe.) And when he left his master gave him a sack with a stick in it. If he ever said, “Stick, out of the sack,” the stick would fly out and beat anyone doing him harm until he said, “Stick, into the sack.” So the youngest son traveled for some time, but eventually decided to return home.
He had received letters from his brothers, so he knew what happened at the inn. He stayed there that night, and boasted about the wonders in his sack. That night the innkeeper tried to steal it, but the stick came out and beat him. The youngest son then got the table and the ass and went home. His father called all the friends and neighbors and they feasted and had all the gold they could carry and were happy.
Anyway, in case you were wondering, the goat had ran and hid in a fox’s hole. When the fox came home, he saw two big eyes staring at him so he didn’t go in. A bear came by, but he didn’t want to go in and investigate either. But the bee went in and stuck the goat, who ran out of the hole and kept running.
If the tailor was short of money, why didn’t he just sell the talking goat?
Once he sent the goat away, what did he do for his milk? If he was really upset with her, why didn’t he just eat her instead of driving her away?
Was this a special kind of table the master joiner made? No matter how good his apprentice was, why would he give it away?
Why would anyone give away a gold crapping donkey?
Wouldn’t anyone want to show their father what their special thing could do before showing it off to the neighbors?
So the landlord has a gold crapping donkey, but he still keeps an inn?
If the older brothers knew the landlord had stolen from them, why didn’t they go beat him up to get their stuff back?