From this I gather that a new-born Prince,
From new-born cobbler’s somewhat hard to know,
For which of us could tell the difference, since
One thus experienced was mistaken so?
Also, perhaps, I should be great, instead
Of writing thus, to earn my daily bread.
CLEVER PETER & THE TWO BOTTLES
“Yes, Peter is clever.” So said his mother; but then every goose thinks her own gosling a swan.
The minister and all of the people of the village said Peter was but a dull block. Maybe Peter was a fool; but, as the old saying goes, never a fool tumbles out of the tree but he lights on his toes. So now you shall hear how that Peter sold his two baskets of eggs for more than you or I could do, wise as we be.
“Peter,” said his mother.
“Yes,” said Peter, for he was well brought up, and always answered when he was spoken to.
“My dear little child, thou art wise, though so young now; how shall we get money to pay our rent?”
“Sell the eggs that the speckled hen has laid,” said Peter.
“But when we have spent the money for them, what then?”
“Sell more eggs,” said Peter, for he had an answer for everything.
“But when the speckled hen lays no more eggs, what shall we do then?”
“We shall see,” said Peter.
“Now indeed art thou wise,” said his mother, “and I take thy meaning; it is this, when we have spent all, we must do as the little birds do, and trust in the good Heaven.” Peter meant nothing of the kind, but then folks will think that such wise fellows as Peter and I mean more than we say, whence comes our wisdom.
So the next day Peter started off to the town, with the basket full of nice white eggs. The day was bright and warm and fair; the wind blew softly, and the wheatfields lay like green velvet in the sun. The flowers were sprinkled all over the grass, and the bees kicked up their yellow legs as they tilted into them. The garlic stuck up stout spikes into the air, and the young radishes were green and lusty. The brown bird in the tree sang, “Cuckoo! cuckoo!” and Peter trudged contentedly along, kicking up little clouds of dust at every footstep, whistling merrily and staring up into the bright sky, where the white clouds hung like little sheep, feeding on the wide blue field. “If those clouds were sheep, and the sheep were mine, then I would be a great man and very proud,” said Peter. But the clouds were clouds, and he was not a great man; nevertheless, he whistled more merrily than ever, for it was very nice to think of these things.