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The Cunning Shoemaker1
So down he went to Mascalucia, and walked through the streets crying, 'Who wants some shoes?' And very soon a window was pushed up, and a woman's head was thrust out of it.
'Here are a pair for you to patch,' she said. And he sat down on her doorstep and set about patching them.
'How much do I owe you?' she asked when they were done.
'Here is eighteenpence, and good luck to you.' And he went his way. He turned into the next street and set up his cry again, and it was not long before another window was pushed up and another head appeared.
'Here are some shoes for you to patch.'
And the shoemaker sat down on the doorstep and patched them.
'How much do I owe you?' asked the woman when the shoes were finished.
'Here is a crown piece, and good luck to you.' And she shut the window.
'Well,' thought the shoemaker, 'I have done finely. But I will not go back to my wife just yet, as, if I only go on at this rate, I shall soon have enough money to buy a donkey.'
Having made up his mind what was best to do, he stayed in the town a few days longer–till he had four gold pieces safe in his purse. Then he went to the market, and for two of them he bought a good strong donkey, and, mounting on its back, he rode home to Catania. But as he entered a thick wood he saw in the distance a band of robbers who were coming quickly towards him.
1 Sicilianische Mährchen.
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