Cossack Fairy Tales



ONCE upon a time a rich man and a poor man had a field in common, and they sowed it with the same seed at the same time. But God prospered the poor man’s labour and made his seed to grow, but the rich man’s seed did not grow. Then the rich man claimed that part of the field where the grain had sprung up, and said to the poor man, “Look now! ’tis my seed that has prospered, and not thine!” The poor man protested, but the rich man would not listen, but said to him, “If thou wilt not believe me, then, poor man, come into the field quite early to-morrow morning, before dawn, and God shall judge betwixt us.”

Then the poor man went home. But the rich man dug a deep trench in the poor man’s part of the field and placed his son in it, and said to him, “Look now, my son; when I come hither to-morrow morning and ask whose field this is, say that it is not the poor man’s, but the rich man’s.”

Then he well covered up his son with straw, and departed to his own house.

In the morning all the people assembled together and went to the field, and the rich man cried, “Speak, O God! whose field is this, the rich man’s or the poor man’s?”

“The rich man’s, the rich man’s,” cried a voice from the midst of the field.

But the Lord Himself was among the people gathered together there, and He said, “Listen not to that voice, for the field is verily the poor man’s.”

Then the Lord told all the people how the matter went, and then He said to the son of the rich man,

“Stay where thou art, and sit beneath the earth all thy days, so long as the sun is in the sky.”

So the rich man’s son became a mole on the spot, and that is why the mole always flies the light of day.