I Know What I Have Learned
Reading time: 3 minutes. Word count: 600 words.
In a little the troll came home, and his wife asked him to go and buy some fish.
'We can get them much more easily than that,' said the troll. 'Give me your dough trough and your ladle.'
They seated themselves in the trough, and rowed out on the lake which was beside the mound. When they had got out a little way the troll said to his wife, 'Are my eyes green?'
'No, not yet,' said she.
He rowed on a little further and asked again, 'Are my eyes not green yet?'
'Yes,' said his wife, 'they are green now.'
Then the troll sprang into the water and ladled up so many fish that in a short time the trough could hold no more. They then rowed home again, and had a good meal off the fish.
The old man now got three sacks full of money, and set off home with them. When he was almost home the cow again came into his head, and he laid down the money. This time, however, he took his wooden shoes and laid them above the money, thinking that no one would take it after that. Then he ran home and asked his wife whether the cow had calved. It had not, and she scolded him again for behaving in this way, but in the end he persuaded her to go with him to help him with the three sacks of money.
When they came to the spot they found only the wooden shoes, for a thief had come along in the meantime and taken all the money. The woman was very angry, and broke out upon her husband; but he took it all very quietly, and only said, 'Hang the money! I know what I have learned.'
'What have you learned I should like to know?' said his wife.
'You will see that yet,' said the man.
One day his wife took a fancy for broth, and said to him, 'Oh, go to the village, and buy a piece of beef to make broth.'
'There's no need of that,' said he; 'we can get it an easier way.' With that he drove a spike into a beam, and ran his head against it, and in consequence had to lie in bed for a long time afterwards.
After he had recovered from this his wife asked him one day to go and buy candles, as they had none.
'No,' he said, 'there's no need for that;' and he stuck his hand into the fire. This also made him take to bed for a good while.
When he had got better again his wife one day wanted fish, and asked him to go and buy some. The man, however, wished again to show what he had learned, so he asked her to come along with him and bring her dough trough and a ladle. They both seated themselves in this, and rowed upon the lake. When they had got out a little way the man said, 'Are my eyes green?'
'No,' said his wife; 'why should they be?'
They rowed a little further out, and he asked again, 'Are my eyes not green yet?'
'What nonsense is this?' said she; 'why should they be green?'
'Oh, my dear,' said he, 'can't you just say that they are green?'
'Very well,' said she, 'they are green.'
As soon as he heard this he sprang out into the water with the ladle for the fishes, but he just got leave to stay there with them!
Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:
Source: Andrew Lang: Pink Fairy Book (1897). Weblink.
Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology.
Laura Gibbs, Ph.D.
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