Short Stories » The Tale Of The Clever Peasant
The Tale Of The Clever Peasant
Once upon a time in a village in Ukraine, there lived a rich landlord. He owned many farms, fields and forests. He owned so much land, that the peasants of the village treated him as their chief.
The chief however was an arrogant and petty minded man, with very little regard for the peasants and poor men who depended on him. He was greedy, very proud of his wealth and considered the peasants, poor and filthy, who smelt like dung. He would never entertain any peasant in his mansion, nor let any poor farmer come near him.
The poor farmers and peasants considered themselves fortunate, if they got a glimpse of him or had to visit the granary at his mansion to deliver goods.
One night, after a hard days’ work, three poor peasants were sitting around the fire and discussing their day’s work.
The first peasants proudly said, “I saw the chief today. He rode by as I was working in the field.”
While the second one said, “Well, that’s nothing. I went to his granary to drop two sacks of potatoes and onions, and he was standing at the door of the mansion.”
A third peasant, who was drinking and listening to all this incessant chatter, laughed and said, “So, what’s so great about this? Anyone can see him, if he passes by.” Then he boasted and said, “If I want, I can go and have a meal with him at his table.”
The other peasants laughed at him and thought he was crazy as he was the poorest among them. “You must be drunk,” they said in unison.
“His servants and security guards will kick you out,” said the first peasant.
They then called the poor peasant a liar and started making fun of him.
The poor peasant got up and said, “I am not a liar and if you want, I can prove it to you.”
“Well, alright,” they said. “If you can prove what you have just claimed, we will give you four sacks of wheat and four oxen,” said the other peasants.
“Consider the challenge as accepted,” said the poor farmer.
“Wait, there is a catch,” they said. “If you don’t, you will have to work for us, free, for one whole year,” they added.
“Well, well, get the items ready, for tomorrow, I shall dine with the chief,” said the poor peasant.
The next day, the poor peasant walked up to the chief’s mansion. The security stopped him at the gate, and threatened him, if he did not leave immediately.
The poor peasant said, “Please wait, I have some important and good news for your master, that I have to personally convey to him.”
“That is impossible. Tell us and we shall tell the chief,” said the guards.
“I am sorry, it’s for the chief’s ears only,” said the peasant.
After some time, one of the guards went and reported the incident to his master, the chief.
The chief was sitting at his dining table and was about to have lunch. Hearing the incident, the chief became very curious. He thought that the poor peasant was bringing him some information that would make him even richer. So he asked the guards to let the poor peasant in.
The poor peasant was let in and the chief looked at him as if he was dirt. He then asked, “what is it the good and important news that you have for me?”
The peasant looked around and said, “I am sorry, it is for your ears only, so we must talk in private.”
The chief got more curious. He dismissed his servants and asked them to lock the door behind them.
Once he was alone, the poor peasant asked the chief, ”What would be the price of a slab of gold as large as a horse’s head?”
The chief became more curious. He assumed that the peasant must have found some buried treasure, and did not want to disclose it to anybody. Since he was the chief, the poor chap must have come for protection. Otherwise, why would this stinking peasant come all this way to ask about this.
The poor farmer then said, “If you cannot tell me, I shall go elsewhere. Besides, my wife is waiting with my lunch.”
Hearing this, the chief politely asked him to stay on for lunch, and saw to that the poor farmer was treated to an excellent six-course meal, with his most expensive vodka.
After a fine meal, the peasant relaxed for a while, while the chief asked him, “Now go home and bring me that piece of gold and I shall give you a horse for it.”
The peasant feigned surprise and asked, “Which gold, my lord?”
“The one you spoke about,” said the chief.
“Well, I don’t have it. We were talking about it at home, and my friends felt that you would be the best person to ask. And hence, I came to you,” said the poor peasant.
The chief flew into a rage and thundered, “Get out of my house, you blithering idiot.”
And the poor peasant walked out of the chief’s mansion with a smile on his face, for he knew that he had won the bet with his friends.