“The Peasant and the Cucumbers,” a short fable by Leo Tolstoy

“The Peasant and the Cucumbers”

by Leo Tolstoy

(trans. by Leo Wiener)


A peasant once went to the gardener’s, to steal cucumbers. He crept up to the cucumbers, and thought:

“I will carry off a bag of cucumbers, which I will sell; with the money I will buy a hen. The hen will lay eggs, hatch them, and raise a lot of chicks. I will feed the chicks and sell them; then I will buy me a young sow, and she will bear a lot of pigs. I will sell the pigs, and buy me a mare; the mare will foal me some colts. I will raise the colts, and sell them. I will buy me a house, and start a garden. In the garden I will sow cucumbers, and will not let them be stolen, but will keep a sharp watch on them. I will hire watchmen, and put them in the cucumber patch, while I myself will come on them, unawares, and shout: ‘Oh, there, keep a sharp lookout!'”

And this he shouted as loud as he could. The watchmen heard it, and they rushed out and beat the peasant.

 

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