Jack The Dullard :
Far in the interior of the country lay an old baronial hall and in it lived an old proprietor who had three sons. The two elder sons thought themselves to be too clever. They wanted to go to wed the King’s daughter for she had announced that she would wed the man who would arrange the best of words for her.
So these two geniuses prepared themselves a full week for the wooing - this was the longest time that could be granted them. But it was enough, for they had had much preparatory information and everybody knows how useful that is. One of them knew the whole Latin dictionary by heart. The other had deeply read the corporation laws and knew by heart what every corporation ought to know and accordingly he thought he could talk of affairs of state and put his spoke in the wheel in the council.
And he knew one thing more. He could embroider suspenders with roses and other flowers and with arabesques, for he was a tasty and light-fingered fellow.
“I shall win the Princess!” so cried both of them.
Therefore their old papa gave to each of them a handsome horse. The youth who knew the dictionary and newspaper by heart had a black horse and he who knew all about the corporation laws received a milk-white steed. Then they rubbed the corners of their mouths with fish-oil, so that they might become very smooth and glib. All the servants stood below in the courtyard and looked on while they mounted their horses and just by
chance the third son came up. Nobody counted the third with his brothers, because he was not so learned as they and indeed he was generally known as Jack the Dullard.
“Hallo!" said Jack the Dullard, “where are you going?”
“We’re going to the King’s court, as suitors to the King’s daughter." And they told him all about it.
“My word! I’ll be in it too!’ cried Jack the Dullard and his two brothers burst out laughing at him and rode away.
“Father, dear,” said Jack, “I must have a horse too. I do feel so desperately inclined to marry! If she accepts me, she accepts me and if she won’t have me, I’ll have her. But she shall be mine!"
“Don't talk nonsense,” replied the old gentleman. You shall have no horse from me. You
don’t know how to speak. You can’t arrange your words. Your brothers are very different fellows from you.”
“Well,” said Jack the Dullard, “If I can’t have a horse, I will take the Billy-goat who belongs to me and he can carry me very well!”
He mounted the Billy-goat and pressed his heels into its sides and galloped down the high street like a hurricane. But his brothers rode slowly on in advance of him. They spoke not a word, for they were thinking about the fine extempore speeches they would have to bring out and these had to be cleverly prepared beforehand.
“Hallo!” shouted Jack the Dullard. “Here I am! Look what I have found on the high road.”
And he showed them what it was and it was a dead crow.
“Dullard!” exclaimed the brothers, “what are you going to do with that?”
“With the crow? Why I am going to give it to the Princess.”
“Yes, do so,” said they and they laughed and rode on.
“Hallo, here I am again! Just see what I have found now. You don't find that on the high road every day!”
And the brothers turned round to see what he could have found now.
“Dullard!” they cried, “that is only an old wooden shoe and the upper pan is missing into
the bargain. Are you going to give that also to the Princess?”
“Most certainly I shall,” replied Jack the Dullard and again the brothers laughed and rode
on and thus they got far in advance of him. But, “Hey! Look what I found now!!!” exclaimed he.
“Bah!” said the brothers, “that is nothing but clay out of the ditch."
“Yes. Certainly it is,” said Jack the Dullard, “and clay of the finest sort. See, it is so wet. It runs through one’s fingers.” And he filled his pocket with the clay.
But his brothers galloped on till the sparks flew and consequently they arrived a full hour
earlier at the town gate than could Jack. Now at the gate each suitor was provided with a number and all were placed in rows immediately on their arrival six in each row. All the inhabitants of the country round about stood in great crowds around the castle to see the Princess receive the suitors and as each stepped into the hall and his power of speech seemed to desert him like the light of a candle that is blown out. Then the Princess would say, “He is of no use! Away with him out of the hall!”
At last the turn came for that brother who knew the dictionary by heart. But he did not know it now. He had absolutely forgotten it altogether.
“It is dreadfully hot here!" observed the first brother.
“Yes.’ replied the Princess, “My father is going to roast young pullets today."
There he stood like a baa-lamb. He had not been prepared for a speech of this kind and had not a word to say, though he intended to say something witty, “Baa!
“He is of no use!" said the Princess, “Away with him!”
And he was obliged to go accordingly. And, now the Second brother came in.
“It is terribly warm here!” he observed.
“Yes. We’re roasting pullets to-day,” replied the Princess.
“What…what were you…were you pleased to ob…..” stammered he and all the clerks wrote down, “pleased to ob….”
“He is of no use!” said the Princess, “Away with him!”
Now came the turn of Jack the Dullard. He rode into the hall on his goat.
“Well. It is most abominably hot here.”
“Yes. Because I'm roasting young pullets,” replied the Princess.
“Ah, that’s lucky!” exclaimed Jack the Dullard, ‘for I suppose you’ll let me roast my crow at the same time?”
"With the greatest pleasure,” said the Princess. “But have you anything you can roast it
in? For I have neither pot nor pan.”
“Certainly I have!” said Jack. “Here’s a cooking utensil with a tin handle.”
And he brought out the old, wooden shoe and put the crow into it.
“Well, that is a famous dish!” said the Princess. But what shall we do for sauce?”
“Oh, I have that in my pocket,” said Jack, “I have so much of it that I can afford to throw some away,” and he poured some of the clay out of his pocket.
“I like that!" said the Princess, “You can give an answer and you have something to say for yourself and so you shall be my husband."
And accordingly Jack the Dullard was made a king and received a crown and a wife and sat upon a throne. And his father and the brothers realized what fools they were for having scolded their brother.
Jack The Dullard
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