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234 The Little Copper Man1 126. There was this landlord, and he had three sons. Two were clever, but the third was a fool. It happened that someone was trampling the landlord’s wheat, and one day a good acre was eaten. The first night the landlord sent his oldest son to stand watch. He went there, sat and sat, and just before daybreak he fell asleep. And in the morning, when he got up, more wheat had been ruined. The next night the second son went, and he fell asleep just like the first son, before dawn—and something ate the wheat. The third night the fool went out. As soon as he got there, and soon after evening, he lay down to sleep.And before dawn got up and was sitting there when a bird came flying up. He crept up and caught the bird and put it in a bag, and then lay down to sleep. The next day early, his older brothers came to see the wheat, and the wheat was all there! The fool was asleep. They woke up the fool and asked him,“How is it that the wheat’s all there today?” He told his brothers everything that had happened and showed them the bird, which was sitting in the bag. They took the bird from the fool and took it to their father to show him. When they got to their father, they told him that the fool was sleeping and that they had caught the bird that had been in the wheat, eating it. Their father examined the bird and took it to the king. The king took the bird and paid the peasant for it, and had it locked up in a dungeon. Then he gave the key to his wife. So the little bird sat there. It sat there in the dungeon until the little prince came running up to the door. Then the little bird started asking the prince in a human voice to let it out.“How could I let you out if the key to the dungeon is around my mother’s neck?” said the prince.“Trick your mother and steal the key and let me out,” said the little bird. And that’s what the prince did. He went to his mother and began kissing and caressing her, stole the key and let the little bird out. And that little bird was really the little man of copper. When he got out of the dungeon, 1.  In this Belarussian tale the little man of copper is apparently also the guardian of treasure in the belief of that people: Масенжны Дзядок. The Little Copper Man h 235 he said to the little prince,“If you ever have a need, just go outside and say,‘Little Copper Man, help me!’ and I’ll immediately appear. Whatever your need, I’ll do everything.” The next day the king invited guests to see this marvelous bird. Guests gathered to see the bird, and after dinner they went to the dungeon. When they got there, they opened the dungeon. The bird wasn’t there! The king went to his wife, as she had had the keys. His wife swore, took an oath that she had not let the bird out, but they did not believe her and sentenced her to be executed. She cried and cried, but then she remembered how her son had been caressing her and likely had stolen the keys from her. She told this to her husband and all the guests. Some guests said that they should hang the son, others said to drown him, and one of the guests said that he should be sent out into the world in a coat sewn from pig’s skin. Everyone agreed with this. His mother wept a great deal, and afterward, seeing that that her crying was of no use, ordered the pigskin coat.And she sewed into it some money worth eleven hundred in notes and gold, and then she saw him off. He took a walking stick and set off. He walked along, crying, but what was he to do? Then that little copper man came to mind. He went up onto a hill and said,“Little copper man! Help me!”And immediately that little man came to him and asked what did he need? He told him everything that had happened and asked him to help. The little man thought a little and said,“Go beyond...


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