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429 Emelia the Fool 165. This was all in some village: There lived this peasant, and he had three sons, and two were clever, but the third was a fool whom they called Emelia. And as their father had lived a long time, he entered into deep old age, and he summoned his sons to him and said to them,“My dear children! I sense that I haven’t long to live with you. I am leaving you my house and livestock, which you will divide evenly among you. And I am also leaving you each a hundred rubles.” Soon after that, their father died and the children, burying him honorably, lived happily. Then Emelia’s brothers decided to go to town and trade with those three hundred rubles that their father had bequeathed them, and they said to the fool Emelia, “Listen, fool, we are going to the town, and we are taking your hundred rubles. And when we have traded them up, we’ll divide the profit in half and buy you a new kaftan, a red cap, and red boots. So you stay here at home. If our wives get you to do anything, we mean your sisters-in-law, (for they were married), then you do it.” The fool, who wanted to get that red kaftan, the red cap, and the red boots they’d promised him, replied to his brothers that he would do everything that they requested. After that, his brothers went off to town, and the fool was left at home and lived with his sisters-in-law. One day a little while later, when it was wintertime and there was a heavy frost, his sisters-in-law told him to go fetch the water. But the fool, who was lying on the stove, said,“And what about you?” The sisters-inlaw shouted at him,“What do you mean, fool,‘you’? You can see what a heavy frost there is. Why, it’s for a man to go at this time.” But he said, “I’m lazy.” The sisters-in-law once more shouted at him:“So, you’re lazy? But you’ll want to eat. And when there’s no water, there won’t be any cooking.” And they added,“Just fine; we’ll tell our husbands, when they come, that though they buy you that kaftan and all, they shouldn’t give you anything.” And when he heard this, and desiring to obtain that red kaftan and cap, the fool was obliged to go. So he got down from the stove and started putting on his shoes and getting dressed. And when he was totally dressed, he took the buckets and an axe and set off for the river, because their hut was right alongside the river. And he came to the river 430 h Emelia the Fool and began cutting a hole through the ice, and he cut a huge hole. Then he put the water into the buckets and placed them there on the ice while he stood there next to the hole and looked at the water. Just then the fool saw an enormous pike swimming in that ice hole. Emelia, no matter the fool that he was, wanted very much to catch that pike, and so in order to do that he went up a little closer to the hole. He went up close and suddenly grabbed it with his hands, pulled it out of the water, and stuck it inside his shirt. Then he decided to go home. But the pike said to him,“What are you doing, fool? Why have you caught me?” “And why not?” he said.“I’ll take you home and tell the sisters-in-law to cook you.”“No, fool, don’t take me home. Let me back into the water, and I’ll make you a very rich man because of it.” But the fool didn’t believe the pike and wanted to go home. The pike, seeing that the fool wouldn’t let it go, said,“Listen, fool, let me back into the water. I’ll do whatever you wish, everything will be done according to your desires.” When the fool heard this, he was overjoyed, for he was extremely lazy, and he thought to himself, “If this pike will do everything that I wish, everything will be set up, and I’ll not have to work.” He said to the pike, “I’ll let you go, only you...


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