Mr and Mrs Vinegar

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Mr and Mrs Vinegar

Mr and Mrs Vinegar lived in a vinegar bottle. The bottle was made of glass but it had a wooden door. One day Mrs Vinegar was sweeping her house when the broom went right through the roof, and broken glass fell everywhere. 1 She was very upset but Mr Vinegar tried to comfort her.

"Let's go out into the world and seek our fortune, said Mr Vinegar. "I'll take the door and carry it with me on my back. It may be useful."

They walked all that day and at night entered a thick forest. They were both very, very tired. Mrs Vinegar did not want to sleep on the ground because she was afraid of wild animals.

 

 

Then Mr Vinegar said, "My love, I'll climb a tree and drag up the door. You follow me."

So Mr Vinegar climbed a tree and set the door between the branches, like a platform. They both lay down on the door and fell asleep.

In the middle of the night they were wakened by the loud voices of some men on the ground below. The men were robbers, and they had met to divide their money. Mr and Mrs Vinegar were very frightened and they trembled so much that the door fell to the ground. This gave the robbers a fright and they all ran away.

Poor Mr and Mrs Vinegar sat in the tree and held on to the branches until morning came. Then they climbed down. They lifted up the door and found forty golden guineas 2 under it. They were very happy, and Mrs Vinegar jumped for joy. Then they began to think what best to do with the money.

"Now, my dear," said Mrs Vinegar, "I'll tell you what to do. Take these forty guineas, go to the neighbouring town and buy a cow at the market. I can make butter and cheese, which you will sell, and then we shall make a fine living." Mr Vinegar agreed, took the money and set out for the town. When Mr Vinegar reached the market, he liked the very first cow he saw, which was a red one.

"I should be the happiest man in the world if I owned that cow," 3 said Mr Vinegar. He offered all his forty guineas for the cow and the owner sold his cow gladly, because forty guineas was far more than she was worth. 4

But Mr Vinegar soon got tired of driving the cow along. He came to a man who was playing the bagpipes. People I were listening and children were dancing as he played. Money fell into his cap when he held it out.

"I should be the happiest man in the world if I owned those bagpipes," said Mr Vinegar, so he offered his beautiful red cow in exchange for 5 the bagpipes.

The owner of the bagpipes agreed to take the cow and gave Mr Vinegar the bagpipes.

So Mr Vinegar went off with the bagpipes. But money did not fall into his cap when he held it out. He had no idea how to play the bagpipes and when he blew he only made the most terrible sounds. That frightened everybody away, and the children even threw stones at him.

As Mr Vinegar walked along with the bagpipes under his arm, he felt very unhappy, and his hands got very cold. Then he passed a man with a fine, thick pair of gloves on his hands.

"I should be the happiest man in the world if I owned those gloves," said Mr Vinegar, so he offered his bagpipes in exchange for the gloves. The owner of the gloves agreed and took the bagpipes.

So Mr Vinegar put the gloves on his cold hands and went on his way. He had walked a long way now and was very tired. So when he met a man who was walking quickly with a good, strong stick in his hand, he said, "I should be the happiest man in the world if I had that stick." Then Mr Vinegar offered his warm gloves in exchange for the stick. The owner of the stick agreed and took the gloves. So Mr Vinegar went on his way with the stick in his hand.

When at last Mr Vinegar reached the forest where he had left his wife, a bird flew out of a tree and began to call out:

"Ha ha! Ha ha! Mr Vinegar, you are a foolish man! You spent your forty guineas on a cow that wasn't worth ten. Then you changed the cow for bagpipes you couldn't play. Then you changed the bagpipes for a cheap pair of gloves. Then you changed the gloves for a poor stick. And now you have nothing to show but that poor stick, which you could have cut 6 in the forest. You are a silly man!"

Mr Vinegar got so angry when he heard the bird, especially as all the bird said was quite true, that he threw his stick up at it. But the stick stuck in the tree 7 and he couldn't get it down. So he went back to Mrs Vinegar with nothing at all, no money, no cow, no bagpipes, no gloves and no stick, and she beat him for it.

 

 

1 the broom went right through the roof and broken glass fell everywhere - метла ударила по крыше, и посыпалось разбитое стекло

2 forty golden guineas — сорок золотых гиней (гинея — прежде золотая монета, теперь денежная единица, равная 21 шиллингу)

3 I should be the happiest man in the world if I owned that cow — Я был бы самым счастливым человеком на свете, если бы у меня была эта корова

4 far more than she was worth — гораздо больше, чем она того стоила

5 in exchange for - в обмен на

6 could have cut — мог бы срезать

7 But the stick stuck in the tree - Но палка застряла в ветвях дерева

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