The Nail





BY THE BROTHERS GRIMM









A merchant had done good business at the fair; he had sold his wares,

and filled his bag with gold and silver. Then he set out at once on his

journey home, for he wished to be in his own house before night.



At noon he rested in a town. When he wanted to go on, the stable-boy

brought his horse, saying:



"A nail is wanting, sir, in the shoe of his left hind foot."



"Let it be wanting," answered the merchant; "the shoe will stay on for

the six miles I have still to go. I am in a hurry."



In the afternoon he got down at an inn and had his horse fed. The

stable-boy came into the room to him and said: "Sir, a shoe is wanting

from your horse's left hind foot. Shall I take him to the blacksmith?"



"Let it still be wanting," said the man; "the horse can very well hold

out for a couple of miles more. I am in a hurry."



So the merchant rode forth, but before long the horse began to limp. He

had not limped long before he began to stumble, and he had not stumbled

long before he fell down and broke his leg. The merchant had to leave

the horse where he fell, and unstrap the bag, take it on his back, and

go home on foot.



"That unlucky nail," said he to himself, "has made all this trouble."





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