The Six Sillies

: The Red Fairy Book

ONCE upon a time there was a young girl who reached the age of

thirty-seven without ever having had a lover, for she was so

foolish that no one wanted to marry her.

One day, however, a young man arrived to pay his addresses to

her, and her mother, beaming with joy, sent her daughter down to

the cellar to draw a jug of beer.

As the girl never came back the mother went down to see what
r /> had become of her, and found her sitting on the stairs, her head in

her hands, while by her side the beer was running all over the floor,

as she had forgotten to close the tap. `What are you doing there?'

asked the mother.

`I was thinking what I shall call my first child after I am

married to that young man. All the names in the calendar are

taken already.'

The mother sat down on the staircase beside her daughter and

said, `I will think about it with you, my dear.'

The father who had stayed upstairs with the young man was

surprised that neither his wife nor his daughter came back, and in

his turn went down to look for them. He found them both sitting

on the stairs, while beside them the beer was running all over the

ground from the tap, which was wide open.

`What are you doing there? The beer is running all over the


`We were thinking what we should call the children that our

daughter will have when she marries that young man. All the

names in the calendar are taken already.'

`Well,' said the father, `I will think about it with you.'

As neither mother nor daughter nor father came upstairs again,

the lover grew impatient, and went down into the cellar to see

what they could all be doing. He found them all three sitting on

the stairs, while beside them the beer was running all over the

ground from the tap, which was wide open.

`What in the world are you all doing that you don't come

upstairs, and that you let the beer run all over the cellar?'

`Yes, I know, my boy,' said the father, `but if you marry our

daughter what shall you call your children? All the names in the

calendar are taken.'

When the young man heard this answer he replied:

`Well! good-bye, I am going away. When I shall have found

three people sillier than you I will come back and marry your


So he continued his journey, and after walking a long way he

reached an orchard. Then he saw some people knocking down

walnuts, and trying to throw them into a cart with a fork.

`What are you doing there?' he asked.

`We want to load the cart with our walnuts, but we can't

manage to do it.'

The lover advised them to get a basket and to put the walnuts

in it, so as to turn them into the cart.

`Well,' he said to himself, `I have already found someone more

foolish than those three.'

So he went on his way, and by-and-by he came to a wood.

There he saw a man who wanted to give his pig some acorns to

eat, and was trying with all his might to make him climb up the


`What are you doing, my good man?' asked he.

`I want to make my pig eat some acorns, and I can't get him

to go up the tree.'

`If you were to climb up and shake down the acorns the pig

would pick them up.'

`Oh, I never thought of that.'

`Here is the second idiot,' said the lover to himself.

Some way farther along the road he came upon a man who

had never worn any trousers, and who was trying to put on a pair.

So he had fastened them to a tree and was jumping with all his

might up in the air so that he should hit the two legs of the trousers

as he came down.

`It would be much better if you held them in your hands,' said

the young man, `and then put your legs one after the other in each


`Dear me to be sure! You are sharper than I am, for that

never occurred to me.'

And having found three people more foolish than his bride, or

her father or her mother, the lover went back to marry the young


And in course of time they had a great many children.

Story from Hainaut.

(M. Lemoine. La Tradition. No, 34,)