The Violet Fairy Book
Two In A Sack
What a life that poor man led with his wife, to be sure! Not a day passed without her
scolding him and calling him names, and indeed sometimes she would take the broom
from behind the stove and beat him with it. He had no peace or comfort at all, and really
hardly knew how to bear it.
One day, when his wife had been particularly unkind and had beaten him black and blue,
he strolled slowly into the fields, and as he could not endure to be idle he spread out his
What kind of bird do you think he caught in his net? He caught a crane, and the crane
said, 'Let me go free, and I'll show myself grateful.'
The man answered, 'No, my dear fellow. I shall take you home, and then perhaps my wife
won't scold me so much.'
Said the crane: 'You had better come with me to my house,' and so they went to the
When they got there, what do you think the crane took from the wall? He took down a
sack, and he said:
'Two out of a sack!'
Instantly two pretty lads sprang out of the sack. They brought in oak tables, which they
spread with silken covers, and placed all sorts of delicious dishes and refreshing drinks
on them. The man had never seen anything so beautiful in his life, and he was delighted.
Then the crane said to him, 'Now take this sack to your wife.'
The man thanked him warmly, took the sack, and set out.
His home was a good long way off, and as it was growing dark, and he was feeling tired,
he stopped to rest at his cousin's house by the way.
The cousin had three daughters, who laid out a tempting supper, but the man would eat
nothing, and said to his cousin, 'Your supper is bad.'
'Oh, make the best of it,' said she, but the man only said: 'Clear away!' and taking out his
sack he cried, as the crane had taught him:
'Two out of the sack!'
And out came the two pretty boys, who quickly brought in the oak tables, spread the
silken covers, and laid out all sorts of delicious dishes and refreshing drinks.
Never in their lives had the cousin and her daughters seen such a supper, and they were
delighted and astonished at it. But the cousin quietly made up her mind to steal the sack,
so she called to her daughters: 'Go quickly and heat the bathroom: I am sure our dear
guest would like to have a bath before he goes to bed.'