The Crimson Fairy Book HTML version
The Rogue And The Herdsman
In a tiny cottage near the king's palace there once lived an old man, his wife, and his son,
a very lazy fellow, who would never do a stroke of work. He could not be got even to
look after their one cow, but left her to look after herself, while he lay on a bank and went
to sleep in the sun. For a long time his father bore with him, hoping that as he grew older
he might gain more sense; but at last the old man's patience was worn out, and he told his
son that he should not stay at house in idleness, and must go out into the world to seek his
The young man saw that there was no help for it, and he set out with a wallet full of food
over his shoulder. At length he came to a large house, at the door of which he knocked.
'What do you want?' asked the old man who opened it. And the youth told him how his
father had turned him out of his house because he was so lazy and stupid, and he needed
shelter for the night.
'That you shall have,' replied the man; 'but to-morrow I shall give you some work to do,
for you must know that I am the chief herdsman of the king.'
The youth made no answer to this. He felt, if he was to be made to work after all, that he
might as well have stayed where he was. But as he did not see any other way of getting a
bed, he went slowly in.
The herdsman's two daughters and their mother were sitting at supper, and invited him to
join them. Nothing more was said about work, and when the meal was over they all went
In the morning, when the young man was dressed, the herdsman called to him and said:
'Now listen, and I will tell you what you have to do.'
'What is it?' asked the youth, sulkily.
'Nothing less than to look after two hundred pigs,' was the reply.
'Oh, I am used to that,' answered the youth.
'Yes; but this time you will have to do it properly,' said the herdsman; and he took the
youth to the place where the pigs were feeding, and told him to drive them to the woods
on the side of the mountain. This the young man did, but as soon as they reached the
outskirts of the mountain they grew quite wild, and would have run away altogether, had
they not luckily gone towards a narrow ravine, from which the youth easily drove them
home to his father's cottage.