The Violet Fairy Book HTML version
The Story Of A Gazelle
Once upon a time there lived a man who wasted all his money, and grew so poor that his
only food was a few grains of corn, which he scratched like a fowl from out of a dust-
One day he was scratching as usual among a dust-heap in the street, hoping to find
something for breakfast, when his eye fell upon a small silver coin, called an eighth,
which he greedily snatched up. 'Now I can have a proper meal,' he thought, and after
drinking some water at a well he lay down and slept so long that it was sunrise before he
woke again. Then he jumped up and returned to the dust-heap. 'For who knows,' he said
to himself, 'whether I may not have some good luck again.'
As he was walking down the road, he saw a man coming towards him, carrying a cage
made of twigs. 'Hi! you fellow!' called he, 'what have you got inside there?'
'Gazelles,' replied the man.
'Bring them here, for I should like to see them.'
As he spoke, some men who were standing by began to laugh, saying to the man with the
cage: 'You had better take care how you bargain with him, for he has nothing at all except
what he picks up from a dust-heap, and if he can't feed himself, will he be able to feed a
But the man with the cage made answer: 'Since I started from my home in the country,
fifty people at the least have called me to show them my gazelles, and was there one
among them who cared to buy? It is the custom for a trader in merchandise to be
summoned hither and thither, and who knows where one may find a buyer?' And he took
up his cage and went towards the scratcher of dust-heaps, and the men went with him.
'What do you ask for your gazelles?' said the beggar. 'Will you let me have one for an
And the man with the cage took out a gazelle, and held it out, saying, 'Take this one,
And the beggar took it and carried it to the dust-heap, where he scratched carefully till he
found a few grains of corn, which he divided with his gazelle. This he did night and
morning, till five days went by.
Then, as he slept, the gazelle woke him, saying, 'Master.'
And the man answered, 'How is it that I see a wonder?'
'What wonder?' asked the gazelle.
'Why, that you, a gazelle, should be able to speak, for, from the beginning, my father and
mother and all the people that are in the world have never told me of a talking gazelle.'