A fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm
Lean Lisa was of a very different way of thinking from lazy Harry and fat Trina, who never let anything disturb their
peace. She slaved away from morning till evening, and
burdened her husband, long Laurence, with so much work that
he had heavier weights to carry than an ass with three sacks.
But it was
all to no purpose, for they had nothing and came to nothing.
One night as she lay in bed, and could hardly move one limb for
weariness, she still did not allow her thoughts to go to sleep.
She thrust her elbow into her husband's side, and said, "Listen,
Lenz, to what I have been thinking. If I were to find one florin
and one was given to me, I would borrow another to put to them,
and you too should give me another, and then as soon as I had
got the four florins together, I would buy a young cow." This
pleased the husband right well. "It is true," said he, "that I do
not know where I am to get the florin which you want as a gift
from me. But, if you can get the money together, and can buy a
cow with it, you will do well to carry out your project. I shall
be glad, he added, if the cow has a calf, and then I shall often
get a drink of milk to refresh me."
"The milk is not for you, said
the woman, "we must let the calf suck that it may become big and
fat, and we may be able to sell it well."
"Certainly," replied the
man, "but still we will take a little milk. That will do no harm."
"Who has taught you to manage cows?"
said the woman. "Whether it does harm or not, I will not allow it,
and even if you were to stand on your head for it, you should not
have a drop of the milk. Do you think, because there is no
satisfying you, long Laurence, that you are to eat up what I earn
with so much difficulty?"
"Wife, said the man, "be quiet, or I shall
give you a blow on your mouth.
"What!" cried she, "you threaten me,
you glutton, you rascal, you lazy Harry." She was just laying
hold of his hair, but long Laurence got up, seized both lean
lisa's withered arms in one hand, and with the other he pressed
down her head into the pillow, let her scold, and held her until
she fell asleep for very weariness. Whether she continued to
wrangle when she awoke next morning, or whether she went out to
look for the florin which she wanted to find, that I know not.