Gateway to the Classics: Firelight Stories by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
 
Firelight Stories by  Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

Munacher and Manacher

O NCE upon a time, long, long ago, there lived a Munacher and a Manacher. And they went out together to gather blackberries. But as many blackberries as Munacher would pick and lay in a pile on the ground Manacher, who was very greedy, would eat, so Munacher said he must go look for a Reed; a Reed to make a Basket, a Basket to hold his blackberries, which Manacher was eating, every one.

So Munacher went along until he came to a Reed growing beside the brook.

"What news to-day?" asked the Reed.

"It is my own news I'm seeking," said Munacher; "going looking for a Reed, a Reed to make a Basket, a Basket to hold my blackberries, which Manacher is eating, every one."

"You will not get me," said the Reed, "until you get an Axe to cut me down."

So Munacher went along until he came to an Axe, leaning against the trunk of a tree.

"What news to-day?" asked the Axe.

"It is my own news I'm seeking," said Munacher; "going looking for an Axe, an Axe to cut a Reed, a Reed to make a Basket, a Basket to hold my blackberries, which Manacher is eating, every one."

"You will not get me," said the Axe, "until you fetch a Whetstone to edge me."

So Munacher went along until he came to a Whetstone in a smithy shop.

"What news to-day?" asked the Whetstone.

"It is my own news I'm seeking," said Munacher; "going looking for a Whetstone, a Whetstone to grind an Axe, an Axe to cut a Reed, a Reed to make a Basket, a Basket to hold my blackberries, which Manacher is eating, every one."

"You will not get me," said the Whetstone, "until you bring some Water to wet me."

So Munacher went along until he came to a Stream, singing and flowing over the pebbles.

"What news to-day?" asked the Stream.

"It is my own news I'm seeking," said Munacher; "going looking for some Water, Water to wet a Whetstone, a Whetstone to grind an Axe, an Axe to cut a Reed, a Reed to make a Basket, a Basket to hold my blackberries, which Manacher is eating, every one."

"You will not get me," said the Stream, "until you bring a Hound to drink me."

So Munacher went along until he came to a Hound, baying in his kennel.

"What news to-day?" asked the Hound.

"It is my own news I'm seeking," said Munacher; "going looking for a Hound, a Hound to drink the Water, Water to wet a Whetstone, Whetstone to grind an Axe, Axe to cut a Reed, Reed to make a Basket, a Basket to hold my blackberries, which Manacher is eating, every one."

"You will not get me," said the Hound, "until you fetch a bit of Butter to put in my paw."

So Munacher went along until he came to a butter tub standing in a dairy.

"What news to-day?" asked the butter tub.

"It is my own news I'm seeking," said Munacher; "going looking for a bit of Butter, Butter to put in the Hound's paw, a Hound to drink the Water, Water to wet the Whetstone, Whetstone to grind an Axe, Axe to cut a Reed, a Reed to make a Basket, a Basket to hold my blackberries, which Manacher is eating, every one."

"You will not get me," said the Butter, "until you bring a Cat to scrape me."

So Munacher went along until he came to a Cat.

"What news to-day?" asked the Cat.

"It is my own news I'm seeking," said Munacher; "going looking for a Cat, a Cat to scrape the Butter, Butter to put in the Hound's paw, Hound to drink the Water, Water to wet a Whetstone, Whetstone to grind an Axe, Axe to cut a Reed, a Reed to make a Basket, a Basket to hold my blackberries, which Manacher is eating, every one."

"You will not get me," said the Cat, "until you feed me Milk from a sieve."

So off ran Munacher with a sieve to the cow. But as fast as he milked her, so fast did the milk run through the sieve. Munacher sat down in the barn door, for he could not tell what to do. But just then a crow flew over his head, crying as it flew, "Daub it with clay, daub it with clay."

Then Munacher jumped up and he daubed the sieve all over with clay.

Then he filled the sieve full of milk for the Cat, who drank it all, and then scraped the Butter.

Munacher put the Butter in the Hound's paw, and the Hound drank the Water. Then the Water wet the Whetstone, the Whetstone ground the Axe, the Axe cut the Reed, and Munacher made a little reed basket. Then Munacher took his basket home, but what do you think? Greedy Manacher had tried to eat all the blackberries, and he had burst.


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