The Rich Goose
O NCE there was a rich goose going along with a bag of corn—more than he could eat in all his lifetime. As he walked along, so proud and happy, he met a crow.
The crow said: "Hello, Mr. Goose! You have a nice lot of corn there—too much for you to carry. Let me help you. I'll take some of your load."
"Oh, no," said the goose, dolefully; "riches are a great burden, to be sure, but still I'm not going to give you any of my bag of corn."
"Oh, well," said the crow, "I just made a friendly offer. I suppose you wouldn't mind having more corn. I can tell you a scheme to make your corn pile grow bigger and bigger every minute."
"Tell me quick!" said Mr. Goose, setting down his corn bag in the road.
"First," said the crow, "you must spread all your corn out on the ground, so we can count it."
The goose spread all his corn out, and the crow said: "Now, you count on that side, while I count on this."
So the goose began counting: "One, two, three, four,
At last the goose looked up and said: "Where's my corn, Mr. Crow?"
And Mr. Crow flew off, laughing a loud "Caw-caw-caw" as he went, while Mr. Goose picked up his corn and shouldered the bag, which was not so heavy now.
Well, Mr. Goose went on, and he met a top-knot pigeon; and the top-knot pigeon said: "Mr. Goose, you've got a big lot of corn. Let me help you carry it."
"No," said Mr. Goose, "I don't want any help."
"Well," said Mr. Pigeon, "I know a little game you can play, and make your corn into more. I will show you how to play it."
"Well," said Mr. Goose, "I ought to have a little fun as I go along."
"Spread your corn in a circle," said the pigeon. "Begin on the outside to count, and I'll go behind you and count after you."
"Why don't you let me come last?" asked Mr. Goose.
"Because that's not the game," said Mr. Pigeon.
So Mr. Goose spread out some of his corn in a circle,
and began counting: "One, two, three, four, five,
"Where's my corn?" said Mr. Goose.
"That's the game—to find out where it went," said the pigeon, flying off. And Mr. Goose tied up his bag again, and thought how light it was.
He went on and on, and he met a crane. And the crane said: "Hello, Mr. Goose! What a fine lot of corn! Let me help you carry it."
"No, thank you," said the goose, "I don't need any help."
"If you'll swim around that big rock in the pond," said Mr. Crane, "you will see pearls and diamonds and gold fishes!"
"Oh, oh!" said Mr. Goose.
So Mr. Goose swam out into the pond to see the sights, and left Mr. Crane watching his bag of corn; but he saw no sights, and when he came back his bag was very light indeed.
"Where's my corn?" said Mr. Goose, and Mr. Crane just gave a loud screech and flew off to Canada.
So Mr. Goose went on and on, and he met Mrs. Brown Leghorn, with her ten little chicks trying to keep up with her. And she said: "Don't you find your corn very heavy, Mr. Goose?"
"Oh, yes," said Mr. Goose. "No one knows the load we rich folks have to carry."
"Well, Mr. Goose," said Mrs. Brown Leghorn, "shan't I help you?"
"No, no," said Mr. Goose; "I'm used to it."
"Very well," said Mrs. Brown Leghorn; "I'll tell you what. Throw some corn out here on the ground and see what will happen."
"Your chickabiddies would eat it," said Mr. Goose.
"You must remember," said Mrs. Brown Leghorn, "That they are not common chickens—they're Brown Leghorns."
"Well," said Mr. Goose. "I will throw a little of my corn on the ground, and if those chickens don't eat it I will give you all the corn you wish for yourself."
So the goose threw down the corn, and the chickabiddies started for it, but Mrs. Brown Leghorn gave her hawk cry, and they all ran to the bushes to hide, and Mrs. Brown Leghorn ate up the corn.
"Where's my corn? Shame on you!" cried Mr. Goose, and he gathered up what was left, and went on until he met a bobtail horse.
"Let me help you carry that load for you, Mr. Goose; it is too heavy for you," said Mr. Bob Tail.
"No, no!" said Mr. Goose, and he was just hurrying on, but the horse said: "You ought to open that corn and let the air freshen it. I know the weevils are eating it up."
"The weevils! Are they?" asked Mr. Goose.
So the horse took the goose to a nice big box and poured out the corn. The goose said: "I can't find any weevils."
"Let me look," said the horse, and all the time he was looking he was munching, munching the corn.
So the goose drove Mr. Bob Tail away, and he put the little bit of corn that was left in the great big bag, and went on down the road, till he met a farmer's little boy.
And the boy said: "Mr. Goose, what is that little bit of stuff you have got in that great big bag?"
"It is all the corn I own in the world," said the goose, "and I'm afraid to eat it up, for then I shall have nothing."
"Put it in the ground," said the boy, "and it will make more corn."
"Wouldn't that be throwing it away?" said the goose, sadly.
"No," said the boy; "we farmers are always burying things in the ground, and they spring up and grow."
So the boy took a horse and ploughed and ploughed the land, and harrowed it, and laid it out in furrows, and planted the corn. When Mr. Goose saw the last of his yellow corn all covered up in the ground, he thought that he should never be happy again. But the boy said: "Cheer up, Mr. Goose! Here comes your corn."
And the corn grew and grew, until, at last, harvest time came. And for every grain the boy put into the ground there were hundreds of grains in the ears; so Mr. Goose gave half his corn to the farmer's boy, and what he had at first was nothing compared to his riches now.