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Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

Mr. and Mrs. Vinegar

O NCE upon a time Mr. and Mrs. Vinegar lived in a fine, large bottle. But one day Mrs. Vinegar swept her house so hard with her little broom that the bottle broke to bits.

"Oh, Mr. Vinegar, Mr. Vinegar!" cried Mrs. Vinegar, "our house is broken to bits. What shall we do?"

"We will find a new house, my dear," said Mr. Vinegar. So he put the door, which was not broken, on his back, and they started off to find a new house.

They traveled all day, but they found no new house, so at night they climbed up in a tree to sleep until morning. They had just gone to sleep when some one at the foot of the tree called out so loudly that they both awoke at once.

"Robbers, my dear," cried Mr. Vinegar. "I will climb down the tree and frighten them away."

So Mr. Vinegar climbed down the tree and frightened away the robbers. And as the robbers ran, they dropped a gold piece.

"I will buy a house with this gold piece," said Mr. Vinegar, picking it up, "and surprise Mrs. Vinegar."

So Mr. Vinegar, who was a foolish little man, traveled all the rest of the night to find a house that he could buy for one gold piece, and there was none.

When it came morning he met a farmer driving a red cow. Mr. Vinegar forgot all about the house, and he bought the red cow from the farmer for the gold piece.

"She will give us milk for the rest of our days," thought Mr. Vinegar, as he drove the red cow merrily along.

But soon he heard some music in the road ahead of him. It was a man playing the bagpipes. Mr. Vinegar's feet began to dance, and he hurried up to the man.

"Will you sell your bagpipes for this red cow, sir?" asked Mr. Vinegar.

"That I will," said the man, and he took the red cow.

But after Mr. Vinegar had bought the bagpipes he could not play them. He sat down by the roadside, and he blew and he blew, but he made no music. Then along came a man wearing some fine fur gloves.

"Will you give me those gloves for my bagpipes, sir?" he asked the man.

"That I will," said the man, and he took the bagpipes, and Mr. Vinegar took the gloves.

But the gloves were too small for Mr. Vinegar. As he tried to put them on he heard a parrot up in a tree calling to him:—

"Mr. Vinegar, Mr. Vinegar, gave his gold piece for a cow, gave his cow for a set of bagpipes, gave his bagpipes for a pair of little gloves. Ha, ha, ha."

That made Mr. Vinegar very cross. He threw his new gloves at the parrot, and they went so far up in the tree that he could not get them. Then Mr. Vinegar had nothing at all.

So Mr. Vinegar went home to Mrs. Vinegar, and he told her that he had been very foolish. And he found Mrs. Vinegar in a new house, busily sweeping as if nothing had happened. So it was all right, after all.