John Robert Badak Der Lesser's
Visited Indonesia

Axe Porridge. (a russian fairy tale)

An old soldier was once on his way home for his leave,he was tired ‘n hungry. He reached a village ‘n he rapped at the first hut.
“Let a traveller in for the night,”he said. The door was opened by an old woman. “Come in soldier,”she offered. “Have you a bite of food for a hungry man, good dame?”the soldier asked.
Now the old woman had plenty of everything,but she was stingy ‘n pretended to be very poor. “Ah,me,I’ve had nothing to eat myself today,dear heart,there is nothing in the house,”she wailed. “Well, if you’ve nothing, you’ve nothing,”the soldier said.
Then,noticing an axe without a handle under the bench: “If there’s nothing else,we could make porridge out of that axe.” The old woman raised both hands in astonishment. “Axe porridge? Who ever heard the like!”
“I’ll show you how to make it.Just give me a pot.” The old woman brought a pot,’n the soldier washed the axe, put it in the pot,’n filling the pot with water,placed it on the fire.
The old woman stared at the soldier,never taking her eyes off him.
The soldier got out a spoon ‘n stirred the water ‘n then tasted it.
“It will soon be ready,”he said. “A pity there’s no salt.” “Oh,I have salt.Here,take some.”
The soldier put some salt in the pot ‘n then tried the water again.
“If we could just add a handful of groats to it,”he said. The old woman brought a small bag of groats from the pantry.
“Here,add as much as you need,”she said. The soldier went on with his cooking,stirring the meal from time to time ‘n tasting it. ‘n the old woman watched,’n could not tear her eyes away.
“Oh,how tasty this porridge is!”the soldier said,trying a spoonful. “With a bite of butter there would be nothing more delicious.”
The old woman found some butter too,’n they buttered the porridge.
“Now get a spoon, good dame,’n let us eat!”the soldier said.
They began eating the porridge ‘n praising it.
“I never thought axe porridge could taste so good!”the old woman marvelled.
‘n the soldier ate, ‘n laughed up his sleeve.


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