The Three Sillies – Pre-Intermediate Level

Once upon a time, when people were not so wise as they are nowadays, there was a farmer and his wife who had a pretty daughter. The son of a rich neighbor liked their daughter very much.

Every evening the rich young man came to see the daughter and ate dinner at the farmhouse. And every evening the daughter would go down into the cellar to get some wine to drink with dinner.

One evening when she went to get the wine, she happened to look up as she turned the tap of the wine barrel. She saw a wooden hammer that someone had left sitting on top of one of the thick pieces of wood that held up the ceiling. It must have been there a long, long time, but somehow or other she had never noticed it before.

She began thinking, “It’s very dangerous to have that hammer there. What if the rich young man and I are married, and we have a son. And he grows up to be a fine young man and comes down into the cellar to get some wine, just as I am doing now. And the hammer falls on his head and kills him? Oh, how terrible that would be!” Then she sat down and started to cry. And she cried and cried and cried.

Upstairs, they began to wonder what was taking the daughter so long. Her mother went down to see after her, and she found her daughter crying ever so hard, with wine running all over the floor.

“Why, whatever is the matter?” said her mother.

“Oh, Mother!” she said. “Look at that horrible hammer! What if the rich young man and I are married, and we have a son. And he grows up to be a fine young man and comes down into the cellar to get some wine, just as I am doing now. And the hammer falls on his head and kills him? What a terrible thing that would be!”

“Dear, dear! That would be awful!” said the mother, and she sat down by her daughter and started crying too.

Then after a time the father began to wonder why they hadn’t come back. So he went down into the cellar to check. There they sat, side by side, crying hard, with wine running all over the floor.

“What’s the matter?” he asked.

“What you may ask!” said the mother. “Look at that horrible hammer. What if our daughter and the rich young man were to be married and have a son. And he grows up to be a fine young man and comes down into the cellar to get some wine, just as our daughter is doing now. And the hammer falls on his head and kills him? What a terrible thing that would be!”

“Dear, dear, dear! That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard!” said the father. He then sat down beside his wife and daughter and started crying as well.

The rich young man got tired of waiting by himself. So at last he went down into the cellar, too, to see what had happened. There the family were, sitting together crying, with wine running all over the floor.

“Whatever are you three doing,” he said as he ran over and turned off the tap. “Why are on Earth are you sitting here crying like babies and letting good wine run over the floor?”

“Oh!” said the father. “Look at that horrible hammer! What if you and our daughter were to be married and have a son. And he grows up to be a fine young man and comes down into the cellar to get some wine, just as our daughter is doing now. And the hammer falls on his head and kills him? What a terrible thing that would be!”

And then they all started crying more than before. But the rich young man began to laugh loudly, and reached up and pulled down the hammer. “I’ve traveled many miles,” he said, “and I’ve never met three such silly people before. I shall start out on my travels again, and if I can find three people sillier than you, I’ll come back and marry your daughter.”

He said goodbye and set off. Now they were crying because the rich young man had gone away, and felt really silly!

The rich young man traveled a long way. At last he came to a small farm house that had some grass growing on the roof. A woman was trying to get her cow to go up a ladder to eat the grass, but the poor thing wouldn’t go. He asked the woman what she was doing.

“Why, look at it,” she said, “look at all that beautiful grass. I’m going to get the cow onto the roof to eat it. The cow will be quite safe, for I shall tie a rope around its neck and pass it down the chimney. Then I’ll tie the rope to my waist as I go about the house, so the cow can’t fall off without my knowing it.”

“Oh, you silly thing!” said the rich young man. “You should cut the grass and throw it down to the cow!” But the woman thought it was easier to get the cow up the ladder than to get the grass down. So she pushed and pushed the cow and said many kind words, and finally got it up on the roof. Then she tied a rope around the cow’s neck, passed it down the chimney, and tied it to her waist.

The rich young man went on his way, but he hadn’t gone far when the cow fell off the roof. It hung by the rope tied around its neck and died. And as the other end of the rope was tied to the woman’s waist, she was pulled up the chimney. She was stuck fast halfway up for more than two days before a neighbor found her!

That was one person sillier than the silly family at home.

The rich young man went on until he came to a hotel to spend the night. The hotel was so full that he had to share a room with another traveler. The other man was a very pleasant person. But in the morning, the rich young man was woken up by a strange noise. The other man had hung his trousers on the back of a chair and was running across the room and trying to jump into them. He tried over and over again and couldn’t manage it. The rich young man wondered what he was doing.

At last the man stopped and wiped his face with his towel. “Oh dear,” he said, “I do think trousers are the most difficult type of clothes to put on that ever were. I can’t think who could have come up with the idea for such things. It takes me almost an hour to get into mine every morning, and I get so hot! How do you manage yours?”

The rich young man laughed loudly, and showed him how to put the trousers on.

That was another person sillier than the silly family at home.

Then the rich young man went on his way again. He came to a village. Outside the village there was a pond, and around the pond were many people. They had farm tools and long pieces of wood, and were reaching into the pond. He asked what was the matter.

“Oh, it’s so terrible!” they said. “The moon has fallen into the pond, and we can’t get it out!”

The rich young man laughed loudly again and told them to look up into the sky, because it was only the moon’s reflection in the water. But they wouldn’t listen to him!

The rich young man had found there were a whole lot of people in the world sillier than the silly family at home. He laughed loudly to himself, and turned back and married the farmer’s daughter. I hear she’s still silly, but the rich young man laughs loudly and loves her anyway!