Then the woman whispered to her husband to run and pump some more gold while she kept the crowd quiet, and he obeyed quickly. But after a few moments he returned with a white face to tell her the pump was dry, and not a gold piece could now be coaxed from the spout.
The procession marched back to the village laughing and jeering at the farmer and his wife, who had pretended to be so rich; and some of the boys were naughty enough to throw stones at the house from the top of the hill. Mr. Guggins carried away his dress after severely scolding the woman for deceiving him, and when the couple at last found themselves alone their pride had turned to humiliation and their joy to bitter grief.
Just before sundown the woman dried her eyes and, having resumed her ordinary attire, went to the brook for water. When she came to the flat stone she saw the King Beetle sitting upon it.
"The well is dry!" she cried out, angrily.
"Yes," answered the beetle, calmly, "you have pumped from it all the gold my people could find."
"But we are now ruined," said the woman, sitting down in the path beginning to weep; "for robbers have stolen from us every penny we possessed."
"I'm sorry," returned the beetle; "but it is your own fault. Had you not made so great a show of your wealth no one would have suspected you possessed a treasure, or thought to rob you. As it is, you have merely lost the gold which others have lost before you. It will probably be lost many times more before the world comes to an end."
"But what are we to do now?" she asked.
"What did you do before I gave you the money?"
"We worked from morning 'til night," said she.
"Then work still remains for you," remarked the beetle, composedly; "no one will ever try to rob you of that, you may be sure!" And he slid from the stone and disappeared for the last time.
* * * * *
This story should teach us to accept good fortune with humble hearts and to use it with moderation. For, had the farmer and his wife resisted the temptation to display their wealth ostentatiously, they might have retained it to this very day.
THE DUMMY THAT LIVED
In all Fairyland there is no more mischievous a person than Tanko-Mankie the Yellow Ryl. He flew through the city one afternoon--quite invisible to moral eyes, but seeing everything himself--and noticed a figure of a wax lady standing behind the big plate glass window of Mr. Floman's department store.
The wax lady was beautifully dressed, and extended in her stiff left hand was a card bearing the words:
"RARE BARGIN! This Stylish Costume (Imported from Paris) Former Price, $20, REDUCED TO ONLY $19.98."
This impressive announcement had drawn before the window a crowd of women shoppers, who stood looking at the wax lady with critical eyes.
Tanko-Mankie laughed to himself the low, gurgling little laugh that always means mischief. Then he flew close to the wax figure and breathed twice upon its forehead.
From that instant the dummy began to live, but so dazed and astonished was she at the unexpected sensation that she continued to stand stupidly staring at the women outside and holding out the placard as before.
The ryl laughed again and flew away. Anyone but Tanko-Mankie would have remained to help the wax lady out of the troubles that were sure to overtake her; but this naughty elf thought it rare fun to turn the inexperienced lady loose in a cold and heartless world and leave her to shift for herself.
Fortunately it was almost six o'clock when the dummy first realized that she was alive, and before she had collected her new thoughts and decided what to do a man came around and drew down all the window shades, shutting off the view from the curious shoppers.
Then the clerks and cashiers and floorwalkers and cash girls went home and the store was closed for the night, although the sweepers and scrubbers remained to clean the floors for the following day.
The window inhabited by the wax lady was boxed in, like a little room, one small door being left at the side for the window-trimmer to creep in and out of.