North wind likes a bit of fun as dearly as a boy does, and it is with
boys he likes best to play.
One day, North Wind saw a brave little fellow eating his lunch under a
tree. Just as he went to bite his bread, North Wind blew it out of his
hand and swept away everything else that he had brought for his lunch.
"You hateful North Wind!" cried the little fellow. "Give me back my
supper, I'm so hungry."
Now North Wind, like all brave beings, is noble, and so he tried to
make up for the mischief he had done.
"Here, take this tablecloth," said North Wind, "and in whatever house
you stay, spread it on the table; then wish, and you shall have
everything you wish for to eat."
"Thank you!" said the boy, and he took the tablecloth and ran as fast
as he could to the first house, which proved to be an inn.
"I have enough to pay for lodging, so I'll stay all night," he said to
"Bring me a table," he ordered the innkeeper, as he went to his room.
"Ha! ha!" laughed the innkeeper. "You mean bring me a supper."
"No, I don't. I want only a table and that right quick. I'm hungry."
The innkeeper brought the table, but after the door was shut he
watched through the keyhole to see what would happen.
"Beans, bread and bacon," ordered the boy, as he spread out his
tablecloth. On came beans, bread and bacon through the open window,
whirled in by North Wind. Smoking hot they all were, too, for the
dishes were tightly covered. After supper was over, the boy fell sound
North Wind did not waken him as the innkeeper took the table and the
tablecloth and carried them downstairs. Next morning the boy was
hungry again, but there was no tablecloth and so no breakfast.
"You are a cheat, North Wind; you have taken back your tablecloth."
"No," said North Wind, "that is not the sort of thing I do." But the
boy did not get his tablecloth.
After a time North Wind met him again out under the trees.
"This time I will give you a sheep," he said. "Each time that you rub
his wool, out will drop a gold-piece. Take care of him."
The boy ran back and found the sheep at the door of the stable, behind
the inn. He caught the sheep by a strap which was round its neck, and
led it slowly up the stairs of the inn, to the room from which the
tablecloth had disappeared the night before.
As the boy was hungry for his breakfast, he obeyed North Wind's
command and patted the sheep upon its back. A gold-piece fell out of
its fleece upon the floor.
"Good old North Wind!" said the boy. "Here's my breakfast and some hay
for my sheep. Come breakfast, come hay," and through the open window
came first a bundle of hay, and then a fine breakfast for the hungry
boy. After breakfast, the boy paid for a week's lodging with the
He slept soundly that night with his sheep for a pillow, and the next
night also, but the third morning, when the boy awoke, his head lay
upon the floor and the sheep was gone.
Perhaps too many gold-pieces had been seen in the boy's hand, for he
had patted his sheep very often.
He blamed North Wind again. "You have taken back your sheep. I don't
like you. You are as cold-hearted as you can be."
But North Wind said nothing. He put a queer stick into a bag and gave
it to the boy and told him to go back and lock his door as tightly as
"Talk to the bag," he said, "and guard it as carefully as if there
were a jewel in it."
That night the boy was wakened out of his soundest sleep by screams
for help in his room. There was the innkeeper running about, and that
queer stick was pounding him, first on the head, then on the feet,
then on his back, then in his face.
"Help! help!" he cried.
"Give me back my sheep," said the boy.
"Get it, it is hidden in the barn," said the innkeeper.
The boy went out and found his sheep in the barn and drove it away as
fast as he could, but he forgot about the innkeeper, and maybe that
stick is pounding him to this day.