The Three Peasants

Kriloff’s Original Fables
Three Peasants in a village once did stop to sleep.
To ” Peter ” J here they often loads did bring
;
After a day’s work they would take their swing,
And then for home the shortest path would keep.
But, as a peasant likes not to his bed
Fasting to go, our guests for supper asked. In villages a host is net severely tasked : A bowl of cabbage soup with bread,
Some warmed-up porridge added, was their fare. Not as in ” Peter “—but, that’s off our track ; Better than hunger through the night to bear. Our Peasants cross themselves with pious care, And the soup bowl attack. One of them, who was giv’n to calculation,
Doubting for three the size of this their ration,
Thought of a way his share to double
(When force can’t help, a trick oft saves us trouble).
” You know, my boys,” says he, ” our good friend Will,
As a recruit I fear he’ll serve but ill.” —” How a recruit ? “—” Just so : there’ll soon be war
with China
;
Tribute we claim from her, in tea we fine her
;
And Will is of the age, although a minor.”
The other two began to argue and dispute
(For they, to their misfortune, both were ‘cute,
Could read and write, and oft perused a paper,
All its advertisements to talk of later). How the war’d go, and who’d get high command.
Our ‘cute lads got into a warm debate,
No end to guessing, settling all off-hand ; Just what our trickster wanted. Well to sup,

While thus they reasoned and arranged,
Their troop’s positions changed, rechanged,
Without a word, he ate the soup and porridge up.
There’s many a one, no matter what the theme,.
talk of anything that comes to hand
;
He’ll hold you forth on India, all doth seem
There clear to him, as any other land : Though all the while, under his eyes around,
His village fast is burning to the ground.