Source: The Folk-tales Of The Magyars
A shepherd saved the life of the daughter of the king of snakes, the
princess narrowly escaping being burnt to death. To show him her
gratitude she taught him the language of animals, and he was able to
understand them. One day his donkey said something that made him smile;
whereupon his wife commenced to tease him, and wanted to know the joke,
but the shepherd was unable to gratify her wish, as his betraying the
secret would have immediately been followed by the penalty of sudden
death. However the wife would not give in and leave him in peace, but
continued to torment her husband with so many questions that he at last
determined to die rather than to bear his wife's ill-temper any longer.
With this view he had his coffin made and brought to his house; he laid
down in the coffin quite prepared for death and ready to divulge the
secret. His faithful dog sat mournfully by his side watching, while the
cock belonging to the house merrily hopped about in the room. The dog
remonstrated with the cock and said that this was not the time for
merriment, seeing how near their master was to death. But the cock
replied quite curtly, "It's master's own fault! why is he such a great
fool and coward? Look at me! I have fifty wives, and they all do as I
tell them to do! If I can get on with so many, surely he ought to be
able to manage one!" Hearing this the shepherd jumped out of the coffin,
seized a wet rope-end and gave the woman a sound thrashing.
Peace was restored, and they lived happily together ever after.
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