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The Cow And The Calf
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The Devil's Share








By The Marquis De Rothelin.

_Of one of his marshals who married the sweetest and most lovable woman
there was in all Germany. Whether what I tell you is true--for I do
not swear to it that I may not be considered a liar--you will see more
plainly below._


Whilst we are waiting tor some one to come forward and tell us a good
story, I will relate a little one which will not detain you long, but is
quite true, and happened lately.

I had a marshal, who had served me long and faithfully, and who
determined to get a wife, and was married to the most ill-tempered woman
in all the country; and when he found that neither by good means or bad
could he cure her of her evil temper, he left her, and would not live
with her, but avoided her as he would a tempest, for if he knew she was
in any place he would go in the contrary direction. When she saw that
he avoided her, and that he gave her no opportunity of displaying her
temper, she went in search of him, and followed him, crying God knows
what, whilst he held his tongue and pursued his road, and this only
made her worse and she bestowed more curses and maledictions on her poor
husband than a devil would on a damned soul.

One day she, finding that her husband did not reply a word to anything
she said, followed him through the street, crying as loud as she could
before all the people;

"Come here, traitor! speak to me. I belong to you. I belong to you!"

And my marshal replied each time; "I give my share to the devil! I give
my share to the devil."

Thus they went all through the town of Lille, she crying all the while
"I belong to you," and the other replying "I give my share to the
devil."

Soon afterwards, so God willed, this good woman died, and my marshal was
asked if he were much grieved at the loss of his wife, and he replied
that never had such a piece of luck occurred to him, and if God had
promised him anything he might wish, he would have wished for his wife's
death; "for she," he said, "was so wicked and malicious that if I knew
she were in paradise I would not go there, for there could be no peace
in any place where she was. But I am sure that she is in hell, for never
did any created thing more resemble a devil than she did." Then they
said to him;

"Really you ought to marry again. You should look out for some good,
quiet, honest woman."

"Marry?" said he. "I would rather go and hang myself on a gibbet than
again run the danger of finding such a hell as I have--thank God--now
escaped from."

Thus he lived, and still lives--but I know not what he will be.


*****





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