Books Magazine

The Three Languages

By Itellyouastory

An aged count once lived in Switzerland,  who had an only son, but hewas stupid, and could learn nothing. Then said the father: «Hark you, myson, try as I will I can get nothing into your head. You must go fromhence,  I will give you into the care of a celebrated master, who shallsee what  he can do with you.» The youth was  sent into a strange town,and remained  a whole year with the master. At the  end of this time, hecame home  again, and his father asked: «Now, my son, what have youlearnt?» «Father, I have learnt what the dogs say when they  bark.’«Lord have mercy on us!»  cried the father; «is that  all you havelearnt?

I will  send you into  another town, to another master.» Theyouth  was taken thither, and stayed a  year with this master likewise.When he  came back the father again asked:  «My son, what have youlearnt?» He  answered: «Father, I have learnt what  the birds say.» Thenthe father fell into a rage and said: «Oh, you lost  man, you have spentthe precious time  and learnt nothing; are you not  ashamed to appearbefore my eyes?  I will send you to  a third master, but if  you learnnothing this time also, I will no longer be your father.» The  youthremained a whole year with  the third master also,  and when he camehome again, and  his  father inquired:  «My  son,  what have  youlearnt?»  he answered: «Dear father,  I have this  year learnt what  thefrogs  croak.» Then the father fell  into the most furious  anger,sprang up, called  his people thither, and  said: «This  man is  nolonger  my son,  I drive  him forth, and command you  to take him  outinto the  forest, and kill  him.» They took him forth, but when theyshould have killed him, they could  not do it for pity, and let him go,and they cut the eyes and tongue out of  a deer that they might carrythem to the old man as a token.


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