The Wife Who Could Not Keep a Secret

and other folktales of Aarne-Thompson type 1381
translated and/or edited by

D. L. Ashliman

© 1999-2014


  1. How a Fish Swam in the Air and a Hare in the Water (Ukraine).

  2. The Found Money (Netherlands).

  3. The Treasure (Denmark).

  4. The Iron Chest (Germany).

  5. How a Woman Could Not Keep a Secret (India).

  6. The Wife Who Could Not Keep a Secret (India).

  7. Link to Of Women, Who Not Only Betray Secrets, but Lie Fearfully, a folktale of type 1381D from the Gesta Romanorum.

Return to D. L. Ashliman's folktexts, a library of folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and mythology.

How a Fish Swam in the Air and a Hare in the Water


Once upon a time an old man and his wife lived together in a little village. They might have been happy if only the old woman had had the sense to hold her tongue at proper times. But anything which might happen indoors, or any bit of news which her husband might bring in when he had been anywhere, had to be told at once to the whole village, and these tales were repeated and altered until it often happened that much mischief was made, and the old man's back paid for it.

One day, he drove to the forest. When he reached the edge of it he got out of his cart and walked beside it. Suddenly he stepped on such a soft spot that his foot sank in the earth.

"What can this be?" thought he. "I'll dig a bit and see."

So he dug and dug, and at last he came on a little pot full of gold and silver.

"Oh, what luck! Now, if only I knew how I could take this treasure home with me -- but I can never hope to hide it from my wife, and once she knows of it she'll tell all the world, and then I shall get into trouble."

He sat down and thought over the matter a long time, and at last he made a plan. He covered up the pot again with earth and twigs, and drove on into the town, where he bought a live pike and a live hare in the market. Then he drove back to the forest and hung the pike up at the very top of a tree, and tied up the hare in a fishing net and fastened it on the edge of a little stream, not troubling himself to think how unpleasant such a wet spot was likely to be to the hare. Then he got into his cart and trotted merrily home.

"Wife!" cried he, the moment he got indoors. "You can't think what a piece of good luck has come our way."

"What, what, dear husband? Do tell me all about it at once."

"No, no, you'll just go on and tell everyone."

"No, indeed! How can you think such things! For shame! If you like I will swear never to -- "

"Oh, well! If you are really in earnest then, listen."

And he whispered in her ear, "I've found a pot full of gold and silver in the forest! Hush! -- "

"And why didn't you bring it back?"

"Because we'll drive there together and bring it carefully back between us."

So the man and his wife drove to the forest. As they were driving along the man said, "What strange things one hears, wife! I was told only the other day that fish will now live and thrive in the tree tops and that some wild animals spend their time in the water. Well, well! Times are certainly changed."

"Why, you must be crazy, husband! Dear, dear, what nonsense people do talk sometimes."

"Nonsense, indeed! Why, just look. Bless my soul, if there isn't a fish, a real pike I do believe, up in that tree."

"Gracious!" cried his wife. "How did a pike get there? It is a pike -- you needn't attempt to say it's not. Can people have said true -- "

But the man only shook his head and shrugged his shoulders and opened his mouth and gaped as if he really could not believe his own eyes.

"What are you standing staring at there, stupid?" said his wife. "Climb up the tree quick and catch the pike, and we'll cook it for dinner."

The man climbed up the tree and brought down the pike, and they drove on. When they got near the stream he drew up.

"What are you staring at again?" asked his wife impatiently. "Drive on, can't you?"

"Why, I seem to see something moving in that net I set. I must just go and see what it is."

He ran to it, and when he had looked in it he called to his wife, "Just look! Here is actually a four-footed creature caught in the net. I do believe it's a hare."

"Good heavens!" cried his wife. "How did the hare get into your net? It is a hare, so you needn't say it isn't. After all, people must have said the truth -- "

But her husband only shook his head and shrugged his shoulders as if he could not believe his own eyes.

"Now what are you standing there for, stupid?" cried his wife. "Take up the hare. A nice fat hare is a dinner for a feast day."

The old man caught up the hare, and they drove on to the place where the treasure was buried. They swept the twigs away, dug up the earth, took out the pot, and drove home again with it. And now the old couple had plenty of money and were cheery and comfortable. But the wife was very foolish. Every day she asked a lot of people to dinner and feasted them, until her husband grew quite impatient. He tried to reason with her, but she would not listen.

"You've got no right to lecture me!" said she. "We found the treasure together, and together we will spend it."

Her husband took patience, but at length he said to her, "You may do as you please, but I shan't give you another penny."

The old woman was very angry. "Oh, what a good-for-nothing fellow to want to spend all the money himself! But just wait a bit and see what I shall do."

Off she went to the governor to complain of her husband.

"Oh, my lord, protect me from my husband! Ever since he found the treasure there is no bearing him. He only eats and drinks, and won't work, and he keeps all the money to himself."

The governor took pity on the woman, and ordered his chief secretary to look into the matter. The secretary called the elders of the village together, and went with them to the man's house.

"The governor," said he, "desires you to give all that treasure you found into my care."

The man shrugged his shoulders and said, "What treasure? I know nothing about a treasure."

"How? You know nothing? Why your wife has complained of you. Don't attempt to tell lies. If you don't hand over all the money at once you will be tried for daring to raise treasure without giving due notice to the governor about it."

"Pardon me, your excellency, but what sort of treasure was it supposed to have been? My wife must have dreamt of it, and you gentlemen have listened to her nonsense."

"Nonsense, indeed," broke in his wife. "A kettle full of gold and silver, do you call that nonsense?"

"You are not in your right mind, dear wife. Sir, I beg your pardon. Ask her how it all happened, and if she convinces you I'll pay for it with my life."

"This is how it all happened, Mr. Secretary," cried the wife. "We were driving through the forest, and we saw a pike up in the top of a tree -- "

"What, a pike?" shouted the secretary. "Do you think you may joke with me, pray?"

"Indeed, I'm not joking, Mr. Secretary! I'm speaking the bare truth."

"Now you see, gentlemen," said her husband, "how far you can trust her, when she chatters like this."

"Chatter, indeed? I! Perhaps you have forgotten, too, how we found a live hare in the river?"

Everyone roared with laughter; even the secretary smiled and stroked his beard, and the man said, "Come, come, wife, everyone is laughing at you. You see for yourself, gentlemen, how far you can believe her."

"Yes, indeed," said the village elders, "it is certainly the first time we have heard that hares thrive in the water or fish among the tree tops."

The secretary could make nothing of it all, and drove back to the town. The old woman was so laughed at that she had to hold her tongue and obey her husband ever after, and the man bought wares with part of the treasure and moved into the town, where he opened a shop, and prospered, and spent the rest of his days in peace.

The Found Money


In a small village near Kampen there lived a man and a woman with a few children. They eked out a living by fishing, weaving, and poaching.

One evening the man was looking after his salmon weirs [enclosures built in a stream for catching fish] and fox traps when he found a large bag of money on the road. Instead of looking after his traps and weirs, he returned home, wanting for once to give his Grete a pleasant surprise.

But when he was almost home he reconsidered and said to himself, "If I tell my wife about this, tomorrow the entire world will know. So he went back and placed the bag of money behind a thick tree and looked into his fox traps and weirs. A fox was sitting in one of them, and a salmon in the other. He killed them both, then put the fox into the weir and the salmon into the trap. Then he went back to his Grete, who was busy weaving.

"Oh, Grete!" he called out, "Do come with me. It is so dark that I lost my way."

Grete did not think long about it and went with Peter. Their path led them past the courthouse, where a light was still burning late, because people were inside cleaning.

"Good gracious, Peter!" said Grete. "There is still a light on in the courthouse, and so late in the evening."

"Yes," said Peter, "Tonight the gendarme is settling his account with the devil."

"No! Peter! Is that true?"

"Of course," said Peter. "Didn't you know that the gendarme settles his account with the devil once each year?"

"No, I really did not know that," said Grete.

Finally they came to the weir, where they found a fox, and a fat salmon was caught in the fox trap. Then they turned toward home, but on the way Peter said, "Grete, it is raining hard. Let's get under that tree a little while." And the moment they sat down Grete found the large bag of money.

"Peter," said Grete, "we had better go home as fast as possible, so no one will notice, and we can't tell anyone about it either."

"No, not on our lives," said Peter.

But it wasn't long before Grete just had to tell her neighbor Trinchen. She, for sure, would not tell a single soul. But Trinchen told Mariechen, and Mariechen told Hannchen, and then the entire village knew about it. It wasn't long before Peter and Grete were summoned to the courthouse to turn in the money.

"We did not find any money," said Peter.

"But," said the mayor, "your wife says that you did."

"Yes, Lord Mayor," said Peter, "My wife does talk a lot, but she is not all there upstairs."

"Is a monkey delousing me? Are you trying to have me declared insane?" cried Grete. "I know exactly when it was. It was the night when the gendarme was settling his account with the devil and when we caught a fox in the weir and a salmon in the fox trap."

"So, Lord Mayor, what do you say to that?" said Peter.

"I hear you," said the mayor. "Just go back home."

The Treasure


There was once a poor peasant who tilled a small field that belonged to a rich landowner. One day while he was plowing, his plow struck something so violently that it could not be moved. At first the man thought that it was a stone, but when he looked more carefully he found that it was a large chest full of old coins. It was gold and silver money that had probably been hidden there many hundred years ago in war times.

The peasant filled a bag with the money and dragged it home, for he thought that he had as good a right to keep the money as anyone else. The original owner had, of course, died many generations ago. In spite of that, he feared that the landowner would claim and seize the money when he learned that it had been found in his field. So the peasant said nothing to anybody except his wife about the find, and he begged her to keep silent about it.

But she could not keep the secret, and had to tell some of her friends about the good fortune. To be sure she asked each one separately not to tell anybody; but as they could not keep the secret either, at last the news of the discovery of the treasure came to the ears of the landowner.

Soon after that he rode out to the peasant's cottage, which lay far out on a lonely heath. There was, however, nobody at home except the woman, for her husband had just gone to town to get some money changed. So when the landowner asked the woman about the matter, she told him all that she knew -- that her husband had found a chest full of money out in the field, and that he was not at home now, and that she did not know where he had put the money. The owner then said that he would return another time, and make further inquiry about the money.

When the peasant came home, his wife told him all that had happened; nevertheless, he did not reproach her. The next day he took his horses and wagon and asked his wife to accompany him to the town. There he exchanged all his old money for new coins, and invested the proceeds carefully and to good advantage. Then be bought a bushel of little rolls, which he put into a large bag. The man and his wife ate and drank to their hearts content, and towards evening they started on their homeward journey.

It was late in the autumn, and it was raining and blowing hard as they drove home in the dark. But the wine she had drunk had gone to the head of the wife, and she slept soundly on the back seat. After they had gone for some distance, she was awakened by a roll that fell on her head, and immediately after that another one fell into her lap; and as soon as she fell asleep, rolls again began to rain down upon her. These her husband was throwing into the air so that they should fall upon her.

"But what is happening?" the woman called to her husband, "it seems to me that it is raining rolls."

"Yes," said her husband, "that is just what it is doing; we are having terrible weather."

As they were passing the landowner's house, the woman was awakened by the braying of a donkey.

"What was that?" she exclaimed, feeling very uneasy.

"Well, I hardly like to say," replied her husband, "but if I must tell the truth, it was the devil who once loaned our landlord some money, and is now tormenting him because he will not pay the interest; he is thrashing him with a horsewhip."

"Hurry up," said the woman, "and get away from here as fast as you can." So the man whipped up his horses, and at last they reached home safe and sound.

But when they were home the husband said, "Listen, wife, I heard some bad news when we were in town. The enemy is in our land and this night he will be in our neighborhood. So you must crawl into the potato cellar in order to be out of danger, while I shall stay up stairs and protect our property as well as I can."

So the peasant's wife went down into the cellar, while her husband took his gun and went outside, and shot and cried out and made a great noise. This he kept up all night, and towards morning he told his wife that she could come up. "Fortunately," he said, "I was able to hold my own. I shot down many of the enemy, who at last were compelled to retire, taking with them their dead and wounded."

"Thank God," she said, "that everything has turned out well; I was frightened nearly to death."

A few days after that the landowner rode out and found the peasant standing before his cottage. "Where is the treasure that you found in my field?" he asked him. The man answered that he did not know anything about a treasure.

"Oh, nonsense," said the landowner, "it will not do you any good to deny it, for your wife told me all about it herself."

"That is quite possible," said the man, "for my wife is sometimes a little queer, and one can not always believe all that she says." And he touched his forehead as he spoke.

Then the landowner called the woman and asked whether it were not true that she had confessed to him that her husband had found a chest full of money in the field.

"Certainly," she said, "and I was with him in town when he exchanged the old money for new coins."

"When was that?" asked the landlord.

"Why that was the time we had the frightful storm when it rained bread rolls."

"Nonsense," said he; "when was that?"

"It was on the day of the great battle that was fought on our field, after the enemy had invaded our country."

"What battle, and what enemy?" said the landlord, "I think that the woman is crazy. But tell me at once, when was it that you were in town to exchange the money?"

Then the woman wept, and much as she disliked to do so, she had to say it, "It was the same evening that the devil was tormenting you and beating you because you would not pay him what you owed him."

"What are you saying?" screamed the landowner, in a rage; "I'll thrash you for your lying nonsense." And with that he gave her a blow with his whip and dashed out of the door and rode away, and never again asked about the treasure. The peasant, however, bought a large farm in another part of the country and lived there happily with his wife.

The Iron Chest


 Once upon a time there was a poor peasant. One morning before sunrise he rode into the forest to cut wood. There, under an oak tree, he met a very old woman. She was standing before a large iron chest, and she said to him, "You can redeem me and make yourself lucky! This iron chest is filled to the top with hard thalers. Take it home with you, but tell no one a solitary word about it, or it will bring you misfortune."

The man was delighted to hear these words, and the old woman was also so friendly as to take hold of the chest and help him load it onto his wagon. He thanked her kindly and rode back home.

"Mother," he said as the wagon pulled up to the door, "I'm not supposed to tell anyone, but you are my dear wife, so the promise doesn't apply to you."

"That's right, father," said the peasant's wife with curiosity. "I'll be as silent as the grave. What is it then? Why are you coming home so early from the woods?"

"That's exactly what it is!" answered the peasant. "I found a large chest full of money under an oak tree. We shall never want again. But be sure to hold your tongue. Now go and fix us something good to eat. I've had no meat for a week now."

With that they lifted the chest from the wagon and carried it into the cellar. Then the peasant's wife took a thaler out of the iron chest, bought some meat, and roasted it on the hearth. What joy! However, her neighbor had hardly smelled the delicious odor when she hurried by, sniffed, and said, "Good day, kinswoman, what are you cooking?"

"Oh, neighbor," replied the woman, "I can't tell anyone, but of course you can keep a secret. When my husband was driving into the forest to cut wood, he found a large iron chest full of money beneath an oak tree."

"That is wonderful," said the kinswoman. "You told the right person, for I won't repeat it to a soul!" Then she ran back to her house.

Not long afterward her brother's wife came to visit her from the neighboring farm. "Sister-in-law, do you know what has happened?" she asked her. "But you must be able to hold your tongue!"

"Oh, as though I were a blabbermouth!"

"I know, and that's why I said that. Our neighbor from over there, the little peasant, while he was cutting wood in the forest he found a large chest of gold under an oak tree."

The sister-in-law did indeed hold her tongue and carried the story to the sexton's wife, and before the sun went down it had found its way to the magistrate. He summoned the peasant before him and said, "I know it all! You stole a chest of money, and it is in your cellar. Turn over the money!"

"No, my lord," answered the peasant. "That is not true. I am as poor as a church mouse and am an honest fellow. I've stolen nothing."

"That will be determined, old friend," replied the magistrate. "Your wife herself said so."

"Oh, my lord, my wife is crazy."

"Go now! The court meets in two weeks. At that time we will see if your wife is crazy."

The peasant did not feel well as he left the magistrate's estate, and he thought of the words the old woman had spoken to him under the oak tree. But he did not loose courage. He hurried home, took a handful of thalers out of the chest, hitched up his wagon, and drove into town. There he bought all the bread rolls that the bakers had in stock, so that he had a good dozen bushels of them to load into his wagon. He drove back home with them and scattered the rolls all about the yard, while his wife was in the kitchen cooking something good. He threw a few pecks of them onto the roof and laid a few of them just outside the gate as well.

Then he ran into the kitchen shouting, "Woman, you are just like all the others! No sooner do we get a little money in our pockets than you let the housekeeping float off into the blue! The good Lord let it rain bread rolls outside, and you won't even bend over to pick them up!"

"Man, are you stupid?" replied the peasant's wife. "It rained rolls?"

"It certainly did. Go see for yourself," the man replied.

So the peasant woman looked out the window, and when she saw the many thousands of rolls in the yard she was overjoyed. She ran outside and for the next few hours gathered them, filling three large meat tubs.

The next day the peasant said, "Listen, woman, when I was recently in town I learned that our king by mistake has recruited new soldiers with long pointed iron beaks. They especially pick at womenfolk with them, sticking them to death. They are supposed to be coming through our village today. I will tip the washtub over you, and they won't find you. They won't find me either. I'll hide in the attic."

Filled with fear, the peasant's wife sat down, and the peasant tipped the washtub over her. Then he went into the chicken coop, caught all the chickens and carried them into the house, then scattered barley all around the washtub and on top of it. Then peck, peck, peck, the chickens ate up all the barley until not a kernel was to be found. Then they all ran back into the yard. Then the peasant picked up the tub and said to his wife, "Mother, they have left the village!"

"Oh, father, I was so afraid," said the peasant's wife. "Oh, how they were knocking: peck, peck, peck! with their long iron beaks! But I didn't make a sound, and they didn't find me."

"Thank God, they didn't find me either!" said the peasant, and that was that.

When the two weeks had passed, the peasant and his wife were summoned to court. The peasant denied everything, but when the judges turned sternly to his wife, she swore by everything good and true that she had told her neighbor the truth.

"Don't believe the woman, my lords," cried the peasant. "She is not all there upstairs! -- And, mother, what else happened when I brought home the chest?"

"Don't you remember, father? It was the day before the good Lord let it rain bread rolls!"

The judges shook their heads, and the peasant said, "Am I not right? She is crazy!"

"I am supposed to be crazy?" continued the woman eagerly. "Don't you remember, father? It was two days before our king's new soldiers with the long pointed iron beaks came through the village and to our farm, and peck, peck, peck, knocked on the washtub that you had tipped over on top of me!"

"Peasant, you are right!" said the judges. Your wife is not all there. Go home with her and take care that she doesn't cause any harm."

Thus peasant was out of trouble, and he went back to his village with his wife. There he let her taste his buckthorn stick, and it was so good for her that she never gossiped again. Little by little they used the money in the iron chest to buy one piece of land after the other next to their farm, and finally became very wealthy. And if they didn't die, they are still alive.

How a Woman Could Not Keep a Secret


Once upon a time there was a certain weaver who became so indigent and poor that he went to a grain seller and borrowed forty rupees. "If I do not return within a year," said he, "take my house and all it contains. They are yours."

So the weaver wandered off over the hills, and in a lonely place he saw a light, and going to it, he found there a man sitting on the ground. He sat by his side, but the man spoke never a word. At last the weaver said, "Why, man, can't you speak? Say something, at least. Do you not see I am a stranger?"

"My fee," answered the man, "is twenty rupees. Hand me twenty rupees, and I will speak."

The weaver counted out twenty rupees and gave them to him, eagerly waiting to see the result. But all the man said was, "Friend, when four men give you advice, take it."

Said the weaver to himself, "I have only twenty rupees left, and if I venture on another question I shall lose that, too!" But a weaver's curiosity is very great, so he counted out his balance, handed it to the man, and said, "Speak again."

Then the man spoke a second time, and what he said was this, "Whatever happens to you -- even if you rob, steal, or murder -- never breathe a word of it to your wife."

Soon after, the weaver took up his wallet and trudged along until he came to another desolate place, and there he saw four men sitting on the ground round a corpse.

"Whither away?" said they.

"I am going to that village across the river," answered he.

"Do an act of charity," said they. "We were carrying this body to the river. Take it up, as you are going that way, and throw it in for us."

Immediately they laid the corpse on his bare back and started him off. But as he went along he felt the most horrid pricking across his loins. "In the name of God," he cried, "what is this corpse doing? Are these knives or needles?"

He could not stop to lay the corpse down, because it was a fat corpse, and he would never have been able to get it up again. So he went on groaning to the river, dropped it on the bank, and began to examine it. What was his surprise to find fastened round the waist of the corpse numbers of little bags filled with diamonds! He at once pounced on them, threw the corpse into the river, and started for home.

Arriving in all safety, he paid off the grain seller, presenting him as well with five gold mohurs [coins], bought a handsome mare and a nice saddle, hired servants and took to fine clothes, and lived on roast fowl and rice pudding every day.

In the same village the lumbardâr [headman] was a man well-to-do in the world, and he, noticing the style in which his humble friend lived, sent his wife to gossip with the weaver's wife.

"Not long ago," she began, "I used to give you cotton to spin for me, and now what a lady you are! However, I am now your friend. Your husband I see has bought a mare and a handsome saddle, and he has a servant to follow him. Where did he get all the money? You might tell me."

"Indeed I don't know," answered the woman.

That night the wretched weaver had no rest. "Tell me," said his wife, again and again, "where you went to, and how you got all that money."

"No, no," answered he, "I can't tell you. The best thing you can do is not to tease me, as once you know the secret, it will be told everywhere, for women are like sieves."

The next morning he went out half dead with worry, and when he returned for his food, he found his wife still asleep, and nothing ready. "Get up, wife," cried he. "Get up, I want my breakfast."

"Why should I get up?" said she. "What kind of husband are you, and what kind of wife do you take me for? You treat me like a child, and tell me nothing."

"Best for you not to know," replied he.

"Yes, but tell me," said she. "Not a word shall pass my lips."

"Well," said he, "I was told on my travels that if I drank half a pint of mustard oil in the morning, when I got up, I should see treasure everywhere."

In the course of the day in came her friend, and the woman laughs and says, "Oh, I have found out everything! I have found out everything!"

"What is it? Quick, tell me!" said the lumbardâr's wife.

"My husband said," answered she, "that when he drinks half a pint of mustard oil he sees all the treasures buried by the old kings, so I advise you to give your husband and your six children half a pint each, and drink some yourself, and you will see treasure too."

The woman at once ran home, bought some mustard oil, and at night persuades her whole family to drink it, though she took none herself. In the morning she rushes into their rooms and cries, "Get up! Get up, and look for treasure!"

But, alack! She finds them all lying dead and stiff.

Now, when the king heard of this, he called for her, and all she could say was, "The weaver's wife deceived me, and told me to do it."

But the weaver's wife denied it, saying, "I never told her. I expect she is carrying on with some low fellow, and, not to be interfered with, she got rid of her husband and children."

So the lumbardâr's wife was hanged, and so ends the story, all the trouble having been caused by a woman who could not keep a secret.

The Wife Who Could Not Keep a Secret


Once there was a man of the Goala caste [a caste of cattle herders], who looked after the cattle of a rich farmer. One day a cow dropped a calf in the jungle without the Goala knowing, and at evening the cow came running to join the others, without the calf. When they got home the cow kept on lowing, and the master asked whether she had had a calf. The Goala had to confess that the calf had been left in the jungle. The master scolded him well, so he took a rope and stick and went out into the night.

But when he got to the jungle he could not hear the calf, so he decided to wait where he was till the morning. He was too frightened of wild animals to stay on the ground, so he climbed a tree, leaving the stick and rope at the foot of it. Soon a tiger smelt him out and came to the place. Then the stick and the rope took council together as to how they could save their master. The stick saw that it could not see in the dark and so was powerless. So the rope agreed to fight first, and it whirled itself round in the air with a whistling noise, and the tiger, hearing the noise and seeing no one, got frightened, and thought that there was an evil spirit there. So it did not dare to come very near, and in the morning it took itself off.

Then the Goala saw the cow come to look for her calf, so he took up the stick and rope and followed her. The cow soon found her calf and asked it whether it had not been very cold and uncomfortable all night. But the calf said, "No, mother, I put my foot in these four pots of rupees, and they kept me warm."

The Goala heard this and resolved to see if it were true. So he dug up the earth where the calf had been lying and soon uncovered the rims of four pots full of money. But the Goala did not dare to take the money home for fear his wife should talk about it. He resolved to see first whether his wife could keep a secret.

So he went home and told her to cook him some food quickly. She asked why, and he said, "The raja has a tortoise inside him, and I am going to look at him."

Then his wife said that she must fetch some water, and she went off with the water pot. On the way she met several women of the village, who asked her why she was fetching water so early, and she said, "Because the raja has a tortoise inside him, and my husband is going off to see it."

In less than an hour the village was full of the news, and the rumor spread until it reached the ears of the raja. The raja was very angry and said that he would kill the man who started the report, unless he could prove it to be true. So he sent messengers throughout the country to trace back the rumor to its source.

One messenger found out that it was the Goala who had started the story and told him that the raja wanted to give him a present. So he gladly put on his best clothes and went off to the raja's palace. But the raja had him bound with ropes, and then questioned him as to why he had told a false story. The Goala admitted that his story was false, but explained that he had only told it to his wife, in order to see whether she could keep a secret, because he had found four pots of money.

The raja asked where the money was, and the Goala said that he would show it, but he wanted to know first how much of it he was to have for himself. The raja promised him half, so the Goala led men to the place, and they dug up the money, and the Goala kept half and became a rich man.


However friendly you are with a man, do not tell him what is in your heart, and never tell your wife the real truth, for one day she will lose her temper and let the matter out.

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Revised November 8, 2014.