THE SAUCY BOY
ONCE upon a time there was an old poet, one of those right
good old poets.
One evening, as he was sitting at home, there was a
terrible storm going on outside; the rain was pouring down,
but the old poet sat comfortably in his chimney-corner, where
the fire was burning and the apples were roasting.
'There will not be a dry thread left on the poor people
who are out in this weather,' he said.
'Oh, open the door! I am so cold and wet through,' called
a little child outside. It was crying and knocking at the
door, whilst the rain was pouring down and the wind was
rattling all the windows.
'Poor creature!' said the poet, and got up and opened the
door. Before him stood a little boy; he was naked, and the
water flowed from his long fair locks. He was shivering with
cold; if he had not been let in, he would certainly have
perished in the storm.
'Poor little thing!' said the poet, and took him by the
hand. 'Come to me; I will soon warm you. You shall have some
wine and an apple, for you are such a pretty boy.'
And he was, too. His eyes sparkled like two bright stars,
and although the water flowed down from his fair locks, they
still curled quite beautifully.
He looked like a little angel, but was pale with cold, and
trembling all over. In his hand he held a splendid bow, but it
had been entirely spoilt by the rain, and the colours of the
pretty arrows had run into one another by getting wet.
The old man sat down by the fire, and taking the little
boy on his knee, wrung the water out of his locks and warmed
his hands in his own.
He then made him some hot spiced wine, which quickly
revived him; so that with reddening cheeks, he sprang upon the
floor and danced around the old man.
'You are a merry boy,' said the latter. 'What is your
'My name is Cupid,' he answered. 'Don't you know me? There
lies my bow. I shoot with that, you know. Look, the weather is
getting fine again- the moon is shining.'
'But your bow is spoilt,' said the old poet.
'That would be unfortunate,' said the little boy, taking
it up and looking at it. 'Oh, it's quite dry and isn't damaged
at all. The string is quite tight; I'll try it.' So, drawing
it back, he took an arrow, aimed, and shot the good old poet
right in the heart. 'Do you see now that my bow was not
spoilt?' he said, and, loudly laughing, ran away. What a
naughty boy to shoot the old poet like that, who had taken him
into his warm room, had been so good to him, and had given him
the nicest wine and the best apple!
The good old man lay upon the floor crying; he was really
shot in the heart. 'Oh!' he cried, 'what a naughty boy this
Cupid is! I shall tell all the good children about this, so
that they take care never to play with him, lest he hurt
And all good children, both girls and boys, whom he told
about this, were on their guard against wicked Cupid; but he
deceives them all the same, for he is very deep. When the
students come out of class, he walks beside them with a book
under his arm, and wearing a black coat. They cannot recognize
him. And then, if they take him by the arm, believing him to
be a student too, he sticks an arrow into their chest. And
when the girls go to church to be confirmed, he is amongst
them too. In fact, he is always after people. He sits in the
large chandelier in the theatre and blazes away, so that
people think it is a lamp; but they soon find out their
mistake. He walks about in the castle garden and on the
promenades. Yes, once he shot your father and your mother in
the heart too. Just ask them, and you will hear what they say.
Oh! he is a bad boy, this Cupid, and you must never have
anything to do with him, for he is after every one. Just
think, he even shot an arrow at old grandmother; but that was
a long time ago. The wound has long been healed, but such
things are never forgotten.
Now you know what a bad boy this wicked Cupid is.