We were well off. We had the best milking cow in the village. We had trees as full of fruit as hives are full of bees. The corn in our fields grew high. Still, my wife was sad. She said there was no luck in our house, no luck at all, because we had no children.
Until that moment I had been happy. But then I grew as unhappy as my wife, and the sight of my misery made her more wretched than ever.
So I went to a wise man who lived one day’s journey away from us. I found him sitting in front of his house. I fell on my knees before him, and asked him to give me children.
“Be careful what you’re asking for,” said the wise man. “Are you rich enough to feed and clothe them?”
“Just give them to me, my lord, and I will manage somehow.”
By evening I had returned to the village. I was tired and dusty and could not wait to have my supper and lie down. As I came near my house, the sound of voices struck my ear. I looked up to see the whole place full of children. Children in the garden, children in the yard, children looking out of every window. It seemed as if all the children in the world were gathered in my house! Each one smaller than the other, each one more noisy and more impudent than the rest!
I stood cold with horror as I realized they all belonged to me!
Stan Who Gets His Wish in Stan Bolovan, Violet Fairy Book. Illustration by H.J. Ford.