Lean Lisa

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Lean Lisa was not at all like Lazy Heinz and Fat Trina, who would not allow anything to disturb their rest. She burned herself out from morning until evening and loaded so much work on her husband, Lanky Lenz, that it was harder for him than for a donkey loaded with three sacks. But it was all for naught. They had nothing, and they got nothing.

One evening she was lying in bed, too tired to move a muscle but still unable to fall asleep, when she poked her husband in the side with her elbow and said, "Lenz, listen to what I just thought of. If I were to find a florin, and you were to give me another one, then I'd borrow yet another one, and you'd give me still another one, and then I would take the four florins and buy a young cow."

The man agreed. "I don't know," he said, "where I'm to get that florin I'm supposed to give you, but after you have the money to buy a cow, it will be a good thing." Then he added, "I'm looking forward to the time after the cow calves, so I can have some good refreshing milk to drink."

"The milk is not for you," said the woman. "We will let the calf suck, so it will grow large and fat, and we can sell it for a good price."

"Of course," said the man, "but it won't hurt anything if we take a little milk."

"Who taught you about cows?" said the woman. "I won't allow it, whether it will hurt anything or not. You can stand on your head, but you won't get a single drop of milk. Lanky Lenz, just because you are always hungry, you think that you can devour everything that my hard work brings in."

"Woman," said the man, "be quiet, or I'll plant one on the side of your face."

"What!" she cried. "Are you threatening me! You glutton! You good-for-nothing! You lazybones!"

She was reaching for his hair, but Lanky Lenz raised himself up, took hold of both her skinny arms with one hand, then pushed her head into the pillow with the other one. He held her there and let her scold until she fell asleep from exhaustion.

The next morning when she woke up, I do not know whether she continued to quarrel, or whether she went out to look for the florin that she wanted to find.

Related links

Revised September 16, 2001.