THE FARMER AND THE DOMOVIDGE

A SANTHARIAN FAIRY-TALE

 
Master Tribell's Miraculous Narrations   
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Introduction. "The Farmer and the Domovidge" is a tale about a man, who is renown for his miserliness. He is mainly busy counting his money, ordering his farm-hands around, having no time whatsoever to find a wife, a companion to share and enjoy his wealthy life with. But all his riches hasven't made him happy. But one day very strange things start to occur at the farm: The routinely counting of the money shows an alarming, ever-growing decrease, and suddenly everything starts to change...

 

here was once a farmer in the region of Marcogg, who was called Adrian. This farmer was not only a very rich man, but also a miser, as many men of fortune unfortunately are. He was so miserly, that when beggars came to his door, he’d let loose the dogs, just to be sure of not having to give a san to them. He even thought it just their due. He had worked hard for his riches, so they should try working hard too, for a change, instead of bothering honest people. Even decent travellers only looking for a place to sleep, he harshly sent away. He didn’t trust a single man but himself.

This Adrian lived in a big farm. He was not yet so miserly that he’d live in some small hut so that he wouldn’t have to spend money. The big farm was surrounded by extensive lands. At the age of twenty, he had inherited a small patch of land, and by hard work and lots of saving (undoubtedly the source of his miserliness), he had been able to buy more and more. He had taken a few farmhands, because he could not do everything on his own anymore. He didn’t pay them very much, as he was convinced that they’d only squander the money on beer and women. He also wasn’t a very kind master. Still, they stayed with him because they found work here, at least.
 

Because of this hard work he had not married, as he never felt he had time for such a thing as marriage. Now, at forty, everything within half a stral around his farm was his. However, all these riches and lands had not given him happiness. He sat in his farm, in one room, every evening all evening long, staring into the fire, and at the weekends as well, no matter if outside the sun was shining or the rain was pouring. Quite possibly, he wouldn’t have been so lonely had he taken a wife. It can’t be said that he wasn’t interested in the other gender. He came in contact with them at times, when he was doing business. However, when the woman started showing interest in him, he suspected it was only because of his money. But it never came to an actual relationship, and his evenings were lonely as a result. After a while, he even started mistrusting every woman that he met.

As it happened, there was another inhabitant in his house, one that he knew nothing about. This other person was a girl domovidge, by the name of Oonia. As Adrian was a sceptical man, he didn’t believe in fairies, or indeed domovidgies. Any noise that she made, he blamed on mice.

In fact, when he was a kid, he had played with her. But his father, and even his friends from neighbouring farms, told him that his stories couldn’t be true, that he were making them up, and after a while he started believing them, and stopped believing in his domovidge. Oonia had stopped showing herself to him, but she kept living in his house and watching him, as these rare house-dwellers are wont to do.

Oonia now was a very nice Domovidge, with a big heart and a friendly nature. She wanted everyone to be happy, and so she was sad to see that 'her’ Adrian wasn’t. She was also very sad every time he let the dogs loose on a person, because then that other person wasn’t happy either. One day, after watching Adrian sitting at the fire gloomily, she decided to do something about it.

What she did was the following: every evening she took away one of Adrian’s coins. Sometimes it was but a san, sometimes a silverbard. At first, he didn’t really notice it. He only counted his coins once every week, and she had started just after one of these counts. The first time he counted after she started, he didn’t even notice it, because she had only removed a few sans now. He was just a little suspicious, but not entirely sure if he hadn’t counted the same amount the previous time.

The second time, however, his suspicions were seriously roused. Oonia had in the previous week removed two silverbards, and he was quite certain that the week before he had had a two hundred sans more than now. He searched all over the house, to be sure that he hadn’t left them somewhere accidentally, but couldn’t find the lost money. For a week he fretted over it. When the counting day came again, he discovered that again, he had lost some silverbards. Again, he searched the whole house, even more thoroughly than the first time. Somehow, he knew that there was no use, but he didn’t know what else to do.

This went on week after week. In the end he started counting every day, and even stayed in the room with his gold whole days and whole nights, hoping to see what was happening to his money. Nothing he did helped. Every human being must sleep, and Oonia saw when he dozed off so that she could steal again. Slowly but surely, his fortune was disappearing, one coin at a day. He couldn’t suspect visitors, as he never had any, and thieves would never take so small amounts in one time - they’d grab the whole fortune, or at least a very large part of it!

The logical result was, that he started to suspect his farmhands. They were the only ones regularly on his farm, so he thought that they had to be the cause of his troubles. He began treating them even worse than he had been used to. At times, he’d suspect a particular farmhand, and so he fired him. Others left on their own accord, because they felt they had never deserved such a treatment. One after the other went away, until he had no hands left. He had a row with the very last of them, accusing him of everything. Tom (which was the farmhand’s name) decided this was the last straw, and also packed his bags. And still Adrian’s money was disappearing.

This went on for a very long time. In the end, he only had a few sans left. He had to sell his lands, for two reasons. He didn’t have enough money to keep them, and he didn’t have the farmhands anymore to work them. It almost made him suspect it were ghosts taking his money, but he never suspected the domovidge, because he didn’t believe in her anymore. In the end, he was reduced to the same lands that he had started with when his father had died, and was in danger of having to sell those, and his nice big farm too.

Now, Oonia stopped taking his money. She left him just enough to survive, and now he really knew what it was like to be poor. It made him rather better disposed towards poor people than he had been ever before in his life. Now that he was poor himself, he was inclined to share what little he had. If he was going to lose everything, he might as well lose it by giving it to other people.

The very next time a beggar passed his door, he invited him in and shared a meal with him. As chance would have it, this beggar was the very same Tom that had left the farmer. After he had gone, Tom had fallen on some bad fortune and hadn’t found a new job, reducing him to a vagabond who had to rely on other people’s charity. He now had a beard, and his clothes were little better than rags. He looked quite different from the time that he had gone away.
 
Of course he knew what Adrian was like, but he had little choice when he knocked on his door. Evening was coming and this was the only farm within a stral, as he knew all too well. So he thought he’d try his luck, even though he was fairly sure of the dogs. It can be imagined how great his surprise was, when Adrian, who didn’t recognize him, invited him inside instead. He even apologized that the meal was so meagre, as he didn’t have enough money to buy sumptuous dishes. Still, during this meal, he felt something that he hadn’t felt in many years – the last time he had felt this, he had been a child. Somehow, he felt happy.

From this day on, he was nice to everyone who came by, glad to have company. The dogs were only set loose to chase rabbits, not humans anymore. Oonia started to give back all his money, in small amounts, so that he did have enough to be generous, but not enough to become miserly again.

During this period, Adrian came to realise that there must be something like a domovidge in his house. At first he refused to believe it, because he still had some of his old ways, and he had long been used to regard it as something he had made up himself. But was there another way to explain it? First his whole fortune disappears without a trace, and then later it turns up in the most unexpected places (and places where he had looked for them before, too). He caught himself even talking to her, thinking himself almost crazy, but not quite.

When she saw that he almost believed in her again, she started leaving him written messages. Now, there was no mistaking it anymore. Only something as small as a domovidge could possibly write so small a message. As soon as he really believed in her again, Oonia showed herself to him. She did make him promise that he wouldn’t tell another person about her, because they’d think he was mad.

When they were alone, however, she regularly showed herself, and they talked a lot. When they were not together, he’d leave her small presents every now and then around the house – a nice sweet, a beautiful rock, anything that she might appreciate. True to his promise, he never told a single person about her.

Now that he was richer again, he didn’t return to his miserly ways. Any traveller was welcome in his house, whether from lowly birth or high ranking. People even started to visit just for fun, something they’d never have thought of doing before. When asked what had effected this amazing change, Adrian would just smile mysteriously and pour some more wine. There were no more long evenings of staring into the fire. Instead, the fire crackled happily as a merry party sat around it. And from on top of a wardrobe, a small figure watched sleepily, a happy smile playing around her lips.
 


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