Friday night folktale: Idle hands doing the Devil's work

Here is a moral tale that applies to all work, not just farming:

A young and inexperienced farmer was out in the hayfield, cutting the grass with his scythe. The weather was hot and the farmer liked to take it easy, and was in fact very lazy by nature.

Suddenly a man came walking up to him and said to him: “Rest awhile, resting is good.” He then left.

No-one knows what the man looked like or how the farmer liked the look of him, but he took the advice he had been given and took it easy for the rest of the summer, with the result that when autumn came around he only had one haystack with which to feed his sheep and cows over the winter.

Then and only then he realised that he had not acted very sensibly during the summer and blamed everything on the stranger.

One day the stranger came back and grinningly said to him: “Lazy man, little crop,” and then disappeared.

This was really no consolation to the lazy farmer, who had become convinced that he had taken advice from none other than the Devil.

Copyright notice: The wording used to tell this folk-tale is under copyright. The story itself is not copyrighted. If you want to re-tell it, for a collection of folk-tales, incorporate it into fiction, use it in a school essay or any kind of publication, please tell it in your own words or give the proper attribution if you choose to use the wording unchanged.


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