Once upon a time, an old man lived with his wife in a small village. They could have been very happy together if the woman wasn’t so talkative. She would tell everything that happened at home and everything her husband told her to the whole village. And these stories were repeated so often and changed so much that the man often got into trouble because of it.
One day, he drove to the forest to take a walk. Suddenly, his foot sank into loose soil. “What could this be?” the man wondered. He began to dig and found a small pot full of gold and silver. “Oh, what luck!” thought the man. “But how can I hide this discovery from my wife? If she finds out, she will tell the whole world, and then I will be in trouble again.”
The old man sat down and came up with a plan. He covered the pot with soil and twigs and drove to the town, where he bought a live pike and a live hare at the market. Then he drove back to the forest and hung the pike in the top of a tree. He put the hare in a fishing net and tied the net to the edge of a stream.
After that, he happily drove home. “Wife!” he called out. “You cannot imagine what luck has come our way!”
“What, dear husband? Tell me quickly!” said the woman.
“No,” said the man. “You would immediately run off to tell everyone.”
“No, no, I won’t,” the woman assured him.
“Okay, then,” said the man, and he whispered in her ear, “I found a pot full of gold and silver in the forest!”
“But why didn’t you bring it home?” asked the woman.
“Because we will go there together and carry it carefully between us,” the man replied.
So the man and his wife drove to the forest. As they drove, the man said, “You hear the craziest stories these days. They say that times are changing and that fish will live in the trees and that some wild animals can only survive in the water.” “What nonsense,” said the woman, “those who say that are crazy!”
“Yes, I think it’s nonsense too. But don’t I see a pike there, up in that treetop?” The man pointed to the top of the tree. A pike hung from the top branch. “Good heavens,” exclaimed the woman, “you’re right. It’s a pike! How is that possible?!” The man shook his head and shrugged, pretending he couldn’t believe his own eyes. “What are you staring at, fool!” shouted his wife. “Climb up the tree quickly and catch the pike. Then we’ll cook it for dinner.”
The man climbed the tree, brought the pike down, and then they continued driving. When they arrived at the stream, the man stopped and said, “I thought I saw something moving there by the stream. I put out my fishing net, and I think I caught something!” So he got out of his cart, and when he got to the stream, he pulled out the fishing net with the live hare in it. “Look what I caught! I think it’s a hare!”
“Heavens!” exclaimed the woman again. “It really is a hare! I think people are right. Times are certainly changing. Look at the hare you pulled out of the water!” The man shrugged his shoulders again and shook his head, pretending he couldn’t believe his own eyes. “Well, what are you standing around for?” the woman shouted. “We’re taking the hare with us, because I know how to make the most delicious dishes with a hare.”
The man took the hare and brought it into the cart, and they drove on to the place where the pot of gold and silver was buried. They dug up the pot and drove it home. Now the old couple had enough money to live comfortably. But the woman was very foolish. Every day, she invited people over and treated them to the best food. The whole village enjoyed it, until the old man became very impatient and shouted to his wife: “Will you please stop giving away all our money to everyone? We’ll run out of it very quickly that way!”
“You don’t have to lecture me,” the woman shouted back at her husband. “We found the treasure together, and we’ll spend it together.” Then the man said, “You can do whatever you want, but from now on, you won’t get a cent more!” The woman became very angry and said, “Oh, and you think you can keep all that money for yourself? Just wait and see what I’ll do!”
She went to the mayor and said to him, “Your Honor, I have come to complain about my husband. Since he found a pot of gold and silver, he has become a terrible husband! He eats and drinks all day, and keeps all the money for himself.” The mayor felt sorry for the woman and went to the couple’s house. He asked the old man for the pot of gold and silver. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said the old man, “I don’t have a pot of gold and silver. My wife is just a bit delusional.”
“Oh, you don’t know anything about it?” said the mayor. “Hand over the pot of gold now and don’t lie, or you will be accused of withholding a large sum of money without notifying the mayor.” “I’m sorry, Your Honor,” said the old man, “but I think my wife just dreamed it up and is talking nonsense to you.”
“Nonsense?” the woman shouted. “A pot full of gold and silver, and you call it nonsense?” “You’re not right in the head,” said the old man. “Your Honor, I’m very sorry. Ask her how all of this came about, and if she can convince you that she’s telling the truth, then I’ll pay with my life.”
“This is how it all happened, Your Honor,” the woman told him. “We were driving through the forest and then we saw a pike hanging in a treetop…” “A pike in a tree?” the mayor asked, raising his voice. “Are you kidding me now?”
“Absolutely not!” exclaimed the woman. “I’m telling you nothing but the truth!”
“Well, you see,” said the old man. “She’s not trustworthy. She’s just a chatterbox!”
“Chatterbox?” the woman shouted. “Did you forget that you caught a hare from the stream too?” The old man started laughing, and the mayor smiled and stroked his beard. “Come on, woman,” said the old man, “can’t you see that everyone thinks you’re crazy! And, Your Honor, do you see what I mean? My wife is not right in the head.”
“Well, indeed,” agreed the mayor. “It’s certainly the first time I’ve heard of hares swimming and fish flying.”
The mayor didn’t want to pursue the matter further and drove back to the city. The old woman was laughed at by the whole village, and she would keep her mouth shut forever. The man used some of the gold and silver to buy goods for trading and moved to the city where he opened a shop, living comfortably and contentedly for the rest of his life.