that there was no comb among the articles, they sent one of their number to the old woman to fetch the comb; and he came to the old woman and said to her: 'My companions tell you to give me the money.' But the old woman replied: 'I shall give nothing, except when the three of you are assembled together.' He says to her: 'But see, my companions tell you to give it to me.' And as soon as she went to the door of the baths, he went in to his companions and said to them: 'The old woman is standing outside at the door of the bath.' They call out to her: 'Old woman, give it to him.' But the old woman had brought out the money, and she gave it to him; and he took it and ran off, while his companions were expecting him to come, but he did not come. But the old dame went to them, and told them: 'As regards the money, your companion came and I gave it to him, according as you told me to give it to him.' They answer: 'We told him to bring a comb.' Whereupon she answered: 'He demanded the money of me.' Then they took hold of the old woman, and dragged her before the ruler. The ruler bids her give them their money. She says: 'I've given it to them.' They say: 'O my lord, be it understood by you that we were three companions, and we charged her thus: "Unless the three of us are assembled, don't let the money go out of your hands."' The ruler tells her: 'Give them their money;' and the old woman left, distressed and sorrowful. Now while she was crying, a boy aged five years met her, and said to her: 'Why, old lady, are you weeping?' She answered him: 'Leave me to my trouble.' But the boy did not leave her, until she disclosed it to him. He says to her: 'If I help you out, you'll give me a zuz that I may buy nuts for it?' She replies: 'If you help me out, I'll give it you.' He says to her: 'You go back to the ruler and say to him: "My lord, you must understand, that the three of them gave me the money, and commanded me not to give up the money, unless the three of them were met together.
Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/153
the Seven Wise Masters.