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48
PORTUGUESE FAIRY TALES.

astonishment and stupefaction of the merchant when, on turning round, he found he was leading a man instead of his donkey. "Dear master," said the witty student in an affectionate tone, "I can never thank you sufficiently for having so often beaten me with your cudgel, as by that means you have gradually dispelled the enchantment that has held me bound so many years under the shape of a donkey."

When the bewildered merchant heard these words he took his hat off to the student, and said very humbly, "I have lost in you, sir, as a donkey, my only means of support; but as it cannot be helped I must have patience, and Providence will no doubt help me some other way. Being what you are, no longer a donkey but a man, I beg a thousand pardons and trust you will forgive me my treatment of you. But when you consider what a stubborn, slow, and stupid beast you were, what else could you expect? Sometimes you nearly drove me mad by your waywardness and tricks, and then, hardly knowing what I was doing, I have taken up my cudgel and beaten you. But then you must remember how often I rewarded you with a handful of hay, or a piece of bread, when you behaved well and worked hard."

"My good man, rest assured that I forgive you all the hard treatment I ever received from you," replied the student, "and the only favour I ask of you now