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The James T. Callow Folklore Archive

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SMART VINCENT

IT IS TOLD THAT THERE IN A CITY OR TOWN, THERE ALWAYS COMES
ALONG A SMART YOUNG MAN AS OFTEN AS A GOOD FARM HAND. BUT OUT IN
THE FARM VILLAGES THERE ALSO COMES ALONG A SMART BOY-WITH A ROUND
HEAD.
IN ONE PARISH THERE WAS A BOY NAMED VINCENT, (WHO) FROM BIRTH WAS
VERY SMART. HIS PARENTS WERE POOR, SO THERE WAS NO MONEY TO SEND
HIM TO SCHOOL WITH. WHEN HE TURNED TWELVE, HIS FATHER GAVE HIM TO A
RICH MAN AS HIS MESSENGER. BEING WITH THE MAN, VINCENT LEARNED HOW
TO WRITE. IN THE FARMS, THE CHILDREN OFTEN GET OUT OF HAND, BECAUSE
THERE IS NO ONE TO LOOK AFTER THEM; BUT VINCENT DIDN'T, HE WAS
FAITHFUL TO HIS MASTER AND DIDN'T OVERLOOK THE SMALLEST THING.
AFTER HE GREW AWHILE, HIS MASTER RAISED HIM TO A HIGHER POSITION,
DRESSED HIM IN THE BEST CLOTHES, PAID HIM A GOOD SALARY AND TOOK HIM
EVERYWHERE WITH HIM. VINCENT DECIDED THAT OUR PEOPLE ARE MUCH TOO
TALKATIVE, THEY TELL EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE-TO THOSE NECESSARY AND T
THOSE NOT NECESSARY. THAT'S WHY HE DECIDED THAT HE WILL NOT TELL
ANYTHING TO ANYONE WITHOUT LYING.
ONE TIME THEY WENT TO VILNIUS. THE MASTER WENT TO THE TOWN AND
VINCENT STAYED ON AT THE HOTEL. AFTER AN HOUR, A STRANGE MAN CAME U
TO HIM AND STARTED TALKING:
"I READ YOUR MASTER'S PASSPORT AND I KNOW THAT HE CAME FROM THE
NORTHERN COUNTRY: TELL ME, WHAT'S NEW UP THERE BY YOU?"
"WHILE LEAVING THE RIVERFRONT, WE HEARD THE CHURCH BELLS CHIMING.
MAYBE SOMEBODY DIED," ANSWERED VINCENT.
"BUT THAT ISN'T WHAT I ASKED," SAID THE MAN. "I WANT TO KNOW
WHAT THE PEOPLE ARE SAYING."
"THE PEOPLE AND PRIESTS SAY PRAYERS EVERY MORNING AND EVENING."
"YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND ME. I HEARD THAT THE PEOPLE ROSE UP."
"TRUE, TRUE," ANSWERED VINCENT. "AS SOON AS DAWN COMES AROUND,
EVERYONE RISES."
"AND WHAT DO THE RISEN WORK?"
"OH, ANYTHING THAT THEIR MASTERS TELL THEM TO: ONE GOES OUT TO
PLOW, ANOTHER TO HERD THE SHEEP AND SO ON."
"WHAT KIND OF PERSON ARE YOU}? I'M ASKING YOU IF THERE IS ANY
FIGHTING BY YOU?}"
"WELL, WHILE BEING IN SAULIAI, A MAN DID GET INTO A FIGHT WITH A
JEW, BUT THE AUTHORITIES SEPARATED THEM."
"YOU'RE RATTLING NONSENSE. I WANT TO KNOW ISN'T THERE A WAR AT
YOUR PLACE?"
"THERE IS, THERE IS," ANSWERED VINCENT.
"AH, THAT'S WHAT I WANTED TO KNOW} WHERE AND WHO IS FIGHTING."
"MY MASTER'S BARNYARD, THERE IS AN OLD ROOSTER, WHO IS ALWAYS
FOREVER FIGHTING WITH THE TURKEY. I WONDER WHO IS GOING TO DO THE
OTHER IN?" ANSWERED VINCENT.
"I SEE THAT I WON'T BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND YOU." SAID THE GUEST.
"TELL ME, WHAT IS YOUR MASTER PLANNING TO DO?"
"OH, HE'S PLANNING TO GO HOME TOMORROW."
"TELL ME, ARE THE MASTERS AND NOBLEMEN GETTING RUFFLED AGAINST
THE GOVERNMENT?"
"SOMETIMES THEY GET RUFFLED," ANSWERED VINCENT. "MY MASTER,
GOING FOR THE GOVERNMENT, IS COMBING HIS HEAD, BUT RUFFLING HIS HAIR
ESPECIALLY HIS FOREHEAD HAIRS."
"MAY YOU BURN WITH YOUR WAY OF TALKING}" SAID THE ANGERED GUEST.
"THE DAMNED NORTHERNERS: COULDN'T FIND OUT ANYTHING FROM HIM." HAVIN
SAID THAT, HE LEFT.
AFTER THE GUEST LEFT, THE MASTER SOON CAME HOME, AND FINDING THE
DOOR UNLOCKED, SAID:
"WHY DIDN'T YOU LOCK UP, BECAUSE THIS IS THE CITY. SOMEONE
COULD ROB YOU. MAYBE SOMEONE WAS HERE?"
"THERE WAS SOME FAT-CHICK WITH RED HAIR AND DUMPY NOSE,"
ANSWERED VINCENT.
"OH DEAR, PRAY TELL ME WHAT HE ASKED AND WHAT YOU TOLD HIM}"
VINCENT TOLD HIS MASTER ABOUT HIS TALK WITH THE STRANGER. HIS
MASTER, HEARING THIS, TOOK HIM AND HELD HIM TO HIS HEART.
"YOU'RE NOT MY SERVANT, BUT MY SON. DO YOU KNOW, THAT THAT WAS
THIS CITY'S FIRST MAIN THEIF? IF YOU WOULD'VE ANSWERED HIM
DIFFERENTLY, HE WOULD HAVE ROBBED ME AND MANY MORE}"
OUR PEOPLE TELL TOO MUCH TO THE WRONG PEOPLE, ANYTHING THAT COMES
INTO THEIR HEADS. THIS STORY TEACHES US NOT TO OPEN OUR HEARTS FULL
TO ANYONE.

Submitter comment: SAULIAI-- A FARM CITY IN NORTHERN LITHUANIA.
TRANSLATED FROM LITHUANIAN BY RAMUNE STONYS.

Where learned: DISCUSSION

Keyword(s): PRODIGAL SON BIBLE SERVANT GOSSIP FAITHFULNESS

Subject headings: PROSE NARRATIVE -- Tale

Date learned: DATE NOT RECORDED BY COLLECTOR

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