Tale of the Priest and his Employee Balda
by Alexander Pushkin.
Once the priest went to the market and met Balda. Balda asked him: "Father, why did you got up so early? Are you looking for something?"
"I need one labourer to be a cook, stable-boy and carpenter at the same time for not big salary." Balda offered his help:. "I can work hard for you. I don't eat much. And the salary is only three flicks on your forehead at the end of the year."
The priest thought a little and agreed. Balda really was a very good worker and everybody praised him except the priest. He kept thinking about flicks and could not sleep at night or eat. The priest told his wife about the agreement with Balda. She was a sly woman and said: "Give him business beyond his strength. If he is not able to fulfill your order, you don't have to give him his salary and there will be no flicks for you!"
The priest rejoiced and said to Balda: "Balda, the devils promised to pay me taxes, but they have been overdue now for three years. Go to them and collect the money!"
Without saying a word Balda went to the sea, took one end of a rope and started to twirl it. It made the devils nervous. The old devil came from the water and asked Balda why he disturbed them. Balda answered that they promised to pay tax to the priest, but for three years they haven't paid.
The oldest devil sent his grandson to talk to Balda at the seashore. The young devil suggested: "Let's have a running race. If you finish first, you will get the money." Balda agreed, "All right, but let me have my younger brother run in my place."
Balda went to the nearest woods, caught two rabbits, put them in a bag and returned to the sea. "I am ready. You, young devil, are too weak to gain a victory over my brother. One, two, three, catch up with him", Balda said and let one rabbit go free who went scampered off to its home woods. But the young devil ran very quickly and thought that he, of course, finished first. Returning to the seashore and finish line, the young devil saw Balda sitting on the hill and petting the rabbit. "My dear brother", Balda kept saying, "You are tired, take rest." The devil was terrified and went back to his grandfather.
"Oh, misfortune, I was outrun." They sat and thought how to cheat Balda. But Balda became angry and again twirled with his robe in the sea. The young devil came to him. Balda said: "Now I will choose the task. Look, there is a horse. If you can raise that horse and carry it a half mile, you devils can keep the money." The small devil crept under the horse and tried to lift it. No success. Then Balda raised the horse with his command to stand up, sat on the horse and rode a whole mile. Again he won the competition.
The small devil ran away to his grandfather and told him about Balda's victory. Well, there was nothing to do but collect money in the bag and bring it to the smart Balda.
Balda came home and gave the money to the priest. Then he gave three flicks to the greedy priest, knocked him down, and said: "Do not run after cheapness!"