THE MILLER AND HIS WIFE



There was a miller, who had an ass to turn his mill; and he was married to a wicked wife, whom he loved, while she hated him because she was sweet upon a neighbour, who misliked her and held aloof from her.  One night, the miller saw, in his sleep, one who said to him, “Dig in such a spot of the ass’s round in the mill, and thou shalt find a hoard.”  When he awoke, he told his wife the vision and bade her keep the secret; but she told her neighbour, -- And Shahrazad perceived the dawn of day and ceased to say her permitted say.

When it was the Three hundred and Eighty-eighth Night

She said, It hath reached me, O auspicious King, that the miller’s wife told the secret to the neighbour whom she loved, thinking to win his favour; and he agreed with her to come to her by night.  So he came and they dug in the mill and found the treasure and took it forth.  Then he asked her, “How shall we do with this?” and she answered; “We will divide it into two halves and will share it equally between us, and do thou leave thy wife and I will cast about to rid me of my husband.  Then shalt thou marry me and, when we are conjoined, we will join the two halves of the treasure one to other, and all will be in our hands.”  Quoth he, “I fear lest Satan seduce thee and thou take some other man other than myself; for gold in the house is like the sun in the world.  I reck, therefore, it were right that the money be all in my hands, so thou give thy whole mind to getting free of thy husband and coming to me.”  Quoth she, “I fear even as thou fearest, nor will I yield up my part to thee; for it was I directed thee to it.”  When he heard this, greed of gain prompted him to kill her; so he slew her and threw her body into the empty hoard-hole; but day overtook him and hindered him from covering it up; he therefore took the money and went his way.  Now after a while the miller awoke and, missing his wife, went into the mill, where he fastened the ass to the beam and shouted to it.  It went on a little, then stopped; whereupon he beat it grievously; but the more he bashed it, the more it drew back; for it was affrighted at the dead woman and could not go forward.  Thereupon the Miller, unknowing what hindered the donkey, took out a knife and goaded it again and again, but still it would not budge.  Then he was wroth with it, knowing not the cause of its obstinacy, and drove the knife into its flanks, and it fell down dead.  But when the sun rose, he saw his donkey lying dead and likewise his wife in the place of the treasure, and great was his rage and sore his wrath for the loss of his hoard and the death of his wife and his ass.  All this came of his letting his wife into his secret and not keeping it to himself. [FN#118]  And I have heard this tale of




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