A certain man named John had been a faithful soldier, and had served the King all through the war, and had been wounded, too; but when the war came to an end and he was discharged he only received three pieces of silver as payment.
“That is a mean way to treat a fellow,” said John. “But never mind! If I can only get the right sort of friends to help me we will get all the King’s treasure from him before we are done.”
So he shouldered his knapsack and off he set into the world to find the right sort of friends to help him do this.
He walked along and walked along till he came to a wood, and there was a man pulling up trees by the roots as though they were no more than grasses.
“You are the very man for me,” said John. “Come along with me and we will make our fortunes.”
The man was willing. “But wait,” said he, “until I tie these fagots together and take them home to my mother.”
He laid six of the trees together and twisted the seventh around them to hold them. Then he walked off with them on his shoulder as easily as though they were nothing.
When he came back he and the soldier started out in search of their fortunes.
They had not gone far when they came to a hunter who had raised his gun to his shoulder and was taking careful aim. The soldier looked about over the meadows, but could see nothing to shoot.
“What are you aiming at?” asked he.
“Two miles away there is a forest,” said the man. “In the forest is an oak tree. On the top-most leaf of that oak tree there is a fly. I am going to shoot out the left eye of that fly.”
“Come along with me,” said the soldier, “we three will certainly make our fortunes together.”
Very well; the hunter was willing. So he shouldered the gun and off he tramped alongside of the other.
Presently they came to seven mill-wheels, and the sails were turning merrily, and yet there was not a breath of wind stirring. “That is a curious thing!” said the soldier. “Now what is turning those sails I should like to know.”
Two miles farther on they came to a man sitting on top of a hill. He held a finger on one side of his nose and blew through the other.
“What are you doing?” asked the soldier.