THE THIEF AND THE INNKEEPER
A THIEF hired a room in a tavern and stayed a while in the hope of stealing
something which should enable him to pay his reckoning. When he had waited some
days in vain, he saw the Innkeeper dressed in a new and handsome coat and sitting
before his door. The Thief sat down beside him and talked with him. As the conversation
began to flag, the Thief yawned terribly and at the same time howled like a
wolf. The Innkeeper said, 'Why do you howl so fearfully?' 'I will tell you,'
said the Thief, 'but first let me ask you to hold my clothes, or I shall tear
them to pieces. I know not, sir, when I got this habit of yawning, nor whether
these attacks of howling were inflicted on me as a judgment for my crimes, or
for any other cause; but this I do know, that when I yawn for the third time,
I actually turn into a wolf and attack men.' With this speech he commenced a
second fit of yawning and again howled like a wolf, as he had at first. The
Innkeeper. hearing his tale and believing what he said, became greatly alarmed
and, rising from his seat, attempted to run away. The Thief laid hold of his
coat and entreated him to stop, saying, 'Pray wait, sir, and hold my clothes,
or I shall tear them to pieces in my fury, when I turn into a wolf.' At the
same moment he yawned the third time and set up a terrible howl. The Innkeeper,
frightened lest he should be attacked, left his new coat in the Thief's hand
and ran as fast as he could into the inn for safety. The Thief made off with
the coat and did not return again to the inn.
Every tale is not to be believed.