This is the Clever Shepherd Story. Once upon a time, there lived a king. He was so powerful that whenever he sneezed, the people in his kingdom were bound to say “To your good health!”
Everyone said it except the shepherd with the glaring eyes.
The king got to know this and was very angry.
He ordered the shepherd to be brought before him.
The shepherd came before the king. Immediately, the king ordered, “Say at once,”To my good health!”
“To my good health!” replied the shepherd.
“To mine, to mine, you fooled, you stupid!” shouted the king.
“To mind, to mine, your Majesty,” said the shepherd.
Lord chamberlain who was hearing everything interfered, “Say at once ‘To your good health, your Majesty’
If you don’t say it, you will be killed.”
The shepherd was clever and said, “No, I won’t say it till I get the princess for my wife.”
The princess who was sitting besides the king started laughing.
The king ordered that the shepherd be thrown into the pit with the white bear.
The guards took him away and pushed him into the pit with the white bear.
The bear was very hungry and rushed towards the shepherd but when it saw the shepherd’s gleaming eyes,it was so frightened that it could eat itself.
Scared, the bear sat at the corner and gazed at the shepherd.
The shepherd felt that if he took his eyes off the bear, it would eat him up. So, to keep himself awake, he started singing and the night went by.
The next morning, Lord Chimberlin came to the pit and was shocked to see the shepherd alive.
He asked him how he survived the attack of the bear. But the shepherd kept numb.
Lord Chamberlain led him to the king, who said, “Well, you have now understood what it is to be near death, so now will you say ‘To my good health’?”
But the shepherd answer,” I will say it only if you get me married to the Princess.”
The king was furious. He ordered the guards to throw him into the den with the wild boars.
The guards took him away and threw him into the den. Inside the den, the wild boars hurried at the shepherd to tear him to pieces.
At once, the shepherd took out little fruit from the sleeve of his jacket and began playing a lively tune.
The boar started dancing! In the morning, when Lord chamberlain came, the tears were still running down the shepherd cheeks from laughter.
He was again taken before the king.
The king was angry this time and said, “Well, you have understood what it feels to be near to death, now say ‘To my good health!”
But the shepherd again said,’I will only say it if I have the princess for my wife.
The king’s fury knew no bounds. His eyes got red in rage.
He ordered that the shepherd would be thrown down the deep vault of scythes.
The shepherd was dragged into the dungeons. But He tricked the guards and hid in a dark corner and started laughing.
This time also, the shepherd came out alive. The king said,”Well, now you have been near a hundred deaths; will you say, ‘To your good health’?”
But the shepherd gave the same answer.
The king now tried to give the shepherd silver, gold and diamonds. But his answer was the same.
Finally, the king said,”I will give you the princess as wife, but, then you really and truly must say, ‘To your good health!”
The shepherd nodded his head,” Of course, I’ll say it.”
The king was delighted. His happiness knew no bounds.
There was a grand wedding which no one had ever seen before. As per the custom, the groomsmen brought the great boar’s head on a big dish and placed it on the table before the king.
“To your very good health!” said the shepherd.
The king was pleased. After the king’s death, the shepherd succeeded him.