The Woman and the Farmer

A Woman, who had lately lost her husband, used to go every day to his grave and lament her loss. A Farmer, who was engaged in ploughing not far from the spot, set eyes upon the Woman and desired to have her for his wife: so he left his plough and came and sat by her side, and began to shed tears himself. She asked him why he wept; and he replied, "I have lately lost my wife, who was very dear to me, and tears ease my grief." "And I," said she, "have lost my husband." And so for a while they mourned in silence. Then he said, "Since you and I are in like case, shall we not do well to marry and live together? I shall take the place of your dead husband, and you, that of my dead wife." The Woman consented to the plan, which indeed seemed reasonable enough: and they dried their tears. Meanwhile, a thief had come and stolen the oxen which the Farmer had left with his plough. On discovering the theft, he beat his breast and loudly bewailed his loss. When the Woman heard his cries, she came and said, "Why, are you weeping still?" To which he replied, "Yes, and I mean it this time."