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The Gypsy and the Goblin

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Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there lived a gypsy. But not just any old gypsy. This gypsy had a gift, and this gift gave him the remarkable ability to see the truth. The gypsy often used this gift to his advantage, and swindled many men out of house and home.

One day, the gypsy wandered into a small village, and wandered even further into the marketplace. The gypsy gathered a large crowd, and managed to convince his audience that he had magic powers.

“How many fingers do I have behind my back?” yelled a woman in the crowd.

“Seven!” replied the gypsy.

“How did you know?”

“Didn’t I tell you? I have magic powers!”

“How many children do I have?” called another woman.

“Three!” replied the gypsy. Of course, he was correct.

Both women tossed their money at the gypsy, and walked away. This pattern repeated until there was only one man left.

“Hello, sir. What is your question?” asked the gypsy.

“How did you know the answer to all of those questions?”

“A magician never reveals his secrets!”

A big grin appeared on the man’s face. “So, you admit that you don’t have real powers?”

The gypsy folded his arms and stuck his nose into the air. “I refuse to answer your question!”

“Fine,” said the man. “I guess if you don’t answer my question truthfully, then I won’t tell you about the goblin’s treasure.”

“Treasure?” The gypsy’s eyes lit up like the North Star. “Alright, I’ll tell you.”

The gypsy reached into his pocket and pulled out a handheld mirror. “This mirror always tells me the truth. No lies.”

“Amazing!” said the man.

“Now tell me about the goblin,” the gypsy snapped.

“Not so fast.” The man shoved his hand towards the gypsy. “Give me some of your gold.”

The gypsy sighed and gave the man his payment.

“The goblin lives in a forest not far from here,” said the man. “He guards a large pile of treasure in his cave.”

“Is there anything else?” asked the gypsy.

The man held out his hand, and the gypsy gave him more gold.

“Enter the goblin’s cave at night,” replied the man. “It seems as though he doesn’t like sunlight.”

The gypsy thanked the man for this valuable information, and began his journey to the goblin’s cave.

The gypsy had travelled a day and a half upon reaching the forest, and nightfall had come by the time he reached the goblin’s cave. He sat and waited until the goblin crept outside. He waited even longer for the goblin to disappear, and when it did, he swiftly made his way into the cave.

Once inside, the gypsy discovered that there was far more gold than he could ever imagine. He grabbed a sack, and began to stuff it full of gold. But it was too late. The goblin had returned.

“Well, well,” said the goblin. “What do we have here?”

The gypsy was silent, and before he knew it, he was chained up at the ankle in the coldest corner of the cave.

“How long are you going to keep me here?” asked the gypsy.

“How about... Twenty years?”

“That’s not fair!” cried the gypsy.

“Life ain’t fair, you silly boy!”

The gypsy remembered his magic mirror, and struck a deal with the goblin. “If you ask me three riddles, and I answer all of them correctly, then you have to set me free.”

“And if you answer one incorrectly?”

“Then you can eat me.”

“I accept,” replied the goblin. “But only if I can ask one riddle a day.  A goblin needs his time to think!”

Of course, it made no difference to the gypsy, because he knew freedom was just around the corner.

The deal was made, and the game of riddles began.

“Mary’s father had four children,” said the goblin. “Three are named Nana, Nene, and Nini. What is the name of the fourth child?”

“Give me a minute.” The gypsy looked down at his mirror and received his answer. “The fourth child’s name is Mary.”

The goblin stared at the gypsy with suspicious eyes. “Very well,” said the goblin. “You answered my first riddle correctly, and you are two days away from your freedom. But sleep well, for tomorrow’s riddle will be even harder!”

And the gypsy did sleep well. After all, what was there to worry about? With his mirror, he had all the answers he needed.

“Good morning, boy!” said the goblin. “Are you ready for my second riddle?”

The gypsy nodded.

“Excellent! As promised, this riddle is harder than the first: It lives without a body, hears without ears, speaks without a mouth, and is born in the air. What is it?”

This time, the goblin never took his eyes off the gypsy. But at the same time, the gypsy knew that goblins were very gullible.

“That’s a very nice painting you have over there,” said the gypsy.

“Oh, yes!” replied the goblin. And as he mumbled on, the gypsy took a quick glance at his mirror.

“Hey, goblin!” said the gypsy. “The answer to your riddle is ‘echo’.”

The goblin turned around in astonishment. “What!” he cried. “No! No! No!”

The gypsy smiled, and the goblin quickly settled down. “Very well... You answered my second riddle correctly, and you are one day away from your freedom. But sleep well, for tomorrow’s riddle will be the hardest yet!”

Of course, the gypsy slept well, and the goblin recited his third and final riddle:

“What is gold in the summer, and blue in the winter?”

The gypsy distracted the goblin again, and looked into his mirror. But something very strange happened: The mirror had no answer.

“That’s not fair!” cried the gypsy. “You cheated!”

“And how would you know that?”

“Because my magic mirror didn’t have an answer!”

At that moment, the gypsy realized what he had said, but it was too late.

“A magic mirror, eh?” said the goblin. “Give it to me!”

“No.”

The goblin moved in closer. “Give me the mirror, boy!”

“No!”

The goblin attacked the gypsy, and they both wrestled for control of the mirror. The gypsy tried his best, but he wasn’t strong enough. He had to use his wit.

The gypsy struggled as he looked desperately around the room. In the corner of the cave was a beam of sunlight peeking through the roof.

“Of course!” thought the gypsy, as he let go of the mirror.

The goblin jumped back as the mirror slipped out towards the sunbeam. The mirror caught the light and shot it at the goblin, turning him into stone.

The gypsy carefully walked towards the newly-turned statue and retrieved his stolen mirror. He quickly unchained himself, and gathered as much gold as he could.

“What am I going to do with all of this treasure?” thought the gypsy.

The answer is quite simple: He gave up his thievery, met a beautiful woman, and had many children.

But what of the goblin, you ask? Let’s just say he makes an excellent garden gnome.
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