One morning the old Water Rat leaned out of the hole. The duck taught her children to stand upside down in the pond. Water Rat: “Love is certainly a good thing, but friendship is much more sublime… A faithful friend must be betrayed to me.” Then Linnet began the story of a Faithful Friend.
Once upon a time there was a nice boy, Hans. He did not differ in anything like that, except with a kind heart and a funny round cheerful face. He had a kindergarten, which he loved very much and grew flowers. Little Hans had a lot of friends, but the most devoted was Big Gyu-Melnik. The rich miller was so devoted to him that every time he passed by he dialed a huge bouquet of flowers or stuffed pockets with fruits. “Real friends should have everything in common,” he said. And Hans wrote down the whole theory of friendship carefully in a notebook. Naturally, the miller never thanked Hans. In the winter, he never visited him or called for him
At last spring came and Miller went to Hans for the primrose. Hans wanted to sell them and redeem the wheelbarrow, which had to be laid in the winter.... But the miller took all the flowers and invited Hans to give his wheelbarrow, though it was very broken. Hans said that he has a board, and he will fix the wheelbarrow. Then the miller asked Hans, as a true friend, whom he was going to present to the wheelbarrow, to repair this board with a hole in his roof. Hans certainly agreed for the sake of a friend. Miller began to ask him about other “services”, because he will give him a wheelbarrow. Hans agreed to everything, but he simply did not have time to work in his garden.
One night a miller was ill with a child. It was necessary to go for the doctor, and in the street a terrible storm. Miller asked Hans, but he did not even give a lantern. On the way back, Hans lost his way and drowned in the swamp. Everyone came to the funeral of Hans, because everyone loved him. But most of all grieved Miller
The Water-rat did not understand the story and went to her room. “I’m afraid she took offense at me,” said the Linnet. “… I told her a story of morality.” “What’s the matter, this is dangerous business!” “Duck.”