The Deserter

A deserter hid himself in a peasant’s barn to pass the night, and lay down on the hay. Just as he was going to sleep, he heard footsteps. The soldier, being frightened, climbed up into the loft. A girl, followed by a young man, entered the barn; they brought with them a bottle of brandy and some victuals, and after they had placed the provisions in a corner, they undressed and began to embrace. Then the young man threw his companion down on the hay and rogered her. ‘Ah, my dear,’ said the girl, while she was cuddling her lover, ‘If, by God’s will, I should have a baby, who will take care of it?’—‘There is one above us who will take care of it,’ replied the young man. At hearing this, the soldier could not contain his indignation. ‘Oh, you rascals!’ he cried, ‘do you expect me to support the fruit of your filthy fornication?’

Terrified in the midst of their pleasure by this unexpected reply, the two lovers ran away as fast as they could. The soldier slipped to the ground, gathered up all their clothes, and the provisions they had brought, and then started off on his way again.

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