|Once upon a time, there was a poor student, always without money, seldom with a place to put his head for the night, he really owned nothing more than the weather-beaten clothes on his back. It must be said that he was a lot more into partying than studying ... in short, a very typical youth.
One day, he came upon the house of an obviously rich farmer and decided to try his luck for a bit of a hand-out. The farmer himself was not at home but the wife was out in the yard. This good woman had been a widow before marrying this farmer.
They got into conversation and she finally asked him where he had come from. He answered "from Paris" but the naive woman misunderstood and believed he had come "from Paradise." She got quite excited about this, and the young man decided to play along.
| So when the woman asked him if he perchance knew her late husband, Michel, who passed three years before and must surely be in paradise, having been a very good and pious man all his life, the student made as if he had to think a bit and finally asked her for Michel's family name. This was supplied and she was told her that yes, indeed, he knew Michel.
"So how is my dear late husband doing up there in Paradise?" inquired the woman.
The student's face got all sad and he told the woman that Michel had fallen on hard times, he had no money, no clothes, and if his chums were not there to care for him now and then, it would certainly look bleak for the man.
This made the woman very very sad; until now, she had believed one's sorrows to be over once in Paradise. She started to cry and, as if talking to Michel, lamented that if he were still with her, there would be no shortage of good food, clothing, spending money ... of only she had a way to send provisions to him, he should lack nothing ever again as long as she was alive.
"Dear Lady," said the student, "if all you lack is a messenger, I'd be happy to help for I will be going back to Paradise shortly."
The woman was overjoyed and invited him inside, where she plied him with food and drink, which he accepted gratefully as he had not feasted like this in a long time.
She fetched shirts and pants, kerchiefs, a warm coat, then she tied everything into a neat bundle. She also gave him what money she had in the house, all for her dear departed Michel.
Soon, the student was on his way. And shortly thereafter, the farmer returned home.
| When the woman told him how she had learned of Michel's needs, and how she was able to send help to him, he didn't even stop to have his tantrum. He saddled his fastest horse to race after the con artist and set him right.
The student however, kept careful watch behind him, suspecting that someone might have discovered his little scheme and come after him. Not in any mood to part with his ill-gotten gains, nor wanting to have the stuffing beat out of him, he noticed the rider from a long way off.
Luck was with him. As he tossed the bundle behind some bushes that separated to road from a field, he discovered a shovel and a pair of work-gloves that someone had left there, most likely to return later and go back to work in the field.
By the time the farmer on his horse had caught up with him, he was busy digging the field. He was asked whether he had seen a young man with a bundle passing this way.
That he had, he replied, but when the man had noticed the rider, he ran across the road, to the other side, into the woods.
The woods being quite dense, the farmer asked the "labourer" if he would hold his horse while he pursued the miscreant on foot. "But of course," the student replied. And when the farmer was out of sight, he retrieved the bundle, swung himself onto the horse, and off he went.
When the farmer returned quite a while later, he realised how he'd been had and started to walk home, wondering how he'd explain himself to the Missus. Of course she wanted to know whether he had found the messenger, and then she noticed the missing horse. And which replied,
"Of course I found him. And then I gave him my horse so he could complete his errand a lot faster."