Once upon a time there lived a poor man, Abunuvas by name. He was clever and often made jokes at rich people and even at the chief. So they did not like him and wanted to kill him.
Once the chief sent for Abunuvas, and he came to the chief’s house.
“I hear that you are very clever, Abunuvas! Can you build me a house in the sky in three days? You may have as many men as you need. If you cannot do that, my soldiers will kill you.”
“I shall build it, my chief,” said Abunuvas and went home. He began to think. Then he made a kite and tied a bell and a long string to it. When the wind blew, the kite rose high in the air. But it did not fly far, because Abunuvas tied the string to a tree.
The next day all the people of the town heard the bell and saw a dark spot in the sky. The chief saw the spot, too. Abunuvas came up to the chief and said: “Oh, my chief, the house in the sky will soon be ready. Do you hear the bell? The workers are
ringing the bell from the sky. They need some boards for the roof of the house. Please tell your soldiers to climb up to the sky with the boards.”
“But how will my soldiers climb up to the sky?” asked the chief.
“Oh, there is a way up,” said Abunuvas.
So the chief ordered his soldiers to get some boards and to follow Abunuvas. They came back to the tree and saw the string there.
“This is the way to the sky,” Abunuvas said. “Climb up the string and you will come to the sky.”
The soldiers soldiers tried to climb up the string, but could not do that.
“Try again, try again! Our chief will be very angry if you do not carry the boards up to his house in the sky!” said Abunuvas.
Then the soldiers went to the chief and said, “Oh, chief, no man can climb up to the sky!”
The chief thought a little and said: “That is right. Nobody can do that.”
Then Abunuvas said to the chief: “Oh, my chief, if you know that, why do you ask me to build you a house in the sky?”
And the chief could give no answer to that. Abunuvas went to the tree, cut the string and took away the kite.