There are good people in the world and some who are not so good. There are also people who are shameless in their wickedness.
Wee Little Havroshechka had the bad luck to fall in with such as these. She was an orphan and these people took her in and brought her up, only to make her work till she couldn’t stand. She wove and spun and did the housework and had to answer for everyth ing.
Now the mistress of the house had three daughters. The eldest was called One-Eye, the second Two-Eyes, and the youngest Three-Eyes. The three sisters did nothing all day but sit by the gate and watch what went on in the street, while Wee Little Havroshe chka sewed, spun and wove for them and never heard a kind word in return.
Sometimes Wee Little Havroshechka would go out into the field, put her arms round the neck of her brindled cow and pour out all her sorrows to her.
“Brindled, my dear,” she would say, “they beat me and scold me, they don’t give
me enough to eat, and yet they forbid me to cry. I am to have five pounds of flax spun, woven, bleached and rolled by tomorrow.”
And the cow would say in reply, “My bonny lass, you have only to climb into one of my ears and come out through the other and your work will be done for you.” And just as Brindled said, so it was. Wee Little Havroshechka would climb into one of the cow’s ears and come out through the other, and behold! there lay the cloth, all woven and bleached and rolled. Little Havroshechka would then take the rolls of cloth to her mistress, who would look at them and grunt, and put them away in a chest and give Wee Little Havroshechka even more work to do.
And Wee Little Havroshechka would go to Brindled, put her arms round her and stroke her, climb into one of her ears and come out through the other, pick up the ready cloth and take it to her mistress again.
One day the old woman called her daughter One-Eye to her and said, “My good child, my bonny child, go and see who helps the orphan with her work. Find out who spins the thread, weaves the cloth and rolls it.”
One-Eye went with Wee Little Havroshechka into the woods and she went with her into the fields, but she forgot her mother’s command and she basked in the sun and lay down on the grass. And Havroshechka murmured, “Sleep, little eye, sleep!”
One-Eye shut her eye and fell asleep. While she slept, Brindled wove, bleached and rolled the cloth. The mistress learned nothing, so she sent for her second daughter, Two-Eyes.
“My good child, my bonny child, go and see who helps the orphan with her work.”
Two-Eyes went with Wee Little Havroshechka, but she forgot her mother’s commend and she basked in the sun and lay down on the grass. And Wee Little Havroshechka murmured, “Sleep, little eye! Sleep, the other little eye!” Two-Eyes shut her eyes a nd she dozed off. While she slept, Brindled wove, bleached and rolled the cloth.
The old woman was very angry and on the third day she told her third daughter, Three-Eyes, to go with Wee Little Havroshechka, to whom she gave more work than ever. Three-Eyes played and skipped about in the sun until she was so tired that she lay down o n the grass. And Wee Little Havroshechka sang out, “Sleep, little eye! Sleep, the other little eye!”
But she forgot all about the third little eye. Two of Three-Eyes’ eyes fell asleep, but the third looked on and saw everything. It saw Wee Little Havroshechka climb into one of the cow’s ears and come out through the other and pick up the ready cloth.
Three-Eyes came home and told her mother what she had seen.