The Students

Three students arranged to have a feast together; one undertook to provide the meat, another the wine, and the third the bread.

The first saw a countryman coming into town with three rabbits and asked him if he would sell his catch.

“I’ll sell it.”

“Then come with me to the church. The priest is my godfather and he wants to buy some game.”

They went to the church together.

The priest was in the confessional, hearing the confession of some parishioners.

The student told the yokel he was going to speak to his godfather and went over to the confessional. There he asked the priest if he would do him the favour of hearing the confession of that servant of his father as soon as he finished the person he was confessing.


 “But the servant is a bit dull and he doesn’t trust me, so would you do me the favour of signalling him to wait?”

The confessor put an arm out of the box and signalled the yokel to wait.

Then the student went over to the yokel and told him to hand over the rabbits and to go and get the money at the confession box as soon as the priest called for him.

The yokel handed over the rabbits. As soon as the priest had finished hearing the confessions, he called the yokel. He came over to the priest who told him to kneel down.

 “Why do I have to kneel down?”

 “So that I hear your confession.”

 “I don’t want to confess, I want the money for the rabbits.”

 “Your boss’s son was right to say you were a bit thick! Kneel down, fellow!”

A great uproar arose between the two, the yokel finally leaving convinced that he had been tricked by the said godchild.

And thus the first student came to provide the meat for the party.

The second called over a boy and ordered him to bring him two identical flasks: one full of water and the other empty.

Then he told the boy to wait for him outside a wine-cellar, with the flask full of water, while he went in with the empty one. He went in and asked the cellarman if he sold wine and when the man said he did, the student went inside the cellar, where the cellarman filled the flask. The student took the flask full of wine and went to the door into the street, where he was awaited by the boy and switched flasks with him, telling him to take the flask to a certain place, previously agreed.

Then he went back into the wine cellar and told the cellarman to look after the flask, while he went to call his servant who was carrying his money.

And he left the cellarman with the flask full of water. 

The third went into the countryside and met a countryman leading his donkey on a rein. On the donkey there was a large basket full of bread. The student signalled a boy previously instructed to approach.

It’s the habit of countryfolk to go along the road with their animal on a lead, in such a way that the owner of the animal is at times very far away from it. Now the student tiptoed towards the donkey, unharnessed it and put the harness over his own head.

While the boy was still in sight with the donkey and its load, he went along with the countryman, but when he disappeared from view, he gave a tug. The countryman turned his head and was confronted by the young man.

 “What’s this?”

 “Don’t be astonished. I have been enchanted as a donkey and just now the first part of my punishment came to an end. In a few days time I will turn back into a donkey again.”

 “Forgive me, Mr. Donkey, if I have treated you badly… I didn’t know.”

 “You’re forgiven. Well, be patient.”

And the student left the countryman.

The three students met up the next day and held an excellent party.

 “And what are we going to do with the donkey?” asked one of the students.

“We’re going to sell it at market next Sunday.”

 “But what if the owner recognises it?”

 “Leave that to me.”

The following Sunday the student who had provided the meat went to sell the donkey at market.

Its owner appeared in search of a donkey to enable him to get on with his business.

He saw the donkey which he used to own.  Then he looked at the donkey, winked at the fellow who was trying to sell it, and said in a tone of  self-satisfaction,

 “Someone else will buy you, not me!”


Oliveira 1900, I, 90-92, #38, Os Estudantes, Algarve, Loulé; Oliveira 2002, I, 102-104.

Type nºs: AaTh 1525 L, Creditor Falsely Reported Insane when he Demands Money

AaTh 1555 B, The Rum and Water Trade;

AaTh 1529, Thief Claims to have been Transformed into a Horse

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